Archive for the ‘Essays’ Category

Don’t Let Bigots Occupy Your Mind

Occupy Oakland and Aggrieved Truckers Can Learn From Each Other

Why No Town Hall Meetings in the Bay Area?

Fare Thee Well, Brenda

Remedy for Enron’s Moral Anorexia

Don’t Let Bigots Occupy Your Mind

by Lisa Martinovic

Despite a generation of sensitivity trainings and multicultural studies, an astonishing number of people still feel emboldened to express their misbegotten bigotry in very public arenas. Cops and vigilantes alike are caught on tape throwing down racial slurs before they kill, Rush Limbaugh has no compunction about “slut-shaming” for a national audience, and classroom bullies drive a steady stream of gay youth to suicide. In the face of such madness we may be tempted to question the wisdom of the old nursery rhyme:

Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.

That’s what we were

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Occupy Oakland and Aggrieved Truckers Can Learn From Each Other

by Lisa Martinovic

When the Occupy Movement hits ninety-nine percenters in the pocketbook, do we have the right to say it’s for their own good?

I am an enthusiastic supporter of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Though I am in no condition to camp out in public plazas, I take every opportunity to participate in actions—be it a march in San Francisco, a general strike at UC Berkeley or a speak-out against police brutality in Oakland. I am thrilled to be alive in this historic awakening.

Still, I had mixed feelings as I trekked down to the Port of Oakland to support the

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Why No Town Hall Meetings in the Bay Area?

One congressman is hung in effigy; swastikas spray-painted on the office door of another. And outside community venues where President Obama is speaking, people roam the streets with six shooters and AK-47s. All this in response to the notion that the government has a role to play in ensuring that every American has adequate health care.

Town Hall meetings to discuss health care reform. It sounded like such a good idea; so, well, democratic. Sadly, many of these well-intentioned gatherings are being disrupted by the few who seem bent on scaring the many—and stopping debate in its tracks.

The intimidation tactics are

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Fare Thee Well, Brenda

by Lisa Martinovic

[All the poems and excerpts in this piece were written by Brenda Moossy. The entire text of each poem can be found here. Hear Brenda in her own voice reading Sadie]

“What if…
I stare at the heavens and the sky cracks wide?”
Angels could slip through in the blinding.
Stars rip from the firmament
form letters words prophecies of light
No matter
No matter
I will watch for the miracles to fall.

I want to see the stars, Mister.
I got to see the stars.

from What I Said to the Man Installing the Hot Tub

Those are

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Remedy for Enron’s Moral Anorexia

by Lisa Martinovic

[Note to Readers: The San Francisco Chronicle published this piece on March 17, 2002. The avatars of greed on Wall Street–and those who failed to regulate them–ought to get the same treatment I advised for Enron, et al.]

Now that Enron has been shunted off the front pages and left to squirm under Congressional microscopes, it’s time to rethink how our judicial system can most effectively respond to white collar criminals who consciously—or through the convenience of willful ignorance— inflict so much harm on so many.

Given a government whose tax, banking and regulatory codes are

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