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In New Orleans, injustice and disaster team up to make recovery difficult


Fri, Mar 23rd, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Editor's note: The author spent a week in February as a volunteer working with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), a non-governmental organization, working with disenfranchised populations in New Orleans.



"A society that lives by organized greed or by systemic terrorism and oppression will always tend to be violent because it is in a state of persistent disorder and moral confusion. The first principle of valid action in such a society then becomes non-cooperation with its disorder, its injustices, and more particularly with its deep commitment to untruth" Thomas Merton.

What is happening right now in New Orleans is the result of corporate greed. The protecting wet lands surrounding the city have slowly degraded, filled in and built up by oil, gas, and shipping interests; the levee systems are under-funded, poorly constructed, and the citizens of New Orleans were lied to when reassured they were safe.

What is happening right now in New Orleans is the result of years of systemic racism as white males made laws benefiting white males, leaving all others to scrabble as best they can to get by. The communities not being helped and, in fact, actively discriminated against, are working class and poor black homeowners and renters. It was not until December 3 that people from the predominantly black 9th Ward were allowed to return, months after other communities. Mary Fontenot, forced to sneak past armed officials denying access to the 9th Ward, discovered her home was to be auctioned. After the flood, attests Miss Mary, surveyors and multiple black SUVs appeared in her neighborhood. The city thought the Lower 9th Ward, which is some of the higher land in New Orleans, would make a nice airport. Homeowners returned to discover, in their absence, the city razed their homes or sold their land as condemned property.

A new ordinance declares no individual may buy land; homeowners may only sell to the city. Gwen Adams, a local teacher, left a note on her home announcing she was coming back and planning to rebuild, leaving her number if anyone needed to contact her. Her neighbor called days later, telling her a bulldozer destroyed her home - the city plans to widen industrial canals.

Another public official thought New Orleans would make a good "Manhattan of the South" and public housing remains locked down. The buildings, though structurally sound, remain boarded up with personal belongings still in th .....
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Politicians and scientists should try a loveless marriage

Fri, Mar 9th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

The current administration has been, according to observers grounded in science, the most hostile and dismissive administration toward science and scientists ever. The Union of Concerned Scientists has catalogued the egregious episodes of ideologica ..... 
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It's time for Cheney to resign

Fri, Mar 9th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

It is time for Dick Cheney to resign his post and stand down as vice president. He is not fit to serve as the second highest official in the land, a mere heartbeat away from the presidency.

The trial of Cheney's chief of staff Lewis "Scooter ..... 
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Common Ground

Fri, Feb 23rd, 2007
Posted in Commentary



Let's face it - right now on the issue of global warming - there is going to be disagreement. There are people who don't believe that it is happening or that it is caused by human activity and there are the people who agree that global warmi ..... 
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The pause that refreshes *

Fri, Feb 16th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Our Root River has put up with a lot. One hundred and forty years ago when my great grandfather settled here, he perched a log cabin on the river's edge and built a mill. We've not let the river alone since: we've straightened it then twisted it, dr ..... 
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A flower has more rights than a landowner

Fri, Feb 16th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

I am one of two property owners who has not agreed to sell my land for the Forestville Trail.

On Tuesday night, the Preston City Council may begin discussing whether to use eminent domain to acquire 2 1/2 acres that I own five miles away fr ..... 
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Daylight savings saves more than just daylight

Fri, Feb 16th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Microsoft Corp. software gurus (or geeks, as many people refer to them as) have been doing a little hand-wringing as the monumental date March 11, 2007 draws nigh. "Y2K07," as March 11 has been referred to, is the new date the federal government has ..... 
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Personality and politics

Fri, Feb 2nd, 2007
Posted in Commentary

While certainly not new news, the personal image projected by politicians is a major factor in their ability to be believed and thus elected. Many may recall the debates between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon during the 1960 presidential campaign. P ..... 
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Buggy whips, garter belts and for profit health insurance

Fri, Jan 26th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane."

~Martin Luther King Jr.

When I started practicing medicine most rural doctors still made house calls. We could carry most of the diagnostic ..... 
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