community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's show: Advocates rally at Harrisburg to say "We've had enough!" to new abortion service regulations; The University of Pittsburgh holds a panel discussion to present the pros and cons of Nuclear energy; The occupation of Mellon Green Park in Downtown Pittsburgh enters its second week; PA Immigration legislation at Building Changes Convergence in Pittsburgh and more in our local and global headlines.
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Rustbelt Radio for October 24, 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.
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We turn now to local stories.
On September 27, hundreds of advocates for women's health care rallied in Harrisburg, chanting "we've had enough!" in response to amendment proposals to State Senate Bill 732. The amendments, if passed, will make abortion care in Pennsylvania inaccessible to the point of potentially forcing the shut down of free standing abortion providing clinics. 95 percent of abortions in Pennsylvania are performed in free standing clinics, rather than in a hospital setting. The amendments extend regulations on ambulatory surgical facilities to cover abortion clinics. This will require clinics make expensive alterations to their facilities to comply. However, many medical professionals insist these changes are unnecessary for the well being of abortion patients, and not only unnecessary, but also dangerous as the changes will cause costs to increase, forcing women to seek unsafe alternatives. Examples of the regulations include operating room size, RN staffing requirements, automatic fire extinguishing and ventilation systems, and new elevator requirements. One of the many speakers at the rally, Sara Trompler-Gimple, told of her own abortion procedure experience, urging the crowd and representatives to support women's health care clinics, such as the Allentown clinic she attended which already complies with the existing regulations.
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Among the advocates at the rally were medical students, Planned Parenthood volunteers and staff, doctors, pro-choice state representatives, and staff members of women's health care facilities state-wide. Jen Boulange (bol-on-jay), the executive director of a clinic in Allentown, came to speak about the legislation to her representative. She sees abortion access not as an issue of political agenda, but an issue of the well being of the people of Pennsylvania.
Local group 'New Voices Pittsburgh, Women of Color for Reproductive Justice' were also present at the rally, represented by Latasha Mayes, who fired up the crowd with a call to action for the freedom of choice and subsequent safety where a woman's body is the subject of legislation.
For more information on reproductive rights and legislation, visit plannedparethood.org or newvoicespittsburgh.org
This story was produced by Emily Laychak with audio and interviews taken by Etta Cetera.
The weekend of October 13th saw Pittsburgh’s first Building Change Convergence. The Convergence, organized by the Three Rivers Community Foundation, made space for a multitude of local groups to present their work, discuss issues important to our region, and see local political art and entertainment-- all in hopes of making desired changes in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
One workshop entitled PA is not Arizona: Immigration Legislation and Opportunities for Action, was put on by the American Friends Service Committee, the ACLU and the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network or PIIN (pronounced “pin”).
First, Ngani Ndimbie, (pronounce: n-gah-nee n-dim-bee) a community organizer from the ACLU, on the types of immigrant-focused bills that are being debated in PA’s House and Senate currently:
Two people who are immigrants to this area, Roberto and Anna, then shared their stories, which made real the consequences of current practices against immigrants. Roberto shared being stopped by the police at a checkpoint with a valid international drivers license. The police called immigration on him, then said immigration wasn’t going to come because he was just one person. They then made him walk 3 miles to get home, and had his car towed.
Here is Roberto on the proposed legislation:
Anna is a recent high school graduate. Her father was arrested at a checkpoint, which separated her family for six months –. The separation was very hard for her and her mother – who became the sole provider for their family. Anna lives with the fear that this could happen again at any moment.
Anna is planning on going back to Mexico where she can afford to get her education, despite the sadness of being separated from her family.
She speaks to the reality that young, undocumented immigrants face when it comes to education choices:
For more on immigration in Pennsylvania, please contact the ACLU at info at aclu pa dot org.
This workshop was attended and recorded by Lizzie Anderson, who produced this piece.
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You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.
On October 19th, the University of Pittsburgh's Students for Nuclear Energy co-sponsored a town hall meeting called 'Grappling with Nuclear Power' in collaboration with the anti-nulcear collective Remembering Hiroshima, and several other student and environmental groups. The meeting included a panel of scientists to raise the pros and cons of this controversial energy source. The panelists expressing opposition to nuclear energy were Doctor Patricia Demarco, the director of the Rachel Carson Institute in the school of sustainability and environment at Chatham University, and Micheal Marriott, the executive director and chief spokesperson for the Nuclear Information and Resource Service in Washington D.C. The panelists in favor of nuclear energy were Dr. Larry Foulke, the founder of Pitt's nuclear engineering program, and Dr. Gregory Reed of Pitt's Power and Energy Initiative. When asked by the facilitator what three things the world should know about nuclear power, Mariotte warned the audience with the inherent dangers and still ultimately unknown effects in the event of a meltdown.
