John Edwards, the Democrat's vice presidential candidate last year, gave a boost to striking APWU truck drivers in Des Moines when he walked the picket line with them April 1.
The union drivers work for Mail Contractors of America (MCA), one of the nation's largest private mail haulers.
Edwards, a former U.S. senator, walked the line for about 20 minutes, according to Des Moines Area Local APWU President Lance Coles. "He expressed his support for the drivers' cause and talked with several of them individually," Coles said. "While walking with the APWU members, he spoke with President Burrus by phone."
Edwards Meets With Low-Wage Security Officers in LA
Last March 16th, in order to raise awareness about the issue of poverty in America, John Edwards met with low-wage security officers in Los Angeles. Union organizer Miguel Contreras , who has built a political machine in Los Angeles based on labor's clout, thinks highly of John Edwards: (LA Times)
With his wireless glasses, slightly cherubic face and rapid-fire speech, Contreras bears little resemblance to Marlon Brando's Vito Corleone. But the son of Central Valley farmworkers, a 52-year-old union organizer who never went beyond high school, is uniformly viewed as one of the most influential people in Los Angeles....he may take a leave of absence from the federation to help a 2008 Democratic presidential candidate. So far, he's been most impressed with John Edwards. The North Carolina senator called on Contreras during his presidential bid last year, and they talked again when Edwards was in Los Angeles on Wednesday. "I know the labor movement around the country pretty well, and I would like to take someone to the White House," Contreras said. "I want the opportunity to at least try it."
From the One America site, here is Edwards' statement (thanks to Chris Winn and SEIU)
John Edwards' statement on Security Workers Fighting for Fairness:
"Today, I am honored to support the thousands of security officers who are organizing across the nation to demand fair wages and health benefits so they can get ahead instead of constantly falling behind.
"Their efforts to form a union with SEIU could bring higher wages, higher standards of living and greater economic opportunity for thousands of Americans who are working hard and playing by the rules, but still living in poverty.
"Working full time and getting nowhere goes against what we believe in as Americans - that a good job should provide a pathway out of poverty. But with wages stagnating and costs skyrocketing, that simply isn't true for millions of Americans.
"As we commemorate the 37th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we should remember that Dr. King spent his final days working with sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. King's life and deeds remind us that a fair wage for an honest day's work is a civil right - something all Americans deserve so they can lead a life of dignity and have a shot at the American dream.
"Dr. King said 'injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' Today, I can think of no better way to honor his words than to stand with SEIU and the thousands of private security officers who are fighting for a fair shake all across America."
Reading the NY Times columns today, I found it interesting that David Brooks is tapping directly into the culture of death, employing recently-deceased Saul Bellow to bash European culture and to pump up the status of "unipolar American culture", while Frank Rich exposes the employment of the culture of death for the 'unipolar' American freak-show that it is. The juxtaposition is all too beautiful - almost outrageous. We Americans are a ridiculous lot if we deny that the ideas unique to our current American culture are not born of the melting pot. America's still the baby. Other than the Native Americans, our roots lie someplace else in this world. By the way, David Brooks has shown that he is not paying attention to the wonderful new creations coming out of Europe these days. Is that Europe's fault or David's - for donning the blinders of ethnocentricity? He's much like his fellow Americans, with little interest in the culture of other countries. Americans tend to travel abroad far less than citizens of other countries. This is why I believe Frank Rich's opinion is more powerful. He sees our culture for what it is - and who we are, with no need to intellectualize Europe away.
NYT - To Contain Virus in Angola, Group Wants Hospital Closed Doctors Without Borders has been battling a hemorrhagic fever called the Marburg virus that so far has killed 181 Angolans. They have urged the Angolan government to close the regional hospital here, at the center of the outbreak, saying the medical center itself is a source of the deadly infection.
ABCNews- In Israel, Small Protest by Ultranationalists Disrupts Peace Protest organizers have said Sunday's event was a trial run for the summer's withdrawal when they want to divert as many troops as possible from dismantling Jewish settlements in Gaza by forcing them to secure other areas, including the Jerusalem shrine. The tension in Jerusalem came a day after Israeli troops killed three Palestinian teens in Gaza in disputed circumstances and fueled fears that a shaky two-month-old truce will collapse.
Firdos Square, central Baghdad, yesterday credit- Penninsula.com
Boston Globe - Tens of thousands of Iraqi Shi'ites protest US presence The protest, on the second anniversary of Hussein's fall, was one of the largest in Baghdad since the US invasion. "Force the occupiers out of our country," one banner read. "Yes for Islam, yes for Iraq. No to occupation, no to terrorism," another said. Some held effigies of Hussein, President Bush, and Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain. Photos can be seen HERE.
UPDATE: The number of protestors was not tens of thousands, it was hundreds of thousands - 300,000. American Street writer Hesiod says:
of course, the pro-Bush U.S. media will never report massive anti-US protests in Iraq the same way as anti-Syrian protests in Lebanon, for example.
There is such a built in homer bias in our pro-Bush media that they consider any anti-American activity in Iraq, even if it is peaceful, somewhow illegtimimate or worse, phony.
Well…300,000 people isn’t a “phony” protest. You can’t coerce or con 300,000 people to show up and protest like that in Iraq.
I hope the pro-Bush media realizes that if they actually covered this protest, and others like it honestly, it would help STOP the violence in Iraq. If the insurgents and anti-American forces see these protests getting traction and making us change our policy, then they are less likely to engage in attack on our troops!
The famous poet T.S.Eliot called April the "cruelest month". Since April is now poetry month, Eliot, were he still alive, might change his mind. What better time to celebrate both women and poetry? CNY NOW is presenting three outstanding women poets reading their works about women this Thursday, April 14, at 7:00 pm in the Delevan Center Gallery. The Gallery i slocated at 501 West Fayette Street in Syracuse (free parking available). The program is free and open to the public.
Janine DeBaise teaches writing and literature at SUNY College of Forestry. Her poems have appeared in various literary journals. "Of A Feather, a collection of her poetry, came out in 2003. Here academic interests include ecofeminism, ecocriticism, and the intersection of science and literature.
Georgia Popoff is a community poet, performer, educator, spoken word producer, and senior editor of The Comstock Review. A teaching poet in schools and the community, including the Downtown Writer's Center, the Syracuse chapter of the YMCA's national Writers' Voice program, she has appeared in numerous journals, anthologies, and web publications. Collections include Coaxing Nectar from Longing (Hale Mary Press, 1997), and Gold: The Greatest Hits 1998-2003 (Pudding House Press chapbook series). Georgia is also coordinator for Partners for Arts Education and a board member of the Association of Teaching Artists.
Mary McLaughlin Slechta's short fiction and poetry have appeared in many fine journals and anthologies. Buried Bones, a chapbook of poems, came out in 2004 by Foothills Publishing. She is a teacher and an associate editor with The Comstock Review.
Women's Studies Lecture at LeMoyne College, Tuesday, April 12
On Tuesday, April 12, 7:00-9:00pm, in the Curtin Special Events Room at LeMoyne College, Omid Safi (Colgate) on "Islam, Gender, and Social Change". Safi is a professor of Religious Studies. His latest work, Progressive Muslims, challenges traditional interpretations of Islam. Safi will discuss the importance of feminist thought in the progressive Islam movement. Co-sponsored with Religious Studies and Peace and Global Studies.