Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Third Party Candidates Debate

Third Party Candidates to Debate 'Real Priorities' at Vanderbilt University

9.30.08 Nashville, TN: The Coalition for October Debate Alternatives (CODA) announced today the Presidential Candidate's Alternative Debate to take place October 6th, in Nashville, Tennessee. The debate is open to all third party candidates for President in the United States as well as the major party nominees. The debate, which is scheduled to take place on the campus of Vanderbilt University on Monday, October 6th will feature several Presidential Candidates who have confirmed attendance including Brad Lyttle of the US Pacifist Party, Charles Jay of the Boston Tea Party, Frank McEnulty of the New American Independence Party and Brian Moore of the Socialist Party. The Constitution Party has also confirmed that Presidential Candidate Chuck Baldwin or Vice Presidential Candidate Darrell Castle will attend the event.

The debate, which is being organized by CODA has been in the making for several months and is scheduled to take place on Monday, October 6th at 7:00pm, one day prior to the Presidential Debates which are happening at Belmont University in Nashville on October 7th. CODA says that many of the Presidential candidates have been excluded from attending the Belmont debate.

In a recent release to the press CODA indicated that is was organizing the alternative debate because it believed that voters deserve to hear from all the candidates if they are going to make an informed choice at the ballot box, " While we want to hear what the major party candidates have to say on issues related to the war, health care, the economy, gas prices, the future direction of the military, civil liberties and the environment, we do not believe that most issues of concern to American voters will be touched by the Democrat-Republican debate. That is why we are organizing an alternative debate so that voters in Nashville, Tennessee and beyond may be informed of all their choices as they participate in America's electoral process."

The general public and the media is invited to attend this event, which will begin at 7pm on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. The moderator for the event will be Bruce Barry, a professor at the Owen School of Management at Vanderbilt.

Chris Lugo, of the Coalition for October Debate Alternatives, said that the Democratic and Republican candidates have also been invited to the event, but have not indicated an interest in attending, "We believe that voters should make a fully informed choice about who they vote for and we do not believe this is possible if they are only hearing from two candidates. We have invited the Barack Obama and John McCain in the interest of fairness, but we are intending to highlight this alternative debate as the most egalitarian possible event by including all the candidates and promoting this as an event to which everyone is invited."

Friday, September 26, 2008

ACORN Statement on Presidential Debate

On Friday, Sept. 26, ACORN President Maude Hurd released the following statement on the first Presidential debate:

Given the recent turmoil in our financial markets and the ongoing negotiations around a bailout package for Wall Street, it's not surprising that much of the debate focused on the current economic crisis, which was in many ways predictable. ACORN has been sounding the alarm for years as more and more deregulation stripped protections for consumers and basic safeguards of sound lending.

Senator McCain failed to acknowledge the trigger of this explosive crisis: predatory lending, which entrapped hundreds of thousands of homeowners into toxic mortgages they could not afford fueling record numbers of foreclosures. If Mr. McCain is unwilling or unable to acknowledge such facts, how is he suitable to lead our country out of the worst financial mess since the Great Depression?

Senator Obama acknowledged foreclosures as the root of the financial crisis and has pledged to help homeowners.

ACORN is calling on both candidates to support a bipartisan approach to a legislative solution that includes help for ordinary homeowners who are on the verge of foreclosure, and not just the big financial institutions. Specifically, any bailout proposal must include provisions that assist

struggling homeowners, including greater access to loan modifications and a change in the bankruptcy law to allow homeowners to restructure their mortgages in bankruptcy court as is allowed with vacation homes and yachts.

Ordinary taxpayers are being asked to bail out financial institutions that caused this crisis. If Main Street is footing the bill, it should also reap the benefits.

Victory for NoSpray Activists


Nashville, Tennessee – Judge Thomas W. Brothers ruled in Circuit Court (Docket #04C2963) on Wednesday that John Primm of the Metro Public Health Department breached his duties when he sprayed citizen Emmett Clifford with the pesticide Anvil 2+2 while spraying a Donelson neighborhood for mosquitoes on October 15, 2003. Judge Brothers stated that the department had a practice of turning off the spray when pedestrians or vehicles were visible near the truck during spraying and that this was wise. He added that it is clearly foreseeable that people would not want to be sprayed with a pesticide. John Primm was charged with the duty to shut off the spray and therefore he was found to have breached that duty and to be negligent in spraying Clifford with Anvil 2+2 twice.

