Leid Stories Stories and news that affect us all

March 31, 2014  

The stakes are high for the Democratic and Republican parties in this year’s midterm elections in which all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 33 U.S. Senate seats are up for grabs, and seismic shifts also may occur in 46 state and four territorial legislatures, 36 governorships and 28 mayoral races in key cities.

This level of political activity would have captured the attention and interest of voters years ago, but not so much now, with polls showing increasing voter distrust, anger and disillusionment with politics and government.

Among progressives, how are political attitudes changing, and how would these changes affect their political choices in upcoming midterm elections and in the general elections in 2016? Leid Stories poses these and related questions to listeners, asking particularly for their own assessment of where in the political spectrum they now place themselves.

 

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March 28, 2014  

The word is out about you. Even your dog knows. Instead of winding down from the woes of the workaday world so you can enjoy your weekend with those who truly matter in your life, you’re starting the weekend all wound up. A shame and a pity in the big city.

Reclaim your weekend, worn-out warrior. Take advantage of this free offer to defrag your brain of mainstream snooze—er, news. Call in (888-874-4888) and say what’s on your mind. Your whole outlook on life instantly will improve, and we’ll rejoice.

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March 27, 2014  

 Media Literacy: Obama’s U.S. and World History Redux in Belgium;

Detroit Update: Massive Courtroom Battle Over Bankruptcy Exit Plan 

President Obama is cutting a wide swath through Europe, urging European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies to stand fast in unity against Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea, actions he says are grave violations of world order.

In a speech he delivered yesterday at the Hague in Brussels, Obama warned that Europe will experience past calamities if its leaders do not move to check Russia’s desire to expand its empire. Economic and trade sanctions should be implemented by the EU to isolate Russia, Obama said, adding that EU and NATO allies also should be prepared to “deepen” actions against Russia.

Obama’s speech, however, was revisionism personified. Leid Stories uses it as a study in media literacy.

Retirees, city workers, union leaders and a coalition of grassroots groups are putting the final touches on a sheaf legal objections to the state-appointed emergency city manager’s fiscal plan to dig Detroit out of bankruptcy. Federal bankruptcy judge Stephen Rhodes will hear their objections on April 1.

Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African Newswire and a Detroit organizer for the Workers World Party, gives the details.

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March 26, 2014  

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (MH370), with 12 crew members and 227 passengers on board, literally goes off the radar screen en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, and hasn’t been located since. Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia grimly announced 17 days after a search by a multinational team that the plane likely had crashed in the turbulent waters of the southern Indian Ocean.


This is, of course, both a mystery and a tragedy. But for the U.S. media, it was a frenzied, ruthless game of one-upmanship. CNN, the undisputed winner, went into single-subject marathon-coverage mode. As a test in media literacy, Leid Stories listeners are asked to explain why CNN went mad.

A very cogent Howard Dean, 2004 presidential candidate, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and physician by training, explains the myth and the math of Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act)—which, he says, could have been a sensible program, were it not for Wall Street and insurance-industry greed and misguided politicians who have no idea of how the health-care system actually works.   

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March 25, 2014  

We return to and conclude yesterday’s discussion--gender politics essentially as a reflection of internecine conflicts within the white world, between white women and white men, over the power to rule all others.

Hence, Leid Stories held, the apparent agreement to ignore race, class and culture—factors that would unnecessarily complicate what both sides understand and accept as the primary reason for adversarial engagement.

What does it mean to be a woman in today’s society? What informs our notions of womanhood? Has feminism/womanism/gender politics devolved into the flip side of the zero-sum, patriarchal paradigm? 

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March 24, 2014  

Lost in the noise and dissonance of gender politics in the United States is a simple, yet extremely complicated, question: What does it mean to be a woman?

Not surprisingly, this question raises other questions that also are simple, yet extremely complicated: Who decides? Based on what?

Leid Stories discusses gender politics essentially as a reflection of internecine conflicts within the white world, between white women and white men, over the power to rule all others. Hence, the apparent agreement to ignore race, class and culture—factors that would unnecessarily complicate what both sides understand and accept as the primary reason for adversarial engagement. 

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March 21, 2014  

It’s Friday. Free Your Mind on Leid Stories!

It’s the end of the week and you are besotted with new thoughts and ideas. Think this is accidental? No, it’s not. It’s part of an evil plot (NSA?) to overload and short-circuit your brain and ruin any chance of you having a fun-filled, worry-free weekend.

Be kind to your mind. Bring your new thoughts and ideas to “Free Your Mind Friday” on Leid Stories and share with others similarly situated. You are assured a sympathetic, though analytical, hearing.

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March 20, 2014  

The crisis in public education in the United States not only persists, but has become even more intense at the state and local levels because of the domino effect of the Obama administration’s “new-Democrat” policies.

Urban school districts, which serve the majority of the nation’s schoolchildren of color, are experiencing the fiercest battles in years over educational policy and administration, budget cuts, union contracts, teacher layoffs, testing, privatization, community control and school closings. Leid Stories’ guests today for decades have been stalwart soldiers in the battle to preserve public schools and to end educational inequality.

Karen Lewis, president of the 30,000-member Chicago Teachers Union, provides a status report on resistance to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “reforms.”

And the well-known and venerated activist Helen Moore, a frontline civil-rights soldier for almost 50 years, discusses the violation of children’s rights to a quality education in Detroit.

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March 19, 2014  

The U.S. Postal Service: African Americans and the Fight for Jobs, Justice and Equality”

The U.S. Postal Service currently is the target of congressional committees seeking to implement “reforms” that will “right-size” and “modernize” its operations, they say, and put an end to its inefficiency and, most particularly, its reputed losses.

(The USPS is the only federal entity that is required, under the constitutionally questionable Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, to prefund 75 years worth of retirees’ health benefits with current payments—amounting to $5.5 billion a year for the next 10 years.)

But as was revealed in Leid Stories’ first edition on a series on the USPS (March 13), the government itself is the cause of the USPS’s fiscal woes, and the committees now pressing for “reforms” refuse to address, let alone investigate, how their own colleagues have used the USPS and its assets as a multibillion-dollar gift that keeps on giving. The push is for wholesale privatization, Leid Stories’ guests said, and the “reforms” calls for massive layoffs, closing post offices and selling the real estate, and increasing costs to consumers.

In this edition, ex-letter carrier Philip F. Rubio, now associate professor of history at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro and author of the award-winning There's Always Work at the Post Office:African American Postal Workers and the Fight for Jobs, Justice and Equality and A History of Affirmative Action, 1619-2000, discusses the USPS as the epicenter of a struggle that yielded for African Americans social and economic mobility. The generational benefit of this struggle, he says, is threatened.

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March 18, 2014  

March 4 found Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York and an array of elected officials standing behind him in a joyous mood despite the cold. Looking out at a sea of about 11,000 schoolchildren, parents and teachers who filled the plaza outside the state Capitol, Cuomo assured them, political-rally style, that they had a friend in Albany; he’ll vigorously defend charter schools against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s threats to limit them.

The first in a series of discussions about charter schools, Leid Stories takes a look at the recent showdown, which illustrates a number of disturbing but symptomatic aspects of the charter school movement—including the rise of charter schools and the closing of public schools; the targeted populations being overwhelmingly children of color; the relationship between charter schools and community destabilization; and the neoliberal agenda behind charter schools.

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