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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


In this issue:

Cheap Labor, Immigration and Outsourcing

Coach C. Vivian Stringer's Comments Regarding Imus

Rutgers Captain Essence Carson Responds to Imus

Rutgers Player Heather Zurich Responds to Imus

My Take on Imus

A Response to "Stuff from "Ask the White House"


Cheap labor, Immigration and Outsourcing

Cheap labor serves no one except big business. Whether this cheap labor comes in the form of our outsourced  jobs to the likes of Communist (if you can still really call them "Communist") China or India; or whether this cheap labor comes in the form of illegal, or what we'll now call "Bush-Legal" immigrants, is of little or no concern. Certainly a nation such as our can produce goods which we can wear, eat and sleep on with our own citizen's hands. We have done it for 200-plus years and we can do it today.

President Bush speaks of the "jobs Americans won't do". Now, how in the world does he know what jobs we won't do? Has he ever held a job to make ends meet? Has he ever ran out of unemployment insurance and worked as a manual laborer to pay the bills? When was the last time any Bush hung up their Yale diploma right next to their cab driver's license because that was the only job which they could find? Look back into our nation's history: Those who need work will work at almost anything to provide for their families. I know this because I've done it.

A "Guest-Worker" program does nothing for us common folk. Sure President Bush speaks of "strengthening our borders", but he does nothing but offer rhetoric towards that goal. It's all just one big photo-op for President Photo-Op, isn't it?

We occupy some of the most fertile land in the world, yet we import more food than we export. And to make matters worse, we import it from nations who don't have our safety standards in mind. It was just by sheer luck that the food poisoning our pets didn't poison us from wheat gluten which was added by Communist Chinese food suppliers. WHEAT of all things. I remember when we grew that here!

I'm 46-years-old and as a child in the 1970's, I worked as a bus-boy in a busy Brooklyn (NY) restaurant (Seniors, for my fellow and former Brooklynites); I worked handing out fliers on the streets of the Lower East Side of Manhattan; and I worked as a stock boy in a liquor store. These are jobs which gave me real money (albeit not a lot of real money) to buy gas for my car and popcorn for my girlfriend at the movies. My son will never work at these menial tasks as I did, and it isn't because I'm so well off that he won't have to. As a matter of fact, with the new adult immigrant population searching for jobs here in the US, his chances of finding one of those near-minimum wage jobs aren't as good as when I was a lad.

Good thing he has the Wii.

When President Bush mentions that he wants a "guest-worker" program, what he really means to say is that he wants a program which will offer immigrants, mostly from south of the border, a chance to take away jobs which Americans WILL work at and allow our hard, US currency to leave our nation without the benefit of it being spent in our stores, supermarkets and movie theaters. he is also offering his big business "base" of "haves and have mores" a chance at taking advantage of a group of people without representation and the ability to fight for their own rights.


For all but Bush's buddies, it a lose-lose situation.

We can be a self-reliant nation while at the same time be a part of the global neighborhood. But we need to take care of our own people before we can take care of the rest of the world, and certainly before we take care of Bush's buddies and cronies.

-Noah Greenberg

Coach C. Vivian Stringer's Comments Regarding Imus


The following are the words of Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer, as published by Rutgers University. This is an abbreviated version of what she actually said. her words were laced with love, distaste, confusion and anger and her true words deserve to be heard, along with the team's two spokespersons, Captain Essence Carson and player Heather Zurich. The video can be watched at http://www.scarletknights.com. -NG


"I am deeply saddened and angered by Mr. Imus' statements regarding the members of the Rutgers women's basketball team. These talented, articulate young women put forth a great deal of hard work and effort this past season to reach the nation's grandest stage - the NCAA title game.

Throughout the year, these gifted young ladies set an example for the nation that through hard work and perseverance, you can accomplish anything if you believe. Without a doubt, this past season was my most rewarding in 36 years of coaching. This young team fought through immeasurable odds to reach the highest pinnacle and play for the school's first national championship in a major sport.

To serve as a joke of Mr. Imus in such an insensitive manner creates a wedge and makes light of the efforts of these classy individuals, both as women and as women of color. It is unfortunate Mr. Imus sought to tarnish Rutgers' spirit and success. Should we not, as adults, send a message of encouragement to young people to aspire to the highest levels as my team did this season?

It is of the utmost importance to be an inspiration to young people and I truly believe my team represented Rutgers University, the state of New Jersey and NCAA student-athletes across the country in the highest manner. I am proud of these young women and strongly encourage Mr. Imus to instead read the headlines and the stories that told of our triumphs the past six months.

Thousands of alumni and fans have reached out to me the past few days to share their warm wishes and congratulations on a special year, fans of not only Rutgers University but of women's basketball. I appreciate their kindness and am proud to be associated and surrounded by ten exceptional student-athletes."


