community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's show: Local Imam discusses how Pittsburgh's media & interfaith leaders have rejected fear-mongering rhetoric; Federal appeals court declares anti-immigrant ordinance in Hazelton, PA unconstitutional; Three days of protests ensue in LA after police officer kills indigenous Guatemalan man; Pennsylvania authorities respond to Marcellus drilling opposition and more in our local and global headlines.
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Rustbelt Radio for (month) (day), 2010
Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of the news from the grassroots, news overlooked by the corporate media.
On today's show...
Rustbelt Radio is broadcast live from WRCT studios every other Monday at 6 PM on 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, and the program airs again on WRCT every Tuesday morning at 9AM.
We can also be heard weekly on the following stations:
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 from our website at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.
We turn now to local stories.
On September 12th, Rustbelt Radio spoke with Imam Abdusemih Tadese (AHB-doo SEM-ee Ta-DEE-shee), the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh's Imam, outreach principal & media contact. While many in the mainstream media have ratcheted up fear-mongering & anti-Islamic rhetoric, Imam Tadese (Ta-DEE-shee) talked about how Pittsburgh's interfaith community have partnered with local media outlets to offer a different narrative.
To learn more about the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, visit I-C-P dash P-G-H dot org
As the 2010 November elections draw closer, 200 organizations--including politicians from both sides of the aisle--marched through the streets of Pittsburgh, to celebrate Labor Day. Union members, organizers, and partnering organizations spoke with Rustbelt Radio about the importance of organized labor, and threats unions face today in Pennsylvania.
* LaborDayParade.flac: (5:50)
You've been listening to coverage of Pittsburgh's 2010 Labor Day parade.
A federal appeals court on Thursday, September 9th upheld a lower-court ruling striking down anti-immigrant ordinances adopted by the City of Hazleton, Pa.
The Hazleton ordinances would allow the city to suspend the business licenses of employers who knowingly hired undocumented immigrants. Landlords who rented to immigrants without legal status could be accused of harboring, and their rental permits suspended.
The ruling upholds a July 2007 ruling by federal district judge, James M. Munley.
Hazleton’s law, the appeals judges found, “creates the exact situation that Congress feared: a system under which employers might quite rationally choose to err on the side of discriminating against job applicants who they perceive to be foreign.”
The suit has been underway for more than four years, since 2006, when the city of Hazelton passed the ordinance.
A civil rights coalition including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), LatinoJustice Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF), the Community Justice Project, and the law firm, Cozen O'Connor immediately filed a lawsuit challenging the law on behalf of Hazleton residents, landlords, and business owners.
During the trial, Hazleton officials claimed that undocumented immigrants were responsible for bankrupting the city, driving up healthcare costs and increasing local crime.
According to the ACLU, “In fact, the evidence at trial showed that from 2000-2005, Latino immigrants actually helped to transform a huge city budget deficit into a surplus, that the private hospital system made a $4 million profit and that the crime rate actually fell.”
We now bring you excerpts from the ACLU documentary, "Deconstructing Hazelton: Immigrant Discrimination."
This is the Legal Director of the ACLU Pennsylvania, Vic Walczak (VAL-chack):
Here, ACLU Plaintiff and Hazelton immigrant, Rudy Espinal talks about how the immigrant community brought new life to the town:
Again, Vic Walczak of the PA ACLU. In this segment, he notes when the Mayor of Hazelton began scapegoating undocumented immigrants: (VAL-chack)
In this clip, the Mayor of Hazelton, Lou Barletta, attributes the rise of violent crimes and gangs to the immigrant community--after which Walczak of the PA ACLU responds:
Attorney at the ACLU Immigrant Rights Project, Omar Jadwat, sums up the situation in Hazelton:
You've been listening to excerpts from "Deconstructing Hazelton: Immigrant Discrimination," produced by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The mayor of Hazleton, Lou Barletta, who pressed for the ordinances to discourage illegal immigrants from living there, said the city would appeal to the Supreme Court.
[ 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 bi-weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn now to news from other independent media sources around the world.
