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Help Defend the People's Voice in Benton Harbor, Michigan!

*** 10 REASONS TO DONATE $10 TO BANCO'S LEGAL DEFENSE FUND ***

1) Support the right of Benton Harbor citizens to take a stand against a corrupt political and judicial system

2) Defend the right of Benton Harbor residents to speak out against injustice without intimidation and reprisals (two key witnesses for the defense were recently arrested and imprisoned)

3) Stop the disenfranchisement of Benton Harbor voters (a valid recall election was overturned)

4) Support BANCO's fight against brutality and sexual harassment by police

5) Help balance the odds for activists in a community with 90% unemployment and under-employment (material aid is needed)

6) Defend our friend and colleague Rev. Pinkney from an unjust trial on trumped-up charges (several witnesses have been paid to falsely testify
against him)

7) Challenge economic and racial apartheid in the U.S. today

8) Make a positive difference for the cost of a movie or a couple coffees

9) With a donation of $20 or more, request a free BANCO T-shirt

10) Join with others worldwide calling for justice in Benton Harbor.

Together we can make a difference!

*** BACKGROUND ***

In Benton Harbor, Michigan, residents won a recall vote of a corrupt city commissioner through a successful campaign led by BANCO (Black Autonomy Network Community Organization). Then, in an attempt to circumvent the will of the people, the vote was overturned by a local judge. In a further outrage, community leader Rev. Edward Pinkney of BANCO was arrested on trumped-up charges of alleged vote fraud. He faces a possible sentence of twenty years. His trial is set for March 15, 2006. BANCO won't back down and we need your help. We can't let authorities disenfranchise voters and squash dissent in Benton Harbor, or anywhere.

*** ACTION ***

To start, we are looking for 100 good people to donate $10 each to BANCO's legal defense fund. This is phase one of raising the support needed and is your chance to make a big difference in the fight for a fair and just outcome of the trial and the recall vote. Supporters are also asked to come to Benton Harbor for a rally on March 11th and to be court observers once the trial begins. For more background and details, see the Web site below.

Go to http://bhbanco.blogspot.com and click on the "Make a Donation" button for easy online donations.
OR
Make checks payable to "BANCO" and mail to:
BANCO, 1940 Union St.,
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Contributions are tax-deductible. BANCO is a registered 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization.

Contact Rev. Pinkney any time at:
Telephone: 269-925-0001
Email: banco9342@sbcglobal.net
Web: http://bhbanco.blogspot.com
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note to self:

a service award program based on wiki principles and open culture ideas. your a builder award...
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Working-Class Hero
The recent transit workers' strike in New York City was a vivid reminder that unions maintain considerable leverage despite their shrinking numbers. Buried beneath the stories about tense negotiations, holiday shopping disruptions and commuters hoofing it over the Brooklyn Bridge was one of labor's past glories--the creation of Martin Luther King Day. When Transport Workers' Union president Roger Toussaint demanded recognition of the holiday, he cited the Metropolitan Transit Authority's failure to honor King's birthday as evidence of administrators' lack of respect for the mostly black, Latino and Asian-American members of his union. By doing so, he harked back to the civil rights leader's working-class activism--and the forgotten labor roots of the MLK holiday.

Given the corporate sponsorship of contemporary King day celebrations, it may come as a surprise that the holiday began as a union demand in contract negotiations. In 1968, just four days after King's assassination, Representative John Conyers introduced a bill to make the slain leader's birthday a national holiday. The bill would likely have died in committee, and stayed buried, had it not been for thousands of working-class Americans--most of them black, but also white, Asian and Latino--who risked their jobs over the next fifteen years to demand the right to honor a man they viewed as a working-class hero.
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Michael B�rub�Online:
The GSOC strike at NYU has reached the two-month mark. For those who don’t know, GSOC is the graduate student union at NYU, and we’re striking to force the NYU administration to negotiate a second contract with us (here’s a more detailed history of GSOC and NYU). It looks like we’ll still be on strike when the spring semester begins on January 17.

