Monday, March 20, 2006





TUESDAY, MARCH 28, 7:00 P.M.
Irving G. Breyer Board Meeting Room
555 Franklin Street, First Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102

We urge you to get on the speakers list for the Board meeting
and come and register your outrage! To add your name to the
speakers list for the Tuesday, March 28th meeting call:
415-241-6427 Monday, March 27, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.,
or Tuesday, March 28, between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

What this Policy will mean:

In spite of a two-billion-dollar military recruitment advertising budget
outside of the schools, the Equal Access for Recruiters Board of
Education Policy (62-14Sp1) will allow two recruiters each from the
Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines into schools to recruit children
each time colleges or employers bring notice of scholarship, job
or career opportunities to the students at their schools!




We demand that the Board of Education adopt
the following proposal instead:

Bay Area United Against War

"Let it be district policy that, as long as this war is being
carried out against the will of the Iraqi people and, against
the will of the American people; and as long as the No Child
Left Behind Act is still in effect, the military will be given
a stall in the dirtiest bathroom or basement closet on school
or campus when they insist on coming! And huge warning
signs will be posted at the door and around school
and given to each student stating:

"The material and information you receive from the military
is full of lies and false promises designed to get you to sign
up to risk your life in an unlawful, and unjust war. While,
under the current No Child Left Behind Act, the school
can't legally prevent the military from coming on school
grounds without losing funding that will keep the school
open, we can and will warn all students of the deceitful
and unlawful attempts by the military to get students
to sign up.


"Note: There is nothing unlawful against protesting the
presence of the military in our schools. Further, the San
Francisco Board of Education will make it its urgent business
to organize against the No Child Left Behind Act on a national
level by contacting school districts around the country
to protest this act of holding our children and their schools
hostage for military recruitment purposes. All parents and
the community will be notified well in advance of when
and where the military will show up next so that they can
choose to keep their children home on that day or to
organize and/or participate in a protest of the presence
of the military since they are clearly not wanted in this district."

Adoption by this Board of Education of this alternative proposal
more accurately reflects the desire of the voters and parents
in the San Francisco Unified School District.

P.S. By the way, here is the link to the law:

Public Law print of PL 107-110, the No Child Left Behind
Act of 2001 [1.8 MB]

Also, the law is up before Congress again in 2007.
See this article from USA Today:

Bipartisan panel to study No Child Left Behind
By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY
February 13, 2006


SATURDAY, APRIL 1, 2006, 11:00 A.M.
Centro del Pueblo
474 Valencia St., S.F
(Near 16th Street BART)

Dear supporter of Mumia Abu-Jamal,

Cristina Gutierrez asked me to help
her initiate a meeting on April 1 at 11
a.m. at Centro del Pueblo to discuss how to
re-energize the Mumia work in the
S.F. Bay Area. We feel that this is very important,
given that Mumia finally seems
to be getting a break in his case. Publicity,
public pressure, and support could
play a key role in getting a favorable ruling
from the court.

We would like to invite all who have
been active for Mumia's freedom to
participate in this discussion, so
please feel free to invite others who may not
have received this email.

The agenda will be set by the meeting
itself. We would like to have an
open-ended discussion that includes
the possibility of re-energizing the
Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal,
building the April 22nd Oakland birthday
celebration meeting for Mumia sponsored
by the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia
Abu-Jamal, and any other ideas proposed
by those in attendance. The main idea is
to see if we can get things moving for
Mumia, now that there are some openings
in his case.

So consider this an invitation to this
meeting as well as to give your input.

Note: I want to add something that
perhaps you have experienced as well.
During the antiwar demonstration last
Saturday I spent time getting signatures on
a birthday greeting for Mumia. All the
older folks knew who he was (listeners
to KPFA?), readily signed the card, and
were interested in the April 22 event.
But, many young people told me that
they didn't know who Mumia was! Our work
is cut out for us. We have much to do.

For Mumia's freedom!
Carole Seligman



Dear Friends:

Yesterday we (Brian Kelly and Lauren Giaccone) were threatened with
disciplinary actions ranging from warnings to expulsion: all for holding
a peaceful rally, handing out educational flyers about Bill Clinton's war
crimes, and holding regular CAN/SDS meetings at our school.

Yesterday, the Pace University Dean of Students disrupted our regular
joint Campus Antiwar Network (C.A.N.) and Students for a Democratic
Society (S.D.S.) meeting citing a university policy against "unrecognized
student organizations" reserving or using university space. This occurred
after an event we held on Sunday where I (Brian Kelly) called Bill Clinton
a "war criminal" with my friend and fellow anti-war activist Lauren Giaccone,
citing his atrocities around the world during his presidency. We were not
charged with any violation; however, we were detained and threatened
by both Secret Service agents and various police officers.

For more information about what happened at the event, including the
threats made to us and the illegal searches that occurred please visit
the following link:

When I got back to my dorm I found:

An envelope from my university on the ground near my front door. Inside
the envelope was a letter from Pace stating that they are pursuing disciplinary
actions against me for the following:

1. Failure to register a rally
2. Violation of distribution and solicitation policy
3. Reservation of university space by an unrecognized organization

These charges are an attempt to stop us from voicing our opinions
and exercising our constitutional rights to free speech, press, and
assembly. Pace's message to students and the community is clear:
We do not recognize constitutional rights.

Any of these charges can carry penalties ranging from verbal warnings
to expulsion.

We believe the only chance to challenge these charges is to make
sure that Pace knows that the world is watching them.

We are challenging President Caputo and the University not only on
this instance, but also on their attack on civil liberties around the
university, their enforced apolitical atmosphere, their union-busting
activities, and the presence of Homeland Security agents on campus.

Thanks for your support!
Brian Kelly
President, Pace Campus Antiwar Network



To: Pace University
Dear David Caputo, President of Pace University:
campus "hotline" 1-866-PAC-E001

We are outraged that your school is charging two students, Brian Kelly
and Lauren Giaccone, with potential expulsion from school for engaging
in a peaceful protest.

In the interest of free speech, we demand that you drop ALL charges
against Brian and Lauren, and that your administration cease any
harassment of the Pace University Campus Antiwar Network, Students
for a Democratic Society, and any other activist organizations.

the undersigned
To add your name go to:


David A. Caputo
Pace University
campus "hotline" 1-866-PAC-E001

Dear President Caputo,

The news of the persecution of Brian Kelly and Lauren Giaccone
for holding an antiwar meeting on the campus is extremely
distressing. The purpose for campus rules that require pre-
registration of groups and meetings is to prevent violence or
other illegal activities from taking place on the campus not
to prevent the peaceful exercise of free speech and assembly.

The real perpetrators of illegalities and violence--the U.S.
Military--are the ones that should be banned from campus
and brought up on charges for disseminating lies about
military service such as assuring enlistees that they do not
have to fight but can have careers in such fields as "electric
guitar player" or "doctor" instead--which is a blatant lie and
act of overt and covert deception. Are these promises designed
to honestly recruit the "best of the best?" NO! These recruitment
techniques are designed to recruit the most economically
desperate and naive of students.

The recent Supreme Court ruling upholding "equal access"
to students in colleges and High Schools for the military is just
a way to circumvent the "opt-out" forms that both parents and
students have signed to keep the military away--to keep the
lies away.

The function of any school is to promote the lives and future
of our kids not to promote their road to death and possibly
severe injury that could end any chance of a decent future
for them.

The military doesn't need your help! They have a two billion
dollar budget this year alone for recruitment advertising with
McCann/Erickson, a major advertising agency. And they are
actively spreading these lies about one's "choices" in military
service. But, once you take your second oath you become
military property to do with as they please and all of your rights
are suspended and all of the promises that the military gave--
even contracts that they sign with enlistees--are made null and
void by taking that second oath.

Already, over a third of returning veterans are seeking psychological
assistance from public health facilities and are suffering from
depression and post traumatic stress syndrome because the cause
for what they signed up for turned out to be a bunch of lies.
Instead they have experienced an entire population--the people
of Iraq--expressing their overwhelming desire for the U.S. Troops
to get out of their country. They are not welcomed by the people
of Iraq with open arms as the enlistees were told.

And, most importantly, the Iraqi people's hatred for the U.S.
Intervention into their country is completely justified! The
analogy of murderous people entering your home, killing
family members, destroying your home, torturing and
imprisoning children and grandparents, stealing or destroying
all that you own and then expecting that those very same people
be asked to undo what they have done is insane!

This war is dead, dead, dead wrong! These students should be
hailed as heroes! And, our institutions of higher learning as well
as our public school system should be actively fighting to get the
military out of the schools. They should be universally demanding
that schools be off-limits to these military organizations who are
carrying out mass murder and turning innocent kids who just want
a good life for themselves and their families into murderers too!

The schools and universities--teachers and professors AND
ADMINISTRATORS--should be actively fighting against such laws
as "No Child Left Behind" that holds our children's education and
funding of the schools as ransom to the military--a law that ties
school funding to open hunting season of our kids year-round
to military ghouls!

The constitution expressly states that people have the right
to peacefully protest and demonstrate their opposition to government
policy. No rules can be designed to circumvent the constitution--
even on college campuses!

As long as this war is being carried out against the will of the
Iraqi people and, against the will of the American people; and
as long as the "no child left behind" law is still in effect, the military
should be given a stall in the dirtiest bathroom on campus as their
headquarters! And huge warning signs should be posted at the
door stating:

"The material and information you receive from the military is full
of lies and false promises designed to get you to sign up to risk
your life in an unlawful, and unjust war. While the university/school
can't legally prevent the military from coming on campus without
losing funding that will keep the school open, we can warn our
students of their deceitful and unlawful attempts to get them to sign up.

The administration COULD do this and not be in defiance
with "no child left behind."

It us the only thing a school with a conscience can do.

The whole world is watching what your school does in this circumstance.
We demand that you drop all charges against the students and their lawful,
peaceful organizations and carry out the will of the majority of Americans
and protest the hunting of more cannon fodder for this murderous war
in our places of learning.

Be creative! Use all the means at your disposal to fight this unconstitutional
requirement to keep the military on our school campuses--including the
Reserve and Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Let them train in a toilet
as well!

Schools should be a safe haven not a hunting grounds for death and destruction!

This message will be circulated far and wide!