Clifford testified that he was returning home when he spotted the flashing yellow lights of a vehicle stopped on the side of the road. By the time he realized that it was an insecticide spray truck, the fog had entered his vehicle through his open window. Immediately, his eyes and exposed skin began to burn and he gasped for breath. He was a couple of hundred feet from his house, so he parked in front of his house and jumped out. He stood in his front yard rubbing his eyes, coughing, gagging and gasping for air. As he did this, the spraying truck made an unexpected 180-degree turn and headed toward his home. Before he could get inside to safety, the truck passed by and sprayed Clifford with insecticide again.

Primm stated under oath that he had always turned off the spray when pedestrians or vehicles were near and the manufacturer of the pesticide suggested this practice during his annual trainings. The supervisor of the Pest Management Department, Brent Hager, also testified that it was the department’s practice to turn off the spray when pedestrians or vehicles were near.

Citizen Rachel Sumner took the stand and said she had attended a meeting at the Health Department in August, 2003. At this meeting, two Fisk Park residents notified health officials that a Metro driver had failed to shut off the spray when pedestrians were plainly visible on the sidewalk. She stated that Hager had identified the driver as Primm in an Open Records request.

Sumner said she also had obtained documents from the Health Department’s files in 2004 showing that Hager was notified about two separate incidents of pedestrian sprayings in a West Meade neighborhood on October 9, 2003 - one week before Clifford was sprayed. Hager identified Primm as the driver in one of those incidents. Photos were also produced during the trial showing Primm’s white Dodge Ram 4x4 with the spray on and a man in the front yard in a North Nashville neighborhood in 2006.

Clifford was awarded costs for his emergency room visits and court costs. Clifford's attorney Mary Leech stated that a quirk in the law precluded Mr. Clifford's treating physician from testifying about causation. Therefore, the Court was limited to the testimony of the Health Department’s toxicologist who testified that it was impossible for Anvil 2+2 to cause any injury or adverse reaction whatsoever despite the fact that the label clearly indicates that the pesticide can cause injury. However, Primm testified that he wears a face mask and gloves when he works close to Anvil 2+2. Medical proof of causation is required to recover the damages Mr. Clifford suffered from the spray. Leech added that her client is considering whether he will appeal the decision in order seek compensation for the injuries he sustained. The manufacturer of Anvil 2+2 settled with Clifford out of court.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Glendale Baptist Youth to Attend PeaceJam

Nashville, Tenn. August 30, 2008 --- Glendale Baptist Church of
Nashville, Tennessee (http://www.glendalebaptist.org) is sending three
youth and two adults to Los Angeles, California on September 11, 2008
to participate in the PeaceJam Foundation's Global Call to Action
Conference at Loyola Marymount University. Joining them will be a
fellow "PeaceJammer" from Columbia, Missouri, to complete the Glendale
group. The contingent will join seven Nobel Peace Prize winners and
three thousand teenagers from around the world.

PeaceJam is not new to the Glendale youth. They have attended three
conferences in Memphis, Tennessee, where they apprenticed with
President Jose Ramos-Horta of East Timor, Betty Williams of Ireland
and Rigoberta Menchu Tum of Guatemala. The Glendale youth have also
attended the PeaceJam Conference in Denver, Colorado, where they
presented their Global Call to Action project to President Oscar Arias
of Costa Rica and participated in a service project with Archbishop
Desmond Tutu of South Africa. A total of ten Nobel Laureates,
including The Dalai Lama, participated in the launch of The Global
Call to Action in Denver.

"What makes PeaceJam so amazing is that we are up close and personal
with some of the most experienced peacemakers in the world," said
Davis Gooch, a 17 year old Martin Luther King Magnet High School
senior. "We've been taught `Blessed are the peacemakers' at Glendale
and now we are learning just what that concept really means. We're
practicing our faith and making a difference," he said.

Jonas Hill, a 17 year old senior at The Ensworth School said, "Most
of the teenagers that participate in PeaceJam come with a school club
but we have established quite a reputation for being one of a few
churches and probably the only Baptist church in the entire world that
is involved."

"The concept of a Baptist Church being so deeply involved in world
peacemaking efforts may seem odd at first" said Thomas Conner,
Glendale's Minister of Youth. "But as you know, Martin Luther King,
Jr. was a Baptist minister and one of the greatest peacemakers ever.
We're trying to honor that Baptist heritage of peacemaking by speaking
out against injustice, learning `active nonviolent' practices and
being a church that offers unconditional love to the poor, the
oppressed and the despised."

