Friday, February 27, 2009

This Time There's Some Noise

I'm referring to the outrage over the "Chimp" cartoon by Sean Delonas that appeared in the NY Post recently.

I found it highly racially insensitive and offensive. I also didn't like the violence (which we definitely don't need more of) shown by officers killing a chimp - who must be presumed to be the author of the stimulus bill (I wonder who that could be?). I don't know what they were thinking - how could they - the cartoonist, the editors - NOT know this was feeding into racial stereotypes? And how could he find that chimp attack which landed a woman in very critical condition food for "satire" in the first place?

An opinion writer for USA Today suggests we keep up the heat on the NY Post. There have been protests, people are boycotting (I never buy it anyway), and John Legend, the musician, wrote an excellent open letter to this paper. Doing my part, I just e-mailed the Editor of the page where these cartoons appear. He is Robert Johnson, e-mail:

We must demand better public discourse than this.

The Economy - there IS work to be done

I'm still around - so busy it's hard to find time to blog although there's no shortage of topics.

The economy seems to be topic #1. We had a local job fair recently - attendance was far beyond what the organizers had expected (around 2,000 people). The local paper had a mini-interview with one attendee, a former student of mine (who I believe has his Associate's Degree now). He was applicant #1,872 for a dish washing job at a local restaurant! Imagine - that many applications for a dish washing job! The host venue also received around 1, 800 applications for the jobs they had available.

Not that there is any shortage of work to be done in this country. There are so many societal needs and problems that we should find ways to get people to work on those. Of course we need teachers, police officers, firefighters, and librarians. We need to keep those we have and hire more! We need workers to upgrade our infrastructure - the stimulus plan seems to address that area - generally through money the states will get. But that's not all

We need more social workers to handle the terrific number of cases our social service agencies have. We need more of them to guide people through the system to resources and get them empowered toward self-sufficiency. We need more transportation for the disabled. This would mean jobs as drivers, aides and dispatchers. We need more people to care for the elderly who need such care. If we can have these folks cared for in their own homes, they would be better psychologically, families would be better served, and society would be helped budget-wise compared to nursing home care. One focus of the Middle Class Task Force is "green jobs". How about jobs cleaning up the environment? Too many of our rivers are still polluted, and too often our air isn't of the quality it should be. And of course there are more skilled, hazardous jobs that need to be done - cleaning up sites that have toxic waste. And how about jobs preserving our historic buildings (if that doesn't count as infrastructure)?

So it's not as if there isn't stuff to be done, work that could truly make a difference. Now, can we just figure out how to get people to do them?