On this week's show...
* US Airways pilots picket at Pittsburgh International Airport
* Eric Keroack resigns as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Population Affairs
* A Pittsburgh conference looks at global warming and ways to resist it
* Founding board member of Creative Commons James Boyle speaks on copyright at CMU
* and more in our local and global headlines
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...
US Airways pilots picket at Pittsburgh International Airport
Eric Keroack resigns as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Population Affairs
A Pittsburgh conference looks at global warming and ways to resist it
Founding board member of Creative Commons James Boyle speaks on copyright at CMU
and more in our local and global headlines
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 at a new time on WPTS - 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.
Long lines formed near the US Airways ticketing counter at the Pittsburgh International Airport last Tuesday. These lines weren’t formed by passengers, but by uniformed pilots standing shoulder to shoulder in orderly rows. Occasionally, ten of the pilots, all in a row, would step forward, turn right, and march quietly around the ticketing area, holding signs with the slogans: ‘US Airways Management’s Multi-millionaires are Pilot Subsidized’ and: ‘US Airways Empty Promises for a Single Airline’.
Rustbelt Radio spoke with the US Airways Master Executive Council's Communication Chairman, Captain Arnie Gentile (pronounce: ARR-knee Jen-TEAL [like the color]). The US Airways MEC is part of the Air Line Pilots Association, an AFL-CIO union. Captain Gentile explains the reason behind this striking picket line:
why picket (1:06)
US Airways pilots are among the lowest paid in the industry. In a March fifteenth Washington Post article about the negotiations between the pilots and the airline, US Airways CEO Doug Parker said, [quote] “We're not looking to be the highest-paid" airline. Captain Gentile’s response:
highest paid (0:52)
This divide between workers and managers is not unique to the airline industry. Captain Gentile, on corporate America:
corporate America (0:57)
The picket was held to bring awareness of the situation to airline passengers, who are also adversely affected by the current situation with US Airways. During Saint Patrick’s Day weekend, passengers in Philadelphia were stranded on the tarmac for six to eight hours during an ice storm. Captain Gentile:
The negotiations for a single pilot contract have continued for nearly two years. The US Airways and America West pilots hope that this picket will raise awareness of their situation, influence management's behavior at the bargaining table, and improve the airline's deteriorating operations.
[4:30] Port Authority Cuts Transit
The Port Authority board has approved a 15 percent cut in transit service which is slated to begin June 17th. The unanimous decision will eliminate 29 weekday bus routes while reducing numerous others.
As board members deliberated, Save Our Transit staged an all-night vigil outside the Heinz Center in protest. At the vigil Steve Donahue discussed the years of frustration experienced with government officials and the consequences of the service cuts.
The Port Authority board also announced an additional 10 percent cut and an increase in fares planned for later this year. Although pessimistic about the board’s decision, Save Our Transit stressed the importance of fighting to prevent future reductions.
For more on local news, you can visit pittsburgh dot I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot org.
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.
[1:30] EPA PROPOSAL DEREGULATES HAZARDOUS WASTE
A new proposal by the EPA aims to deregulate hazardous waste for reuse in the manufacturing process. Here's New Standard Radio discussing the impact that the proposal will have on the amount of materials placed in toxic dumps.
It seems that the Bush administration is ardently pursuing yet another pre-emptive war of aggression. Last week the US ordered forces stationed in the Persian Gulf off the coast of Iran to begin the largest display of military maneuvers since the invasion of Iraq in 2003-though no one will say exactly why. While the military denies that the maneuvers were in response to Iran's seizure of 15 British sailors in disputed waters, no one from the military will go on record to provide a reason for the maneuvers.
There is concern that the maneuvers may be part of an on-going plan to provoke military action on the part of Iran. Rumors that Iran had fired a missile at the military forces practicing just off its coastline were denied by the US Navy after the rumors caused a spike in oil prices. Meanwhile Bush has reportedly criticized British Prime Minister Tony Blair for not using the seizure of British sailors as a pretense for action. Of course Prime Minister Blair's claims that the Iranians had no right to seize the British sailors have their own problems. Foremost among them is the charge by former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray Monday, that Britain had no right, authority or reason to be boarding and inspecting ships in the disputed waters.
Furthermore, the British military itself may not be too keen on cooperating in military action with the US. The final result of a British inquest into the 2003 friendly fire death of a British soldier by US forces were released on March 16th-one week before the sailors were seized. The inquest found the killing to be "criminal" and the coroner further criticized the US for refusing to cooperate with the investigation. Add to this plans for Tony Blair to step down as Prime Minister in a few months to be replaced by the anti-Iraq Labor MP Gordon Brown as well as poll numbers showing less than seven percent support for a military response against Iran within the UK.