Bonnie Weinstein, Bay Area United Against War


Dr. Monte Moses, Superintendent
Cherry Creek Schools


Teach vs. speech
How should public schools handle hot controversy in class?
A teacher's Comments on Bush stoke an ever-simmering debate
By Karen Rouse and Robert Sanchez
Denver Post Staff Writers
Article Launched: 3/03/2006 01:00 AM


Right-Wing Attack Dogs Go after a Colorado High School Teacher
by Michael D. Yates
March 3, 2006

And some of the "criminal" comments made by Jay Bennish:

"Among other things, Mr. Bennish asked his class which country
has the most weapons of mass destruction and answered the
United States.  He suggested that capitalism was inimical
to human rights and that the U.S. wants to create by military
force if necessary a world in its own image.  He suggested that
there were chilling similarities between Bush's words and those
of Hitler.  Right on the mark if you ask me!  Meanwhile, the
moronic Gunny Bob said that Bennish criticized capitalism
but was a capitalist himself (because he gets paid a wage?).
Finally, on March 3, the Denver Post noted that, near the end
of the recording, Mr. Bennish told his students, "You have
to figure this stuff out for yourselves. . . . I'm not in any way
implying that you should agree with me. . . . What I'm trying
to get you to do is think about these issues more in depth
and not just to take things from the surface."  And, "I'm glad
you [those students who challenged him] asked all of your
questions because they're all very good, legitimate questions." 
Sounds like a real brain washer to me!"

Dr. Monte Moses, Superintendent
Cherry Creek Schools
Phone: 720-554-4213
4700 South Yosemite Street
Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111
Phone: 303-773-1184
Fax: 303-773-9884

Dear Dr. Moses,

I am appalled to read these articles and learn that geography
teacher, Jay Bennish, who teaches at Overland High School
in Aurora, Colorado is in trouble and out of work for things
he said in an honors geography class. What happened to
freedom of speech and for the right of students and teachers
to discuss freely the current events of the day. How can this
be avoided in a subject like geography?

Are our teachers to be given a script to read in the classroom
and the admonition to prohibit any discussion that deviates
from that script?

And, even more outrageous, is the School District going to
dance to the tune of right-wing radio announcers? Is this
what our educational system is going to come to? Is congress
ready to appoint Bill O'Reiley and Fox's Hannity and Colmes
to head the Department of Education?

This is an outrageous travesty of justice that won't be
tolerated and has already attracted the attention of
people throughout our country.

Put Jay Bennish back to work with all of his back pay
(if he has lost any) and keep right-wing radio out
of the classroom!

Teachers like Jay are beacons of light and should be
cherished! His comments as reprinted above show
that he is the voice of reason.


Bonnie Weinstein, Bay Area United Against War







TUESDAY, MARCH 28, 7:00 P.M.
Irving G. Breyer Board Meeting Room
555 Franklin Street, First Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102

In spite of a two-billion-dollar military recruitment advertising budget
outside of the schools, the Equal Access for Recruiters Board of
Education Policy (62-14Sp1) will allow two recruiters each from the
Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and National Guard into schools
to recruit children each time colleges or employers bring notice
of scholarship, job or career opportunities to the students
at their schools!




We urge you to get on the speakers list for the Board meeting
and come and register your outrage!

Add your name to the speakers list for the Tuesday, March 28th
meeting by calling: 415-241-6427 Monday between 8:00 a.m.
and 4:00 p.m., or Tuesday, between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.


Let it be district policy that, as long as this war is being
carried out against the will of the Iraqi people and, against
the will of the American people; and as long as the No Child
Left Behind Act is still in effect, the military will be given
a stall in the dirtiest bathroom or basement closet on school
or campus when they insist on coming! And huge warning
signs will be posted at the door and around school
and given to each student stating:

The material and information you receive from the military
is full of lies and false promises designed to get you to sign
up to risk your life in an unlawful, and unjust war. While,
under the current No Child Left Behind Act, the school
can't legally prevent the military from coming on school
grounds without losing funding that will keep the school
open, we can and will warn all students of the deceitful
and unlawful attempts by the military to get students
to sign up.


Note: There is nothing unlawful against protesting the
presence of the military in our schools. Further, the San
Francisco Board of Education will make it its urgent business
to organize against the No Child Left Behind Act on a national
level by contacting school districts around the country
to protest this act of holding our children and their schools
hostage for military recruitment purposes. All parents and
the community will be notified well in advance of when
and where the military will show up next so that they can
choose to keep their children home on that day or to
organize and/or participate in a protest of the presence
of the military since they are clearly not wanted in this district.


Text of Resolution No. 62-14Sp1 √ Authorization to Approve Board
Policy Regarding Equal Access for Recruiters


Equal Access for Recruiters

Recruiters of all types (including but not limited to employment,
education, service opportunities, military or military alternatives)
shall be given equal access to San Francisco Unified School District
high schools. The principal at each school shall determine the
frequency with which recruiters may visit, but in order to be in
compliance with the equal access rule, each recruiter shall be
granted the opportunity to visit any single campus at least as
frequently as any other recruiter. For purposes of this policy,
each branch of the military is considered to be a separate
recruiting organization.

This recruitment policy must be posted throughout the year.
At a minimum, these rules shall be posted in the school's
main office, counseling center, career center, and on the
District's website.

All recruiters must comply with the following guidelines:

- Recruiters must obtain the written permission of the principal
or designee to be on campus. Such permission may be granted
for the full year;

- Recruiters must contact the principal or designee prior to
their visit to schedule specific times to be on campus, and
the monthly schedule for such visits must be posted at a
minimum in the school's main office, counseling center,
and career center;

- All recruiters must sign in and sign out in the school's
main office each time they visit the campus;

- Recruiters shall limit all recruiting activities to the specific
area designated by the principal or designee. This designated
area must be within a specific confined space on the campus
(such as a classroom or office); recruiters may not roam the
campus or grounds. Recruiters may not pursue or approach
students; recruiting activities may only be directed at students
who affirmatively approach the recruiter for information.

- The principal or designee may permit recruiters to leave
information in a designated area. Such information must be
dated and clearly identify a contact name and number that
students, staff or others may call if there are questions
about the information;

- If the principal or designee designates such an area for
recruiter information, the area must include a clearly visible
sign that states that SFUSD and the school do not endorse
or sponsor the materials;

- All recruiters must clearly identify the organization that
they are recruiting for: military recruiters must be in uniform,
and all other recruiters must wear identification that similarly
indicates the organization that they are recruiting for;

- Recruiters may not take students out of the designated
recruitment area or off campus;

- No more than two recruiters from each organization
may recruit on campus at one time.

Recruiters of all types are cautioned to remember that the
primary goal of the SFUSD high schools is to educate students.
Recruiting activities that are disruptive or that interfere with the
traditional activities of a given school day are not permitted.

Recruiters who harass students or staff, provide misleading
or untrue information, or who do not comply with applicable
state and federal laws or SFUSD rules or policies may have their
organization's permission to recruit on campus revoked for the
remainder of the semester, or the semester following the infraction
if the infraction occurs after the fifteenth week of the semester.
The principal or designee, in his or her discretion, may provide
students with access to information to correct any misleading
or untrue information provided by such recruiter(s), if available.

The principal shall retain copies of the recruitment calendars and
sheets and provide such copies to the Assistant
Superintendent for High Schools by June 30th of each year.

San Francisco, California

Superintendent's Proposal



That the Board of Education approves a new Board Policy regarding
Equal Access for Recruiters. This policy provides for equal access
to SFUSD high schools for all types of recruiters, including but not
limited to employment, education, service opportunities, military
or military alternatives. The policy also outlines the guidelines and
restrictions related to recruiting activities and access.



New play by local writer Tommi Avicolli Mecca

Following on the heels of his critically acclaimed
one-man show last year, local author and activist
Tommi Avicolli Mecca is debuting his new work, "the
aching in god's heart," March 16-18, 8pm and March 19
at 5pm at Theatre St. Boniface, 175 Golden

The play takes a hard look at the meaning of love and
family. Sofia, a dutiful daughter who has given up
everything to take care of la famiglia, is suddenly
forced to face the truth about her life of devotion.
"The play really looks at the conflict that develops
between 'la via vecchia' (the old ways) of the
immigrant generation and those of the first generation
born here in America. It's the Italian/American story
we don't see on TV or in the movies," says author
Avicolli Mecca.

The cast includes Renee Saucedo, Diana Hartman,
Giancarlo Campagna and Avicolli Mecca.

The four performances of "aching" will benefit four
local nonprofits: Housing Rights Committee, Day
Laborers Program, St. Boniface Neighborhood Center and
the Family Link. Admission is $10 but no one will be
turned away for lack of funds. Bring a check for your
favorite nonprofit. To reserve tickets, call (415)


Workers on the Move
ILWU Local 34 Hall, 4 Berry St., San Francisco
(Located next door to SBC Park.
Take MUNI N line toward SBC Park.)

Luis Primo, Venezuelan Labor Leader to Speak in San Francisco

The U.S. Hands Off Venezuela Campaign invites you to hear
Luis Primo, a central leader of the Venezuelan National Union
of Workers (UNT), the new labor federation in Venezuela
which has replaced its corrupt predecessor which supported
the U.S.-backed attempted coup against President Chavez.
Luis Primo will speak at a public meeting on Saturday, March 25.

Currently, Primo is a Regional Coordinator for the UNT
(Caracas-Miranda), he heads the Union/Political Education
for the UNT on the national level, and works with the Ministry
of Labor on the Committee on the Recovered Factories.
Primo will be running for the National Leadership of the
UNT at its upcoming congress this spring.

Hands Off Venezuela has been organized around the
principle that the people of Venezuela should be able
to determine their own destiny, without the interference
of foreign governments, particularly the U.S. government.
We have organized numerous educational events to inform
people in this country about the important events unfolding
in Venezuela so that people here can have an informed position.
Without the truth, people are in no position to act.

We hope that Luis Primo's visit to California will be one
of many exchanges between Venezuelan and American
trade unionists. In addition to speaking in San Francisco, he will
be touring the West Coast where he will speak in a half-dozen
cities. To make this possible, Hands Off Venezuela Campaign
has launched a fund raising drive to cover the many expenses
of the tour. Volunteers are needed to help organize the event,
and donations of any amount are greatly appreciated.
Donations can be sent to: HOV, 4579 18th St., San Francisco,
CA 94114. Letters of support or endorsements of the tour are
also appreciated and can be sent to

Partial List of Endorsers

Dolores Huerta
San Francisco Labor Council (AFL-CIO)
South Bay Labor Council (AFL-CIO)
Contra Costa Central Labor Council (AFL-CIO)
Vanguard Public Foundation
San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper
Alan Benjamin, Executive Board, SF Labor Council, Co-coordinator Open
World Conference
Fred Hirsch, Vice President of Plumbers and Fitters Local 393, San Jose
Gloria LaRiva, President, Local 39521 Media Workers Sector/CWA*
Louie Rocha, President CWA Local 9423*
Global Exchange
Chris Gilbert and Karen Bennett, MATRIX Program*, UC Berkeley Art
Dorinda Moreno, Hitec Aztec Communications, Santa Maria, CA.
Cesar Chavez Lifetime Achievement Legacy Award, 2003
National Network on Cuba
Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives
Todd Chretien, Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate, California
Peace and Freedom Party

* for identification purposes only

Admission: $5, $3 seniors, unemployed, and students

For more information, call 415-786-1680 or email

labor donated


Power in Eden:
Emergence of Gender Hierarchies
in the Ancient World

With Bruce Lerro

4 Sunday evenings from 7 to 9 March 19th, 26th, April 2nd, April 9th
Marxist Library 6501 Telegraph (cross-street Alcatraz)

-How Relevant is Engels' Origin of the Family,
Private Property and the State in the light of over one-hundred
years of anthropology and archeology?

