Hurricane Wilma appeal

I applied for FEMA, I was denied. I applied for an SBA loan, I was denied. And now I applied for one-time food stamps and I was denied. I just moved to Florida. I have a son and a wife. I only make $20,000 a year. I haven’t made that yet. I just started working. My bank account is negative. I lost a week of work, had no power for two weeks and somehow I was still denied. I am not rich. Far from it. It is the day before Thanksgiving and I have not received my pay yet and I have no food for my family. Why do I pay taxes, why do I vote, why are all these people saying they’re going to help but do nothing? Can you help me?

Daniel Gomez, Homestead FL

Looking for Gulf Coast contacts

Re: “Using Katrina to exploit immigrants” (PWW 11/5-11).

I am working with a network organizing the skills and energy of law students in assisting the people of New Orleans and Gulf Coast areas devastated by the hurricane and the government’s response.

We’re particularly focused now on projects students could work on during their winter break — end of December and early January. We’re planning trips to New Orleans and other Gulf Coast areas area. In addition, we’re organizing students who will not be traveling but will commit to do legal research from their home. We’ve made contact with legal services and some grassroots organizations in NO who we will be working with and are interested in finding additional opportunities for students both in NO and other Gulf Coast areas and working from home.

I’m reaching out to see if you have contacts in NO or other Gulf Coast area who could use assistance on immigration and/or worker rights issues.

Hillary Exter , New York NY
Hillary Exter is director of Student Organizations & Publicity, Fordham Law School Public Interest Resource Center, HExter at law.fordham.edu.

Sports skills

The article by Pepe Lozano (“Chicago’s White Sox — a joyous inspiration,” PWW 11/12-18) was the best sports article I have ever read in the PWW. I’ve been reading the paper for the past five years. The content and tone is of a brilliant Marxist sports analyst. I hope for a May Day parade too brother! Keep writing.

Kin One, Via e-mail

Drug plan ripoff

I greatly appreciated the article appropriately titled, “The prescription drug law rip-off” (PWW 11/5-11). It’s the clearest thing I’ve seen on the tiny little “benefits” the drug companies allowed in the Medicare prescription drug bill that was ramrodded through Congress under the most suspicious circumstances last year.

I believe one of the very worst aspects of the law did not make the article. As I heard it explained, people must pick a drug provider based on the drugs offered and the prices posted. They sign up for one year and can’t change during that year. However, the drug provider can changes their prices or even stop providing certain drugs any time they choose!

Jim Lane, Dallas TX

A real drug plan

Reliance on private drug plans and other measures in the 2003 Medicare amendments are a disaster for Medicare recipients. Here in Illinois, seniors and people with disabilities face a confusing maze of more than 130 private drug plans. For most, what savings the Part D plans provide in 2006 will quickly disappear due to skyrocketing drug costs and annual increases in the coverage gap, deductible and other out-of-pocket costs.

The private Part D drug plans are a disaster for all American taxpayers. By prohibiting Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices and by subsidizing private insurance profits, Part D wastes nearly 50 cents of every dollar spent.

There is a better way. The Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans believes we can easily enact a real drug benefit that provides meaningful coverage and controls costs by negotiating drug prices just like the Veterans Administration does.

When asked what they want, our members say, “I want my Medicare to help with my drug costs. I want my doctor to decide what medicine I take.” Providing a drug benefit under the existing Medicare program would provide seniors the help they need and be a better deal for taxpayers. We should make it so.

Steve Pittman, Chicago IL
Steve Pittman is executive director of the Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans.

Different take on 50 Cent

Thanks to Carolyn Rummel for her review of 50 Cent’s film, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” (PWW 11/19-25). I and some fellow Young Communist League members were excited to see the paper talking about cultural issues affecting young people. “Get Rich or Die Trying” has a lot of hype around it. However, we disagree with Rummel’s political assessment of the film, its imagery and its impact on young people today. With all the shortcomings of corporate Hip Hop, it is difficult to recognize what is an expression of the working-class reality of Black people versus what is a harmful and problematic corporate distortion of that reality. We must question why corporate America is promoting artists who glorify a life of gang violence and drug dealing for Black and Latino/a youth.

50 Cent’s overall message is self-explanatory — “get rich or die trying.” Obviously 50 Cent is the one getting rich while the rest of us are dying. This film is not about how to “get out of the hood” and have a better life. The image of 50 Cent holding a gun in one hand and a microphone in another is not about choosing — it suggests that each represents a valid way to wealth and power. This film is about Black people killing Black people and possibly getting rich in the process.

As opportunities for young people have been washed away, the options that 50 Cent represents are not viable for those who would like to continue living. His profit-driven persona and the corporate mystification of it are tools capitalism uses to kill, criminalize and incarcerate young people.

Abdul Hassan, New York NY

Older than we thought

I noticed on your web site that you are plugging yourselves as “working class news and opinion since 1924.”

Actually, you’re two years older than you think you are. “The Worker” was established via a merger of “The Toiler” with “The Workers Council” in January 1922.

1924 was the year the paper went daily — but it originated in 1922.

Happy new birthday.

Tim Davenport, Corvallis OR