In other immigrant related news, Rustbelt Radio brings you this report from Uprising Radio on LA’s KPFK:
The Westlake community, where the murder of Manuel Jimenez happened, was also the site of the Rampart Scandal during the early 1990s. Over 70 police officers that were part of an anti-gang unit were prosecuted for police misconduct--ranging from unprovoked shootings, to planting of evidence, to bank robbery.
According to a September 12th LA Times article, the officer accused of the killing, Frank Hernandez, was previously accused in a civil lawsuit of improperly using deadly force when he shot and wounded a 19-year old in the leg in 2008.
For the time being, Hernandez remains ineligible for patrol assignments, police officials said. An officer involved in a shooting is kept off the streets until the chief has received a formal briefing on the incident, and the officer is cleared by a department psychologist to return to full duty.
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.
On Tuesday, September 7th, Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell held a speaking event in Washington, PA to garner support for his Marcellus shale severance tax legislation. Several dozen residents of Washington County and Pittsburgh also came to demand a moratorium on drilling, saying it can’t be done safely. Governor Rendell and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection secretary John Hanger spoke with the protesters outside the event, but the protesters were not allowed in, even though they had pre-registered in advance as required. An Indymedia reporter with the protesters was also denied access, even as other media were allowed to enter the event. So, today we bring you a report from the dialogue outside.
Local farmer Emu Alexander from Hickory, Pennsylvania leased his land to Range Resources. He said he wasn’t getting the full amount of royalties owed to him, and the drilling had also caused problems on his land:
Others feared the impacts of drilling on the safety of food produced in the area:
The group spoke with DEP secretary John Hanger. Hanger said that the department had made improvements to regulation of the gas industry:
However, very few plants in Pennsylvania can remove TDS from wastewater, and they cannot handle the massive volume now being generated by drilling across the state. Furthermore, municipal sewage treatment plants are currently lisenced to accept frackwater, even though they cannot treat it. Hanger did not explain these discrepancies.
Jet Meskez questioned Hanger about DEP’s regulation of fracking chemicals:
The list of fracking chemicals posted on the DEP’s website, dated June 30th 2010, still includes items that are too broadly described for any chemist to assess their safety, such as “hydrotreated light distillate” or “Petroleum distillate blend.” It also includes the commercial names of products whose chemical formulas are not fully disclosed.
Although he addressed groundwater pollution by fracking chemicals, Hanger did not address contamination of surface drinking water supplies by fracking wastewater. The municipal treatment plants that currently accept this wastewater cannot remove these chemicals, which can have health impacts even at very low concentrations.
Hanger also acknowledged that the DEP basically cannot deny drilling permits.
Governor Rendell also spoke with the crowd:
Rendell urged the protesters to drop their demands for a moratorium and instead support his severance tax legislation. Currently, the gas industry pays no state taxes on their profits. The new legislation would impose a tax at a rate between 2 and 5%.
When protestors complained of irreparable damage to their land and water, Rendell did not speak of safeguards the state would put in place; instead he told the victims to find a lawyer and sue the companies for monetary compensation after the fact.
Reyna Ripple of the Center for Coalfield Justice on why she came to the protest:
Back in Pittsburgh on the same day, City Councilman Doug Shields introduced a bill to ban Marcellus drilling within city limits. If it were to pass, the ban would likely face a legal challenge by industry groups under the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Law. This state law, which broadly guarantees owners of mineral rights access to those minerals, has often been interpreted to supercede any local government attempts to prohibit mineral extraction. Shields spoke about why he proposed this ban at the recent showing of the movie Gasland in Frick Park.
In other Marcellus news, an intelligence bulletin from the Pennsylvania department of homeland security, recently leaked to the public, listed efforts to stop Marcellus drilling as potential security threats in Pennsylvania. Included in a list of events “singled out for attendance by anti-marcellus shale formation natural gas drilling activists” were: a city council hearing proposed by Councilman Shields; local government hearings in Cranberry township, Upper St. Clair, and in Wayne County; and a screening of Gasland in Philadelphia. Furthermore, an email from state homeland security director James Powers reveals that the department is sharing its intelligence with the gas industry. The email was mistakenly sent to a drilling opponent, and reprinted by the Philadelphia City Paper. It states:
(quote) The information provided to you via the Pennsylania Intelligence Bulletin is not for dissemination in the public domain….it is solely meant for owners/operators & security personnel associated with our critical infrastructure & key resources.