The shaky state of academic labor formed a consistent theme throughout the recently-concluded MLA convention: as universities become more corporate, teaching increasingly goes to contingent faculty (as much as 70% of the teaching at four year universities is done by graduate students and adjunct faculty), while those who get tenure-track jobs face ever higher standards for actually getting tenure, even as the academic publishing industry has shriveled. Therefore, the situation at NYU seems to fit into larger patterns at work in higher education: NYU’s labor practices may be egregious, but they don’t stray that far from the rest of the crowd. However, there are some things about NYU in particular that have driven both the intensity of the strike and the intensity of the response to it, and I want to talk a little bit about that.
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Michael B�rub�Online:
I’m writing to urge you to negotiate a new labor contract with GSOC—but I’m not going to be so naive or fatuous as to appeal to anybody’s sense of justice and fair play. I know that NYU seized the opportunity afforded it by the NLRB’s July 2004 ruling, and moved quickly to de-recognize its graduate student union. Had your administration wanted to continue dealing with GSOC as a collective bargaining agent, you could very well have done so; the fact that you have not suggests that I would be wasting my time and yours by arguing that you should recognize GSOC out of the goodness of your collective hearts. And, of course, the fact that your administration has threatened striking workers with long-term reprisals—which would take effect, according to your November 28 email, even after the strike is over—makes me doubt whether your collective hearts are all that good to begin with.
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Living on Less:
How much is a middle-of-the-road middle-class salary? $60,000 a year? $40,000? That the impression you would get by watching and listening to the media. But people in the U.S are much poorer than that.

According to the Census Bureau, out of the 230.4 million people in America who are old enough to work (15 and over), only 29.1 million make $60,000 a year or more. That's only slightly more than one tenth. And 57.9 million make over $40,000 a year: almost exactly one quarter. The remaining 75% of all adults in the U.S. make less than $40,000 a year.

(The math is mine, and so is my understanding of the raw data. I'm not an expert. Please check the source and see for yourself. And let me know if I got it wrong.)

This is how it breaks down:

Number of people making $7,500 to $25,000: 71.3 million

Number of people making $25,000 to $42,500: 46.7 million

Number of people making $42,500 to $60,000: 21.7 million

Number of people making $60,000 to $77,500: 12.7 million

Number of people making $77,500 to $100,000: 7.0 million

Number of people making $100,000 or more: 9.4 million

Median income: $23,186
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From GSOC:

PLEASE FORWARD. WE DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO NYUDIRECT.

Dear NYU undergraduates,

Welcome back for the spring semester. As our strike enters its third month and second semester, our campaign to bring NYU to the bargaining table is expanding. Our determination to stay out on strike has earned us new and increased support for this semester from the labor movement, elected officials, and academics around the world:

-The UAW and other unions are working at all levels of the labor movement to generate pressure on the NYU administration to settle our strike and bargain a fair contract with our membership. On Thursday, January 26, at 4 pm, we will be conducting a major labor rally on campus. We ask you all to join us that day.

-We are also encouraged by the election of Christine Quinn to the position of Speak of the City Council, the second highest political office in the New York City. Christine has always been a strong supporter of our union.

-At two major academic conferences held over the break, GSOC members leafleted and raised thousands of dollars for our strike fund. GSOCers at the conferences were heartened by how informed, engaged, supportive and optimistic attendees were about our strike.

The support from you and your parents last fall was crucial to our strike, and there are several ways you can continue to contribute to our struggle for a second contract.

**Donate to our hardship fund. We are facing the loss of our pay for the spring semester, and our hardship fund will help our members to cover their basic expenses. Contributions from you and your parents can be tremendously helpful.

Donations can be made on-line at: http://www.2110uaw.org/gsoc/donate.htm

Checks can be made out to UAW Local 2110, with "GSOC Strike Fund" in the memo line, and mailed to: UAW Local 2110, 113 University Place 5th Floor, NYC, NY 10003

**Encourage your professors to move classes and events off campus. Your willingness last fall to attend classes and events off campus was a crucial part of our message to NYU that there will be no business as usual on campus until they negotiate with our union. Email classmove@2110uaw.org for help finding classroom space, and go to http://www.2110uaw.org/gsoc/event_relocation_form.htm for help finding event space.