-C. Vivian Stringer, Rutgers Women's Basketball Coach


Rutgers Captain Essence Carson Responds to Imus


My name is Essence Carson and I’m a junior student-athlete here at Rutgers University. I would like to express our team’s great hurt, anger and disgust towards the words of Mr. Don Imus.

We are highly angered at his remarks but deeply saddened with the racial characterization they entailed. Not only has Mr. Imus stolen a moment of pure gracefulness but he has brought us to the harsh reality that behind the faces of the networks that have worked so hard to convey a message of empowerment to young adults that somehow some way the door has been left open to attack your leaders of tomorrow.

You must not forget that we are students first and then we’re athletes. And before the student lies the daughter.

On collegiate athletics’ grandest stage, under the brightest lights with the focal point being nothing other than a trophy that symbolizes the hard work, the perseverance of a team so deserving, the curtains will close on an act that deserved nothing short of an encore.

This Rutgers University women’s basketball team has made history. We were the first team in the school’s history to reach a national championship final game. We the team are full of youthful bright-eyed athletes that aspire to be great, not only great on the basketball court, but great in the fields of medicine, music and psychology.

I would like to pose a question — not a question of insult, but a question of pure thought. Where were these major networks when the youth were making history for a prestigious university? Now we are bombarded with phone calls, e-mails and with cameras. They invade our privacy and place us between a rock and a hard place. We haven’t done anything to deserve this controversy but yet it has taken a toll on us mentally and physically.

Driven to a point of mental and physical exhaustion, we ask that you not recognize us in a light as dimly lit as this but in a light that encompasses the great hurdles we’ve overcome and the goals achieved this season.

Now with that said, we have agreed to have a meeting with Mr. Don Imus. This meeting will be a private meeting at an undisclosed location in the near future. We just hope to come to some type of understanding of what the remarks really entailed, his reasons why they were said. And we’d just like to express our great hurt. The sadness that has been brought to us is more than the game of basketball, is more than the Rutgers women’s basketball team.

As Coach Stringer said, we realize that it’s about women across the world, across this nation. It just so happens that we finally take a stand. And we ask that you continue to support us and not look at it as we’re attacking a major broadcasting figure. We’re attacking something — an issue that we know isn’t right. And we just continue to ask for your support and thank you for your support thus far.


-Essence Carson


Rutgers Player Heather Zurich Responds to Imus


I’m Heather Zurich, a sophomore and proud member of the Rutgers women’s basketball team. This week and last, we should have been celebrating our accomplishments this past season.

Many of the media here may not realize my team started out the season with a record of 2-4. We were at the lowest of lows. Coach Stringer called us her worst defensive team ever. But we — the 10 of us here — prevailed. We fought, we persevered and most of all we believed in ourselves. We won 22 of 25 games to finish the season before falling to Tennessee in the national championship game. We won the Big East championship along the way, the first ever, and advanced to the N.C.A.A. tournament. We shocked a lot of people and arrived in Cleveland at the Final Four.

But this team did not settle for just showing up. We reached what many would only dream of, the N.C.A.A. title game. But all of our accomplishments were lost, our moment was taken away, our moment to celebrate our success, our moment to realize how far we had come both on and off the court as young women. We were stripped of this moment by the degrading comments made by Mr. Imus last Wednesday.

What hurts the most about this situation is that Mr. Imus knows not one of us personally. He doesn’t know that Matee is the funniest person you will ever meet, Kia is the big sister you never had but always wanted, and Pipf would make an unbelievable lawyer one day. These are my teammates, my family. And we were insulted, and yes we were angry. Worst of all, my team and I did nothing to deserve neither Mr. Imus’ nor Mr. McGuirk’s deplorable comments. Our families are upset and with good reason. Instead of enjoying our first day off in a month to celebrate Easter with our families, this was the topic of conversation.

The 10 of us up here attend the eighth-oldest institution of higher education in the country, and not to mention one of the most difficult academically. We are 10, simply put, student athletes. But this morning, instead of attending study hall and class, I stand here to address you about something that never should have happened.

I’m extremely proud of my teammates. I’m proud when we walk through an airport on the way to or from a road trip, dressed alike in Rutgers gear with pressed pants and nice shoes. I believe we present ourselves well, both on and off the court, even though Mr. Imus seemed to think differently.

But then again, he knows not one of us.


