Asbestos puts Montana children at risk

I don’t know if you’ve heard of my town (Libby, Mont.) but we have the highest asbestos levels in the nation thanks to W.R. Grace’s mines.

Over half the people here have some sort of asbestos-caused disease. Right now our governor is in Washington trying to get the Senate to allow a certain type of test so that the state of Montana can find out who is eligible for compensation from W.R. Grace.

Bush’s party is trying to shut him down on every aspect, saying that the entire nation has been affected the same. But our local newspaper said it best: “We aren’t talking about a factory here, an entire town is affected.” It’s not only in the air we breathe but in the houses we live in.

I’ve only lived here for seven years but I have two small children who were born here and will probably spend the rest of their lives here. The last thing I want for them is the fear of dying from a problem that happened before their time.

If I remember correctly didn’t Bush say that we needed to look out for our nation’s children for they were the future? Well what about the children and people of Libby, Montana? We are a part of this nation, so isn’t time we’re treated like it?

Sam Darby
Libby MT

Ports for the people

Dan Margolis’s article on the Dubai Ports World controversy (PWW 3/4-10) is useful and clarifies much, but I would like to add a further comment, which is that I would not be any happier to have Halliburton, Bechtel or Wal-Mart running the ports than the United Arab Emirates entity. Ever greater multilateral corporate control of ports, railways, airports and other key communication and transportation links is something that affects not only the United States but other countries as well, especially poorer nations who are in a subordinate position in the vast imperialistic set-up of corporate globalization. U.S. corporations are a far greater threat to the national sovereignty and thus security of such countries than Dubai Ports is to U.S. security. We should steer clear of the opportunistic Arab-bashing that the controversy has generated, and take a stand for democratic, public control over such entities and functions worldwide.

Emile Schepers
Northern Virginia

Bush and horses

I enjoyed Paul Hill’s article about Tom DeLay (“DeLay lashes out as support plummets,” PWW 1/21-27). Is no one making a stink about DeLay being on the subcommittee overseeing the Abramoff investigation?

Democrats and Republicans (Demopublicans and Republicrats) are like the World Wrestling Federation: they argue and fight like hell while on stage and then they party backstage like buddies.

Does the PWW have a paper edition that can be distributed? I live in a small town in Texas and many folks don’t have Internet access. This paper could open some eyes especially those that think Baby Bush is a rancher and cowboy. The guy is afraid of horses! I know that for a fact.

Thanks for all your hard work.

James Whitworth
Blanco TX

Duckworth and abortion

I would like to make a correction to the article on the 6th Congressional race in Illinois (PWW 3/4-10). The article stated that “both Cegelis and Duckworth are strongly pro-choice, defend privacy rights of women and oppose parental consent for teenagers seeking abortions.”

That is not true. Duckworth has made equivocating statements on abortion rights and has waffled on parental notification.

According to Nation columnist Katha Pollitt, “Duckworth told the Washington Post she thinks abortion shouldn’t be a federal issue. That’s not exactly a ringing defense of abortion rights, since unfortunately it is a federal issue.”

In addition, Duckworth has waffled on the question of parental notification. In November, she said she was against it. But in February she said might be able to support it if it included a judicial bypass for cases of rape and incest. When pressed on this, she said, “I really don’t know.” Later she “clarified” her position, once again saying she opposed parental notification.

These equivocating and waffling statements do not indicate a “strong pro-choice” position. On the contrary. As Katha Pollitt said, “I would trust Cegelis a thousand times over Duckworth to take progressive stands once elected, including on women’s rights and abortion rights.”

A resident of the 6th Congressional District
Via e-mail

The author, John Bachtell, responds: Both Tammy Duckworth and Christine Cegelis were endorsed by Planned Parenthood of Illinois because “they are candidates that support choice, family planning and quality sex education.” Emily’s List, also an organization dedicated to electing pro-choice candidates, also endorsed Duckworth. David Moberg in a Feb. 22 article in “In These Times” says, “Both Duckworth and Cegelis identify themselves as pro-choice, but Duckworth in particular tries to encompass abortion within broader privacy rights.” A call to the Duckworth campaign office also elicited the response that, “Of course, she’s pro-choice.” It’s safe to say that if voters nominate either Cegelis or Duckworth, the Democrats will field a pro-choice candidate in the 6th CD.

‘Honk against the war’

Throughout weekly peace vigils, which began Dec. 7, those who participated were amazed at how many cars honked, waved, and shouted support. Vigils will continue in front of the Unitarian Society of Germantown, Philadelphia, from 5-6 p.m. every Wednesday. Powerful signs invite cars to honk if they opposed war and want the U.S. out of Iraq.

We understand there was no “war” with Iraq, it was a U.S. invasion. Are Iraqis better off now than they were before the May 2003 invasion? According to Dexter Filkins, New York Times Baghdad correspondent, they are not. He claims that the rights of secular, educated women have been diminished. He also states that the only commonality of the 100 very diverse insurgents is that they all want the U.S. out of Iraq. There are surrounding countries that could be called upon for aid — Iraq does not need the U.S.

Does the U.S. need Iraq? During times of “war” the government can claim a need for support of its policies and claim as unpatriotic those who want their tax dollars to provide jobs, health care, education, housing, and a clean environment.

June Krebs
Philadelphia PA