-To what extent was "primitive communism" egalitarian
in terms of gender relations?

-When in history does individualism start? Is it a product
of capitalism or does it go back further?

-Agricultural State Civilizations (The Asiatic Mode
of Production) were the most oppressive to women in history.
Why was there no women's movement in the ancient world?

Bruce Lerro has been teaching and writing about the origins
of class and gender inequalities for the past fifteen years.
He has lectured at New College of California and teaches
regularly at Golden Gate University, Dominican University,
John F. Kennedy University and Diablo Valley College.
He is the author of Power in Eden: Emergence of Gender
Hierarchies in the Ancient World, Trafford Press, 2005.

Initial Talk˘broadly discussing all four questions

Part I˘In Depth Reading and Discussion of each of the
Four Questions

Part II √Optional˘In Depth Reading and Discussion of Other
Chapters in the text.

This will be determined by Bruce and the class participants


The initial talk will be a lecture with brief discussion
at the end of each question

For all four classes in part one there will be assigned
readings during the week and each class will be
a discussion of the readings. We will discuss clarification
as well as substantive questions each week.
There will be no lecture.

Required Reading: Power in Eden: Emergence
of Gender Hierarchies in the Ancient World

My Approach
I consider myself a Marxist-materialist and I believe
that the Marxian tradition must be informed and
enriched by over one hundred years of research.
I consider Marxism a method rather than a scholastic dogma.
What You May Learn
-The process of female subordination was a very gradual
and had super-structural and psychological components
as well as economic
-Engels was right about some things and wrong about others
-A provocative stage theory about how male dominance originated
-There are well-researched conditions under which women
will or will not be likely to rebel


April 7-9, 2006
Quality Inn (Located On US 31)
Kokomo, Indiana 46902
Meeting Introductions 7:ooPM Friday
Saturday & Sunday Begin With Registration At 8:00AM

Working people are under attack as never before. The institutions on
which workers have depended?the Democratic Party and the unions have
utterly failed to defend us. Democratic as well as Republican
politicians support the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act, savage cuts in
social programs, outsourcing jobs, attacking public education,
rewriting bankruptcy laws to benefit credit card companies. Union
officials work with corporations to cut wages, rob retirees of their
pensions, impose wage tiers, cut health care. They replace worker
solidarity with worker-against-worker Company Teams. They support the
war-makers in DC.

Meanwhile most working people, blue-collar and white-collar, employed
and unemployed, remain unorganized and largely defenseless.

The politicians and the unions are part of the problem. We cannot rely
on them and we cannot change them. We have to go around them, to create
institutions that we control to fight for the values, the livelihoods,
the future of working people.

SOLIDARITY NOW is a new organization formed in Peoria, IL in 2005. Our
goals are to rebuild the culture of mutual support that is natural to
working people, to fight for the goals of working people, and to build
a movement for democratic revolution.

If you are an auto worker, a teacher, a nurse, a student, a professor,
work in an office or school or hospital or university, are employed or
unemployed, working or retired, we invite you to join Solidarity Now
and to join us in Kokomo for our National Meeting.

To be assured of a room, please make your reservations now at the
Quality Inn, Kokomo, IN (765-459-8001). Tell them you are with
Solidarity Now. Rooms are $58 per night, single or double, breakfast
included. Please let Tino Scalici ( or Dave
Stratman ( know if you would like to join Solidarity Now
or if you plan to attend the meeting.

(For more info on Solidarity Now, please see our web site at

We are still negotiating the cost of the conference rooms. We will
either take up a collection or charge a small conference fee to cover
the costs. The meeting will be an all day event.

Future of the Union Mailing List


Major Mobilization Set for April 29th

Dear Friends,

We are pleased to announce the kick-off for the organizing
of what promises to be a major national mobilization on
Saturday, April 29th. Today, each of the initiating groups
(see list below) is announcing this mobilization. Our
organizations have agreed to work together on this
project for several reasons:

The April 29th mobilization will highlight our call for an
immediate end to the war on Iraq. We are also raising
several other critical issues that are directly connected
to one another.

It is time for our constituencies to work more closely:
connecting the issues we work on by bringing diverse
communities into a common project.

It is important for our movements to help set the agenda
for the Congressional elections later in the year. Our
unified action in the streets is a vital part of that process.

Please share the April 29th call widely, and please use
the links at the end of the call to endorse this timely
mobilization and to sign up for email updates.

April 29th Initiating Organizations
United for Peace and Justice
Rainbow/PUSH Coalition
National Organization for Women
Friends of the Earth
U.S. Labor Against the War
Climate Crisis Coalition
Peoples' Hurricane Relief Fund
National Youth and Student Peace Coalition

A war based on lies
Spying, corruption and attacks on civil liberties
Katrina survivors abandoned by government


End the war in Iraq -
Bring all our troops home now!


Unite for change - let's turn our country around!

The times are urgent and we must act.

Too much is too wrong in this country. We have a foreign
policy that is foreign to our core values, and domestic
policies wreaking havoc at home. It's time for a change.

No more never-ending oil wars!
Protect our civil liberties & immigrant rights. End illegal
spying, government corruption and the subversion of
our democracy.

Rebuild our communities, starting with the Gulf Coast.
Stop corporate subsidies and tax cuts for the wealthy
while ignoring our basic needs.

Act quickly to address the climate crisis and the
accelerating destruction of our environment.

Our message to the White House and to Congress
is clear: either stand with us or stand aside!

We are coming together to march, to vote, to speak
out and to turn our country around!

Join us in New York City on Saturday, April 29th

Click here to endorse this mobilization:
Click here to sign up for email updates on plans for April 29th:

April 29th Initiating Organizations
United for Peace and Justice
Rainbow/PUSH Coalition
National Organization for Women
Friends of the Earth
U.S. Labor Against the War
Climate Crisis Coalition
Peoples' Hurricane Relief Fund
National Youth and Student Peace Coalition


ANSWER Coalition: All Out for April 29 in New York City!
End Occupation from Iraq to Palestine, to Haiti, and Everywhere!
Fight for workers rights, civil rights and civil liberties - unite
against racism!

300,000 Came to Washington on Sept. 24

In recent weeks the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition has been in the final
stages for planning a national demonstration in Washington DC on April
29, 2006. This action was to follow the local and regional
demonstrations for March 18-19 and youth and student actions scheduled
on March 20 on the 3rd anniversary of the criminal bombing, invasion
and occupation of Iraq.

On September 24, 2005 more than 300,000 people surrounded the White
House in the largest mobilization against the Iraq war and occupation
since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. This demonstration was
initiated by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition in May 2005 and we urged a
united front with other major anti-war coalitions and communities. We
marched demanding immediate and unconditional withdrawal from Iraq. We
also stood in solidarity with the Palestinian and Haitian people and
others who are suffering under and resisting occupation. Coming as it
did following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we changed the demands of
the September 24 protest to include the slogan "From Iraq to New
Orleans, FundPeople's Needs not the War Machine."

During the past several years, and as demonstrated in a powerful
display on September 24, the anti-war movement has grown significantly
in its breadth and depth as the leadership has included the Arab and
Muslim community -- those who are among the primary targets of the
Bush Administration's current war at home and abroad.

The anti-war sentiment inside the United States is rapidly becoming a
significant obstacle to the Bush Administration's war in Iraq. The
anti-war movement has the potential to be a critical deterrent to the
U.S. government's aspirations for Empire. At this moment the White
House and Pentagon are issuing threats and making plans to move
against other sovereign countries. Iran and Syria are being targeted
as the U.S. seeks to consolidate power in the Middle East.

Simultaneously the Bush administration is working to undermine the
gains of the people of Latin America by working totopple the
democratically elected president of Venezuela and destroy the
revolutionary process for social change going on in that country.
Likewise it is intensifying the economic war and CIA subversions
against Cuba.

We believe that our movement must weld together the broadest, most
diverse coalition of various sectors and communities into an effective
force for change. This requires the inclusion of targeted communities
and political clarity. The war in Iraq is not simply an aberrational
policy of the Bush neo-conservatives. Iraq is emblematic of a larger
war for Empire. It is part of a multi-pronged attack against all those
countries that refuse to follow the economic, political and military
dictates of the Washington establishment and Wall Street.

This is the foundation of the political program upon which the
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition has organized mass demonstrations in the recent
years. The fact that many hundreds of thousands of people
havedemonstrated in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, New
York and other cities is a testament to the huge progress that has
been made in building a new movement on this principled basis.
The people of the United States have nothing to gain and everything to
lose from the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Haiti and
the threats of new wars and intervention in Syria, Iran, Venezuela,
Cuba, the Philippines, North Korea and elsewhere. It has been made
crystal clear in recent weeks that Washington is aggressively
prosecuting its strategy of total domination of the Middle East. U.S.
leaders are seeking to crush all resistance to their colonial agenda,
whether from states or popular movements in the region. The
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition andthe anti-war movement is raising the demand,
"U.S. Out of the Middle East."

At its core, the war for Empire is supported by the Republican Party
and Democratic Party alike, which constitute the twin parties of
militarism and war, and this quest for global domination will continue
regardless of the outcome of the 2006 election. In fact, leading
Democrats are attacking Bush for being "soft" on Iran and North Korea.
Real hope for turning the tide rests with building a powerful global
movement of resistance in which the people of the United States stand
with their sisters and brothers struggling against imperialism and the
new colonialism.

On the home front the Bush administration is involved in a
far-reaching assault against working class communities as most
glaringly evidenced by its criminal and racist negligence towards the
people of New Orleans and throughout the hurricane ravaged Gulf
States. While turning their backs on these communities in the moments
ofgreatest need, the U.S. government is now working with the banks and
developers who, like vultures, are exploiting mass suffering and
dislocation to carry out racist gentrification that only benefits the
wealthy. The administration is also working to eviscerate hard-fought
civil rights and civil liberties, engaging in a widespread campaign of
domestic spying and wiretapping against the people of the U.S. and
other assaults against the First and Fourth Amendments.

