At its May 2010 meeting, the Executive Council approved the following open letter to Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona.
Dear Governor Brewer,
We write regarding legislative and policy initiatives in the State of Arizona that concern us as teachers and scholars of language and literature. You have recently signed legislation (SB 1070) that may place nonnative speakers of English and speakers of other languages in legal jeopardy. In addition, we understand that the Arizona Department of Education has decided to bar teachers from teaching English if they speak English with an accent. Furthermore, you have signed legislation (HB 2281) critical of ethnic studies curricula.
These actions raise several concerns regarding education and language, topics at the heart of the mission of the Modern Language Association of America (MLA). We urge you to keep the following in mind as the State of Arizona pursues its education policy:
(1) There is no rational basis for making language ability an indicator of an individual’s citizenship or residency status. This is especially the case in the United States, where many different languages are spoken on a daily basis. The MLA documents this diversity of language speakers in the United States with its Language Map (http://www.mla.org/map_main), which we urge you to consult. Many native as well as immigrant populations use languages other than English, and English language fluency is, of course, hardly restricted to the United States: a speaker of English is not necessarily a United States citizen or legal resident.
(2) Native and nonnative speakers alike always display considerable variation in accent. This fact holds for speakers of American English—compare accents from the Northeast with those from the Southwest—as well as for speakers of other languages. Indeed, there is no unaccented English. There are only speakers with different accents. It therefore makes little sense to bar individuals from teaching because they “have an accent,” since accent is always unavoidable. Efforts to exclude individuals on the basis of accent will likely be arbitrary and discriminatory. The recruitment and retention of effective teachers should not be impeded by concerns that are irrelevant to the important goal of facilitating student learning.
(3) For several decades, ethnic studies curricula have provided important gateways for students to learn about the diversity of heritages in the United States, a key educational goal of the liberal arts education that is the bedrock of American higher education. The field has developed sophisticated pedagogies that stretch across the humanities and the social sciences, providing significant insights into American history and society. Students in ethnic studies classes gain an appreciation for a wealth of cultural expression in literature and the arts and a recognition of the multiple traditions that have found a home in our nation. Policies that curtail this vision will weaken the quality of education, thereby depriving students of key learning opportunities as they move on to higher education institutions.
Because citizens of the United States speak many different languages in addition to English, because every speaker of every language has an accent, and because ethnic studies is important to contemporary American education, we urge you to work toward reversing the policy decisions we cited at the beginning of this letter.
The MLA would be delighted to cooperate with you to formulate educational and language policies that are based on sound research and scholarship and that reflect the state of the art in contemporary American education.
Many U.S. cities across this nation have taken a respectable stance against the state of Arizona for its “immigration law.”
Austin, TX became the latest in a growing list of cities that are boycotting Arizona in some capacity to protest the law, which makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally and requires local law enforcement to ask for documentation from people they suspect are in the country illegally.
A List of Great Cities in Support of Boycotting Arizona (or are considering to boycott AZ and its so-called immigration law):
San Francisco, CA
West Hollywood, CA
El Paso, TX
St. Paul, MN
St. Paul, MN
Baldwin Park, CA
South el Monte, CA
Santa Cruz, CA
And the list continues to grow!
The slogan is “Wake Up and Stand Up.” The mission statement declares that the federal government is “not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges we face as Americans.”
U.S. Army veteran Alan P. Alborn expands upon his thoughts found on the Coffee Party USA YouTube channel:
You might remember the two videos featuring me that Moon Howler posted on the anti-BVBL website earlier this week. I was approached by Annabel Park ant Eric Byler for the past couple of weeks asking to discuss my view of the world. There was no “set-up”, no “prompting”, no “feeling me out to see how I felt about the world”… frankly, they just wanted to learn what “an old white guy” thought about the state of our Government. I qualify. They conducted a straight and professional interview. It’s my opinion that they did a “fair and balanced” piece that accurately captured my thoughts about a variety of subjects. The first video is now all over the internet… so I’ve gotten my fifteen minutes of fame. I was humbled by the product.
