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Rustbelt Radio for February 26, 2007
by Pittsburgh IMC: Rustbelt Radio collective Monday, Feb. 26, 2007 at 9:26 PM
radio@indypgh.org 412-923-3000 WRCT 88.3 FM

On this week's show... * Word on the Street visits the Northside, to hear opinons on the sale of the Garden theater * An interview with Gerardo Reyes Chavez, of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers * An interview with Jonas Moffat, co-founder of the Tel Rumeida Circus * Part Two of the James Yee lecture on Guantanamo * and more from our local and global headlines

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Rustbelt Radio for February 26, 2007

[1:00] Intro

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...

Rustbelt Radio airs live every Monday from 6-7 PM on WRCT 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, PA, and again on Tuesday mornings 9-10 AM. We're also on Pacifica affiliate WVJW Benwood, 94.1 FM in the Wheeling, West Virginia area, on Thursdays from 6-7 PM. And we're on WPTS from 10-11AM on Wednesday mornings on 92.1 FM from the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.

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.

Headlines

Local News

[2:00] PA not feeding school kids

A report released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) indicates that below-average participation in the National School Breakfast Program could be costing Pennsylvania over $25 million in lost federal funds for feeding children. FRAC’s 2006 School Breakfast Scorecard ranked Pennsylvania 42nd in the nation for its percentage of kids who receive a free breakfast in addition to free or reduced-price school lunches.

On average, 1.1 million Pennsylvanian students participated daily in the National School Lunch Program during the 2004-2005 school year, while only 223,000 participate in the breakfast program.

With more than 1,000 schools that don’t provide breakfast, and many others serving far fewer than they could, there is push from anti-poverty and hunger organizations to increase Pennsylvania school's services. Led by Pennsylvania Hunger Action Center, more than 30 organizations-- including Pittsburgh's Just Harvest-- are calling on Governor Rendell to support the school breakfast initiative in next year's budget.

The 2007-2008 Budget proposal, which was released earlier in February, includes 6.5 million dollars in funding for the breakfast program, and also fitness and wellness education. Under the current proposal, schools would be required to offer breakfast if low-income students comprise 20 percent or more of enrollment. If the breakfast program initiative goes through, 17 schools in Allegheny County would be affected. Across the state, over 100,000 new students would be able to participate in the program.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education supports research studies, including one conducted in 2001 which found that skipping breakfast leads to lower math scores and the increased likelihood of repeating a grade. Other studies have found that participation in the breakfast program leads to increased attendance, punctuality, and academic achievement. Students who eat breakfast also are more attentive and have less behavioral problems than their hungry peers.

For more information on the breakfast program, including a listing of the schools affected by the new proposal, visit www. pa hunger. org

[2:00] Mercury control rule becomes final

On February 16th, a regulation to reduce mercury pollution in Pennsylvania finally took effect, after a two-year struggle by a coalition of public health advocates, environmental groups, education groups, and outdoor recreation groups. The rule requires that power plants reduce their mercury output to 90% lower than 1999 emissions levels by 2015. Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee ended its review of the proposed rule after effectively blocking it since November.

Five tons of mercury are released per year in Pennsylvania, an amount which is second only to Texas. 3/4 of the pollution comes from the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants. Mercury is a neurotoxin that moves from the air to waterways and accumulates in fish flesh. When ingested, it is acutely harmful to child development, interfering with the normal development of fine motor skills and cognitive functions. New research also links mercury exposure to autism and attention deficit disorder in children, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease in adults.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently estimated that one in six women of childbearing age have mercury in their blood above the level that would pose a risk to a developing fetus. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has issued an advisory cautioning people to not eat more than one meal per week of sport fish caught in any water body in the state because of widespread mercury contamination. Florida and Massachussets have implemented similar mercury control regulations to Pennsylvania's new law, and have seen dramatic improvements in less than a decade.

Pennsylvania Senator Mary Jo White, one of the regulation's major opponents, stated that she plans to introduce legislation that would allow power plants to use a federal pollution credit-trading system to meet the mercury reduction requirements. The coalition that lobbied for the new mercury control regulation opposes the credit-trading system because it allows some plants to continue polluting at high levels, causing mercury hot spots to develop in surrounding communities.

[3:15] Word on the Street

For this week's edition of Word on the Street, Rustbelt Radio went to the Northside, to hear what people had to say about the closing of the Garden Theater, and their hopes for development.

That was this week's edition of 'Word on the Street'.

Wrapup

For more on local news, you can visit pittsburgh dot indymedia dot org

Global News

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.

[3:50] Marriage Initiative

The Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance seeks to defend equal marriage in the state of Washington by challenging the state Supreme Court’s ruling on Andersen v. King County. This decision, given in July 2006, declared that a “legitimate state interest” allows the Legislature to limit marriage to those couples able to have and raise children together. Because of this “legitimate state interest,” the state barred same-sex couples from legal marriage.

Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance are combatting this decision with an initative that seems absurd to many. To Gregory Gadow, a member of this alliance, this initiative is quite logical.

Gadow outlines the main points of I- 9 57

The goal of the initiative is to have the supreme court overturn the Andersen decision.

The Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance will attempt to obtain 224,880 signatures by July 5th so they can get the iniative onto the November ballot. For more information and to see the full text of Initiative 9 57 go to www.wa-doma.org.

[1:15] Shell to Sea

On Friday, February 16th, supporters of 'Shell to Sea' from all over Ireland gathered at the site of the proposed Shell gas refinery at Bellanaboy, County Mayo to show their opposition to the refinery and their support of the local struggle to prevent the refinery from being built. Rustbelt Radio brings you a brief audio interview from Ireland indymedia as protesters left the compound. The interview was interrupted as the Gardai, the Irish police, start to push into the protestors at the end.

For more information on the Shell to Sea campaign, listen to the October 2, 2006 edition of Rustbelt Radio. You can also visit their website, at www.corribsos.com.

[8:35] Tel Rumeida Circus

As the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip continues for it's 40th year, a new kind of non violent resistance has been growing, that of the juggling ball and the fire poi. The Tel Rumeida Circus for Detained Palestinians uses their juggling skills and fiery tricks to de-escalate tense situtations between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian citizens as well as empower Palestinian children to reclaim their neighborhoods from the Israeli Settlers and soldiers who have taken them over. Jonas Moffat, a Pittsburgh Native, and co-founder of the Tel Rumeida Circus:

Jonas Moffat describes Palestinian residents' reaction to the Tel Rumeida circus.

To learn more about the Tel Rumeida circus go to http://trcdp.livejournal.com/ Jonas Moffat will be doing a presentation entitled Witnessing Palestine Tuesday Night at 7PM at the William Pitt Union at University of Pittsburgh.

Features

Intro

You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.

[13:00] Coalition of Immokalee Workers - Gerardo Reyes Chavez

On February 12, Rustbelt Radio aired a segment of an interview with Gerardo Reyes Chavez, of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, about Burger King’s refusal of their demand for one penny more per pound of tomatoes. This week, we’ll hear more from Gerardo about Burger King, McDonald’s, and the Coalition’s fight for an end to sweatshop conditions in the tomato fields of Florida.

This struggle for justice has been going on since 1995, when the Coalition of Immokalee Workers was founded in the small farming town of Immokalee, Florida. Gerardo, on the history of the CIW.

The CIW has embarked upon a national campaign for industry-wide changes to the purchasing practices of fast food companies in the US. Taco Bell was the first fast food company to agree to make these changes. Gerardo, on the campaign that led to Taco Bell’s collaboration in the struggle for change, and the current campaigns encouraging other fast-food companies to do the same:

Burger King has a policy on animal handling, and has participated in industry-wide changes to ensure animal welfare in their supply chain. But they claim no responsibility to the workers in the agricultural industry, and say there is no ‘business relationship’ between the Burger King corporation and the tomato pickers in Immokalee. Gerardo explains the relationship:

Gerardo explains what it is the CIW wants the fast food industry to do. Their demands include a penny more per pound of tomatoes, and a seat at the table:

The CIW, along with other members of the Alliance for Fair Food, like the Student/Farmworker Alliance, are conducting a campaign to get McDonald’s to recognize the farmworkers’ demands. Gerardo, on the McDonald’s campaign:

The CIW encourages McDonald’s customers and other tomato consumers to take an active part in changing the situation in the fields. Gerardo explains how:

A final message from Gerardo Reyes Chavez, of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers:

To learn more about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, visit their website at www.ciw-online.org. Celeste Escobar of the Student-Farmworker Alliance will be in Pittsburgh next month to speak about the Coalition at CMU. If you are interested in getting involved with the struggle here in Pittsburgh, contact pgh @sfalliance.org for more information.

[13:00] James Yee Guantanamo

Last week, Rustbelt Radio shared the story of US Military Chaplain James Yee. For ten months, Yee was the religious advisor to Muslim prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. During his time at the detention center, Yee witnessed abuses to the prisoner's religious beliefs and took measures to create a more tolerant, respectful prison operation. Yee was scheduled to take a 2 week vacation in the US, after which he would return to Guantanamo to finish a year of service. Yee tells us what happened to him upon his arrival to the US.

Finally, Yee described the three reasons he sees as to why this happened to him.

You have been listening to James Yee, former Military Chaplain at Guantanamo Bay. Yee has documented his entire story in a new book entitled "For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire."

Ending

[1:00] Calendar of Events

And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:

[1:00] Outro

[ Outro Music ]

Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WVJW Benwood and WPTS Pittsburgh.

Our hosts this week are Matt Toups and Tracy Braswell with contributions from Andalusia Knoll, Veronica Milliner, Carlin Christy, Jessica McPherson, and Diane Amdor. This week's show was produced by Deren Guler and Donald Deeley. 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 February 26, 2007
by Pittsburgh IMC: Rustbelt Radio collective Monday, Feb. 26, 2007 at 9:26 PM
radio@indypgh.org 412-923-3000 WRCT 88.3 FM

audio: ogg vorbis at 24.4 mebibytesaudio: ogg vorbis at 24.4 mebibytes

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