Saturday, October 25, 2008
The eyes of Che Guevara watch over a garden growing between two storefront buildings on the East Side. The icon of revolution peers from a mural spanning the side of the building housing Taylor's Barber Shop and the Southwest Workers Union.
Pecan-shell mulch spreads around native plants separated by a curving, gravel path. Pride of Barbados, plumbago, esperanza, hibiscus and other plants thrive on land once spotted with trash, brush and parked cars.
Long, scraggly weeds and vines spill from the rooftop of the adjacent building like a frozen waterfall. The stringy, straw mass crawls down the wall to a wooden sign that reads: “The Roots of Change Community Garden.”
The workers union created the garden a year ago to raise awareness in the area about the benefits of growing organic food and gardening. The lot stretches from the 1400 block of East Commerce Street to Idaho Street, flanked by tall posts, which will anchor a fence in the near future.
Workers from the tire shop across the street drove a tractor to clear the land. More than 100 volunteers weeded, seeded and watered the lot. Recent helpers have included children from the Boys & Girls Club and Edison High School who learned about the soil they tilled and water they poured from hand buckets.
Workers tell neighbors and volunteers to take whatever produce they want. They told Paul White, 84, owner of the barbershop, to help himself. They gave him handfuls of tomatoes, strawberries and black-eyed peas. They offer volunteers words of empowerment such as “Uhuru,” Swahili for freedom, on long, wooden signs jutting from sections of soil.
As fall arrives, the crops are going dormant. The fruit from a cut banana stalk lies on a worktable in the shade of an open-air shed. Workers Sandra Garcia, 20 and Stevie Freeman, 25, inspect plots once flush with serrano peppers, green chiles, corn and squash. Long pods of okra hang in abundance as one of the last vegetables still flourishing.
“It's a beginning,” Freeman said, scanning the lot under the shed entwined with a spiraling grapevine. “We have big visions.”
Tamora Ketterer, 26, who works across the street at True Opportunities, a bookkeeping and accounting service, applauds the workers efforts.
She's seen workers branch out from the garden, canvassing the neighborhood where her grandmother lives, asking how they can help. Ketterer said the garden already has helped.
“Anything to help kids do better in the community is a good thing,” She said. “I hope they succeed beyond what they sought for their vision.”
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Every four minutes a student drops out of a Texas public school, according to a new report from the Intercultural Development Research Association. That means that, across the state, one-third of the students who began high school in fall 2004 left without a diploma before the end of the 2008 school year.
The San Antonio-based IDRA has tracked school dropout rates for more than 20 years and says this year's numbers are no better than when the organization released its first report in 1986.
In Bexar County, where the 40 percent attrition rate is higher than the state figures, 10,363 students in the Class of 2008 left school without a diploma. The vast majority were minorities.
... from SA Express-News, read more
Monday, October 20, 2008
OAKLAND, Calif. — California’s energy-efficiency policies created nearly 1.5 million jobs from 1977 to 2007, while eliminating fewer than 25,000, according to a study to be released Monday.
The study, conducted by David Roland-Holst, an economist at the Center for Energy, Resources and Economic Sustainability at the University of California, Berkeley, found that while the state’s policies lowered employee compensation in the electric power industry by an estimated $1.6 billion over that period, it improved compensation in the state over all by $44.6 billion.
Built into that figure were increases of $1.2 billion in the light industrial sector, $11.2 billion in wholesale and retail trade, $7.3 billion in the financial and insurance sectors and $17.8 billion in the service sector.
“Consumers were able to reduce energy spending,” the study said, adding that “these savings were diverted to other demand.”
“When consumers shift one dollar of demand from electricity to groceries,” the report said, they create jobs among retailers, wholesalers, food processors and other businesses.
The study, which examined household spending, comes as state and regional initiatives on climate-change policies have been gathering momentum. At the same time, arguments have sharpened over how much it will cost the economy to cut the emission of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels, which are linked to climate change.
