New York 2010
On May 2, 2010, the International Day of Action, 10,000 of us walked from Times Square to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at the United Nations building in New York. We were speaking out for a nuclear-free, peaceful, just and sustainable world.
I was surrounded by the “conscience of the world” – peace makers, anti-war activists, environmentalists, union organizers, nuclear abolitionists and the Hibakusha, survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. More than 2,000 Japanese traveled to New York to be here as the UN takes up its discussion on nuclear weapons and 100 of them are Hibakusha. They will be here for the next couple of weeks telling their stories. Their stories are very powerful and heart breaking, but their physical presence alone is testimony to their strength of spirit. They are so slight, so frail, so fragile and other-worldly. It's as if they exist here now – but might dissolve into pure spirit at any moment.
And this is the call, the message, the demand from the international community – we must abolish nuclear weapons now. The Hibakusha are our moral witnesses to the world's only atomic bombing. When they are gone, and that time is close at hand, we will have lost this connection.
Mayors for Peace have made a commitment to the Hibakusha to abolish nuclear weapons by 2020, which is the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Mayors for Peace has 3,880 member cities from 143 countries and regions and is the leading organization devoted to protecting cities from war and mass destruction. You can learn more about the mayors and their commitment at www.2020visioncampaign.org. I have heard Tadatoshi Akiba, the mayor of Hiroshima and president of Mayors for Peace explain the absolute moral necessity of a successful nuclear abolition movement. Yes, he used the word abolition and not reduction. Maybe mayors will save the world. Wouldn't that be something? Let's get Little Rock, North Little Rock, Conway, Bryant, Hot Springs and every city in Arkansas signed on and be part of creating a nuclear-free world.
I am a great admirer of Bob Lancaster's work. He has cultivated the practice of being a smart-ass to the level of high art. In a “culture” as ridiculous as the one we currently endure, I consider this a lofty achievement. I also enjoy his sometimes oblique references to some of my personal heroes such as H.L. Mencken, W.C. Fields and, April 15, one Jerome Horowitz, also known as Jerry “Curly” Howard.
The column contained a sentence, which, in reference to Toyota, read: “Maybe because, as Curly Howard used to say, they're at least partly victims of coicumstance.” I must contend, after careful scrutiny of Mr. Howard's work over a period of many years, that he never stated that he or anyone else was “at least partly” a victim of coicumstance. I suggest that the sentence should have read: “Maybe because they were at least partly, as Curly Howard used to say, victims of coicumstance.” Please forgive me for being critical, but I think you will agree that, when dealing with the legacy of an artist of Mr. Howard's stature, we must spare no effort in maintaining the highest level of accuracy.
If, since this letter pertains to a question of sentence structure, the editorial staff of the Times feels it should appear in Doug Smith's excellent column, I defer to said staff's superior judgment.
I'm tired of the United States having to bear the monetary and human costs of this “Mexicans Without Borders” nonsense. It's absolute lunacy having to defend any homeland security/immigration/border protection program or legislation against charges of racism or racial profiling. Mexico is a corrupt, third-world nation hemorrhaging its population northward — towards us. Fifth graders can spell I-N-V-A-S-I-O-N; can you?
Beware of fire ants
Have you ever run across a fire ant hill? It's that large mound of earth, without a sign of life. But if you disturb just one grain of their dirt, there is an eruption of thousands of fire ants, whose only mission is to punish all who are near with sting after sting after sting. Recently, you may have noticed the fire ants have awakened and are staging spontaneous town hall stingings.
We haven't seen a fire ant explosion this violent since the early 1990s when the Clinton administration announced its intention to fix the health insurance debacle. After an orgy of stinging, the fire ants drove all from their territory, then retired back to their lairs to await the next intruders.
Their sleep was disturbed, once again, when our new president announced his intention of getting health insurance for those who didn't qualify, were unemployed, were too poor, or were too sick. That was just too much! The fire ants threw off their protective cover, sallied forth by the thousands to do battle.
Where were these fire ants eight years ago when we invaded a sovereign country, by mistake? Instead of saying, “Oops! Pardon, me,” and retiring, we stayed to kill and die, still! The fire ants slumbered.
And where were these fire ants when our government wouldn't let us photograph our returning dead….they slumbered still.
Remember Katrina? Our president promised to “Rebuild New Orleans back to its former glory.” Have you seen New Orleans lately? Where are fire ants when you need them?
When I escape from the fire ants that are trying to sting me to death, I can read their little signs, “Help the poor AMA,” “Help the poor pharmaceutical companies,” “Help the poor hospitals,” and, “Help the poor Insurance companies.” There isn't one sign that says, “Help the poor.”
My daughter isn't poor. She has health insurance. When she needed back surgery, her insurance company sent her a bill for $20,000. Her doctor did battle and they forgave her, but she had no insurance for the rest of the year. Now, thanks to the “free market system,” she is paying for two insurance policies.
Remember, those fire ant mounds are merely waiting for a cue to come out again. Our only weapon may be fire ant eradication. They sell it everywhere. Because of the free market system, you may have to shop a little.