May 15th, 2006: Rustbelt Radio
Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news from the grassroots, news overlooked by the corporate media.
On today's show...
- We investigate the issues surrounding a new waste coal power plant proposed for Robinson Township, Washington county.
- we'll hear about the importance of lower power FM radio and the fight for community media, from a recent discussion held in Pittsburgh with Hannah Sassaman of the Prometheus Radio Project
- we have the return of our segment which spotlights a local grassroots group, The Light at the End of the Fort Pitt Tunnel. This week we'll hear about Run-Baby-Run. It's a crash-course to turn ordinary folks into electable politicians.
- and two doctors from Kenya talk about providing post-abortion care to women in Kenya, and women's access to reproductive health care
Rustbelt Radio airs live every Monday from 6-7pm on WRCT 88.3FM in Pittsburgh, PA, every Thursday from 11am to noon on WARC-Meadville from the campus of Allegheny College, and every Saturday from 5-6pm on WVJW Benwood, 94.1 FM in the Wheeling, West Virginia area. And we're now on WPTS 92.1FM from the campus of the University of Pittsburgh, also Saturdays at 5pm.
We're also available on the internet, both on WRCT's live webstream at W-R-C-T dot ORG and for download, stream or podcast at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.
We turn now to local headlines.
[1:30] Pittsburgh most sprawled US city
The authors of “Causes of Sprawl: A Portrait from Space” claim that Pittsburgh has the most sprawl in the United States. The paper was published in the May issue of the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and measures sprawl by looking at open space surrounding houses.
Pittsburgh was given a sprawl index of 57.7, meaning that 57.7 percent of the land in the square kilometer around the average house is open space. Atlanta is the second most sprawled city, and Miami the least of large cities.
The authors also found that the amount of sprawl did not significantly change between 1976 and 1992.
The authors claim sprawl is encouraged by factors such as groundwater availability, topography and temperature. They argue that neither the amount of roads nor the number of municipalities significantly affect density of development.
Pittsburgh's scattered development may be explained by the available groundwater, which allows people to drill a well rather than build more complicated water infrastructure, and its topography. The authors argue that while large mountains lead to denser development, hilly terrains like Pittsburgh's lead to sprawl.
[2:30] Anti-war Actions
Monday is international conscientious objector day, an annual day of action in support of conscientious objectors and war resistors around the world. For the last 20 years, the activities of international conscientious objector day have focused on a particular country which is deemed to be hostile to conscientious objectors, and this year the country of focus is the United States of America. Various actions took place today in San Francisco, New York and Washington, DC.
In Pittsburgh last week, Pittsburgh Organizing Group returned to picket outside the military recruiting center in Oakland on both Thursday and Saturday. On Thursday a small group of protesters entered the recruiting station and temporarily disrupted recruiters work. They left before the police showed up. On Saturday two high school students also entered the recruiting station and videotaped recruiters. They, too, left without incident.
Some critics have questioned the effectiveness of these counter-recruiting protests, but others say they are having exactly the intended effect. This is Janine Schwab from the American Friends Service Committee:
That was Janine Schwab from the American Friends Service Committee. The American Friends Service Committee has just completed their memorial exhibition Eyes Wide Open: the Human Costs of War in Washington DC. The exhibition was displayed in Pittsburgh last March.
(5:15) Kenyan Reproductive Health Care Workers Share Stories in Pittsburgh
Last Thursday, Monica Oguttu and Joyce Musandu, two doctors from Kenya, visited Pittsburgh and spoke at an event sponsored by Planned Parenthood. Their work, which includes providing post-abortion care to women in Kenya, was discussed in the context of national and global policies concerning women's access to reproductive health care.
Andrea DiCellis of New Voices Pittsburgh was on hand to share some thoughts:
Here's some of what Joyce Musandu had to say about reproductive health care in Kenya:
For more on local news, you can visit pittsburgh dot I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot org.
[ HMB BREAK RUSTBELT - 0:20 (fades down 0:10 in to start global intro) ]
You are listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn now to news from other independent media sources around the world.
Insurance companies suffered a major defeat last week, when the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act was defeated in the US Senate. The bill, which critics have dubbed the “Lose your benefits bill”, would have made insurance companies exempt from virtually all state laws designed to protect and ensure health insurance benefits coverage.
Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America said, [quote] "This law would have had a devastating impact on women's access to birth control, mammograms, prenatal care and other essential health care needs."
Women's health care coverage would have been among the hardest hit by this law, which would have potentially removed insurance coverage for contraception, as well as annual cervical and ovarian cancer exams, and prevented women from staying with the same doctor throughout a pregnancy, if that doctor was dropped from the insurance provider plan.
More than 250 national organizations, health plans, and state officials have opposed passage of HIMMAA. This includes 41 state attorneys general, 19 state insurance commissioners, many governors, and the American Mental Health Association.
