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Green Ejected For Collecting Signatures; Suburbs May Be Hazardous To Your Health

by Tompkins County Green Party Wednesday, Apr. 30, 2003 at 2:29 AM

Green news and opion updated daily

Unexploded Bombs Killing Dozens in Northern Iraq

Don't Count on Democrats to Stop War

Green Activist Ejected For Collecting Signatures

Greens Urge Repeal of 'Rave Act' Legislation.

GM Microbes Invade North America

Suburbs: Hazardous To Your Health

ACLU Sues FBI Over "No Fly" List

Carolyn Peterson Seeks Green Endorsement

Eric Lerner Seeks Green Endorsement

Death By DNA Shuffling

New York Times plays down anti-war opinion

Bush's War Against the Environment

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Unexploded Bombs Killing Dozens in Northern Iraq
Unexploded ordnance (UXO) in northern Iraq is killing and maiming dozens of people every day. "It is an absolute emergency," Sean Sutton, the information manager with the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), told IRIN from As-Sulaymaniyah in northeastern Iraq.

"In the short term, this is a horrendous problem, unequalled anywhere else in the world," he said, "because children are playing with stockpiles of unexploded ordnance left by Iraqi forces within towns, and on their outskirts, in military and police buildings and schools."

It is believed that following the first days of fighting in the region, the Iraqi army command structures and control broke down, leading to little or no communication between the soldiers.

They pulled back into towns to prepare for a defensive stand, but then abandoned the fight when no orders were being received from superiors. Most of them then dissolved into local communities, or fled, leaving huge stockpiles of arms behind them.


Don't Count on Democrats to Stop War
by Ben Manaski, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States

As the Pentagon shifts from the brutal violence of invasion to the perilous mire of occupation, many in the peace movement are taking stock. Activists are asking, "What worked?" One response: Building an independent and aggressive peace movement. "What didn't?" Reliance upon the Democratic Party leadership. "What should we do next?" Electorally speaking, we must learn to build the peace vote across all party and social lines.

Let's begin with reliance upon the Congressional Democrats. What do they say for themselves?

"Never again will the Democrats have to answer to the charge, 'We didn't know what you stood for or what you were willing to fight for.' " So spoke House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA), sometimes characterized as an anti-war Democrat, on March 13th, in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations. One week later, she joined all but 38 members of her party in voting in favor of HR104, a resolution expressing support for the invasion of Iraq.

That Pelosi should speak one way one week, and vote another the next, is unfortunately unsurprising. Her track record is not stellar. On September 14th, 2001, she voted with all but one member of her party to authorize the invasion of Afghanistan. On October 25th, 2001, Pelosi voted to enact the treacherous PATRIOT Act. In each of these votes, the vast majority of congressional Democrats joined Pelosi.


Green Activist Ejected For Collecting Signatures
The Green Party of St. Louis has joined the LEADERS OF the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression, the St. Louis Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and the Coalition Against Public Funding for Stadiums in criticizing the behavior of a Forest Park Community College Police Officer Dixon, who ejected Dave Sladky from campus on April 13, 2003 during a talk by Ralph Nader.

The Green Party has called for Officer Dixon to be dismissed and for Forest Park Community College to apologize and recognize the right to free speech on campus.

Officer Dixon's stated reason for his action was that Sladky was seeking signatures on a petition for a ballot item. The Green Party says that this is unconstitutional and a violation of the Community College's own policy. The ballot item would prevent county funds from going towards a new baseball stadium. Since several organizations were collecting names of interested people at the same time Sladky was, the action of Officer Dixon was a blatant violation. A statement by Sladky is included below. Also included is the College's policy on speech, which shows that Sladky was acting within its bounds.


Greens Urge Repeal of 'Rave Act' Legislation.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Greens responded with outrage to the news that the U.S. Senate passed the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act (the "Rave Act"), which targets concert promoters, event organizers, nightclub owners, and the owners of arenas, stadiums, hotels, and motels for drug charges if any illegal drugs were used on the premises -- even if they made a good faith effort to prevent drug use.

The Rave Act legislation was passed after Sen. Joe Biden (D.-Del.) attached it to an unrelated piece of legislation, the "Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today Act of 2003" or PROTECT Act to establish a system of measures in the event of child abduction. The amendment was inserted quickly, with no public discussion. President Bush is expected to sign it shortly.

