About those jets

Last week I called Bank of America to cancel two credit card accounts. The only reason I had the cards was because they gave a percentage of purchases to charitable groups I supported.

When the clerk asked me for my reason, I happily stated “#1 is the interest rate that should be a crime, #2 is that I asked to stop receiving cash advance checks but they didn’t stop, and the main reason is I resent dealing with a bank that’s living off the taxpayer when it should have gone under long ago — it’s not like it saved your job or anything.”

Now that I hear Citicorp has accepted a third corporate jet while on the dole, I’ll be calling Citibank about that card — unless maybe I hear that the jet has been donated to a needy cause … maybe such as GM?


Wanaque NJ

Here’s wishing President Obama marches to the melody of his own populist drummer, while relegating the discordant tunes of America’s presumed “royalty” to their rightful place in Tin Pan Alley.

Such as “King Henry,” as in the caption of a news photo recently, referring to Henry Paulson, former secretary of the treasury. We have people in this country, such as his “highness,” who think, act and live as if they were members of the King George III royal court.

Like the princely auto executives traveling in private jets when coming to Washington to ask for money (our taxpayer money, mind you).

Other barons of the kingdom who get huge bonuses and then severance packages for mediocre work, worthy of a D or E on the people’s report card.

The nobility of the banking fiefdom who accept billions without having to account for its use, thanks to “King” Paulson of Wall Street — billions that should be going to create jobs and help people with their mortgages, but instead have been going for dividend payments and bonuses to other barons and nobles of the corporate realm.

There are countless other wanna-be princes and princesses out there trying to join America’s “royal” family.

With exclusive houses … the bigger the better and more private.

Nothing less than first-class seats ever, or better yet their own private jets.

After all, there have to be symbols to separate “royalty” from the rest of us.

But more and more Americans are heeding the other national anthem of our nation, “This land is your land, this land is my land, this land (and all that’s in it) belongs to you and me.”

Lawrence H. Geller

Via e-mail

‘The Wrestler’

Bill Meyer’s “Introducing 2008 Progie nominees” is a great display of progressive films (PWW 1/17-23).

The list would be complete had a strong, tough working-class film been added: “The Wrestler.”

By omitting this film, also omitted is the strongest acting performance of the year, on the same level as Sean Penn in “Milk” — Mickey Rourke. Also, Marisa Tomei’s supporting actress role is quite amazing. Darren Ornofsky’s direction is the best.

This was low-budget film where the actors worked at well below scale.

Maybe it is Ornofsky and Tomei growing up in working-class Brooklyn and attending Edward R. Murrow High School that gave them the insight for this film. They and others understood why a film on cruel, raw wrestling is not out of bounds.

It is not your normal working-class film, not by a long shot. But, it is one.

Phil E. Benjamin

New York NY


I’m a high school student and a loyal reader of the PWW. I have also been watching the people’s movement in Nepal and am rather excited by it. I hope the PWW continues and expands its coverage on the first socialist revolution of the 21st century and the work of the CPN(M). Thank you!

Michael Z. Ladson

Radnor PA

Ink & paper vs. web

I think the move to first-class postage is wrong-headed and will work to your detriment.

Ink and paper newspapers are a thing of the past. The PWW should follow the lead of the Christian Science Monitor: an online newspaper supplemented, if necessary, by a periodic, limited-circulation ink and paper edition.

I recommend something like the New York Times: a daily free e-mail headline service linked to a web-based newspaper. Unlike the Times, the “full story” paper would carry a nominal cost, something like an automatic resubscription via credit card for a couple of dollars a month. (Back copies could be maintained in a free-of-cost archive for public use.)

A package like this wrapped in an intelligent reader should make it possible to reach more people at less cost, and provide better and more comprehensive coverage. Here I would definitely not follow the lead of the Christian Science Monitor, which will use a PDF format for a print-like newspaper; it’s too difficult to read and follow. I would use something like the Times’ “Today’s paper” which provides a single-page index (slightly annotated as to content) linked to whole articles (which would permit local copying/printing, change of font size/type, etc.)

Michael J. Dollard

Salem NY

O Canada

Obama’s inauguration has been met with enthusiasm by many Canadians. Nor has the fact that this isn’t the first time that African Americans and their leaders have dramatically inserted themselves at critical junctures in U.S. history to expand democracy been lost on Canadian Blacks. Black Canadians still face persistent social and economic racism in housing, employment and education.

As Nova Scotian Black Sen. Donald Oliver wrote in an open statement on Obama’s election, “Most Canadians also don’t know that segregation remained the order of the day for Blacks in Canada during much of the 20th century. During the First World War, Black men were denied the opportunity of serving their country in the regular army. They were instead relegated to a special construction battalion.

“Black women were not allowed to train as nurses alongside white women until the Toronto Negro Veterans Association and the Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Colored People put pressure on nursing schools in the late 1940s.

In bitter irony, three buses carrying young black Canadians on their way to see Obama sworn into office were detained for seven hours at the U.S. border as their passports were checked and rechecked. Trip organizer Tyrone Edwards, who is with the cultural youth program The Remix Project, pointed to religious and racial stereotyping. “There was no legitimate reason to hold us up,” he told the Toronto Star. The buses were eventually let through.

Johan Boyden

Toronto, Canada

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