Saturday, April 24, 2004

Hi Folks,
it's Saturday Night, I'm in Inglewood California, well known as the past home of the LA Lakers and the town that rejected Walmart. I have mixed feelings about the Walmart ballot Measure 04-A which lost with 69% of the voters casting a ballot against it. There is no doubt that Walmart, with it's huge success, low salaries, their financing of the measure which attempted to bypass government regulations, and use of sweat shop labor internationally is at best a controversal corporation. But I found many of the commentaries criticizing Walmart were lazy journalism. It's easy to attack Walmart but there are many corporations that exploit their workers. One article that caught my eye was written by Ken Gracia, published in the San Francisco Chronical, Wal-Mart starts to pay the pay. The authors states that Inglewood's business district burnt down during the 1980 riots. This just wasn't completely true. Downtown Inglewood did not burn down. Actually Inglewood was known for it residents not participating the LA riots. I would appreciate more investigative journalism about corporate America. How are workers treated, are these entities given too much economic advantage and what is their advantage or disadvantage within communites.

I'm in LA this weekend to visit my sister and her family but I'm also here for my annual trek to LA TIMES Festival of Books at UCLA. The weather was beautiful, warm and sunny - something rarely experienced in San Francisco. It was a perfect day to wander the campus - checking out books, authors, and family entertainment. Usually I buy a few books but not this year I have a backlog of purchased books to read and sadly the sales and specials at the Festival do not exceed visiting your neighborhood book store. But the selections always makes it a tempting environment.

My highlite this year was the panel discussion, Can America Pursue a Moral Foreign Policy? The panel members were Chalmers Johnson, Saul Landau, James Mann, and Samantha Power with Jacob Heilbrunn as Moderator. Samantha Power was the draw but I'm planning to read the other panel members books. The panel discussion on America foreign policy and Human Rights reinforced my fears that the country is slipping more and more into militarism. One of my favorite quotes is "America has no friends only allies and Common Interest".


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