Roughly half the country’s electric power is generated by burning coal, the fuel that produces among the highest greenhouse-gas emissions of any in widespread use.
Some economists focus their studies on the cost of converting the power grid to run on low-carbon technologies, like wind energy, or the cost of developing technologies to separate the carbon dioxide from coal-plant emissions and bury it underground. Others focus on the job creating potential of new energy industries.
The Berkeley study is different in that it focuses as much on historical data as on modeling the future. California’s energy-efficiency policies were adopted in 1978, long before the widespread push for greenhouse-gas reductions, but the data they provide is highly relevant to the current economic debate.
Professor Roland-Holst said that he based his calculations on residential spending on electricity over the last 30 years, factoring in both the decrease in per-capita demand for electricity — now 40 percent below the national average — and the increase in California’s electrical rates, which were about 40 percent above the national average in June, the latest month for which data is available. Household spending represents more than 70 percent of the gross state product.
Historically, Professor Roland-Holst said, the decrease in per-capita demand for electricity outstripped the increase in rates. Much of the economic growth, the study said, was driven by both efficiency standards for large appliances like refrigerators and for residential and commercial buildings.
In an interview, Professor Roland-Holst said, “What I wanted to do to support the forward-looking vision is go back and look at the evidence we have in front of us.”
In two months, California is set to adopt broad policies to enforce a new cap on greenhouse gas emissions signed into law two years ago. More detailed regulations will then be developed; that process is likely to be contentious, as it divides the overall costs of the new program among competing sectors of the state’s economy.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Am i registered? Check here for the state of Texas ... remember which county you are registered in or if you maybe registered with a different last name. For Bexar County, you can also check here.
When is the Election? The election day is Tuesday November 4th. Early voting is open October 20 - October 31st.
- The last day to request a vote by mail if you are over 65, are temporarily residing out of town or are disabled is October 28th. It must be received & processed by your county. Look here for more information or to print the request form.
What do i need to bring? Bring your voter registration card. If you do not have one, the following are acceptable identification:
- a driver's license or personal identification card issued from any state, regardless of whether the license or card has expired;
- a form of identification containing your photograph and name;
- a birth certificate;
- US citizenship papers;
- a US passport;
- official mail addressed to you, by name, from a governmental entity;
- a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address where you are registered to vote.
Monday, October 13, 2008
From the mountains of Guatemala, the foro social de las Americas has uplifted the voices of resilience of the peoples. Despite decades of war and violent oppression, it is images of growth and red carnations that decorate the streets and walls. It was the military that would destroy the harvest in order to ‘starve out’ the resistance. But the plants, like the movement, grow back stronger. The names and lives of the many martyrs of the struggle are very alive in the people’s memory. It is with this energy and spirit that we have encountered the local struggles as thousands of folks across the hemisphere have converged in Guatemala city. This lives in the backdrop of the failure of the capitalist finance system, as grassroots organizations are converging for a week of exchange, dialogue and movement building.
Being in this country with the leadership of the social movements, it is immediately present the realities of the militarization of a county. The strong resistance despite the legacy of war and current systematic violence, assassination and disappearance leave a profound sense of humility. Whether is excuse is fighting ‘guerrilleros’ or ‘drug-traffickers’ or ‘terrorists,’ the military after 30 years of internal wars is building power against the people (with the backing of the US). The domestic military acts an army of occupation. In many cases, this forum represents one of the first times movements have linked together again after all the massive repression.
In the face of all this, an indigenous Mayan woman spoke to their community’s struggle the displaced a military base and transformed the space into an autonomous university. The strength and leadership of indigenous Guatemalan women is a strong inspiring force throughout this space as they take their struggle to the next level.