PeaceJam's Global Call to Action is a ten-year campaign intended to
inspire over a billion acts of service and peace. The specific areas
of the call address: equal access to water; ending racism and hate;
halting the spread of global disease; eliminating extreme poverty;
social justice and human rights for all; rights for women and
children; restoring Earth's environment; controlling the proliferation
of weapons; investing in human security; and breaking the cycle of

Rachel White, a 17 year old senior at Harpeth Hall said, "This year,
our Global Call to Action Project touches on three areas- human
security, violence and human rights. When we go to Los Angeles, we
will speak out about the unacceptable policies that our own government
has maintained against the people of Cuba for 50 years. Three of the
four PeaceJam team members and both of our adult leaders have been to
Cuba as part of a peaceful mission trip and we do not understand why
the US government insists on denying families from seeing each other
but once every three years, why essential goods and services cannot be
traded between our countries or why educational and religious
institutions in the US cannot freely enjoy peaceful relations with
their counterparts in Cuba. This is wrong and not going to bring about
peace in the world if the US government intends to be a bully to the
Cuban people." As part of their project, the teenagers have launched a
website called www.peacewithcuba.com.

Controversial topics such as US-Cuban policies are not unusual for
the Glendale youth. Their last Global Call to Action project on
abolishing the death penalty in Tennessee was presented to Nobel
Laureate Rigoberta Menchu Tum in February 2008. "Many of the adult
leaders from the schools thanked us for speaking about the death
penalty issue," said Conner. "Luckily, because there are few church
groups involved with PeaceJam, we actually have the freedom, and I
would argue the responsibility, to speak out about unjust matters. It
can be difficult for school clubs to address controversial topics. I
am very proud that our teenagers are being the voice of a church that
speaks about peace, justice, mercy, compassion and love. We look for
ways to join our voice with others regardless of their religious faith
or the secular nature of the forum."

Glendale youth are particularly anxious to see Jose Ramos-Horta, the
president of East Timor who was shot twice in February 2008 in a
assassination attempt and failed coup. President Ramos-Horta survived
the attack that hospitalized him in intensive care in an Australian
hospital for five weeks. He plans to attend the conference in Los
Angeles. "We're very glad that he's alive and still bravely leading
his people," said Rachel. "He has demonstrated a lot of grace and
leadership since the assassination attempt and it's that much more
inspiring to me to have the opportunity to be with him again and to
hear how he stays committed to peacemaking even as a victim of deadly
violence. I am sure it will be an emotional reunion when he arrives at

Along with Conner, the Reverend April Baker, co-pastor at Glendale
Baptist Church, will accompany the teenagers to PeaceJam.

Glendale Baptist Church is a welcoming and affirming Baptist
congregation affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists, the Association
of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, the Baptist Peace Fellowship of
North America and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. To learn more
about Glendale Baptist Church, visit http://www.glendalebaptist.org or
call 615-269-0926. To learn more about the PeaceJam Foundation or the
Global Call to Action, visit http://www.peacejam.org or call
303-455-2099. Glendale Baptist Church is participating in PeaceJam
through BRIDGES, a Memphis, Tennessee based non-profit organization.
For more information about BRIDGES, visit http://www.bridgesusa.org or
call Dana Wilson Montenegro at 901-260-3790.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Green Jobs Rally

Green Job Seekers and Ideas Come To Nashville

Nashville, TN. A collaboration of national and local environmental organizations are coming together this upcoming Saturday, September 27th, 2008, from 1 – 4pm to rally for Green Jobs, Businesses and Services in Middle Tennessee.

The event will take place at the George W. Carver Food Park, 10th Ave. South and Gale Lane in South Nashville. "Green industry, entrepreneurialism and cottage businesses" are achievable goals which will help those most in need of quality employment in an upcoming sustainable economy" says Sizwe Herring, Director of EarthMatters Tennessee.

Gateway 2 Heritage Leadership Team, based at Tennessee State University, is a co partner with this event. Gateway students joined EarthMatters in a trip to Memphis this past April at Green for All's "Dream Reborn" conference. Here, over 1,100 primarily African American and other minority environmental leaders came together to promote, plan and plot this new green economy.

Charles Brown, President of Gateway 2 Heritage states

"The conference was an exciting an motivating experience proving that our movement is wide-spread. This rally is a greater extension of what we learned in Memphis and will further our work here in Middle Tennessee."

Oakland, CA based Green For All founder Van Jones, who is originally from Jackson, TN, spearheads this movement and has met with the Clinton, Bush and Obama campaigns on Green Job training and legislation.

Greenpeace's Global Story Telling Tour will be in Nashville at the event. This coast to coast outreach boasts of a truck featuring 256 square feet of solar panels. The stop is part of a nationwide tour that gives Americans an opportunity to show their commitment to ending the crisis and demand action from Congress. Video petitions collected will be sent to local representatives, insisting on their support of green jobs awareness, funding and legislation as part of a plan for global warming solutions.

