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Views in brief

September 21, 2007 | Page 8

Jay Leno's racist rant
One last Snow job
NNOC's fight for nurses' rights

Jay Leno's racist rant

IN HIS monologue on The Tonight Show on September 6, Jay Leno said that the cab drivers in the ongoing New York City taxi workers' strike have little to worry about in terms of employment since they have "jobs in al-Qaeda to fall back on."

Bangladesh, Pakistan and India are the top three countries of origin of New York taxi workers--which makes the link to al-Qaeda obvious only if you're a moron or a racist.

I was glad to see that there was a substantial groan from the audience. Kevin Eubanks, Leno's African American musical director and comic foil, added another level to it: "It's hard enough for me to get a cab already."

But Leno's is exactly an example of the kind of explicit racism against Arabs, Muslims and South Asians that you can get away with in today's U.S. media, even as people like Don Imus are shown the door (and rightfully so) for explicitly anti-Black racist comments. I don't think Leno's corporate endorsers will be withdrawing their support any time soon.
Pranav Jani, Columbus, Ohio

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One last Snow job

POOR TONY Snow. When Snow, the White House press secretary, said he was retiring recently, he complained, "I ran out of money." Snow, who probably made a ton more in his previous career hosting crappy Fox network talk shows, made $168,000 a year as the Bush mouthpiece.

"We took out a loan when I came to the White House, and that loan is now gone," he said. "So I'm going to have to pay the bills."

Gee, I had no idea Snow was making such a humungous sacrifice for his country. Let's see, according to the Census Bureau, median household income (for people who actually work for a living) came to $48,201. In other words, a family would have to work three-and-a-half years to earn what Snow did in a year standing up like a stuffed shirt trying to dodge reporters' softball questions. Poor guy.
Jerry Cramer, Scranton, Pa.

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NNOC's fight for nurses' rights

SOME SACRAMENTO nurses have been going to Texas to do more than see the sights. As members of the California Nurses Association (CNA), they have been organizing nurses in the Lone Star state into a new union, the National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC).

The NNOC, which the CNA founded in 2004, now has new members in cities such as Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, Brownsville, Corpus Christi and Beaumont. People sharing information are driving this campaign.

"NNOC provides reading materials that reflect what we think is the conditions in the hospitals in regards to patient care and RN standards," said Ed Bruno, national organizing coordinator for the NNOC. "Nurses pass it from one to another. We will often help them by mailing the materials to nurse registries."

Individual yearly dues are $30 to join the NNOC. It benefits from CNA's credibility and visibility, outcomes of a political victory over California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005. He tried and failed to change a law to increase the number of patients that nurses treat, due in no small part to CNA members confronting him publicly and repeatedly.

This March, the CNA/NNOC joined the AFL-CIO. The labor federation backs a single-payer health care program for all Americans, or an expansion of the federal Medicare program for those age 65 or older, plus younger people with disabilities.

"NNOC is actively organizing is a number of states, with membership in all 50 states," said Bruno. "Texas is not the only rodeo."
Seth Sandronsky, Sacramento

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