As SWU presented the history and the struggles we face on the US-Mexico border and shared our experiences with many other participants, we also connected with the front of the local struggle fighting the construction of the US’s first ‘line of defense’ – a wall of death on the border between Mexico and Guatemala, bring again hypermilitarization of the indigenous regions of resistance in the country. In addition as we are consuming natural resources at an alarming rate, there is a global race for extraction and environmental exploitation. In our communities at home, there face increasing pressure for mining and energy development we were able to dialogue with indigenous Guatemala coalition, CONIC, resisting the massive mining industry that are stealing the local resources for the consumption in the North and leaving the legacy of contamination, disease and death in its path. But the consciousness and resistance is rising.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
The U.S. Congress will vote on another bill to bail out Wall Street today. Despite public opposition and a first failed attempt, the bill may pass today. Not only will the bailout fail to help the vast majority of people in the United States, but it will likely deepen the financial crisis. This plan will only add thousands of dollars in additional debt to every person in the U.S. It will not provide relief to the people who need it most - the millions of people who are confronted with losing their homes and savings, the millions who are or who will soon be unemployed, the millions who remain without health insurance. It will not address the rampant speculation and deregulation of the global economy that has deepened poverty throughout the world and displaced entire communities - forcing mass migrations to the U.S. and Europe and who now face racist repression at our borders, in our towns and cities. It will not end the war that has cost thousands of lives and a trillion dollars.
So regardless of the outcome of today's vote in the halls of Capitol Hill, a peoples movement is necessary to respond to the financial crisis. We need a Peoples' Bailout and a new direction for the economy.
Later today, GGJ will launch an online forum - a town hall discussion where we are inviting our members and allies to give your thoughts about the crisis and offer your solutions. Post your organization's analysis, your proposals, the actions that you are taking in your community, and any resources that would be helpful. GGJ will also be hosting nationwide educational calls, to help us understand the crisis, and issuing positions papers and statements based on your feedback.
Hoy el Congreso estadunidense votará en otra propuesta que rescataría las empresas financieras de Wall Street. Frente a la oposición pública y el fracaso del primer intento, el rescate puede ser aprobado hoy. Este plan no ayudará la gran mayoría de la gente en los Estados Unidos, de hecho pueda profundizar la crisis financiera. Va a añadir miles de dolares en deuda a cada persona en el país. No proveerá ayuda a la gente que la necesesita mas: los que están a punto de perder sus casas y ahorros, los que son o que serán desempleados, los sin acceso a servicios de salúd. No podrá freno a la especulación y deregulación de la economía global que ha profundizado la pobreza por todo el mundo y desplazado comunidades enteras – causando migraciones masivas a los EU y Europa – donde ahora enfrentan represión racista en la frontera, en las ciudades y pueblos. No va a terminar la guerra que ha costado miles de vidas y un trillón de dolares.
Entonces, ni modo el resultado del voto hoy en la sala del Congreso Estadunidense, se necesita una respuesta a la crisis financiera. Necesitamos un Rescate Popular y una nueva dirección por la economía.
GGJ organizará llamadas de conferencia con intención de ayudarnos a entender la crisis. Generaremos declaraciones que reflejan sus contribuciones. Por favor aprovechan de este herramiento y ayudanos en organizar una respuesta popular a la crisis financiera.
RESOURCES AND ANALYSIS
Washington's Wars and Occupations, Max Elbaum, War Times, 9/29/08,
A Nation of Village Idiots: James Moore
Is this the United States Congress or the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs, Interview with Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Democracy Now, 9/29/08
No Blank Check for Wall Street, Dean Baker, Center for Economic Policy Research, 9/22/08,
Why Bail? The Banks Have a Gun Pointed at Their Head and Are Threatening to Pull the Trigger: Dean Baker, CEPR, 9/29/08
The Bailout Round II: Adult Version: Dean Baker, CEPR, 9/29/08
IPS Plan to Pay for Recovery, Institute for Policy Studies, 9/26/08
Recursos y analysis en español:
Se Cae el Plan Paulson: Oscar Ugarteche, ALAI, America Latina en Movimiento, 29/9/08,
La Biblia por los Suelos, Javier Diez Canseco, La República, 29/09/08,
Larga recesión en EU, prevé el Nobel Stiglitz, La Jornada, 30/09/08,