Friday, October 19, 2007




Dear antiwar activist,

In less than 2 weeks thousands of people will rally and march in the streets of San Francisco as well as in cities around the U.S. The momentum for the San Francisco demonstration is growing each day and along with that comes a great need for volunteers to take care of the many tasks involved in a demonstration of this size.

Because of the grass roots nature of the event we are asking all supporters of the demonstration to help us to come up with a couple of hundred people to act as monitors of the march, crowd collection to help pay for the cost of the day, and many other tasks that will be needed on October 27. We will also need people to help with the set up at Civic Center at 9am and others to help with take down and clean up at Dolores Park after the rally is over at 4pm. (See schedule just below this.)

Please go to our website www.oct27sf. org today to volunteer.

Thank you in advance for your support,

Bonnie Weinstein
for the steering committee of the Oct. 27th Coalition to End the War


From: Logistics Committee

To: Members of the October 27th Coalition

Re: Volunteers on October 27th

There will be a need for hundreds of volunteers to provide the logistical infrastructure to make the October 27th activities function smoothly and successfully. The logistics committee is requesting that all members of the October 27th Coalition participate in this aspect of the march. The committee is asking member groups to provide as many volunteers to the logistics of the day as each member group can.

The committee is asking member groups to respond to the coalition email oct27sf@gmail. com with a commitment in numbers of people from your member organization, their names and contact phone/email or a point person and the specific tasks your member organization is fulfilling.

A day of volunteer form will be posted to website which people can fill out directly.

The logistics committee asks that member organizations respond before the next steering committee meeting on October 14th. At the Steering Committee, the logistics committee will report on the status of responses and get any oustanding committments as well.

For anyone participating in security there will be a planning meeting on Thursday, October 18th at 7pm at the ANSWER office at 2489 Mission St., #28 at 21st St.

Below are the specific tasks:

Civic Center

Setup at 8:00 am

Security/Monitors at 9:00 am till the end of the day

Takedown at 12:30 until 2:00. The people taking this assignment will march late after march leaves.

Collection: 9:00 am orientation. This task will be for on the march and at the closing rally

Medical at 9:00 am for all day

ASL signing at 10:30 am for opening and closing rally

Dolores Park:

Setup at 8:00 am

Security/Monitors at 9:00 am

Takedown after rally and convergence ends at 4:30

Collection at 2 pm

Medical at 12 noon

ASL signing at 1:00 pm


South Bay Oct. 27 Organizing Committee
Thursday, Oct. 18, 7:00 P.M.
San Jose Peace Center
48 Seventh Street

Iraq Moratorium Day
Friday, Oct. 19, 12:00 A.M. - 11:30 P.M.
Pots and Pans rally at noon at the SF Federal Bldg.
Solemn vigil at Post & Market (Montgomery Street BART) at 5.
At Diablo Canyon College there will be an action, and Strawberry Creek Lodge there will be a demonstration at 2.
There will be bannering at the Golden Gate Bridge in the early morning.
The postal workers who had flyers and ribbons at 27 SF post offices on Sept 21, will cover the remaining 13 on October 19. New unions are being approached for participation as well.
More at


Labor Conference to Stop the War!

October 20, 2007

ILWU Local 10 400 North Point Street, San Francisco, California @ Fisherman's Wharf

As the war in Iraq and Afghanistan enters its seventh year, opposition to the war among working people in the United States and the world is massive and growing. The "surge" strategy of sending in more and more troops has become a -asco for the Pentagon generals, while thousands of Iraqis are killed every month. Before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, millions marched against the war in Britain, Italy and Spain as hundreds of thousands took to the streets in the U.S. to oppose it. But that didn't stop the invasion. In the U.S., this "war on terror" has meant wholesale assault on civil liberties and workers' rights, like the impending imposition of the hated TWIC card for port workers. And the war keeps going on and on, as Democrats and Republicans in Congress keep on voting for it.

As historian Isaac Deutscher said during the Vietnam War, a single strike would be more effective than all the peace marches. French dockworkers did strike in the port of Marseilles and helped bring an end to the war in Vietnam. To put a stop to this bloody colonial occupation, labor must use its power.

The International Warehouse and Longshore Union has opposed the war on Iraq since the beginning. In the Bay Area, ILWU Local 10 has repeatedly warned that the so-called "war on terror" is really a war on working people and democratic rights. Around the country, hundreds of unions and labor councils have passed motions condemning the war, but that has not stopped the war. We need to use labor's muscle to stop the war by mobilizing union power in the streets, at the plant gates and on the docks to force the immediate and total withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq.

The clock is ticking. It's time for labor action to bring the war machine to a grinding halt and end this slaughter. During longshore contract negotiations in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, Bush cited port security and imposed the slave-labor Taft-Hartley Law against the ILWU in collusion with the maritime employers group PMA and with the support of the Democrats. Yet, he did nothing when PMA shut down every port on the U.S. West Coast by locking out longshore workers just the week before!

In April 2003, when antiwar protesters picketed war cargo shippers, APL and SSA, in the Port of Oakland, police -red on picketers and longshoremen alike with their "less than lethal" ammo that left six ILWU members and many others seriously injured. We refused to let our rights be trampled on, sued the city and won. Democratic rights were reasserted a month later when antiwar protesters marched in the port and all shipping was stopped. This past May, when antiwar protesters and the Oakland Education Association again picketed war cargo shippers in Oakland, longshoremen honored the picket line. This is only the beginning.

Last year, Local 10 passed a resolution calling to "Strike Against the War ï¿∏ No Peace, No Work." The motion emphasized the ILWU's proud history in opposing wars for imperial domination, recalling how in 1978 Local 10 refused to load bombs for the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. In the 1980's, Bay Area dock workers highlighted opposition to South African apartheid slavery by boycotting ("hot cargoing") the Nedlloyd Kimberly, while South African workers waged militant strikes to bring down the white supremacist regime.

Now Locals 10 and 34 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have called for a "Labor Conference to Stop the War" to hammer out a program of action. We're saying: Enough! It's high time to use union power against the bosses' war, independent of the "bipartisan" war party. The ILWU can again take the lead, but action against the war should not be limited to the docks. We urge unions in the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout the country to attend the conference and plan workplace rallies, labor mobilizations in the streets and strike action against the war.

For further information contact: Jack Heyman


Domestic workers are one of the most invisible and exploited categories of workers in the United States. Many of them work for diplomats, who enjoy legal immunity and can exploit their domestic workers without any consequences. Employees of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank are the largest group of employers of domestic workers in the U.S. The institutions have some direct responsibility in this regard, since they sponsor visas for domestic workers for their employees, but do not monitor the work situations of the domestic workers to make sure that they are being treated fairly.

Please watch the video, share it, and spread it far and wide!

And come to Washington DC October 19-21 to protest the IMF and World Bank annual meetings!




1) Ink-Stained Marx
[from the November 5, 2007 issue]

2) Kurds Protest Turkish Vote on Iraq
October 19, 2007

3) Stalled Health Tests Leave Storm Trailers in Limbo
October 18, 2007

4) Birth Control Allowed at Maine Middle School
October 18, 2007

5) Virginia County Votes to Deny Services to Illegal Immigrants
October 17, 2007

6) New York State Not Doing Enough to Prevent Wrongful Convictions, Report Says
October 18, 2007

7) None Dare Call It Child Care
"Right now, the only parents who routinely get serious child-care assistance from the government are extremely poor mothers in welfare-to-work programs. Even for them, the waiting lists tend to be ridiculously long. In many states, once the woman actually gets a job, she loses the day care. Middle-class families get zip, even though a decent private child care program costs $12,000 a year in some parts of the country."
Op-Ed Columnist
October 18, 2007

8) Security Contractors Shoot at Taxi, Wounding 3 Iraqis
October 19, 2007

9) New Coast Guard Task in Arctic’s Warming Seas
October 19, 2007

10) Schools in Several States Report Staph Infections, and Deaths Raise the Alarm
October 19, 2007


1) Ink-Stained Marx
[from the November 5, 2007 issue]

Karl Marx did his best writing on deadline.

Commissioned by the Communist League in mid-1847 to write a "profession
of faith," Marx and Engels procrastinated, traveled, experimented with
form and might never have written the manifesto of the Communist Party
if not for a sternly worded letter from the league ordering them to
deliver the document by February 1, 1848.

A few all-nighters later, Marx produced a stirring document that by now
has been read by tens of millions of people. Far fewer realize that
regular deadline commentary provided Marx with the closest thing he ever
had to actual employment. From 1852 to 1862 he was a regular London
correspondent for the New York Tribune. All told, Marx contributed
almost 500 columns to the Tribune (about a quarter of which were
actually written by Engels). Marx's newspaper writing takes up nearly
seven volumes of the fifty-volume Collected Works of Marx and
Engels--more than Capital and indeed more than any of Marx's works
published in book form.