Thanks for your support. We want to continue providing this support to the Marcellus Shale Formation natural gas stakeholders while not feeding those groups fomenting dissent against those same companies. (end quote).
That was the Key of V. with 'Modern Day Dinosaur'
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
* All September, the Children's Museum is holding a month-long program to encourage peace and conflict resolution as part of "Remembering Hiroshima: Imagining Peace 2010". Please check the website at www.pittsburghkids.org
* "Write On!" an organization that works for prisoners' rights, needs help answering its 60 letters a month from people in prison dealing with abuse and neglect. Come and meet new people, learn about people in prison while advocating for their rights from the outside! Please bring food to share! Info 412-361-3022 ext. 4. Join us every Wednesday at 6:30pm at the Thomas Merton Center, 5125 Penn Avenue, in Garfield.
* Join community members for a Justice for Jordan march on Saturday, September 18th. Gather at the intersection of Tioga and Rosedale in Homewood at 2pm to demand the prosecution of the three officers, an end to police brutality and racial profiling, and for community control of the police force. Visit justiceforjordanmiles dot com to learn more about the case.
* The Community and Resistance Tour, which seeks to connect communities of liberation, and to build relationships between grassroots activists and independent media, is coming to the Shadow Lounge Saturday, September 18th at 7 pm. Featured presenters are Jordan Flaherty and Jesse Muhammad. For more information, please visit communityandresistance.wordpress.com
* A Rally for the Protection from Marcellus Shale Drilling will be taking place at the Pennsylvania State Capital in Harrisburg, on September 21st at high noon. Please lobby your State Legislators during the day. Sign up at pacleanwatercampaign.org or call the Sierra Club's Lindsay Delp on 717-232-0101. Sponsored by: PA Campaign for Clean Water, Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Earthworks Oil and Gas Accountability Project, PennEnvironment, and Protecting Our Waters.
* A conference entitled: "Challenging Marcellus Shale: Consequences and Alternatives" convenes with one of Sweden's foremost cancer scientists, Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 24th at the Mellon Institute on S.Bellefield Avenue. The conference will address the health, environmental and community effects Pennsylvania will face as a result of the extractive industry's work in the Marcellus Shale natural gas fields. Go to rachelcarsonhomestead.org for more information. For full listings of upcoming Marcellus Shale events, including public hearings, visit marcellusprotest.org.
* Open Thread is hosting their 2nd annual Small Press Festival on September 25th & 26th at Artist Image Resources. This 2-day expo will feature workshops, panels and food and music. Check out S-P-F Pittsburgh dot org to view the full schedule.
* Pittsburgh Filmmakers invites you to spend an Atomic Weekend with them at the Melwood Screening Room, with screenings of "The Last Atomic Bomb", "I Live in Fear", and "Dr. Strangelove". Discussions will follow films. Starts Friday 24th September through Sunday 26th. Check rememberinghiroshima2010.org for full listings.
* "Paper Politics" is an ongoing exhibit at SPACE gallery of a major collection of contemporary politically and socially engaged printmaking ongoing. "Paper Politics" continues until October 24th, showcasing print art which uses themes of social justice and global equity to engage community members in political conversation. The show has now been hung in several venues across the United States and Canada. See spacepittsburgh.org for more information.
[ Outro Music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WIUP Indiana, WNJR Washington, and FRSC Santa Cruz.
Our hosts this week are [Lizzie Anderson] and [Laura Miller] with contributions from [Seth Bearden, Jessica McPherson, David Meieran, Emily DeMarco and Nigel Parry. Content also provided by Rise-up Radio & the A-Infos Radio Project]. This week's show was produced by Shawn Watson. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
You can get involved with Rustbelt Radio! To contact us, email RADIO at I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot ORG. Become our fan on Facebook to receive updates on our latest episode. All of our shows are available 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 bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.