[COMM-ORG] "I Question America" -- Fannie Lou Hamer's Speech 50 Years Ago Resonates Today

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Thu Aug 28 13:12:18 CDT 2014

From: Peter Dreier <dreier at oxy.edu>

"I Question America" -- Fannie Lou Hamer's Speech 50 Years Ago Resonates

An occasional message from Peter Dreier

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*Dear Friends and Colleagues,*

*An occasional message from Peter Dreier *

*"I Question America"
-- Fifty years ago this week, Fannie Lou Hamer's riveting words at the
Democratic Party convention in Atlantic City challenged America's racial
status quo. the words resonate today in the midst of the soul-searching that
the country is once again going through in the wake of the turmoil in
Ferguson, Missouri. T
To understand both the progress America has made, and the many challenges
it now faces, in terms of racial justice, it is useful to remind ourselves
of the battle that occurred a half century ago and the life of Ms. Hamer, a
sharecropper and activist from the Mississippi Delta who galvanized the
country with her stirring words and her remarkable courage. My article in
today's *Huffington Post *recounts her words, her life, and the battle in
Atlantic City.

"Solidarity Forever"
-- Watch and listen to this inspiring rendition of "Solidarity Forever"
performed by
Lily Eskelsen Garcia, a sixth-grade teacher from Utah and now
President-elect of the three-million-member National Education Association,
at a convention of New York State teachers. Listen to the lyrics, which
she's updated to reflect the new workforce and recent events. Learn more
about her here

*"Suburban Ghettos Like Ferguson Are Ticking Time Bombs"
-- Todd Swanstrom and I put the events in Ferguson in broader perspective
in this op-ed column last week for the *Washington Post*. It was reprinted
in the *St. Louis Post-Dispatch
elsewhere. Ferguson is one of a growing number of suburban ghettos that
are isolated from good jobs, lack affordable housing, have been preyed on
by predatory banks, and are trapped in a system of economic and racial
segregation. These poor suburbs have even fewer resources and less civic
capacity to deal with their problems than nearby big cities. We suggest
two ways to address these problems -- community organizing to give African
Americans citizens a strong political voice, and stronger regional
cooperation to address the multiple disparities in resources. We provide
examples of the kind of policies needed to deal with the alienation and
injustice reflected by the Ferguson situation, but which also exist in
metro areas around the country.

*"Obama Is On a Pro-Labor Roll" *
-- The president just signed the most important workers’ rights reform of
the past 20 years. Didn't hear about it? Click on the link to learn more.

*"The Right to Cheat and Maim"
-- In case you missed it,In response, *President Obama *issued the Fair
and Safe Workplaces Executive Order
ensure federal contractors disclose violations of federal labor laws.
Obama's action came in response to a number of worker strikes over
egregious violations as well as * research studies *issued by the US Senate
Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
the Center for American Progress
and the National Employment Law Project
show *federal contractors routinely flout *laws designed to protect
America’s workers. In addition,* Congressional Progressive Caucus *leaders
conducted special hearings to investigate wage theft on federal contracts
spearhead passage of End Wage Theft Amendments
House spending bills and sent a letter to the President
him to use his executive powers to curb legal violations. Powerful federal
contract lobbies are threatening to fight the executive order in the courts
and in Congress. The *New York Times* fired back in this editorial
against industry groups*.* Which of the following would do the same:
Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, Mitt Romney,
Newt Gingrich, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Rick Perry,
Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, Sarah Palin,Bobby
Jindal, Nikki Haley, Rick Santorum, Susanna Martinez, Mitch Daniels? (Just
in case you're one of those folks who think that both political parties are
the same).

*"How the Largest Worker-Owned Co-op in the US Lifts People Out of Poverty
-- Cooperative Home Care Associates has 2,300 workers who enjoy good wages,
regular hours, and family health insurance.

*"Police Shootings Dramatically Outnumber Criminal Executions
*-- This chart puts the shootings in Ferguson and St. Louis in perspective.

*"Taxes: Who Pays How Much in Eight Charts"
-- Unlike corporations and the ultra-rich, America’s working majority have
neither the lobbyists to write loopholes into the tax code, nor the
financial planners and high-end tax accountants to exploit them. The
result, as economist Joseph E. Stiglitz tells Bill Moyers
is a system that is fundamentally unfair. Here are eight charts that
illustrate how our tax burden has shifted over the years, and why we need
to reform our tax code.

*"Record Income Gap Fuels US Housing Weakness"
Income disparity between the most and least expensive real estate regions
in the U.S. has reached its widest point since record-keeping began in
1969, an analysis shows, reported in the *Financial Times.*

"Hawks Crying Wolf"
-- For years, conservative pols and economists have been warning that a
major wave of inflation is about to happen and call for the Fed to tighten
money. They are always wrong. They are "crying wolf". But they keep saying
it anyway. Paul Krugman explains why.

*"The New Rick Perry"
-- The *National Journal *put Rick Perry's photo on its August 2 cover
under the headline: "The New Rick Perry: He's hardworking, he's bipartisan,
he's recasting himself for 2016." Had the *NJ *waited a week, they could
have added: "He's indicted."

*"We Must Protect Taxpayers in Public-Private Partnerships"
*-- The *Pittsburgh Post-Gazette *recently published a comprehensive
four-part series on public-private partnerships, or P3s - deals between the
public and private sectors to fund roads, waterways and other public
infrastructure.... Now Donald Cohen (executive director of In the Public
Interest) has published a column on Huffington Post on how these P3s can be
structured to protect taxpayers from being taken to the cleaners. Experts
have estimated that the U.S. needs to invest $3.6 trillion in the next
seven years to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. That hefty price tag
has led governments to explore public-private partnerships. As we've seen,
a poorly structured P3 can place major financial risks on taxpayers, best
exemplified by Chicago’s infamous parking meter debacle. When a P3 is
structured as a “win-win-win” proposition, it can result in a win for the
public with rebuilt infrastructure like roads or government buildings, a
win for the economy in the creation of good jobs that lift local families
out of poverty, and a win for investors who receive an adequate rate of

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