Saturday, December 23, 2006



FRIDAY, JANUARY 12, 2007, 4:00 - 7:00 P.M.


1) Appeals Panel Cuts Award in Valdez Spill by Exxon
December 23, 2006

2) A Historically Accurate Indicator for the U.S. May Not Apply Anymore
December 23, 2006

3) Ford to Invest in Plants and Get Tax Breaks
December 23, 2006

4) From Scum, Perhaps the Tiniest Form of Life
December 23, 2006

5) A Real-World Army
New York Times Editorial
December 24, 2006

6) With Bigger Army, a Bigger Task for Recruiters
December 24, 2006

7) Columbia Charges Students With Violating Protest Rules
December 23, 2006

8) Immigrants Go From Farms to Jails, and a Climate of Fear Settles In
December 24, 2006

9) US sends foreign aid to third countries to promote change in Cuba
Associated Press
Posted on Fri, Dec. 22, 2006


1) Appeals Panel Cuts Award in Valdez Spill by Exxon
December 23, 2006

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 — A federal appeals panel on Friday cut nearly
in half the $4.5 billion punitive damages award against Exxon Mobil
as a result of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989.

A majority of a three-judge panel said the company’s negligent conduct,
while “particularly egregious,” had not been intentional and had not
warranted the maximum financial penalty that a lower court imposed.

The panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,
in San Francisco, split on applying legal precedents to the company
responsible for the worst oil spill in United States history. It cut the
award for punitive damages to $2.5 billion.

In the decision, the majority wrote, “Exxon’s reckless misconduct in
placing a known relapsed alcoholic in command of a supertanker,
loaded with millions of barrels of oil, to navigate the pristine and
resource abundant waters of Prince William Sound, was reckless
and warrants severe sanctions.”

“The misconduct did not, however, warrant sanctions at the highest
range allowable,” the ruling added.

Under the formulas used in such cases, the $4.5 billion was at
the upper range permissible, representing a ninefold increase
in the actual damages suffered by tens of thousands of fishermen,
Alaska Natives and tourism businesses on whose behalf
the suit was filed.

The case has bounced between the Circuit Court of Appeals and
the District Court in Anchorage as Supreme Court precedents
evolved, said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University
of Richmond.

Judges setting punitive damages have “a lot of flexibility,” Professor
Tobias said, but they have to adhere to established standards
in their calculations. One standard deals with the severity of the
conduct and lets a judge set punitive damages up to 10 times
actual damages.

A district court judge, H. Russel Holland, had most recently used
one of the highest multiples allowed by Supreme Court precedent,
though he had lowered to $4.5 billion his original $5 billion that
an earlier appeals panel had rejected.

That was still excessive, Judges Andrew J. Kleinfeld and Mary
M. Schroeder wrote for the appeals panel.

Judge James R. Browning dissented, saying Exxon’s conduct
was “extremely reprehensible,” “malicious” and “placed at massive
risk and, ultimately, seriously injured the property and livelihood
of tens of thousands of Alaskans.”

David Oesting, a lawyer for people harmed by the spill, said,
“At least we’re back on track and on the way to closure.”


2) A Historically Accurate Indicator for the U.S. May Not Apply Anymore
December 23, 2006

A WORLDWIDE boom is heating up at an unprecedented rate.
Or at least that is the signal from prices in metals that historically
have been early indicators of booms and busts.

An index of spot metals prices, compiled by the Commodities
Research Bureau and Reuters, has been around for a quarter-
century. It concentrates on metals that move the fastest when
economic conditions change, and that has made it volatile.

But even with that volatility, not until 2003 did it manage to go
up 50 percent in a 12-month period, and that was an increase
from the very depressed prices that came with the worldwide
slowdown early in this decade. The rise left the actual price
level well within historic norms.

But starting in late 2005, the level of prices began to rise in
a way that would have seemed normal to a technology stock
investor in late 1999. At the end of last month, the 12-month
increase was 99.6 percent. An index that first went above
400 a year ago topped 750 early this month.

The index is based on prices of zinc and tin, as well as steel
scrap, copper scrap and lead scrap.

For most of its history, the index was a relatively good indicator
of activity in the United States, the economy that used the most
raw materials. But the American economy did not surge in 2006.
Instead, it seemed to be slowing a bit, and the forecasts for 2007
are far from euphoric.

A Merrill Lynch survey of 393 money managers found that
20 percent of them expect the American economy to grow
stronger in 2007, while 60 percent believe it will weaken.
And 24 percent think a recession is at least fairly likely next year.

But the United States is no longer sure to be the marginal buyer
of economically sensitive materials. That honor now goes to Asia,
particularly China. That Merrill Lynch survey found that nobody
expects recession in the region China is in — defined as the Pacific
area less Japan, although most think the economy will become
a little weaker.

The metal indicator may, in fact, be starting to slow. This month
it is up only a little from the end of November, and it is down
from the peak reached in the first week of December.

But in the past, it has plunged before world recessions began —
and sometimes when they were averted even though economic
growth slipped. The fact it has not done so shows that demand
for those metals is still very strong.

For the United States, struggling with sharp downturns in housing
and car sales, the lesson may be that it no longer rules the world
economy. An American recession used to bring on lower commodity
prices, which could help stimulate demand. This time, it might not
have such an impact unless the newly important Asian economies
also turn down.


3) Ford to Invest in Plants and Get Tax Breaks
December 23, 2006

DETROIT, Dec. 22 (AP) — The Ford Motor Compay will invest $1 billion
in six southeastern Michigan plants in exchange for $151 million in tax
incentives from the state, the company said on Friday.

Details of the investment will be made public on Jan. 4 at a transmission
plant in Livonia, one of the factories to receive the additional cash,
Ford said in a statement.

Other plants to get new investment include a transmission plant
in Sterling Heights; the Wayne Assembly plant, which will probably
make the next generation of the Focus small car; Dearborn Truck
assembly, which makes the F-150 pickup and other truck-based
vehicles; and the Dearborn and Woodhaven parts stamping plants,
the company said.

Ford will get tax breaks over a 20-year period from the state, and
it is seeking tax incentives from local governments as well. The
company said its investment in Michigan could exceed $1 billion
in the next five to seven years.

Ford is also considering added investments at five other sites —
a hybrid vehicle engineering plant in Dearborn, the Romeo Engine
plant, a truck plant in Wayne, the Sterling Heights axle plant and
Ford’s proving grounds in Bruce Township, according to documents
filed with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation,
the state’s nonprofit development arm.

The company’s filing said the investment would help it retain
about 13,740 jobs in the state.


4) From Scum, Perhaps the Tiniest Form of Life
December 23, 2006

The smallest form of life known to science just got smaller.

Four million of a newly discovered microbe — assuming the discovery,
reported yesterday in the journal Science, is confirmed — could fit
into the period at the end of this sentence.

Scientists found the microbes living in a remarkably inhospitable
environment, drainage water as caustic as battery acid from a mine
in Northern California. The microbes, members of an ancient family
of organisms known as archaea, formed a pink scum on green pools
of hot mine water laden with toxic metals, including arsenic.

“It was amazing,” said Jillian F. Banfield of the University of California,
Berkeley, a member of the discovery team. “These were totally new.”
In their paper, the scientists call the microbes “smaller than any
other known cellular life form.”

Scientists say the discovery could bear on estimates of the
pervasiveness of exotic microbial life, which some experts
suspect forms a hidden biosphere extending down miles whose
total mass may exceed that of all surface life.

It may also influence the search for microscopic life forms elsewhere
in the solar system, a discovery that would prove that life in the
universe is not unique to Earth but an inherent property of matter.

The tiny microbes came from an abandoned mine at Iron Mountain
in Shasta County, Calif., which produced gold, silver, iron and
copper before closing in 1963.

Today, rain and surface water run over exposed minerals,
producing sulfuric acid. The mine is one of the largest Superfund
cleanup sites.

Starting in 2002, the scientists obtained drops of the acidic slime
and searched for genetic signs of novel microbes. “We were
essentially looking for new stuff,” one of the scientists, Brett J.
Baker, said in statement from Berkeley, “and we found it.”

The microbes are about 200 nanometers wide — the size of
large viruses, which scientists consider lifeless because they
cannot reproduce on their own. Bacteria average about five
times that size.

The scientists must do further tests to confirm that the organisms
are the smallest ever found, and that they can reproduce. If those
analyses hold up, they said in their Science paper, “it may be
necessary to reconsider existing paradigms for the minimum
requirements for life.”


5) A Real-World Army
New York Times Editorial
December 24, 2006

Military reality finally broke through the Bush administration’s
ideological wall last week, with President Bush publicly acknowledging
the need to increase the size of the overstretched Army
and Marine Corps.

Larger ground forces are an absolute necessity for the sort of battles
America is likely to fight during the coming decades: extended clashes
with ground-based insurgents rather than high-tech shootouts with
rival superpowers. The president’s belated recognition is welcome,
though it comes only after significant damage has been done to the
Army’s morale, recruitment standards and fighting readiness. Given
the time required to recruit and train the additional troops, the
proposed increase will not make much difference in Iraq’s current
battles. But over time it will help make America more secure and
better prepared to meet future crises.

