Sunday, October 14, 2007
Working Class Women for Hillary!
This presidential election may finally signal the ascendancy of women in politics--and not the ascendancy of educated, ambitious, upper-class women, but that of the women who live the real, on-the-ground, day-to-day life in America. This election, instead of being played out in the boardrooms of Texas oil companies, is playing out in the beauty salons of small-town America.

It's a funny phenomenon that women's harshest critics are often other women. (This is probably true for any oppressed group-- for instance, it's a sort of truism that Black cops are rougher on Blacks than white cops are.) And this is most true when the "elite" members of an oppressed group are fighting for turf with each other--challenging each other for who has the largest portion of the little bit of real estate they've wrested from the majority group.

This is why, while it seems counter-intuitive, it's not really surprising that working class women, including African-American working class women, are the most enthusiastic about Hillary, while educated professional women are more cool.

Since more women vote than men, and women are deemed to have been instrumental in the turning of the Senate in 2006, this may be the most significant factor in the 2008 race.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Bush et al v. The Rest of Us: making the world safe for polluters
Anyone who thinks we still live in a Democracy, raise your hand! Oh... no one? The power grabbing of the executive branch knows no bounds. Today, a major environmental victory was hamstrung by the Bush admin, through the insertion of an amnesty clause in a settlement requiring American Electric Power to clean up pollution under the Clean Air Act's "New Source Review" requirement. The amnesty clause in this settlement shows that the Bushies can, essentially, change laws at will after Congress has passed them--in favor of polluting industries.

There have been many legal battles fought over what "new source" means. This settlement takes us back to the Reagan years and Chevron and undercuts more recent cases like NY v. EPA. Power cos have fought to be allowed to enlarge their plantswithout the new enlargements being called "new"--and thus subject to tighter pollution controls--so the new parts of a plant can continue to spew pollutants at the same rate as the older, grandfathered parts of the plants.

Oh, only one more year to go to stop the Bush juggernaut--unstoppable even when when his ratings are only 32%.

Surprising News: More Mentally Ill in Jails than in Hospitals!
This week JLARC released a draft report documenting the extent of the problem of Virginia's chronic underfunding of mental health services: back in 1936, there was one person with mental illness in jail for every six in state mental hospitals; in 2005, there were five people in jail for every two in a hospital. That's progress for ya! If you don't want to read the whole report, read the R T-D article about it. The report shows a precipitous decline in the availability of beds in mental health facilities over the past 20 years.

Luckily for us, Charlottesville has created a Crisis Intervention Team that's supposed to help police identify people in a MH crisis and divert them from jail to a more appropriate setting. This is still in its early stages and I can't say that I've seen any folks benefiting from it yet--all my clients with MH problems seem to land over at the jail. But, maybe the police who have been trained are more sensitive now?


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