Thank you to Marc Haefele for his call to make world federation again a cause for progressive activist forces ["The Real World Organization," December 1016]. Many of the Seattle protesters seemed vaguely to oppose the WTO as some kind of nascent (and highly unrepresentative) world government. But the truth is precisely the opposite. The WTO engages in national rule-breaking. What is needed is some mechanism for transnational rule-making.
The WTO's purpose is to invalidate national laws regarding such matters as labor rights and environmental protections. Even if we were to do away with it -- as many of the protesters demanded -- transnational corporations would continue to pit national government against national government, relentlessly driving them toward low standards and lax enforcement in a desperate "race to the bottom" to attract business and investment. What is needed is not the abolition of the WTO, but the opposite of the WTO. What is needed is transnational governance of transnational corporations.
--Tad Daley, J.D., Ph.D.
Vice President, Global Security Institute
Howard Blume's article "The Day the Bureaucrats Listened" [December 1016] was wrong! First of all, Board of Education members were not "cowed" by the parents speaking at the November 30 Committee of the Whole meeting. The meeting was held in response to yet another policy change enacted by LAUSD staff without consulting the board.
As soon as I learned about the change, I took three steps. The first step was to notify chief operating officer Howard Miller of the reduction of funds for the LEARN schools. Upon notification, Mr. Miller, along with interim Superintendent Ramon Cortines, immediately suspended the previous memo that called for reduced per-pupil budget allocations, pending further investigation. It is imperative that these important decisions be made by the board after public discussion, and not by staff without benefit of the board's counsel and direction.
My second step was to schedule a meeting of the Committee of the Whole (which I chair as board vice president) in order to inform the entire board of the problem. Finally, I notified all the LEARN schools of the meeting and invited them to voice their concerns.
Rather than bowing to parental pressure, parents, teachers, administrators and board members were unified in our resolve to reverse a poor staff decision. I have been assured by Mr. Cortines that this will not happen again. Staff should not, and in the future will not, make such decisions without the approval of the board.
Los Angeles City Board of Education
I wanted to send you my heartfelt thanks for Robert Lloyd's very moving and insightful obituary for Rick Danko [December 1723]. When he wrote of Rick, "He sang like a man who had no defenses at all," I couldn't hold back my tears. Rick already sang like the angels; let's hope he's up there now, teaching them how to lay down the groove.
Re: Falling James' Readings Pick of the Week [December 1723]. Why the remark about the Carma Bums? The way it was handled amounts to a gratuitous insult to both the group and S.A. Griffin. I can't think of anyone who has done more on behalf of poetry -- including putting a lot of money where his mouth is -- and yet is attacked as much as he has been. I don't understand it, and I'm sick and tired of it.
While I found Doug Harvey's article "Blue Chips" [December 1016] very interesting, especially the section dedicated to Joni Mitchell, I also found some inaccuracies and omissions. For example, when Joni attended Alberta College of Art, she did not have to change her name to avoid being confused with Joan Mitchell, because at that time her last name was not Mitchell but Anderson. She became Joni Mitchell only after marrying Chuck Mitchell, her first husband, with whom she sang in a folk duo for a short while.
Also, her first album was not named Joni Mitchell but rather Song to a Seagull. The title was spelled out in the seagulls on the front cover. Also, the "swirling psychedelic watercolor" artwork surrounds not one but two fish-eye photographs: a small one on the front cover and a larger one on the back. I know, because I am the photographer.
F.X. Feeney's Magnolia review ["This Is Your Life," December â 1723] was a travesty. While well-crafted and well-acted, director Paul Thomas Anderson's movie was also pretentious, excessive in length and irritating. Every character, specifically every female character, is drawn as an over-the-edge pill-popping or coke-snorting or alcoholic shrieking fragile victim, whore and bitch. A real pleasure to be around these characters, let me tell ya. What is the entertainment value of celebrating human weakness for three hours? Thanks for the cynicism, Paul, and I certainly hope that we're not all as irredeemably fucked-up as your characters.
Ernest Hardy's article about Mos Def and Armand van Helden ["Do U Know Us?," December 1016] was a wonderful bit of thinking and writing. Thanks.
Arts Editor, San Francisco Bay Guardian
CHRISTIAN, NOT CRANKY
Re: Wyn Hilty's "Y2K: Now With Fewer Cranky Christians!" [October 2228]. I am a computer-industry professional, very well versed in Y2K and guys like Gary North and Ed Yardeni, and have been watching developments vigilantly since summer 1998. I am also a Christian, the type that has no sticker on my vehicle and makes no attempt to give anyone the "good news" on a daily basis. That said, I simply want to point out that it's quite common that an issue like Y2K gets to be the wrapping for a potshot at Christians, painting them largely as hysterical morons in the midst of a sober and supremely intelligent secular society.
Well, Ms. Hilty can pooh-pooh every doomsday prediction (backed by those Krazy Kristians) that she wants, and as far as Y2K is concerned, I pray she's right about the outcome. Still, according to the Book of Revelation, someday she'll be very wrong. And that's something to think about.
P.S.: I think any rational person can see people like Gary North for what they are. But I don't think you should seek out such bozos and portray them as poster children for Christianity.
Re: Hope Urban's "In Search of a Home" [December 1723]. Doug Ring's petulant, self-righteous comment about Los Feliz opposition to his Children's Museum reveals his ignorance of Griffith Park and its neighborhood. For his information, Griffith Park is yearly visited by "large quantities [in fact, millions] of children who represent the diversity of Los Angeles." What the opponents to this giveaway are fighting is the city handing one square inch of these same children's parkland to an enterprise as dubious as the Children's Museum, which attracts a minuscule fraction of the children who visit real museums such as the Natural History Museum or the Museum of Science and Industry, not to mention Griffith Park's own Autry Museum, Griffith Observatory and Los Angeles Zoo.
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