community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's show: The Fraternal Order of Police again uses the St. Patrick's Day Parade to defend officers in the Jordan Miles case; Shalefields Grassroots Media investigates the impact of Marcellus drilling on sustainable farming in Pennsylvania. Members of the queer community respond to a homophobic bar with a kiss-in; We bring you an on-the-ground report from the ongoing protests in Wisconsin. Pittsburghers organize for the upcoming Make Jobs, Not War Rally and more in our local and global headlines.
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Rustbelt Radio for March 14, 2011
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 March 11th, outraged members of the queer community gathered outside of Dee's Cafe, in the South Side, after learning that their friends had been evicted from the East Carson Street bar for being gay. Shortly before the outdoor protest, dozens of couples held a "kiss-in" inside the bar.
One protester said it's hypocritical to allow heterosexuals to display signs of affection but not queer folks.
One passer by said that she was a lesbian and never had any trouble at Dee's Cafe. But another protester said that Dee's wants patrons to keep their sexual identity under wraps.
We now hear from Jane Doe, one of the patrons who was thrown out of Dee's on the night of March 2nd.
Doe recounts that during the kiss-in, members of the protest were met by homophobic remarks from the owner of Dee's.
In response to the owner's homophobic comments, a second kiss-in was organized the following Friday.
Doe said the hostile treatment toward gays and lesbians was not an isolated incident.
Pennsylvania gay-and-lesbian rights Blogger Thomas C. Waters said that Dee's actions violate both city and county ordinances against discrimination. Waters urged people to contact the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations should the discrimination continue.
We now leave you with chanting from the protest outside of Dee's Cafe.
Saturday March 12th saw Pittsburgh annual St. Patrick’s Day parade – said to be the second largest in the nation. It also marked the first anniversary of the Pittsburgh Fraternal Order of Police’s controversial participation in the event.
During last year’s parade, members of the FOP marched wearing T-shirts bearing the words, “We Support Our Three Brothers,” in solidarity with the three officers accused of beating high school student Jordan Miles as he walked to his house in Homewood, just two months earlier. That gesture sparked public outrage against police brutality and what many see as the police union’s continued disregard for justice.
This year, after much speculation over whether the FOP would boycott the parade, police officers ultimately worked as security for the event, while off-duty members took part in the parade itself. The threatened boycott was to have expressed members’ dissatisfaction with the city’s treatment of its employed officers as well as an intended show of support for FOP member Sgt. Eugene Hlavac-- who was fired by the city on charges of domestic violence. The members’ threats also stemmed from their stance on the treatment of the officers accused in the Miles case.
FOP President Dan O’Hara said members ultimately decided to participate to protect the businesses that were “expecting us to be there.” Off-duty officers handed out fliers listing their grievances with Pittsburgh’s treatment of them as “second-class” employees.
The FOP was founded in Pittsburgh in 1915 by two local policemen, with the intention of giving a voice to officers employed by the city. Today, the FOP has expanded into a national organization, claiming 325,000 members within more than 2,000 local chapters.
According to the National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project, there have been 2,541 reports of police misconduct between January and June 2010, with the largest portion coming from the use of “excessive force.” The average length of time these officers spent in prison was less than 14 months.
Advocates to end police brutality say there is a dangerous combination of political motive and observed codes of silence at work, allowing human rights violations to increase while further perpetuating a culture of fear and mistrust between the people and the law.
The Pittsburgh FOP offers such an example, advocates say. Despite the city’s firing of Hlavac, he was acquitted of domestic violence charges and has been ordered back to work. Despite their alleged brutality against Miles, officers Richard Ewing, David Sisak and Michael Saldutte have continued to draw their salaries while a federal investigation continues. As of today, 426 days have passed without resolution for Jordan Miles.
For more information on the Miles case, visit justiceforjordanmiles.com. For more on other local efforts, contact the Alliance for Police Accountability at (412) 628-5849.
The Anti-War Committee, a project of the Thomas Merton Center, is organizing a "Make Jobs Not Wars!" rally on March 26th.
So far, 28 groups have endorsed the rally, including One Hood, HRC/Fedup!, Western PA Coalition for Single-Payer Healthcare, the Green Party of Allegheny County, Pitt Students for Justice in Palestine, and several labor unions.
Rustbelt Radio spoke with Peter Shell, co-chair of the Anti-War Committee, about their agenda for the rally.
