The Syracuse Peace Council sponsored a memorial reading of the names of those killed as a result of the Iraq war. Just a stone's throw away, there was a special mass held in honor of Pope John Paul II at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. I attended both. At the reading, I heard the names of Iraqi citizens who were victims (recalling one aged 6, another aged 91), along with coalition troops and American troops. I thought of the Pope and how he spoke out against the war as unjust. I think he would have been smiling upon the Peace Council volunteer readers and their respectful listeners today.
India and Pakistan on Thursday launched a historic bus link to reunite divided families on both sides of Kashmir. Greeted by cheers, tears and dancing, bus passengers defied militants and crossed the militarised line dividing Kashmir for the first time in nearly 60 years. Kashmiris wept joyfully and clutched their loved ones after being reunited by the historic bus service. “It’s a blessing. I never thought this day would come,” said passenger Raja Naseer Khan, 60, a retired civil servant from Srinagar, as he met his niece Noreen Arif for the first time.
"Neo-pan-Arab West-blaming, which focuses on the symbols of neo-imperialism in Iraq and Palestine, deflects attention from the gross failures of domestic politics in the separate nations of the Arab world, and usefully serve the purposes of the ruling elites in Egypt, Syria, Saudi and elsewhere. Neo-pan-Arabism plays to the worst majority-rule instincts within the Middle East. It disallows distinctions between cultures, but also between political experience and history.
The US-UK alliance’s war in Iraq is to blame for only adding more fuel to this old ideological fire. As many liberal Arab commentators predicted, it has narrowed the margins of political discourse in the Arab world even further (opposition calls for reform – as we saw in Beirut – are immediately attacked for ‘betraying the country to the US’) and has tarnished the principle of democracy. But regardless, it is time to say that pan-Arabism of this nature does not serve anyone’s interests.
The Bush Administration’s democratization programme can, as we have seen in Georgia, Ukraine, Beirut (and perhaps even Kyrgyzstan), provide the impetus for real change if properly made use of. Reformers in the Middle East, be they of secular, Islamist, liberal or socialist ilk, cannot afford to fall into the trap set by their own authorities which casts reform as American and therefore suspect to the point of treachery. Let us hope that broad Arab support for the Lebanese ‘revolution’ (whatever its character) heralds a new era – when the Arab world realizes that to stand up to the West, it must use it."
Mel Martinez, what on Earth were you thinking? Brian may be a Darling, but he's certainly not the darling of the GOP for having written that dog of a Schiavo-strategy memo, and neither are you.
Truthout: Public Poll Shows Bush Approval Still Slipping, Public View of Congress Is Even Worse: Bush's job approval is at 44 percent, with 54 percent disapproving. Only 37 percent have a favorable opinion of the work being done by the Republican-controlled Congress, according to an AP-Ipsos poll.
"It is a privilege to appear today to present my thoughts on Iraq and our armed forces, to offer a brief retrospective on the mission there, to sketch out a successful way ahead, and to discuss the implications for the U.S. armed forces..."
Related Story at Aljazeerah.com: Clark Says Bush's policy towards Syria and Iran encourage the two states to work against the U.S. interests in Iraq
Who’s Better Off? - Statement On Iraq by Rep. Ron Paul, MD, given before the House of Representatives on April 6, 2005:
"Protection of life and liberty must once again become the issue that drives political thought in this country. If this goal is replaced by an effort to promote world government, use force to plan the economy, regulate the people, and police the world, against the voluntary desires of the people, it can be done only with the establishment of a totalitarian state. There’s no need for that. It’s up to Congress and the American people to decide our fate, and there is still time to correct our mistakes."
After a ten-year long struggle, 49,000 Illinois child care providers have finally joined a union. What this will mean for the lives of these mostly female workers, their families, and the 200,000 children they take care of? Check out this blog entry by Angenita Tanner, a Chicago childcare provider who stepped up and took on the fight 10 years ago. This is part of a broader fight to give the women and men who take care of our children and our grandparents -- the people who make up what somehave called the "economy of care" -- a real voice in how our society treats them and the people they take care of. - How does US childcare compares to rest of world? - How does quality childcare help the economy? *Thanks to SEIU for contributing this story.
NEW YORK STATE POLITICS:
This Sunday morning, Eliot Spitzer will appear on This Week with George Stephanopoulous. He will be discussing issues related to his ongoing investigation of the insurance industry. You can sign up to become a 'Friend of Eliot'. Visit the 'Join Eliot' page by clicking here.
NYT: The Bush Administration is considering one of the biggest spending cuts since Washington first began subsidizing housing.
"If the changes sought by the administration take effect, they will result in one of the biggest cuts since Washington first began subsidizing housing: as much as $480 million, or 14 percent, of the $3.4 billion federal budget for day-to-day operations, including labor, maintenance, insurance and utilities, at the nation's 3,100 housing authorities. Housing authorities in New York State would be among the hardest hit, under a new formula that works against older urban areas."
FROM THE WEIRD:
Editor and Publisher - New York Times has fired writer Susan Sachs, alleging she wrote anonymous e-mails to the 'wives of Times reporters in Baghdad' commenting on their sexual behavior. Sachs denies it and says she'll fight it.
Throughout American history, from the abolitionists and suffragists of the nineteenth century to the feminists and civil rights activists of the twentieth, mainstream-progressive religion has served as a bedrock of humane and democratic values. Renewed public visibility of faithful religions is essential to maintain America’s rich democratic traditions and to insure vigorous debate within the American public sphere.
Faith Voices amplifies the efforts of its progressive religious and progressive activist member organizations by delivering process efficiencies via community interconnectivity. Our goal is to contribute to the renewal of American democratic life.
1. Appreciation for diversity. 2. The inviolable dignity of every human being. 3. Peaceful, multilateral resolution of conflict. 4. Responsible stewardship of the earth’s resources. 5. Justice for all, including the underprivileged and disenfranchised. 6. Hospitality toward immigrants and other strangers. 7. Care for the most vulnerable among us.
"We invite clergy and lay people from throughout the country to join us. We seek a new commitment to active participation in the political processes of our nation by those members of religious communities who hold views larger than sectarian interests or narrow ideologies and who serve, beyond private advantage and any claim of spiritual superiority, the moral vision of the common good."
A MORAL MISSION We will return America to its true moral mission and restore its historic commitment to the common good. We must do more for those among us who suffer from poverty, hunger, inadequate health care, and educational disparity. The progressive movement is now at a turning point. Dozens of progressive religious leaders and organizations are rising as one to speak out against war and greed, and to build what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called the Beloved Community. The Beloved Community promotes non-violence, social justice, fair and equal treatment under the law, care for the environment, and freedom.
"It is necessary for us to realize that we have moved from the era of civil rights to the era of human rights. When you deal with human rights you are not dealing with something clearly defined in the Constitution. They are rights that are clearly defined by the mandates of a humanitarian concern."
- Martin Luther King Jr., assassinated April 4, 1968