**Join us on our picket line. We will begin picketing on Tuesday, January 17 from 11 am to 1:30 pm.

**Spread the word! We do not have access to NYUDirect, and you can help us keep all NYU students informed and updated by forwarding this email to as many people, groups and listserves that you have access to.

**Join GUS! Grad/Undergrad Solidarity is a group of NYU students committed to helping us win a second contract. Last semester GUS organized several important and exciting events in conjunction with our strike. Email gsoc@2110uaw.org for more information.

We appreciate the continued support from so many of you. With your help, we will win a second contract and make NYU a better place to teach and learn.

On behalf of GSOC/UAW Local 2110,

Michael Palm, Chairperson GSOC/UAW Local 2110
Maida Rosenstein, President UAW Local 2110
Andy Cornell, GSOC/GUS Liaison

PLEASE FORWARD. WE DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO NYUDIRECT.
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He Broke Ranks; He Did the Right Thing - Skookum Nanitch:
Thompson took off but then one of his crew shouted that the shooting
had begun again. According to his later testimony, Thompson was
uncertain what to do. Americans murdering innocent bystanders was hard
for him to process. But when he saw Vietnamese survivors chased by
soldiers, he landed his chopper between the villagers and troopers,
and ordered his crew to fire at any American soldiers shooting at
civilians. Then he got on the radio and begged U.S. gunships above him
to rescue those villagers he could not cram into his own craft.

On returning to base, Thompson, almost incoherent with rage,
immediately reported the massacre to superiors, who did nothing, until
months later when the My Lai story leaked to the public. The
eyewitness testimony of Thompson and his surviving crew member helped
convict Calley at a court-martial. But when he returned to his
Stateside home in Stone Mountain, Georgia, Thompson received death
threats and insults, while Calley was pardoned by President Nixon.
Indeed, for a time, Thompson himself feared court-martial.
Reluctantly, the massacre was investigated by then-major Colin Powell,
of the Americal Division, who reported relations between U.S. soldiers
and Vietnamese civilians as "excellent"; Powell's whitewash was the
foundation of his meteoric rise through the ranks.
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Labor Technology Folks

I want you to be here because of three things:

* One: To get to know wiki and the people who use wiki. (OpenTechnology/OpenCulture)
* Two. To experience an OpenSpace meeting.
* Three. To strategize how we can further organize ourselves using the internet.
** For example, I am in S.E. Michigan, and we do not have a labor calendar. It is shocking I know...
** I would like to do for organized labor, what was done at WikiSym2005 around the CyberneticRoadmap. What is LaborsTwentyYearPlan?

You are invited to Building Communities Worth Having, an Open Space Conference, February 3-5 in Portland Oregon. I’m one of the co-convenors along with John Abbe, Ted Ernst, Brandon CS Sanders, Raymond King, Michael Sparks and others. Michael Herman is facilitating. If you’re anywhere involved in “The Movement” (place-based, cyber-space, face-to-face) for building a better world, we’d be glad to have you join us!

It’s being co-sponsored by IBESI, OSDL, ICANNWiki, SocialText, Atlassian
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Damn Scientists

"This was
supposed to be
the future

where is my jetpack,

where is my robotic companion,
where is my dinner in pill form,
where is my hydrogen fueled automobile,
where is my nuclear-powered levitating house,

where is my cure for this disease"
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onegoodmove: Letterman 1 - O'Reilly 0
"I have the feeling that 60% of what you say is crap..." and with that Dave Letterman captured the essence of what is Bill O'Reilly.
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Detroit Metro Times "correction"
"Correcting a Detroit Metro Times error

by Jack Fate

The (non-union, but we know a number of good union supporters work there) weekly Detroit Metro Times did it's round up of the years events and wrote the following:
Take-backs! What the hell ya mean, take-backs?