The Tribune was in some ways a logical place for Marx's journalism. The
paper was founded in 1841 by Horace Greeley as a crusading organ of
progressive causes with a pronounced American and Christian flavor; one
contemporary writer described the paper's political stance as
"Anti-Slavery, Anti-War, Anti-Rum, Anti-Tobacco, Anti-Seduction,
Anti-Grogshops, Anti-Brothels, Anti-Gambling Houses." During Marx's
tenure as a correspondent, the Tribune was the largest newspaper in the
world, reaching more than 200,000 readers.

At the same time, there was probably no publication in the world that
would have been a perfect fit for Marx's cantankerous prose and
personality. Even when Marx wrote in English, his strident Germanic tone
dominated. His analysis was so unsparingly radical that at times the
Tribune felt the need to distance itself from its fulminating London
correspondent; introducing one of his 1853 essays, for example, the
editors wrote, "Mr. Marx has very decided opinions of his own, with some
of which we are far from agreeing," but then conceded that "those who do
not read his letters neglect one of the most instructive sources of
information on the greatest questions of current European politics."

And the ambivalence was mutual--to put it mildly. At times Marx viewed
newspaper writing as just one more form of capitalist exploitation.
"It's truly nauseating," he wrote to Engels in 1857, "that one should be
condemned to count it a blessing when taken aboard by a blotting-paper
vendor such as this. To crush up bones, grind them and make them into
soup like paupers in the workhouse--that is what the political work to
which one is condemned in large measure in a concern like this boils
down to." Yet Marx was proud when his work attracted attention. In
November 1857, he predicted that the Bank of England would have to be
suspended, a prophecy the New York Times labeled "simply absurd"; when
the bank was suspended in early December, he boasted to Engels about his
"gratifying" scoop. Moreover, as some modern Marxist scholars have
noted, Marx's newspaper articles--far from impeding his book-length
work--enhanced it by providing him raw material he could then revisit in
a fuller context.

Marx's dispatches do not fall into any category that would be familiar
to today's reader. He did essentially nothing that could be labeled
original reporting, which is hardly surprising; his relations with
government authorities were tenuous and the restrictions on his travel
were substantial. Instead Marx crafted his dispatches using the same
tools he relied on for his books: the materials available to him in the
reading room of the British Museum, including history books, government
reports and foreign newspapers. He also incorporated private letters
sent to him by political allies across Europe. Although he always
insisted on placing unfolding events in the context of hundreds of years
of history, Marx was diligent about making his newspaper columns as
up-to-date as possible. Thus dozens of columns between 1853 and 1856
were essentially battle-by-battle analyses of the unfolding Crimean War.
These columns drew extensively on European newspaper dispatches that
Marx's American readers could not easily have found themselves, as well
as on Engels's formidable knowledge of military history and tactics.

Another category of article involved Marx trying to find the local
insurrection that might spark the revolution across Europe he believed
to be imminent. Probably no single historical moment shaped his
political thinking as much as the events of 1848. Not only did the
energy of those revolutions fuel the rhetoric of the Communist
Manifesto; their eventual crushing by the likes of Louis Napoleon forced
Marx to deepen his analysis of state and economic power. Sprinkled
throughout his articles are remarkably detailed analyses of later
insurrections in Greece, Spain and Italy.

Perhaps Marx's most "Marxist" articles were those dealing with the opium
trade in China and India and slavery in America. These were the open
sores of imperialism, and Marx railed against them repeatedly and
loudly. In his view the British government and the East India Company
had deliberately encouraged opium addiction among the Chinese population
purely for financial gain. Similarly, the British textile industry
depended heavily on American cotton, leading the British ruling classes
to repeatedly turn a blind eye to the conditions of slavery in the
American South, all the while preaching to the world the virtues of
"free trade."

Thus, in a typical 1853 passage about the British role in India, Marx
wrote, "The profound hypocrisy and inherent barbarism of bourgeois
civilization lies unveiled before our eyes, turning from its home, where
it assumes respectable forms, to the colonies, where it goes naked."

While such rhetoric may be predictable, there are constant surprises
throughout Marx's newspaper writing. He could be scathingly ironic, as
in an 1853 essay attacking the antislavery philanthropy sponsored by the
Duchess of Sutherland, whose family, Marx pointed out, systematically
forced thousands of Scots from their ancestral homes in the early 1800s.
He could render a tale of starvation as persuasively and movingly as any
tabloid journalist. And despite the intellectual groundwork that Marx's
theories provided for what would later be called state socialism, Marx
could be witheringly skeptical of the absurd extension of state power,
as in an 1858 essay titled "Project for the Regulation of the Price of
Bread in France."

Marx's Tribune columns were as sweeping, provocative and challenging as
the rest of his writing. While Marx is remembered as a philosopher,
economist and political theorist, it is long past time to try to
understand him as a journalist.


2) Kurds Protest Turkish Vote on Iraq
October 19, 2007

ISTANBUL, Oct. 18 — Thousands of Kurds in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil marched today to call for peaceful dialogue with Turkey and to protest its Parliament’s approval a day earlier of a measure authorizing troops to cross into northern Iraq to confront Kurdish rebels.

The marchers insisted on resistance to any military incursion from Turkey, Reuters reported.

At the same time, the Iraqi foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, said Iraq wanted the Kurdish rebels to leave northern Iraq as soon as possible, according to Reuters.

The Wednesday vote sent an angry message to the Baghdad government and its Washington sponsor. But Turkey, a member of NATO, made it clear that it would not immediately carry out the resolution, and today Mr. Zebari said he did not expect military action anytime soon, according to Reuters.

A senior Turkish government official, Egemen Bagis, said that Turkey hoped for “full cooperation” from both Iraq and the United States in its efforts against Turkish rebels.

In a written statement, he said: “If Baghdad is unable to lead anti-terror efforts, then for operational reasons, the responsibility of eradicating these armed elements lies on the northern Iraqi leadership. The U.S. as the dominant political and military power in Iraq can coordinate all these efforts. Once these terror elements are removed, Turkish-Iraqi cooperation will prosper to new heights, and Turkish-U.S. alliance will gain a new momentum.”

The 507-to-19 vote on Wednesday was the culmination of months of frustration here with the United States, which has criticized Kurdish rebels who attack Turkey from Iraq but has failed to get its Kurdish allies in Iraq to act against them. President Bush on Wednesday reiterated American wishes for a diplomatic solution.

According to the state-run Anatolian News Agency, Mehmet Ali Sahin, the Turkish justice minister, said today in reference to Mr. Bush’s comments: “If events allowed by the motion take place, it will be done in accordance with international law. Those who criticize us in regards with the motion, should explain what they’re looking for in Afghanistan. Turkey applies the same international law that granted the right and authority to those who entered in Afghanistan in connection with some organizations with which they had linked the attacks on twin towers. Therefore, nobody has the right to say anything.”

The vote to authorize sending troops, which Turkish officials say gives them up to a year to take action, was, in essence, a blunt request for the United States to acknowledge Turkey’s status as an important ally in a troubled and complex region.

“We’re at a point that our patience has run out,” said Cemil Cicek, a government spokesman and a member of Turkey’s Special Council Combating Terrorism. With Turkey central to oil transportation in the region, United States crude oil futures soared to an all-time high of $89 a barrel on Wednesday, Reuters reported, though prices later dropped.

The vote came as relations between the countries were strained by a House committee’s passage last week of a bill calling the World War I-era mass killing of Armenians an act of genocide. In a nod to Turkey’s importance as an ally in Iraq, Congressional leaders began to back away on Wednesday from a commitment to hold a vote on that bill.

“We are at a defining moment in Turkish-American relations,” said Morton Abramowitz, the American ambassador to Turkey during the Persian Gulf war of 1991, commenting on the Turkish vote. “This is a very big warning sign to the Americans and to the Iraqi Kurds.”

Security experts here and in the United States agreed that Turkey was unlikely to cross the United States with a full-scale military operation. Still, the government is closer than it has been in years to military action of some sort, embarrassed into acting by a public angry over mounting deaths and what is seen as American inaction.

More than two dozen Turks, some of them civilians, have been killed in cross-border rebel attacks in the past several weeks, and the powerful Turkish military which, unlike the government, has long been pressing for action, is fanning public anger.

Along Turkey’s border with Iraq on Wednesday, Gen. Ilker Basbug, commander of the Turkish land forces, told villagers in Besagac that the killing of 12 Turks in late September by Kurdish rebels was “a crime against humanity,” according to Turkey’s official Anatolian News Agency.

“We share your grief,” he said.

The vote in Turkey drew responses from the leaders of three countries — the United States, Syria and Iraq — and set off a flurry of diplomacy as officials in several countries worked strenuously to avert military action.

“We are making it very clear to Turkey that we don’t think it is in their interests to send troops into Iraq,” Mr. Bush said. “There’s a better way to deal with the issue than having the Turks send massive troops into the country.”

