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Archive for August, 2008

Eyes on New Orleans – How to Help

Via lots of folks:

Dear INCITE! friends and supporters,

On the eve of the 3 year anniversary of the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and subsequent government criminal negligence and assaults on the low income people of color on the Gulf Coast, our sisters from INCITE! projects in New Orleans (including the local chapter, the Women’s Health and Justice Initiative, and the New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic) are bracing for the potential landfall of Hurricane Gustav, which is currently projected to hit the Louisiana coast on Monday or Tuesday at a category 4 or 5. Voluntary evacuation of New Orleans has already begun, and mandatory evacuation could be declared as early as today. INCITE! organizers in New Orleans have made over 700 phone calls to women of color and their families that make up the constituency of the New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic, working to prepare and implement evacuation and safety plans.

Your assistance is urgently needed to help low-income women of color and their families evacuate safely if need be, stay safe for the duration of the evacuation, and return to the city as soon as possible so as not to fall prey to the pushout that has kept so many folks from being able to return to New Orleans since Katrina. Local organizers are using whatever resources and funds at their disposal to help women and their families evacuate, bond people being held in Orleans Parish Prison out, and support those who make the choice to stay in whatever way they can.

Your support is urgently needed: financial donations of any size are needed and would be greatly appreciated.

Donations online are preferred because we can more quickly send the funds to our folks in New Orleans.

You can send your donation to INCITE online by clicking the button below and putting “New Orleans” in the “Purpose” line:

CLICK HERE TO DONATE

Or you can write a check directly to WHJI and send it to:
PO Box 51325
New Orleans, LA 70151

This money will go directly to supporting the hundreds of low income women of color that are the constituency of the New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic.

Once again, the particular vulnerability of low-income women of color and single female-headed households (including folks with disabilities, seniors, undocumented immigrant women, and incarcerated women) has been erased in the face of disaster and overlooked in the days leading up to the storm. With few resources, facing challenges and concerns for their families of their own, INCITE! New Orleans and WHJI have stepped in to fill the gap. Please send all your support, solidarity, sisterhood and strength their way, and join us in hoping for the safety and well-being of the people who are already suffering from Gustav in Cuba, Jamaica, and Haiti, and willing the storm to subside or veer off safely before it strikes the Gulf Coast.

We will keep you posted as things develop.

peace,
INCITE!

please circulate widely

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sent to me today via email

Katrina Pain Index – New Orleans Three Years Later

By Bill Quigley

Bill is a human rights lawyer, a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans and author of the forthcoming book STORMS STILL RAGING: Katrina, New Orleans and Social Justice. A version with all sources included is available. Bill’s email is quigley77@gmail.com.

For more information see the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center and Policy Link.

0. Number of renters in Louisiana who have received financial assistance from the $10 billion federal post-Katrina rebuilding program Road Home Community Development Block Grant – compared to 116,708 homeowners.

0. Number of apartments currently being built to replace the 963 public housing apartments formerly occupied and now demolished at the St. Bernard Housing Development.

0. Amount of data available to evaluate performance of publicly financed privately run charter schools in New Orleans in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 school years.

.008. Percentage of the rental homes that were supposed to be repaired and occupied by August 2008 which were actually completed and occupied – a total of 82 finished out of 10,000 projected.

1. Rank of New Orleans among U.S. cities in percentage of housing vacant or ruined.

1. Rank of New Orleans among U.S. cities in murders per capita for 2006 and 2007.

4. Number of the 13 City of New Orleans Planning Districts that are at the same risk of flooding as they were before Katrina.

10. Number of apartments being rehabbed so far to replace the 896 apartments formerly occupied and now demolished at the Lafitte Housing Development.

11. Percent of families who have returned to live in Lower Ninth Ward.

17. Percentage increase in wages in the hotel and food industry since before Katrina.

20-25. Years that experts estimate it will take to rebuild the City of New Orleans at current pace.

25. Percent fewer hospitals in metro New Orleans than before Katrina.
32. Percent of the city’s neighborhoods that have fewer than half as many households as they did before Katrina.

36. Percent fewer tons of cargo that move through Port of New Orleans since Katrina.

38. Percent fewer hospital beds in New Orleans since Katrina.

40. Percentage fewer special education students attending publicly funded privately run charter schools than traditional public schools.

41. Number of publicly funded privately run public charter schools in New Orleans out of total of 79 public schools in the city.

43. Percentage of child care available in New Orleans compared to before Katrina.

46. Percentage increase in rents in New Orleans since Katrina.

56. Percentage fewer inpatient psychiatric beds than before Katrina.

80. Percentage fewer public transportation buses now than pre-Katrina.

81. Percentage of homeowners in New Orleans who received insufficient funds to cover the complete costs to repair their homes.

