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Below you will find contemporary issues that require immediate attention. A brief commentary will be offered as well as related links for making your voice heard or participating directly in the issue.
Badass Teachers Association NEW
Here's a spunky group fighting for real reform and less deform of our public school system.
Probably the best thing, only good thing, to come out of the Trayvon Martin tragedy was the emergence of the group Dream Defenders. Join the Dream Defenders in their goal to train and organize our youth and re-invigorate the civil rights movement for a new millennium.
Occupy Wall Street
The Journal of a Mad Sociologist openly and whole heartedly supports the Occupy Wall Street campaign. It's long past time to draw attention to the despicable behavior of the Wall Street elite, and their negative impact on the Main Street Commons. Click the fist above to participate in this important movement.
Help Haiti: 1/13/2010
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has a very comprehensive page with organizations for helping Haiti. Click the image below.
Remember, we also have to help Haiti from becoming a victim of corporate exploitation, or rather more a victim of corporate exploitation. There will be some links to come to address this issue.
Make a stand against the war in Afghanistan: 12/29/2009
The Campaign for Peace and Democracy has a petition against the war in Afghanistan.
Homework and the Homeless: 9/6/2009
As a teacher I've often been criticized for not giving enough homework. I ask my students to read ahead in the text on what we are covering, but for the most part I do not give homework. This is true for a number of reasons. One, there's no scientific proof that giving homework is an effective teaching strategy, especially in social studies. Two, I believe in teaching my students in class, where I can guarantee their success. But most importantly I've spent too much time with students who, quite frankly, did not have homes, or their home lives are too tumultuous to expect homework. The organization below is dedicated to helping homeless children get the education that they so rightly deserve. Also linked is an article from the New York Times on the rising problem of homeless students.
The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
Click the image to go to the website.
Click the image to go to the website.
Surge in Homeless Pupils Strains Schools: New York Times, 9/6/09
Fight For Health Care 8/17/2009
There is absolutely no reason why the far right should be driving the health care debate...
...No, that's not true. There are a couple of reasons. One reason, the Democrats, in their usual spineless fashion will cave to the Republican pressure politics. The next, Blue Dog Democrats will ally themselves with the Republicans to unhorse their own party.
That being said, there are some things that we can do. To my understanding, this is still a democracy. A majority of Americans, even after all the accusations of Nazism and how the government will kill grandma, are still in favor of a public option that competes with private insurance. Democrats, however, including President Obama, are indicating that they are willing to drop the public option in order to pass a bill.
So what can the majority of Americans do? First, we can contact our congressmen and demand--strongly--that any health care reform package include a public option. Use the government links on The Journal of a Mad Sociologist to find the contact information for your Senators and Congressmen. Even if your rep is a conservative Republican or Blue Dog Democrat still call or write. They need to hear from you. They need to know that their jobs are at stake. You can also contact the following groups for more information and ways to agitate!
Act on Torture 5/14/2009
I have to admit a considerable amount of disappointment with my fellow countrymen that we are not absolutely outraged by the certain revelation that our government sponsored and perpetuated torture that was condoned by the Bush Administration. I'm also disappointed that my President's response it, at best, tepid on the issue.
We, as Americans, should stand for human rights, the rights of man and the pursuit of maximizing human dignity. Torture contradicts this goal.
Please oppose torture. See the Agitation Links to learn how to participate in this important issue.
A New Way Forward 4/10/2009
Join a New Way Forward for the their massive protest on April 11
Walk out on your bank! 4/1/2009
Columnist at News for Real Blog, Stephen Pizzo has a suggestion for holding international banks accountable for their actions. Walk out.
It's obvious that there is no accountability for the corrupt and incompetent in the banking industry. The Obama Administration has offered nothing but undeserved bailouts when what is really needed is well deserved pink-slips for banking executives. But what do we expect for the financiers of the American political economy?
If the government will not take action then Americans must take action. Move your money from big money lenders to community banks. The Independent Community Bankers of America has a useful search engine for finding a community bank near you.
