Monday, March 23, 2015

Recommended reading today: Bruce Murphy, Bill Kaplan

Bruce Murphy focuses on Walker's unconscionable and wasteful plan to cut off thousands of Wisconsinites from food stamps.

I've been writing about the issue and its context here, or here, for example, but Murphy's piece, raising the specter of hunger, is tough and definitive: 

Now the Walker administration is quietly implementing a legislative change that will slash food assistance to poor people across the state beginning on April 1. A Legislative Fiscal Bureau report has estimated that more than 31,000 people statewide will be quickly thrown out of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. Some 14,500 of those will be in Milwaukee County, the Hunger Task Force estimates. Long-term both those numbers are likely to double.
“It’s going create a whole new class of poor people,” says Sherrie Tussler, Hunger Task Force’s executive director. Her organization projects a 42 percent increase in hungry people in the county within the first year of the program and worries that food pantries and soup kitchens operated by churches and volunteers will be overwhelmed.
Separately,  I thought Bill Kaplan wrote a nice tribute to the late Madison Congressman Bob Kastenmeier, a true public citizen and longtime champion of peace and civil liberties:

Yes, it was gutsy to oppose a war, but it took heroism to speak out against a slaughter waged by the president of your own party and most of Congress. The Vietnam horror was a misbegotten catastrophe. More than 58,000 Americans, including 1,160 Wisconsinites, came home in body bags. And, nearly 3 million Vietnamese died. It took too much time for Congress and the American people to heed the wisdom of Kastenmeier, a WWII veteran. 
Bob also spoke truth to power on other issues. He was among a handful to vote against funding the so-called House Un-American Activities Committee. His friend and colleague California Democratic Rep. Don Edwards recalled: "What the committee actually did was break up families, turn friends into enemies, and destroy reputations and lives, while demonstrating that the United States government could take on characteristics that are usually associated with our totalitarian adversaries." 
Moreover, Bob championed civil rights legislation, and more. In 1964, LBJ, fearful of controversy and loss of support from southern white voters, moved to seat a Mississippi segregationist delegation at the Democratic convention over an integrated pro-civil rights delegation. Bob dissented. 

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