[Re: Letters, “The Don on the Art of Nudity,” Nov. 20-26] I am very disappointed that the Alibi continues to print the same demented letters from the Don. There is no doubt he is insane. But, I must ask, why would the Alibi print letters from such a weird source? The only answer I can come up with is the Alibi has such an extremely small readership that they must resort to the absurd. Add to that the shock value and you have a rag magazine that is nothing more than toilet paper for birds and rabbits. I have to say that the Alibi is extremely antagonistic toward normal thinking. Why be normal, you ask? Why be fucking nuts, I ask? Answer this question: I can think of the most absurd ideas that will make most people cringe. Is it really noteworthy? Who gives a shit?
Power in the Pentagon
I am very concerned about the notion of Bush's Secretary of Defense Robert Gates staying on at the Pentagon. Gates has vocally opposed Obama's withdrawal plan for Iraq. Gates has also become the leading voice in the Bush administration pushing for an aggressive nuclear weapons posture. And even many conservatives have argued he has a habit of skewing intelligence to fit his predetermined policy preferences.
Obama's desire for a diversity of views around the cabinet table is refreshing. But Robert Gates' support for the policies of the past makes him the wrong person to lead U.S. military and foreign policies in a new direction.
Rise and Assist
A "platform" can be simply defined as a structure upon which something greater is built. Both of our major political parties have election platforms that address foreign assistance reform. It is so very easy to mouth fancy words and to make grandiose promises. The tough part is bringing those words and promises to life.
The U.S. foreign assistance policy has become a mastodon foundering in the La Brea Tar Pits of "tied" aid. "Tied" aid mandates that U.S. aid to the developing world consists of U.S. products sent via U.S. carriers to the recipient country, a mandate that costs 65 cents of every aid dollar! I have dealt with this personally while working in Africa. I have seen U.S. medical equipment purchased and shipped that is not usable with the electrical current supply of the recipient country. I have seen U.S.-grown food shipped to agriculturally based economies when the dollars to buy and ship these commodities could buy more than twice as much food on the local economy as well as supporting the local producers. Whatever happened to common sense?
Our foreign assistance policy must focus on achieving the Millennium Development Goals, which include "halving world poverty by 2015," as well as targeting the very poorest with a program including measurable goals and transparent accountability. It is way past time that we stop giving only to those who serve our selfish interests and give to those most in need!
With a new administration soon upon us, we, the voters, have a grave responsibility and a tremendous opportunity. It is up to us to see that the most effective and efficient foreign assistance policy is built and maintained.
Bikes for Drunks
Albuquerque has a serious DUI problem. Every day brings a new outrage, it seems. Shaming the drunks hasn't helped any better than closing their drive-up feeding troughs. The state can revoke their licenses but seldom does. These are family men, it seems, with bills to pay and jobs to attend. It sounds silly, I know, but if petty transportation concerns are all that stand between sober citizens and safer roads, then how about this: Bikes for Drunks!
“DUI offenders can ride their very own ABikeQsTM to work. They can even ride them while drunk, no one will care.”
This city has a long way to go toward implementing viable mass transit and bicycle options, it is true. Still, many parts of town may be reached today by either method. No one would think to bar drunks from working their jobs. By the same token, no law requires it must be done by car, not when DUI offenders can ride their very own ABikeQsTM to work. They can even ride them while drunk, no one will care. And what about the risk of ordinary bicyclists being targeted by motorists mistaking them for the pedaling offenders? As the needless targeting of bicyclists is what we already have, I doubt anyone will notice the difference.
Albuquerque has a serious DUI problem. It seems every day brings a new outrage. Everyone must do his part. Bikes for Drunks! Tell your friends you heard it here first.
For millions of Americans struggling to ride out this economic turmoil, good jobs are harder and harder to come by. And with CEOs getting golden parachutes while working families get stuck holding the bag, we need to level the playing field.
How can we do it? We have to at least ensure more men and women have access to good union jobs that strengthen the ability for workers to have fair pay, quality health care, better job standards and less insecurity.
Barack Obama has promised to help pass the Employee Free Choice Act, a bipartisan bill that would make it easier for workers to form unions and stay in the middle class. I hope our new leaders in Congress will pass the Employee Free Choice Act and make the economy work for everyone.
Millions of Americans voted for change on Nov. 4, and this bill is a concrete step in the right direction.
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