Donald Plunk, local environmental organizer says "It's exciting to see people from different organizations in the community come together in support of local global warming solutions in Nashville. Green jobs are a real, local investment in people, the economy, and our climate. We need to let our candidates for Congress know that these are issues we are thinking about as the election approaches."

The day's activities will also include live music, motivational speeches, kid's activities and tours of the community gardens, composting land sculpture and the DeFord Bailey Tribute Rose Garden, all on-site.

East Nashville Fall Feast

Local farmers, artisan food producers and craftspeople will all come together for a Fall Fest Celebration at the East Nashville Farmers Market on Wed., October 1, 4-7 PM. In addition to the regular list of local farmers and producers, the Fall Fest market will also feature special food booths with Kettle Corn, Tommy's Sausage, Portland Brew East, baked goods, apple cider and more.

Some of the vendor demonstrations will include Peaceful Pastures' spinning, ASK Apparel doing natural dying with plants, and West Wind Farms will be smoking and serving West Wind Farms Berkshire pork, as well as woodworking and felting.

In addition to the above demonstrations, there will also be a wide variety of activities for the kids, including pumpkin decorating, face painting, and a petting zoo from Columbia's Loving Touch Farm. More local craftspeople to be announced. Music will be provided during the festivities by The Howling Brothers.

Regular farm vendors include Delvin Farms, Madison Creek Farms, Paradise Produce, Timbertop Farm, Peaceful Pastures, Legacy Tea Blends, The Moose is Loose, Twin Forks Farm, Spring Haven Organic Farm, and West Wind Farm. There will be a diverse mixture of products on including a variety of fall greens, herbs, shittake mushrooms, apples, pumpkins, winter squash, sweet potatoes, grass fed and pastured raised poultry, beef, pork, lamb, eggs, and cheese. There will also be organic clothing, candles and more. Other vendors include Angel Radiance, Alchemy of Sol, Spiral Market Dyeworks and ASK Apparel.

The Turnip Truck will also be offering store samplings on their front patio and discounts in the store.

The East Nashville Market's website, www.eastnashvillemarket.com, is online and includes market updates, a calendar of events, list of products and farmer profiles and links to participating farmer's websites.

WED., October 1
4-7 PM
The Turnip Truck Market

WHAT: Fall Fest Celebration at East Nashville Farmers Market
WHERE: The Turnip Truck Market parking lot, 10th & Woodland St., East Nashville
WHEN: Wed., October 1, 4-7 PM

Killing the Mentally Ill Is No Solution

The death penalty has one so called social purpose and that is to deter prospective offenders from commiting any future crimes. Though this is questionable in itself, and debatable in more ways than one, what is more frightening is when we impose a death sentence on an individual who is mentally ill and who has diminished capacities to understand and process information; an individual who is unable to communicate, to abstract from mistakes and learn from experience, to engage in logical reasoning, to control impulses, and to understand the reactions of others.

Richard Henyard, whose execution date has been set for September 23, 2008 falls into this category. Recent research concerning emotional development points to the fact that Mr Henyard's mental and emotional deficits have produced a disability within him which is identical to mental retardation in its disabling features. This was not been taken into account by the court when imposing a death sentence on this man. At the time of the murder of both Jamilya, 7, and Jasmine, 3, Lewis, and the rape of their mother, Dorothy Lewis, evidence points to the fact that Henyard was sufferring from a neurological impairment which rendered his social and cognitive skills impaired. Yet the trial court chose to put little weight on these mitigating circumstances, downplaying the fact that at the time of the murder, the defendant was functioning at the emotional level of a thirteen year old and was of low intelligence; ignoring that the defendant had an impoverished upbringing. Limited importance on the fact that the defendant was born into a dysfunctional family.

Mr. Henyard was abandoned by his mother from the age of two months. Although she was physically present at times, she did not bond with Mr. Henyard or demonstrate any emotional connection with her child. Mr. Henyard’s impaired caregiving at infancy produced avoidant/disorganized attachment, which compromised his emotional maturity. He suffered from attachment disorganization and was subject to severe and chronic trauma.

Research indicates that emotional development and the ability to make emotional and social judgments is a skill that begins developing very early, as an infant, and is shaped by both neuropsychological (brain-based) factors such as nonverbal abilities, as well as early emotional environmental influence such as a maternal bond. Mr. Henyard's inability to adapt lies at the core of his capacity to function and to embrace the moral accountabily which is necessary to face the reasons which have brought his actions to warrant the death penalty.