There are reports though that indicate that the US is aggressively trying to provoke an attack from Iran on its own. Shortly after the US abandoned the claim that weapons found in Iraq and labeled "Made in the United Arab Emirates" were made and supplied by Iran, Seymour Hersh reported in the New Yorker that the US, in hopes of undermining Iran and Syria, is bolstering "Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda." And last Tuesday, Democracy Now! interviewed independent journalist Reese Erlich who said the US is "sponsoring [the Kurdish Workers Party or PKK] to carry out guerrilla raids inside Iran and it's part of a much wider plan by the United States to foment discontent and actual terrorist activities by ethnic Iranians in various parts of Iran."
Ironically, since the administration is using terrorism to try to provoke a justification for military action, George Bush only needs to claim that Iran is part of the war on terror to launch an attack. Congress, after the 9/11 attacks and again just before the invasion of Iraq, signed authorizations of military force that allow George W. Bush to attack any nation as long as he claims they're responsible for terrorism. Until Congress repeals those authorizations, George Bush-and every President that follows him-will have the authority to unilaterally expand the so-called war on terror, even if they have to fund terrorists to do it.
[7:15] Keroack Resigns
Last Friday, Eric Keroack, deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Population Affairs, announced he would resign his post. Keroack's powers included oversight of federal Title Ten funding, which determines low income women's access to family planning and birth control. Before working in the US Department of Health and Human Services, he directed a Massachusetts non-profit that opposes birth control and safer sex measures, as well as sexual relationships outside of marriage. A quote from the web site of this organization, known as A Woman's Concern, reads:
"the crass commercialization and distribution of birth control is demeaning to women, degrading of human sexuality and adverse to human health and happiness."
Erika Fricke of Planned Parenthood responds:
For updates on reproductive justice, tune in to future Rustbelt Radio broadcasts.
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
[13:30] Global Warming Conference
A recent report by Cool Pennsylvania states that Pennsylvania produces more greenhouse gases than any other state in the US, except for Texas and California. Nonrenewable energy sources like coal, oil, and gas, account for more than 60% of the state's energy. As people and industries emit these fossil fuels into the air, the earth absorbs more solar radiation. The result: global warming and its many side effects. These include hurricanes, snow storms, the rise of heat-related deaths, and Lyme disease.
Last Saturday, Rustbelt Radio visited a gathering of scientists, public policy specialists, and grassroots activists at Global Warming 2007: It's Time for Action. The conference, sponsored by PennFuture and the Pennsylvania Interfaith Climate Change Campaign, took place at the Mercy Hospital downtown.
Brenda Ekwurzel of the Union of Concerned Scientists shared some crucial facts:
We caught up with three people from the Climate Project who have been trained by Al Gore to lead slide show presentations to accompany Gore's documentary on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth." The Climate Project presents to students, business people, faith based groups, community organizations, and government organizations.
Some advice for students:
On May 31st, the Pittsburgh Grassroots Forum will take place at the Friends Meeting House. Sponsors describe the forum as an event for "sharing visions and gaining support for a just, green and unified city." Stay tuned to Rustbelt Radio for updates.
[24:00] James Boyle Keynote at You're Not the Boss of Me
George Bush Doesnt Care About Black People (Radio Edit)
That was the Legendary K.O. performing "George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People." Professor James Boyle, one of the Founding Board Members of Creative Commons and keynote lecturer at last weekend's You're Not the Boss of Me Festival, used the song to discuss the evolution and failures of copyright law and copyright enforcement. We now present an edited version of his speech beginning with Boyle detailing the history of "George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People."
That was James Boyle giving Friday night's keynote lecture at You're Not the Boss of Me. You can hear Boyle's full speech by going to indypgh.org.
[1:00] Calendar of Events
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
This Tuesday April 3rd, Rustbelt Radio will be holding our monthly media literacy training. It will be held at 8pm at our office, located at 5125 Penn Avenue in Garfield. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (412) 923-3000.
Wednesday, April 4th, the Pittsburgh Refugee Center will present Benjamin Ajak and Judy A. Bernstein co-authors of They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky - The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan. The authors will speak at the Rauh Theater on the Senior School Campus of Shady Side Academy in Fox Chapel. This event will begin at 7 PM. For more information, visit www.shady side academy. org.
Also on the 4th, from 8-9:30 pm, members of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Student-Farmworker Alliance will give a presentation about sweatshop conditions in the tomato fields of Immokalee Florida. For more information email pgh @ sf alliance.org
On Sunday April 8th youth from the Balata Refugee Camp in the West Bank will be presenting Picture Balata featuring photographs of their life under occupation. The event will take place at 6PM at The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, 4100 Bigelow Blvd. Pittsburgh, PA 15213
On Monday April 9th at 8PM author Ben Dangl will be presenting his book "The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia." at the Latin American Reading Room at Hillman Library at University of Pittsburgh.
[ Outro Music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WVJW Benwood and WPTS Pittsburgh.
Our hosts this week are Andalusia Knoll and Matt Toups with contributions from Veronica Milliner, Vani Natarajan, Diane Amdor, Thiago Hersan, and Donald Deeley. This week's show was produced by Donald Deeley and Deren Guler. 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.