December 2010, Week 4


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Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>
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Fri, 24 Dec 2010 19:51:35 -0500
text/plain (128 lines)
1 Correction to 'Rights, Not Righteousness' -- Meredith Tax
2 Re: Restarting the Civil Rights Movement -- Elinor Bowles 
3 SSI slashing -- Betty Reid Mandell
4 Prime (Cigar) Number -- Nan Rubin


From: Meredith Tax
Re: correction to my Guardian piece

Dear Portside,

Thank you for posting my Guardian piece "Rights, Not
Righteousness." However, I was in error when I said
Medea Benjamin had signed the "Letter to the Left
Establishment." She was one of the endorsers of the
Dec. 16th demonstration that the letter supported but
she did not sign the letter. The people who signed it

Sen. James Abourezk, Tariq Ali, Rocky Anderson, Jared
Ball, Russel Banks, Thomas Bias, Jean Bricmont, Noam
Chomsky, Bruce Dixon, Frank Dorrel, Gidon Eshel ,
Jamilla El-Shafei, Okla Elliott, Norman Finkelstein,
Glen Ford, Joshua Frank, Margaret Flowers M.D., John
Gerassi, Henry Giroux, Matt Gonzalez, Kevin Alexander
Gray, Judd Greenstein, DeeDee Halleck, John Halle,
Chris Hedges, Doug Henwood, Edward S. Herman, Jack
Hirschman, Dahr Jamail, Derrick Jensen, Louis Kampf,
Allison Kilkenny, Jamie Kilstein, Joel Kovel, Mark
Kurlansky, Michael Lerner, David Lindorff, Peter
Linebaugh, Scott McLarty, Cynthia McKinney, Mark
Crispen Miller, Dede Miller, Russell Mokhiber, George
Monbiot, Roger Morris, Bobby Muller, Christian Parenti,
Michael Perelman, Peter Phillips, Francis Fox Piven,
Louis Proyect, Ted Rall, Cindy Sheehan, Michael J.
Smith, Chris Spannos, Paul Street, Sunil Sharma,
Stephen Pearcy, Jeffrey St. Clair, Immanuel
Wallerstein, Len Weinglass, Cornel West, Sherry Wolf,
Michael Yates, Mickey Z, Kevin Zeese,


From: Elinor Bowles 
Re: Restarting the Civil Rights Movement

Sorry, but I respectfully disagree. Mary Frances Berry and E. R. Shipp are wrong. There will never be a revitalized civil rights movement. E. R. Shipp has written an interesting piece of history. But the story he tells and the people he names and the issues that the movement addressed are no longer the prevailing problems in the African-American community. The predominant problems that are destroying this generation of young black people are cultural, not civil. 

Unfortunately we ignored Daniel Moynihan when he warned that the African-American family was in a state of deterioration and dysfunction. We thought he was putting us down. We now know that, despite our anger and pain or his motivation, he was essentially correct. The cause of much of what he described and of the problems we face today may have been a history of degradation and violence and a lack of civil rights. But today our problems are primarily (although not exclusively) cultural.

How do you get African-American youth to recognize the value of an education? How do you get young black males to understand that not everybody can be a rocker or a baller? How do you get black youth to realize that very few women, unlike Beyonce, are going to be able to buy their man a $2 million automobile? How do you keep young girls from having children out of wedlock that they cannot support and don't know how to raise? How do you get young black males from taking out their pain and sense of worthlessness by killing one another? And sadly, how do you get middle-class blacks to overcome the alienation and bifurcation and loss of affiliation and direction addressed by Eugene Robinson in "Disintegration"? These are the issues that are currently destroying today's generation of black youth. These are not civil rights issues! These are issues primarily of culture and community. I never heard Obama use the term "post-civil rights." It's not Obama; it's us.


From: Betty Reid Mandell
Subject: SSI slashing

I'm concerned about a possible onslaught against the
Supplemental Security Program (SSI), the means-tested
government benefit for the disabled, administered by
the Social Security Administration. There was a three-
part first-page series on SSI in the Boston Globe
recently, which said that the program is being abused
by poor people who claim that their children are
disabled, and get medication for the children so they
can get SSI benefits. The day after the series ran,
there was an article about Scott Brown promising to
take up the issue in Congress.

President Reagan slashed SSI, and protests won it back
for about two-thirds of the recipients. There have been
other attempts to cut SSI. Liberals and radicals should
be alerted, and ready to defend it when the Republican
Congress attempts to slash it.

Conservatives always go after means-tested benefit
programs first because they are for the poor and so
have the weakest political constituency. Their first
step in trying to dismantle Social Security will be to
turn it into a means-tested program. That will be the
kiss of death for Social Security.


From: Nan Rubin
Subject: Prime (Cigar) Number

In case you missed this, an end-of-year tidbit!


Prime Number
Published: December 18, 2010

100,000: The approximate number of Cuban cigars seized
over a recent two-week period by customs officials at
Chicago O’Hare International Airport, The Associated
Press reported last week. Customs officials usually
confiscate about 2,000 Cuban cigars over two weeks. But
tighter security and new restrictions on air cargo
parcels have sent seizures soaring. And what of the
cigars? The United States Customs and Border Protection
plans to destroy them.


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