The Defendant’s mental condition at the time of the offense bars the adoption of the death penalty under the rationale of Atkins, 536 U.S. 304 and Roper v. Simmons, 543. In effect the execution of a mentally ill inmate is deemed unconstitutional. The Eighth Amendment prohibits "excessive" sanctions on people suffering from mental illness to the same degree as mr. Henyard, who have diminished capacities and personal culpablity. Why then is this man facing imminent execution?

At the time this crime was commited Henyard, who was just 18, was associating with Alfonza Smalls, his codefendant in this case, barely 14 years old. Tipically, Henyard's pattern seemed to be to seek out younger children as companions due to his lower IQ and "mental" age of 13/14 in order to avoid harassment from children his own age. He was functioning within a background which offered him no support, one in which he chose to be a follower rather than a leader. He displayed a very withdrawn character while growing up, and other than a neglectful mother who rarely accepted her responsibilities and who exposed him to her own petty theivery, there was no significant role model in this boy's life to give him guidance. His overwhelming need to be accepted by others, his emotional abandonment are critical factors in the way this man's life evolved and how it shaped his actions. Records indeed indicate a long pattern of biological-based learning problems in early childhood, traumatic neglect, and

emotional impoverishment which combined, impacted his character in a way which caused him to function at a substantially subnormal level. At the time of the crime, Mr. Henyard was acting with the mind of a 13 year old. How is it possible to justify the death sentence with such an individual? One must seriously question whether a man with this sort of disability is fully able to assess potential outcomes from different courses of action that present themselves to him.

In 2008 Jason Nawara who was housed in the same jail as Henyard's codefendant, sumitted an affadevit in which he testified that Smalls boasted more than once to having himself commited the killings, never implicating Henyard. Such testimony submitted during the penalty phase of the trial would in itself establish statutory mitigation that Mr. Smalls is more culpable than Mr. Henyard and/or that Mr. Henyard’s involvement was relatively minor in comparison to Mr. Smalls. This evidence could establish mitigation and confirm that Mr. Henyard was infact not the actual person who shot Jasmine and Jamilya. This alone merits consideration by the court. It again places doubt on how guilty Mr. Henyard truly is.

While Henyard's deficiencies do not warrant his exemption from criminal sanctions, Florida Support believes that killing this individual is not the solution. What needs to be emphasized is how important it is to take into account the whole framework of Richard`s upbringing, at both a social and psychological level together with the factors which lead this then child to participate in actions which required a level of moral understanding and social responsability well out of his reach. We are now equipped with more options to help individuals like this to coup and function. Killing Richard Henyard is not an option. He can be provided with the tools to live a fruitful life , one in which he can contribute positively to this society, and be of support to other victims. He can be equipped with a new found social consciouns and encouraged by the support of qualified people, step beyond the traumas of his past. With God's forgiveness, we can save a neglected life and help a lost soul to find his way back into the fold.

Today, Richard has a good rapport with Florida Support . He should be given the chance he has never had and recognition that he can function effectively if allowed to understand and deal with his own limitations. What purpose would there be in destroying another life when there is so much to show that Henyard was acting with deminished responsability at that time? Can we even really be sure that he ever committed the crimes he is accused of? There is doubt there too as to the part he played that night. With support and with guidance, the ghosts of his misgiven youth can be chased away. The imposition of the death penalty on a measurably severe mentally ill person, is nothing more than the purposeless and needless imposition of pain and suffering. We cannot allow that to happen.

For information

Friday, September 19, 2008

Knoxville's LGBITQ Heritage

For Immediate Release

Knoxville's LGBT Heritage To (finally) Be Preserved
(Knoxville, TN) After many years of great strides by the LGBT community
in Knoxville, it is time to preserve for permanent record the people,
places, events and heritage for the future generations. Former Pride and
Rainbow Community Awareness Project Director,
Gary Elgin is about to produce and host a monthly video project (much
like the Charlie Rose-PBS model) that will do just that- Put these
valuable pieces of his/herstory on record. The finished programs will be
played on Knoxville's local Community Television station, as well as on
the web and donated to both UT and the McClung Museum's LGBT Archives.
Volunteers are currently being sought for every aspect, especially the
technical side. There will be approximately 20 shows filmed per season.
The series is titled: The Lavender Table. Production is set to begin
late this Autumn.
Gary Elgin can be contacted at rainbowawareness@yahoo.com

Charges Against Journalists at RNC Dropped

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Local authorities in St. Paul announced today that they will not prosecute journalists who were arrested on misdemeanor charges during the Republican National Convention earlier this month.

"This is an important first step, but many questions remain," said Nancy Doyle Brown from Twin Cities Media Alliance. "We still need answers about why and how journalists got swept up in these arrests in the first place. And more than anything else, we need to ensure that this never happens again. We'll never know how many important stories never got told because their authors were behind bars, not in the streets."

