We are "celebrating" what the Economist is calling "The Shame of America". While there is much to celebrate with regard to the positive movements made in New
Orleans there is an ugly backside that many want to forget or "wish away". The United States has always treasured the concept of "women and children first". However in the aftermath of Katrina this country turned it's back on hundreds of thousands of victims of the disaster. The day before the storm struck Mayor Ray Nagin issued the first ever mandatory evacuation order in the history of the city. However 112,000 people, mostly poor, had no vehicle or ability to leave. The Superdome was to be a place of shelter. But within 24 hours 25,000 people without food, water and sanitary facilities turned the "shelter" into a nightmare. Today in the Crescent City the level of PTSD continues to plague many, especially the children. So badly that during President Obama's address this past week a member of the audience shouted, "Mental health! Our children need mental health."
Today New Orleans is still struggling with low wages, job inequity, gun violence and crime. There is still much to do.
Will he? Will he not? Friends and family of Vice President Joe Biden offer mixed clues as to if he will take a shot at running for president. Yesterday the Vice President surprised Delaware Democrats by showing up, unannounced, to the Sussex Democratic Jamboree in Lewes where he spent ten minutes saying "thank you" to his friends for sticking with him through the good times and the bad. Meanwhile a recent poll says Biden does better against several of the GOP front-runners than does Secretary Hillary Clinton. Me? My gut tells me is is not going to run but, who knows. This I do know he is truly a class act. (Cartoon - Tim Lloyd)
Yesterday in Storm Lake, Iowa at Buena Vista College Kyle Munson of the Des Moines Register moderated a forum dealing with immigration issues and...Iowa. What is #UniteIowa? From the website we read, "We aim to create an oasis for thoughtful dialogue in the middle of another presidential caucus cycle when the rhetoric tends to divide us." It worked. While GOP National Committeewoman Tamara Scott did her best to scare folks about the "evils of the illegals" the conversation was truly thoughtful and offered up some real-world examples as to why this nation needs to find a way to deal with the issues of immigration reform. Every presidential candidate from both sides were invited to speak. Only Gov. Lincoln Chafee (D-RI) and Gov. Martin O'Malley (D-MD) made the trip. Both did well but it was O'Malley that offered some concrete examples of what he would do and what he has done. That strong showing prompted this Tweet from my friend Christian Ucles:
If you can get through the pay-wall here is the piece from Grant Rogers in the Des Moines Register.
The cold killing of two Virginia news professionals last week shocked even gun rights activists. Within days of the shooting Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) said he would introduce gun-control legislation and that, gun-control legislation that requires background checks is "common sense" and "is right thing for Virginia and the right thing for the nation."
Of course he is right and it is also true that the shooter, Vester Lee Flanaggan, purchased his gun legally. And so we'll talk about it and the "gun-lobby" will fight any attempt to control firearms and this week more people will die from gun violence in the United States. Nothing changes. Oh...mental health? Screw that too. While Flanaggan might have purchased his gun legally he, according to reports, was a "walking time bomb". Full Tilt Bozo...but hey we also "talk" about mental health. Or in the case of Iowa...we cut funding for mental health. Weary.
So ever hear of Wage Theft? This is something else most people just don't give a damn about because it only impacts "them". A new study out from the Iowa Policy Project says that thousands of Iowans are robbed of the wages due them. But, hey, they are only "low-wage workers" and no doubt they ain't got good schooling and ain't got nowhere to turn so...screw them! What do you bet that some of these same "wage robbing employers" are in church this morning being all holy and stuff. Double weary. Here's the article on Wage Theft in Iowa.
We All Scream for Ice Cream!
Two very cool things are going on today. The Windsor Heights Foundation has several dozen homes hosting an ice cream social on their front lawns. This is such a cool thing. Friends, neighbors and family gather on lawns across The Village and have a chance to visit with each other. Solid and, yes, we'll share some photos!
Earlier in the day Progress Iowa is holding the first Corn Feed and speaking on behalf of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will be...ready? Ben and Jerry...yes, THAT Ben and Jerry. I'm honored that Progress Iowa has asked me to take part in the event and what could be better than Jews and Ice Cream? You can still get tickets here.
Jennifer Konfrst for Iowa House
Speaking of "The Village of Windsor Heights" my friend Jennifer Konfrst announced last week that she will run against Rep. Chris Hagenow (R-Windsor Heights). This is pretty exciting, positive and full of opportunity. My long-running distain for Mr. Hagenow is stuff of legend. Mostly because they don't get any more far-right-wing than he. Last year, rather than spending time trying to pass legislation that would improve the lives of Iowans he ran around trying to get legislation passed that would call a "convention of the states" so we could turn back the clock to 1862. But he impressed his GOP bosses, who are equally wacky, because they made him Assistant Majority Leader of the Iowa House. If he stays in office expect more of the weird.
Bicycles and Iowa/Des Moines
For those of us who enjoy cycling this news comes as no shock. The Des Moines Register is reporting today that Iowa and Des Moines continue to slide when it comes to being "Bike Friendly". Odd when Iowa hosts the largest bicycle ride in the world...RAGBRAI. But this falling out of favor is understandable. There is no will to create a better bike friendly community or state. None. We would much rather give millions of dollars to already successful companies like Kum & Go to build a new headquarters building. Here is the article from the Register and, if you are interested in hearing what ISU Economist Dave Swenson has to say about "corporate tax give-away" here is a great piece from Bleeding Heartland.
Last evening there was a celebration for the finalists of the health and fitness program from the Des Moines Cycle Club - Pedal Off the Pounds. In total the folks that finished the 18 week planned program lost a combined 919 pounds. Many now off of meds, buying new clothes and keeping their butts on a bike. It is progress and so proud of my Bride who leads the Des Moines Cycle Club along with a great group of volunteers. Well done...everybody!
Thanks for reading...and have a great Sunday!