(Audio, 55 Minutes)
On today's show...
<li> We speak with Adam Eidinger, one of 7 plaintiffs who have just won a $425,000 settlement from the District of Columbia for DC's illegal detainment of more than 600 protestors at an IMF and World Bank protest in 2002.
<li> The advocacy group Downhill Battle encourages consumers to share music freely, calling the current copyright system archaic and urging parents to let their children use filesharing applications rather than buy them music as gifts. We speak with the codirector of Downhill Battle about filesharing, copyright, and why you can no longer see the civil rights Documentary Eyes on the Prize.
<li> Pennsylvania's death penalty law is called into question. We speak with the editor of the Pittsburgh City Paper about why Pennsylvania's juror instructions unfairly bias them to choose the death penalty.
<li> We interview local Pittsburghers about their reactions to the Iraqi Elections this past Sunday.</li></ul>
Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of the news from the grassroots that the corporate media overlook. The show airs every Monday from 6-7pm here at the WRCT 88.3FM in Pittsburgh, PA. Also, we're proud to announce that Rustbelt is also being aired this year by WVJW Benwood, on 94.1 FM in the Wheeling, West Virginia area. And we're also available on the internet, both on W-R-C-T's live webstream at W-R-C-T dot ORG and archived at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.
On today's show...
We speak with Adam Eidinger, one of 7 plaintiffs who have just won a $425,000 settlement from the District of Columbia for DC's illegal detainment of more than 600 protestors at an IMF and World Bank protest in 2002.
The advocacy group Downhill Battle encourages consumers to share music freely, calling the current copyright system archaic and urging parents to let their children use filesharing applications rather than buy them music as gifts. We speak with the codirector of Downhill Battle about filesharing, copyright, and why you can no longer see the civil rights Documentary Eyes on the Prize.
Pennsylvania's death penalty law is called into question. We speak with the editor of the Pittsburgh City Paper about why Pennsylvania's juror instructions unfairly bias them to choose the death penalty.
We interview local Pittsburghers about their reactions to the Iraqi Elections this past Sunday.
But first, these headlines.
Reproductive rights campaign challenges Pennsylvania's "Chastity Awareness Week" (2:00) (should be at time 6:05)
Last year the Pennsylvania state legislature passed a resolution designating the week of May 2 through May 8 as "Chastity Awareness Week" statewide.
In response to “Chastity Awareness Week,” NARAL Pro-Choice America and NARAL Pro-Choice Pennsylvania have launched GiveUsRealChoices?.org, a campaign that calls on the Pennsylvania State Legislature to provide legitimate sexual and reproductive health programming, including comprehensive, age appropriate sex education, access to emergency contraception for survivors of rape, and insurance coverage for birth control.
Embracing abstinence-only-until-marriage programming, the Pennsylvania State Legislature has passed resolutions recognizing Chastity Awareness Week since 1999 and has channeled almost $6 million in federal funds to schools, health facilities, and anti-choice organizations across the state despite reports showing that these programs result in higher teen pregnancy rates and higher transmission rates of AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases.
According to Carrie Rae, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Pennsylvania, (quote) “We are launching this campaign to tap a new generation of activists tired of seeing their tax dollars spent on discredited abstinence-only-until-marriage programming. Pennsylvanians want real choices and real solutions to today’s reproductive health problems, not the modern equivalent of a chastity belt.” (end quote)
For more information, see GiveUsRealChoices?.org.
West Virginia Iranian American Family Fights Profiling by US Government (4:30) (Should be at time 6:07)
Despite Bush Administration claims new personnel policy at the Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Department make them better prepared for fighting terrorism, four unions filed a lawsuit in DC to stop changes making collective bargaining and employee appeals more difficult. Ingrid Drake reports on how an Morgantown Iranian American family is challenging another post 9/11 federal personnel policy in the court.
