As we await Obama's decision on whether or not to escalate in Afghanistan, I thought I'd post our local anti-war group's actions in the upcoming year. I'm only guessing, but I think we'll need to build a much bigger anti-war movement.
Since moving to Bloomington-Normal last year, I've had more reasons to anticipate the chill of winter. Winters here aren't that bad, at least compared to Minnesota, in terms of intensity and duration. I still don't like it when it gets very cold, which does happen occasionally, but overall I don't dread winter here like I did in Minnesota. My anticipation, though, has to do more with my allergies. Because fall is so long here, warmer, my allergies are much worse until the temp consistently dives below freezing in December. So I'm literally waiting for the chill. Plus, now that we have a house that requires yardwork, I'm anxiously waiting for when I won't have to mow the lawn. (I actually enjoy mowing with my motorless push mower, but not when the ground is saturated with water and parts of it are turning to mud!)
This weekend we're heading up to the village of Cherry, Illinois, where my parents currently live, to commemorate the Cherry Mine disaster. My mother's family is from Cherry, moving there from Italy a year after the disaster occurred in 1909. I'm excited to participate in this event mostly because I've always heard stories of the disaster in my childhood. The commemoration event looks extremely well organized with the full participation of organized labor, and the labor folk singer Bucky Halker will be performing at various times throughout Saturday. Here is a flyer I found. I also like this article, from the Springfield paper, because it is education-related. For a brief history of the disaster, with relevant sources, check out the Wikipedia entry.
Here is Kucinich's excellent summary on why the recently passed health care bill is fatally flawed and not a step in the right direction. You can find a summary at http://www.clevelandleader.com/node/11927 . Some other progressive members, like Grijalva from AZ, were considering voting against it but unfortunately did not at this time. If this were a bill that was even a small step in the right direction, I can see how people would want to support it. But, as it stands, it is a capitulation to the health care insurance industry. By including a weak public option, which only a fraction would be eligible, it is essentially a huge bailout of the insurance industry. It subsidizes with billions of taxpayer dollars the inherent waste and high cost of the current employer-based insurance system. It delivers billions of dollars to the insurance companies, strengthening their already gargantuan power. By eliminating the Kucinich Amendment, which would make possible the choice of single-payer at the state level, it codifies the power of the insurance industry in law. Kucinich argued on Democracy Now! that he could not vote in good conscience on a bill that essentially dooms forever the possibility of real health care reform, a single-payer system or some variation that eliminates the source of the problem - for-profit insurance. He also rightly points out that some of the provisions we can support - like a ban against pre-existing conditions and others - can be done in stand-alone bills and not tied to giant taxpayer-supported give-aways to the corporations.