He said Turkish troops were already in Iraq, a reference to the small number of soldiers based at observation posts near the border, which is loosely controlled by Iraqi Kurdish forces but is largely porous. The United States does not have troops stationed there, but it controls the airspace.

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq, in a 30-minute phone conversation on Wednesday with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said, “Let’s do whatever is necessary together,” the Anatolian News Agency said.

But Turkish officials say that recent diplomatic efforts have failed. Turkey signed a security agreement with Iraq in September, but since then, killings by Kurdish rebels, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the P.K.K., have only risen.

“The government has been bringing the P.K.K. issue in at every high-level meeting with the U.S., but we have achieved nothing in the last five years,” said Egeman Bagis, a lawmaker and Erdogan adviser. “The Armenian resolution has come as the last straw of the disappointment.”

He and others argue that Turkey supports the United States in fighting its war on militancy in Iraq — 70 percent of American air cargo for Iraq travels through Turkey — but that the Americans have not reciprocated, even though they formally occupy the area in question.

Once considered a dutiful follower of United States policies, Turkey no longer shies away from talks with world leaders the United States opposes. Turkey signed a preliminary agreement on buying natural gas from Iran, a deal harshly criticized by the Bush administration last month.

The response to Wednesday’s vote underscored that new independence, with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, an antagonist of the United States with his own Kurdish minority, weighing in on the issue after official meetings in Ankara, the Turkish capital.

“We certainly support and back the decisions by the Turkish government in combat against terror and terror activities,” Mr. Assad said.

He also took a swipe at the Bush administration: “It is important to note that the powers that have invaded Iraq are those primarily responsible for the terror activities and attacks because they control the country.”

The vote places Mr. Erdogan in a delicate position. He was skeptical of the Turkish military’s desire for offensive action last spring, but he is now advocating it himself in what Turkish political analysts characterized as a last-ditch effort to press the United States and its closest allies in Iraq, the Iraqi Kurds, to act.

As the policy grinds forward, Mr. Erdogan may find himself making decisions that go against Turkey’s own interests in the region. Mr. Abramowitz cited Incirlik, the American air base in southern Turkey, as an example. Taking away American access to the base, one potential consequence of Turkish anger over American policy, would undermine Turkey’s interest in keeping Iraq intact, he said.

Turkey has not carried out a raid into Iraq since the American invasion in 2003, and it is uncertain what type of operation Turkey would choose. It made several large-scale raids in the 1990s, under a deal with Saddam Hussein, most recently in 1997 with more than 40,000 troops, but security experts said a small commando strike was more likely.

But what happens next depends more on the United States and its Iraqi Kurdish allies, Mr. Abramowitz said. Mr. Erdogan will try to leverage the new permission to press them into action.

The consequences of a large-scale raid would be severe. Turkey is seeking acceptance into the European Union, a bid that would probably be seriously harmed if it invaded. The northern Kurdish region in Iraq is a bright spot for the United States in its enterprise there, with a booming economy, bustling with Turkish companies, and a functioning political system.

Mr. Bagis said there would be no offensive if action was taken against Kurdish rebels in the northern region and if Congress dropped the Armenian genocide bill.

Sebnem Arsu reported from Istanbul, and Sabrina Tavernise from Amman, Jordan.


3) Stalled Health Tests Leave Storm Trailers in Limbo
October 18, 2007

Three months after the Federal Emergency Management Agency halted the sale of travel trailers to survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita over possible risks from formaldehyde and promised a health study, none of the 56,000 occupied units have been tested.

“It is inexcusable that 19 months after the first questions were raised, testing of occupied trailers has yet to begin,” said Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

At a Congressional hearing on the trailers in July, R. David Paulison, FEMA’s administrator, said the agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “are scheduled to begin Phase 1 of the study in the Gulf Coast next week.”

But the first teams did not reach New Orleans and Mississippi until the end of September, and then began only a baseline assessment of unoccupied trailers, laying the groundwork for the full-scale study, said a C.D.C. spokeswoman in Atlanta, Bernadette Burden.

One result of the delay in the testing is that the agency has postponed a plan to charge rent on the trailers beginning in March. The rent was intended to encourage people displaced by the hurricanes to move into nonsubsidized housing.

Before sales were halted over the safety questions, 10,839 of the trailers were auctioned off by the General Services Administration and 819 more were sold directly to occupants by the emergency agency from July 2006 to July 2007, raising potential liability issues.

“It’s different now,” an agency spokeswoman, Mary Margaret Walker, said. “The idea of asking people to pay rent for units with health concerns doesn’t seem to make sense.” She said the change had not been announced.

This week, the agency announced a program of relocation subsidies, up to $4,000 a household, to encourage storm victims to return home to the Gulf states or seek permanent housing elsewhere.

But problems with the trailers have dealt further setbacks to self-sufficiency efforts: 4,110 people living in FEMA trailers have asked to be relocated because of health concerns, the agency said. Among these, 771 have been moved to alternative housing, 546 have been given rent subsidies to live elsewhere and 83 have been moved back into hotels and motels at government expense.

The mixed signals have confounded storm victims like Tom and Linda Pieri of Livingston, Tex., who have spent the last 21 months with their two dogs and, on occasion, their grown son, in a 12-by-32 foot Mallard trailer that the agency provided after their East Texas house was wrecked by Hurricane Rita in 2005.

Disabled and living on Social Security, the Pieris said they had made “a handshake deal” to buy their trailer for $300 in August, only to have FEMA withdraw the offer, leaving them facing ruinous rent charges — or so they feared.

The program that the emergency agency now says it has withdrawn would have charged the Pieris $50 a month in March, $100 in April and $50 more each month until the rent hit a ceiling of $600 a month. The charges would have varied according to the occupants’ means. But Mr. Pieri, 60, a former prison laundry manager injured in a work accident in 2001, said the rent would have been prohibitive on the couple’s combined Social Security payments of $1,700 a month.

“I just want to keep a roof over my head, and my wife’s head,” he said.

At the height of relief efforts after the 2005 storms, the emergency agency was providing 134,502 trailers of various sizes up to mobile homes.

The number of trailers still deployed was 55,785, Ms. Walker said. The agency paid about $10,000 each for the trailers, from eight manufacturers, she said.

Kathy Munson, a spokeswoman for one of the suppliers, Fleetwood Enterprises in Riverside, Calif., said dealers commonly aired out the trailers before selling them, which dissipated the formaldehyde. “FEMA ordered so many, they were at staging areas all sealed up and not aired out, and that causes fumes to get worse,” Ms. Munson said.

Charles Green, a C.D.C. spokesman, said that testing was expected to start at the end of this month or early November in at least 300 occupied trailers in Mississippi and 300 in Louisiana. Teams will spend about an hour in each trailer using a portable pump to take air samples. The occupants would also be asked questions about pets, smoking habits and the use of pesticides.

The Environmental Protection Agency lists formaldehyde as a colorless, pungent gas released by building materials and household items, including paint, draperies and pressed wood products. It can cause burning of the eyes, nausea and asthma attacks. It has been shown to cause cancer in animals and, the environmental agency said, “may cause cancer in humans.”

Formaldehyde has become a special concern in trailers, especially when they are new and unventilated, Mr. Paulison told the House oversight committee. The Department of Housing and Urban Development sets formaldehyde limits in manufactured housing, but not trailers.

The Pieris said formaldehyde was not of great concern. Both chain-smoke cigarettes despite asthma and pulmonary problems and, in Mrs. Pieri’s case, breast cancer and a mastectomy several years ago. “I know, we’re dumb,” Mr. Pieri said, adding that he had tried every possible anti-tobacco treatment.

In any case, he said, they were committed to keeping their trailer. Their house, which they bought for $27,000 in 2000 with $1,000 down and a mortgage of $301 a month, needed $32,000 in repairs, Mr. Pieri said, and the $5,300 FEMA had provided was barely enough to fix the roof.

FEMA offered them $411 a month to find housing elsewhere but the cheapest apartment in the area was $600, he said.

“Even if I can find another place,” he said, looking at his damaged house spilling moldy furniture and clothes, “everything we own is right there.”


4) Birth Control Allowed at Maine Middle School
October 18, 2007

PORTLAND, Me., Oct. 17 — The Portland school board on Wednesday approved a measure allowing middle-school students to gain access to prescription birth control medications without notifying parents.

The proposal, from the Portland Division of Public Health, calls for the independently operated health care center at King Middle School to provide a variety of services to students, including immunizations and physical checkups in addition to birth-control medications and counseling for sexually transmitted diseases, said Lisa Belanger, an administrator for Portland’s student health centers.

All but two members of the 12-person committee voted to approve the plan.

The school principal, Mike McCarthy, said about 5 of the school’s 500 students had identified themselves as being sexually active.

Health care professionals at the clinic advised the committee that the proposal was necessary in order for the clinic to serve students who were engaging in risky behavior.

