Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Three Looks At the Nation

Jesse Jackson is complaining that most of the Democratic presidential nominees are ignoring Black voters, according to the Nation Blog.

In an op-ed in today's Chicago Sun-Times, Jackson points out that " ..the Democratic candidates, with the exception of John Edwards, who opened his campaign in New Orleans's Ninth Ward and has made addressing poverty central to his campaign--have virtually ignored the plight of African Americans in this country. The catastrophic crisis that engulfs the African-American community goes without mention, No urban agenda is given priority. When thousands of African-Americans marched in Jena, La. not one candidate showed up."

This is interesting, if only because of who Jackson thinks is actually paying attention to Black voters. One would think Barak Obama -- his preferred candidate -- would be the one paying the most attention, but the civil rights leader and occasional presidential candidate says it's Edwards.

In a Nation column this week, Antony Loewenstein writes of newly-elected Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd:

Although Rudd has pledged to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and remove Australia's combat troops from Iraq--clear policy differences with his predecessor--Rudd has maintained a "hard line" on antiterrorism measures, despite systematic failures over the past few years in bringing terror suspects to trial: a senior counterterrorism officer with the Australian Federal Police admitted in a recent botched trial that his team in 2004 was "directed, we were informed, to lay as many charges under the new terrorist legislation against as many suspects as possible because we wanted to use the new legislation." It is unlikely that a Rudd government will fundamentally alter the extremes of the current laws. One can hope that he will repair the breakdown in trust between the Muslim community and the federal government after years of Howard's rhetorical demonization of a minority vital to isolating terrorists.

Finally, the title of Senator Bernie Sanders' column tells us that Global Warming is reversible. The ideas he presents for combating it are worth heeding, and supporting. Among them, his call for transportation reform:

Transportation must also be addressed in a serious manner. It is insane that we are driving cars today that get the same twenty-five miles per gallon that US cars did twenty years ago. If Europe and Japan can engineer their vehicles to average more than forty-four miles per gallon, we can do at least as well. Simply raising fuel-efficiency standards to forty miles per gallon would save roughly the same amount of oil as we import from Saudi Arabia and would dramatically lower carbon emissions. We should also rebuild and expand our decaying rail and subway systems and provide energy-efficient buses in rural America so that travelers have an alternative to the automobile.

Sanders has introduced the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act (S. 309) with California's Barbara Boxer, and it has gained a large number of co-sponsors in the U.S. Senate. For the sake of our country, our species and our planet, we need to put the pressure on Congress to pass this -- and do it with a veto-proof majority.

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