Nearly two dozen reporters were arrested during the four-day event, including Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and two of her producers, Associated Press reporters, student journalists, local TV photographers, among others. Other journalists were pepper-sprayed, and reporters with I-Witness were held at gunpoint during a "pre-emptive" police raid aimed at disrupting protesters.

The press release from St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman's office noted that the city's attorney will use a "broad definition and verification to identify journalists who were caught up in mass arrests during the convention."

"We're pleased that the St. Paul authorities ultimately acted to uphold the rights of all journalists -- including those citizens using blogs, cheap cameras and cell phones to report news as it happens," said Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, the national media reform organization. "Our task now is to ensure that our press remains free to report on the events, issues and stories that matter to our country, our communities and our democracy."

Less than three days after the initial arrests, more than 60,000 people across the country signed on to a letter from Free Press, demanding that Mayor Coleman and local authorities immediately "free all detained journalists and drop all charges against them." These letters were delivered to St. Paul City Hall the day after the convention following a press conference that included local citizens and many of the journalists who had been arrested earlier in the week.

"The news from St. Paul City Hall is certainly welcome regarding the decision to drop charges against journalists who were arrested and cited during the RNC," said Mike Bucsko, executive officer of the Minnesota Newspaper Guild Typographical Union, who spoke at the press conference. "However, it is essential the elected officials in St. Paul and Ramsey County examine the circumstances that led to the needless detention and harassment of journalists to ensure this type of indiscriminate behavior on the part of law enforcement does not happen again."

Local advocates and independent journalists from KFAI Community Radio, National Lawyers Guild, Twin Cities Daily Planet, Twin Cities IndyMedia, Twin Cities Media Alliance and The Uptake were joined by national groups the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, The Newspaper Guild, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Reporters Without Borders, the Society for Professional Journalists and the Writers Guild of America, East, in condemning the unusually harsh treatment by city authorities.

Watch the press conference: http://qik.com/video/270176

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Know Nuclear in the TN Valley

SEP 27 Know Nuclear in the TN Valley

When: Saturday, 11:30am - 6pm, September 27
Where: Keathley University Center, MTSU Campus Murfreesboro, TN

Know Nuclear in the TN Valley is an opportunity for community leaders, environmental advocates, and concerned citizens to learn more about nuclear waste and the nuclear industry in Tennessee. Registration for the half-day seminar begins 11:30am and the program begins at noon, Saturday September 27. It will be held in Room 322 of Keathley University Center on the MTSU campus in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. A $10 registration fee payable at the door covers the cost of refreshments and seminar handouts. Students with id cards are free.

The seminar will cover nuclear waste processing, burning, and dumping in TN; the storage and transport of high level nuclear waste generated in our state; and the concerns for TVA's current nuclear power program. Its purpose is to inform concerned citizens about the need to stop generating nuclear wastes and to responsibly manage the nuclear wastes we already have.

Three panels of community, regional, and national activists will speak to these concerns.

• The nuclear industry and the Department of Energy are using Tennessee as an unlicensed nuclear waste dump. A panel will describe the import of nuclear waste into Tennessee from across the nation and world; how nuclear waste is getting into our county and city landfills; what Nuclear Fuel Services is doing in Jonesborough, TN; and how Memphis continues to be a watchdog for low-income communities living near two companies that process so-called low-level nuclear waste, as well as their victory is stopping a nuclear waste incinerator from coming to downtown Memphis.

• The nuclear industry is allowed to continue to make nuclear waste even when we have no way to manage it. A panel will describe why nuclear waste storage of irradiated fuel next to nuclear reactors pose such a serious threat to nearby communities and the risks of transporting high level nuclear waste.

• TVA has reentered a massive nuclear power plant construction campaign. A panel will describe the public health risks of TVA's current operating plants and the growing opposition to the proposed Bellefonte nuclear plant and new plant construction around the Southeast.

After each panel, small groups will identify what they have learned and next-step strategies. Participants will be given a notebook of brief summaries of the panel presentations and other background information.

Confirmed sponsors for Know Nuclear in the TN Valley include MTSU Students for Environmental Action, Bellefonte Efficiency and Sustainability Team, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Defense Depot Memphis TN Concerned Citizens Committee, ENDIT (End Nuclear Dumping in TN), Erwin Citizens Awareness Network, Memphis Sierra Club Environmental Justice Program, National Sierra Club Radiation Committee, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Solar Valley Coalition, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Southern Energy Network, TN Chapter Sierra Club, TN Environmental Council, and We the People.

Google Keathley University Center, MTSU for map directions. The seminar is in room 322 of student center.