The conference room at the Wednesday night meeting was packed with parents, students and television cameras as school board committee members discussed the issue and heard testimony from experts and residents.

“It has been shown, over and over again, that this does not increase sexual activity,” said Pat Patterson, the medical director of School-Based Health Centers.

Reaction was mixed.

“This is really a violation of parents’ rights,” Peter Doyle, a Portland resident, told the committee. “If there were a constitutional challenge, you guys would be at risk of a lawsuit.”

Others argued for approval.

“Not every child is getting the guidance needed to keep them safe,” said Richard Veilleux, who said his child attends King Middle School. “This is about giving kids who are sexually active the tools that they need.”

According to the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care, about 30 percent of the 1,700 school-based health centers in the United States provide birth control to students, Dr. Patterson said.


5) Virginia County Votes to Deny Services to Illegal Immigrants
October 17, 2007

A Virginia state panel yesterday rejected a controversial proposal to create the country’s first state-run facility where illegal immigrants arrested for certain crimes could be held while awaiting trial or until federal officials deport them.

In Prince William County, supervisors unanimously voted early this morning — after a 12-hour, emotionally charged debate — to move forward with a plan to deny certain county services to illegal immigrants and to direct the police to enforce immigration laws.

The two moves are part of a wave of actions taken by local and state authorities here that has made Virginia a testing ground for some of the strictest policies in the nation to curb illegal immigration.

“Residents of our state are really frustrated when an illegal alien commits a crime and that person is let go after serving time, and we’re trying to correct that problem,” said State Senator Ken Stolle, Republican of Virginia Beach, who is chairman of the panel that acted on yesterday, the Illegal Immigration Task Force of the State Crime Commission. “These measures are not targeting all immigrants, just those who commit crimes.”

The state panel, while rejecting the proposal to create the separate facility to hold illegal immigrants, instead recommended that the state provide additional money so local officials could build more jail space to house immigrants awaiting deportation. It also called on local jail officials to check the immigration status of all inmates and deny bail to most illegal immigrants who committed crimes.

The proposals in Virginia are further indications of how state and local officials are getting ahead of the federal government on the immigration issue and sometimes pushing measures that federal officials are unwilling or unable to support for legal, logistical or financial reasons.

In addition to those two actions, state lawmakers this year submitted a proposal for a $10,000 fine for employers who hired illegal immigrants and to revoke the business licenses of anyone in the state convicted of hiring illegal immigrants. In 2003, the state was the first to pass a measure making it a crime to give illegal immigrants driver’s licenses.

But they have not gone uncontested by immigrant rights groups and legal rights organizations who say that the measures will not pass legal challenges.

Tim Freilich, the legal director of the Virginia Justice Center, a nonprofit legal services organization, said the Prince William measure approved today “is an unfortunate bit of political grandstanding leading up the election on Nov. 6.”

“It sends a terribly divisive message to all residents,” he said. “It’s an embarrassment for Virginia. More than 10 percent of Virginians were born outside of the United States.”

The Prince William measure attracted about 1,200 people last night, the largest crowd anyone had ever seen there, as lawmakers considered how to curb services for illegal immigrants. News reports said the crowd was almost evenly split between supporters and opponents of the measure, a sign of how it has hit a nerve in communities that are facing a growing immigrant population. It was also a sign of how emboldened immigrants and their advocates have become in the year or so since Congressional proposals to deal with the immigration issue have drawn huge national rallies.

Some of the speakers included immigrants and their children, who argued that the measure would amount to little more than racial profiling that would target anyone who looked Hispanic, according to news reports.

The final resolution, which was passed with a unanimous vote at about 2:30 a.m., was slightly watered down from the original version, which was proposed by Supervisor John T. Stirrup.

“Illegal immigration is causing economic hardship and lawlessness in this county,” Mr. Stirrup wrote in his original resolution.

The final measure would improve cooperation with the federal immigration authorities and direct the police to check the immigration status of anyone accused of breaking the law if the officer suspects that person is an illegal immigrant. It would deny certain county services to illegal immigrants, including drug counseling, some elderly services and business licenses.

One of the biggest champions of the measure was the board of supervisor’s chairman, Corey Stewart, who has made immigration his cornerstone issue as he and all the supervisors face reelection next month.

“Prince William County and other localities have had to pick up the slack for what the federal government has failed to do,” Mr. Stewart said in an interview seen on his Web site.

“We are ground zero in this debate on immigration,” he said. “We’ve got a responsibility to do it right.”

The measure is already facing a legal challenge, as have several other similar efforts by other municipalities, by groups saying it violates a constitutional right to equal protection.

How it will be financed is also up in the air, especially as the county is facing a revenue shortfall of $10 million in the next fiscal year. County officials told supervisors the measure would cost $14.2 million to implement. Supervisors early this morning committed $325,000 toward the measure, saying they would find the balance later.

Much of the cost of the proposal would come in training police officers in the fine points of federal immigration laws, and in setting up ways to work more closely with the federal authorities. The county’s police chief, Charlie T. Deane, has already warned officials that they are limited in what they can do.

“We have a community that expects us to do wonders,” Mr. Dean told them at recent meeting. “I’m here to tell you that no matter how much money you give me, we’re not going to be able to solve that problem ourselves.”

In Virginia, local jail officials keep only about 25 percent of the money that federal immigration officials pay per bed for illegal immigrants waiting to be deported, with the rest going to the state. The state panel that voted yesterday called for that amount to be increased to 100 percent and to increase the amount the state provided to counties to build new facilities. This extra revenue would enable local jail officials to add jail beds for illegal immigrants and eliminate the need for a centralized facility.

But immigration advocates say they worry that toughening immigration enforcement would have a chilling effect on crime victims and witnesses who may be in the country illegally, and they questioned whether increasing the amount of money available to county officials would create a financial incentive to round up people who are suspected of being illegal immigrants.

“Even without any new measures, this chilling effect is a problem,” said Jeanne L. Smoot, director of public policy for Tahirih Justice Center, an advocacy group in Falls Church, Va., for battered women, adding that women were more than twice as likely not to report violence against them if they were illegal immigrants.

Illegal immigrants who are arrested are currently placed in local jails, federal facilities or private prisons, and once they finish their sentences, those convicted of nonviolent offenses are often released because federal immigration officials say they lack the resources to detain them.

Last year, the state police in Virginia notified federal immigration officials of about 12,000 illegal immigrants in their jails. But the federal officials only picked up about 690, according to state officials.

State Delegate David B. Albo, the Fairfax County Republican who is co-chairman of the state immigration task force, said that Virginia had an estimated 300,000 illegal immigrants.

Hope Amezquita, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, testified before the task force that the proposal to deny bail to virtually all illegal immigrants accused of committing crimes might be unconstitutional.

It would create a whole class of people who are exempted from due process, Ms. Amezquita said, adding that the Constitution guaranteed that each criminal defendant, regardless of status, get an individualized review of their case.

Before the panel’s recommendations can be adopted, the Crime Commission, the General Assembly and the governor must act on them.

Critics say the proposals are being driven by politics in a year when all 140 seats of the General Assembly are up for election.

“In Washington, here in the state Capitol, and even here in this building, illegal immigration is a debating exercise,” William Campenni, 67, a retired engineer, said at the task force hearing. “In towns like my Herndon, it is a drive-by shooting, a D.U.I. fatality, a drug turf battle, a serial killing sniper, a deteriorating neighborhood.”

Mr. Campenni added that though he had never been a victim of crime at the hands of an illegal immigrant, his wife was afraid to go to areas of their town that she used to visit regularly.

Mr. Albo said that illegal immigrants who committed violent crimes or felonies usually received sentences of more than a year, which gave federal immigration officials enough time to process their deportation. But illegal immigrants convicted of lesser charges, like drunken driving or domestic violence, are often released on bond and never return for their court date, or serve just days or weeks and are released.

The panel wants to hold most illegal immigrants and release them on bail only if lawyers can prove they are not a flight risk.

Asked why he had abandoned his idea of creating a centralized facility, Mr. Stolle said that countless people had told him the idea sounded too much like “a concentration camp” for immigrants.


6) New York State Not Doing Enough to Prevent Wrongful Convictions, Report Says
October 18, 2007

Although more convicts have been exonerated by DNA evidence in New York than in most other states, New York is one of only a few states across the nation that have not enacted comprehensive legislative reforms to prevent wrongful convictions, according to a report by a high-profile legal clinic scheduled to be released today.

Since 1989, when DNA evidence was first used to free an innocent person, there have been 23 exonerations in New York, the report said, placing it behind just Texas and Illinois, which have had 29 and 27 exonerations, respectively. Nationwide, 208 people have been exonerated through DNA evidence.

The report sheds a harsh light on what it calls the state’s lackluster record of instituting rules intended to prevent wrongful convictions. For example, it says that although false confessions are the leading cause of wrongful convictions in New York, the state does not require law enforcement agencies to record interrogations, a requirement in nine other states.

