About Me

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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Friday, April 27, 2007

April 28th, Workers' Memorial Day

Workers' Memorial Day

Since 1989, April 28th has been designated Workers’ Memorial Day. This date was chosen because it is the anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Every year, people in hundreds of communities and at worksites recognize workers who have been killed or injured on the job.

Last year a series of coal mine tragedies focused the nation’s attention on the dangers faced by workers. Twelve men died after an explosion at the Sago mine in West Virginia. Within a few weeks time, disasters at 8 other mines claimed additional lives. By the end of 2006, 47 coal miners lost their lives—twice as many as in 2005.

Over the last several decades, we’ve made a lot of progress in protecting workers on the job. Fatality and injury rates have fallen dramatically in many industries. But now that progress is halting and may be reversing. Last year more than 5700 workers were killed by job injuries. Another 50,000-60,000 died from occupational diseases, including more than 10,000 deaths from asbestos-related diseases. For Hispanic and immigrant workers, the situation is much worse. Workplace deaths have increased sharply, as many of these workers work in the most dangerous industries and jobs, exploited by employers with little or no protection. More than 8 million public employees still have no OSHA coverage and no legal rights or job safety protections.

Since taking office in 2001, the Bush administration as turned its back on workers and workplace safety. Siding with its corporate friends, the administration has overturned or blocked dozens of important workplace protections including OSHA’s ergonomics standards and new protections on tuberculosis, indoor air quality, reactive chemicals and cancer-causing substances to name but a few. At OSHA, voluntary compliance has been promoted over enforcement, and industry representatives have been put in charge of government safety programs, most notably at MSHA, the mine safety agency.

George Will, conservative columnist, once wrote that workers are merely a corporation’s “commodity”. Well, Mr. Will, if so, workers are a commodity that breathes and feels and bleeds and, too often, dies. They are a commodity who have families that depend on them, who produce the goods and services that you depend on, and who make up the heart and soul of this great country of ours. Corporations must make profits to be sure, but there can be no blood on our ledger books, there must be no pain because of our profits. In fact, when workplaces are truly safe, both the worker and the employer benefit. Job safety is good for business.

We must fight to make workplaces safe and make sure that the clock is not turned back so that the US becomes a low-wage economy where safety is ignored and workers are disposable.

Workers Memorial Day is a day on which we call for an end to injustices and rededicate ourselves to make our workplaces safer and our communities stronger. We call for strengthened safety laws to provide workers the protections to which they have a right. And we call for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, to restore workers’ rights to join a union so that they can have a real voice and be protected on the job.

Mary Harris “Mother Jones”, the great labor leader of the turn-of-the-century coal mines, called us to “Mourn for the Dead, and Fight Like Hell for the Living!” We mourn, we remember, and we will never stop fighting.
AFL-CIO Website on Workers' Memorial Day

National Letter Carriers' Food Drive on May 12th

Family Circus Supports the Food Drive

Mark May 12th on your calendar with a big red circle and write in it "Letter Carriers' Food Drive." This will be the date of the National Association of Letter Carriers drive to combat hunger in America. Last year, Oklahoma County had one of its most successful food drives, and we OK County Democrats need to do our part to make this year even better. Set out at least couple of bags of non-perishable food items for your local letter carrier to take back with her to the post office. The food collected will go to replenish the stores of the Regional Food Bank in OKC. We will need volunteers to help collect and transport the food items, so you will be hearing more about this later. Please do you part to show The Democratic Way in this important act of sharing. For more information, including posters you can download for your workplace, go to.

National Letter Carriers Food Drive

Monday, April 23, 2007

Persian-American Reception
Hispanic-American Reception

We have had two receptions at Oklahoma Democratic Party Headquarters recently. The first was sponsored by our Persian/Iranian American community. They are concerned about the Bush administration's attempt to lead us into another war in the Middle East, this time with Iran.

The other reception was for Hispanic Oklahomans. They are concerned about a wave of anti-immigrant legislation sweeping the nation in general and Oklahoma in particular.

