CodePink and the Salinas Action League, working together to save the libraries in Salinas, actually get some press from the New York Times. From Carolyn Marshall's "In Steinbeck's Birthplace, a Fight to Keep the Libraries Open:"
The read-in, organized by groups including Code Pink and the Salinas Action League, began Saturday afternoon and included a pitched-tent sleepover on the lawn of the Chavez library and readings by authors including Anne Lamott and Maxine Hong Kingston.
The actor Hector Elizondo, known for his work in the television drama "Chicago Hope," told supporters on Saturday that public libraries had been instrumental to his personal development and safety as a boy growing up in Harlem. Mr. Elizondo said that closing a library was "like putting a tourniquet around your mind."
[. . .]
The poignancy of library closings occurring in Steinbeck's birthplace has elevated the Salinas problem. But according to the American Library Association, branches across the nation have been forced to reduce hours, eliminate staff and thin inventories. Library services have been cut in Lancaster, Pa.; Onondaga County, N.Y.; and Detroit. The library in Bedford, Tex., closed its doors last Wednesday and will remain closed for at least six months.
Rick Lyman's "Gay Couples File Suit After Michigan Denies Benefits" is worth reading:
In November, Michigan voters, along with those in 12 other states, approved legislation to define marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. On March 16, Michigan's attorney general, Mike Cox, took that one step further, ruling that passage of the constitutional amendment meant that gay and lesbian state workers should be ineligible for health benefits for their partners in future contracts.
Michigan is not the only state in which a battle over the rights of same-sex partners is under way. But it has become the focus of attention with the filing of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union in which 21 same-sex couples are asking the state courts to clarify whether the amendment's passage means the loss of their benefits.
"A lot hinges on what happens in the case in Michigan," said Jeremy Bishop, program director for National Pride at Work, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s constituency group for gay workers. "If the courts rule unfavorably for us, then I can well imagine the right wing taking the same argument to all 13 states that passed these amendments last year."
We'll also note this, from the ACLU's web site, "ACLU Calls for United States to Respect Universal Human Rights at Home and Abroad:"
A delegation of attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union arrived in Geneva this morning to attend the 61st meeting of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. The delegation seeks to bring issues of torture and detention, racial profiling and the exploitation of migrant domestic workers in the U.S. to the Commission’s attention.
"If the U.S. government truly wants to be a beacon of liberty and freedom around the world, it must abide by the same universal human rights principles it requires of the rest of the world," said Ann Beeson, ACLU Associate Legal Director.
The U.N. Commission on Human Rights was established in 1946 to monitor and uphold universal human rights standards around the world. The Commission’s 54 member states meet for six weeks every year and act as a forum in which countries large and small, non-governmental groups and human rights defenders from around the world can voice their human rights concerns. The Commission has created independent procedures and mechanisms directed by renowned international human rights experts mandated to examine, monitor and publicly report on human rights situations in specific countries or territories and on major phenomena of human rights violations worldwide.
And turning back to the Times, Lynda e-mails to note Robert Pear's "Doctors Lobbying to Halt Cuts to Medicare Payments:"
Doctors are mobilizing a nationwide lobbying campaign to stave off cuts in their Medicare fees as Congress hunts for ways to rein in the soaring cost of the insurance program.
Because of a quirk in federal law, Medicare will cut payments to doctors by 4 percent to 5 percent in each of the next six years, Bush administration officials say.
[. . .]
Dr. Nancy H. Nielsen, the speaker of the House of Delegates of the American Medical Association, said the cuts "would have a devastating effect on access to care" for elderly and disabled patients.
Rob echoes the feelings of many in his morning e-mail when he asks: "Where is the news? We've got Face the Nation's Blinky in the business pages and that's a pretty good sign of how void of news the paper today is. Lot of stories about the Pope's death. Not a lot more than that. I guess the death pageant continues."
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