PEACES
compiled by Jessica Maxwell

“We Didn’t Vote for Him”
Tom Bihn, a Washington state-based company that manufactures and sells bags around the world, recently made headlines due to an inside label used on some of its bags. Washing/care instructions are printed in French as well as English. The French version, however, contains an additional phrase which translated means: “We are sorry that our President is an idiot. We didn’t vote for him.”

As a result of its popularity, you can now purchase T-shirts featuring the “French label.” All profits from sales of this shirt will be donated to the Seattle Vet Center to benefit their Homeless Vet Program.
<www.tombihn.com>.

It’s about the Oil!

The Traprock Peace Center worked to get this billboard on I-91 S (before exit 21) in Western Massachusetts, a highway with lots of daily commuter traffic. <www.traprockpeace.org>. Photo: Sunny Miller.

Air America

Air America, a new talk radio project, hit the airwaves on March 31. It made its debut in Chicago (WNTD-AM 950), Los Angeles (WBLA-AM 1580), and New York (WLIB-AM 1190), featuring programs such as “Morning Sedition,” “The O’Franken Factor” with Al Franken, “Unfiltered” with Chuck D, and “The Majority Report” with Janeane Garofalo. Other major cities are now also carrying Air America.

Some leftists criticize Air America for being too supportive of the Democratic Party. The O’Franken Factor recently featured an interview with filmmaker Michael Moore. When Al Gore called in during the show, Moore apologized for backing Nader in the 2000 elections. Air America has also been criticized for its lack of racial diversity – most of its programs feature white hosts even though most of its target markets have large African American populations. Air America seeks to counterbalance the flood of rightwing talk shows now ruling the airwaves.
For streaming webcast: <www.Air AmericaRadio.com>.

Outsource the CEO
Kevin Danaher and Jason Mark, longtime activists for corporate accountability, recently announced their decision to become corporate consultants and, “give up our placards and trade them in for some PowerPoint presentations.”

Their satirical, yet plausible, prospectus continues: “We can show you how, by firing a single individual, you can save millions of dollars….The economics are clear: If a job can be done equally well somewhere else for less money, then it should be sent abroad. Our consulting firm takes this concept to the next logical step by outsourcing all the way to the top of the corporate ladder.…If it makes sense to increase profits by outsourcing skilled labor, let’s save big money by outsourcing the most uncompetitive worker in the US corporate hierarchy—the CEO.”

Read the full text of Danaher and Mark’s statement at: <www. alternet.org>.

“Iraq is Millions of Miles Away”
Those ignorant words were spoken in court by the prosecutor in summarizing her case against Danny Burns, Peter DeMott, Clare Grady, and Teresa Grady, the “St. Patrick’s Day Four.” The four were charged with felony criminal mischief for throwing blood inside a military recruitment office in Ithaca in March 2003 while protesting the looming US invasion of Iraq.

Their 12-person jury was unable to reach a verdict after deliberating from noon on Monday, April 12 until almost 9 pm the next day. Judge Sherman declared a mistrial and gave the defendants until April 30 to submit any motions, including a motion to dismiss in the name of justice. It’s not clear as we go to press whether the prosecution will retry the case.

Public Affairs
The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University was recently ranked the number one graduate school of public affairs in the US by US News and World Report. Maxwell made local headlines in March for hiring retired four-star general Montgomery Meigs. Is there a connection between Maxwell’s prestigious ranking and its predilection for hiring high ranking military officials?

Two SU student groups are working to sever Maxwell’s military connections. In an open letter, the Student Peace Action Network and Student Environmental Action Coalition state: “The billions of dollars spent to enforce the United States’ position as a world superpower would be better used for long neglected social programs and services. The exclusive National Security Studies Program in the Maxwell School trains senior military officials to further the war machine. The Newhouse School of Journalism at SU trains military technicians in propaganda at the Military Motion Media Studies Program and the Military Photo Journalism Program. The University’s contracts with military programs connect us to the military and its operations against our will.”
<http://students.syr.edu/span/campusmilitary.htm>.

Small Victories Feel Good
For several years, the Syracuse City government pledged future federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds as collateral for a number of “economy-boosting” business loans. Well...the plans went bust and a host of housing, youth, disability support and other community programs were informed in March that their anticipated CDBG grants would be reduced or eliminated. Local CDBG officials denied a link between loan payback and grant loss despite local newspaper stories to the contrary.

The community rallied, and in response to letters, calls, and a crowd-filled public hearing before the city common council, many of the grant losses were restored. The council also decided that future connections between loans, payback arrangements, and community grants, as well as budget increases for the city’s development office would need council scrutiny and approval rather than decisions being made solely by the mayor’s office. Hoorah for responsive government.