* usethis_PeteShell_interview.flac: (1:42)
That was Peter Shell, co-chair of the Anti-War Committee, on the upcoming rally and march "Make Jobs Not Wars!" The rally will begin at noon on Saturday, March 26th at 47th & Butler Street in Lawrenceville. For more information, visit pittsburghendthewar [dot] org
* R_MIC_080515-120852.wav: Prison Report 5:42
[ 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 other independent news from around the world.
Rustbelt Radio correspondent Annie DeFazio brings us a report from Madison, Wisconsin, where tens of thousands protesters have been occupying the state capitol for almost a month. They are protesting Governor Walker's anti-union legislation, and a state budget that slashes education and services. On March 9th, the Republican-dominated state congress, and the governor, passed the anti-union bill without participation from the minority Democrats. In response, even more people from across the country converged this weekend, with the crowd swelling to more than one hundred thousand people. Saturday's protest also included a large contingent of farmers, protesting cuts to their healthcare program. Here are some voices from the crowd:
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots. We'll be back after this musical break.
* JasiriX_billionares1.flac: (3:45)
That was ""American Workers Versus Multi-Billionaires" by local hip-hop artist Jasiri X, produced by Cynik Lethal, video directed by Paradise Gray. We turn now to the latest investigation by the Shalefields Grassroots Media Project on the impact of Marcellus drilling on sustainable farming in Pennsylvania.
You've been listening to coverage brought to you by the Shalefields Grassroots Media Project, a new independent media project working to amplify voices from the grassroots about the impacts of Marcellus Shale gas drilling. If you have news to share about drilling, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-444-FLOW.
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events. Send yours to info@INDYPGH. org
* Show your solidarity with the workers of Wisconsin at the RALLY TO SAVE THE AMERICAN DREAM, Tuesday, March 15th at 5:30 PM, at the US Steelworkers Building in Downtown Pittsburgh, at 60 Blvd of the Allies.
* The 2011 Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival will be held from Thursday, March 17th until Sunday, April 10th. Fifteen distinctive films will be presented in this year’s Faces of Migration festival, including selections from China, Greece, India, Israel, Korea, Mexico, Romania, Turkey and our very own Pittsburgh. More information from www.cmu.edu/faces
* The ACLU Greater Pittsburgh Chapter's Civil Liberties Discussion Series carries on with a discussion on the "School to Prison Pipeline", on Tuesday March 17th. The discussion will focus on the disturbing trend of policies and testing programs that funnel children out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Thursday, March 17th at 7pm in the Carnegie Library of East Liberty, on 130 Whitfield Street.
* "Ciclovida" or "Lifecycle" is a documentary about a group of subsistence farmers from Brazil who bicycle over 6,000 miles across the South American continent in search of natural seeds. Presented at Frick Fine Arts Auditorium on Thursday, March 17th at 6pm, by filmmaker Matt Feinstein.
* Pittsburghers for Public Transit are holding a March and Rally for Mass Transit in Squirrel Hill on Saturday, March 19th at noon. Although financially solvent, the Port Authority Board of Directors is enacting a 15% service cut and laying off over 200 unionized employees at the end of this month in anticipation of reduced state funding and another budget crisis in Fiscal Year 2011-2012. For more information, visit www.pittsburghersforpublictransit.org
* There will be an Anti-War march on the theme of Make Jobs Not Wars! on Saturday, March 26th in Lawrenceville. Organizers of the march demand all troops home out of Afghanistan & Iraq now; money for jobs, education and healthcare--not war; and an end to the racist harassment of Arabs and Muslims. At 12 noon, rally at 47th & Butler. At 1pm, we will march through Lawrenceville.
* As always, to find out about upcoming anti-gas drilling events and public hearings, check out the calendar at MarcellusProtest.org. Don't wait for your water faucet to become a cigarette lighter. If you're a smoker and you're tempted to think that sounds kinda cool, remember that the water in your toilet comes from the same place. If you one day find yourself catapulted through your bathroom roof toward the heavens with your pants around your ankles, remember that Rustbelt Radio would rather not have to say, I told you so.
[ Outro Music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WIUP Indiana, WNJR Washington, WLRI LanChester, and FRSC Santa Cruz.
Our hosts this week are [Bonnie Pfister] and [Emily Laychak] with contributions from [Mana Aliabadi, Lizzie Anderson, Seth Bearden, Annie DeFazio, Emily DeMarco, Jeremy Fleishman, Ben Grubb, HRC & HRC/Fedup!, Jessica McPherson, Nigel Parry, Bonnie Pfister, and Lynn Trizna. 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, and follow us on Twitter @pghimc. 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.