To my surprise (because of the subject, not the Producers), they created a couple of pretty good videos and posted them on their youtube website http://www.youtube.com/user/coffeepartyusaand Facebook. That was followed by a get together with a Washington Post reporter who just watched us in action and an article in the Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/25/AR2010022505517.html After the article in the Washington Post appeared, something interesting happened… people started establishing local chapters and signing up on Facebook to learn more. The last time I checked http://www.facebook.com/coffeeparty?ref=ss , the number of people signed up was approaching 18,000 with chapters in well over half of the states (and growing by the minute).
So, here’s my question. Do you think we should start a Coffee Party here in Prince William County? I’m an “old soldier” who thought I had fought my last battle; however, I’m beginning to think that perhaps I have one more battle in me. This battle would be to try to go against the forces of the status quo, the Neocons from the last century, the groups who would like to turn personal religious beliefs into public policy, the people who don’t recognize the value of a multicultural society and the fact that America isn’t lily white any more (and that’s ok), and any other group who hasn’t quite made it across Midnight, 1 January 2001 to step into the twenty-first Century.
Any group is the sum of its parts. The Coffee Party is growing quickly and absorbing a variety of views and opinions. The one thing we all agree on is that Government has to change… and we would like it to change for the better instead of rolling back to the last Century. I would appreciate your thoughts. I’m not hiding behind an alias; however, I respect your privacy and will engage in any respectful conversation.
If I get a lot of positive response, I would propose that those of us interested get together and throw our first Coffee Party to decide what’s next. Ask your friends and tell them about this site. I am not happy with the way America is going and don’t plan to sit this one out. I think I’ll find the energy for one more battle… this could be the big one.
I fall back upon my classic standards of political partisanship and playing to the left-base, but in truth I am not satisfied by this in the least.
We don’t need word-wars over labeling and branding, we need solutions for America that work.
We don’t need more spin and more talking points, we need honest debate and informed decision making.
What Coffee Party USA offers is civility and a place for democracy to take place in a honest fashion.
I encourage any person who has formed an opinion of me that is one of “ultra-left” to understand I was most moved by U.S. Army veteran Alan P. Alborn’s words that anything I have seen in a very long time.
I understand far more about what motives are behind conservatives and libertarians than I let on and ultimately my views are no different from Alborn’s views in regards to the matter of the free market or the size of government.
This is one element that was always part of what makes me “independent,” and I am tired of being brought nearly to tears dealing with these Tea Party activists who seek to do nothing more than rewrite history and stop all rational debate while neglecting the more important issues of health care and insurance reform.
The Coffee Party is the answer we have been looking for to send the message to Washington that we sent them there to get something done, not just play procedural games while Americans suffer.
We’ll see if they even want me around, they have a statement about “no pundits and partisans and strategists” … that’s me three for three. But punditry can be declared, partisanship can be avoided and they will want my strategies if they ever give me a chance to share them … so maybe I am reading too much into that statement.
I encourage you to join the Coffee Party, too!
We are a group of concerned Americans who want government “that responds to the needs of the majority of its citizens as expressed by our votes and by our voices; NOT corporate interests as expressed by misleading advertisements and campaign contributions.”
(other “dupe” web-groups have already begun to spawn in response to the Coffee Party, only these websites are Coffee Party Movement)
I realize I am casting myself unto outcast island with my support of the Afghan Surge, but this was exactly the policy I was advocating the president take in the first place. A increase in troops only under the predication of a withdrawal time line and clear goals set that are attainable. In essence the nation building that they do, that they don’t want to call nation building, needs to be either stabilized or abandoned. That is the hard truth of the matter, like any other war that we start as a nation we must come to bring it to an end-point.