For more information, please contact Louise Gorenflo at lgorenflo@gmail.com or 931-484-2633.

TTPC Annual Fundraiser October 18th

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition announces its:

Third Annual Fundraising Dinner
Saturday, October 18, 2008, 7 pm
$20 per person

Keynote Speaker

Megan Barry
Metro Nashville Councilmember, At Large


Morgan House
First Unitarian Universalist Church
1808 Woodmont Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37215

Please RSVP by October 13


Reservation Form


No. in Party:_______________________

Amount Enclosed: $20 x _____ = $_____

Please clip and mail with check or money order to:

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition
P.O. Box 92335
Nashville, TN 37209-2335

Credit Cards accepted at http://ttgpac.com

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is an organization designed to educate and advocate on behalf of transgender related legislation at the Federal, State and local levels. TTPC is dedicated to raising public awareness and building alliances with other organizations concerned with equal rights legislation.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Right to Protest

There is a long and venerable tradition in our culture which has helped to shape the character of this nation. The right to protest and peacefully address grievances to our elected officials, the media, and the general public is a fundamental aspect of American citizenship. The right to peacefully assemble to express concern about all matters of public policy is older than the formation of this country and is the foundation of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. When colonists felt the burden of excessive taxation during English rule, their first step as subjects of the rule of law of England was to address their concerns to the magistrates and officials of their day. The very act of expressing dissent is a hallmark of an engaged community.

I have just returned from two weeks of expressing dissent to the leadership of the Democratic and Republican parties. My activities, along with those of thousands of other peaceful protesters was aimed at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado and the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. As a candidate who is committed to peace and ending war, I hold both major parties accountable for the hundreds of billions of our taxpayer dollars which have been wasted on war and the senseless killing which has taken place in the name of my alleged freedom. As a citizen, I am outraged at the continuation of policies which have taken the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis and I hold the leadership of both major parties responsible for this state of affairs.

What I encountered in Denver and especially in St. Paul has shaken the faith of my belief in government. I have always believed that the role of protest was crucial to the American dialogue, and that dissent was tolerated in this country, although not always supported. I understand the resistance to change and the fear that dissenters create in the general public. We have always been only marginally tolerated, from the times of the American revolution to the abolitionists to the suffragists to the unionists, dissenters have always taken risks, but the rewards of their efforts have been to the benefit of all Americans, whether it be the right to vote, the forty hour work week, the end of slavery or the very creation of this country, dissent has always played a fundamental role in the creation of those rights.

In St. Paul, Minnesota, during the week of September 1st-4th the right to protest and peacefully assemble was greatly impinged upon by local, state and federal officials. It was also greatly diminished in Denver, Colorado but to a lesser extent. At the Republican National Convention protests I personally witnessed peaceful protesters demonstrating against war being beaten by police, nearly trampled by horses, dispersed with tear gas and concussion grenades, and everywhere treated as dangerous criminals and as a threat to the government. I participated in a march led by mothers with children in strollers that was blockaded on several occasions by national guard troops in full paramilitary gear. I witnessed homeless people marching for the right to housing being dispersed by security police in riot gear wearing gas masks and carrying beating sticks that were in excess of two feet long. I witnessed journalists and legal observers rounded up by the police and detained prior to mass arrests of hundreds.

A government that cannot tolerate the dissent of its citizens is a terrible burden upon freedom and democracy. The right to dissent plays a healthy, vital role in the national dialogue. It is only through dissent that we can often see the ugly face of actions which the wealthy and powerful would prefer to remain hidden. The victims of war deserve to be heard and the rights of the people should not be infringed upon by any force to express their dissent from policies which are morally abhorrent. It is my sincere hope that I never again witness state, local and federal police and security officials engaging in violent and intimidating gestures against the citizens they are suppose to be protecting and whose rights it is their responsibility to protect.

As a candidate for federal office I do not and will not support such excessive use of force and the wasteful spending of tens of millions of dollars in order to intimidate and suppress dissent. I will support the active and engaged expression of the concerns of citizens which is the hallmark of the democratic process.

for more information and archival coverage of
the DNC and RNC protests please visit:


Friday, September 5, 2008

RNC Media Arrests

St. Paul in the Hot Seat over Journalist Arrests
Journalists and St. Paul citizens assembled outside St. Paul City Hall today to deliver more than 60,000 letters to Mayor Chris Coleman and prosecuting attorneys demanding that they immediately drop charges against all journalists arrested this week as they covered the Republican National Convention.

Watch the press conference: http://qik.com/video/270176

By Friday morning, dozens of journalists, photographers, bloggers and videomakers had been booked by the Ramsey County Sheriff's office in what appears to have been an orchestrated round-up of media makers covering protests during the convention.

