One year ago, on May 16, 2008, 17 year old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez died working in the fields from the heat and lack of water. Six California farm workers died last summer from the heat.
August 2, 2008: Maria de Jesus Alvarez
July 31, 2008: Jorge Herrera
July 9, 2008: Ramiro Carrillo Rodriguez
July 9, 2008: Abdon Felix Garcia
June 20, 2008: Jose Macrena Hernandez
May 17, 2008: Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez
Fifteen farm workers have died of heat-related complications since July 2004.
Doroteo Jimenez, an uncle of Maria Isabel, spoke at a Los Angeles area vigil commemorating Maria's life this week:
Maria was a beautiful human being who came to this country with a lot of dreams and the desire to work hard and help her mom and younger siblings, but her dreams were cut short. A year after her passing, the best way to honor her is by making sure farm workers are protected and treated with dignity and respect."
We can help prevent more deaths this year by passing the California EFCA for farmworkers. A strong union can make the laws on the books become the laws in the fields. No more deaths in the fields.
It is worth reading and thinking about. It's good were going, but three years is a long time to stay.
MERKLEY STATEMENT ON OBAMA PLAN TO
WITHDRAW TROOPS FROM IRAQ
Washington, DC - Today, President Barack Obama outlined a plan to begin a phased withdraw of troops from Iraq, winding down active military engagement in that nation. Oregon's Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement:
"Our national interests are not served by the war in Iraq. I applaud President Obama's commitment to a solid plan for withdrawing our troops and ending the war.
"However, I have reservations about the extended 19 month schedule for the draw down and I am very concerned that the size of the remaining force would still be too great. It will be hard to argue that our military presence is `residual' when it is comprised of as many as 50,000 Americans.
"I hope to work with the Obama Administration to truly end this war and bring our sons and daughters home safely."
This morning, Barack Obama raised the number of jobs the Recovery Plan will create from 3 million to 4 million. He released a new report drafted by Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein, "The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan," projecting the number of jobs the Recovery and Reinvestment Act will create:
"The report confirms that our plan will likely save or create 3 to 4 million jobs. Ninety percent of these jobs will be created in the private sector. The remaining 10 percent are mainly public sector jobs we save, like the teachers, police officers, firefighters and others who provide vital services in our communities."
Democratic senators are still emerging from their closed-door briefing with Obama economic adviser Larry Summers ... but a senior Democratic senator, Iowa progressive Tom Harkin, just gave me a dire buzzword: trickle-down.
"There's only one thing we've got to do in this stimulus, and that's create jobs," Harkin told me. "I'm a little concerned by the way Mr. Summers and others are going on this ... it still looks a little more to me like trickle-down."
Likening Barack Obama's economic recovery plan to the failed supply-side excesses of the Reagan and Bush years is a bit of a Cassandra moment. But Harkin didn't back down. "What I'm hearing from Mr. Summers is that they've got a different approach -- tax breaks, and this and that," he said. Harkin warned that, much like the outcome of George Bush's $600 stimulus package last year, recipients of quick tax cuts "are going to be salting it away, not spending it."
Damn, I love Harkin. A Dem willing to stand up for working people.
Congress will have to fix Obama's plan. This is why many of us criticized Summers when so many on Daily Kos said Obama made policy. Whether it's Obama or Summers, or both, it's too much trickle down and it's the wrong way.
Meanwhile, Pelosi stepped up. Now, I know people are disappointed with her on impeachment and other things, but she is to the left of Obama:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday that she wants to see the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy repealed "as early as possible."
The call for repeal may place Pelosi at odds with President-elect Obama; during the campaign he called for repeal but his aides have since indicated that due to the deteriorating economy, he was leaning towards allowing them to expire.
Asked again after her press conference about the tax cuts, the Speaker said she is "urging repeal."
Pelosi noted that the Congressional Budget Office has determined that the tax cuts are the biggest contributor to the ballooning deficit. "Put me down as clearly as you possibly can as one who wants to have those tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans repealed," she said.
