Call for government response, in rhyme

bheveryday_lrg
A classic Burma-Shave sign poem

From today’s Albany Times-Union:

Greenfield residents use touch of humor to push town for road repairs

By DENNIS YUSKO, Staff writer
First published: Tuesday, March 10, 2009

GREENFIELD — Denton Road residents have adopted an old advertising technique to protest the street’s poor condition.

Upset that the nearly 2-mile corridor straddling Greenfield and Saratoga Springs hasn’t been repaved in years, neighbors plugged campaign-style signs with balloons into nine bales of hay and planted them along the road.

In an echo of the old rhyming roadside ads for Burma-Shave shaving cream, the green placards form a jingle for passing motorists: “Try to avoid, The hazards here, And say out loud, Elections are near! A safe road, Is just a mirage, But we do have, A new town garage, Thank you Greenfield!”

Read the rest of the article at the TU site.

POEM: Luxury Hotel

Luxury Hotel

Room after room after room with no stopping, no let-up.
How many in a year? Five thousand? Six thousand?
The human body can only take so much.
So many liftings of the mattress, so many bends of the knees.
Then there are the chemicals, the solvents, the cleaners.
Scrubbing with your face right down in the fumes,
breathing deeply from the exertion.
Cracked skin, aching muscles, arms like rubber.
You can’t even lift your baby girl for a kiss.
Other people’s pubic hair, other people’s vomit and blood.
One time there was a man hiding in the closet.
He put one finger to his lips and told you to be quiet,
but how could you be quiet when there was a man in the closet?
So you screamed and ran and they gave you half a day off.
Another time you begged and begged for shoes,
the kind with the special soles so you wouldn’t slip.
After days and weeks and months, they ordered them
on the very day your head hit the tile floor,
the same day they cornered you in the manager’s office
and nobody called for a doctor, the same day
you passed out waiting for the bus and a passerby
took you to the emergency room. A stranger had to do that.
There are seven Dominicans and three women from Jamaica
and five Senegalese and one Vietnamese lady in the laundry
with no English who keeps to herself in the mouth of the furnace.
Eight hours, ten hours, twelve hours if it’s busy.
Then it’s home to cook and do your own laundry and help
Javi and Lisa with their homework. Make the lunches
for the next day. Shrink into the bed and fall asleep
to the throbbing in your joints. The alarm at 4 a.m.
Then it’s room after room after room with no stopping, no let-up.
How many in a year? Five thousand? Six thousand?
The human body can only take so much.

Book review: The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation

This brilliant graphic novel tells the unvarnished story of the development and amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The book is no hagiography of the document or its authors. Hennessey and McConnell point out the flaws in the Constitution and its unfortunate application to restrict the rights of many Americans.

In total, though, this book, like the best history books, inspires both an appreciation for past events and a desire to improve conditions going forward. Hennessy and McConnell are to be commended for furthering the cause of Constitutional literacy. Get this for every middle- and high-school student you know, and get a copy for yourself, too.

Highly recommended.

Tasini to Paterson: Are you insane, Dave?


Labor writer and activist Jonathan Tasini

Jonathan Tasini has written a simple and compelling piece about NY Gov. David Paterson’s call for pension givebacks for state employees. Here’s the core of Tasini’s argument:

We could wipe out the budget deficit–or, certainly trim it down to something trivial–by raising taxes on the very wealthy and going back to a more progressive taxation system that we had in the 1970s. You know this: if the state replaced the existing rate structure (consisting of 5 brackets with rates ranging from 4.0 to 6.85%) with one consisting of 14 brackets with rates ranging from 2.0 to 15.0%, we could bring in $6-7 billion more, and perhaps as high as $11 billion.

Under this plan, 95 percent of the state’s taxpayers—95 percent of the people—would receive a tax cut. Like the proposals championed by President-elect Barack Obama, a more progressive taxation system would be easing the burden on the people who are the most at risk in our economically troubled times. The top one percent of taxpayers—whose average income is $2.685 million—would see their taxes go up about 5.4 percent. The four percent below that top one percent—those people whose average income is $326,000—would have their taxes rise 1.4 percent.In fact, the top five percent would have their dues burden slightly reduced because higher state taxes would lower their federal obligations.

Everyone else would realize a reduction in their taxes.

I highly recommend the rest of the article, too.