[ Audio Clip : Drake radio report: fsrn20050128_afshari_ingrid.mp3 FSRN WV iranian family story (4:02) (4:02) ]
Meanwhile, an anonymous post to Pittsburgh Indymedia suggests that the FBI has been interviewing Muslim activists locally. The author writes, (quote) "their main interest seems to be in figuring out the petty personal politics of who doesn't get along with who and why. They are particularly interested in the activities of African-American activists." (end quote)
FBI Visits Thomas Merton Center Intern and Staff (1:15) (Should be at time 6:11)
The FBI also appears to be visiting activists involved with the Thomas Merton Center. On Wednesday, January 26, Bill Parks, an agent with the Pittsburgh Federal Bureau of Investigation, visited the home of an intern and a staff member of the Thomas Merton Center. The two arrived home to find a hand written note on their front door that said [quote] "Please call Bill Parks at 412-432-4410. Thanks, Bill." The note made no mention of who he was or why he was stopping by. When contacted, Mr. Parks requested a meeting with him to [quote] "talk about some things." and said he wanted to talk about some people the individual may have run into lately.
Local lawyers have advised all activists to refrain from talking to government agents without legal counsel present.
The Merton Center is asking people to contact local council members and their congressional representative to ask them to look into the FBI’s actions. See Pittsburgh Indymedia's website for details.
Iraq's so-called Elections viewed with suspicion (7:00) (should be at time 6:13)
Amidst widespread violence, confusion, misinformation and suspicion, the long-awaited Iraqi elections took place yesterday. While the corporate media parroted the Bush line that the elections were "a milestone in the advance of freedom," countless others, such as British Member of Parliament George Galloway, condemned the elections as "flawed beyond redemption." Robert Fisk, an independent journalist on the ground in Iraq, observes that the surprising turnout of 57 percent is better explained by the Iraqi's desire to be free from the U.S. occupation. Dahr Jamail, another independent journalist based in Baghdad notes that the Iraqis he speaks to don't hold the elections in high regard, either.
Pennsylvania Courts refuse to fully inform Jurors on death penalty sentencing (6:15) (should be at time 6:20)
A case currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court is calling into question the fairness of Pennsylvania's death penalty. Originally a Pennsylvania case, Rompilla vs. Horn has been appealed to the highest federal court and it challenges the state's practice of purposely under-informing Jurors about life sentences. Chris Potter wrote about this case in the current issue of the City Paper, and he spoke to Matt Toups of Rustbelt Radio on Friday about Rompilla's death sentence and the implications of the appeal before the supreme court.
[ potter_shorteredit.ogg: Potter - 5:45 version]
That was Chris Potter on Pennsylvania's death penalty. You can read more in the current Pittsburgh city paper.
Wrapup (should be at time 6:26)
We're going to take a short break and then return with global news headlines.
[ Musical Break -- The Mexican Hat, "Hurricane Blues" 2:46]
Intro (should be at time 6:29)
That was "Hurricane Blues" by The Mexican Hat. Welcome back to Rust Belt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of the news that the corporate media overlook. We turn now to headlines from Independent Media Centers around the world.
World Social Forum gets underway in Porto Allegre (1:00)
The fifth World Social Forum (or WSF) got underway on Thursday with a huge march in Porto Allegre, Brasil. This year, the WSF has attracted over 120,000 political, social, and cultural activists from all over the world to discuss and strategize about alternatives to the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and corporate domination of the world's economy. The forums at the WSF included workshops on media democracy, human rights, environmental sustainability, economic and social justice, Arts and Culture, peace, and more. This year's theme is A New World is Possible. The forum is being held along the water front of Porto Alegre, taking up much of the open space with temporary structures in the park and filling the warehouse’s along the docks with meeting rooms and conference halls.
Friday’s march was a festival as well as a political demonstration with groups as diverse as the landless workers movement in Brazil, a contingent of GBLT activists from throughout South America, Korean trade unionists, members of the women’s movement, and Greenpeace in attendance.
