Friday, June 17, 2005

Another State Falls Prey to the Junk Food Lobby

by Michele Simon, Commondreams

"Ironically, the most common argument made against such bills is that schools should maintain "local control" over nutrition policy. But Governor Rell's reasoning is hard to swallow. She invoked the word "local" no fewer than 16 times in her 3-page veto message. However, many school policies are made at the state and even national level. Perhaps the governor has heard of President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" policy?"

Brushed off in Vermont

By Brian McGrory, Boston Globe

"You read that right: Men and women making maybe $15 an hour who had dedicated their working lives to a bristle manufacturing company might have to give their paltry severance back to the multimillionaire Bostonians who are shutting down their plant. Hold on: I've got Charles Dickens calling on Line 1."

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Saying Goodbye to Marty Jezer

By Joyce Marcel - Commondreams

Joyce Marcel is a free-lance journalist who lives in Vermont and writes about culture, politics, economics and travel. She can be reached at

"I didn't know Marty then, although I knew about him - that he was a well-known left-wing writer, one of the hippest people of his generation, and one of those legendary early commune hippies who came to Vermont in the 1970s and stayed to make a life here.

Marty was no hippie caricature, though. He was a well-respected and much-loved contributor to the daily life of our community, an adept and knowledgeable political columnist, and the author of four books, one of which was made into a movie."

McLibel Opens June 10th

Cinema Libre Studio is proud to announce that MCLIBEL, the documentary about
Dave Morris and Helen Steel's monumental libel case versus McDonald's, premieres
in the US in San Francisco on June 10th.

Directed by Franny Armstrong, MCLIBEL is the story of two ordinary people who
took on McDonald's and won in what became the longest running trial in British
history and the biggest corporate PR disaster.

In the late 80's, as members of London Greenpeace, the activists started handing
out "What's Wrong With McDonald's" leaflets that attacked many aspects of the
corporation's business practices specifically:
- Environmental abuse
- Deceptive ads
- Exploiting children
- Low wages
- Anti-union
- Bad working conditions
- Animal cruelty and,
- Heart disease

Soon afterwards, "McSpies" infiltrated the organization and shortly there
afterwards McDonald's sued five of the members. McDonald's offered a stark
choice: retract the allegations and apologize or go to court.

Steel and Morris determined they would not be bullied. "It just really stuck in
my throat to apologize to McDonald's," says Steel. "I thought it was them who
should be apologizing to society for the damage they do." They went to court,
defending themselves, and won.

MCLIBEL is not about hamburgers. It is about the importance of Free Speech now
that multinational corporations have become more powerful than countries.

Go To McLibel Website for more information.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Rutland: Town Meeting on Poverty

Last Saturday night Congressman Bernie Sanders sponsored a town meeting to discuss the issue of poverty. It had been billed as an opportunity for citizens to gather and and discuss the increasingly troubling problem of poverty. Though there were many competing activities me and my family could have chosen on perhaps the most beautiful weekend of the year, we along with about 60 others wanted to dialogue about the forgotten issue of poverty in America.

There seemed to be a cross-section of the community represented with low-income organizations present as well as concerned citizens and people who are poor. For my family and I hearing from many people in our community about the issue of poverty was the most inspiring. We were also lifted by the hopefulness of Bernie Sanders and by his demands to us to " not give up" and to "fight the good fight."

As most of us are aware, Bernie is likely to become the next United States Senator from Vermont as Jim Jeffords steps down. Bernie continues to appear the strong populist that he is being very approachable, eating supper that night with us and not displaying the trappings of his job with our community. So many of the people sharing our table talked about how lucky we are to have Bernie representing us asking the question " why can't other politicians represent the needs of our most vulnerable citizens like Bernie does?"

Perhaps the most touching dialogue that night was by a young woman from Holland who married a US citizen and lives in Vermont. She said that when she came to America she became quite freightened and asked the question " what is going on over here." She talked about the supports for the citizens of her country as being very different from the US and that there were certain rights and expectations that we do not seem to share over here. In a heartfelt discussion, she said she is torn whether or not to have children in the US or to return to Holland because of the many social problems we are creating for the people of our country. Bernie loudly asked her to stay and work towards making America a better place.

Continued next week.........

'Writing the History of the Revolution is Now Up to You'

by Bill Moyers - This is the prepared text of the speech Bill Moyers gave at Take Back America: The Conference for America's Future, sponsored by the Institute for America's Future, in Washington on Friday, June 3, 2005

The Wall Street Journal is no Marxist sheet, either, although its editorial page can be just as rigid and dogmatic as old Stalinists. The Journal's reporters, however, are among the best in the country. They're devoted to getting as close as possible to the verifiable truth and describing what they find with the varnish off. Two weeks ago a front-page leader in the Journal concluded that "As the gap between rich and poor has widened since 1970, the odds that a child born in poverty will climb to wealth - or that a rich child will fall into middle class - remain stuck….Despite the widespread belief that the U.S. remains a more mobile society than Europe, economists and sociologists say that in recent decades the typical child starting out in poverty in continental Europe (or in Canada) has had a better chance at prosperity." (Wall Street Journal, page one, May 13, 2005.)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Do Your Part, the Way Co-op America Does

by Ralph Nader

Co-op America's solar magazine whets your appetite for solar. The/ Quarterly/ has a useful list of what you can do solarwise from old knowledge known as thrift. Hang your clothes out to dry instead of firing up the energy wasteful clothes dryer, for example. It shows you how to visit existing solar homes ( ), tap state programs that give you a break if you install solar devices or systems. It takes you around the country and world where solar is being used for a wide variety of purposes efficiently.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Class in America: Two Elite Newspapers Tackle The Big Taboo

by Jennifer Ladd and Felice Yeskel -

Class? There is no word or concept that is more off-limits in our boundless tell-all culture right now than class. As a society, we have rapidly progressed over several generations in developing a common language to talk about differences of gender, race, and sexual orientation. Newspapers and TV interview shows explore every nook and cranny of American life through the lens of diverse forms of oppression and difference such as aging, disability, and mental illness. Almost everything…but class.