A Detroit Free Press survey found that some 10,000 US and Canadian hourly autoworkers were getting full pay and benefits despite having no jobs to go to. All were on the payrolls of the Big Three and Delphi Corp., who are now trying to figure out how and why Toyota is poised to become the No. 1 automaker in the world and the word 'bankruptcy' has entered a segment of American manufacturing that's rarely used it before.

We're pretty sure what the good people at Metro Times really meant to say (before falling into the 'mainstream media' paradigm of portraying all working class people as 'lazy') is something like this:
Trust corporations! What the hell ya mean, trust 'em?

A Detroit Free Press survey found that some 10,000 US and Canadian autoworkers were receiving unemployment benefits from funds deferred by union contract. Unionized workers still on the job were benefiting from safety programs that protect them from unnecessary injuries and illnesses.

Workers at Toyota, Honda and the other non-union companies are trying to figure out why a third of them are 'temporary' employees making half the wages of the person next to them and why many of them are getting carpal tunnel surgery every two or three years.

Meanwhile Delphi Corporation is taking the profits from US, England, Sweden and other advanced economies and moving work to low wage places with no protections for workers or the environment. Millions of US workers who have given the best years of their lives to US manufacturers are wondering why the word 'bankruptcy' has entered a segment of the American population that's rarely used it before."
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Gitmo Hunger Strikers’ Numbers Grow
At least 46 people held at the Guant�namo Bay, Cuba detention camp joined a disputed number of fellow detainees already refusing food in protest of their indefinite detention last week, the Department of Defense said in a statement yesterday. The announcement puts the official number of prisoners still fasting at 84.
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Chicago Turns Down Discounted Venezuelan Oil
"Chicago, Dec 28 - The Chicago Transit Authority is refusing an opportunity to alleviate commuting costs for hundreds of thousands in the Windy City's low-income neighborhoods. Instead of accepting deeply discounted fuel from the Venezuela-owned Citgo Petroleum Corporation, the city is instead raising fares to solve budget shortfalls.

In an October meeting with representatives from the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), the city's Department of Energy and other city officials, Citgo unveiled a plan to provide the Chicago with low-cost diesel fuel. The company's stipulation, at the bidding of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, was that the CTA, in turn, pass those savings on to poor residents in the form free or discounted fare cards.

But two months later, despite claims of a looming budget crisis, the CTA president 'has no intent or plan to accept the offer,' according to CTA spokesperson Ibis Antongiorgi. She gave no explanation"
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A career of standing up for labor rights ends -- Page 1 -- TimesUnion.com
Little by little he became active, first as a steward, then joining the executive board, getting elected vice president and taking the helm in 1985 as president of the Albany local of Communications Workers of America.

He led what is now Local 1118 through four strikes and 10 organizing campaigns. After 20 years as the head of the 1,400-member organization, O'Hare is retiring from his union.

And, he's going back to work at the phone company.
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Steve Early, "Is The Strike Dead? Not According to Bob Schwartz. . . ."
Three years ago in Boston, downtown streets and office buildings were the scene of inspiring immigrant worker activism during an unprecedented strike by local janitors. Their walk-out was backed by other union members, community activists, students and professors, public officials, religious leaders, and even a few "socially-minded" businessmen. The janitors had long been invisible, mistreated by management and, until recently, ignored by their own SEIU local union. Simply by making their strike such a popular social cause, they achieved what many regarded as a major victory.
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ChurchGal: why our college students can't read: they're afraid of big ideas
this article about the possibility the federal government could censor university professors chapped my hide. so fair warning: i'm about to step up on my academic elite soapbox.

here's a tip to questing undergrads: if you want a valuable undergraduate education that will perhaps challenge you to be something more than a corporate cog, don't whine that your professor hurt your feelings by saying bad things about the president. if you want to have your parents' ideologies comfortably reinforced and you never want to hear something that's different from what you already think, then go to a christian university.
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