It sounds rather strange, but I reject the rejection of the proposed draw-down in 2011 as being nothing but a smoke-screen or a political ruse on the left. Even in the announcement of this policy it sparked immediate reaction from President Karzai in terms of a statement about not being ready to handle security for “fifteen years.” That, of course, is absurd but it proves that much needed pressure is being applied for Karzai to take up a stronger level of national security in Afghanistan. There is also the larger foreign policy issue in terms of the surrounding regions being aware that the US is there to fight, but not there to stay on into infinity. Senator John McCain, who aspired to the highest office and did not take the seat that would have made this very decision, disagreed on this point of the Obama war policy utterly and advised against it in his “wisdom.” Then finally we have the matter of simple follow-through in terms of the campaigning in 2008 over Afghanistan being the “right war” from the Obama camp.
Many view it as Obama has placed himself in a box of being trapped to deliver on campaign promises, but I believe his acceptance speech of the Nobel Peace Prize was by far the most important and the most revealing speech of his entire political career. He placed himself on one side of an old argument started long ago by Saint Augustine as to if there is such a thing as a “just war” and I happen to be of the view that there is no such thing as this. However, if you remove that element of theological disagreement between President Obama and myself then I believe this speech answers almost every point of contention coming from the left toward the Afghanistan war policy.
This not the policy of a dove, any more than this is a policy of a hawk.
What we must avoid is creating the power vacuum of our sudden absence but at the same balance that fact that you and me everyone else is sick of war and just done with it for no real reason beyond just that. Which is good! But let’s do it right. Let’s bring about an actual “end-game” to this war and if deadlines are extended and we are left with “half a war” as we have in Iraq then I say that it still better than the McCain / Bush policy of “muddling through” in Afghanistan.
I am far from beating the war drums over here and as I have stated before my heart just cries out to “bring them home now!” but there is element of rationality that needs to be applied here to anything that is within the realms of war policy discussions. I am yet another of these “not a dove, nor a hawk” individuals who seek balance out an ugly reality against desires for peace. My support of “troop surges” and “soft power solutions” dissolves quickly as deadlines become discarded like the public option or when the troop increases become “like a drink of water” but as this policy stands I believe that we have to give these strategies a chance to work in order to ensure a future that might finally see an end to the war.
I’m certainly willing to admit to a possibly overly optimistic view on the matter, but I think this was the right policy for Afghanistan as the situation stands now.
My political predictions have once again proven true.
I predicted at the onset of the national and Congressional debate over health care coverage in the US that we would see a bill pass both House and Senate but that it would a “watered-down” bill that addressed preexisting conditions and state-to-state plan probability more than it addressed the larger problem of controlling costs.
This Senate bill hardly resembles what I would call “sweeping reform.”
In the course of the debate over the past few months I was in the “incrementalism-reform camp” that was frustrating my fellow Democrats advocating for single-payer, but in the end this bill will fall into indeed too small a step. I was only saying along with others that we have studied government and nothing this big is done all at once. However, like I have heard many say, I would have liked to get a lot more out this process.
The last time I spoke of this I was urging Harry Reid for “reconciliation” in the Senate; without the civics lesson needed here it is quicker to say that once the public option was removed from the table, the process of reconciliation was removed as well.
To encapsulate what is going on this country: we are a constipated nation when it comes to social programs.
There is the very real ideological constipation against positive social reforms dating back to the days of FDR and further still. Then there is the constipation specific to this issue of the monopolistic health insurance companies spreading public disinformation like the stuff is on sale. This, and other factors like Sara “Death Panels” Palin and Glenn “Fearmonger-in-Chief” Beck, make this one of the most hostile environments one could possibly hope to create against pro-reform activities.
The entire experience feels like we pro-reformists have fallen flat on our face and bloodied our nose, which would be correct. But I remind everyone sharing with me in this feeling that we did just run head-first into a brick wall of highly funded anti-reformism.
We have made history in the US Congress in that we have finally cracked the brick wall against fixing a system that every informed person agrees desperately needs reform. To shatter this brick wall is a much larger task and the true importance of these recent national debates over health care coverage has been the value of flushing the wolves out into the open more than it was about the larger picture.
Have you heard the latest right-wing, anti-environmentalist talking point?
Tony Hake of The San Francisco Examiner was one of the first to break the real story on the web:
Britain’s Climate Research Unit, University of East Anglia, suffered a data breach in recent days when a hacker apparently broke into their system and made away with thousands of emails and documents. The stolen data was then posted to a Russian server and has quickly made the rounds among climate skeptics.
