Thursday, February 22, 2007

Journalism 013

"This is all a chess game, and we're trying to stay far enough ahead in it," said U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano last Wednesday.

(D-Ma), in his fifth term as Congressman, held a question and answer session with about 50 Brighton community members at the local Veronica Smith Multi-Service Senior Center. He began with a 20 minute statement outlining his anger with the Bush administration and its decision to invade Iraq, which he has opposed since day one.

"Every single minute the Bush administration has been in power, they've borrowed almost $1 million. Every minute," he said.

A self proclaimed "social liberal", Capuano, who has the build of a celebrity bodyguard, spoke on issues ranging from abortion to local property taxes. He gave audience members a chance to ask their question but cut them short if they tried to ask another in response to his answer, clarifying that this was not in fact a debate session, but instead an opportunity for him to give his opinion and his stance.

On Cuba:
"The Cuban embargo isn't going to last much longer, once Castro dies."

On Venezuela:
"Venezuela is not that large of an oil producer."
Ummm...the Energy Information Administration ranks Venezuela as the eighth largest oil producer in the world...that's kinda big.

On D.C. politics:
"I'm good at persuading my colleagues to drink the water that they're looking at."

On gay marriage:
Capuano is 100% for gay marriage saying that since Massachusetts has allowed same sex civil unions it hasn't interfered with his life in any way. He's been with his wife for 34 years and he hasn't switched teams.

On Sudan:
"I'm one of the only Congressmen to call for U.S. military to go into Sudan."

On abortion rights:
"It's a choice between me and my wife and our God." Capuano said that he doesn't feel that it's right to impose his own personal choices on anybody else. To which the female audience member who had posed the question and was sitting next to a sign that read--
'It's a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish" interjected and said, "But you're willing to impose your choice on Sudan." Capuano again emphasized that it was not a debate.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Journalism 012

First there were green homes, then came along green burials and now we have green tours...well, kind of.

As Naoki Schwartz reported today for the AP, the non-profit, Communities for a Better Environment has started offering
a "Toxic Tour" that meanders through Los Angeles' oil refineries, brownfields and chemical sites.

Like any good tour, it's the stories that accompany the scenery that really make it impactful.
The stories of affected community members are shared along the tour as a grisly reminder that the money-makers don't always like to be held accountable for the pollution, death and disease that they expound.

From the AP:

"The big thing with the tours is to put a human face on this," said Bill Gallegos, executive director of CBE.

The next stop (on the tour) is Tweedy Elementary School in South Gate, where an accidental release of chlorine gas in 1986 from a nearby factory sent 76 people, including three dozen children, to hospitals to treat nausea, respiratory and eye problems.

Tomothy Malloy, co-director of the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic at UCLA, takes students on the tour to reinforce classroom lessons on pollution.

"What really drove it home for the students," Malloy said, "is we were standing at the end of a cul-de-sac with these small homes, and they were looking across a property and could see the emissions we were talking about."

Friday, February 9, 2007

Journalism 011

State and federal cuts for HIV and AIDS programs have Jessica Almeida of Brockton and other health advocates around the state concerned about their ability to treat patients.

“It may affect our ability to provide access to medication for people in the HIV drug assistance program,” said Almeida, director of the case management program at Brockton Area Multi-Services Inc.

Such concerns were the focus of a lobbying day at the Statehouse on Wednesday as AIDS activists lobbied state legislators for an additional $5 million in next year's budget.

The activists said the money is needed to make up a possible $3 million cut in federal funding this year and a steady decline in state funding for clinics and counseling.

Local HIV-AIDS programs, such as the one run by BAMSI, the largest counseling and education center for Brockton area residents, rely on lobbying groups such as Project ABLE (AIDS Budget Legislative Effort) to help secure their annual funding.

Brockton has the ninth largest population of people living with HIV-AIDS in Massachusetts. More than 23 Brockton residents are diagnosed each year, according to the state Department of Public Health.

The possible shortage in federal HIV-AIDS funding is due to a reallocation of funds to states with less developed HIV-AIDS programs than Massachusetts.

“It's not that Massachusetts isn't in need, it's just that there are other areas that may not have received as much funding as Massachusetts in previous years,” said Mary Ann Hart, a coordinator with Project ABLE.

Project ABLE's lobbying efforts came in conjunction with National Black HIV-AIDS Awareness Day. Blacks and Latinos make up 72 percent of Brockton residents with HIV-AIDS.

“HIV is colorblind, but society isn't,” said Rep. Marie St. Fleur, D-Boston, the vice chairwoman for the House Ways and Means Committee. “The real barrier to health care is race.”

Copyright 2007 Enterprise

Monday, February 5, 2007

Personal 003

I was born in 1981...

A couple facts about that year:

-MTV made its debut
-The NY Times published its longest sentence ever, 1,286 words
-The IBM-PC was introduced
-The unknown Prince opened for the The Rolling Stones at the LA Coliseum
-Lady Diana married Prince Charles
-The first woman, Sandra Day O'Connor, was appointed to the Supreme Court
-Walter Cronkite retired as anchorman
-The US Dept. of Agriculture declared ketchup to be a vegetable
-Life expectancy was 74.2 years
-The average new car cost $7,718.00
-A movie ticket cost $2.25
-A gallon of gas cost $1.25
-I was born