I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Liberal Lion of the Senate

I read a little bit ago that Ted Kennedy died last night. I don't tend to be too soft on white male liberals (many of whom I have admittedly loved), but as I read about him, I wept, and can't really seem to stop. 

Here's what the Boston Globe had to say; I thought they would be appropriate as a solid bastion of liberal white men. Speaking of - Jim Webb reports on his trip to Burma in the Times, and on meeting with both General Than Shwe and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who is back under house arrest. That's pretty impressive. Unfortunately, he could only secure the stupid American's freedom. I am curious how much of his assertion about sanctions comes from Daw Suu Kyi; he doesn't directly disclose what either she or the General had to say, but I think his conclusions are strongly influenced by hers.

In the meantime, the American death toll in Afghanistan is reaching new heights, as the war escalates; and it's still just a trickle next to the people we've killed seeking vengeance or justice or someone else's "liberation" from tyrrany. Some of the injuries are more grim, especially the children. It's been eight years almost and there's really no end in sight. Obama's a war president, and he still has to prove himself tough in the area of national security. I wish he was proving himself smart instead. I think it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

What does war have to do with the prison industrial complex? 


Here's the send-off for Teddy. He always seemed like a decent man, despite Chappaquiddick; I don't know how one reconciles with something like that, except to do right by others for the rest of their lives. I think he really tried to do that...


Liberal lion of the Senate, symbol of family dynasty succumbs to brain cancer

Kennedy dead at 77
By Martin F. Nolan, Globe Correspondent  |  August 26, 2009
Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who carried aloft the torch of a Massachusetts dynasty and a liberal ideology to the citadel of Senate power, but whose personal and political failings may have prevented him from realizing the ultimate prize of the presidency, died at his home in Hyannis Port last night after a battle with brain cancer. He was 77.

“We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever,’’ his family said in a statement. “We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness, and opportunity for all. He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him.’’

Overcoming a history of family tragedy, including the assassinations of a brother who was president and another who sought the presidency, Senator Kennedy seized the role of being a “Senate man.’’ He became a Democratic titan of Washington who fought for the less fortunate, who crafted unlikely deals with conservative Republicans, and who ceaselessly sought support for universal health coverage.

“Teddy,’’ as he was known to intimates, constituents, and even his fiercest enemies, was an unwavering symbol to the left and the right - the former for his unapologetic embrace of liberalism, and latter for his value as a political target. But with his fiery rhetoric, his distinctive Massachusetts accent, and his role as representative of one of the nation’s best-known political families, he was widely recognized as an American original. In the end, some of those who might have been his harshest political enemies, including former President George W. Bush, found ways to collaborate with the man who was called the “last lion’’ of the Senate.

Senator Kennedy’s White House aspirations may have been doomed by his actions on the night he drove off a bridge at Chappaquiddick Island in 1969 and failed to promptly report the accident in which Mary Jo Kopechne, who had worked for his brother Robert, died. (here they cut him a break - he was driving drunk that night. - Peg). When Kennedy nonetheless later sought to wrest the presidential nomination from an incumbent Democrat, Jimmy Carter, he failed. But that failure prompted him to reevaluate his place in history, and he dedicated himself to fulfilling his political agenda by other means, famously saying, “the dream shall never die.’’

He was the youngest child of a famous family, but his legacy derived from quiet subcommittee meetings, conference reports, and markup sessions. The result of his efforts meant hospital care for a grandmother, a federal loan for a working college student, or a better wage for a dishwasher.

“He died the way he lived,’’ said a longtime Kennedy staffer, who did not want to be named because of the sensitivity of the moment, breaking up with emotion during the interview. “Fully in the moment, with incredible courage. He knew exactly what was going on. He wasn’t afraid. And given everything that he had been through his entire life, was always optimistic and knew that this country’s best days always [were] ahead.’’

Plans have already been made for the funeral, which will take place in Massachusetts, the aide said, and President Obama would be expected to attend.

“Without question Senator Kennedy was the most accomplished and effective legislator for economic and social justice in the history of our country,’’ said Paul G. Kirk, Jr., a former Kennedy aide who is chairman of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. “He was the most thoughtful and genuinely considerate friend I have known.’’... (hit the Globe for more)

...In early 2008, shortly before his cancer diagnosis, Senator Kennedy surprised much of the political world by endorsing Senator Barack Obama for president over Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. The endorsement was seen as a passing of the Kennedy torch to the man aspiring to be the nation’s first black president.

Despite his illness, Senator Kennedy made a forceful appearance at the Democratic convention in Denver, exhorting his party to victory and declaring that the fight for universal health insurance had been “the cause of my life.’’

He pursued that cause vigorously, even as his health declined; when members of Obama’s administration questioned the president’s decision to spend so much political capital on the seemingly intractable issue, Obama reportedly replied, “I promised Teddy.’’


John Broder does a nice job remembering Kennedy at the Times, too.

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