Next Monday Rust Belt Radio will provide a more detailed report on what transpired at the WSF as we hear from a member of Pittsburgh's peace and justice community who travelled to Porto Allegre for the event.
Government to Drop Appeal of FCC Deregulation Decision (1:30) (should be at time 6:30)
On Thursday the Office of the Solicitor General announced that it would not appeal the 3rd Circuit Court decision ordering the Federal Communications Commission (or FCC) to rework its new media ownership rules. While it is still possible that the Supreme Court will choose to hear the case at the request of the major media corporations who have filed an appeal, this decision means that these corporations seeking special regulatory favors will not be joined in that effort by the Bush Administration.
The FCC, led by outgoing chairman Michael Powell, had approved new regulations in June 2003 that would have allowed giant media corporations to own even more radio and TV stations and newspapers. In response, media activists across the country held demonstrations protesting the FCC's decision--including two here in Pittsburgh--and more than 700,000 send comments to the FCC urging them not allow further media consolidation. The Prometheus Radio Project of Philadelphia filed a lawsuit to block the implementation of the FCC rule changes and in June 2004 a federal appeals court ruled in favor of Prometheus.
The Bush Administration appears prepared to work with the mandate of the court for a reworking of the rules by the FCC. In a press release, Prometheus commends the administration for its choice to respect the decision of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, and suggests that the FCC should commence work on the remand of these rules to end the currently ambiguous situation in media ownership. They also recommend that the FCC take into account that localism--the notion that local communities should have control over their community's media outlets--and media ownership cannot be considered seperately. Prometheus claims that issues of ownership are at the heart of many of the problems of localism in media.
Bush Commentator Payola (2:30) (should be at time 6:32)
In what has become an old story, another commentator who has promoted Bush administration plans in his columns has been found to have been on the Bush administration's payroll. Salon dot com revealed last Friday that Michael McManus?, whose column "Ethics and Religion" appears in 50 newspapers, was on the payroll of the Department of Health and Human Services to promote the Bush administration's marriage initiative when he advocated the plan in his column, without disclosing to his readers that he was being paid more than $10,000 for the plugs.
Earlier the same week, a second commentator was similarly outed as a payee of the Bush administration. Syndicated columnist and marriage advocate Maggie Gallagher was paid $21,000 to promote Bush administration policies. She later told her readers that she had failed to disclose her status as a paid promoter because she (quote) "hadn't remembered" that she was being paid.
At the beginning of January, it was revealed that Bush's Education Department had paid black pundit and radio and telivision commentator Armstrong Williams, more than $240,000 to help promote Bush's No Child Left Behind program to minority audiences. He similarly had not told his audience that he was a paid promoter.
Friday's revelation came only a day after President Bush ordered his Cabinet secretaries to stop hiring commentators to promote administration initiatives. The administration has been heavily criticized by Democratic lawmakers in Congress for the payola. Members of the House Committee on Government reform wrote a letter to President Bush demanding that he (quote) "immediately provide to us all past and ongoing efforts to engage in covert propaganda, whether through contracts with commentators, the distribution of video news releases, or other means." (end quote)
Wrapup (should be at time 6:34)
For more news stories, visit Pittsburgh dot I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot O-R-G and other Indymedia websites. We'll be back after a brief break.
[ Musical Break -- Generators "Freedom" 4:11 -- only if ahead on time]
Intro (should be at time 6:35)
That was The Generators, with the song "Freedom".?
Welcome back to Rust Belt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of the news that the corporate media overlook.
Downhill Battle -- Filesharing and Copyright (7:00)
The online advocacy group Downhill Battle has a unique message for consumers: don't buy corporate label music. Instead,
they say, you should download the music from peer-to-peer filesharing applications, burn CDs for your friends, and show
artists your support by going to shows.
Rust Belt Radio spoke with Tiffiniy Cheng, co-director of Downhill Battle about her group's advocacy, copyright issues,
sampling, and their campaign to have screenings around the country of the civil rights documentary "Eyes on the Prize" despite copyright clearance issues that have made it un-performable for the last 10 years.