The need for more troops has for some time been obvious to
Americans. They have heard from neighbors or from news reports
of tours of duty involuntarily extended, second and even third
deployments to Iraq, lowered recruiting standards and members
of the National Guard and Reserves vowing to get out. That is the
inevitable consequence of trying to squeeze out an additional
160,000 soldiers for Iraq and Afghanistan year after year without
significantly increasing overall ground forces.

But it took the departure of Donald Rumsfeld — the author of the
failed Iraq policy and the doctrine of going to war with less than
the Army we needed — for Mr. Bush finally to accept this reality.

There is no permanent right number for the size of American
ground forces. The current size — just over 500,000 for the active
duty Army and 180,000 for the Marine Corps — is based on military
assessments at the end of the cold war. As the world changes,
those assessments must be constantly reviewed. When the 21st
century began, Pentagon planners expected that American forces
could essentially coast unchallenged for a few decades, relying
on superior air and sea power, while preparing for possible future
military competition with an increasingly powerful China. That
meant investing in the Air Force and Navy, not the Army and

Then 9/11 changed everything, except the Pentagon mind-set.
During the Rumsfeld years, reality was subordinated to a dogma
of “transformation,” which declared that with a little more technology,
the Army could do a lot more fighting with fewer soldiers
than its senior generals believed necessary.

Every year since 2001 has brought increased demands on
America’s slimmed-down and dollar-starved ground forces,
while billions continued to flow into sustaining the oversized and
underused Air Force and Navy, and modernizing their state-of-
the-art equipment. As a result, the overall Pentagon budget is
larger than it needs to be, while the part going to overtaxed
ground forces is too small.

Increasing those ground forces will cost roughly $1.5 billion
a year for every 10,000 troops added, as well as tens of billions
in one-time recruitment and equipment expenses. But America
can afford it and it can be done without any significant increase
in the annual military budget.

For example, the estimated $15 billion a year (plus start-up costs)
needed to add 100,000 more ground troops could easily be found
by slashing military pork and spending on unneeded stealth fighters,
stealth destroyers and attack submarines, and by trimming the active
duty Air Force and Navy to better reflect current battlefield requirements.

Over time, bigger ground forces will mean more sustainable troop
rotations, fewer overseas deployments of the National Guard and
better battlefield ratios of American to enemy fighters. That is the
least America owes to the men and women who risk their lives
to keep us all more secure.


6) With Bigger Army, a Bigger Task for Recruiters
December 24, 2006

In his six years as an Army recruiter in South Dakota and now in
Chicago, Sgt. First Class Roger White has heard his pitch rejected
for all kinds of reasons: The job is too dangerous. My parents
hate the war. I can make more money working.

But when Sergeant White tried to explain why he trusted that the
military could continue to sustain and swell its ranks at a time
of war, he said, one story came to mind.

A 39-year-old woman who once worked as a chemical specialist
in the Army found herself down and out and living in a women’s
shelter, he said. The Army came calling one more time,
and she re-enlisted. Now, the woman is back in uniform
at her previous job, serving in South Korea.

“It was amazing,” Sergeant White said, “to see how much change
we could bring to just this one woman’s life.”

More recruits may soon be needed. With President Bush’s
declaration last week that he had asked Robert M. Gates, the
new defense secretary, to work with the Joint Chiefs of Staff on
a plan to expand the Army and Marine Corps, military officials
have already begun to consider how to grow, by how much
and how fast.

Senior Army officials underscore the challenges they face,
regardless of the goals that might be set. But like Sergeant
White, they also express confidence that the Army’s recruiters
— armed with incentives, high-tech marketing and inspiring
stories from soldiers — can continue a steady, substantial
annual increase in troop numbers.

The process is expected to be gradual: Pentagon civilian
officials and military officers said that few were envisioning
a large, rapid growth that would require the Army to dust
off emergency mobilization plans for reopening bases
or drawing in National Guard equipment.

Instead, civilian and military officials said, they are drawing
up tentative proposals that would make permanent the
30,000-troop temporary increase approved by Congress
after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and then add
30,000 more troops to the Army over the next five years,
resulting in an active-duty Army with 542,400 soldiers
by 2012.

Expanding the nation’s ground forces is expensive; every
10,000 new soldiers add about $1.2 billion in personnel
costs to the Pentagon’s annual budget. On top of that,
equipment for 10,000 new troops would cost an additional
$2 billion, according to Army statistics.

The study of how to expand the ground forces comes at
a time of other financial strains. Army officials have told
Congress that the service was $56 billion short in its
equipment budget before the war in Iraq, and now requires
an extra $14 billion annually just to repair and replace
equipment worn or destroyed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nevertheless, among many officers and soldiers in Iraq and
at home, the need for additional support has grown urgent.
Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, previewed
the service’s thinking this month when he warned that unless
more soldiers were added to the roster, “We will break the
active component.”

General Schoomaker said the Army could successfully manage
a growth of 6,000 to 7,000 soldiers a year, and a range of Army
officials acknowledged that any growth larger or faster than
that would require exorbitant amounts of money for financial
incentives, new barracks and equipment.

Similarly, Gen. James T. Conway, the commandant of the Marine
Corps, said recently that his force of 180,000 could grow
by 1,000 to 2,000 a year until the current strain on America’s
ground forces from the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan
was reduced.

Col. Kevin A. Shwedo, director of operations for the Army
Accessions Command, which is responsible for recruiting and
initial training, said the service routinely reassigned drill
sergeants and opened classrooms to fill specific Army needs,
whether into field medicine, intelligence or infantry. This
experience would allow the Army to deal with any order
to expand its roster, he said.

“We have a plan right now where we have projected training
seats from now through the end of next year,” Colonel Shwedo
said in a telephone interview. “And we have the ability with
minimal disruption to shift those seats if a decision is made
by our military and civilian leadership to expand the training

Recruiters still face challenges in filling basic training
classrooms with new soldiers. The Army failed to meet its
annual recruiting goals in 2005 by the widest margin
in two decades.

The Army met its recruiting goal in the 2006 year, which
ended at midnight on Sept. 30. But to be successful, the
Army added 1,000 recruiters, bringing its total to 6,500,
and sweetened their educational and financial incentives.

The Army also raised recruits’ maximum allowable age to 42
from 35 and accepted a larger percentage of applicants who
scored at the lowest acceptable range on a standardized aptitude
examination, leading some military analysts to suggest that
the Army had undermined its historic emphasis on quality
to make its quota.

Sgt. First Class Abid Shah, a senior enlisted official at the military
entrance processing station at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, where
new recruits are tested and sworn in, said more recruiters might
be needed. Even then, he emphasized that the effort would
move slowly.

“It won’t happen in days,” Sergeant Shah said. “It takes years.”

Part of the struggle, recruiters said, is economic. Attracting
young people to military service is difficult when jobs are
plentiful and wages are on the rise.

The pool of eligible candidates is also small, as Army requirements
that recruits meet certain physical, mental and moral standards
mean that only 3 of 10 18-year-old Americans may apply.

Parents are another major obstacle to recruitment, Pentagon
studies have shown. For some recruits, signing up means
risking alienating parents, or just plain ignoring them.

Luis Vega, for example, after being sworn in to the Army
Reserve on Friday at Fort Hamilton, said he had not told
his parents.

“They think it’s just a phase,” he said.

His head was already shaved; he planned to ship out in April.
And besides his fiancée, who he said supported the move,
Mr. Vega, 28, said he was the only one in his hometown
of East Rutherford, N.J., who seemed to understand the
value of military service.

“Everybody thinks I’m crazy,” Mr. Vega said.

Elsewhere, especially in the Southwest, where recruiting has
been strong in recent years, the mood seemed to be more
visibly upbeat.

At a recruiting station near the University of Texas at Austin,
Sgt. First Class Jeremy Cousineau said that there seemed to
be no lack of interest among young men and women in his
area. He said he believed that the Army would have little
trouble finding the soldiers it needed.

“It’s all good around here,” he said. “Life is good in recruiting
for us.”

Two marines helping out with recruiting while at home for the
holidays in Tempe, Ariz., said they hoped that their positive
experiences in the military would persuade others to sign up.

One of them, Sgt. Jesus Delatrinidad, 23, said that despite the
long absences from home — unlike many marines, he has not
served in Iraq — signing up or re-enlisting brought benefits
far beyond the financial.

“I love the Marine Corps and that’s what’s making me think
about staying in,” he said, noting that he had six more months
on his four-year contract. “It’s made me a better person.”

Appeals to the sense of personal growth, and patriotism remain
a dominant part of the recruiting pitch for the Army and the
Marines. In advertisements and at sporting events, recruiters
now emphasize intangibles, like the camaraderie of combat,
at least as much as the financial incentives like extra money
for college.

According to Sergeant White in Chicago, the approach seems
to be working.

“The applicants we’ve been interviewing, people join for a reason,”
he said. “Whether that’s to serve the country, to pay off college
or go to college in the first place, that hasn’t changed. But more
and more, we’re seeing the patriotism. People who simply want
to serve their country. That’s their reason for coming into the
office, and that hasn’t changed.”

