Thursday, February 26, 2009

Environmental Action

Polluters are using two Supreme Court rulings and Bush era actions by the Environmental Protection Agency in an attempt to circumvent the Clean Water Act. This can result in the pollution of America's streams, lakes and rivers. Please support the "Clean Water Restoration Act". Go to and learn more.

Posted by D.J. Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Crisis in Somalia


A series of public forums on the current war and raising awareness on what some call the largest humanitarian crisis in Africa and the world.

Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009

4-6 pm

Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center,

3 Rutland Street (at corner of State St.)

Springfield, MA



FEATURING special guest Smith College professor KATWIWA MULE.

Video clips of past forums and live performance by members of the Walaalo! Somali Sisters Collective.

There will be POETRY and MUSIC from members of Walaalo! Collective

For more info visit our website at or contact Nicole: or 413-545-1972

The Crisis in Somalia forums are co-sponsored by the Center for Popular Economics,Western Mass. American

Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the MLK Community Center, and other partners with generous support from

the Mass Humanities.

See our website for updates & information –

WALAALO! Project is supported in part by the Womenʼs Fund of Western Massachusetts, and Mass

Humanities. This highly collaborative project would not be possible without the work of the

following partner organizations: the Center for Popular Economics, the International Language

Institute, Akeret Productions, Deanʼs Beans, and Gasoline Alley.

For info email Nicole Young at or call NWT at 413-545-1972.

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Homeless Nation gains attention

Last fall community and social media expert Chris Brogan gave a plus t0 Canadian-based Homeless Nation, a site I frequently go to for updates on homeless organizing.

You might have heard of the site. They won both the Canadian New Media Award (CNMA) and the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) Award for Excellence in New Communications Award for New Media Creation/Social Media Production, so it’s not like they’re going unnoticed. The organization has been around since 2003, providing information on services, events, missing people notices, and much more.

I found the fact that members of Homeless Nation can produce podcasts and video to be quite an interesting component. Imagine a world where your physical location is no longer fixed. You might have a place to stash parts of your belongings. You will certainly find ways to acquire temporary shelter, will learn how to find food, find a place to bathe, and the like.

Homeless Nation describes it goals as:

Our Goals

  • Build and strengthen communities, both virtual and actual, across Canada
  • Provide access to the Internet, media and training to Canada's homeless population
  • Encourage discussion and learning on social issues surrounding homelessness
  • Create dialogue between Canada's homeless and mainstream society to counter isolation and marginalization
  • Recycle and re-purpose technology for use by Canada's homeless communities
  • Break down stereotypes and barriers in our society
  • Community development uniting resources serving the homeless
  • Create a national collective voice by and for Canada's homeless population
  • Wouldn't it be great to have a site like this in the U.S.? Print Friendly and PDF

    Thursday, February 19, 2009

    From the Springfield Republican, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009

    NORTHAMPTON - Venturing into little-known legal territory, the defense for Jason W. Vassell asked a Hampshire Superior Court judge on Wednesday for the right to examine police and prosecution files for incidents involving race. Read more...

    'Racism' hinted in UMass case Print Friendly and PDF

    Wednesday, February 18, 2009

    Wednesday, February 18, 2009

    As President Obama is scheduled to announce his $50 billion foreclosure prevention plan today, we go to Minneapolis to speak with Cheri Honkala of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. The group is taking matters into its own hands and finding housing for homeless people in foreclosed and vacant homes. We also speak to Dwayne Cunningham, a homeless man who recently moved into a vacant home.

    Read on... Print Friendly and PDF
    Amy Goodman’s New Column: “Jailing Kids for Cash”
    As many as 5,000 children in Pennsylvania have been found guilty, and up to 2,000 of them jailed, by two corrupt judges who received kickbacks from the builders and owners of private prison facilities that benefited. The two judges pleaded guilty in a stunning case of greed and corruption that is still unfolding. Judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan received $2.6 million in kickbacks while imprisoning children who often had no access to a lawyer. The case offers an extraordinary glimpse into the shameful private prison industry that is flourishing in the United States.
    Listen to this Column Print Friendly and PDF

    Tuesday, February 17, 2009

    Springfield Libraries Under Fire Again By Maureen Turner

    Springfield Libraries Under Fire Again
    Supporters say proposed budget cuts would devastate the city's library system.