[1:00] Weaker organic standards
A 15-day period for public comment on changes to the National Organic Program ended on May twelfth. The amendment allows cows used to make organic dairy to be given antibiotics, hormones, and genetically-engineered food when they are younger. It also allows synthetic substances to be added to organic foods without approval of the National Organic Standards Board.
The current amendment ignores the recommendations of the National Organic Standards Board, which is an expert advisory panel to the USDA.
This is not the only example of weakening of organic food standards. Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter was one of the eight US Senators who pushed through a rider in late 2005 which also weakened organic regulations.
The current amendment is sponsored by the Organic Trade Association, an industry lobby group. Dean Foods is also behind this amendment; they sell organic milk under the Horizon label and are being
investigated for violations of organic standards.
Farm and consumer groups pressured the USDA to expand the public comment period, but the USDA claims it is necessary to move forward with the legislation.
[4:45] Palestinian refugees of the Iraq War
Human Rights Watch has this news about Palestinian refugees from the Iraq war: Last week, the Syrian government admitted 244 Palestinian refugees who had been stranded at the Jordanian border, as well as another group of around 40 who fled to Syria directly from Baghdad.
Bill Frelick, Refugee Policy director for Human Rights Watch, said [quote] “Syria has stepped forward to protect a particularly vulnerable group of refugees. Some of the refugees had seen their relatives and friends brutalized and murdered in Iraq.”
The first 89 refugees arrived at the Jordanian border several weeks ago, and have since been joined by others fleeing threats and violence directed against Palestinians in Baghdad. Last week, the International Organization for Migration transported the refugees in nine buses to the Syrian border. Armed men in Iraq reportedly attacked the convoy, and broke the bus windows, but did not fire shots, according to refugee accounts of the incident.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has made efforts to ensure the safety of around 34,000 Palestinian refugees living in Baghdad and Grand Ayatollah Sayyid al-Sistani issued a statement on April 30 forbidding attacks on them, in response to a wave of attacks on Palestinians in the aftermath of the bombing of a Shia shrine, in Samarra last February. Despite these efforts, Palestinians at risk in Iraq have neither safe means of leaving the country nor places willing to take them should their evacuation be necessary, Human Rights Watch said.
Most of the Palestinians in Iraq became refugees during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war when they fled fighting in Gaza and areas now in Israel. Their children were born and have lived their entire lives in Iraq.
Syria should not have to bear the asylum burden alone, Human Rights Watch said. The international community should help Syria financially and, where appropriate, provide resettlement for refugees who cannot remain in the region.
Syria already hosts 425,000 Palestinian refugees and at least as many Iraqis who have fled sanctions, war and persecution. According to Human Rights Watch, the overwhelming majority are not formally recognized as refugees.
Heather Sharkey is a professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She spoke to Rustbelt Radio recently about immigration in the middle east.
[3:30] Internationals injured in Palestine
An Australian man and a Danish man are both being treated in an Israeli hospital after being shot in the head by rubber bullets at close range during a protest in the West Bank Friday May 12.
Reporters from the International Middle East Midea Center reported that Israeli soldiers started throwing sound grenades and firing rubber bullets during the peaceful demonstration, injuring seven people, including Phil Reiss from Sydney, Australia and a Danish demonstrator.
International Solidarity Movement (ISM) spokeswoman Zadie Susser stated that Mr Reiss had been volunteering with the organisation for two weeks, and was seriously injured after being shot in the head at close range with the rubber bullets. She recounts what happens and how the soldiers responded to the injuries.
Ms Susser said that soldiers continued to beat people after Phil Reiss was loaded in the ambulance. She also stated that Mr. Reiss had hemorrhaging in his brain and was being treated in Tel Hashomer, a hospital in Tel Aviv, "
The violence occurred during a weekly demonstration protesting against the Israeli construction of the Annexation Wall in the West Bank town of Bil'in. The Bil'in protest is one of a number of weekly protests held Fridays by Palestinian villagers and their Israeli and international supporters, at sites where the Wall is currently being constructed on Palestinian land.
[1:30] Gore on SNL
Former vice-president Al Gore appeared on Saturday Night Live last week to promote his new movie “An Inconvenient Truth”. The movie is part of Gore’s attempt to raise public awareness of the dangers of global warming, and will open in local theaters June 2nd.
On Saturday Night Live, Gore started the show by imagining the how he would address the nation today if things had gone differently in 2000.
You can read more independent global news stories by visting indymedia: I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot O-R-G.
Bad Cop No Donut
This week on Bad Cop No Donut we hear about a police brutality lawsuit in Hanover, Pennsylvania.
That was ....
Welcome back to Rust Belt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
[4:00] Light at the end of the Fort Pitt Tunnel---Run Baby Run
It's time already for primary elections, and the 2006 political campaign cycle is in full swing. Rustbelt Radio spoke with Gloria Forouzan [fur-RU-zen] about her local project "Run Baby Run", which has been training regular folks in the secret techniques necessary to make an entry into electoral politics.
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You're listening to Rust Belt Radio.
