Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ad Watch

Today's Times Union has the first of an occasional feature on the ads that our politicians run. The first deals with Sandy Treadwell's ad accusing Kirsten Gillibrand of voting "to impose the largest tax increase in history." The TU reports:
Analysis: Treadwell's ad misrepresents the facts. Gillibrand did not vote to impose "the largest tax increase in history" during June's roll call vote No. 382, referenced in the ad. Gillibrand voted to support a non-binding budget resolution, which serves as a blueprint for how Congress will appropriate money moving forward.

As part of the budget resolution, Congress made the assumption that most of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts passed under the Bush administration will be allowed to expire in 2011. The expiration has been included in every budget resolution since the cuts went into effect.

There is more to this story, which Albany Catholic recommends you read, here.

Albany Catholic knows Sandy, and has great respect for him and his work, which makes this advertisement more than a little disappointing. We will keep you posted on Ms. Gillibrand's ads as reports develop.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Just like Albany?

Newsday's blog has an interesting item today:
Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi was speaking to a group of Baldwin residents Tuesday night and asked for a show of hands on some options for a plot of vacant land.

“Can I vote twice?” one woman asked Suozzi.

“Only if you live in Long Beach,” Suozzi answered.

He returned to the theme later, saying without any apparent provocation that his father asked to be buried in Long Beach because, “he wanted to remain active in politics after his death.”
The link is here.
Albany Catholic remembers stories of dead Democrats voting in Albany. William Kennedy, in his wonderful book "Oscar" comments on the practice: Just 'cause they're dead don't make them Republicans. (Or something to that effect.)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Single-payer health reform

A reader sends the following:
Saturday, September 13th, in Albany, we will launch Single Payer New York, a grassroots coalition of organizations and individuals to work together in New York state for single-payer health reform, both state and federal. An amazing diversity of single-payer advocates have responded with plans to attend.

"The Truth about Healthcare Road Show" will start the day. Donna Smith will speak at 10 am. It will be the 9th of 10 traveling meetings across New York State
. . .
A panel discussion Saturday morning, concluding at noon, will include Dr. Mary O'Brien, Mike Keenan, Don Bechler, Jackie Wolf and Diane Stein, Dr. Paul Sorum and Ryan McIntyre (AMC '11).

Dr. Mary O'Brien will speak. Her new book "10 Excellent Reasons for National Healthcare," co-edited with Dr. Martha Livingston, has just been released.
. . .
The New York State AFL-CIO convention in August voted unanimously to endorse HR 676. Mike Keenan, President of the Troy Area Labor Council, will also speak on labor and single payer.
. . .
The meeting will be hosted by medical students from Student Perspectives and Activism and Physicians for a National Health Program. We look forward to participation from students from other medical schools too. Nurses and doctors will participate in the meeting, with the New York State Nurses Association and Physicians for a National Health Program well-represented. Labor leaders and activists will be coming from across New York State as will faith-based advocates. Interest is building and we expect participants from Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Ithaca, Binghamton, Schenectady, Saratoga, Kingston, Sullivan County, Long Island and New York City, and other places across the state!
. . .
The afternoon sessions on Saturday, from 1 to 4pm, will convene activists to set forth a grassroots organizing strategy, for geographic outreach, legislative action and working with different constituent groups to build an unbeatable movement for single-payer health reform.

Saturday September 13th
10am to 4pm
43 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY
Albany Medical College
Building ME Room 700

Free Parking in the Blue Lot directly in front of the medical school.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Community organizing -- Take 3

A reader sent us the following:
Just remember that Jesus was a community organizer and Pontius Pilate was a governor.

Clean energy

The Natural Resources Defense Council sent us the following:
In the midst of sky-high energy prices, America faces an important opportunity to solve many of our biggest challenges – global warming, energy security and an economic downturn -- with the development of a clean energy economy. We can create millions of high-paying jobs to make fuel-efficient cars, retrofit our buildings with energy-efficient materials and develop renewable energy that will help power our homes while reducing global warming pollution.

Want to learn more? Come to an exciting public forum on September 10th to find out how America can re-energize its economy through the development of clean energy technologies.