In early December 2005, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition filed for permits
for a national march in Washington DC on April 29, 2006. We were
preparing to announce the April 29 action but in recent days we have
heard from A.N.S.W.E.R. organizers in a number of unions that U.S.
Labor Against the War was seeking union endorsements for a call for an
anti-war demonstration on the same day in New York City. Having two
demonstrations on April 29 in both Washington D.C. and New York City
seems to us to be lessadvantageous than having the movement unite
behind one single mobilization. As such, we decided to hold back our
announcement. Subsequently, the New York City demonstration has been
announced by a number of organizations. Underscoring the need to have
the largest possible demonstration on April 29, the A.N.S.W.E.R.
Coalition has decided to fully mobilize, in all of its chapters and
organizing centers, to bring people to the New York City demonstration
on April 29. The banners and slogans of different coalitions may not
be the same, but it is in the interest of everyone to march
shoulder-to-shoulder against the criminal war in Iraq and the Bush
administration's War for Empire, including its racist, sexist and
anti-worker domestic program.

All out for a united, mass mobilization on April 29 in New York City!
Click here to become a transportation center in your city or town for
the April 29 demonstration.

Click here to receive updates on A.N.S.W.E.R.'s mobilization for the
April 29 NYC demonstration.
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
New York City: 212-694-8720
Los Angeles: 323-464-1636
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
Click here to unsubscribe from the ANSWER e-mail list.


MONDAY, MAY 29, 2006
(Exact location to be announced.)

Welcome to the Official Push for Peace Site!

The Push For Peace movement is geared to combine the efforts of
able-bodied activists to those with special needs or challenges,
so that all people can participate and be counted.

The Push for Peace logo shows a Navy veteran in a wheelchair
with a peace sign on the wheel, with people marching behind
him. It can be seen at:

Just in case we don't get to modify the map before the weekend,
I'll just name our proposed stops. We start, of course with Golden
Gate Park, from there we head south to Los Angeles. Turning
east we move to Phoenix, then on to Albuquerque. Now it's
north to Denver, and east to St Louis. North again to Chicago,
and east to Detroit. Continue east to Cleveland, and then NYC
if all goes well Central Park (Imagine), culminating at the gates
of the White House on July 4, 2006

Push For Peace is a collective of veterans, progressive activists,
and everyday citizens working together through education,
motivation, and truth to bring America's troops home from the
war in Iraq and to help bring healing and peace to our nation.
The Push For Peace movement is geared to combine the efforts
of able-bodied activists to those with special needs or challenges,
so that all people can participate and be counted. The Push
For Peace effort will include organized rallies and marches,
as well as appearances and performances by high-profile
speakers and entertainers, to rally the American people and
show them we stand united with our fellow citizen and soldier.
It is our goal to grow the base of participants each day resulting
in a cross-country Push culminating at the gates of the White
House on July 4, 2006. Events will be scheduled across the
country leading up to the big Push in July. So keep checking
the Push calendar for events near you. Mapping it all out...
[Website shows map of stops in US en route to DC on July 4,]

This is a tentative and unfinished P4P route and is only a work in progress.
The Push is set to leave Golden Gate Park on Memorial Day 2006 (currently
working on permits) and then we will Push our way across the country
to arrive in DC across from the White House gathering at Lafayette Park
(currently working on permits) on July 4th, 2006. Golden Gate Park,
San Francisco, California Las Vegas Nevada Phoenix, Arizona Denver,
Colorado Crawford, Texas New Orleans, Louisiana more states pending...
Pushing real Democracy!



according the “Crude Designs” report published by Platform in
the UK last November. It appears there there is still time for
a boycott to have a positive effect, as none of these contracts
have yet been signed, though it is reported that negotiations
are underway with the new Iraqi government. The U.S. drafted
contracts could bring the oil companies profits on investment
ranging from 42% to 162% compared to the minimum of 12%
return that is considered more normal. Contracted access to
one of the major southern Iraq oil fields could double
ExxonMobil’s oil reserves, doubling the worth of the company.
In January, 2003, the Coalition Provisional Authority CPA
appointed former senior executives from oil companies to
help set up the framework for a longer-term oil policy in
Iraq, with Gary Vogler of ExxonMobil, being one of the first
advisors. ExxonMobil is on the board of directors of the
International Tax & Investment Centre (ITIC), with is seeking
Production Sharing Agreements in Iraq. Before the war
started, ExxonMobil was in the hunt for Iraqi oil and it
continues this quest during the occupation.

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and
Policy Research, said that as much as 20 percent of EXXONMOBIL’s
record $36 billion 2005 profit, or about $7 billion, is “a ball park
number” for what can be considered war profits for the oil giant.
This is an estimate of the amount of profit that is essentially
unearned and is traceable to oil prices that have been inflated
because: (1) the Iraq War has severely depressed Iraq oil
production and (2) because of fears that the Iraq War may
spread, possibly affecting oil production in Iran and Saudi
Arabia. Noble Prize winning Joseph Stiglitz has also said that
the war, in inflating oil prices, has brought huge profits to
U.S. oil companies. Tyson Slocum, Acting Director of Public
Citizen’s Energy Program, says that ExxonMobil accumulated
a war profit in 2005 “in the billions”.

- EXXONMOBIL’s recently-retired Chair and CEO Lee Raymond
appears to have had a major role in US policy making - including
planning for access to Iraqi oil and promoting the war against
Iraq. Mr. Raymond has personal access to Vice President Dick
Cheney; for example, he met with him privately 10 days after
the first Bush inauguration. Shortly after that Cheney’s energy
task force began drafting an energy policy. The Vice President
went to court to keep the energy task force work secret, but
the few papers forced out by law suits have included maps
of Iraqi oil fields. Two months before the 2003 invasion of
Iraq, Mr. Raymond became the vice chair of the board of the
American Enterprise Institute, possibly the foremost “think
tank” in engineering the Bush Administration Iraq War Policy,
and central in promoting the war. Mr. Raymond continues
as vice chair of AEI’s board after his 12/31/05 retirement.

asking that the firm endorse the goals of the ExxonMobil
War Boycott campaign and engage the full force of its lobbying
effort in advancing these goals. The goals are: (1) immediate
withdrawal of all U.S. troops and mercenaries from Iraq;
(2) impeachment of George W. Bush and prosecution of U.S.
officials for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
ExxonMobil has not responded to a certified letter except
with the postal receipt. Consumers for Peace has written to
the nine other firms selected for boycott because of their
involvement with ExxonMobil through its board of directors,
asking that they endorse the above goals. Of the nine, only
Novartis has responded, declining to meet the request.
The other firms affected are: Campbell Soups; Carlson
Companies (Radisson Hotels, TGI Friday’s); Corning Inc.
(Steuben Glass); Metlife; Pfizer; Verizon; Wells Fargo; and Wyeth.

GOING TO WAR FOR OIL. As the competition for oil and
other energy sources increases, the temptation to use force
to maintain control over oil will increase. The war alternative,
one can argue, can be viewed a major factor in delaying the
U.S. from seriously addressing petroleum overconsumption,
for example through gasoline rationing. The war alternative
forestalls urgently needed action to protect the environment.

- There has been some controversy over the “war for oil” premise,
with some saying this idea is too simplistic. However, it is
becoming more clear that the struggle between nations -
between the U.S. and China for example - for assured access
to oil reserves is intensifying. Without oil, the Middle East would
not have had such keen attention from Washington since the
early 1900s. A State Department official under Colin Powell
said that while oil wasn’t specifically mentioned in State
Department pre-war planning, everyone knew in the back
of their minds that Iraq reportedly has the world’s second
largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia.

is leveled at a major firm that appears to be complicit in this
illegal behavior and is clearly a beneficiary. It is also directed
at nine firms connected with ExxonMobil that benefit from this
connection. Novartis is one such firm. While the Novartis website
states that the firm will not benefit from violations of human
rights, it has sent representatives to Iraq investment conferences
even as the killing in Iraq escalated. At no point has ExxonMobil,
or any of the firms associated with it, come forward to disavow
connection with the illegal acts of the United States in Iraq.
ExxonMobil has not offered to direct its war profits to relieving
the vast suffering caused by the war.


Prepared by Nick Mottern,

You may download a pdf version of the talking points at


See ExxonMobil War Boycott press release


Organizational Endorsers:

After Downing Street

Bloomington Peace Action Coalition

Campus Antiwar Network

Coalition Against War and Injustice (Baton Rouge)

Covington (Louisiana) Peace Project

Consumers for Peace

Goldstar Families for Peace

International Socialist Organization

Midsouth Peace and Justice Center

Progressive Democrats of America

Traprock Peace Center

Wespac Foundation

Individual Endorsers*:

Annie and Buddy Spell, Louisiana peace activists (Annie is president
of the Greater Covington, LA branch of the NAACP)

Anthony Arnove, author, “Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal”; co-editor
with Howard Zinn, “Voices of a People’s History of the US”

Charles Jenks, Chair of Advisory Board - Traprock Peace Center

Cindy Sheehan, Co-founder - Gold Star Families for Peace

Dahr Jamail, independent journalist who spent over 8 months
reporting from occupied Iraq

David Swanson, co-founder of

Dennis Kyne, Gulf War veteran, activist and author of “Support the

Dirk Adriaensens, coordinator SOS Iraq and member of the
Executive Committee of the Brussells Tribunal, Belgium

Don DeBar, correspondent, WBAI, New York

Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, National Coordinating Committee - Campus
Antiwar Network

Eric Ruder, reporter - Socialist Worker newspaper

Gabriele Zamparini, freelance journalist and film maker living in
London; co-editor of

Howard Zinn, historian, playwright and activist; author of “A
People’s History of the United States” and co-editor with Anthony
Arnove of “Voices of a People’s History of the US”
Jacob Flowers, Director - MidSouth Peace and Justice Center

Judy Linehan, Military Families Speak Out

Kathy Kelly, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, co-founder - Voices For
Creative Non-Violence

Lindsey German, Convener - Stop the War Coalition (UK)

Michael Letwin, Co-Convener - New York City Labor Against the War

Nick Mottern, National Director - Consumers for Peace

Nada Khader, Executive Director, Wespac Foundation

Norman Solomon, Author of “War Made Easy: How Presidents and
Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death”

Paola Pisi, professor of religious sciences (Italy) and editor of

Phil Gasper, Chair - Department of Philosophy & Religion,
Notre Dame de Namur University, Professors for Peace

Sharon Smith, author of “Women and Socialism :
Essays on Women’s Liberation”

Stan Goff, Master Sergeant Retired, US Army

Sunny Miller, Executive Director - Traprock Peace Center

Thomas F. Barton, publisher, GI Special

Tim Baer, Director - Bloomington Peace Action Coalition

Tim Carpenter, National Director - Progressive Democrats of America

Ward Reilly, SE National Contact - Vietnam Veterans Against the War,
Veterans for Peace, Baton Rouge

*Affiliations are for identification purposes only.