[11:00] Low Power FM
On January 26th, 2000, the Federal Communications Commission voted to create a new low power FM (LPFM) service. The new rules allowed small non-profit groups, libraries, churches and community organizations to apply for licenses to operate simple, inexpensive non-commercial local radio stations. Over the course of two years, all sorts of groups applied for licenses from the FCC. As of December 2003, about 260 of these new stations are on the air, and many hundreds more are in the works.
Hannah Sassaman of the Prometheus Radio Project came to Pittsburgh on May 8 to speak about this low power fm service and community media. Hannah explained how certain community groups could benefit from a low power station and started with the example of a group of farmworkers in Immokalee, Florida.
She also spoke about the accessibility of radio to many different communities including incarcerated people.
While the FCC did new low power FM Service in 2000, congress severely limited it Congress, under pressure from incumbent broadcasters, sneaked the "Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act" into a "must-pass" spending bill in late 2000. While under the FCC rules, the top ten cities in the country would have gotten 25 new stations, under the rules written by the broadcasters and passed by the Congress, there were no new stations allowed in the top fifty urban markets. Hannah demonstrated how these restrictions apply to the radio spectrum and spoke about bills to increase community radio.
Hannah also spoke about community wireless and streaming radio that can be incorporated into it. In addition to monitoring radio there are many organizations and lawmakers that also seek to monitor the internet.
That was Hannah Sassaman from the Prometheus Radio Project speaking at her Community Media Workshop at the Thomas Merton Center. The Prometheus Radio Project is a non-profit organization founded by a small group of radio activists in 1998. They believe that “a free, diverse, and democratic media is critical to the political and cultural health of our nation,” and “work toward a future characterized by easy access to media outlets and a broad, exciting selection of cultural and informative media resources”
More information you can go to www.prometheusradio.org
[16:00] Washington County Power Plant
Calendar of events
And now we present the Indymedia calendar of events:
- On May 17, 2006, 150 invited leaders from human services, foundations, neighborhoods, academia, and the public sector along with people living in poverty will come together to create an action agenda to address the issue of poverty in our community. "A Call to Action: Poverty in Pittsburgh" is organized and presented by the FORUM of United Way Member Agencies with the support of The Forbes Funds, the Maurice Falk Fund, Pittsburgh Community Services, and the United Way of Allegheny County. The symposium will be held at Holiday Inn Oakland, 100 Lytton Avenue, Oakland.
- On Wednesday May 17th, join cyclists worldwide in a silent, slow-paced ride to honor those who have been injured or killed while biking on public roadways. Wear a black armband in remembrance, a red armband if you've been injured. Meet at 6:30pm at the dinosaur outside of the Carnegie Library in Oakland.
- Rustbelt Radio is among a dozen groups and individuals to be recognized at the Thomas Merton Center's New Person Award, an annual event that serves to honor local activists with a commitment to peace and justice. The theme for this year's New Person Awards, which will take place at 7pm, Thursday, May 18 at Laroche College, is "Celebrating Academic Freedom: Honoring Activism in Academia." For more information visit www.thomasmertoncenter.org or call 412-361-3022.
- On May 18-19 the University of Pittsburgh will host an International Conference on Inequality, Health & Society (HIS). This conference, sponsored by the Global Studies Program, the Office of the Provost and the Graduate School of Public Health, will bring together scholars from across North America, Europe and Latin America in an effort to improve understanding of how societal inequality affects broad population health. At the Graduate School of Public Health G23, 130 De Soto St. (Oakland).
- On the 25th anniversary of the first diagnosed case of AIDS, the time for Pittsburgh to mobilize to defeat this disease is now. Please join the Partnership for Minority HIV/AIDS Prevention and the Southwestern Pennsylvania AIDS Planning Coalition for The Future is Now, a community forum featuring renowned AIDS activist Phill Wilson, Tuesday, May 30th, 5:30 P.M., East Liberty Presbyterian Church, The Cathedral of Hope. For more information call: 412.441.0259. Co-sponsored by East Liberty Presbyterian Church, The Cathedral of Hope.
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Thanks for tuning in to Rust Belt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WARC Meadville, WVJW Benwood and WPTS Pittsburgh.
Our hosts this week are Vani Natarajan and Abie Flaxman with additional contributions from Jessica McPherson, Jessi Berkelhammer, Andalusia Knoll, Donald Deeley, and David Meieran. This week's show was produced by Donald Deeley and Matt Toups. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
You can get involved with Rustbelt Radio! To contact us, 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 or podcast on our website at RADIO dot indy-P-G-H dot org and this show can be heard again Tuesday morning on WRCT at 9 AM after Democracy Now!
Tune in next week at this time for another edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
Rustbelt Radio for May 15, 2006 (ogg vorbis)
by Indymedia Rustbelt Radio collective
Monday, May. 15, 2006 at 8:04 PM
firstname.lastname@example.org 412-923-3000 WRCT 88.3 FM
audio: ogg vorbis at 25.1 mebibytesaudio: ogg vorbis at 25.1 mebibytes