Featured speakers, who will be answering your questions, include:
** Richard Cataldo, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
** Bruce Herman, Deputy Commissioner, New York State Department of Labor
** Jeff Jones, New York State Apollo Alliance
** Ed Murphy & Lava Thimmayya, Workforce Development Institute
** Norreida Reyes, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter
** Barbara Warren, Citizens' Environmental Coalition

== When and Where ==
Wednesday, September 10
New York State United Teachers Building (auditorium)
800 Troy-Schenectady Road
Refreshments will be served

The event is sponsored by NRDC, the New York State Apollo Alliance, Workforce Development Institute of New York, Citizens' Environmental Coalition and other members of the Blue-Green Alliance, including the Sierra Club and United Steelworkers.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

International Day of World Peace

The United Nations' International Day of Peace - marked every year on September 21 - is a global holiday when individuals, communities, nations and governments highlight efforts to end conflict and promote peace.

Established by U.N. resolution in 1982, "Peace Day" has grown to include millions of people around the world who participate in all kinds of events, large and small.

Our friends at Pax Christi offer some tips:
* a special prayer for peace as part of your Sept 21st worship service

* a prayer service for peace at a special time/space in your community

* a “concert for peace” with community volunteer talent

* a banner and/or bulletin announcement on the International Day of Peace

* a “teach-in” on reconciliation and healing for your community

* a “poetry for peace” reading or contest

* ringing of church bells at 12 Noon, Sept 21 as a call to peace

* inviting the community to a moment of silence beginning at noon

More information is availabe on the UN website here.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

More on community organizers

Jim Wallis writes in his blog, God’s Politics:
Then Wednesday night I heard Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin say that her experience as "a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities." The convention crowd in St. Paul thought that was very funny. But it wasn't. It was actually quite insulting to the army of community organizers who work in the most challenging places across the country and have such a tremendous impact on the everyday lives of millions of people. I guess Palin and her fellow Republican delegates don't know much about that. The "actual responsibilities" of community organizers literally provide the practical support, collective strength, and hope for a better future that low-income families need to survive,

Community organizers are now most focused in the faith community, working with tens of thousands of pastors and laypeople in thousands of congregations around the country. Faith-based organizing is the critical factor in many low-income communities in the country's poorest urban and rural areas, and church leaders are often the biggest supporters of community organizers.

The rest of this interesting blog entry is here.

Community organizers

Joe Klein of Time magazine wrote in the magazine’s blog:

This morning, I received a press release from a group called Catholic Democrats about the work--the mission, the witness--that Obama performed after he got out of college. Here's the first paragraph:
Catholic Democrats is expressing surprise and shock that Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's acceptance speech tonight mocked her opponent's work in the 1980s for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. She belittled Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's experience as a community organizer in Catholic parishes on the South Side of Chicago, work he undertook instead of pursuing a lucrative career on Wall Street. In her acceptance speech, Ms. Palin said, "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities." Community organizing is at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching to end poverty and promote social justice.

So here is what Giuliani and Palin didn't know: Obama was working for a group of churches that were concerned about their parishioners, many of whom had been laid off when the steel mills closed on the south side of Chicago. They hired Obama to help those stunned people recover and get the services they needed--job training, help with housing and so forth--from the local government. It was, dare I say it, the Lord's work--the sort of mission Jesus preached (as opposed to the war in Iraq, which Palin described as a "task from God.")

Albany Catholic suggests you read the entire entry here.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Employee Free Choice Act

Writing in the Voices of Faith column in Saturday's Times Union, Bill Peltz, a member of the Executive Committee of the Labor-Religion Coalition of the Capital District, states:
To mark Labor Day every year, the coalition picks one issue as its advocacy focus for Labor Day for its Labor in the Pulpits/on the Bimah/in the Minbar program.

This year, it's the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, which is aimed at removing what organized labor sees as obstacles to union organizing that have developed during recent decades.

Naturally, it's a contentious issue. Business groups attack the bill for doing away with the secret ballot for workers' votes on union recognition. Labor groups support it as a way to repair what they consider to be employer domination of the broken ballot process. Adult study groups and peace and justice committees are good forums to debate the pros and cons of the legislation. Those who agree with it might want to sign a postcard of support as part of the national coalition's campaign.

For this Monday and for all of September as an extended Labor Month, we ask you to pray for working people, especially low-wage earners and those who are exploited, both at home and abroad. Ask questions about how workers are treated. Speak up in support of working people who are seeking respect and a voice in their work.

Contact the coalition's coordinator, Marjorie DeVoe, at 482-5595 or for a speaker and information on the Employee Free Choice Act. We'll be distributing and collecting the postcards for the rest of the year to give to the new president in January.

Albany Catholic suggests you read the entire column here and then make arrangements for a speaker at your parish.