"By threatening concert promoters and venue owners with drug charges even if they had nothing to do with the sale or use of illegal drugs, the Rave Act will suppress youth culture, including popular and non-mainstream music and art," said Kirstin Marr, media coordinator for the Colorado Green Party.


GM Microbes Invade North America
by Prof. Joe Cummins

A number of GM microbes are being widely deployed since their first release six years ago.

Sinorhizobium meliloti is a bacterium added to soil or inoculated into seeds to enhance nodule formation and nitrogen fixation in the roots of legumes. It was released for commercial production in 1997.

The other commercial GM microbes are designated as bio-pesticides. These include GM Agrobacterium radiobacter k1026, used to prevent crown gall disease in fruit and vegetable plants, and Pseudomonas fluorescens modified with a number of different Cry delta-endotoxin genes from different subspecies of Bacillus thruingiensis (Bt). The modified P. fluorescens cultures are killed by heat pasteurization and provides a persistent biopesticide preparation that degrades much slower in sunlight than Bt.

Neither the people selling nor those using the preparations are necessarily aware that the microbes are genetically modified, however. Even organic farmers may be using them inadvertently.


Suburbs: Hazardous To Your Health
By Martha T. Moore; USA TODAY

Why don't Americans walk anywhere?

Old answer: They're lazy. New answer: They can't.

There is no sidewalk outside the front door, school is 5 miles away, and there's a six-lane highway between home and the supermarket.

Many experts on public health say the way neighborhoods are built is to blame for Americans' physical inactivity -- and the resulting epidemic of obesity.

The health concern is a new slant on the issue of suburban sprawl, which metro regions have been struggling with for a decade. These health experts bring the deep-pocketed force of private foundations and public agencies into discussions about what neighborhoods should look like.

The argument over whether suburbs are bad for your health will hit many Americans precisely where they live: in a house with a big lawn on a cul-de-sac.


ACLU Sues FBI Over "No Fly" List
SAN FRANCISCO -- Saying that federal officials violated privacy and public information laws, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California today filed a federal lawsuit challenging secret "no fly" and other transportation watch lists. In papers filed with the court, the ACLU said that at least 339 passengers have been stopped and questioned at San Francisco International Airport since September 2001.

"At the San Francisco airport alone, hundreds of passengers were stopped or questioned in connection with the so-called ‘no fly’ list," said Jayashri Srikantiah, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California. "If that number is any indication, it is likely that thousands of individuals at airports across the country are being routinely detained and questioned because their names appear on a secret government list."

Filed in federal district court here, the ACLU lawsuit follows two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act requests filed in the last five months. The ACLU said the lawsuit was necessary because the government has refused to confirm the existence of any protocols, procedures or guidelines as to how the "no fly" lists were created or to detail how they are being maintained or corrected and, importantly, how people who are mistakenly included on the list may have their names removed.


Carolyn Peterson Seeks Green Endorsement
Carolyn Peterson is one of two candidates seeking the Green endorsement for Mayor in Ithaca. The following account is derived from notes from our April 16, 2003 meeting. Carolyn Peterson ran for City Council (and won) on the Green line in 2001.

The Meeting began around 7pm with a synopsis of the last meeting the Green Party held with Carolyn, and a review of her community activist experience here in Ithaca.

A resident of Ithaca for 29 years, Carolyn began her activism with issues concerning student housing and children by organizing on the Cornell campus for a play center for families with young children located at North Campus Union. In 1978 Carolyn moved downtown and her community involvement continued through volunteer work at the Community Self Reliance Center which was the headquarters for Ecology Action of Tompkins County, Citizens Concerned about Route 96, Citizens Concerned About Nuclear Power, and GreenStar board meetings. Through these activities Carolyn was involved with the first recycling efforts making the first volunteer rounds to pick up recyclables and scrap processing of metals. Carolyn continued her environmental activism with Environmental Issues in 1979-1980 with the Anti-Nuclear movement, playing a large role in passing a resolution to prohibit the transport of nuclear waste through the Ithaca community. A campaign with the Sierra Club fought for similar transportation bans in counties throughout New York State.