John Dougherty contributed reporting from Tempe, Ariz., Tim Eaton
from Austin, Tex., and Eric Ferkenhoff from Chicago.


7) Columbia Charges Students With Violating Protest Rules
December 23, 2006

Columbia University said yesterday that it had notified students involved
in disrupting a program of speakers in early October that they were
being charged with violating rules of university conduct governing
demonstrations. The university did not disclose the number of students
charged with violations.

Columbia’s president, Lee C. Bollinger, announced the disciplinary
proceedings in a letter to the university community yesterday that
was also released publicly. But he said he would not provide further
details because of federal rules governing student privacy.

The charges will be heard next semester by the deans of the individual
schools the students are enrolled in. Possible sanctions include
disciplinary warning, censure, suspension and dismissal.

Mr. Bollinger noted that as president, he is also the “final avenue
of appeal for those found to be in violation of University Rules.”

The disrupted program, sponsored by a campus Republican
group on Oct. 4, featured speakers from the Minuteman Project,
which opposes illegal immigration and has mounted civilian
border patrols.

Protesters unfurled a banner on stage during one speech,
and were then attacked by the speaker’s supporters, including
some from outside Columbia. The melee was broken up by
Columbia security officers.

Mr. Bollinger said the university would tighten rules governing
all student events, and require advance agreements about how
events will be staged and who from outside Columbia will be
allowed to attend. Mr. Bollinger also said that several of the
outsiders involved in the melee had been notified that they
would no longer be allowed on campus.

Chris Kulawik, president of the Columbia University College
Republicans, which invited the Minuteman speakers, said he
would have liked more specifics about how Columbia officials
would punish the protesters.

“We still don’t know what avenues they are pursuing and whether
they are taking any major action,” said Mr. Kulawik, a junior
majoring in political science and history.

Eva Fortes, a sophomore who plans to major in comparative
literature and society and to minor in linguistics, expressed
concern about “the bureaucracy” that student groups would
face in sponsoring speakers and the light sanctions for the
non-Columbia people who were involved in the scuffle.

“It kind of upset me,” she said, “that people not affiliated with
Columbia and who came and breached university policy, they’re
just getting told, ‘Don’t come back,’ when they were involved
in physical assaults.”


8) Immigrants Go From Farms to Jails, and a Climate of Fear Settles In
December 24, 2006

ELBA, N.Y. — A cold December rain gusted across fields of cabbage
destined for New York City egg rolls, cole slaw and Christmas goose.
Ankle-deep in mud, six immigrant farmworkers raced to harvest
120,000 pounds before nightfall, knowing that at dawn they could
find immigration agents at their door.

The farmer who stopped to check their progress had lost 28 other
workers in a raid in October, all illegal Mexican immigrants with
false work permits at another farm here in western New York.
Throughout the region, farm hands have simply disappeared by twos
and threes, picked up on a Sunday as they went to church or to the
laundry. Whole families have gone into hiding, like the couple who
spent the night with their child in a plastic calf hutch.

As record-setting enforcement of immigration laws upends old,
unspoken arrangements, a new climate of fear is sweeping through
the rural communities of western and central New York.

“The farmers are just petrified at what’s happening to their workers,”
said Maureen Torrey, an 11th-generation grower and a director
of the Federal Reserve Bank’s Buffalo branch whose family owns
this field and more than 10,000 acres of vegetable and dairy farms.

And for the first time in years, farmers are also frightened for
themselves. In small towns divided over immigration, they fear that
speaking out — or a disgruntled neighbor’s call to the authorities —
could make them targets of the next raid and raise the threat
of criminal prosecution.

Here where agriculture is the mainstay of a depressed economy,
the mainstay of agriculture is largely illegal immigrant labor from
Mexico. Now, more aggressive enforcement has disrupted a system
of official winks, nods and paperwork that for years protected
farmers from “knowingly” hiring the illegal immigrants who
make up most of their work force.

“It serves as a polarizing force in communities,” said Mary Jo Dudley,
who directs the Cornell Farmworker Program, which does research.
“The immigrant workers themselves see anyone as a potential enemy.
The growers are nervous about everyone. There’s this environment
of fear and mistrust all across the board.”

In a recent case that chilled many farmers, federal agents trying to
develop a criminal case detained several longtime Hispanic
employees of a small dairy farm in Clifton Springs, and unsuccessfully
pressed them to give evidence that the owners knew they were
here illegally.

Since raids began to increase in early spring, arrests have netted
dozens of Mexican farm workers on their way to milk parlors, apple
orchards and vineyards, and prompted scores more to flee,
affecting hundreds of farms. Some longtime employees with
American children were deported too quickly for goodbyes,
or remain out of reach in the federal detention center in Batavia,
N.Y., where immigrants are tracked by alien registration number,
not by name.

Federal officials say events here simply reflect a national commitment
to more intensive enforcement of immigration laws, showcased
in raids in December at Swift & Company meatpacking plants
in six states.

The effort led to a record 189,924 deportations nationally during
the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, up 12 percent from the year
before, officials said, and 2,186 deportations from Buffalo, up
24 percent. It includes prosecuting employers who knowingly hire
illegal immigrants, better cooperation with state and local law
enforcement, and new money from Congress for more agents,
more detention beds and quicker deportations.

In small towns like Sodus, Dresden and Elba, where a welcome
sign declares that the population of 2,369 is “Just Right,” some
residents quietly approve of the crackdown. They are unhappy
with the growing year-round presence of Mexicans they consider
a drain on public services, resentful of the political clout of farmers,
or concerned about the porous borders denounced nightly on CNN
by Lou Dobbs. Others are torn, praising Mexican families but
worried that some farmers exploit them.

Farm lenders and lobbyists warn of economic losses that will be
measurable in unharvested crops, hundreds of closed farms
and revenues lost in the wine tourism of the Finger Lakes. On
the other side, supporters of stringent enforcement expect savings
in schools and hospitals, and a boost to low wages as the labor
market tightens.

The harvest of fear may be harder to chart, but it is already here.
It can be felt in Sodus, where an October raid left a dozen children
without either parent for days, and in vineyards near Penn Yan,
where a grower of fine cabernet grapes reluctantly permits
a worker to sleep in a car, hidden in the vines that he prunes.
Everywhere, rumors fly about why one place was raided and
not another, feeding suspicion and a fear of speaking out.

For Rodney and Debbie Brown, the dairy farmers in Clifton Springs
who lost 6 of their 10 employees to immigration arrests, the
experience began like an episode of “The Twilight Zone.”

When no workers showed up at 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 28 to help
milk 580 waiting cows, Mr. Brown went to the farmhouse where
most of their Hispanic employees lived, only to find it eerily
empty. Some of the workers had been with the Browns
for more than seven years.

“All of a sudden they were all gone,” Mrs. Brown said. “It was
very scary.”

Later, the Browns learned that agents from Immigration and
Customs Enforcement had been waiting for the workers in their
driveway at dawn with state troopers, and had whisked them
to the 450-bed detention center in Batavia, where there were
3,094 admissions this year. Like an estimated 650,000 immigrants
in New York State and some 11 million nationally, the employees
were in the United States illegally; the permits and Social Security
cards they had shown to the Browns were fake.

What prompts such raids is rarely disclosed. But federal officials
have said that they pursue tips from the public, adding to uneasy
speculation about private vendettas or political retaliation. Such
talk abounded in Sodus, for example, after an October raid
at Marshall Farms, a large breeder of ferrets and dogs for
pharmaceutical companies. The consensus, several residents
said, was that a disgruntled American employee had called
in the complaint.

More than 18 workers, many of them longtime employees with
children in Sodus schools or day care, were summoned by name
to the office from their jobs cleaning animal cages, and taken away
— the men to Batavia, the women to unspecified county jails.

“A lot of the employees down there were very heartbroken to see
the women walk out with shackles around their feet and handcuffs
chained around their waists, crying,” said Cliff DeMay, a large private
labor contractor who supplies agricultural businesses in seven states
with workers, and accepts their papers at face value — part of
a system that has allowed deniability to everyone but the illegal

“The I.C.E., they’ve always picked up people on complaints,” he
added. “It’s not the Border Patrol or I.C.E.’s fault. It’s the fault
of our damn politicians.”

But Mr. DeMay also echoed a widespread view that those who
criticized the raids were asking for trouble.

Others, including the Farm Bureau, pointed to the unusual
intensification of the dairy investigation after Mr. Brown was
quoted in a Sept. 11 Associated Press account. Michael W. Gilhooly,
a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, responded
that raids were “carefully planned” and “result from investigative
leads and intelligence.”

Mrs. Brown, 46, said she was summoned to the federal building
in Rochester and questioned for an hour and a half by immigration
agents who threatened to subpoena her phone records. Federal
prosecutors then brought felony charges against the workers for
using fake Social Security numbers to get their milking jobs.

But rather than turn against their former employers in exchange
for leniency, as prosecutors wanted, the Mexican men pleaded
guilty to felonies and accepted deportation, said Michael Bersani
and Anne Doebler, lawyers who represented them in immigration
court. Government lawyers would not discuss the case.