    Springfield's city libraries have been on a roller coaster ride in recent years, with dramatic lows (the shutting of three neighborhood branches by the Springfield Library and Museums Association in 2003) and thrilling highs (the citizens' movement that same year that led to the city taking control of the libraries from the SLMA).

    While not all the damage suffered under the SLMA has been undone—notably, Mason Square still doesn't have a full branch, six years after the SLMA secretly sold that neighborhood's branch building to the Urban League—the system has enjoyed a general sense of security since it was taken from the private organization and put under public control.

    But that sense of security has been shaken by recent budget recommendations put out by Mayor Domenic Sarno. Faced with deep cuts in local aid, the Sarno administration is looking to cut more than $4.5 million in city spending over the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

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    Tuesday, February 10, 2009

    20 years later, are we finally "families?"

    One of the very first flyers Arise ever made-- back in the day when we scratched off presstype letters that were never even-- was about a memo from Welfare that had fallen into our hands. The language in the memo was very strange-- instead of saying families, we were called "Assistance Units!!!"

    Well, we protested, we used it to organiz IOe other families on Welfare to illustrate how we were demeaned by the system.

    Today I got an email from the Mass Coalition for the Homeless about the eight TERRIBLE proposals the Department of Transitional Assistance is proposing that would limit families' access to emergency shelter. they all need to be opposed, and I've written about them in more detail on my own blog.

    At the very end of the email from MCH, two positive changes are mentioned. One removes barriers to shelter for children living with legal guardians who are not parents.

    This is the other: "Refer to families as "households" instead of "assistance units."
    What a long, strange trip it's been.
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    Sunday, February 8, 2009

    Bush Gone, More Children Get Healthcare

    Bush is Gone!
    Right-wing President George W. Bush is no longer in office. He can no longer veto the increase in the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The American people have repudiated his policies and elected President Barak Obama. President Obama has signed the SCHIP expansion. This is a complete reversal of government policy. Is the country beginning to catch up to the standards that civilized countries in Europe and elsewhere enjoy? We need a single-payer National Health Insurance Program for everyone.

    Obama signs into law expansion of SCHIP health-care program for children Chicago Tribune Story

    State by State SCHIPS database Insure Kids Now!

    Physicians for a National Health Program fact sheet What is Single Payer?

    (George W. Bush picture is in the Public Domain) Print Friendly and PDF

    Change slow to come on Police Review Board

    more on the Springfield Police Civilian Review Board from the Republican...

    Police review board criticized
    Sunday, February 08, 2009
    SPRINGFIELD - The police complaint review board meets at least twice a month and has handled more than 50 cases, according to its coordinator.
    "People do know about the Community Complaint Review Board," Denise R. Jordan, who is chief of staff to Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and also coordinates the review panel, said this week. "Otherwise, we wouldn't have cases to work on. They come to our office and they get the forms, so I'm confident that they are aware of it."
    Jordan will tell city councilors about the board's activity when she meets with the council's Civil Rights and Race Relations Committee Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall. The meeting comes in response to councilors' criticisms that the nine-member board, which is an advisory panel to the mayor, is secretive and ineffective. READ THE REST BY CLICKING THE LINK: Print Friendly and PDF

    Sunday, February 1, 2009

    Obama’s green plan must include Native Americans

    I was skipping through my email this morning and this caught my attention. Winona La Duke is a great activist/writer/leader among so many. I hope Washington will hear the voices of our past, present & future in the words of native americans like Winona today.

    Obama’s green plan must include Native Americans
    By Winona LaDuke, January 31, 2009
    To accomplish the green energy goals he talked about in his inaugural address, President Obama must work with Native Americans.
    “Each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet,” the president said, vowing that “we will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.”
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