In 1983 Carolyn first ran for Common Council in the 5th Ward as a resident of the Fall Creek Neighborhood where she served two terms for a period of 8 years. During that time she worked vigorously to promote (1) Human Services (2) Improve Access to Day Care (3) and, on the Charter and Ordinance Committee, promoted resolutions on such issues as controlling smoking in public places and vehicles idling.


Eric Lerner Seeks Green Endorsement
Eric Lerner is one of two candidates seeking the Green endorsement for Mayor of Ithaca. The following notes are from a April 16, 2003 interview

Why are you running for mayor?

As the ripple effects of Bush's war (for example, in terms of erosion of civil liberties, and budgetary constraints) reach Ithaca, Lerner would like to be in City Hall to resist the impact. Lerner also believes Ithaca should make sustainable development a goal, and is committed to more open and participatory City government.

How do you feel about the current development in the immediate vicinity of the Commons?

Lerner feels that the city basically has the right idea here--new development should be at the urban core and not at the margins--but that the execution is poor: there is too much unnecessary conflict surrounding the current development, because the planning process was not open enough. If the process had been more inclusive, people would feel better about the outcome.


Death By DNA Shuffling
by Mae-Wan Ho

Willem P.C. Stemmer of Affymax Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy Science in 1994, describing a technique for rapidly shuffling and recombining DNA in the laboratory that appears to generate recombinant proteins with greatly improved performances.

According to Stemmer, computer simulation studies had demonstrated the importance of recombining segments of genes in evolution, rather than single base changes. To put this into practice, he devised a method for reassembling genes from random gene fragments in the test tube.

The DNA of the gene is digested with the enzyme deoxyribonuclease 1 (DNAse 1) into random 10 to 50 bp (base-pair) fragments. These fragments are heated up to separate the two strands and made to re-anneal (pair up again) in the presence of a DNA polymerase, an enzyme that synthesize DNA.

The separated strands of DNA pair up according to complementary base sequences in homologous DNA (DNA with similar base sequences from the same species or related species); and a shorter sequence paired to a longer one will ‘prime’ the synthesis of DNA using the longer sequence as a template, until the complete double stranded DNA is restored. With fragments re-annealing in a random way, the DNA polymerase can switch templates many times in the course of reassembly, and that is how different recombinants are generated.


New York Times plays down anti-war opinion
by Jim Naureckas

In a breakdown of major U.S. newspapers' positions on the Iraq issue before the invasion began, the trade magazine Editor and Publisher (3/14/03) labeled the New York Times "strongly dovish," based on its stance in a March 9 editorial: "If it comes down to a question of yes or no to invasion without broad international support, our answer is no."

But in its news coverage in the period before the invasion began on March 19, the New York Times played down opposition to war and exaggerated support for George W. Bush's Iraq policy--in ways that ranged from questionable to dishonest. (For earlier examples of the Times' minimization of peace activism, see Extra!, 11-12/01, 7-8/02; FAIR Action Alerts, 10/2/01, 5/30/02, 9/30/02, 10/28/02.)

Take, for example, the March 14 article by Kate Zernike, headlined "Liberals for War: Some of Intellectual Left's Longtime Doves Taking on Role of Hawks." The article argues that "as the nation stands on the brink of war, reluctant hawks are declining to join their usual soulmates in marching against war." It cites seven people by name as "somewhat hesitant backers of military might"--every one of whom was actually on the record as having supported the 1991 Gulf War.


Bush's War Against the Environment
By Eric Johnson, Coast Weekly, April 18, 2003

Three years ago, in April of 2000, President Bill Clinton created the Giant Sequoia National Monument in the southern Sierra Nevada, 250 miles east of here. The declaration was meant to protect a forest that includes the world's oldest and biggest trees – a place that had been a battleground for a century.

Ever since John Muir trekked in the Sierra, conservationists had fought to protect the Sequoia, battling timber companies that saw the ancient giants as so much standing lumber. Clinton's move seemed to put an end to the fight – it mandated that commercial logging in the forest would cease.

Late last year the Bush administration re-ignited hostilities by proposing a plan to allow widespread logging in the Monument, home to nearly half of the remaining groves of Sequoia.


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