Dr. Reed defended nuclear energy, however, not as a primary source but as part of a comprehensive solution.
The world has seen nuclear catastrophe in the recent past with the Fukushima meltdown in Japan and the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine. Dr. Foulke still stands for nuclear energy; here he responds to the question of how much risk is acceptable.
Panelists also addressed the questions of risk versus demand, and reliability versus cost. Dr. Demarco presents an alternative to nuclear power.
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During their presentations, none of the panelists addressed nuclear power as it applies to warfare. Concerned by the absence of this relationship, Dr. Daniel Fine of the organization Physicians for Peace, demanded accountability. Dr. Foulke was quick to answer, but Marriott had the last word.
For more information, visit n-i-r-s.org or power.pitt.edu
This story was produced by Emily Laychak.
October 24th marks the tenth day of the occupation encampment in downtown Pittsburgh. It is part of a movement that has spread to over fifteen hundred other encampments in cities nationwide.
The occupation in Pittsburgh began with an October 15th march and rally with over three thousand people. The demonstrators eventually marched to the corner of Sixth and Grant Street, and set up camp in Mellon Green Park. The park was an easy target for a movement fed up with corporate influence, as it is owned by BNY Mellon or the Bank of New York Mellon.
BNY Mellon is currently being sued by New York Attorney General for overcharging pension funds by nearly two billion dollars. The bank also faces litigation in California, Virginia, Florida, and Massachusetts over similar issues, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
One of the first occupiers at the encampment, David Martin from the Hill District, says that they have a right to be there and that even though its a privately owned space, the park was partially financed through public funds.
The campground has become a central hub of activity, with passersbys stopping by the park throughout the day and campers staying over night. Nearly a hundred tents have popped up throughout the park, as well as tents dedicated to the campers' needs, including a medicine, food, media, and even an arts tent. In addition, portable toilets have been donated, and materials like tarps to deal with the rain.
Rustbelt Radio spoke with a couple of people at the park about their experiences so far.
Rustbelt spoke with Shawn, an Iraq veteran recently laid off of his job, who was helping out at the encampment.
Aside from the symbolic nature of the occupation, the campground is becoming a model for direct participatory democracy. All of the decisions made at the park are decided at public General Assembly meetings held every Tuesday, Thursday, and weekends at 7 P.M. The meetings use a leaderless decision making model called Consensus.
One of the participants at the occupation explains how this process works.
Many of the proposals presented at the general assembly are created by working groups. Working groups are loosely organized groups of people that formed to deal with different needs at the occupation. They meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
One of the first groups to form was the medic group. We spoke with one of the street medics there named Liza (Ly-za).
In addition to a medical tent, a large kitchen has been built that serves three meals a day to everybody in the park.
Rustbelt spoke with one of the cooks at the kitchen named Ren.
Ren explains that the kitchen is all volunteer run and is always looking for more volunteers eager to help out with the occupation.
Pittsburgh has a local chapter of Food Not Bombs, a leaderless organization that serves free food to the public all over the U.S. They have been operating in
Pittsburgh for many years and their support was vital in creating the food kitchen.
Another tent workstation has been set up to create media . Members of Pittsburgh's Independent Media Center, which Rustbelt Radio is a part of, have joined forces with other journalists to create a media working group to document and raise awareness about the occupation. They have created a website, 'Occupy Pittsburgh dot org,' and live streaming video of the occupation is being broadcast on the website.
Finally, an entertainment working group has formed and set up a tent for creating art and teaching workshops, as well as a stage for performances in the park. Also, a free library and reading area has also been added to the list of activities available at the occupation.
We now leave you with Liza (Ly-za), one of the street medics at Occupy Pittsburgh.
This story was produced by Seth Bearden with audio from Juliana Stricklen.
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
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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 [Emily Laychek ] and [Jessica McPherson ] with contributions from [Lizzie Anderson, Seth Bearden, Etta Cetera, Emily Laychek, Jessica McPherson, Juliana Stricklen, and Nigel Parry ]. This week's show was produced by Shawn Watson. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
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