Charles Jenks
Chair of Advisory Board and Web Manager
Traprock Peace Center
103A Keets Road
Deerfield, MA 01342
fax 413-773-7507


The Right To Return, a Basic Right Still Denied

Protests Planned Against Media War Coverage
By Danny Schechter


Please join the online campaign to
Send emails to President Bush, Vice President
Cheney, Secretary of State Rice, U.N. Secretary-
General Annan, Congressional leaders and
the media demanding NO WAR ON IRAN!


March 2006 National Immigrant
Solidarity Network Monthly Digest
National Immigrant Solidarity Network
No Immigrant Bashing! Support Immigrant Rights!


A film by Eugene Jarecki
[Check out the trailer about this new film.
This looks like a very powerful film.]


The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

Bill of Rights


[Col. Writ. 3/1/06] Copyright '06 Mumia Abu-Jamal

2) Bipartisan panel to study No Child Left Behind
By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY
February 13, 2006

3) G.M. to Offer Buyout Deal to More Than 125,000 Workers
March 22, 2006

4) Getting Auto Workers to Leave a Golden Job
March 22, 2006

5) Federal Aid Is Focus of a Lawsuit by Students
March 22, 2006

6) Home Fuel Bills Show No Sign of Mild Winter
March 22, 2006

7) Rift on Immigration Widens for Conservatives and Cardinals
March 19, 2006

8) British Court Rules Against Muslim Girl
Filed at 11:26 a.m. ET
March 22, 2006

9) George Bush's Trillion-Dollar War
Call it the trillion-dollar war.
March 23, 2006


[Col. Writ. 3/1/06] Copyright '06 Mumia Abu-Jamal

It only lasted for 3 days, but it lasted long enough to betray the
scuffles and scars of war.

It was a spark for the eternal war between labor and capital. It was a
war between those who work, and those who hire.

When the New York Transport Workers Union (TWU) went out on strike,
their action sent shock waves across the country, and rattled the
rulers. Immediately, like a slave-driver who claims he was "betrayed"
by "his" "people", New York's mega-billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg,
unleashed an ugly verbal missile at those who demanded a fair contract
under which to work.

In the minds and mouths of the Bloombergers, TWU strikers were: "Thugs!"

The corporate press joined the slander, with one well-known fishwrapper
blaring, with a banner headline: "JAIL 'EM!"

Them's fightin' words. And they reflect, with a richness and clarity
rarely revealed, the true nature of this war: a class war.

Local 100 of the TWU is a predominantly Black, Latin and immigrant
union, and the ugly war of words, spun by the masters of the nation's
media machines, were as raw as they were racist.

When an unruly mob of cops converged on City Hall, to lambaste the
city's first Black mayor (David Dinkins) as a "washroom attendant", and
sprinkled other racist references to local Black leaders, one needed to
search far and wide to find references to the behavior of the cops as

The city and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), used the
Taylor Law, which disallows such strikes, to demand that local courts
return crippling fines against any striker.

But some leader TWU members pointed to the history of the early civil
rights movement, specifically the experience of the late Rosa Parks, who
broke unjust laws to spark a mass movement.

Can the Taylor Law be just, when it leaves workers at the mercy of
management, when it forces them to accept substandard contracts,
when it requires ruinous givebacks?

While the corporate press channeled the negativity of their bosses,
strikers reported that average, working-class and poor folks supported
their efforts, for many understood that this was a stand to strengthen
workers generally, and beat back the hands of greed that has been
choking unions all across the country.

As for the Taylor Law, why would anyone even try to pass such a law,
which clearly disadvantages labor? The very fact of its existence
proves the political betrayal by politicians who supported, lobbied and
voted for it.

The Taylor Law is a weapon of the rulers, and a whipping for the
workers. It strips them of their only real instrument of social power
-- the ability to refuse their labor. Since when is that a crime?

Well, to the rich, it is! Karl Marx said that the law 'is but the will
of one class made into a law for all.'

It is a machine, just like it made segregation legal, and criminalized
Black freedom and dignity. The same law demanded that Blacks take the
back of the bus. That same law outlaws the right of those who labor to
withhold their labor, to better their condition, and those who follow them.

Such a law, must itself be outlawed! But it won't be, if the people
rely on the politicians to do so.

That law can be unmade only by the concerted actions of the people, by
workers power, supported by others, in every area of work and life.

Even though a recent contract was approved by TWU leadership, the
proposed pact was reportedly rejected by a majority of union members.

These front-line workers want to put an end to givebacks, and
compromises, and labor bowing to capital, and their puppet politicians.

Labor wishes to fight for their class, and for their many and varied
communities, who are supported by their efforts.

To make a change, Labor must fight for it!

Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal


2) Bipartisan panel to study No Child Left Behind
By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY
February 13, 2006

After four years of complaints from parents, teachers and
administrators about President Bush's No Child Left Behind
education reform plan, a bipartisan commission is being
created to take a "hard, independent look" at the law's
problems and its promises.

The Commission on No Child Left Behind, to be announced
Tuesday, will travel the USA, holding public field hearings
and roundtables, culminating in Washington, D.C., in September.

The commission will send recommendations to Congress
in advance of NCLB's expected renewal in 2007.

Supported by the Aspen Institute, a Washington, D.C., think
tank, the panel will be co-chaired by former Georgia governor
Roy Barnes and former Health and Human Services secretary
Tommy Thompson.

The law's "ideas and motives were good," Thompson says,
"but the way it's implemented right now leaves a lot to be desired."

Passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in 2002, NCLB
aims to raise the basic academic skills of public school children.
A cornerstone of Bush's domestic agenda, it focuses on closing
the "achievement gap" with low-income students. But critics,
including the National Education Association, American
Association of School Administrators and the Civil Rights
Project at Harvard University, say it relies too much on
testing and punishes schools with even a few students
whose skills don't rise steadily year by year.

Those groups and others also say NCLB imposes new
requirements, such as expanded testing, without giving
schools enough money, and it does little to help schools
hire good teachers.

Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy,
a Washington non-profit that extensively has studied NCLB,
says its stringent testing requirements for disabled students
and English language learners "don't make a lot of sense"
to teachers.

NCLB is a "a grab-bag of good provisions and troublesome
provisions. I hope that they would find some way of improving
the troublesome provisions to save the good intentions of the act."

Now in its fifth year, the law also has been applied unevenly
by the federal government, according to a study released
today by the Civil Rights Project.

State legislators in Virginia and Utah have recommended
repealing NCLB or exempting states from requirements,
but Thompson and Barnes say the commission will not
consider such proposals.

"Education leaders in the nation agree that it's a good
approach," says Barnes.

Thompson, a former Wisconsin governor, says NCLB
"caused some rancor out in the hinterlands."

He wants to hear from those on both sides. "It's time
for somebody to take a real hard, independent look
and make some recommendations."

A list of commission members was not available Monday
but is expected to include a teacher, a civil rights leader,
a former urban schools administrator and a corporate
CEO, among others.

Barnes says the commission won't focus on funding,
which is a "purely political" question.

"That is not the scope of this commission. That's
a discourse that needs to take place, but not here," he says.

Jennings says funding is important.

Bush has proposed $3.2 billion in education cuts in
his 2007 budget, just as NCLB's testing provisions kick in.

Bush is "signaling that in his view, it's a matter of just
demanding (improvement) and not helping to pay for it,"
Jennings says.

Saying it's "the right time" to study the law, he hopes the
commission finds ways to improve it. "If they're perceived
as just being a commission to whitewash the problems
of the act, they're not going to amount to anything."


3) G.M. to Offer Buyout Deal to More Than 125,000 Workers
March 22, 2006

DETROIT, March 22 — General Motors, the United Automobile
Workers and the Delphi Corporation reached a historic agreement
today that would offer incentives to more than 125,000 workers
at the two companies if they agree to leave their jobs.

G.M., the nation's largest automaker, said all 113,000 of its
hourly workers in the United States would be offered packages
to retire or leave. But the company did not estimate how many
would accept, nor did it say how much each worker would be

Meanwhile, Delphi, the country's biggest parts supplier, said
it would offer payments of $35,000 to 13,000 of its 34,000
workers in the United States who opt to depart.

Workers are not under any obligation to accept the deals, and
executives and union officials have been concerned that some
could wait for sweetened offers.

And, the deal did not remove the threat of a strike at Delphi,
which is operating under bankruptcy protection. In a statement,
Delphi said it wanted to reach a broad agreement with the U.A.W.
on sharply lower wages and benefits by March 31.

Otherwise, it said it would ask a judge for permission to impose
less-generous terms — a move that could trigger a walkout,
which in turn would cripple G.M.

G.M. will pay the brunt of the cost, expected to be billions of
dollars, another burden for the suffering auto giant, which lost
more than $10 billion in 2005 as its market share in the United
States fell to its lowest since 1935.

Negotiations have been going on for months between the union,
G.M. and Delphi, the parts supplier that was part of G.M. until 1999.
Delphi filed for bankruptcy protection last October.

G.M. was involved because thousands of workers at Delphi, which
remains G.M.'s biggest supplier, have the right to return to the
company. G.M. is liable for pensions and post-retirement benefits
for those who worked for it before the Delphi spinoff.

In a statement, G.M.'s chief executive, Rick Wagoner, said the
move was an important step in G.M.'s restructuring and that G.M.
was "pleased" by the agreement.

A G.M. spokeswoman, Katie McBride, said that about 36,000 G.M.
workers were eligible to retire with full pension and benefits.
An additional 27,000 workers are within a few years of retirement,
and would be offered credit that would allow them to retire with
full benefits, Ms. McBride said.

Delphi, in a statement this morning, called the agreement a "critical
milestone." It said it would offer cash payments of $35,000 to
13,000 workers, slightly more than half the 24,000 represented
by the U.A.W., if they agree to leave the company. In all, it has
about 34,000 workers in the United States.

Under the U.A.W.'s contracts with G.M. and Delphi, workers can
retire after 30 years on the job. But many stay longer, because
of the $27-an-hour pay and generous benefits that the union
contracts provide.

Delphi said G.M. had agreed to pay the cost of the lump-sum
payments for its workers, as well as cover the costs of its own
retirements. Further, Delphi said G.M. had agreed to accept
5,000 Delphi workers back to the company through September
2007, when the current union contract expires.

It also said G.M. had agreed to be responsible for pensions and
other post-retirement benefits for those 5,000 workers.

G.M. plans to cut 30,000 jobs through 2008, and has begun
closing some of the 12 plants where it will eliminate production.

Given that, there are not likely to be jobs for the Delphi workers
when they "flow back" to G.M. Unless they retire, that means
some would go into a program called the Jobs Bank, where
workers receive full pay and benefits until the U.A.W.
contract expires next year.

The agreement marks unprecedented cooperation by the
union, which has been put in the position of convincing its
members to give up jobs that the U.A.W. has fought for
decades to protect.

Meanwhile, Delphi said negotiations would continue on its
bid for sharply lower wage and benefit rates from U.A.W.