Neighboring farmers, who helped the Browns milk, seemed shaken.
“A lot of them say, ‘We should write letters to the editor, but we don’t
want to draw attention to ourselves,’ ” Mrs. Brown said. “Everyone
is very panicky.”

Some have a different perspective. Ray Woodhams, 58, a Sodus
resident who works at a Rochester hospital that was sued by Hispanic
employees who were barred from speaking Spanish, said he was
glad to read of the arrests.

“The farmers have got their view, but they’re shortsighted —
they’re not looking at the country as a whole,” said Mr. Woodhams,
who notes that he is a registered Democrat and the son of a Dutch
immigrant farmer. “The farmers say they can’t get labor. Well, if they
paid a decent wage, maybe they could.” The Browns, echoing many
farmers, counter that they have found no one steady to fill the
vacant jobs.

Many labor advocates, after years of fighting farmers for wage and
hour protections, find themselves in an uneasy alliance with their
old foes.

“Suddenly everybody’s interest is the same: Save the lives of the
migrants,” said John Ghertner, who is on the board of Rural and
Migrant Ministry, an interfaith advocacy group. “From the farmers’
perspective, so they have labor. From our point of view, human rights.”

The smaller the farm and the more settled the work force, the more
wrenching the arrests. Or so it seemed as friends gathered around
the wife of a vineyard worker arrested in Yates County four days
earlier, on his way to prune vines he had tended for a decade.
His three children, 14, 11 and 2, are all American-born.

His wife, weeping, described how the agents who had taken him
and two others into custody on the road circled back to the house
to try to take her, too. As the agents banged at the door and tried
to open it, she hid in the bedroom with the 2-year-old, she said,
and put her hand over his mouth when he started to cry.

Victor Feria Reyes, the state-licensed labor contractor who had
dispatched the father and the others to the vineyard, said that
throughout the Finger Lakes, his crews were down by half.
“A lot of people hate us,” he said as his daughter Elenita, 8,
leaned close. “They just say, ‘Take them away.’ ”

The owner of the vineyard, who had lost three of his five workers
to immigration arrests, called them “part of my family,” but begged
not to be named. “I’m afraid of retaliation,” he said.


9) US sends foreign aid to third countries to promote change in Cuba
Associated Press
Posted on Fri, Dec. 22, 2006

MIAMI - While Cuban leader Fidel Castro's health crisis has sparked
new debate over federal funding of U.S. groups pushing for change on
the communist island, the United States has for years quietly
funneled millions of dollars to groups working in Europe to also
promote Cuban democracy.

Through the National Endowment for Democracy, a nonprofit foundation
created by the Reagan administration in 1983, more than $200,000 has
gone to the Czech group People in Need, which nurtures independent
Cuban journalists.

The endowment gave Slovakian groups People in Peril and the Pontis
Foundation $33,000 over two years to promote independent think tanks
on the island. The Spanish magazine, Encounter of Cuban Culture, has
received $771,000 in endowment grants since 1998 to print articles by
Cuban dissidents.

Over the last two decades, the endowment has granted nearly $14
million to Cuba democracy programs, many based in the U.S., that link
Cuban dissidents to groups in Europe and Latin America. The grants
grew from $110,000 in 1986 to nearly $2.4 million last year.

Like the funds allocated to Cuban democracy groups based on American
soil through the U.S. Agency for International Development or USAID,
the endowment grants have had a mixed record.

Caribbean expert Daniel Erikson said the efforts have yielded few
tangible results inside Cuba, but they have helped support local
groups in countries such as the Czech Republic, Sweden and Spain that
can put pressure on their own governments' policies toward Cuba.

"You have Cuba becoming a more salient issue in Eastern Europe and
Scandinavia when before it wasn't even on the radar screen," said
Erikson, a senior policy associate at the Washington-based think tank
the Inter-American Dialogue.

Still, in November, the United Nations General Assembly
overwhelmingly condemned the U.S. embargo against Cuba, 184-4, and
Cuba recently won a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Critics say the effort reflects the lengths to which the federal
government must go to avoid the snags of its own Cuba policy - which
makes it illegal for the U.S. government to send money directly into
the country, even to fund anti-Castro groups. But because the
endowment is a private corporation, its dollars can be sent to groups
in Cuba - even though the money originally came from the federal

"We're working at cross-purposes," said Florida International
University Vice Provost Damian Fernandez, who also heads the school's
Cuban Research Institute.

Fernandez said he would rather the U.S. find more common ground with
foreign governments on Cuba than provide aid to independent foreign

Then there is the issue of oversight. A recent report by
congressional investigators criticized the federal government's lax
control of USAID grants to U.S. based anti-Castro organizations.
Determining how the money is spent abroad is even more difficult.

"You're using people with a lower profile. You are giving funds once
removed at a distance and it has a lower silhouette," said Larry
Birns, head of the Washington-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs,
which advocates an end to the embargo.

Caleb McCarry, the Bush administration's Cuba transition coordinator
at the State Department, said support for such groups, especially
those in Eastern Europe, is key to U.S.-Cuban policy.

"Organizations in countries that have undergone a transition from
communism to democracy have a great deal to offer in terms of sharing
their experience and understanding the difficulties of promoting
democracy within a police state," McCarry said.

Others argue that Eastern Europeans and Latin Americans have more
influence with Cuba because historically they've had strong relations
with the island.

The vast majority of government funding for anti-Castro programs
still goes to U.S.-based organizations located predominantly in Miami
and Washington. These groups generally seek to aid opponents of the
Cuban government, including journalists, dissidents and their
families, and they conduct research on a post-Castro Cuba, receiving
more than $65 million since 1996 from USAID, their main donor.

While some USAID money has always gone toward internationally focused
programs, that is a major part of the endowment's grants. The grants
are small, and for years the money went almost exclusively to
organizations funded or set up by U.S.-based groups. The
International Coalition for Human Rights in Cuba, which received
$865,000 between 1986 and 1993 and claimed members in Spain, Sweden
and Germany, was funded through the powerful Miami-based Cuban
American National Foundation.

More recently, a $213,000 grant helped support the Miami-based
pro-union International Group for Corporate Social Responsibility,
which was created in Spain last year and claims members from across
Europe and the Americas.

Endowment Vice President Barbara Haig said the grants to
third-country organizations are necessary since organizations in Cuba
are prohibited from accepting U.S. funds and those accused of doing
so are branded as traitors or mercenaries. She also said the European
groups had shown successful track records before they received the

"The problem of democracy in Cuba is not just a problem for America,
it's a problem all over," she added.

USAID funds are also increasingly being used for the international
efforts. The Miami-based Cuban Democratic Directorate is one of the
government's largest Cuba grantees, receiving more than $6 million
from USAID and the endowment.

In recent years it has opened offices in Mexico and Argentina and now
runs activities out of several other Latin American countries and
Europe using USAID funds. It has more than doubled its budget for
foreign offices from about $200,000 to nearly $500,000 between 2004
and 2005, according to federal tax forms.

It recently helped promote a protest by 100 youths outside Cuba's
embassy in Peru.

Co-Founder Orlando Gutierrez said he has repeatedly been audited by
donors and that the organization maintains strict internal controls
on how the money has been spent. He said the group has long sought to
publicize Castro's human rights violations beyond the U.S.

"When the regime was able to convince a lot of people that it was
poor little Cuba against the U.S., a lot of people would side with
Castro against the U.S. while ignoring human rights violations and
the trampling of rights inside Cuba," Gutierrez said.



Back in Style: The Fur Trade
December 24, 2006

The Right Has a Jailhouse Conversion
December 24, 2006

Libya's travesty
Nature Editorial
Six medical workers in Libya face execution. It is not too late for
scientists to speak up on their behalf.
Published online 20 September 2006

FOCUS | The Race for Iraq's Resources

FOCUS | Bush May Boost Iraq Troops by 20,000

VIDEO | Army Targets Truthout for Subpoenas in Watada Case

Outsize Profits, and Questions, in Effort to Cut Warming Gases
December 21, 2006

Gender Pay Gap, Once Narrowing, Is Stuck in Place
December 24, 2006

U.S. Gives Grants to 4 Gulf Coast States to Upgrade Disaster Housing
"WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 — FEMA trailers, the cramped, impersonal
housing units that have come to define the federal response to major
disasters, may be on the way out, thanks to $388 million in federal
grants, announced Friday, that will test half a dozen cozier, more
permanent models of postdisaster housing."
December 23, 2006

Kansas: Abortion Charges Dismissed
Kansas’ attorney general, a vocal opponent of abortion, charged
a well-known abortion provider, Dr. George Tiller, left, with illegally
performing late-term abortions, but a judge threw out the charges
after less than a day. The judge, Paul W. Clark, dismissed the charges
at the request of District Attorney Nola Foulston of Sedgwick County,
who said her office had not been consulted by Attorney General
Phill Kline. Dr. Tiller’s clinic, one of the few in the country to
perform late-term abortions, has been a target of anti-abortion
protesters for decades.
December 23, 2006

West Virginia: More Testing in Mine Inquiry
Federal scientists have found new evidence supporting the widely
held theory that lightning sparked a huge methane gas explosion
that killed 12 men in the Sago Mine last January. Sandia National
Laboratories said its lightning experts spent 10 days testing
at the mine and found that lightning can readily move through
solid ground without a metal conductor.
December 23, 2006

Seductively Easy, Payday Loans Often Snowball
"In many states, including New Mexico, lenders also make no effort
to see if customers have borrowed elsewhere, which is how Mr. Milford
could take out so many loans at once. If they repay on time, borrowers
pay fees ranging from $15 per $100 borrowed in some states to,
in New Mexico, often $20 or more per $100, which translates into
an annualized interest rate, for a two-week loan, of 520 percent
or more."
December 23, 2006

Italian Fashion Industry Pledges to Fight Anorexia
December 22, 2006

Blood Diamond
A Film Review
By Dr. Barbara Ransby, PhD
The Black Commentator Editorial Board
December 21, 2006
Issue 211

From DVDs to IEDs
The teen and I are doing our seasonal, consumerist duty at Best Buy,
when to our right, in the DVD section, stand two tall Marines over
a smaller teen boy. Back and forth, a well-rehearsed duo, the
queries fly -- How old are you? What are your plans after high
school? What do you want out of life? Do you want to be
successful and respected?

