MLA: Open Letter to Arizona Governor

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.

Cities in Support of Boycotting Arizona

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):


Los Angeles, CA


San Francisco, CA

Madison, WI

Austin, TX

West Hollywood, CA

Boston, MA

Oakland, CA

El Paso, TX

St. Paul, MN

Springfield, MA

Worcester, MA

Washington D.C.

Milwaukee, WI

Chicago, IL

NYC, NY

Boulder, CO

St. Paul, MN

Tacoma, WA

Lawrence, MA

Amherst, MA

Sacramento, CA

Baldwin Park, CA

South el Monte, CA

Santa Cruz, CA

And the list continues to grow!

Coffee Party USA Continues To Percolate Nicely

Founded by Annabel Park, the Coffee Party Movement (CPM), is put simply a “democracy advocacy group.” The movement began with something we all are likely familiar with: the Facebook Status Update.
The CPM founded around these simple principles:

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.”

When I first joined the Facebook Fan-page named “Join the Coffee Party Movement” roughly at the time of my first post the total number of users who “Fanned” the page was roughly 7,000. At last check, it is well above 70,000!
Take a look at this map, the closet chapter to me is the San Francisco Chapter of the CPM so I have joined that user group on the Official Webpage:
The Facebook Comment threads are back-logging with too many replies, the two domains at .org and .com are having trouble handling server traffic at peak hours so be patient if it’s not appearing if you attempt to link through.
Civil discussion, rational dialogue, non-hostile environments for ideas and opinions to be heard. The Coffee Party USA has come to bring civility to the U.S. and one of the strongest lessons that I must learn from these people is exactly that. Perhaps we all could do with a good lesson in civility here on the internet, I know for certain that I do.
They insist, and I agree it a wise point to make, that the movement is not the “Anti Tea Party” but the “alternative to” the Tea Party.
Talking with these activists makes me calm down, and want to do what they are doing: leading by example.
I’m seeing the only people serving any rational version of civic brew out of the choices of Coffee and Tea is without a doubt the Coffee!
The predictable Tea Party backlash of attempting reframe the debate by attacking the credibility of Annabel Park, and the more recent mantra of calling the CPM a “sham” over talk radio airwaves is only more proof that what Al Alborn
spoke of in regards to the Tea Party was altogether true.
I too believe the Tea Party Movement is founded around silencing debate and dividing people rather than bringing them together.
I support the Coffee Party USA with all my heart, and the revival of truth & reason shall not be denied!

The Coffee Party Inspires Me

If you are anything like me then the recent lapse in any kind of reasonable or civil debate in our politics has you feeling frustrated and uncertain of what to do.

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.”

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Official Websites:

http://www.coffeepartyUSA.org

http://facebook.com/coffeeparty

http://www.youtube.com/user/coffeepartyusa

(other “dupe” web-groups have already begun to spawn in response to the Coffee Party, only these websites are Coffee Party Movement)

Kudos to LiberalViewer of YouTube

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.

Mad as Hell about Health Care!

Mad as Hell Doctors

“This Fall, the rubber gloves meet the road.”

Find the MAHD on:

(Facebook)+(Twitter)+(YouTube)

_________________________________________________

Dr. Paul Hochfeld on Ed Schultz.

Quoting from MadAsHellDoctors.com:

You CAN handle the Truth
There’s no nice way to say it. The financial cost of health care is killing our citizens, hobbling our economy, crushing small business, and threatening the solvency of our government.
In the meantime, the Health Care Industry is spending almost two million dollars a day lobbying Congress and manipulating public opinion to accept “reform” legislation that leaves a vicious, for-profit system intact. The “public option” is a trap. We need real reform that finds immediate savings, controls costs, and accomplishes the moral imperative of true Universal Access.
A Single Payer plan is the only real path to a Health Care System that is socially, ethically and fiscally responsible. And yet, our elected officials refuse to even discuss the possibility of a Single Payer plan!
If that doesn’t make you mad, we recommend checking your pulse.

The “public option” is doomed.
First: we will still have a dysfunctional health care system designed around insurance companies.
Second: it will be impossible to cover everyone without raising taxes.
The Obama administration is already saying it is acceptable to leave out 15 million people. Which 15 million? Will you be one of them? Who gets to decide?
Third: in a “post-option” environment you can bet that the health insurance industry will manipulate the rules so that the sickest, most expensive patients will gravitate toward the public plan, which will cause it to fail. When it does, the opponents of real reform will point to the “public option” and scream: “See! Single Payer won’t work!”

There is a time for compromise – this isn’t one of them.
We believe there is only one way to control costs.
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This issue and it’s seriousness is severely under-reported or completely propagandized in some media outlets.

This is a map of the uninsured Americans and the percentage of those in your state who are uninsured.

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.”

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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.