Union officials said last week that Delphi would possibly
hold off filing its court motion if it reached an agreement
with G.M. and the U.A.W. on early retirements. But this
morning, Delphi reiterated its intent to seek the court motions.

The deal comes amid difficult times for G.M. and its embattled
chief executive, Rick Wagoner. Analysts say G.M.'s credibility
was damaged by last week's unexpected disclosure of improper
accounting. Late Thursday, G.M. increased its loss for 2005
by an additional $2 billion, to $10.6 billion, and delayed
filing its annual report.

The action sparked displeasure among members of G.M.'s
board, including its newest director, Jerome York, who
represents billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, G.M.'s biggest
individual shareholder.

Shares of G.M. were up 2 percent, to $22.43, this morning.


4) Getting Auto Workers to Leave a Golden Job
March 22, 2006

DETROIT, March 21 — The challenge that General Motors, Delphi
and the United Automobile Workers have encountered in their talks
on early retirement programs reflects the complexity in devising
the perfect buyout.

The departure package is a crucial element in enticing workers
off the payrolls at both General Motors and Delphi, which are
now negotiating with the U.A.W. over the future of thousands
of workers at both companies.

To be most effective, the package must convey to workers the
bleak message that the companies they work for cannot prosper
unless they leave. Workers must be convinced that this buyout
deal is the best they can get — that the offer will not get sweeter
as time goes on at either Delphi or G.M.

And there is a third factor, not written into the language of an offer.

Any buyout must be attractive enough for auto workers to give
up a storied past where their security was guaranteed, something
cash may not be enough to compensate for, and face a world
where the pensions and other benefits they worked so long
to achieve are by no means certain.

All of this is something that U.A.W. members may have
difficulty accepting, no matter what black clouds are swirling
above the Detroit skyline. To them, jobs at G.M. and at Delphi,
which G.M. spun off in 1999, have been solid gold.

"They almost see their job as a property right," said Gary N.
Chaison, professor of labor relations at Clark University in
Worcester, Mass.

Until the 1980's, jobs in car plants were often a ticket to
a family's prosperity. Once hired, a worker could make the
connections that would lead to positions for their relatives,
sharing the good fortune among generations.

But Delphi's bankruptcy filing in October, and G.M.'s subsequent
announcement that it would cut 30,000 jobs by 2008, have
put an end to that idea — and made many workers more
inclined to consider a buyout.

Thus far, they have been given nothing to consider. G.M.
shares rose $1.15 on Tuesday, to $22. Several people close
to the negotiations had expressed optimism late Monday
and into Tuesday that a deal was close, but none has been

If an agreement comes, the U.A.W. is expected to brief
local union leaders on the details later this week. The
pace of negotiations over early retirement packages has
intensified in the last week, union officials said.

The talks have been spurred by a March 31 deadline set
by the chief executive of Delphi, Robert S. Miller Jr., who
has said he plans to ask a bankruptcy judge for permission
to set aside labor contracts and impose less generous terms.

If that happens, Delphi workers have threatened to strike,
an action that would cripple production at G.M., which
is Delphi's biggest customer. That, in turn, could result
in G.M.'s own bankruptcy filing, and its own threat to
impose lower wage and benefit rates.

So the prospect that they will earn less money in the future
may be an impetus for workers to accept a buyout plan.
But that will not be easy for many of them; the safety
net that they have come to rely on still exists and it is
hard to imagine it going away.

U.A.W. members who worked at G.M. before Delphi was
spun off — believed to be about 20,000 people — have
the right to go back to G.M. But with the automaker
already planning to cut jobs, there will not be enough
open positions to accommodate them.

So unless they retire, many will eventually go into a program
called the Jobs Bank, where they will receive full pay and
benefits until the U.A.W.'s national contract expires in 2007.

G.M. has made no secret of its wish to abolish the Jobs Bank,
and the U.A.W., which is taunted by tales of workers who are
paid for doing nothing, may choose to fight for other job
protections rather than continue a program that has become
an embarrassment.

And without the Jobs Bank, a buyout may suddenly seem
more attractive.

Professor Chaison said: "It's an endless stream of bad
scenarios. A buyout might not be a good solution, but it
may be a question of sell now, while it's worth something."

Just how much is not clear.

For its part, Ford Motor, which also plans to eliminate
30,000 jobs through 2012 — has found that a "one size
fits all" approach is not enough.

To persuade its workers to leave instead of entering its
equivalent of the Jobs Bank, Ford is offering a choice of
five buyout packages. They include $35,000 in cash to
workers who are already eligible for retirement, if they
will go immediately.

Workers who have not clocked that much time can take
$100,000 in cash to leave, but must give up all benefits
except a pension. Ford also has an education plan that offers
to pay workers half their base wages and up to $15,000
a year in tuition assistance for up to four years.

U.A.W. officials would not say whether a similar deal was
on the table in the Delphi talks. And even if the two companies
and the union can negotiate an agreement, more work lies
ahead on an even trickier deal: the lower wage and benefit
rates that Mr. Miller is demanding.

Said Professor Chaison: "No matter how hard they work on this,
and no matter whether they shake hands at the end of the day,
there will still be future confrontations and future bad news."


5) Federal Aid Is Focus of a Lawsuit by Students
[NOTE: The punishment has no effect on the wealthy. Only the
poor are punished since they can't afford tuition without the help!
As usual, the wealthy can afford tuition and drug treatment
programs for their kids and so, are above the law!]
March 22, 2006

WASHINGTON, March 21 — A student organization is suing the
United States Education Department over a law that denies federal
financial aid to 35,000 students a year because they were convicted
of drug offenses while receiving the aid.

The class-action suit, which the American Civil Liberties Union
is to file on Wednesday in federal court in South Dakota on behalf
of an organization called Students for Sensible Drug Policy, names
the secretary of education, Margaret Spellings, as a defendant.

The named plaintiffs are three students who lost financial aid after
misdemeanor drug convictions. They represent 200,000 students
with drug records who also lost financial help since the first version
of the law was passed in 1998.

Valerie Smith, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education,
said she could not comment on pending litigation.

The suit contends that the law is unconstitutional because it amounts
to double jeopardy, further penalizing students who were already
punished by the courts.

The suit also argues that the law violates the students' right
to due process, and disproportionately hurts African-Americans,
who are more frequently convicted of drug offenses than whites.

Kraig Selken, a plaintiff and a senior at Northern State University
in Aberdeen, S.D., was convicted of misdemeanor drug possession
last year, and has lost state aid as a consequence of losing federal
aid. The assistance covered nearly his entire tuition bill
of $3,000 a year.


6) Home Fuel Bills Show No Sign of Mild Winter
March 22, 2006

Americans have spent more money heating their homes this winter
than in a generation, despite mild weather that has kept down the
consumption of heating fuel.

State and local governments have enlisted Boy Scouts to insulate
homes, offered tax breaks on fuel efficient products and even
recycled newspaper to make insulation to warm the homes of
poor residents in one of the nation's frostier states.

This week, President Bush signed a bill to provide $1 billion in
federal energy assistance to poor households in addition to
$2 billion already allocated this year. Congress has battled over
legislation to provide help for the coldest states, and the law
this week includes the most money ever allotted for the Low
Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

The price of heating oil reached $2.38 a gallon this winter,
the highest price since 1981 — even adjusting for inflation —
according to federal figures, roughly 60 percent higher than
the average price per gallon from 1999 to 2004.

The prices, even against the backdrop of a winter punctuated
by blooming flowers in December and unadjusted thermostats,
resulted in a 45 percent increase in household spending on
fuel compared with the average of the last several years —
$1,386 per home — even though consumption fell 9 percent
in the same period.

The story was the same in homes that use natural gas and
propane for heating. Natural gas reached its highest price
on record in late 2005, according to the federal figures,
and spending rose to $867 per home, a 35 percent increase
over previous years.

"The hurricanes knocked about 80 percent of the gas
production from the Gulf of Mexico off line, helping push
the price of natural gas this winter to the highest levels ever,"
said Tancred Lidderdale, the senior economist for the Energy
Information Administration, an agency of the Energy Department.

"Similarly," Mr. Lidderdale said, "the impact on crude oil
production and refining in the gulf drove heating prices
to the highest levels since the Iranian Revolution."

In response, states expanded their subsidized heating programs,
spent millions of dollars on public service campaigns promoting
conservation and enlisted volunteers and private businesses to help.

In Kalamazoo, Mich., residents on the north side of town, one
of the city's poorest neighborhoods, "talked about high heating
costs and their fear that they could not afford to heat their
homes," Mayor Hannah McKinney said.

The city created a program in which donated newspapers were
collected by volunteers, turned into insulation by a local
company and installed in homes.

In Kansas, the state's energy department bought 10,600 kits
filled with foam weather stripping, low-flow shower heads and
other conservation items, and then asked the Boy Scouts, church
groups and other civic organizations to distribute and install them
in some of the 93,000 homes of qualified residents statewide.

Given that Kansas had its warmest January on record — with
Topeka temperatures averaging 52 degrees instead of the
usual 20 degrees — state officials said they were well positioned
to roll out the program next year.

"With these strange weather patterns, we are not going to luck
out forever," said Jim Ploger, the director of the Kansas Energy Office.

Georgia and other states have declared so-called sales tax holidays
for appliances featuring the Energy Star ratings given by the
Department of Energy, and, in Pennsylvania, the governor's
office is arranging weekly weatherization workshops in Lowe's
home-improvement stores.

In Connecticut, 24,000 low-income households and the state's
homeless shelters got single deliveries of up to 200 gallons
of heating oil at 40 percent off the retail price.

Eight states accepted discounted heating oil from the CitgoPetroleum
Corporation, owned by the government of Venezuela, whose president,
Hugo Chávez, has close ties to Fidel Castro of Cuba and who has
been critical of Mr. Bush.


7) Rift on Immigration Widens for Conservatives and Cardinals
March 19, 2006

THE fierce battle over the future of America's immigration system
is spilling from Capitol Hill onto the airwaves, as conservatives accuse
Democrats, human rights groups and even some labor unions of trying
to stymie Republican efforts to stem the tide of illegal immigration.

But in recent weeks, some commentators and prominent Republicans
have turned their swords against another formidable foe in their battle
to tighten the borders: the Roman Catholic Church.

Immigration has long caused friction between the church, with its
advocacy for migrants, and conservatives, who want to slow illegal
crossings over the Mexican border. But as Congress wrestles with
the fate of the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants, that tension
has escalated into a sharp war of words, highlighting the divide
among some Republicans and Catholics who have fought side
by side on other issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.

In December, after the Republican-controlled House of
Representatives passed a tough border security bill that, among
other things, would make it a crime to assist illegal immigrants,
the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops assailed it as
extremely punitive and called on its flock to oppose it. Church
officials have sent lobbyists to Congress and this month parishes
sent members to rallies in Chicago and Washington to push
for legislation that would legalize undocumented immigrants
and put them on the path to citizenship.

