Saturday, August 29, 2009

Contact info, a tribute to Ted Kennedy, and a review of my book cited

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Organized labor and all working people lost a champion when U.S. Sen. Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy of Massachusetts died this past Tuesday. I covered and interviewed Kennedy as a congressional reporter in the 1980s, and I covered him most recently when he spoke at the 2005 convention of the AFL-CIO in Chicago. At that convention, his words, like always, were stirring and right on target. "Unions have given workers the voice they need. You've led the effort on every piece of progressive legislation in our country. This is a fairer country because of six letters: A-F-L-C-I-O. We are going to fight, fight, fight! We stand together in our founding purpose--to achieve social and economic justice."

Speaking about the then-ruling, anti-union Bush Administration, Kennedy said, "We are facing the most anti-worker, anti-labor, anti-union administration in memory. We will out-organize, out-strategize them every step of the way!" Kennedy said he came from a family representing "seventy-nine years of voting for labor. The Kennedys are with you. We know the difference you make in the lives of working people." All laboring folks are going to miss him and his influence in American politics.

On another note:
You might want to check out the September edition of In These Times magazine. It includes a review of my book Covering for the Bosses: Labor and the Southern Press. Reviewer Roger Bybee called the book "compelling" and said it "vividly shows" how a "crucial component of genuine democracy has been grievously lacking in the South: independent mass media willing to challenge and investigate corporate power and to serve as a voice of those shut up by bosses, shut out of power and shut down by multinational corporations seeking ever cheaper labor."

That "voice' is what this little blog tries to do its share in providing.

In an e-mailed note to me this week, Bybee had this to say: "Corporate America has truly succeeded in imposing the Southern model of low wages, no union, and autocratic rule on much of the world."

Bybee is a widely-published Milwaukee-based writer who edited The Racine Labor weekly in Racine, Wisconsin, for many years, and whose "grandfathers and father were socialist and labor activists." Check out his Web site:

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