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House Republicans on Tuesday rejected a Democratic resolution to name a post office in Berkeley, Calif., after a longtime local activist and city councilwoman, saying 94-year-old Maudelle Shirek doesn't represent American values.

The 215-190 vote was an unusual refusal of an honor that's normally routine. House rules allow lawmakers to propose renaming post offices in their district, and fellow lawmakers usually agree without debate.

San Francisco Chronicle

Until last fall, Maudelle Shirek was my Councilwoman.

Frankly, she wasn't around as much as we would have liked--we missed her at neighborhood meetings, and we could have used her help promoting our local business district--but it was cool to have an icon of the civil rights movement as our local pol. I felt proud every time I saw her speak at a picket-line rally. I felt proud when Nelson Mandela came to Oakland. He thanked Maudelle for her for her work to free South Africa, and hugged her on the stage of the Coliseum.

I'm also proud she's a supporter of the library where I volunteer.

Shirek is listed as a sponsor on the Web site of the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library in Berkeley...

It's in a little building on Telegraph Avenue, just over the Oakland line. It's got rare books and pamphlets on shelves all along the walls. The rooms are kept clear so community groups can meet there.

The library is a repository of publications of the left movements of the 20th century--the Communist Party, the New Left, peace and justice groups. Some desk space is let out to Women for Peace, and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and the new Casa Cuba Resource Center.

What I like about the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library is that it's a place to talk and debate what went right, and what went wrong, in those movements, and what we can apply in the future.

Our Congresswoman, Barbara Lee, put a bill in the House to name Berkeley's Main Post Office after Maudelle. Maudelle's 94, and ailing, and she's given a life of service to her community and the world. It was one of those things that seemed so right.

The Repugs didn't think so. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, says Shirek's record "set's her apart... from consistent American values."

Let me say:

Giving one's life to public service...

Standing up for the rights of women and African Americans and seniors...

Backing labor in its fight for decent wages and working conditions...

Demanding an end to U.S. support for racist and dictatorial regimes...

And yes, working toward a time when the working class of this country has real political power and runs the economy to suit human needs instead of corporate greed...

Those are my consistent American values.

I happen to think they're better values than GOP greed, corruption, and warmongering.

They're better values than the slimy attacks of Joe McCarthy--the man Rep. Steve King says is a hero.

"I think that if Barbara Lee would read the history of Joe McCarthy she would realize that he was a hero for America,"

I think my values, and Maudelle's, are better values than the entire GOP side of the house ganging up to join in the attack on a 94 year old woman just to prove their point.

Originally posted to YellowDogBlue on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 11:15 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips, flames, finger-pointing, whatever (4.00)
  •  Doubt this will get any play today (none)
    but she'll get her post office in '07.  In the meantime, I'll check out the reading room.  I've only used the tool library at your branch.

    A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.

    by Webster on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 11:19:53 AM PDT

  •  the j edgar hoover fbi building... (none)
    isn't jeff davis's b-day still a state holiday? (zell's b-day is next, i suppose)

    fucking everything is named after regan.  he'll be on mt. rushmore (i mean mt. regan) soon.

    screw 'em.  up ms. shirek!

    he that hath no stomach to this fight let him depart

    by 2nd balcony on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 11:28:58 AM PDT

  •  feedback (4.00)
    Interesting post (in that repulsive way that only the GOP-led House can provoke).

    I think you should edit this to point what I think is the most disturbing part of the story -- that the US House of Representatives has, apparently, nothing better to do than to interfere in a matter that is totally irrelevant to anyone except Berkley locals (attention, Markos), namely, the naming of a !%^&#$@ post office in !^&*%#$ Berkley.

    You should include some excerpts from the article, as well.

    Good catch.

    Mas vale vivir de pie, que morir de las rodillas. - not Zapata

    by Jeff Simpson on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 11:30:21 AM PDT

  •  But they'll name prisons after DeLay and Frist (none)

    There will be other days to serve heroes laurels, but today's a day for serving villains indictments.

    It's only Nero-esque if the city is burning. :)

    by cskendrick on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 12:14:16 PM PDT

  •  Who were the three tools (none)
    in our own party who voted no?
  •  A few details on post office naming (none)
    Story in SF Chronicle:
    With the support of the entire California congressional delegation, Democrats and Republicans alike, Lee put the measure before the House on Tuesday for what she expected to be pro forma approval as is done for most requests to name post offices across the country.

    But when Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, stood up and demanded a roll call vote, Lee's GOP support evaporated and the House voted 215-190 against Lee's measure. King accused Shirek of supporting the release of Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted of the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer and, in an interview, of having "an affiliation with the Communist Party" for her support of Berkeley's Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library.


    King, 56, lives just outside Kiron, Iowa, population 269. He spent six years in the state Senate and ran his own construction company before being elected to Congress in 2002. He was re-elected last year with 62 percent of the vote in a district that is more than 93 percent white.


    When Lee accused King and his GOP supporters of "McCarthyism" in their attack on Shirek, King said in an interview that former Sen. Joe McCarthy "was a hero for America." McCarthy was censured by the Senate in 1954 for his investigations into alleged communists in the Army and the government.

    Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

    by chimpy on Thu Sep 29, 2005 at 05:23:59 PM PDT

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