“Not only has there been political opposition to enacting strong reform in New York State, but regrettably, too many key figures in law enforcement have played the pitiful role of old dogs unwilling to learn new tricks,” said Peter J. Neufeld, co-director of the Innocence Project, a legal clinic based at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York, , which prepared the report.

The clinic is the nation’s leader in securing exonerations for the wrongfully convicted.

Currently, law enforcement agencies in only two counties in the state, Broome and Schenectady, videotape at least portions of custodial interrogations — as part of a pilot program run by the New York State Bar Association. Across the country, 500 local law enforcement agencies require full or partial recording of interrogations, the report says.

Twenty-two states have laws requiring the preservation of crime-scene evidence like semen and saliva samples, which are frequently used for DNA analysis. But in New York, there is no such law, and forensic evidence is often lost, destroyed or misplaced, delaying or defeating attempts by those who were wrongfully convicted to prove their innocence, the report said. In addition, six states, including Illinois, have established independent bodies — commonly known as innocence commissions — to review wrongful convictions, identify what caused them and propose procedural and legislative changes to keep such errors from happening again, the report said.

In 10 of New York’s wrongful convictions other criminals were identified, in most cases someone who committed other crimes while innocent people served time in prison in their place, Mr. Neufeld said.

“Clearly, the cost to society for allowing these real perpetrators to remain at liberty is incalculable,” he added.

The State Assembly passed a package of bills this year that included measures requiring interrogations to be videotaped and forensic evidence to be preserved and cataloged in a more orderly way.

The bills would also clarify existing law to make clear that judges have the authority to order comparisons between evidence used against a defendant and evidence stored in DNA and fingerprint databases. Gov. Eliot Spitzer introduced a competing package, which the Senate approved but the Assembly did not, saying the governor’s proposed reforms did not go far enough. Negotiations stalled, and the legislative bodies were unable to reconcile their differences.

Christine Anderson, a spokeswoman for Governor Spitzer, said the governor would not comment on the Innocence Project report until it was officially released.

Craig J. Miller, a spokesman for Republican Senator Dale M. Volker, who represents several counties in western New York and is chairman of the Senate Codes Committee, which plays a significant role in shaping the state’s criminal laws, said the Senate was not “inherently opposed” to reforms suggested by the Assembly, “but the devil is in the details.”

He added, “A lot of these reforms are going to cost a lot of money, so considering that the state is looking at a deficit in the coming fiscal year, we’re going to be looking at difficult choices.

“These are great ideas, but we need to carefully vet them out, flesh them out, see how much they’re going to cost and act appropriately,” Mr. Miller said.

Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol, a Brooklyn Democrat who sponsored the Assembly’s package, said, “You cannot put a value” on correcting verdicts “that led to an innocent person losing a chunk of time of his life and languishing in prison.”

Mr. Lentol added, “In modern society, we should be interested that only the guilty pay for crimes.”


7) None Dare Call It Child Care
"Right now, the only parents who routinely get serious child-care assistance from the government are extremely poor mothers in welfare-to-work programs. Even for them, the waiting lists tend to be ridiculously long. In many states, once the woman actually gets a job, she loses the day care. Middle-class families get zip, even though a decent private child care program costs $12,000 a year in some parts of the country."
Op-Ed Columnist
October 18, 2007

In the last presidential candidate debate, Chris Matthews of MSNBC asked whether this country would ever get back to the days when a young guy could come out of high school, get an industrial job “and provide for a family with a middle-class income and his spouse wouldn’t have to work.”

Given the fact that more than two-thirds of American mothers have been working outside the home since the 1980s, Matthews could just as easily have demanded to know when we’ll get back to using manual typewriters and rotary phones.

Still, it might have been a great conversation-starter. While it’s becoming virtually impossible to support a middle-class American family on one parent’s salary, we never hear political discussion about the repercussions. In a two-hour debate that focused on job-related issues, the Republican presidential candidates managed to mention the Smoot-Hawley tariff and trade relations with Peru but not a word about child care for America’s working parents. John McCain, who was on the receiving end of Matthews’s question, chose instead to focus on the fact that “50,000 Americans now make their living off eBay,” that the tax code is “eminently unfair” and that Congress wastes too much money studying of the DNA of Montana bears.

We live in a country where quality child care is controversial. It was one of the very first issues to be swift-boated by social conservatives. In 1971, Congress actually passed a comprehensive child care bill that was vetoed by Richard Nixon. The next time the bill came up, members were flooded with mail accusing them of being anti-family communists who wanted to let kids sue their parents if they were forced to go to church. It scared the heck out of everybody.

Right now, the only parents who routinely get serious child-care assistance from the government are extremely poor mothers in welfare-to-work programs. Even for them, the waiting lists tend to be ridiculously long. In many states, once the woman actually gets a job, she loses the day care. Middle-class families get zip, even though a decent private child care program costs $12,000 a year in some parts of the country.

The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, or Naccrra, (this is an area replete with extraordinary people organized into groups with impossible names) says that in some states the average annual price of care was larger than the entire median income of a single parent with two children. For child care workers, the average wage is $8.78 an hour. It’s one of the worst-paying career tracks in the country. A preschool teacher with a postgraduate degree and years of experience can make $30,000 a year. You need certification in this country to be a butcher, a barber or a manicurist, but only 12 states require any training to take care of children. Only three require comprehensive background checks. In Iowa, there are 591 child care programs to every one inspector. California inspects child care centers once every five years.

“You have a work force that makes $8.78 an hour. They have no training. They have not been background checked, and we’ve put them in with children who don’t have the verbal skills to even tell somebody that they’re being treated badly,” said Linda Smith, the executive director of Naccrra. “What is wrong with a country that thinks that’s O.K.?”

We aren’t going to solve the problem during this presidential contest, but it is absolutely nuts that it isn’t a topic of discussion — or even election-year pandering. The Democratic candidates for president happily come together to tell organized labor about their unquenchable desire to have a union member as secretary of labor. The Republican candidates flock to assure the National Rifle Association about their dedication to Americans’ constitutional right to carry concealed weapons in churches. But you do not see anybody racing off to romance child care advocates.

The only candidate who talks about child care all the time is Chris Dodd of Connecticut. He has been the issue’s champion of the Senate forever. People who work in the field know he’s their guy, but it’s hard to see what good it does him out on the campaign trail. “They aren’t inclined to be the kind of people who engage in the political process,” he admitted. “They don’t have the money.”

This is Hillary Clinton’s Women’s Week. On Tuesday, she gave a major speech on working mothers in New Hampshire, with stories about her struggles when Chelsea was a baby, a grab-bag of Clintonian mini-ideas (encourage telecommuting, give awards to family-friendly businesses) and a middle-sized proposal to expand family leave. Yesterday, she was in the company of some adorable 2- and 3-year-olds, speaking out for a bill on child care workers that has little chance of passage and would make almost no difference even if it did. Clinton most certainly gets it, but she wasn’t prepared to get any closer to the problems of working parents than a plan to help them stay home from work.

At least she mentioned the subject.


8) Security Contractors Shoot at Taxi, Wounding 3 Iraqis
October 19, 2007

BAGHDAD, Oct. 18 — A man lost his eye and two other people were wounded when private security contractors fired into a crowded taxi as it approached their convoy of sport utility vehicles in northern Iraq on Thursday.

The incident came less than two weeks after a shooting by another company killed two women in a taxicab here, and just over a month after guards with the private American security company Blackwater USA killed 17 people in a Baghdad square.

The shootings on Thursday took place when security guards working for the British company Erinys International were escorting employees of the United States Army Corps of Engineers on a highway east of Kirkuk. The guards said that a car approached “at a high rate of speed,” according to a statement issued by the Corps of Engineers. When efforts to warn it off failed, the contractors fired into the vehicle, the statement said.

One of the occupants of the car, who was interviewed from a hospital bed in Kirkuk, said that after they fired, the security contractors pointed their guns at the car to discourage those inside from climbing out. The guards then drove away without offering medical help, said the man, Zairak Nori Qadir, whose right eye was hit by a bullet.

“They fired on us, and we never threatened them,” Mr. Qadir said. “They shot us and didn’t let us release ourselves from the car until they escaped and left us covered in blood.”

“Those are savages and criminals and killers,” he said.

A man who answered the phone at Erinys’s Middle East headquarters in Dubai referred questions to the Corps of Engineers. In its statement, the Army Corps said it would appoint an officer to investigate the shooting. “No further details are available at this time,” the statement said.

The incident carried the potential to inflame Iraqi opinion about the operations of private security contractors who travel Iraq’s roads in heavily armed convoys but are immune from Iraqi law.

Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, has demanded that Blackwater leave the country in the wake of the September shooting in Nisour Square in Baghdad. The dispute threatens to undermine United States reconstruction efforts here as civilian employees of the American government travel with private security rather than military protection.