Marines Charged in Killing of 24 Iraqi Civilians

Agency to Test Military Draft Machinery
The Associated Press
Thursday, December 21, 2006; 9:45 PM
http://www.washingt wp-dyn/content/ article/2006/ 12/21/AR20061221 01327.html

"I'm Jealous of Cuba"
An Interview with Gore Vidal
December 21, 2006

Chavez Landslide Tops All In US History
by Stephen Lendman
Wednesday, 20 December 2006

URGENT Support is requested from Dine Elders and Youth!
Sithe Global & DPA are proposing to build the Desert Rock
power plant, a 1,500 MW Coal Fired plant in the Four Corners
area on the Navajo Reservation. This is an area already polluted
by 2 other major coal power plants. Local Navajo residence and
community members oppose this project for many harmful
reasons!! This Desert Rock power plant is still in the environmental
review process and has NOT yet been permitted.

Bush "Developing Illegal Bioterror Weapons"

Climate Change vs Mother Nature: Scientists reveal that bears
have stopped hibernating
Bears have stopped hibernating in the mountains of northern Spain,
scientists revealed yesterday, in what may be one of the strongest
signals yet of how much climate change is affecting the natural world.
December 21, 2006

Raising the Floor on Pay
December 20, 2006

Goldman CEO's $53.4M Bonus Breaks Record
December 20, 2006

Goldman Chairman Gets a Bonus of $53.4 Million
December 20, 2006

Fear and Hope in Immigrant’s Furtive Existence
December 20, 2006




FRIDAY, JANUARY 12, 2007, 4:00 - 7:00 P.M.


All human beings have basic, inalienable human rights to life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness. If your family is starving and you
can not find work, you have the right to find someplace where you can
feed, clothe and house your family.

If capital can go all over the world exploiting workers, then workers
have the right to move to find work for their family's basic survival.


From South America, Latin America, China, Africa, India--in countries
all over the world, not to speak of the war in Iraq--a war of blood
for oil--U.S. businesses are raking in huge profits off the backs of workers
who earn slave wages and work under the most dangerous working conditions
at best, and under a state of war at worse.

Meanwhile, here at home, they are laying off workers, closing factories, doing
away with benefits and working conditions won by worker's struggles
in the past--installing two, three, many-tiered pay scales--driving down
wages to below the scale parents are earning--leaving our children
with the heritage of a guaranteed life of poverty without union


And now they launch an all-out war against the most vulnerable workers
--who are driven to work in these meatpacking plants. Whether
documented or not, this is brutal, dangerous and difficult work.

And not so coincidentally, these same workers just happen
to be in the midst of a fight to win union recognition!


These mass arrests are terrorist tactics designed as a warning
to all workers that if they struggle for a better life and better
working conditions, they will be persecuted in every way

This is an all-out assault on every worker and it is being
executed by a terrorist government--the U.S. Government--
who uses pre-emptive war based upon outright lies to further
their oil profits; who will stop at nothing to increase their
rate of profit.

The ultimate goal of the U.S. Government is for American big
business to continue to accumulate unimaginable wealth
at the expense of the hardworking majority all over the
world--nothing is off-limits to them in this, their fundamental


An injury to one is an injury to all! We are only as strong as our
weakest link. If we allow these terrorists from ICE to continue
to carry out these assaults against the basic human rights
of any of us--no matter what our immigration status--they
will not hesitate one second to use these same tactics of mass
firings, arrest, etc. against all of us who dare to struggle
in our own defense and in our own, basic human interests and
for our own basic rights as workers and human beings!

It's up to us to organize and fight back! If we are united, we cannot loose!


For more information contact:

Barrio Unido por una Amnistia
General e Incondicional
Cristina Gutierrez,

Bonnie Weinstein,


Washington, D.C.
VOLUNTEER Live in NYC or DC? We need your help
before and during the protest. Call 212-868-5545
updated information and to sign up for our action alerts
DONATE Whether you can contribute $10, $100, or
$1000, we need your support to help end the war!
Call 212-866-5545 or visit
Join us for a massive
march on Washington
to tell the new Congress:
unitedforpeace&justice (212)868-5545
On Election Day the voters delivered a dramatic,
unmistakable mandate for peace. Now it's time for action.
On Jan. 27, 2007, help send a strong, clear message to
Congress and the Bush Administration:
Bring the troops home now!


From Iraq to New Orleans, Fund the People's Needs NOT THE
WAR MACHINE! End Colonial Occupation: Iraq, Palestine, Haiti and
everywhere! Shut Down Guantanamo


FEBRUARY 23-25 (Lynne and her husband Ralph will
stay on several more days. Stay tuned for complete
schedule of events.)
Dear Friends of Lynne Stewart,
I am pleased to announce that Lynne Stewart and Michael Ratner have
just accepted our invitation to tour the Bay Area. The confirmed
dates are February 23-25, 2007. Lynne, accompanied by her husband
Ralph Poynter, will stay on several more days for additional meetings.
In solidarity,
Jeff Mackler,
West Coast Coordinator, Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
Co-Coordinator, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
O: 415-255-1080
Cell: 510-387-7714
H: 510-268-9429


May Day 2007
National Mobilization to Support Immigrant Workers!
National Immigrant Solidarity Network
No Immigrant Bashing! Support Immigrant Rights!
New York: (212)330-8172
Los Angeles: (213)403-0131
Washington D.C.: (202)595-8990



Join us in a campaign to expose and stop the use of these illegal weapons


You may enjoy watching these.
In struggle


FIGHTBACK! A Collection of Socialist Essays
By Sylvia Weinstein


Call for action to save Iraq's Academics
A little known aspect of the tragedy engulfing Iraq is the systematic
liquidation of the country's academics. Even according to conservative
estimates, over 250 educators have been assassinated, and many
hundreds more have disappeared. With thousands fleeing the country
in fear for their lives, not only is Iraq undergoing a major brain drain,
the secular middle class - which has refused to be co-opted by the
US occupation - is being decimated, with far-reaching consequences
for the future of Iraq.


Stop funding Israel's war against Palestine
Complete the form at the website listed below with your information.


March 17-18, 2007

Please circulate widely


Sand Creek Massacre
Hello, Everyone,
On November 29, 1864, 700 Colorado troops savagely slaughtered
over 450 Cheyenne children, disabled, elders, and women in the
southeastern Colorado Territory under its protection. This act
became known as the Sand Creek Massacre. This film project
("The Sand Creek Massacre" documentary film project) is an
examination of an open wound in the souls of the Cheyenne
people as told from their perspective. This project chronicles
that horrific 19th century event and its affect on the 21st century
struggle for respectful coexistence between white and native
plains cultures in the United States of America.

Listed below are links on which you can click to get the latest news,
products, and view, free, "THE SAND CREEK MASSACRE" award-
winning documentary short. In order to create more native
awareness, particularly to save the roots of America's history,
please read the following:

Some people in America are trying to save the world. Bless
them. In the meantime, the roots of America are dying.
What happens to a plant when the roots die? The plant dies
according to my biology teacher in high school. American's
roots are its native people. Many of America's native people
are dying from drug and alcohol abuse, poverty, hunger,
and disease, which was introduced to them by the Caucasian
male. Tribal elders are dying. When they die, their oral
histories go with them. Our native's oral histories are the
essence of the roots of America, what took place before
our ancestors came over to America, what is taking place,
and what will be taking place. It is time we replenish
America's roots with native awareness, else America
continues its decaying, and ultimately, its death.

READY FOR PURCHASE! (pass the word about this powerful
educational tool to friends, family, schools, parents, teachers,
and other related people and organizations to contact
me (, 303-903-2103) for information
about how they can purchase the DVD and have me come
to their children's school to show the film and to interact
in a questions and answers discussion about the Sand
Creek Massacre.

Happy Holidays!

Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC,+Don

(scroll down when you get there])



NOW's Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa takes us inside the
world's largest pork processing plant, located in Tar Heel, North
Carolina. As the first TV journalist ever allowed to film inside the
plant, owned by The Smithfield Packing Company, Hinojosa gives
us an insider's view of what conditions are like in a plant that
slaughters over 33,000 hogs per day.


Rights activist held in Oaxaca prison
Three students arrested and held incommunicado in Oaxaca



The following quote is from the 1918 anti-war speech delivered
in Canton, Ohio, by Eugene Debs. The address, protesting World War I,
resulted in Debs being arrested and imprisoned on charges of espionage.
The speech remains one of the great expressions of the militancy and
internationalism of the US working class.

His appeal, before sentencing, included one of his best-known quotes:
"...while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal
element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."

Read the complete speech at:


My Name is Roland Sheppard
This Is My `Blog'
I am is a retired Business Representative of Painters District
Council #8 in San Francisco. I have been a life long social activist
and socialist. Roland Sheppard is a retired Business Representative
of Painters District Council #8 in San Francisco. I have been
a life long social activist and socialist.
Prior to my being elected as a union official, I had worked
for 31 years as a house painter and have been a lifelong socialist.
I have led a unique life. In my retire age, I am interested in writing
about my experiences as a socialist, as a participant in the Black
Liberation Movement, the Union Movement, and almost all social
I became especially interested in the environment when I was
diagnosed with cancer due to my work environment. I learned
how to write essays, when I first got a computer in order to put
together all the medical legal arguments on my breakthrough
workers' compensation case in California, proving that my work
environment as a painter had caused my cancer. After a five-year
struggle, I won a $300,000 settlement on his case.
The following essays are based upon my involvement in the
struggle for freedom for all humanity. I hope the history
of my life's experiences will help future generations
of Freedom Fighters.
For this purpose, this website is dedicated.


The Corporate Looting of the Gulf Coast
Robin Hood in Reverse
More Info:
For a detailed report:
Big, Easy Money: Disaster Profiteering on the American Gulf Coast
by Rita J. King, Special to CorpWatch
August 15th, 2006




Communist Manifesto illustrated by Disney [and other cartoons) with
words by K. Marx and F. Engels--absolutely wonderful!]


Asylum Street Spankers-Magnetic Yellow Ribbon com/watch? v=bfMgRHRJ- tc


Homer Simpson Joins the Army
Another morale-booster from Groening and company. [If you get
a chance to see the whole thing, it's worth]


A Look at the Numbers: How the Rich Get Richer
Clara Jeffery (May/June 2006 Issue
IN 1985, THE FORBES 400 were worth $221 billion combined.
Today, they re worth $1.13 trillion more than the GDP of Canada.
THERE'VE BEEN FEW new additions to the Forbes 400.
The median household income
has also stagnated at around $44,000.
AMONG THE FORBES 400 who gave to a 2004 presidential
campaign, 72% gave to Bush.
IN 2005, there were 9 million American millionaires,
a 62% increase since 2002.
IN 2005, 25.7 million Americans received food stamps,
a 49% increase since 2000.
ONLY ESTATES worth more than $1.5 million are taxed.
That's less than 1% of all estates


Do You Want to Stop PREVENT War with Iran?

Dear Friend,

Every day, pundits and military experts debate on TV when, how and where
war with Iran will occur. Can the nuclear program be destroyed? Will the
Iranian government retaliate in Iraq or use the oil weapon? Will it take
three or five days of bombing? Will the US bomb Iran with "tactical"
nuclear weapons?

Few discuss the human suffering that yet another war in the Middle East
will bring about. Few discuss the thousands and thousands of innocent
Iranian and American lives that will be lost. Few think ahead and ask
themselves what war will do to the cause of democracy in Iran or to
America's global standing.

Some dismiss the entire discussion and choose to believe that war simply
cannot happen. The US is overstretched, the task is too difficult, and
the world is against it, they say.

They are probably right, but these factors don't make war unlikely. They
just make a successful war unlikely.

At the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), we are not going to
wait and see what happens.

We are actively working to stop the war and we need your help!

Working with a coalition of peace and security organizations in
Washington DC, NIAC is adding a crucial dimension to this debate - the
voice of the Iranian-American community.

Through our US-Iran Media Resource Program , we help
the media ask the right questions and bring attention to the human side
of this issue.

Through the LegWatch program ,

we are building opposition to the war on Capitol Hill. We spell out the
consequences of war and the concerns of the Iranian-American community
on Hill panels

and in direct meetings with lawmakers. We recently helped more than a dozen
Members of Congress - both Republican and Democrats - send a strong
message against war to the White House

But more is needed, and we need your help!

If you don't wish to see Iran turn into yet another Iraq, please make a
contribution online or send in a check to:

2801 M St NW
Washington DC 20007

Make the check out to NIAC and mark it "NO WAR."

ALL donations are welcome, both big and small. And just so you know,
your donations make a huge difference. Before you leave the office
today, please make a contribution to stop the war.

Trita Parsi
President of NIAC

U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW)

PMB 153
1718 "M" Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Voicemail: 202/521-5265

Co-convenors: Gene Bruskin, Maria Guillen, Fred Mason,
Bob Muehlenkamp, and Nancy Wohlforth
Michael Eisenscher, National Organizer & Website Coordinator
Virginia Rodino, Organizer
Adrienne Nicosia, Administrative Staff


Immigration video:


Enforce the Roadless Rule for National Forests
Target: Michael Johanns, Secretary, USDA
Sponsor: Earthjustice
We, the Undersigned, endorse the following petition:
This past September, Earthjustice scored a huge victory for our roadless
national forests when a federal district court ordered the reinstatement
of the Roadless Rule.
The Roadless Rule protects roadless forest areas from road-building
and most logging. This is bad news for the timber, mining, and oil
& gas industries ... And so they're putting pressure on their friends
in the Bush Administration to challenge the victory.
Roadless area logging tends to target irreplaceable old growth forests.
Many of these majestic trees have stood for hundreds of years.
By targeting old-growth, the timber companies are destroying
natural treasures that cannot be replaced in our lifetime.
The future of nearly 50 million acres of wild, national forests
and grasslands hangs in the balance. Tell the secretary of the
USDA, Michael Johanns, to protect our roadless areas by enforcing
the Roadless Rule. The minute a road is cut through a forest, that
forest is precluded from being considered a "wilderness area," and
thus will not be covered by any of the Wilderness Area protections
afforded by Congress.


Mumia Abu-Jamal - Reply brief, U.S. Court of Appeals (Please Circulate)

Dear Friends:

On October 23, 2006, the Fourth-Step Reply Brief of Appellee and
Cross-Appellant, Mumia Abu-Jamal was submitted to the U.S. Court
of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia. (Abu-Jamal v. Horn,
U.S. Ct. of Appeals Nos. 01-9014, 02-9001.)

Oral argument will likely be scheduled during the coming months.
I will advise when a hearing date is set.

The attached brief is of enormous consequence since it goes
to the essence of our client's right to a fair trial, due process
of law, and equal protection of the law, guaranteed by the Fifth,
Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The issues include:

Whether Mr. Abu-Jamal was denied the right to due process
of law and a fair trial because of the prosecutor's "appeal-after
-appeal" argument which encouraged the jury to disregard the
presumption of innocence and reasonable doubt, and err
on the side of guilt.

Whether the prosecution's exclusion of African Americans
from sitting on the jury violated Mr. Abu-Jamal's right
to due process and equal protection of the law,
in contravention of Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986).

Whether Mr. Abu-Jamal was denied due process and equal
protection of the law during a post-conviction hearing
because of the bias and racism of Judge Albert F. Sabo,
who was overheard during the trial commenting that
he was "going to help'em fry the nigger."

That the federal court is hearing issues which concern
Mr. Abu-Jamal's right to a fair trial is a great milestone
in this struggle for human rights. This is the first time
that any court has made a ruling in nearly a quarter
of a century that could lead to a new trial and freedom.
Nevertheless, our client remains on Pennsylvania's death
row and in great danger.

Mr. Abu-Jamal, the "voice of the voiceless," is a powerful
symbol in the international campaign against the death
penalty and for political prisoners everywhere. The goal
of Professor Judith L. Ritter, associate counsel, and
I is to see that the many wrongs which have occurred
in this case are righted, and that at the conclusion
of a new trial our client is freed.