Some Republicans are firing back.

In February, Representative Tom Tancredo, a Colorado
Republican who opposes illegal immigration, took issue with
Catholic bishops, among other religious leaders, "for invoking
God when arguing for a blanket amnesty" for illegal immigrants.
This month, two powerful Republican representatives, Peter King
of New York and F. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, the
co-sponsors of the border security bill, criticized the church
leadership on "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News Channel, particularly
Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, who has said he would
instruct his priests and parishioners to defy the legislation
if it ever became law.

Meanwhile, cable news commentators Tucker Carlson and
Lou Dobbs have questioned whether the church should maintain
its tax-exempt status, given its political activism on immigration.
And in an interview, Mr. King accused church leaders of "committing
the sin of hypocrisy" in their campaign to sway Congress and
Catholic voters.

"This is the left wing of the Catholic Church — these are the
frustrated social workers," said Mr. King, who described himself
as a practicing Catholic. "They're giving an incentive for more
illegals to come here. I don't think it's right."

In fact, the Catholic leadership is united on this issue, and includes
several bishops who strongly suggested in 2004 that Catholics
should vote for President Bush because of his opposition to abortion.
Both sides say they will continue to work together on those campaigns.
But the pointed attacks by some Republicans are notable, given that
the party has worked hard to woo Catholic voters in recent years.
Some analysts warn that such criticism of the church and of immigrants
may alienate a critical voting bloc of largely immigrant origins. But
others point out that, unlike their clergy, most white, non-Hispanic
Catholics remain deeply divided over immigration, and a battle
seems to be emerging for their hearts and minds.

There are political implications. In preparation for the 2004
presidential election, the Bush administration cultivated church leaders,
organized more than 50,000 volunteers and hired staff members to
reach out to Catholic voters. The goal was to break the traditional
allegiance to the Democratic Party, an affiliation that began to
crumble with Ronald Reagan.

The campaign bore fruit: In 2004, a majority of Catholics voted for
a Republican presidential candidate for the first time in 16 years.

But some analysts warn that Republicans need to tread carefully
when they criticize the church and illegal immigrants. "The danger
of this situation politically is that you'll have an entire season in
which Republican politicians are saying critical things about the
Catholic hierarchy," said Deal Hudson, the Republican architect
of the effort to court Catholic voters in 2004. "That's not going
to be helpful in terms of keeping the coalition together."

But the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, editor of First Things,
a conservative journal about religion and public life, said he
doubted that the disagreement would have much impact on
Catholics. He said the sexual abuse scandals had already
weakened the credibility of the church leadership in the
minds of some Catholics.

Republicans and the Catholic clergy have differed before on
other issues — like the war in Iraq and the death penalty —
without deeply affecting parishioners. And Mr. Neuhaus noted
that while Catholics often connect deeply with their immigrant
history, some make clear distinctions between their parents
and grandparents and the more recent arrivals from Latin America.

"My hunch is that if you remove from the bracket the
approximately one-third of the Catholic population that is
Hispanic, that probably most other Catholics would divide
on this questions pretty much as the general population
does," Father Neuhaus said.

The Catholic leaders are keenly aware of the divisions among
the faithful on this issue. Seventy of the 197 Catholic dioceses
have formally committed to the immigration campaign, and
officials are working hard to recruit the others.

Leo Anchondo, who directs the immigrant campaign on behalf
of the Catholic Conference of Bishops, said the cardinals and
bishops were not surprised there was a backlash against such

"Immigration has unfortunately become a very controversial
topic," he said.

But Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington said he and
other leaders decided they could not stay silent after witnessing
the hardships endured by illegal immigrants, particularly as the
wave from Latin America has surged. "This is a justice issue,"
he said. "We feel you have to take care of people."

Mr. Sensenbrenner, the Republican chairman of the House
Judiciary Committee, said Republicans had an obligation to
clamp down on the border. To do otherwise, he said, would
likely transform illegal immigrants into a permanent underclass
in the United States.

That, he pointed out on "The O'Reilly Factor," was an undesirable
option. "And I don't think it's Christian either," he said.


8) British Court Rules Against Muslim Girl
Filed at 11:26 a.m. ET
March 22, 2006

LONDON (AP) -- Britain's highest court ruled Wednesday that
a school acted properly in refusing to allow a student to wear
Muslim clothing of her choice rather than the attire permitted
under school policy.

Shabina Begum, now 17, last year won a Court of Appeal ruling
establishing that Denbigh High School in Luton infringed on her
rights by not allowing her to wear a jilbab -- a long, flowing gown
that covers her entire body except for her face and hands.

The school, where four-fifths of the students are Muslim, allows
students to wear trousers, skirts or a traditional shalwar kameez,
which consists of trousers and a tunic. Girls were allowed
to wear head scarves.

The school, which appealed its case to the Law Lords, Britain's
highest court, argued that the jilbab posed a health and safety
risk and might cause divisions among pupils, with those wearing
traditional dress possibly being seen as better Muslims.

Lord Justice Bingham said in the 5-0 ruling Wednesday that the
school ''had taken immense pains to devise a uniform policy
which respected Muslim beliefs but did so in an inclusive,
unthreatening and uncompetitive way.''

''The rules laid down were as far from being mindless as
uniform rules could ever be. The school had enjoyed a period
of harmony and success to which the uniform policy was
thought to contribute,'' Bingham said.

He noted that the head teacher at the school at the time was
a Muslim, and the rules were acceptable to mainstream Muslims.

Begum was sent home from school in September 2002 for
wearing the jilbab.

''We're not sure if we're going to take it to the European Court
or not,'' Begum told Sky News.

''I think I have made my point at this stage,'' she said, adding
that she hoped the case encouraged others to ''speak out.''

Lord Hoffmann said Begum could have moved to a single-sex
school where her religion did not require a jilbab or a school where
she was allowed to wear one.

''Instead, she and her brother decided that it was the school's
problem. They sought a confrontation and claimed that she had
a right to attend the school of her own choosing in the clothes
she chose to wear,'' Hoffmann wrote.

Lord Nicholls, while joining in ruling for the school, said he believed
the court may have underestimated the difficulty she would have
faced in changing schools.


9) George Bush's Trillion-Dollar War
Call it the trillion-dollar war.
March 23, 2006

George W. Bush's war in Iraq was never supposed to be particularly
expensive. Administration types tossed out numbers like $50 billion
and $60 billion. When Lawrence Lindsey, the president's chief
economic adviser, said the war was likely to cost $100 billion to
$200 billion, he was fired.

Some in the White House tried to spread the fantasy that Iraqi oil
revenues would pay for the war. Paul Wolfowitz, the former deputy
defense secretary and a fanatical hawk, told Congress that Iraq was
"a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and
relatively soon."

The president and his hot-for-war associates were as wrong
about the money as they were about the weapons of mass

Now comes a study by Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning
economist at Columbia University, and a colleague, Linda Bilmes
of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, that estimates
the "true costs" of the war at more than $1 trillion, and possibly
more than $2 trillion.

"Even taking a conservative approach and assuming all U.S.
troops return by 2010, we believe the true costs exceed
a trillion dollars," the authors say.

The study was released earlier this year but has not gotten
much publicity. The analysis by Professors Stiglitz and Bilmes
goes beyond the immediate costs of combat operations
to include other direct and indirect costs of the war that,
in some cases, the government will have to shoulder for
many years.

These costs, the study says, "include disability payments
to veterans over the course of their lifetimes, the cost of
replacing military equipment and munitions, which are being
consumed at a faster-than-normal rate, the cost of medical
treatment for returning Iraqi war veterans, particularly the
more than 7,000 [service members] with brain, spinal,
amputation and other serious injuries, and the cost of
transporting returning troops back to their home bases."

The study also notes that Defense Department expenditures
that were not directly appropriated for Iraq have grown by
more than 5 percent since the war began. But a portion of
that increase has been spent "on support for the war in Iraq,
including significantly higher recruitment costs, such
as nearly doubling the number of recruiters, paying
recruitment bonuses of up to $40,000 for new enlistees
and paying special bonuses and other benefits, up to
$150,000 for current Special Forces troops that re-enlist."

"Another cost to the government," the study says, "is the
interest on the money that it has borrowed to finance the war."

Among the things taken into account by the study are
some of the difficult-to-quantify but very real costs inflicted
by the war on the American economy and society, such
as the effect of the war on oil prices, and the economic
loss that results from the many thousands of Americans
wounded and killed in the war.

The study does not address the substantial costs of the
war borne by Iraq or by any other countries besides
the United States.

In an interview, Mr. Stiglitz said that about $560 billion,
which is a little more than half of the study's conservative
estimate of the cost of the war, would have been enough
to "fix" Social Security for the next 75 years. If one were
thinking in terms of promoting democracy in the Middle
East, he said, the money being spent on the war would
have been enough to finance a "mega-mega-mega-
Marshall Plan," which would have been "so much more"
effective than the invasion of Iraq.

It's not easy to explain just how much money $1 trillion
really is. Imagine a stack of bills worth $1 million that
is roughly six inches high. (Think big denominations —
a mix of $100 bills and $1,000 bills, mostly $1,000's.)
If the six-inch stack were enlarged to the point where
it was worth $1 billion, it would be as tall as the
Washington Monument, about 500 feet. If it were
worth $1 trillion, the stack would be 95 miles high.

Ms. Bilmes said that the $1 trillion we're spending on
Iraq amounts to about $10,000 for every household
in the U.S.

At his press conference on Tuesday, President Bush
made it clear that whatever the cost, American forces
would not be leaving Iraq soon. When asked whether
a day would come when there were no U.S. forces
in Iraq, he said that decision would be made by
future presidents and future governments of Iraq.

The meter's running. We're at a trillion dollars, and counting.


10) Unions Agree to Meet French Leader as Strike Looms
March 24, 2006

PARIS, March 23 — France's most powerful trade unions agreed
to meet Friday with Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin to discuss
a hotly contested new employment law as fires burned in Paris in the
wake of another student demonstration against the legislation.

The political jockeying took place as tens of thousands of students
marched against the law again today, sparking clashes with the
police and leading to more vandalism. A shoe store went up in
flames near the Hôtel des Invalides in the city's exclusive 7th
Arrondissement, and the police reported that at least three
cars in the neighborhood had also been set ablaze.

Police officers fired tear gas and scuffled with demonstrators
in Rennes in northwest France and Marseilles in the south
following protests that drew thousands of marchers in those

While the vast majority of people protesting the law are
peaceful, small groups of youths have used the demonstrations
as occasions to make trouble. That has only increased
pressure on the government to find a way out of its
political morass before the violence spreads or causes
death or serious injuries.