300. Number of National Guard troops still in City of New Orleans.

1080. Days National Guard troops have remained in City of New Orleans.

1250. Number of publicly financed vouchers for children to attend private schools in New Orleans in program’s first year.

6,982. Number of families still living in FEMA trailers in metro New Orleans area.

8,000. Fewer publicly assisted rental apartments planned for New Orleans by federal government.

10,000. Houses demolished in New Orleans since Katrina.

12,000. Number of homeless in New Orleans even after camps of people living under the bridge has been resettled – double the pre-Katrina number.

14,000. Number of displaced families in New Orleans area whose hurricane rental assistance expires March 2009.
32,000. Number of children who have not returned to public school in New Orleans, leaving the public school population less than half what is was pre-Katrina.

39,000. Number of Louisiana homeowners who have applied for federal assistance in repair and rebuilding who have still not received any money.

45,000. Fewer children enrolled in Medicaid public healthcare in New Orleans than pre-Katrina.

46,000. Fewer African American voters in New Orleans in 2007 gubernatorial election than 2003 gubernatorial election.

55,000. Fewer houses receiving mail than before Katrina.

62,000. Fewer people in New Orleans enrolled in Medicaid public healthcare than pre-Katrina.

71,657. Vacant, ruined, unoccupied houses in New Orleans today.

124,000. Fewer people working in metropolitan New Orleans than pre-Katrina.

132,000. Fewer people in New Orleans than before Katrina, according to the City of New Orleans current population estimate of 321,000 in New Orleans.

214,000. Fewer people in New Orleans than before Katrina, according to the U.S. Census Bureau current population estimate of 239,000 in New Orleans.

453,726. Population of New Orleans before Katrina.

320 million. The number trees destroyed in Louisiana and Mississippi by Katrina.

368 million. Dollar losses of five major metro New Orleans hospitals from Katrina through 2007. In 2008, these hospitals expect another $103 million in losses.

1.9 billion. FEMA dollars scheduled to be available to metro New Orleans for Katrina damages that have not yet been delivered.

2.6 billion. FEMA dollars scheduled to be available to State of Louisiana for Katrina damages that have not yet been delivered.

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More Obama videos

Saw them first at Suburban Lesbian Housewife and Problem Chylde:

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Via Sociological Images comes news of Ecko and their latest ad campaignHot Girls Make Great Clothes. The website is filled with images (photo and video) of barely dressed women “manufacturing” Ecko brand clothing. Yes, this campaign objectifies women and uses sex to sell clothes. What else is new?

More sickening than that is the ‘wink wink nudge nudge’ reference to places where really hot women and children work – sweatshops. Real women and real girls labor for meager, unsustainable wages in terrible conditions so that we can purchase and wear the latest…. hot styles.

A few facts about sweatshops:

Women make up to 90 percent of sweatshop labor. The poor working conditions they experience include being subject to sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape.

Sweatshops violate the most basic labor laws including child labor, minimum wage, overtime and fire safety laws.

Working conditions also include no benefits, non-payment of wages, forced overtime, sexual harassment, verbal abuse, corporal punishment, and illegal firings.

Sweatshops flourish where there are pools of exploitable workers in desperate
conditions. The poorer the country, the more exploitable the people are.

However, sweatshops are not only found in “other” countries; they are right here in the U.S. – often the workers are recent and/or undocumented workers – again, people who are very vulnerable.

Workers who don’t know their rights or who have no good choices are at the mercy of the managers of these shops and the corporations who own them. For instance, pregnant women are fired instead of being given any type of leave. Women who are of childbearing age may be forced to take birth control or abort their pregnancies.

The free market allows corporations to seek out areas where they can pay miserably poor wages, wages too poor to allow workers to support their families comfortably, and poor enough to ensure profits for the companies at the expense of these families.

Corporations also seek out countries with unstable governments in order to lessen the possibility of being monitored and charged with human rights violations.

Workers can be fired or blacklisted if they try to defend their rights.

Some defend sweatshops and their practices by pointing out that the payment workers may receive is higher than the average national wage for workers in a particular country. Yes, people do have a right to make a living and if the opportunity presents itself to make a higher wage, certainly they should be free to seek the opportunity. However, human rights violations do not need to be part and parcel of such an opportunity. People should not be exploited and brutalized because they happen to live in a poor country (or live in a rich country where the poor are marginalized and/or treated as if they are not human).

Nor should such dire situations be mocked.

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Well….alrighty, then. I guess.

Biden, huh?

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Friday Night Video

Heard this on the radio and it’s been stuck in my head all day.

So very 80’s. Yes, children, this is disco. Sparkly, shimmery disco. Shut up.

Video not working? Click here.

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