The electronic break in itself has been verified by the director of the research unit, Professor Phil Jones. He told Britain’s Investigate magazine’s TGIF Edition “It was a hacker. We were aware of this about three or four days ago that someone had hacked into our system and taken and copied loads of data files and emails.”
Update, 3:45pm MDT: In regards to the authenticity, not one report disputing the veracity of the emails has come out. Many sources have talked to some of the email authors and they have not disputed the messages.
Megan McArdle commented on the matter under pressure from her readers at The Atlantic:
I’d say that the charge that climate skeptics “are not published in peer reviewed journals” just lost most of its power as an argument against the skeptics. But I don’t see any reason to think that the AGW scientists have actually falsified data to create a consensus reality which is known to be false-to-fact. What I see is that the people who are the custodians of the currently dominant paradigm have an unhealthy ability to exclude people who might challenge that paradigm from expressing those views in important forums. Powerful scientists using their power to marginalize anyone who might challenge the authority of them, or their views, is sadly not uncommon in the history of science.
That doesn’t mean their paradigm is wrong; rather, it means we need to be less romantic about the practice of science. No scientific consensus is ever as powerful as its proponents claim, because no scientists are ever as perfect as we’d like to imagine.
Wired.com has covered the issue from mainly an internet-based perspective:
The stolen cache includes more than 1,000 e-mails and more than 3,000 documents, some containing code. They were posted anonymously to an FTP server in Russia. The hacker then posted a link to the 61-MB file of data on the blog Air Vent.
The hacker’s message that accompanied the link read: “We feel that climate science is, in the current situation, too important to be kept under wraps. We hereby release a random selection of correspondence, code and documents.”
The e-mails, which cover a decade of correspondence, are getting a lot of attention among bloggers who point to statements in them that they say suggest the scientists colluded and manipulated data to support their global warming viewpoints.
Bloggers allege that an e-mail from Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, suggests that reality contradicts scientific claims about global warming.
But Trenberth, who acknowledged the e-mail is genuine, says bloggers are missing the point he’s making in the e-mail by not reading the article cited in it. That article – An Imperative for Climate Change Planning — actually says that global warming is continuing, despite random temperature variations that would seem to suggest otherwise.
The right-wing biased media sources and persons were sure to spread this around as solid truth, and most likely have no interest in considering the source of these emails as well the entirely of the body of science rather than a single entity.
To wrap a bow on the bias dripping over every inch of conservative-media from Fox News to Real Clear Politics here is a real-time political polling statistic from RCP:
Direction of Country — RCP Average
The “wrong track” is getting more and more obvious to more and more Americans by the day to be the conservative ideology, and these numbers they reluctantly post are growing proof that I am right about this assertion.
When it comes to rushing to interpret the facts without any level of rational approach and spreading self-superior biased media they are still the all time champions.
During the 2008 Presidential Campaign then-candidate Barack Obama promised the mother a fallen American soldier to not only end the war in Iraq, but the war in Afghanistan as well. I am of the mind that now-president Barack Obama has not forgotten that promise. Many of my fellow Democrats are feeling disenfranchised by the recent official announcement of the decision to increase planned combat-troop levels to 30,000+ in Afghanistan I believe many in the party are taking a dangerously narrow view of militaristic policy.
I’ll simply cut the chase: you break a nation, you bought a nation.
The consequences of immediate withdrawal, in my view, far outweighs the alternative. Should we abandon this nation at this critical stage, after invading and attempting to remove the native opium crops, would be a tragic mistake that would incur even greater wrath upon the U.S. than this “end-game” measure of increased combat-troop involvement. We must not be blinded by political partisanship nor by strong personal feelings against war, that I personally share in this decision to prolong the war. This troop “surge” is accompanied with a clear strategy for withdrawal as well as some long since needed pressure upon the Karzai government in the form of this planned 2011 draw-down / transition of security responsibilities.
