Homelessness rising
In St. Petersburg, Fla., a homeless tent city called “Coming Up” took over a vacant lot. The camp grounds are expected to grow rapidly as the city does nothing to supply housing for the homeless.
Since the homeless are frequently arrested and sentenced to jail for two or three weeks for the “crime” of sleeping under a highway overpass, the establishment of “Coming Up” will increase ability to get a nights sleep, without being harassed or arrested, for illegal sleeping.

Jesse Kern
Via e-mail

A request
Maybe you can write something about Lori Berenson, the American activist who has been in prison in Peru for many years as a “terrorist.” As a 20-year-old, I got imprisoned in Java, then a Dutch colony near Japan. I got out alive by being polite. Thoughts are free. Now at 85 and almost blind, I cannot forget prison.

Lilo Heller
Mill Valley CA

Behind the rhetoric
The true agenda of the Republican Party is to control the American citizen from conception to death. A salient strategy of this scheme is to deprive women, especially those of whom are trapped in poverty, racism and despair, of their reproductive choices.
Their ultimate reasons have nothing to do with an alleged metaphysical sacred value of all human life, regardless of quality, suffering, hopelessness of recovery, or any other humane and rational considerations.
The truth of the matter is not some misguided theology that wishes to negate free will and preserve “life.” The reason the Republicans wish to deny women, especially minority and socio-economically deprived women, their reproductive rights is a trinity of capitalistic desires:
1. They want a surplus as cannon fodder for their imperialistic, capitalistic military adventurisms.
2. A surplus population is exploited in slave/wage “unskilled” worker jobs.
3. This population, primarily through draconian drug laws and the hopeless/helplessness of economic repression, provides an ever-increasing supply of slave labor for America’s swelling prison population — the largest in the world!

Victor L. Klein
Metairie LA

Makes sense
After reading CPUSA Chair Sam Webb’s “No mandate, no surrender,” I’m finally getting the picture: “The grip of the extreme right over the entire federal government should be of great concern to every democratic person, regardless of his or her political persuasion.”

George Cooper
Irving TX

Thought-provoking piece
I commend the PWW in printing Michael T. Klare’s article “The post-abundance era” (PWW 12/16-22). Preparing and educating the working class on the dangers of a world running low on energy resources should be a priority. Whether you call it post-abundance or “peak oil,” the meaning is the same; future production from oil-rich countries cannot meet the world’s growing demand. Surplus margins on the open market are extremely tight, which only increases tensions among the competing imperialist nations. We should be doing all we can to prevent any military attack on Iran while preparing for the coming post-abundance era. It will happen sooner than we like.

Doug Smiley
Indianapolis IN

Employee Free Choice Act support
I want to help support the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, and hope that you might be able to help publicize my cause to further our mutual interests.
I am a pro-employee activist who tried to initiate discussions to consider the pros and cons of forming a union at my ex-company, a high tech firm. Even this innocent discussion group was subject to harassment by management, and they refused to allow me access to publicize my nascent group’s meetings. I filed an NLRB charge and eventually the company settled, putting up a notice out of sight of the majority of employees. Unfortunately, this was only after I resigned when it was clear that the company had no intention of honoring U.S. labor laws.
Because I am not affiliated with unions, nor am I a member of the Communist Party, I think my experience would resonate with average Americans. I merely want to have the option to organize when working conditions or wages become unacceptable. I believe when companies feel that there is no chance of a union forming, and then our wages and benefits will be forced into competition with other countries. In my specific case, I was required to assist in the offshoring of thousands of local jobs, and I wanted employees to weigh making high profits against the damage to our community and decide if employee shareholders wanted to protest the offshoring.

John Rose
Via e-mail

Re: ‘Fix the Levees’
I am grateful for your coverage of the New Orleans City Council’s unanimous passage of a resolution supporting the 8/29 Commission, a bipartisan independent commission to investigate the failure of the federal levees in metro New Orleans. (PWW 1/13-19). I am writing to correct just a couple of things.
Stanford Rosenthal is my 16-year-old son who designed and created the web site as well as the logo and commemorative poster. I, his mother, am the founder of Levees.Org. I am happy to tell you also that Congressman Bobby Jindal (R-La.) publicly supports the 8/29 Commission.
Again, thank you for covering the news on the petition for the 8/29 Commission.

Sandy Rosenthal
New Orleans LA

When did that happen?
Stephen Hadley, national security adviser, has stated that the White House already has money appropriated by Congress to move the additional forces to Iraq. The question is, when was that money appropriated and for how many troops?

John Gilman
Milwaukee WI