The Agence France-Presse has already reported that
a 39-year-old postal worker and union member remained
in a coma after a beating by riot police on Saturday night.

Mr. Villepin wrote to French trade unions early today,
appealing for talks on the new law that the union have
insisted be rescinded. The law, meant to spur hiring, would
allow employers to fire workers under 26 without cause
during their first two years on the job. It is currently
under review by France's Constitutional Council.
If approved by the council, it would go into effect
next month.

The Centrist opposition leader, François Bayrou, said
Mr. Villepin must remain open to withdrawing the law.
"The time has come, if we want to avoid mounting dangers
and risks, to make this gesture," he said on France's
Europe 1 radio.

The country's five major union syndicates had refused
to talk to the government as long as the law is on the books.
And in a communiqué released this afternoon they said
that in responding to Mr. Villepin they repeated their
demand that he rescind the law. They called for a meeting
Friday of all organizations involved in opposing the new
law and repeated their call for strikes and demonstrations
next Tuesday.

But they agreed to meet the prime minister later on Friday.


*Exxon Exxposed*
by Charlie Cray
Wednesday, March 22, 2006 by the Huffington Post

FOCUS | Marjorie Cohn: Israel, al Qaeda and Iran
Marjorie Cohn writes that since George W. Bush gave his "axis of
evil" speech, he has invaded Iraq, changed its regime, and created
a quagmire reminiscent of Vietnam. His administration is now
sending clear signals that Iran is next in line for regime change.
The raison d'etre: Iran's nuclear program, an al Qaeda connection,
and protecting Israel.

Videotape captures alleged patient dumping on LA's skid row
Associated Press
LOS ANGELES - A videocamera recorded a 63-year-old hospital
patient dressed only in a gown and slippers being dumped onto
a skid row street - a controversial practice that has come under
fire from police, politicians and homeless advocates.
Posted on Thu, Mar. 23, 2006

The Rainwater Prophecy
Richard Rainwater made billions by knowing how to
he foresees the biggest one yet.
(FORTUNE Magazine)
December 26, 2005

Afghan Judge Says He Won't Bow to Pressure on Conversion Case
Filed at 4:07 a.m. ET
KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan's judiciary will not bow to outside
pressure over the fate of a man who faces the death penalty for
converting to Christianity, a judge dealing with the case said
on Thursday.
March 23, 2006

From the Man Who Voted Against Katrina Aid
Rep. Joe Barton's Strange War on CITGO
March 16, 2006

How a Remote Alaskan Indian Tribe Got One of the Most Lucrative
Post-911 Security Contracts, But Not a Single Job
Contract Casino
March 22, 2006

Dahr Jamail | Operation Swarm of Lies
The stated mission of Operation Swarmer, launched late last week
in an area just northeast of Samarra, in Iraq, was to "break up a
center of insurgent resistance" and to disrupt "terrorist activity,"
according to the US military. Comprised of over 1,500 US and
Iraqi soldiers, 50 US attack and transport helicopters airlifted
the bold force into a flat area of farmland filled not with fighters
belonging to the "center of insurgent resistance," but with
impoverished farmers, cows, goats and women baking bread.
The first drop of soldiers onto the ground from this air-
operation doubled the meager population of 1,500 souls
living in the 50 square-mile area.

General Motors, on Verge of Collapse, Seeks to Cut 35,000 Jobs
General Motors is trying to stave off the possibility of collapse by
thrashing out a last-minute job reduction plan with its former
subsidiary and now major parts supplier, Delphi, and the powerful
United Auto Workers union. The plan on the table is believed to
involve offering up to 35,000 employees cash incentives of up
to $35,000 to take early retirement.

High schools hit hard in youth jobs protests

French unions call for national strike as PM refuses to yield
Angelique Chrisafis in Paris
The Guardian Tuesday March 21, 2006,,1735745,00.html

Road to war begins in boot camp
Boot camp - grueling training for NY's 155 recruits and
others - is where road to Iraq begins
Newsday Staff Correspondent
March 21, 2006,0,1122443.story?coll=ny-top-headlines

Supreme Court Limits Police Searches of Homes
Filed at 10:51 a.m. ET
March 22, 2006

Square Feet
Where Have All the Supermarkets Gone?
March 22, 2006

Johannesburg Journal
In the Jungle, the Unjust Jungle, a Small Victory
Mr. Linda received 10 shillings — about 87 cents today — when
he signed over the copyright of "Mbube" in 1952 to Gallo Studios,
the company that produced his record. He also got a job sweeping
floors and serving tea in the company's packing house.
His eight children survived on maize porridge, known as pap. When
they passed a grade in school, their reward was an egg. Two died as
babies, one of malnutrition, said his daughter Ms. Nsele, now 47.
"Chicken feet and pap, chicken feet and pap," she said. "That was
our meal for years and years."
March 22, 2006

Evacuees' Lives Still Upended Seven Months After Hurricane
March 22, 2006
Nearly seven months after Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans
and forced out hundreds of thousands of residents, most evacuees
say they have not found a permanent place to live, have depleted
their savings and consider their life worse than before the hurricane,
according to interviews with more than 300 evacuees conducted
by The New York Times.

Policy Bulletin
TITLE: Military Access to Schools
NUMBER: BUL-2067.0
ISSUER: Robert Collins, Chief Instructional Officer
Secondary Instruction
DATE: October 21, 2005

Nonprofit Hospitals Face Scrutiny Over Practices
The commissioner of internal revenue, Mark W. Everson, said tax
officials often found little difference between nonprofit and for-
profit hospitals "in their operations, their attention to the benefit
of the community or their levels of charity care."
March 19, 2006

At City Hall Rally, Transit Union Leader Demands Revote
March 20, 2006

Oil Spill Raises Concerns on Pipeline Maintenance
WASHINGTON, March 18 ˜ An oil spill this month in Alaska, the
largest ever on the North Slope, has raised new concerns among
state and federal regulators about whether BP has been properly
maintaining its aging network of wells, pumps and pipelines that
crisscross the tundra.
BP Exploration Alaska, the subsidiary of the international oil giant
that operates the corroded transmission line from which more
than 200,000 gallons of crude oil leaked, has been criticized
and fined in several different cases, most recently in 2004 when
state regulators fined the company more than $1.2 million.
March 20, 2006

Chirac seeks to calm anger in France over new labor law
The Associated Press
FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 2006

The color of my happiness is to the beat of Baraguá
Celia Hart 2006-03-16
A CubaNews translation by Ana Portela.
Edited by Walter Lippmann

Uranium bombing in Iraq contaminates Europe
by Bob Nichols

America's Blinders
By Howard Zinn
April 2006 Issue

Why Do So Few Women Reach the Top of Big Law Firms?
March 19, 2006

Major Changes Raise Concerns on Pension Bill
March 19, 2006

Task Force 6-26
In Secret Unit's 'Black Room,' a Grim Portrait of U.S. Abuse
March 19, 2006

Torture Before and After Abu Ghraib
As the Iraqi insurgency intensified in early 2004, an elite Special
Operations forces unit converted one of Saddam Hussein's former
military bases near Baghdad into a top-secret detention center.
There, American soldiers made one of the former Iraqi government's
torture chambers into their own interrogation cell.
They named it the Black Room.

Are Warrentless Searches Next?
In the dark days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks,
a small group of lawyers from the White House and the Justice
Department began meeting to debate a number of novel legal
strategies to help prevent another attack. Soon after, President
Bush authorized the National Security Agency to begin conducting
electronic eavesdropping on terrorism suspects in the United States,
including American citizens, without court approval. Meeting in the
FBI's state-of-the-art command center in the J. Edgar Hoover
Building, the lawyers talked with senior FBI officials about using
the same legal authority to conduct physical searches of homes
and businesses of terrorism suspects - also without court approval.

G.M. Loss for 2005 Is Steeper
March 17, 2006

French Students Step Up Protests Against New Job Law
March 15, 2006

Updated Strategy Backs Iraq Strike and Cites Iran Peril
March 16, 2006

US Military Air Strikes Significantly Increased in Iraq
American forces have dramatically increased air strikes in Iraq during
the past five months, a change of tactics that may foreshadow how the
United States plans to battle a still-strong insurgency while reducing
the number of US ground troops serving there.

Market Place [The place where figures don't lie but liars sure
A Troubling Finance Tool for Companies in Trouble
March 15, 2006

Study Says Chips in ID Tags Are Vulnerable to Viruses
March 15, 2006

I Live in a Ghetto
by Michael Engel

Many Utilities Collect for Taxes They Never Pay
March 15, 2006

FOCUS | Paul Krugman: 'McCain Is Not a Moderate'

A Swiftly Crumbling Planet
Doomsayer Mike Davis
offers a new reason to panic:
Earth is turning into a giant slum.

Colleges Open Minority Aid to All Comers
"Facing threats of litigation and pressure from Washington, colleges
and universities nationwide are opening to white students hundreds
of thousands of dollars in fellowships, scholarships and other
programs previously created for minorities."
March 14, 2006

2 Asian Automakers Plan Ventures in 2 States Left by U.S. Carmakers
March 14, 2006

Congress Challenges Oil Executives on Profits
March 14, 2006

Federal Judge to Order Google to Release Data to Justice Dept.
"Although the Justice Department said it doesn't want any personal
information now, the victory would likely encourage far more invasive
requests in the future, said University of Connecticut law professor
Paul Schiff Berman, who specializes in Internet law.
"The erosion of privacy tends to happen incrementally," Berman
said. "While no one intrusion may seem that big, over the course
of the next decade or two, you might end up in a place as a society
where you never thought you would be."
Google seized on the case to underscore its commitment to privacy
rights and differentiate itself from the Internet's other major search
engines -- Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp.'s MSN and Time Warner Inc.'s
America Online. All three say they complied with the Justice
Department's request without revealing their users' personal
March 14, 2006

Palestinians Sought by Israel Surrender Outside Jail
March 14, 2006

Dahr Jamail | Iraq: Permanent US Colony
Why does the Bush Administration refuse to discuss withdrawing
occupation forces from Iraq? Why is Halliburton, who landed the no-bid
contracts to construct and maintain US military bases in Iraq, posting higher
profits than ever before in its 86-year history? Why do these bases in
Iraq resemble self-contained cities as much as military outposts? Dahr
Jamail explores these questions and more.

The War Dividend: Companies Making a Fortune out of Conflict-Riven Iraq
British businesses have profited by at least 1.1 billion pounds since
coalition forces toppled Saddam Hussein three years ago, the first
comprehensive investigation into UK corporate investment in Iraq has found.
The company roll-call of post-war profiteers includes some of the best
known names in Britain's boardrooms, as well many who would prefer to
remain anonymous.

Immigrants stage massive protest in Chicago
10 Mar 2006 21:05:25 GMT
Source: Reuters

A Poverty Line That's Out of Date and Out of Favor
March 12, 2006


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