Also on Thursday, thousands of Kurds marched in cities in northern Iraq to protest a decision by Turkey’s Parliament to authorize military incursions against Kurdish separatist rebel bases in Iraq, a threat that could introduce a new military dimension to the Iraq war in the country’s north.

About 12,000 people marched in the cities of Erbil and Dahok, calling on the semiautonomous government in the Kurdish region to resist any Turkish military attacks. Marchers also expressed solidarity with the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a group listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and many European countries.

“We defend Kurdistan with our souls, and I won’t allow the Turkish troops to stain our beloved land,” said Jara Rikani, a high school student at the march in Dahok.

The popular support among Kurds for the Workers’ Party makes this multisided standoff in northern Iraq even more fraught. If Turkey attacked, the situation would pose a quandary for the United States.

The United States formally opposes the rebel group, but taking action against it would alienate the Kurds, who are America’s natural allies in Iraq. Yet Turkey is an American ally in NATO, and much of the air cargo for the American war effort in Iraq passes through Turkey. The dominant ground forces in the Iraqi Kurdish region are an irregular militia, the pesh merga; the United States controls the airspace.

The stated position of the regional government is that the rebel group should not use Kurdish territory as a staging area for attacks into Turkey, but the government has said the rebel bases are in areas beyond its control.

According to the Turkish military, between 2,800 and 3,100 rebels from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party operate from bases along the mountainous border.

In Baghdad on Thursday, a dispute intensified over which branch of government had the authority to sign death warrants as three top officials from the government of Saddam Hussein await hanging.

They include Ali Hassan al-Majid, who is known as Chemical Ali for ordering poison gas attacks on the Kurds in the 1980s. A United States Embassy spokesman said that Mr. Majid, who is in American military custody, would not be handed over to the Iraqi government for execution until the matter is settled between the offices of the president and the prime minister.

Qais Mizher contributed reporting from Baghdad, and Iraqi employees of The New York Times from Kirkuk, Basra and Dahok.


9) New Coast Guard Task in Arctic’s Warming Seas
October 19, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 — For most of human history, the Arctic Ocean has been an ice-locked frontier. But now, in one of the most concrete signs of the effect of a warming climate on government operations, the Coast Guard is planning its first operating base there as a way of dealing with the cruise ships and the tankers that are already beginning to ply Arctic waters.

With increasingly long seasons of open water in the region, the Coast Guard has also begun discussions with the Russians about controlling anticipated ship traffic through the Bering Strait, which until now has been crossed mainly by ice-breaking research vessels and native seal and walrus hunters.

The Coast Guard says its base, which would probably be near the United States’ northernmost town, Barrow, Alaska, on the North Slope coast, would be seasonal and would initially have just a helicopter equipped for cold-weather operations and several small boats.

But given continued warming, that small base, which could be in place by next spring, would be expanded later to help speed responses to oil spills from tankers that the Coast Guard believes could eventually carry shipments from Scandinavia to Asia through the Bering Strait. Such a long-hoped-for polar route would cut 5,000 miles or more from a journey that would otherwise entail passage through the Panama Canal or the Suez.

The Coast Guard is also concerned about being able to respond to emergencies involving cruise ships, which are already starting to operate in summers in parts of the Arctic Ocean.

And in yet a further kind of new activity abetted by warming seas, Royal Dutch Shell is preparing for exploratory oil drilling off Alaska’s Arctic coast beginning next year.

“I’m not sure I’m qualified to talk about the scientific issues related to global warming,” the Coast Guard commandant, Adm. Thad W. Allen, said in an interview. “All we know is we have an operating environment we’re responsible for, and it’s changing.”

The commander of the Coast Guard’s Alaska district, Rear Adm. Arthur E. Brooks, said in a telephone interview that the expansion of open water as summer sea ice pulls back means that “almost everything the U.S. does will be doable in the Arctic, we think.”

A new survey by American oceanographers of the seafloor north of Alaska, completed last month aboard the Coast Guard icebreaker Healy, provides fresh evidence that the United States has much at stake in the region. The sonar studies found hints that thousands of square miles of additional seafloor could potentially be under American control. That floor might yield important deposits of oil, gas or minerals in coming decades, government studies have concluded.

So far did the sea ice pull back this summer that the expedition was able to scan the bottom several hundred miles farther north than in previous surveys, said the project’s director, Larry Mayer, an oceanographer at the University of New Hampshire. The team found long sloping extensions 200 miles beyond previous estimates.

Though more surveys will be needed to firm up any American claim, countries have a right to expand their control of seabed resources well beyond the continental shelves bordering their coasts if they can find such sloping extensions. That right is guaranteed by the United Nations Law of the Sea treaty, which, after years of fights in Congress, the United States appears poised to ratify. The treaty has the support of President Bush, but ratification requires approval by two-thirds of the Senate.

Senior State Department officials say the United States has to become more involved in the region, and are urging other countries to cooperate to encourage international trade through the Far North.

“Having a safe, secure and reliable Arctic shipping regime is vital to the proper development of Arctic resources, especially now given the extent of Arctic ice retreat we witnessed this past summer,” Assistant Secretary of State Daniel S. Sullivan said Monday at an international conference in Anchorage. “We can have such a regime only through cooperation, not competition, among Arctic nations. Denial of passage through international waterways, even though they may be territorial waters, and burdensome transit requirements will not benefit any nation in the long run.”

The change in Arctic sea and ice conditions has indeed been remarkable, as one stark example demonstrates. The Coast Guard recently produced a video commemorating the transit of the Northwest Passage in the summer of 1957 by three cutters that became icebound, forcing the crews to dynamite the ice to free themselves. Now open water is the norm in summers along many Arctic coasts.

The resulting increase in Arctic activity will mean a greater need for search and rescue capabilities and for environmental protection, Coast Guard officials say. In fact, Admiral Allen says ship traffic could turn the Bering Strait into a choke point like the Strait of Gibraltar.

Environmentalists view the Coast Guard’s interest with dismay about what it suggests for the future of a fragile environment, but also with some relief.

“We should be taking a hard look as a nation at what do we need to do to adequately protect the environment, faced with that kind of massive change in risk,” said Pamela A. Miller, the Arctic coordinator at the Northern Alaska Environmental Center, in Fairbanks.

Mead Treadwell, an Anchorage businessman who is chairman of the Arctic Research Commission, created by Congress to advise the government on scientific and other issues in the region, said the Coast Guard’s new plans were only fair.

“It is high time that our coastline in the north enjoyed the same protections other states’ coastal residents have from the Coast Guard,” he said. “The Arctic may be warming, but there’s no indication that conditions at sea are getting any safer.”

Matthew L. Wald reported from Washington, and Andrew C. Revkin from New York.


10) Schools in Several States Report Staph Infections, and Deaths Raise the Alarm
October 19, 2007

SANDY SPRING, Md., Oct. 18 — When the football players here at Sherwood High School were not getting the message about washing their uniforms and using only their own jerseys, the school nurse paid a surprise visit to the locker room. She brought along a baseball bat.

“Don’t make me use this,” the nurse, Jenny Jones, said, pointing out that seven players on the team had already contracted a deadly drug-resistant strain of bacteria this year. “Start washing your hands,” she said. “I mean it.”

School officials around the country have been scrambling this week to scrub locker rooms, reassure parents and impress upon students the importance of good hygiene. The heightened alarm comes in response to a federal report indicating that the bacteria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, are responsible for more deaths in the United States each year than AIDS.

MRSA (pronounced MEER-suh) is a strain of staph bacteria that does not respond to penicillin or related antibiotics, though it can be treated with other drugs. The infection can be spread by sharing items, like a towel or a piece of sports equipment that has been used by an infected person, or through skin-to-skin contact with an open wound.

On Wednesday and Thursday, scores of schools were closed and events were canceled in Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia as cleaning crews disinfected buses, lockers and classrooms. More closings are planned on Friday.

School officials in Mississippi, New Hampshire and Virginia reported student deaths within the past two weeks from the bacteria, while officials in at least four other states reported cases of students being infected.

The federal report, written by doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that nearly 19,000 people had died in the United States in 2005 after an invasive MRSA infection. The study also suggested that such infections might be twice as common as previously thought.

This week, health officials began reporting a growing number of cases in schools, gyms and day care centers, and not just in nursing homes and hospitals, as has often been the case in the past.

Nicole Coffin, a spokeswoman at the centers, said that while the results of the study are striking, it is important to realize that about 85 percent of the infections reported from the bacteria were in health care settings.

“MRSA in the community is typically a mild skin infection that rarely becomes life-threatening,” she said, adding that even when it does become more severe, the death rates for this type of infection are low.

Here in Sandy Spring, students seem to be getting the message that they need to take extra care.

“I think they’re taking it seriously now,” William Gregory, the principal at Sherwood High School, said of members of the football team. “She is pretty emphatic,” he said, pointing to Ms. Jones. “But the students are also seeing the reports of deaths, and that has reminded them.”