Your concern is appreciated

With best wishes,

Robert R. Bryan

Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, California 94123

Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *---------*---------*

Antiwar Web Site Created by Troops
A small group of active-duty military members opposed to the war
have created a Web site intended to collect thousands of signatures
of other service members. People can submit their name, rank and
duty station if they support statements denouncing the American
invasion. "Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price,"
the Web site,, says. "It is time for U.S. troops
to come home." The electronic grievances will be passed along
to members of Congress, according to the Web site. Jonathan
Hutto, a Navy seaman based in Norfolk, Va., who set up the Web
site a month ago, said the group had collected 118 names and
was trying to verify that they were legitimate service members.
October 25, 2006


Judge Orders Release of Abu Ghraib Child Rape Photos
Submitted by davidswanson on Mon, 2006-10-23 20:54. Evidence
By Greg Mitchell,


Profound new assault on freedom of speech and assembly:
Manhattan: New Rules for Parade Permits
After recent court rulings found the Police Department's
parade regulations too vague, the department is moving
to require parade permits for groups of 10 or more
bicyclists or pedestrians who plan to travel more than
two city blocks without complying with traffic laws.
It is also pushing to require permits for groups of 30
or more bicyclists or pedestrians who obey traffic laws.
The new rules are expected to be unveiled in a public
notice today. The department will discuss them at
a hearing on Nov. 27. Norman Siegel, a lawyer whose
clients include bicyclists, said the new rules
"raise serious civil liberties issues."
October 18, 2006
http://www.nytimes. com/2006/ 10/18/nyregion/ 18mbrfs-002. html

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Soul-Sick Nation: An Astrologer's View of America
Jessica Murray
Format: Paperback (6x9)
ISBN 1425971253
Price: $ 13.95
About the Book
Astrology and geopolitics may seem strange bedfellows, but
Soul-Sick Nation puts the two together to provide a perspective
as extraordinary as the times we are living in. Using the principles
of ancient wisdom to make sense of the current global situation,
this book invites us to look at the USA from the biggest possible
picture: that of cosmic meaning. With a rare blend of compassion,
humor and fearless taboo-busting, Soul-Sick Nation reveals
America's noble potential without sentiment and diagnoses
its neuroses without delusion, shedding new light on troubling
issues that the pundits and culture wars inflame but leave
painfully unresolved: the WTC bombings, the war in Iraq,
Islamic jihad, media propaganda, consumerism and the
American Dream.
In her interpretation of the birth chart of the entity born
July 4, 1776, Murray offers an in-depth analysis of America's
essential destiny--uncovering , chapter by chapter, the greater
purpose motivating this group soul. She shows how this
purpose has been distorted, and how it can be re-embraced
in the decades to come. She decodes current astrological
transits that express the key themes the USA must learn
in this period of millennial crisis—including that of the
responsibility of power—spelling out the profound lessons
the nation will face in the next few years.
Combining the rigor of a political theorist with the vision
of a master astrologer, this keenly intelligent book elucidates
the meaning of an epoch in distress, and proposes a path
towards healing—of the country and of its individual citizens.
Murray explains how each of us can come to terms with this
moment in history and arrive at a response that is unique
and creative. This book will leave you revitalized, shorn
of illusions and full of hope.
About the Author
"Jessica Murray's Soul-Sick Nation raises the symbol-system
of astrology to the level of a finely-honed tool for the critical
work of social insight and commentary. Her unflinching,
in-depth analysis answers a crying need of our time. Murray's
application of laser beam-lucid common sense analysis
to the mire of illusions we've sunken into as a nation is
a courageous step in the right direction... Just breathtaking! "
--Raye Robertson, author of Culture, Media and the Collective Mind
" Jessica Murray,..a choice-centered, psychospiritually- oriented
astrologer.. . has quietly made a real difference in the lives of her
clients, one at a time. In "Soul Sick Nation," she applies exactly those
same skills to understanding America as a whole. Starting from
the premise that the United States is currently a troubled adolescent,
she applies an unflinching gaze to reach an ultimately compassionate
conclusion about how we can heal ourselves and grow up."
- Steven Forrest, author of The Inner Sky and The Changing Sky
http://www.authorho e/ItemDetail~ bookid~41780. aspx

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Shop for a Donation at Al-Awda!
Interested in furthering your knowledge about Palestine
and its people?
Want to help make the Palestinian Right to Return a reality?
Looking for ways to show your support for Palestine and
Palestinian refugees?
Why not shop for a donation at Al-Awda
http://al-awda. org/shop. html
and help support a great organization and cause!!
Al-Awda offers a variety of educational materials including interesting
and unique books on everything from oral histories, photo books
on Palestinian refugees, to autobiographies, narratives, political
analysis, and culture. We also have historical maps of Palestine
(in Arabic and English), educational films, flags of various sizes,
and colorful greeting cards created by Palestinian children.
You can also show your support for a Free Palestine, and wear with
pride, great looking T-shirts, pendants, and a variety of Palestine pins.
Shop for a Donation at Al-Awda!
Visit http://al-awda. org/shop. html for these great items, and more!
The Educational Supplies Division
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
PO Box 131352
Carlsbad, CA 92013, USA
Tel: 760-685-3243
Fax: 360-933-3568
E-mail: info@al-awda. org
WWW: http://al-awda. org
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition (PRRC), is a broad-
based, non-partisan, democratic, and charitable organization of
grassroots activists and students committed to comprehensive public
education about the rights of all Palestinian refugees to return to their
homes and lands of origin, and to full restitution for all their confiscated
and destroyed property in accordance with the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, International law and the numerous United Nations
Resolutions upholding such rights (see FactSheet). Al-Awda, PRRC
is a not for profit tax-exempt educational and charitable 501(c)(3)
organization as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the
United States of America. Under IRS guidelines, your donations
to Al-Awda, PRRC are tax-deductible.

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Before You Enlist
Excellent flash film that should be shown to all students. com/watch? v=ZFsaGv6cefw

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In an interview in March 1995 entitled, "Jesse Helms: Setting the
Record Straight" that appeared in the Middle East Quarterly, Helms
said, "I have long believed that if the United States is going to give
money to Israel, it should be paid out of the Department of Defense
budget. My question is this: If Israel did not exist, what would
U.S. defense costs in the Middle East be? Israel is at least the
equivalent of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Middle East. Without
Israel promoting its and America's common interests, we would
be badly off indeed."
(Jesse Helms was the senior senator from North Carolina and the
chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time.)
http://www.meforum. org/article/ 244

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These pdf files can be found on Michael Schiffmann's web site at:

http://againstthecr imeofsilence. de/english/ copy_of_mumia/ legalarchive/

The first brief is from the National Lawyers Guild.
The second brief is from the NAACP Legal Defense
and Educational Fund, Inc.

Howard Keylor
For the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

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Asylum Street Spankers-Magnetic Yellow Ribbon com/watch? v=bfMgRHRJ- tc


I urge everyone to get a copy of "Sir! No Sir!" at:
http://www.sirnosir .com/
It is an extremely informative and powerful film
of utmost importance today. I was a participant
in the anti-Vietnam war movement. What a
powerful thing it was to see troops in uniform
leading the march against the war! If you would
like to read more here are two very good

Out Now!: A Participant' s Account of the Movement
in the United States Against the Vietnam War
by Fred Halstead (Hardcover - Jun 1978)


GIs speak out against the war;: The case of the
Ft. Jackson 8; by Fred Halstead (Unknown Binding - 1970).

Both available at: com/gp/search/ 103-1123166- 0136605?search- alias=books&
+availability, -proj-total- margin&field- author=Fred% 20Halstead

In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein

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Endorse the following petition:
Don't Let Idaho Kill Endangered Wolves
Target: Fish and Wildlife Service
Sponsor: Defenders of Wildlife
http://www.thepetit takeaction/ 664280276?
z00m=99090&z00m= 99090<l= 1155834550

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Stop funding Israel's war against Palestine
Complete the form at the website listed below with your information.
Personalize the message text on the right with
your own words, if you wish.
Click the Next Step button to send your letter
to these decision makers:
President George W. Bush
Vice President Richard 'Dick' B. Cheney
Your Senators
Your Representative
Go here to register your outrage:
https://secure2. pep/site/ Advocacy?
JServSessionIdr003= cga2p2o6x1. app2a&cmd= display&page= UserAction& id=177

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Idriss Stelley Foundation is in critical financial crisis, please help !
ISF is in critical financial crisis, and might be forced to close
its doors in a couple of months due to lack of funds to cover
DSL, SBC and utilities, which is a disaster for our numerous
clients, since the are the only CBO providing direct services
to Victims (as well as extended failies) of police misconduct
for the whole city of SF. Any donation, big or small will help
us stay alive until we obtain our 501-c3 nonprofit Federal
Status! Checks can me made out to
ISF, ( 4921 3rd St , SF CA 94124 ). Please consider to volunteer
or apply for internship to help covering our 24HR Crisis line,
provide one on one couseling and co facilitate our support
groups, M.C a show on SF Village Voice, insure a 2hr block
of time at ISF, moderate one of our 26 websites for ISF clients !
http://mysite. vzeo9ewi/ idrissstelleyfou ndation/
http://groups. group/isf23/
Report Police Brutality
24HR Bilingual hotline
(415) 595-8251
http://groups. group/Justice4As a/

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Appeal for funds:
Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches
Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website http://dahrjamailir
Request for Support
Dahr Jamail will soon return to the Middle East to continue his
independent reporting. As usual, reporting independently is a costly
enterprise; for example, an average hotel room is $50, a fixer runs $50
per day, and phone/food average $25 per day. Dahr will report from the
Middle East for one month, and thus needs to raise $5,750 in order to
cover his plane ticket and daily operating expenses.
A rare opportunity has arisen for Dahr to cover several stories
regarding the occupation of Iraq, as well as U.S. policy in the region,
which have been entirely absent from mainstream media.
With the need for independent, unfiltered information greater than ever,
your financial support is deeply appreciated. Without donations from
readers, ongoing independent reports from Dahr are simply not possible.
All donations go directly towards covering Dahr's on the ground
operating expenses.
(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.

