Benny's World

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Unite Here Campaign for Hotel Workers

JRE is on another campaign--to help empower Hotel Workers to form their own SEIU shop. I was surprised to find out that hotel workers in Chicago made only $11.75. Not good, but better than someone at McD's drive-in, but I will have to double check.

Anyway, JRE's working with Danny Glover on this one. And I hear George Clooney never stays at a hotel that has a picket going.

Check out the NYT article about the SF event.

Update-- listen to JRE's audioblog about the campaign: and JRE's Op-Ed in the Boston Globe today--2/17

Picture taken from ad on DU.
Update 2/19: more photos of the SF event. Glover's presence is so awesome.

And one more pic, taken by an OAC supporter, Serb Hall...from the Chicago Rally

I really like this man's politics..and causes..

Monday, February 13, 2006

Take me Home, JRE

JRE was in Vermont last week to talk about poverty. Vermonters don't think of themselves as poverty stricken, although I have known some former Vermonters who couldn't afford to buy a house with running water.

Here's the link to a personal blog about JRE's visit, which is where I found this pic.

JRE looks rich in his suit, but you know what, he and Elizabeth don't live an extravagant life. Like Phil Collins again, this could be the message for JRE for us:

Take that look of worry
I’m an ordinary man
They don’t tell me nothing
So I find out what I can
There’s a fire that’s been burning
Right outside my door
I can’t see but I feel it
And it helps to keep me warm
So i, I don’t mind
No i, I don’t mind

Seems so long I’ve been waiting
Still don’t know what for
There’s no point escaping
I don’t worry anymore
I can’t come out to find you
I don’t like to go outside
They can’t turn off my feelings
Like they’re turning off a light
But i, I don’t mind
No i, I don’t mind
Oh i, I don’t mind
No i, I don’t mind

So take, take me home
Cos I don’t remember
Take, take me home
Cos I don’t remember
Take, take me home
Cos I don’t remember
Take, take me home, oh lord
Cos I’ve been a prisoner all my life
And I can say to you

Take that look of worry, mine’s an ordinary life
Working when it’s daylight
And sleeping when it’s night
I’ve got no far horizons
I don’t wish upon a star
They don’t think that I listen
Oh but I know who they are
And i, I don’t mind
No i, I don’t mind
Oh i, I don’t mind
No i, I don’t mind

So take, take me home
Cos I don’t remember
Take, take me home
Cos I don’t remember
Take, take me home
Cos I don’t remember
Take, take me home, oh lord
Well I’ve been a prisoner all my life
And I can say to you

But I don’t remember
Take, take me home...

Another Day in Paradise

She calls out to the man on the street
’sir, can you help me?
It’s cold and I’ve nowhere to sleep,
Is there somewhere you can tell me? ’

He walks on, doesn’t look back
He pretends he can’t hear her
Starts to whistle as he crosses the street
Seems embarrassed to be there

Oh think twice, it’s another day for
You and me in paradise
Oh think twice, it’s just another day for you,
You and me in paradise

She calls out to the man on the street
He can see she’s been crying
She’s got blisters on the soles of her feet
Can’t walk but she’s trying

Oh think twice...

Oh lord, is there nothing more anybody can do
Oh lord, there must be something you can say

You can tell from the lines on her face
You can see that she’s been there
Probably been moved on from every place
’cos she didn’t fit in there

Oh think twice...

With these words, Phil Collins understood 20 years ago of community building and true democracy in South Africa. Like SA, so is NOLA and we need our senators to continue to speak for those folks, but for all rights, not just to win back a few contracts. Contracts are for all businesses, not just Halliburton.

Today Carl Levin in a Senate hearing pointed out the fraud in FEMA aftermath of Katrina in those who wanted to bid to have government contracts to rebuild their Gulf Coast communities. I still see families in pain because they can't come back unless there is a true community built for all and for the betterment for all. Carl Levin is a tough dude, but a good one.

The Trust Gap, part 2

WMD's to me includes guns. Cheney used one over the weekend that harmed a bird hunting companion. I've never liked guns; moreover, I don't have one in my house because I don't know how to use one.

Many gun owners get licenses very freely, and do not have to prove if they know how to operate one. We have to know how to drive a car to get a license, but not how to shoot a gun.

I think Mr. Cheney needs his gun license revoked if he doesn't know how to operate one in the proper way, which includes watching where he shoots.

And the WH tried to cover this incident up too.

I don't think I could trust Mr. Cheney on a bird hunting trip. Justice Scalia, watch out.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Trust Gap

Today's NYT editorial was one of the more forceful ones I've seen in awhile about this President.

We can't think of a president who has gone to the American people more often than George W. Bush has to ask them to forget about things like democracy, judicial process and the balance of powers — and just trust him. We also can't think of a president who has deserved that trust less.

This has been a central flaw of Mr. Bush's presidency for a long time. But last week produced a flood of evidence that vividly drove home the point.

The opinion wasn't designed to lend credence to "trust me" by this President; instead it gives evidence to the AG saying the Administration has ultimate authority whether Congress likes it, we like it, or anyone else in the world likes or not.

It concludes this way:

Like many other administrations before it, this one sometimes dissembles clumsily to avoid embarrassment. (We now know, for example, that the White House did not tell the truth about when it learned the levees in New Orleans had failed.) Spin-as-usual is one thing. Striking at the civil liberties, due process and balance of powers that are the heart of American democracy is another.

Well, many of us have known for a long time the things the Administration has been hiding, just 60 Minutes is supposed to show a segment on the billions unaccounted for by the DOD (or Halliburton, take your pick). Not news to some of us, but if it takes beating the public over the head about these things, I guess it's better than nothing.

The Trust gap in my view, is about the forgotten middle who are worried about their sons, still wanting to feel secure, but more secure about incomes in order to raise their families. Both parties are guilty for spending too much time on the civil liberties, which ARE important, but if C-SPAN callers are any indication, they are worried about our economy, national debt (because of the war) and healthcare. This is where Dems have the leadership opportunity--and to close the trust gap, if they come up with plans instead of just attacking their opponents. And they need to figure out how to get the corporate media to start discussing these issues for the viewers/readers. Rick Stein's article in the Boston Globe is a good start, but it needs to said over and over also in the LA Times, Pittsburgh Gazette, Houston Chronicle,, andChicago Tribune.