WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR REBATE?
Starting the week of July 23, many Americans will begin receiving tax “rebates” as part of George W. Bush’s massive tax-cut scheme aimed at helping the rich get richer. Some readers, dismayed at how the rebates are being used to win support for Bush’s skewed priorities, have asked us to suggest ways to protest. As we see it, the rebates, unlike the broader tax cut plan, are progressive; everyone who pays taxes gets virtually the same amount. Also, they help people hurting from the economic downturn. But for those who feel they can afford to donate their rebate, the Nation Directory (www.thenation.com) lists worthy groups working for voting rights, reproductive rights and other forms of social justice. Or why not consider a donation to The Nation? We’ve received letters and e-mails suggesting just that (see this week’s “Letters” page). If you do forward your rebate to a worthy cause, write George W. Bush as follows: “Your tax rebate has enabled me to make a donation to _______________, which is fighting your repellent policies.”
TALKING UNION BLUES
In a little-noticed but far-reaching decision on May 29, the Supreme Court dealt a body blow to nascent efforts to organize professional workers. NLRB v. Kentucky River Community Care, Inc. concerned a group of registered nurses who had tried to exercise their right, under the National Labor Relations Act, to form a union. The NLRB had affirmed that right, declaring that the nurses were not supervisors because they could not use “independent judgment” in performing their duties, which included directing less-skilled employees. The Court disagreed. Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia disdained the “independent judgment” test, placing instead a greater burden on unions to prove that potential members are not supervisors. As a result, the American Medical Association has called off its organizing efforts among private-sector physicians, and similar efforts among nurses and other professionals will likely be stalled as well. So, thanks to this opinion, Scalia’s son Eugene, who was nominated to be Bush’s Solicitor of Labor despite (or because of) his longstanding commitment to suppressing the rights of working people, will enjoy a lighter work load.
LAST MEALS ON DEATH ROW
Charles Tanzer writes: For those who felt that the media’s publication of Timothy McVeigh’s last meal–two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream–was a bit morbid, it only gets worse. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice apparently has so little compunction about leading the nation in executions that it posts the final meal requests of condemned men on its website. A brief perusal of them gives a telling indication of the likely economic class of those on death row: There are many, many requests for double cheeseburgers, french fries and ice cream, but noticeably absent are such upper-class treats as lobster or filet mignon. Equally poignant are those who declined a last meal, one man instead requesting “God’s saving grace, love, truth, peace, and freedom,” another appealing for “Justice, Temperance, with Mercy.” There is no caviar on death row (see www.tdcj.state.tx.us/stat/deathrow.htm).