He added that as he visits locker rooms now, the tell-tale stench is gone from athletes’ uniforms, and students are calling him and the nurse diligently when cuts do not seem to be healing.

Elsewhere in the state, more than two dozen staph infections have been reported by four Anne Arundel County high schools over the past three weeks. County officials sent letters to parents explaining that crews have been scrubbing schools with hospital-grade disinfectant.

Ashton Bonds was one of the rare cases of a death from MRSA contracted outside a health care facility. Mr. Bonds, a 17-year-old football player from Staunton River High School in Moneta, Va., died Monday from the bacteria.

“He put up a fight,” said Veronica Bonds, Ashton’s mother. “He was strong. I just think he was just tired, too.”

In response to the death, students throughout the county protested what they called unsanitary conditions in their school buildings.

Although school officials have observed that the bacteria mostly affect student athletes, cases have been reported in children of elementary school age as well.

“I worry about her getting sick anyway, but I don’t want her to catch something that will make her very, very ill,” said Kelli Stammen about her 2-year-old daughter, who attends city-sponsored recreation and library classes in Grove City, Ohio, where a 17-year-old high school student was put in intensive care unit in September with a staph infection.

The C.D.C. study found that 27 percent of all invasive MRSA infections originated in hospitals, while 58 percent began outside of a hospital but in patients with some recent exposure to the health care system.

The remaining 15 percent of invasive MRSA cases originated in the community without any apparent health care risk factor.

Bob Driehaus contributed reporting from Cincinnati.




Britain: New Claim for Sovereignty in Antarctica
World Briefing | Europe
Britain plans to submit a claim to the United Nations to extend its Antarctic territory by 386,000 square miles, the Foreign Office said. Argentina wants some of it, and its foreign minister said his country was working on its own presentation. May 13, 2009, is the deadline for countries to stake their claims in what some experts are describing as the last big carve-up of maritime territory in history.
October 18, 2007

California: Veto of 3 Criminal Justice Bills
Bucking a national trend toward stronger safeguards against wrongful convictions, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed bills that would have explored new eyewitness identification guidelines, required electronic recordings of police interrogations and mandated corroboration of jailhouse informant testimony. Mr. Schwarzenegger cited his concern that the three bills would hamper local law enforcement authorities, a contention shared by several state police and prosecutor associations. The proposals had been recommended by the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, a bipartisan body of police officials, prosecutors and defense lawyers charged by the State Senate to address the most common causes of wrongful convictions and recommend changes in criminal justice procedures.
October 16, 2007

Illinois: Chicagoans May Have to Dig Deeper
Chicagoans would have to spend 10 cents more on a bottle of water, pay higher property taxes and spend more for liquor under Mayor Richard M. Daley’s proposed budget for next year. Also financing Mr. Daley’s $5.4 billion budget are higher water and sewer fees and more expensive vehicle stickers for people driving large vehicles, $120 a vehicle sticker, up from $90. Mr. Daley announced his budget to aldermen, calling it a last resort to ask taxpayers for more money. His budget closes a $196 million deficit and avoids service cuts and layoffs. Budget hearings will be held, and a city spending plan will require a vote by aldermen.
October 11, 2007

Wisconsin Iraq vet returns medals to Rumsfeld
By David Solnit, Courage to Resist / Army of None Project.
"I swore an oath to protect the constitution ... not to become a pawn in your New American Century."
September 26, 2007

Madison, Wisconsin--Joshua Gaines, who served a year long tour in Iraq in 2004 to 2005 with the Army Reserve, returned his Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and National Defense Service Medal to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld today by mail as dozens of supporters look on.

Verizon Reverses Itself on Abortion Messages
September 27, 2007

Manhattan: Slain Soldier to Receive Citizenship
A soldier from Washington Heights who was killed while serving with the Army’s Second Infantry Division in Iraq is to receive citizenship posthumously on Monday, immigration officials said in a statement yesterday. The soldier, Cpl. Juan Alcántara, 22, left, was one of four soldiers killed in an explosion as they searched a house in Baquba on Aug. 6. Representative Charles B. Rangel, a Harlem Democrat, will speak at a ceremony at the City University Great Hall in Manhattan and present a certificate to Corporal Alcántara’s family. The corporal was born in the Dominican Republic and grew up in Washington Heights, Mr. Rangel’s office said.
September 14, 2007




Stop the Termination or the Cherokee Nation


USLAW Endorses September 15 Antiwar Demonstration in Washington, DC
USLAW Leadership Urges Labor Turnout
to Demand End to Occupation in Iraq, Hands Off Iraqi Oil

By a referendum ballot of members of the Steering Committee of U.S. Labor Against the War, USLAW is now officially on record endorsing and encouraging participation in the antiwar demonstration called by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition in Washington, DC on September 15. The demonstration is timed to coincide with a Congressional vote scheduled in late September on a new Defense Department appropriation that will fund the Iraq War through the end of Bush's term in office.

U.S. Labor Against the War

Stop the Iraq Oil Law

2007 Iraq Labor Solidarity Tour



This is a modern day lynching"--Marcus Jones, father of Mychal Bell


P.O. BOX 1890
FAX: (318) 992-8701


Sign the NAACP's Online Petition to the Governor of Louisiana and Attorney General

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Young Black males the target of small-town racism
By Jesse Muhammad
Staff Writer
"JENA, La. ( - Marcus Jones, the father of 16-year-old Jena High School football star Mychal Bell, pulls out a box full of letters from countless major colleges and universities in America who are trying to recruit his son. Mr. Jones, with hurt in his voice, says, “He had so much going for him. My son is innocent and they have done him wrong.”

An all-White jury convicted Mr. Bell of two felonies—aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery—and faces up to 22 years in prison when he is sentenced on July 31. Five other young Black males are also awaiting their day in court for alleged attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder charges evolving from a school fight: Robert Bailey, 17; Theo Shaw, 17; Carwin Jones, 18; Bryant Purvis, 17; and Jesse Beard, 15. Together, this group has come to be known as the “Jena 6.”
Updated Jul 22, 2007

My Letter to Judge Mauffray:

P.O. BOX 1890


Dear Judge Mauffray,

I am appalled to learn of the conviction of 16-year-old Jena High School football star Mychal Bell and the arrest of five other young Black men who are awaiting their day in court for alleged attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder charges evolving from a school fight. These young men, Mychal Bell, 16; Robert Bailey, 17; Theo Shaw, 17; Carwin Jones, 18; Bryant Purvis, 17; and Jesse Beard, 15, who have come to be known as the “Jena 6” have the support of thousands of people around the country who want to see them free and back in school.

Clearly, two different standards are in place in Jena—one standard for white students who go free even though they did, indeed, make a death threat against Black students—the hanging of nooses from a tree that only white students are allowed to sit under—and another set of rules for those that defended themselves against these threats. The nooses were hung after Black students dared to sit in the shade of that “white only” tree!

If the court is sincerely interested in justice, it will drop the charges against all of these six students, reinstate them back into school and insist that the school teach the white students how wrong they were and still are for their racist attitudes and violent threats! It is the duty of the schools to uphold the constitution and the bill of rights. A hanging noose or burning cross is just like a punch in the face or worse so says the Supreme Court! Further, it is an act of vigilantism and has no place in a “democracy”.

The criminal here is white racism, not a few young men involved in a fistfight!
I am a 62-year-old white woman who grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Fistfights among teenagers—as you certainly must know yourself—are a right of passage. Please don’t tell me you have never gotten into one. Even I picked a few fights with a few girls outside of school for no good reason. (We soon, in fact, became fast friends.) Children are not just smaller sized adults. They are children and go through this. The fistfight is normal and expected behavior that adults can use to educate children about the negative effect of the use of violence to solve disputes. That is what adults are supposed to do.

Hanging nooses in a tree because you hate Black people is not normal at all! It is a deep sickness that our schools and courts are responsible for unless they educate and act against it. This means you must overturn the conviction of Mychal Bell and drop the cases against Robert Bailey, Theo Shaw, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis, and Jesse Beard.

It also means you must take responsibility to educate white teachers, administrators, students and their families against racism and order them to refrain from their racist behavior from here on out—and make sure it is carried out!
You are supposed to defend the students who want to share the shade of a leafy green tree not persecute them—that is the real crime that has been committed here!


Bonnie Weinstein, Bay Area United Against War


"They have a new gimmick every year. They're going to take one of their boys, black boys, and put him in the cabinet so he can walk around Washington with a cigar. Fire on one end and fool on the other end. And because his immediate personal problem will have been solved he will be the one to tell our people: 'Look how much progress we're making. I'm in Washington, D.C., I can have tea in the White House. I'm your spokesman, I'm your leader.' While our people are still living in Harlem in the slums. Still receiving the worst form of education.