[ Clip - 6:18
That was an interview of Tiffiniy Cheng of Downhill Battle dot org. We'll return next week with more discussion of Eyes on the Prize and copyrights.
[ Musical Break (play 30 seconds) - 01PublicServiceAnnouncement.mp3: DJ Dangermouse - Grey Album - Public Service Announcement]
DC Police Settle Mass Arrest Lawsuit Yet Mayor Refuses to Sign Bill Protecting Protest Rights (15:00) [stub] (should be at time 6:42)
That was DJ Danger Mouse from his Grey Album.
The District of Columbia has made its second out-of-court settlement for its mass arrests during the September of 2002 People's Strike. The city has agreed to pay 7 protestors $425,000 for their wrongful arrest. As part of the settlement, the Chief of Police will also write each protestor a personal letter of apology and the Police Department will agree to new stricter limits on making mass arrests in the future. In a previous settlement, the City had paid 3 students who were reporting on the protest for a class when they were arrested $10,000 each. A class-action suit that represents 300 additional plaintiffs has not yet been settled.
We'll talk with one of the protestors who was part of the most recent class action lawsuit, but first we'll listen to this excerpt of an archival audio report from the People's Strike in 2002. More than 60 Pittsburghers were among those arrested in DC, including several reporters for the fledgling Pittsburgh Independent Media Center. Andy Mulkerin has this report.
[ Audio Clip -- Andy's feature andy_peoples_strike_excerpt.ogg: People's Strike 2002 report - 3:00
That report was an excerpt of a report first aired on WRCT in November of 2002. You can hear the remainder of the report on our website, Pittsburgh dot i-n-d-y media dot org.
Adam Eidinger, originally of Pittsburgh, was one of the 7 plaintiffs who were recently awarded a combined total of $425,000 by the District of Columbia because of the mass arrests. We were able to interview Adam by phone earlier this week. Matt Toups has this report.
[ Audio Clip - Adam Eidinger Interview 9:40]
You're listening to Rust Belt Radio on WRCT Pittsburgh and WVJW Benwood.
Calendar of events (2:00)
And now for our grassroots events calendar
On February 1st Dr. Walter Tsou, MD, president-elect of the American Public Health Association (APHA) will give a lecture on a universal health care system and will discuss single-payer healthcare. The event will take place at U.Pitt School of Medicine Scaife Hall LR5 at 5Pm
On Thursday February 3rd Renowned media analyst, Ali Abunimah will speak about the Myths and Reality of The Palestine/Israel Conflict at 4:30 at Adamson Auditorium in 136A Baker Hall at CMU and at 7:00 PM at Engineering Auditorium, Benedum Hall, at University of Pittsburgh
On February 4th Azania heritage will have a celebration of the Signing of Peace in Sudan The event will take place at The Blakey Program Center of the Hill House on Wylie Avenue from 2-5PM
On February 5th The Militant Labor forum will hold a presentation and dinner entitled The Working Class and the Battle of Birmingham: How Jim Crow was Defeated. The event will take place at 5907 Penn Ave., Room 225 at 6:30PM
This weekend February 3-6 The National Conference on Organized Resistance (NCOR)will be happening at American University in Washington DC. For more information you can go to www.organizedresistance.org
[ Cue music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rust Belt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh and WVJW Benwood.
Our hosts this week are [ Andalusia Knoll ] and [ Gwen Schmidt ] with contributions from [ David Meieran , Quinten Steenhuis ] and [ Matt Toups ]. This week's show was produced by [ Quinten Steenhuis ]. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
Your audio submissions are welcome! To get involved with Rust Belt Radio, or to send us your comments, email RADIO at I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot ORG. All of our shows are available for download on our website at RADIO dot INDY-P-G-H dot ORG
Tune in next week at this time for another edition of Rust Belt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of the news that the corporate media overlook.