President Obama rebuked me in my comparison of Afghanistan and Vietnam. I agree with his statements that it is a “false reading of history,” upon review. But I disagree that what we are fighting in Afghanistan as being “not a popular insurgency.” The radical Taliban and their al-Qaeda allies are indeed a “popular insurgency” in some regions, while not in others. Afghanistan is a highly complex power structure and in every way different from the recent conflict in Iraq or the situation during the Vietnam War, but this is all the more reason to set attainable goals and prepare an exit strategy. We cannot allow ourselves to fall into the trap of counter-insurgency fighting endlessly in the Southern Provinces. We must shift to a counter-terrorism methods in Afghanistan and in order to this it is indeed true that “space” is required, bought with combat-troops of course. The ultimate goal being to seek a similar situation to what exists of involvement in Iraq as of today; a complete withdrawal of all combat-troops.
The sooner it is seen that no nation can “win,” or “lose,” in Afghanistan the sooner we can conduct sound policies in regards to our involvement therein. This is not the no-man’s-land that some make it out to be, much can be achieved with hard work, but we also should not delude ourselves into thinking we can remain troop committed indefinitely to a nation with practically no central government and huge population that is 80% illiterate.
Our humanitarian and intelligence-gathering operations must be secured for the time being and the politically unpopular troop surge is a means to this end. This is a changing in the “face” of this war and I personally hope that we can meet this 2011 time line for beginning combat-troop withdrawal and more importantly that is not simply an arbitrary line in the sand.
I urge people on the left against rush to judgments all is for naught in Afghanistan by value of the nation’s long history of failed attempts at conquering it. This new strategy is not “conquest” but rather supporting existing efforts and expanding upon the model of political solutions with regional leaders. An opportunity will be created in the next two years for Afghanistan to stabilize, but in the end the stand against terrorist tactics must come of the people. That much is out of our hands, it is true.
Along with protecting local Afghans and reducing violence, new efforts are focused on cutting off the funding of the Taliban and other Afghan insurgents. US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke spoke of a new thinking on the issue during a June 2009 visit to Pakistan. Holbrooke said the long-held notion that Afghanistan’s illicit opium trade is the main source of funding for the insurgency is simply not true. And, he says US policy is going to reflect that reality. “If the drugs ended tomorrow, it would not have a major effect on the Taliban source of funding,” said Holbrooke. “And, that’s one of the reasons the United States is going to downgrade crop eradication as part of its policies in Afghanistan. We’re going to upgrade interdiction. We’re going to upgrade our efforts to go after the main drug traffickers. But we want to focus on where the money really comes from.”
According to PBS & independent news media this is indeed true, but mainly because the Taliban has moved toward kidnapping, extortion and money-laundering as opposed to opium-running.
I do not support actions that only needlessly escalate war, but this change in strategy is likely the only course of action that will bring our major operations inside Afghanistan to a timely close. The president spoke of “muddling through” in reference to the former policy and I would say the same of those promoting this policy of rapid withdrawal. It appears to me that many in my party and that I agree with on a host of other issues propose “muddling through” the careful process of timely and permanent withdrawal from these costly foreign incursions brought about under the George W. Bush Presidency.
Regardless of progress on the ground the generals will always ask for more troops and the person we charged with the responsibility over such matters has decided that the 30,000 troops in Afghanistan for the elections is going to stay and more will be deployed in months to come. Provided agencies like the UN are included more directly in solution-seeking and the model of focusing on political solutions as opposed to only military solutions to bring an end to the conflict there is no reason to scoff at the 2011 deadline for strategy review.
This was a mishandled war left by the previous president and one does not clean up a rotten pile of eggs by screaming at it; you get a shovel.
My heart still cries out: “Come home, America!”
But this is very similar to my views on the aftermath of the U.S.-Iraq Invasion: rapid withdrawal has serious consequences not to be ignored but it is equally important to note that keeping the pressure on our representatives to set clear goals and bring the U.S. involvement to an eventual close as quickly as humanly possible is the responsibility of citizens that fund these conflicts.
To leave now is folly.