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Legal update on Mumia Abu-Jamal's case
Excerpts from a letter written by Robert R. Bryan, the lead attorney
for death row political prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal.
...On July 20, 2006, we filed the Brief of Appellee and Cross
Appellant, Mumia Abu-Jamal, in the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia.
http://www.workers. org/2006/ us/mumia- 0810/

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Contact: Nick Mottern, Consumers for Peace

Howard Zinn joins Kathy Kelly, Dahr Jamail, Ann Wright and Neil MacKay in
endorsing "War Crimes Committed by the United States in Iraq and
Mechanisms for Accountability."

The report was published internationally by 10 organizations in October.

"This report on the war crimes of the current administration is an
invaluable resource, with a meticulous presentation of the
evidence and an astute examination of international law.
- Howard Zinn.

The 37 page report, written by Consumers for Peace with the
consultation of international humanitarian law expert Karen
Parker, JD, is available for free download at

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Today in Palestine!
For up to date information on Israeli's brutal attack on
human rights and freedom in Palestine and Lebanon go to:

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Oklahoma U's First African-American Speaker

Dear Representative Johnson:

Congratulations on your bill for creating an
African-American Centennial Plaza near the

I have a suggestion for including an important
moment in Oklahoma African-American
history in the displays.

The first African-American speaker at the
University of Oklahoma was Paul Boutelle,
in 1967.

He is still alive but has changed his name
to Kwame Somburu. I believe it would be
very appropriate also to invite Mr. Somburu
to attend the dedication ceremony for
this plaza. I correspond with him by email.

Here is a 1967 Sooner magazine article about his appearance:


Mike Wright

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Interesting web site with many flash films. The site is managed
by veteran James Starowicz, USN '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In-Country
'70-'71 Member: Veterans For Peace as well as other Veterans
and Pro-Peace Groups. Also Activist in other Area's, Questioning
Policies that only Benefit the Few, supporting Policies that Benefit
the Many and Move Us Forward as a Better Nation and World!
Politics: Registered Independent

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Taking Aim with Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone has a new Internet

Essential reading for understanding the development of Zionism
and Israel in the service of British and USA imperialism.
The full text of the book can be found for free at the
new Taking Aim web address:

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For those of you who don't know who Lynne Stewart is, go to
www.lynnestewart. org and get acquainted with Lynne and her
cause. Lynne is a criminal defense attorney who is being persecuted
for representing people charged with heinous crimes. It is a bedrock
of our legal system that every criminal defendant has a right to a
lawyer. Persecuting Lynne is an attempt to terrorize and intimidate
all criminal defense attorneys in this country so they will stop
representing unpopular people. If this happens, the fascist takeover
of this nation will be complete. We urge you all to go the website,
familiarize yourselves with Lynne and her battle for justice
www.lynnestewart. org

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Visit the Traprock Peace Center Video Archive at:
Visit the Traprock Peace Center
Deerfield, MA

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Comité Nacional por la Libertad de los Cinco Cubanos
Who are the Cuban Five?
The Cuban Five are five Cuban men who are in U.S. prison, serving
four life sentences and 75 years collectively, after being wrongly
convicted in U.S. federal court in Miami, on June 8, 2001.
They are Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero,
Fernando González and René González.
The Five were falsely accused by the U.S. government of committing
espionage conspiracy against the United States, and other related
But the Five pointed out vigorously in their defense that they were
involved in monitoring the actions of Miami-based terrorist groups,
in order to prevent terrorist attacks on their country of Cuba.
The Five's actions were never directed at the U.S. government.
They never harmed anyone nor ever possessed nor used any
weapons while in the United States.
The Cuban Five's mission was to stop terrorism
For more than 40 years, anti-Cuba terrorist organizations based
in Miami have engaged in countless terrorist activities against
Cuba, and against anyone who advocates a normalization
of relations between the U.S. and Cuba. More than 3,000 Cubans
have died as a result of these terrorists' attacks.

Gerardo Hernández, 2 Life Sentences
Antonio Guerrero, Life Sentence
Ramon Labañino, Life Sentence
Fernando González, 19 Years
René González, 15 Years

Free The Cuban Five Held Unjustly In The U.S.!

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Eyewitness Account from Oaxaca
A website is now being circulated that has up-to-date info
and video that can be downloaded of the police action and
developments in Oaxaca. For those who have not seen it
elsewhere, the website is:
http://www.mexico. indymedia. org/oaxaca

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http://www.indybay. org

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Iraq Body Count
For current totals, see our database page.
http://www.iraqbody press/pr13. php

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The Cost of War
[Over three-hundred- billion so]
http://nationalprio index.php? optionfiltered=com_
wrapper&Itemid= 182

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"The Democrats always promise to help workers, and the don't!
The Republicans always promise to help business, and the do!"
- Mort Sahl

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"It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees."
- Emilano Zapata
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Join the Campaign to
Shut Down the Guantanamo Torture Center
Go to:
to send a letter to Congress and the White House:
Shut Down Guantanamo and all torture centers and prisons.
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
http://www.ANSWERco http://www.actionsf .org
2489 Mission St. Rm. 24
San Francisco: 415-821-6545

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“It is reasonable and honorable to abhor violence and preach
against it while there is a visible and rational means of obtaining,
without violence, the indispensable justice for the welfare of man.
But, if convinced by the inevitable differences of character, by the
irreconcilable and different interests, because of the deep diversity
in the sea of the political mind and aspirations, there is not a peaceful
way to obtain the minimum rights of a people (…) or it is the blind
who against the boiling truth sustain peaceful means, or it is those
who doesn’t see and insist on proclaiming it that are untrue
to their people.”[2]
[2] José Martí “ Ciegos y desleales Obras Escogidas in III volumes;
Editorial Política 1981 Volume III p182

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Great Counter-Recruitment Website
http://notyoursoldi php?list= type&type= 14

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Last summer the U.S. Border Patrol arrested Shanti Sellz and
Daniel Strauss, both 23-year-old volunteers assisting immigrants
on the border, for medically evacuating 3 people in critical
condition from the Arizona desert.

Criminalization for aiding undocumented immigrants already
exists on the books in the state of Arizona. Daniel and Shanti
are targeted to be its first victims. Their arrest and subsequent
prosecution for providing humanitarian aid could result in
a 15-year prison sentence. Any Congressional compromise
with the Sensenbrenner bill (HR 4437) may include these
harmful criminalization provisions. Fight back NOW!

Help stop the criminalization of undocumented immigrants
and those who support them!

For more information call 415-821- 9683.
For information on the Daniel and Shanti Defense Campaign,
visit www.nomoredeaths. org.

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According to "Minimum Wage History" at
http://oregonstate. edu/instruct/ anth484/minwage. html "

"Calculated in real 2005 dollars, the 1968 minimum wage was the
highest at $9.12. "The 8 dollar per hour Whole Foods employees
are being paid $1.12 less than the 1968 minimum wage.

"A federal minimum wage was first set in 1938. The graph shows
both nominal (red) and real (blue) minimum wage values. Nominal
values range from 25 cents per hour in 1938 to the current $5.15/hr.
The greatest percentage jump in the minimum wage was in 1950,
when it nearly doubled. The graph adjusts these wages to 2005
dollars (blue line) to show the real value of the minimum wage.
Calculated in real 2005 dollars, the 1968 minimum wage was the
highest at $9.12. Note how the real dollar minimum wage rises and
falls. This is because it gets periodically adjusted by Congress.
The period 1997-2006, is the longest period during which the
minimum wage has not been adjusted. States have departed from
the federal minimum wage. Washington has the highest minimum
wage in the country at $7.63 as of January 1, 2006. Oregon is next
at $7.50. Cities, too, have set minimum wages. Santa Fe, New
Mexico has a minimum wage of $9.50, which is more than double
the state minimum wage at $4.35."

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Public Law print of PL 107-110, the No Child Left Behind
Act of 2001 [1.8 MB]
http://www.ed. gov/policy/ elsec/leg/ esea02/index. html
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
http://www.usatoday .com/news/ education/ 2006-02-13- education- panel_x.htm

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The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies uslawdocs/ declaration. html decind.html
http://www.usconsti declar.html
http://www.indybay. org/news/ 2006/02/1805195. php

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Bill of Rights constitution/ constitution. billofrights. html
http://www.indybay. org/news/ 2006/02/1805182. php


"The International"
Lots of good information over at Wikipedia, as often the case:

What I've always found fascinating is the wide variety of translations (or
perhaps it would be better to call them "interpretations" or "variations")
that exist, even in English. It's also fascinating to read all the different
verses of the song.

One thing I learned at Wikipedia is that the original intention was that the
song would be sung to the tune of the Marseillaise, but that shortly
thereafter different music was written. Good thing, in my opinion, I'd hate
to see the identities of two stirring songs be confused. Each deserves their
own place in history.

Lyrics to the Marseillaise are here - pretty stirring in their own right. As
with the Internationale, all sorts of unknown verses:

Eli Stephens
Left I on the News