-Heather Zurich


My Take on Imus

Always needing to qualify one's statements in this day and age, let me start off this article by stating what John Donald "Don" Imus (Imus in the Morning on syndicated radio and MSNBC) said on his show was more than inappropriate - it was reprehensible. And no one knows it better than Imus himself. Here is exactly what he said:

SID ROSENBERG (substitute sports announcer for Imus in the Morning): Yeah, Tennessee won last night -- seventh championship for (Tennessee coach) Pat Summitt, I-Man. They beat Rutgers by 13 points.
IMUS: That's some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos and...
BERNARD McGUIRK (Show producer and contributor): Some hard-core hos.
IMUS: That's some nappy-headed hos there. I'm gonna tell you that now, man, that's some -- woo. And the girls from Tennessee, they all look cute, you know, so, like -- kinda like -- I don't know.

Imus, for his part, has been more contrite, and it's genuine contrition, than anyone I have ever heard before regarding such matters. I listen to Imus in the Morning just about every day. I find Imus to both self -aggrandizing, self-promoting and, at the same time, genuinely caring about the world around him. Imus speaks about his young son with his new, young wife as if he is the only child on planet Earth, and we have all been waiting for him to be born for our salvation since the beginning of time, while never mentioning his four daughters from a previous marriage. I have heard Imus raise millions of dollars for such things as the prevention of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome); cancer research; the children's hospital at the Hackensack (NJ) Medical Center and so many other causes (including his own cattle ranch for children with cancer) that it should make most other public figures blush with shame.

His comments were inexcusable. Let there be no doubt about that. And when I hear the criticism presented by just about everybody, I feel that it's completely justified. But when I hear the Reverend Al Sharpton and the Reverend Jesse Jackson blast him about it, it makes my head want to explode, or as Imus might say, "It makes my hair hurt."

First, Jesse Jackson: In January, 1984 Jesse Jackson refers to Jews as "Hymies" and New York City as "Hymie-town". These remarks were made to a black reporter, the Washington Post's Milton Coleman. Maybe Rev. Jackson figured that he could say whatever he wanted to another black man and simply get away with it. Maybe he just decided to bring out what was in his heart.

At first, Jackson denied ever saying those words, compounding his stupidity with a lie. But in the end, Jackson came out and said he was sorry, even though he did it in New Hampshire rather than New York. As a Jew, I forgave him, even though I knew I would never forget. For his part, Jackson has seemed to learn from his idiotic statement and I believe that he is a better leader today because of it.

Now on to Al Sharpton: Where should I begin Should I begin with the false accusation of New York City police detectives and prosecutor in the Twana Brawley case, where his only motivation seemed to be self-promotion at the expense of a young girl who made a mistake? Or maybe we should begin with Rev. Sharpton's characterization of a Harlem business owner (who happens to also be ) Jewish as a "white interloper"; an act which seemed to add fuel to a fire which ended in the store's destruction from a firebomb and seven deaths.

Although it was much harder for me to forgive Rev. Sharpton then Re. Jackson, I've been able to do so.

However, when TV news shows present Rev. Jackson and Rev. Sharpton as the voices of an enraged African American community and fails to mention their participation - whether unintentional or for other reasons - it simply galls me. As contrite as Jesse Jackson was after: (A) his "Hymie-Town" statement and; (B) his lying about it; and after Al Sharpton's rise from his own, self-inflicted ashes, one has to ask these two why isn't Imus' apology enough?

Imus faces a two-week suspension, which might or might not be enough. Anyone who has listened to his show know that his comedic editorializing (if one could call it that) knows no bounds. As a Jew, I have said to myself while listening to his show "Can he really say that about us?" Then I realize that no one group is left out of his show's sights. I haven't heard anyone screaming about McGuirk's Cardinal O'Connor or Egan impersonations, from the Catholic community or any other. Likewise, I haven't heard a peep about the characterization of New York Met's General Manager Omar Minaya or Attorney General Alberto Gonzales from the Hispanic community. Even as McGuirk portrays New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, no one in the African American community made a peep.

In fact, if memory serves me correctly, Rev. Jackson has been a guest on Imus' show even as characterizations of other ethnic and racial groups have been made on the show.


When (and if) C. Vivian Stringer, the coach of the Rutgers Lady Knights basketball team meets with Don Imus, along with her team; and if she feels that he should give up his radio show, I'll stand behind her. However, forgiving but never forgetting might be in order here from the likes of Rev. Jackson and Rev. Sharpton. I'll allow the student athletes of Rutgers women's basketball team, and Coach Stringer herself, to forgive, or not forgive, Don Imus.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to, "Stuff from 'Ask the White House'" , Robert Scardapane writes:

The Goon failed to mention:
1) The money in a HSA earns no interest.
2) The money in a HSA can only be used for health care reasons.

HSA's are yet another failed attempt to patch up the broken private insurance system. Only a Republican could possibly think the fix is to be found in the tax code. The system is inherently broken as it maximizes profit by denying coverage. Single payer health care is the best way to go.

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-Noah Greenberg