"But how many sitting here right now feel that they could [laughs] truly identify with a struggle that was designed to eliminate the basic causes that create the conditions that exist? Not very many. They can jive, but when it comes to identifying yourself with a struggle that is not endorsed by the power structure, that is not acceptable, that the ground rules are not laid down by the society in which you live, in which you are struggling against, you can't identify with that, you step back.

"It's easy to become a satellite today without even realizing it. This country can seduce God. Yes, it has that seductive power of economic dollarism. You can cut out colonialism, imperialism and all other kind of ism, but it's hard for you to cut that dollarism. When they drop those dollars on you, you'll fold though."

—MALCOLM X, 1965


Youtube interview with the DuPage County Activists Who Were Arrested for Bannering
You can watch an interview with the two DuPage County antiwar activists
who arrested after bannering over the expressway online at:

Please help spread the word about this interview, and if you haven't
already done so, please contact the DuPage County State's attorney, Joe
Birkett, to demand that the charges against Jeff Zurawski and Sarah
Heartfield be dropped. The contact information for Birkett is:

Joseph E. Birkett, State's Attorney
503 N. County Farm Road
Wheaton, IL 60187
Phone: (630) 407-8000
Fax: (630) 407-8151
Please forward this information far and wide.

My Letter:

Joseph E. Birkett, State's Attorney
503 N. County Farm Road
Wheaton, IL 60187
Phone: (630) 407-8000
Fax: (630) 407-8151

Dear State's Attorney Birkett,

The news of the arrest of Jeff Zurawski and Sarah Heartfield is getting out far and wide. Their arrest is outrageous! Not only should all charges be dropped against Jeff and Sarah, but a clear directive should be given to Police Departments everywhere that this kind of harassment of those who wish to practice free speech will not be tolerated.

The arrest of Jeff and Sarah was the crime. The display of their message was an act of heroism!

We demand you drop all charges against Jeff Zurawski and Sarah Heartfield NOW!


Bonnie Weinstein, Bay Area United Against War,, San Francisco, California


A little gem:
Michael Moore Faces Off With Stephen Colbert [VIDEO]


LAPD vs. Immigrants (Video)


Dr. Julia Hare at the SOBA 2007


"We are far from that stage today in our era of the absolute
lie; the complete and totalitarian lie, spread by the
monopolies of press and radio to imprison social
consciousness." December 1936, "In 'Socialist' Norway,"
by Leon Trotsky: “Leon Trotsky in Norway” was transcribed
for the Internet by Per I. Matheson [References from
original translation removed]


Wealth Inequality Charts


MALCOLM X: Oxford University Debate


Animated Video Preview
Narrated by Peter Coyote
Is now on YouTube and Google Video

We are planning on making the ADDICTED To WAR movie.
Can you let me know what you think about this animated preview?
Do you think it would work as a full length film?
Please send your response to:
Fdorrel@sbcglobal. net or Fdorrel@Addictedtow

In Peace,

Frank Dorrel
Addicted To War
P.O. Box 3261
Culver City, CA 90231-3261
fdorrel@sbcglobal. net
www.addictedtowar. com

For copies of the book:

Frank Dorrel
P.O. BOX 3261
CULVER CITY, CALIF. 90231-3261
$10.00 per copy (Spanish or English); special bulk rates
can be found at:


"There comes a times when silence is betrayal."
--Martin Luther King


YouTube clip of Che before the UN in 1964


The Wealthiest Americans Ever
NYT Interactive chart
JULY 15, 2007


New Orleans After the Flood -- A Photo Gallery
This email was sent to you as a service, by Roland Sheppard.
Visit my website at:



The National Council of Arab Americans (NCA) demands the immediate
release of political prisoner, Dr. Sami Al-Arian. Although
Dr. Al-Arian is no longer on a hunger strike we must still demand
he be released by the US Department of Justice (DOJ). After an earlier
plea agreement that absolved Dr. Al-Arian from any further questioning,
he was sentenced up to 18 months in jail for refusing to testify before
a grand jury in Virginia. He has long sense served his time yet
Dr. Al-Arian is still being held. Release him now!



We ask all people of conscience to demand the immediate
release and end to Dr. Al- Arian's suffering.

Call, Email and Write:

1- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
Department of Justice
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Fax Number: (202) 307-6777

2- The Honorable John Conyers, Jr
2426 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-5126
(202) 225-0072 Fax

3- Senator Patrick Leahy
433 Russell Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

4- Honorable Judge Gerald Lee
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
401 Courthouse Square, Alexandria, VA 22314
March 22, 2007
[No email]

National Council of Arab Americans (NCA)

Criminalizing Solidarity: Sami Al-Arian and the War of
By Charlotte Kates, The Electronic Intifada, 4 April 2007


Robert Fisk: The true story of free speech in America
This systematic censorship of Middle East reality
continues even in schools
Published: 07 April 2007
http://news. independent. fisk/article2430 125.ece


[For some levity...Hans Groiner plays Monk]


Excerpt of interview between Barbara Walters and Hugo Chavez


Which country should we invade next?

My Favorite Mutiny, The Coup

Michael Moore- The Awful Truth

Morse v. Frederick Supreme Court arguments

Free Speech 4 Students Rally - Media Montage


'My son lived a worthwhile life'
In April 2003, 21-year old Tom Hurndall was shot in the head
in Gaza by an Israeli soldier as he tried to save the lives of three
small children. Nine months later, he died, having never
recovered consciousness. Emine Saner talks to his mother
Jocelyn about her grief, her fight to make the Israeli army
accountable for his death and the book she has written
in his memory.
Monday March 26, 2007
The Guardian,,2042968,00.html


Introducing...................the Apple iRack


"A War Budget Leaves Every Child Behind."
[A T-shirt worn by some teachers at Roosevelt High School
in L.A. as part of their campaign to rid the school of military
recruiters and JROTC--see Article in Full item number 4,]




Defend the Los Angeles Eight!


George Takai responds to Tim Hardaway's homophobic remarks




Another view of the war. A link from Amer Jubran


Petition: Halt the Blue Angels


A Girl Like Me
7:08 min
Youth Documentary
Kiri Davis, Director, Reel Works Teen Filmmaking, Producer
Winner of the Diversity Award
Sponsored by Third Millennium Foundation


Film/Song about Angola


"200 million children in the world sleep in the streets today.
Not one of them is Cuban."
(A sign in Havana)
View sign at bottom of page at:
[Thanks to Norma Harrison for sending]



"Cheyenne and Arapaho oral histories hammer history's account of the
Sand Creek Massacre"

CENTENNIAL, CO -- A new documentary film based on an award-winning
documentary short film, "The Sand Creek Massacre", and driven by
Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho people who tell their version about
what happened during the Sand Creek Massacre via their oral
histories, has been released by Olympus Films+, LLC, a Centennial,
Colorado film company.

"You have done an extraordinary job" said Margie Small, Tobient
Entertainment, " on the Colorado PBS episode, the library videos for
public schools and libraries, the trailer, etc...and getting the
story told and giving honor to those ancestors who had to witness
this tragic and brutal is one of the best ways."

"The images shown in the film were selected for native awareness
value" said Donald L. Vasicek, award-winning writer/filmmaker, "we
also focused on preserving American history on film because tribal
elders are dying and taking their oral histories with them. The film
shows a non-violent solution to problem-solving and 19th century
Colorado history, so it's multi-dimensional in that sense. "

Chief Eugene Blackbear, Sr., Cheyenne, who starred as Chief Black
Kettle in "The Last of the Dogmen" also starring Tom Berenger and
Barbara Hershey and "Dr. Colorado", Tom Noel, University of Colorado
history professor, are featured.

The trailer can be viewed and the film can be ordered for $24.95 plus
$4.95 for shipping and handling at

Vasicek's web site,, provides detailed
information about the Sand Creek Massacre including various still
images particularly on the Sand Creek Massacre home page and on the
proposal page.

Olympus Films+, LLC is dedicated to writing and producing quality
products that serve to educate others about the human condition.


Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC
7078 South Fairfax Street
Centennial, CO 80122,+Don


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


[The Scab
"After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad,
and the vampire, he had some awful substance left with
which he made a scab."
"A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul,
a water brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue.
Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten
principles." "When a scab comes down the street,
men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and
the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out."
"No man (or woman) has a right to scab so long as there
is a pool of water to drown his carcass in,
or a rope long enough to hang his body with.
Judas was a gentleman compared with a scab.
For betraying his master, he had character enough
to hang himself." A scab has not.
"Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage.
Judas sold his Savior for thirty pieces of silver.
Benedict Arnold sold his country for a promise of
a commision in the british army."
The scab sells his birthright, country, his wife,
his children and his fellowmen for an unfulfilled
promise from his employer.
Esau was a traitor to himself; Judas was a traitor
to his God; Benedict Arnold was a traitor to his country;
a scab is a traitor to his God, his country,
his family and his class."
Author --- Jack London (1876-1916)...Roland Sheppard]


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


Sand Creek Massacre
(scroll down when you get there])

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])

SHOP: Articles at">