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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Odds and Ends

Tomorrow I  to a Worksource orientation on the steps needed to try to get into worker retaining on the unemployment ticket. (see prior post:  Pray for me please, and for all the unemployed.  And if you would, make that through Dorothy Day, Servant of God so she can get her first miracle by getting someone a job or reschooling in this economy and there by get beautified.  If she gets two of us jobs then she is a Saint!

Governor Gregorie has deserted Catholic social teaching on more and more things.  First she deserted it to the left by supporting the Washington Death with "Dignity"  initiative, under which disabled and elderly can be manipulated into killing themselves. Now she deserts it to the right.  She is planning to call a special session of the legislature for one day to get an up or down vote on her budget proposal.  It's kind of the bums rush to legislators that are busy carving out deals to save Washington Basic Health (our state health insurance for the low income uninsured) and Disability Lifeline (What remains of our old General Assistance program.)  The last budget she said her conscience would not allow her to do sign such a budget.  I think she has gone over to the dark side.

Justice for Immigrants ( and the United Farmworkers Union ( are pushing hard at the last minute to get the Dream Act passed.  The Dream Act allows a limited amnesty for those brought into the country as young children A summary from Justice for Immigrants says "The Act authorizes DHS to cancel the removal of and grant conditional nonimmigrant status to qualified aliens.".  They must have entered before 16, have been here continuously for at least five years, be of good moral character, have gotten a high school degree or GED,  not be convicted of a felony or 3 misdemeanors, etc.  It allows them limited amnesty to pursue education or go into the military, through which they can eventually get on the road to citizenship  The Dream Act has strong bipartisan support.  It is basic fairness to those who had no choice in their immigration, some of whom can no longer even remember the country of origin or speak it's language.   There is a video message on it from Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans at (   Please call your Representative or Senators and ask them to support the DREAM Act.  For the U.S. Senate:  202-224-3121.  For the House of Representatives:  202-225-3121.

And a release from the United Farmworkers Union 12/03/10

Farm workers are still society's canaries

United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez issued the following statement from the union’s Keene, Calif. Headquarters on the California  Department of Pesticide Regulations approving the use of methyl iodide in California's fields. 

Cesar Chavez said farm workers are society's canaries because they show the affects of pesticide poisoning before anyone else. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation just certified methyl iodide for use on fresh fruits and vegetables, especially the state's $1.6 billion strawberry industry. Methyl iodide replaces methyl bromide, banned by international treaty because it depletes the ozone layer. Methyl bromide was the last of five very toxic poisons the UFW targeted for abolition in the 1980s because of damage to both the environment and farm workers. The state is approving methyl iodide for use by growers even though the new fumigant is on California's official list of cancer-causing toxics and a state scientific advisory group worries it could poison the air and water. State regulators insist strict guidelines, enforced by county officials, will protect the environment and farm workers. But so many of California's good laws and regulations protecting farm workers are ignored by too many growers--and state enforcement has been a disgrace under both Republican and Democratic governors. It looks like farm workers will continue to be society's canaries.

A UFW fundraiser called me last night and I could not give.  My heart goes out to the farmworkers still struggling after all these years of having union with the most basic work place issues like water in the field, pesticides and even modest wage gains. 

It has been a dark day here in Seattle, raining, an early winter.  Pray for the homeless who will be out this winter in very wet conditions. It won't be until spring at the earliest that the cities plan for a new tent city takes shape.  The site they choose may have chemical pollution problems.  

Please pray for my sister Mary.  Her family can no longer afford there mortgage in once booming San Jose, and both she and her husband, Osmond, are disabled. They haven't gone into foreclosure yet, so perhaps there is hope. As a country we have worked through the first wave of foreclosures, the sub-prime loans and those who bought homes that they could not afford.  Now we are begging to work through the foreclosures from home equity loans that left people owing more than they could afford and more than the home is now worth.  Expect housing values to lose another 10% before we are done.  We also will have many people saddled with lifetime debt from student loans at usurious rates. Americans, it seems, have been working very hard for there bankers. 

In Nevada a immigration fight is dividing the state.  While some Republicans are pushing for Arizona style repressive laws even before the courts have ruled on the legality of the Arizona law, others are pushing for a plan that would allow immigrants to come out of the shadows.  If they have lived in Nevada and plan to continue to reside there, they would be able to obtain ID's and be treated like legal state residents.  The proponents of this plan want to limit it to those who have never been deported, as you are not an illegal immigrant, under law, unless you have returned after deportation.  You have simply committed a civil infraction, like jay walking, or speeding.  Come on admit it, haven't we all done something like that?   I always say undocumented workers, rather than illegal immigrants, because I live in terror of be labeled an illegal pedestrian in return.  I like the Nevada local amnesty plan, except that like the Arizona law it's a state law.  We can't be a nation with 50 different immigration policies.  That would cause chaos. As far back at the 1870's the Supreme Court ruled that only the federal government could pass immigration laws because of the 14th Amendment, the commerce clause and for other reasons. 

I am enjoying going to Jack in the Box now for a cup of coffee--I know--taking my life into my hands.  But by ordering the short one and asking for the seniors discount I get a .55 cent cup of Joe.  

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