This was a predictable “middle-option” and under the current circumstances I believe it was the best possible choice available to the president and the true value of this decision is yet to be seen.
In October 2001, in response to the Taliban regime’s protection of al Qaeda terrorists who attacked the United States, coalition forces forcibly removed the regime from Afghanistan.
Since the Taliban’s ouster in late 2001, remnants of the regime have sheltered in remote reaches of Afghanistan’s mountains, mainly in the south. While they stood little chance of retaking power while the US-led coalition remains in Afghanistan, rogue Taliban members appeared to be regrouping.
Evidence mounted by early 2003 in the southern regions of Afghanistan that the Taliban was reorganizing and has found an ally in rebel commander Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, labeled a terrorist and hunted by US troops,” the Associated Press reported in early April. The evidence included the discovery by coalition forces of around 60 Taliban fighters holed up near the village of Sikai Lashki, 25 miles north of the southeastern village of Spinboldak. Further indication came from the killings in southern Afghanistan of a Red Cross worker and, separately, of two U.S. troops in an ambush, as well as allegations that Taliban leaders had found safe havens in private homes in neighboring Pakistan’s Quetta province.
While no reliable estimates existed of the number of Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan, the Associated Press said in late March that it is believed that “many” Taliban are holed up in the southern mountains.
While a multinational force helped keep the peace in Kabul and surrounding areas, contributing countries have declined to extend the force’s mandate to other parts of the country. Remnants of the Taliban and rogue warlords sometimes threatened, robbed, attacked, and occasionally killed local villagers, political opponents, and prisoners.
This is what I spoke of before on this blog.
Our target was al-Qaeda and we should have handled the matter as a militaristic police force instead of “forcibly removing” this Taliban regime in 2001. This is the very nature of the trap of nation-building and these recent changes in war policy are a reflection of the situation as it is now and how to combat the elements are indeed a threat to national security while avoiding the pitfalls of unilateral nation-building. This is a policy that will hopefully provide enough security to focus on counter-terrorism efforts along with regional stabilization so that our exit from the region does not serve to only further destabilize a volatile situation.
Have you ever seen this YouTube Channel called “LiberalViewer“?
I personally would aspire toward having a blog more to the nature of the work of LiberalViewer in days to come.
See for yourself.
“This Fall, the rubber gloves meet the road.”
Find the MAHD on:
Quoting from MadAsHellDoctors.com:
This issue and it’s seriousness is severely under-reported or completely propagandized in some media outlets.
Quoting Dr. Hochfeld from a radio interview with Alan Colmes of Fox News:
“60% of doctors are in favor of government health insurance. The vast majority of primary care providers are in favor of it.”
“We are down to about 30% primary care providers in this country, we should be at about 50%. The more primary care providers you have, and the more resources you put into primary care, the better your health care outcomes and at a lower cost.”
“We are wasting 20% of our dollars on health care costs. It’s a threat to our security. We can’t afford to throw money at health care.”
“Once we get rid of the insurance companies we can have a health care system run by health care professionals.”
“The way ‘single-payer’ works is we take the money we are now spending on health care .. 60% of this 2.4 trillion dollars is already going through the government .. instead of calling it ‘insurance premiums’ it’s just called ‘health tax’. It’s not more money, it’s the same money. Because we cut out the insurance companies, we actually get more for our health care dollars.”
“I’m mad as hell about the political process.”
“I think he [Obama] learned that the industry is far more powerful than he could ever imagine and our political process is far more corrupt than he could ever have predicted.”
This last quote is vital for me to point out.
I find it disturbing those on the left would find it easy to throw the man we elected to change things for the better down the stairs just because the system is broken.
That’s why we elected him.
Let the man work!
This is called “incrementalism” and in my view President Obama should have just gone for the whole-nine-yards of single-payer but it’s looking like that’s not going to happen. Mostly because they are all corrupt in Congress and hyper-corrupt in the GOP so it’s just plain outside of the list of options before Obama.
Or at least that’s my take.
I support Mad as Hell Doctors and all those fighting for Universal Health Care.
My heart is with you. Let’s keep making this case until the establishment will finally listen.