Support the Local Community Radio Act

support local mediaOn Thursday, June 21, Reps. Mike Doyle (D-Penn.) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) introduced the Local Community Radio Act (H.R. 2808 and S. 1675). Increased diversity of the airwaves may be just around the corner if the Local Community Radio Act passes congress.

Recent studies have shown that thousands of low power frequencies could be opened up, even in cities with dozens of radio stations, without interfering with existing signals. This bill will open up those frequencies to not-for-profit organizations in both urban and rural communities.

support local mediaOn Thursday, June 21, Reps. Mike Doyle (D-Penn.) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) introduced the Local Community Radio Act (H.R. 2808 and S. 1675). Increased diversity of the airwaves may be just around the corner if the Local Community Radio Act passes congress.

Recent studies have shown that thousands of low power frequencies could be opened up, even in cities with dozens of radio stations, without interfering with existing signals. This bill will open up those frequencies to not-for-profit organizations in both urban and rural communities.

Organizations like ours (Elohi Gadugi) could apply for a license and offer programming on indigenous rights, environmental responsibility, local indie music and literary arts, for example. Other organizations might offer programming in immigrant languages, or local talk radio.

Even with a great progressive station like KBOO, Portland could use more voices and more outlets for diverse opinion. And many cities have nothing like KBOO at all.

You can go to Expand LPFM to sign a petition and learn more about how to become active.

You can also send a message to your congressional representative, asking them to get onboard for this bill. Portland’s Rep. Earl Blumenauer could especially be a good ally in this effort.

Also see Free Press : Local Radio Now and Prometheus Radio Project to learn more about Low Power FM.

National Call-in week for Employee Free Choice Act

Call Senator Gordon Smith and tell him to support the act.

Portland, Oregon

I just received this in an email from Michael Doyle, who blogs at Chicago Carless:

As the Senate vote on the Act draws near, I thought you might want to know that the AFL-CIO and union activists across the country have kicked off a grassroots NATIONAL CALL-IN WEEK for Americans to call their senators and tell them to vote ‘Yes’ on the Employee Free Choice Act. A single, toll-free number allows supporters to send a message directly to their local senators. That number is: 1-800-774-8941.

There’s more information about the Call-In Week on these two AFL pages here (blog.aflcio.org/2007/06/05/absolutely-essential-to-join-call-in-week-for-employee-free-choice-act) and here (blog.aflcio.org/2007/06/04/take-part-in-call-in-week-for-employee-free-choice-act).

Call Senator Gordon Smith and tell him to support the act.

Support the Employee Free Choice Act

One of the most important labor reforms to emerge in years is The Employee Free Choice Act. The Employee Free Choice Act (H.B. 800) was recently passed in the House of Representatives by a comfortable margin. The action is now in the Senate where S. 1041 will soon be up for a vote. All Oregon progressives should get behind this bill, which will give workers more freedom to form unions, and negotiate a fair contract.

Portland, Oregon

One of the most important labor reforms to emerge in years is The Employee Free Choice Act. The Employee Free Choice Act (H.B. 800) was recently passed in the House of Representatives by a comfortable margin. The action is now in the Senate where S. 1041 will soon be up for a vote. All Oregon progressives should get behind this bill, which will give workers more freedom to form unions, and negotiate a fair contract.

You can help by contacting Senator Gordon Smith, and urging him to support S. 1041. If you prefer a ready-made online petition, you can find it here: Petition to support S. 1041.

Following is what the AFL-CIO has to say about the bill on their website.

America’s working people are struggling to make ends meet these days and our middle class is disappearing. The best opportunity working people have to get ahead economically is by uniting to bargain with their employers for better wages and benefits. Recent research has shown that some 60 million U.S. workers would join a union if they could.  

But the current system for forming unions and bargaining is broken. Every day, corporations deny workers the freedom to decide for themselves whether to form unions to bargain for a better life. They routinely intimidate, harass, coerce and even fire workers who try to form unions and bargain for economic well-being.   

The Employee Free Choice Act H.R. 800, S. 1041, supported by a bipartisan coalition in Congress, would level the playing field for workers and employers and help rebuild America’s middle class. It would restore workers’ freedom to choose a union by: 

  • Establishing stronger penalties for violation of employee rights when workers seek to form a union and during first-contract negotiations.
  • Providing mediation and arbitration for first-contract disputes.
  • Allowing employees to form unions by signing cards authorizing union representation.

The Employee Free Choice Act

Brecht, St. Patrick, and genocide

This week was Genocide Awareness Week in Portland, and Friday evening Patty and I attended a cultural program at the Unitarian Church which included Zimbabwean dancers, Native American poet Ed Edmo, and a young African man who was one of the “lost boys of Sudan.” All very informative and entertaining.

Also on tap that evening was a performance of something purporting to be Brecht’s Mother Courage. It was so hacked up and awful that we had to leave about 20 minutes into the play. While I wouldn’t normally disparage someone with the courage to attempt something like this, especially for a free presentation, I can’t help but comment, for no other reason that the slim chance that I might save someone an awful embarrassment in the future.

Attempting to stage a Brecht play without understanding Brechtian methodology is the very first mistake. Professional actors and directors should also avoid this, and most do. But even if this play were a standard Jo Schmo creation, this performance would have been awful. Instead of fine Brecht-Weill songs, sung by the actors, we were subjected to awful recorded versions of 60s anti-war songs, played at entirely inappropriate times, while the actors merely stood on stage, evidently immobilize by the ponderous music.

The only thing I can praise is the makeup and costumes.

Now, the real reason I sat down to write this article is that at one point in the evenings program, someone, I think the MC, said something to the effect that we could now go out and celebrate St. Patricks Day with a heightened awareness of genocide.

Now most people don’t know a lot about this guy Patrick who was sainted by the Catholics, so let me fill you in. America’s favorite excuse for drinking beer and celebrating Irishness was made a saint for doing God’s work of driving the original indigenous culture (which we might metaphorically call “snakes”) out of Ireland. In the same way we whitewash the genocidal history of George Washington, Andrew Jackson, and Christopher Columbus, St. Paddy has been transformed into a cuddly little leprechaun with a pint in his hand. Will the ironies never cease?