"From the pre-convention raids to the ongoing harassment and arrests of journalists, these have been dark days for press freedom in the United States," said Nancy Doyle Brown of the Twin Cities Media Alliance, who delivered the letters on behalf of the nonpartisan media reform group Free Press.

She was joined by a crowd of local activists and journalists, including Amy Goodman and Nicole Salazar of Democracy Now!, KFAI-FM radio host Andy Driscoll and Mike Bucsko, executive director of the Minnesota Newspaper Guild.

"Tragically, there are stories that the world needed to hear this week that will never be told," Brown said. "They won't be told because reporters working on them were sitting in the back of squad cars, were stripped of their cameras, or were face down on the pavement with their hands cuffed behind their backs."

On Thursday, the final night of the convention, it appears that authorities ratcheted up their attacks on both protesters and credentialed journalists, lobbing tear gas and percussion grenades into crowds and arresting student journalists, local TV photographers, Associated Press reporters and two MyFox journalists, among others.

Other independent journalists have also been pepper-sprayed, and reporters with I-Witness were held at gunpoint during a "pre-emptive" raid aimed at disrupting protesters last weekend.

Mayor Chris Coleman has refused to reply to Free Press' repeated calls and e-mails asking for his response to allegations that journalists were specifically targeted by authorities.

Watch the letter delivery: http://qik.com/video/270383

A crowd of journalists -- many of whom were arrested earlier in the week -- entered City Hall and delivered the letters into the hands of St. Paul Deputy Mayor Ann Mulholland and City Attorney John Choi, who briefly told them that the legal system will sort out their concerns.

The mayor and public officials "need to do a post-mortem to examine the circumstances of these arrests," said Bucsko, who represents reporters at the Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I hate to think that journalists were being targeted," adding that it appeared that "there was discrimination based upon their jobs."

The signatures were collected in less than 72 hours as people nationwide expressed their outrage over St. Paul's attempts to stifle the many independent journalists documenting events surrounding the tightly scripted spectacle in the city's Xcel Center.

Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, The Newspaper Guild, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Reporters Without Borders, the Society for Professional Journalists and the Writers Guild of America, East, have also sounded the alarm over the unusually harsh treatment by city authorities.

"The city of St. Paul has a black eye right now, and I must say that Paul Wellstone would be rolling in his grave," said Denis Moynihan of Free Speech TV, who spoke outside City Hall today. "Mayor Coleman must salvage the damaged reputation of the state and the city by dropping charges against all journalists immediately."

Read the Free Press blog post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/timothy-karr/st-paul-authorities-get-t_b_124293.html

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Protests Planned Worldwide


On October 4-12 a week of local protest actions to Keep Space for Peace will be held worldwide. Each fall the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space organizes Keep Space for Peace Week: International Days of Protest to Stop the Militarization of Space. These events are intended to help educate the public about the need to prevent the arms race from moving into the heavens.

According to Global Network Coordinator Bruce Gagnon, "The space week protests represent the largest grassroots global expression against moving the arms race into space. With current U.S. plans to deploy Star Wars radar in the Czech Republic and 'missile defense' deployments in Poland, a new costly and destabilizing arms race in space is underway. The U.S. has long said that it intends to 'control and dominate' space and 'deny' other nations access to space giving it the ability to control the Earth. The Pentagon calls it 'Full Spectrum Dominance.' As the U.S. and NATO now move eastward to militarily surround Russia with space technology we see the emergence of a new Cold War that will only benefit the global war machine and make life more insecure for all the people."

The October 4-12 actions are being co-sponsored by the Women's International League for Peace & Freedom and Europe for Peace and will be endorsed by groups all over the world. Protests are expected at city centers, U.S. embassies, key space related factories and military bases in the U.S., throughout Europe, Latin America, Australia, India, and the Asian-Pacific region. Educational forums will be held inside churches, schools and colleges, and space related videos would be extensively shown.

Czech activist, Dana Feminova, a leader of Europe for Peace says, "Here in Europe we can see and feel the rising tensions as the U.S. deploys space warfare systems near Russia and attempts to drag our governments along into this new Cold War. We've been here before and do not want to return. We are working hard to build opposition to Star Wars by educating the people on this continent and beyond. Keep Space for Peace Week gives us a chance to unite with people all over the world. We must act now while we still have time."

The list of Space Week protest sites will be regularly updated. To see the list of actions check the web sites of any of the sponsoring groups or www.space4peace.org

Note to Editors & Assignment Desks: Actual Pentagon Space Command plans for "control and domination" of space can seen by clicking:


Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
http://space4peace.blogspot.com (Blog)