Archive for the ‘Essays’ Category

Why No Town Hall Meetings in the Bay Area?

Fare Thee Well, Brenda

Remedy for Enron’s Moral Anorexia

Tax Cut Lost in Space

Is Mercury the New Exploding Gas Tank?

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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Tax Cut Lost in Space

By Lisa Martinovic

[Note to Readers: I wrote this piece very early in the GW Bush administration. It’s great background for helping us understand the current economic crisis.]

So now its official: after summarily debating the President’s proposed budget and tax cut, the Senate made like a good doggie and dutifully delivered 54 well-fed and manicured thumbs-up onto the doorstep of young Master Bush. But before we lay back and enjoy the pillaging of our national coffers, I want to make sure that we’re clear on how this coup came to pass.

Apparently, one day on the campaign trail,

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Is Mercury the New Exploding Gas Tank?

by Lisa Martinovic

The most chilling aspect of the debate swirling around the EPA’s new rules on airborne mercury is what’s not being debated. 

The dispute erupted when The Washington Post revealed that the EPA buried the results of a Harvard University study it had commissioned.  The study sought to determine the public-health benefits likely to result from a reduction in the levels of mercury emitted by coal-fired power plants.  Mercury is a persistent neurotoxin that causes brain and nerve damage as well as behavioral changes. Released into the atmosphere, it accumulates in rivers, lakes and oceans, concentrating in

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