Rape as Social Engineering in the Congo: 2/17/2009
Today, in the Congo, literally hundreds of thousands of women are the victims of rape. These women are not just victimized by atrocious crime, but by the medieval concepts of female sexuality and male patronage. Rape in the Congo is not just a crime against individual perpetuated by individuals, but rather is a social policy aimed at the destruction of communities and the forced removal of people from their homes. The International Rescue Committee is trying to reach out to the victims of rape in order to change lives as well as change mindsets. Read he Special Report on Rape in the Congo by the IRC and participate in this very important issue.
Clusterbombs = WMD: 1/14/2009
What would you say if I told you that one of our enemies has a weapon that can kill everyone in an area about the size of several football fields? This weapon cannot be targeted and disproportionately kills civilians by as much as 90%. Not only that, but the effects of this weapon can linger for many years, killing indescriminately anyone who comes in contact with it, including innocent men, women and children. Use of this weapon could make rebuilding one's life and community impossible. Would you agree that this is a weapon of mass destruction and should be eliminated? Would you agree that no-one should have such a weapon?
Well, that weapon is cluster munitions. In December a coalition of 94 countries signed a treaty making the use of cluster munitions illegal. The United States was NOT one of the 94 countries. In fact, cluster munitions are staple weapon in the US arsenal.
It's interesting that if our enemies have powerful weapons they are Weapons of Mass Destruction, and their holders are barbaric, but such weapons in American hands are defined as necessary to defend democracy. The United States should be leading the world in this effort, instead we are slugging along like cave-men, unwilling to surrender our clubs for plows.
Contactstopclustermunitions.org to get involved in the very important issue.
Banking Bailouts and Civil Disobedience: 12/9/2008
When legislators approved a $700 Billion bailout for failing, corrupt and irresponsible banks it was under the premise that they would use this money to extend credit, inject money into the market and help keep businesses afloat and Americans employed.
Tall that to the former employees of Republic Windows and Doors (RWD). RWD tried to negotiate an extension of credit from their bank, Bank of America. BofA received $15 Billion during the bailout, with another $10 Billion on the way. This was money that BofA didn't even need, as they were among the few banks that did not invest in derivatives. Perhaps they didn't need it, but they took it.
Now what are they doing with it? Well, they are not extending credit, that's for sure. As a consequence, 250 working men and women working for RWD lost their jobs.
These hard working Americans were cast into the cold just before Christmas without warning and without compensation. In response, they took over the factory where they once worked and are refusing to leave until they receive severance pay and compensation for their lost benefits.
The state of Illinois is sympathetic to the protesters, having passed legislation to end all state business with Bank of America. Cook County and the city of Chicago, where the factory is located, may take similar measures.
Show your support for working Americans who have been treated unfairly:
Contact the governor and legislators of the state of Illinois and let them know that you support their policies regarding Bank of America.
Contact the Cook County Commission and the Chicago city Council to let them know that you want to see action on this issue and support ordinances similar to the state legislation.
Contact Bank of America and let them know that you are disappointed with their irresponsibility and corruption. Send your letter to:
Bank of America Corporate Center
c/o Kenneth D. Lewis, CEO
100 North Tryon Street
Charlotte, North Carolina 28255
You can also take action at True Majority
Sick: Sexual Degradation of Female Soldiers 11/10/2008
According to this report from Alternet women in the military are more likely to be raped by their own comrades in arms than injured by the enemy.
What's more, under such degrading conditions, women are expected to pay for their own rape kits, as the materials required are not covered under the military health plan.
At a time when we are asking more from our soldiers, male and female, than we rightfully should, nothing less than the utmost dignity and respect for those who've answered the call is acceptable. At a time when our government elite offers lipservice about "supporting our troops," such negligence should be reviled.
Let your representative know that sexual degradation, exploitation and abuse will not be tolerated.
Contact the armed services and insist that they change their policies with regard to dignity of those who serve.
Department of Defense Contact Information
To Sheriff Thomas Dart of Cook County: Thank you! 10/12/2008
Sheriff Thomas Dart has made a daring stand, and we should all send him our thanks. This week, Sheriff Dart announced that he would no longer send his officers to enforce evictions against renters who have paid their rents regularly, but whose landlords did not pay the mortgage. Sheriff Dart noted that in almost half of all cases of eviction his officers were encountering such issues.
Thank you, Sheriff Dart for living up to the principles behind your badge. In your own words, "My job here as sheriff is not just to follow orders...it is to make sure justice is done."
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