The Iranian reception was a little better because they served Baklava. You cannot go wrong with any meeting if it has good Baklava, and theirs was some of the best I've ever had. However, I also liked the carne verde the Hispanics served. (No, I don't go primarily for the food!)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Friday, April 20, 2007

Give 'Em Hell Harry

Jeff Danziger

Harry Truman once said, "We Democrats simply tell the truth and the Republicans think we're giving them hell." Recently, another Harry has been giving them hell all over again.

Repubs have gotten their panties in a twist because Sen Harry Reid told them the truth that the war in Iraq has already been lost. As usual, they tried the old distraction game by saying his remarks showed, "Disrespect for the troops."

Well, Chuckles, the troops did not lose this war. You did and the little toy soldier you helped put in the White House managed to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. Our brave men and women did all that we could ask of them and more in Iraq. They still are. However, W and you boneheads forgot the lessons of history which say, "Don't over stay your welcome." No Army can occupy a nation for very long without that nation's explicit consent. The British couldn't do it in the colonies. The French couldn't do it in Vietnam. Russia couldn't do it in Afghanistan.

You lost this war, and the sooner you face up to that fact, the sooner our national shame can end.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Tribute to Kitti and Ron

Kitti Asberry and her husband Jeff
Ron and Linda Wasson
For the past 3 or 4 years, I have had the privilege to serve as the secretary of the Oklahoma County Democratic Party with two outstanding examples of what the Democratic Party is all about. Kitti Asberry stepped in when our fortunes were at a low ebb. She made a personal sacrifice and put up some of her own savings to help bail out the party when we incurred a huge debt through a combination of bad luck and a good idea gone wrong. Not only did Kitti's effort save our party a major embarrassment and trouble, she also turned out fundraising efforts around to where the party gave over $13,000 to the 2006 election effort, a party record statewide.

Ron acted as the treasurer, finance officer during this time. His knowledge of the rules governing ethics regulations took a huge burden off all of us. His good humor and graciousness, often in the face of others who were graceless, was a goodsend as we worked together.

Thanks Kitti and Ron and good luck wherever life takes you.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Thunderbirds Are Going to War

Insignia of the 45th Infantry, National Guard, "The Thunderbirds"

Guard units in 4 states may head to Iraq
Pentagon notifies brigades in Okla., Ohio, Ark., and Ind.; 13,000 troops
The Associated Press

TULSA, Okla. - The Department of Defense announced Monday it has notified National Guard brigades in Oklahoma, Ohio, Arkansas and Indiana to prepare for possible deployment to Iraq.

If the order is finalized, about 13,000 troops would begin deploying in December for a maximum of one year.

"They are receiving alert orders now in order to provide them the maximum time to complete their preparations," the Defense Department said in a prepared statement. "It also provides a greater measure of predictability for family members and flexibility for employers to plan for military service of their employees."

The troops would be used as replacement units and the deployment would not be associated with the current troop surge.

A final determination of whether these units will deploy will be made based on conditions on the ground in Iraq, the statement said.

The four National Guard brigade combat teams given the deployment alert were:

The 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Little Rock, Ark.
The 45th Infantry Brigade, Oklahoma City.
The 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Indianapolis.
The 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Columbus, Ohio.
© 2007 The Associated Press.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

It's Been A Beautiful Spring

Fruitless Pear Trees

It has turned colder lately. Spring has a way of doing that here on the Southern Plains. We had some very warm weather and then it got down below freezing. Even had some light sleet and snow. But we're on the way back.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Mirror


Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and George W. Bush went to a fitness spa for some fun. After a stimulating, healthy lunch, all three decided to visit the men's room and they found a strange-looking gent sitting at the entrance.

He said, "Welcome to the gentlemen's room. Be sure to check out our newest feature, a mirror that, if you look into it and say something truthful,
you will be rewarded with your wish.

But, be warned: if you say something FALSE, you will be sucked into the mirror to live in a void of nothingness for all eternity!"

The three men quickly entered and upon finding the mirror, Bill Clinton stepped up and said, "I think I'm the most intelligent of us three," and he suddenly found the keys to a brand new Bentley in his hands.

Al Gore stepped up and said, "I think I'm the most aware of the environmental problems of us three," and in an instant, he was surrounded by a pile of money to fund his next Presidential Campaign.

Excited over the possibility of finally having a wish come true, George W. Bush looked into the mirror and said,

"I think...," and was promptly sucked into the mirror.