Barack Obama spoke this afternoon regarding the vote:
I'm glad to see we finally got this dealt with. Two things are important now, number one that the administration uses the authority that its been given wisely, so we have to make sure Secretary Paulson and others are structuring the purchase of these--the purchase of these troubled assets in a way that protects taxpayers. That's very important.
The second thing we have to do, is we've got to make sure that homeowners are benefited. Now the treasurer has authority to work with the modification of mortgages to prevent foreclosure. He's supposed to come up with plans to do that. I want those plans on tap quick so that we start getting some relief to homeowners out in neighborhoods.
And the final thing is understanding even if this rescue package works exactly as it should, it's only the beginning, it's not the end. Because we still have 150,000 new people who lost their jobs this month, 750,000 since the beginning of this year. We still have a healthcare system that's broken, we're still overly reliant on oil from the Middle East and so we've still got these structural problems; the fundamentals of the economy aren't sound and we're going to have to do a lot of work moving forward.
So if we can stop the bleeding with this package, implement it effectively, and then move forward to deal with the broader problems on Main Street, then hopefully we can get our economy back on track.
John McCain is rapidly becoming a laughingstock in America. Well deserved.
Barack Obama rips him a new one today, with style.
"There's only one candidate who's called himself "fundamentally a deregulator" when deregulation is part of the problem. My opponent actually wrote in the current issue of a health care magazine -- the current issue, quote, "Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation." So let me get this straight -- he wants to run health care like they've been running Wall Street. Well, senator, I know some folks on Main Street who aren't going to think that's a good idea. "
"There's only one candidate whose campaign is being run by seven of Washington's most powerful lobbyists. And folks, it isn't me. I don't take a dime from Washington lobbyists and special interests. They do not run my campaign. They will not run my White House. And they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I'm president of the United States. So when John McCain says that lobbyists 'won't even get past the front gate' at his White House, my question is -- who's going to stop them? Those seven lobbyists? His campaign manager? The economic adviser, who got a $40 million golden parachute when she was fired as a CEO? Or maybe the 26 advisers and fundraisers who lobbied for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? I mean, give me a break. The same day my opponent attacked me for being associated with a Fannie Mae guy I've talked to for maybe five minutes in my entire life -- the same day he did that -- the head of the lobbying shop at Fannie Mae turned around and said wait a minute -- 'when I see photographs of Senator McCain's staff, it looks to me like the team of lobbyists who used to report to me.'
Finally someone says it. If you can die for your country out of patriotism, maybe paying taxes is part of the deal.
Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said Thursday that paying more in taxes is the patriotic thing to do for wealthier Americans. The Republican campaign for president calls the tax increases their Democratic opponents propose "painful" instead of patriotic.
"We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people," Biden said in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."
Noting that wealthier Americans would indeed pay more, Biden said: "It's time to be patriotic ... time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut."
Obama Campaign: McCain "Would Rather Lose His Integrity Than Lose An Election"
Now we are seeing real fight out of the Obama campaign. Obama was tough today and this really kicks McCain ass. McCain lacks integrity. Spread it around. Unfit for High Office.
Here's the full response from Obama spokesperson Hari Sevugan:
Today on "The View," John McCain defended his campaign's latest ad campaign, which has been debunked repeatedly as both false and sleazy. In running the sleaziest campaign since South Carolina in 2000 and standing by completely debunked lies on national television, it's clear that John McCain would rather lose his integrity than lose an election.
I think folks here will like this story, since many Clinton supporters were at MyDD during the primaries and so many of them have become strong supporters of Barack Obama now:
At a Capitol Hill news conference today, Hillary Clinton defended Obama's "lipstick on a pig" comment, accusing McCain of using the controversy to distract from substantive issues in the campaign.
"Barack has made this clear," she said responding to a question about the lipstick remark, which Republicans have condemned as a "disgraceful" and "sexist" attack on Palin. "It was no way meant as an affront."
During the press conference, which addressed equal pay for women, Clinton added that "Republicans need to lift up the dialogue" and blamed McCain's campaign for trying to "divert attention away from challenges facing Americans."