PARKERSBURG, W.Va.: Hundreds protest Bush visit

The largest and loudest contingent lining the street in front of Parkersburg South High School, May 13, was made up of workers led by state AFL-CIO President Jim Bowen. “No more Bush” and “Keep our jobs at home,” roared union members who joined in the chants to end the Iraq war and for protection of the environment. Dump Bush demonstrators numbered over 500, according to police. Bush was in town to deliver a speech on education and to pick up campaign checks.

A “pig-mobile” rolled along among the enthusiastic demonstrators. Three blubbery, grunting, bright pink fiberglass pigs of three different sizes made up the pig-mobile. The largest showed the cost of Bush’s attack on Iraq, $200 billion; a much smaller pig depicted federal spending on education, $34 billion; and the tiniest pig of all displayed federal money going to reducing world hunger and poverty, $10 billion.

World War II veteran Ray Harbert said that there needed to be a “wee, wee piglet” to dramatize Bush’s spending to take care of veterans.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: 450,000 say ‘clean up toxic mercury’

After the Bush administration decided to relax mercury regulations and delay an environmental clean-up at power plants, a storm of protest broke out. By April 30, more than 450,000 U.S. residents contacted the administration demanding that regulations be strengthened and that the clean-up begin.

Mercury has been linked to learning disorders in children. It is so toxic that 45 states have warned the public not to eat fish from contaminated rivers and streams, especially around coal-fired power plants.

“Who will the Bush administration listen to this time?” asked Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club. “An unprecedented number of Americans, or corporate polluters? We already know that polluting industries had a hand in writing the administration’s mercury plan. It’s time for the Bush administration to start protecting families and communities instead of polluters.”

LOUISVILLE, Ky.: School desegregation success story

Fifty years after the historic Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that reversed the Jim Crow principle of “separate but equal,” most of the country’s schools remain as segregated as ever, if not more so, except in Kentucky.

The Harvard Civil Rights Project released a study showing that the most integrated schools in the U.S. are in Kentucky. The reason is that Jefferson County (Louisville) remained true to the original desegregation plan. Student achievement rose and racial understanding improved. Jefferson County is “one of the districts where it has really worked,” said researcher Chungmei Lee.

In 1974, as a result of suits initiated by African American parents, the Louisville School District dissolved, merging with Jefferson County’s. U.S. District Judge James Gordon ordered busing to achieve a 50-50 racial balance in all of the county’s 180 schools.

A 2000 survey of Jefferson County high school juniors found that more than 90 percent of students were comfortable working with people of other races and school district officials report that the “achievement gap” between Black and white students has significantly narrowed.

MIAMI: Bush/Ashcroft prosecuting Greenpeace

On May 17, federal prosecutors opened their case against Greenpeace, an international environmental group, invoking a law that has only been used twice in its 132-year existence. Greenpeace could be punished with five years probation and a $20,000 fine.

“Never has anything like this been done,” said American Civil Liberties Union attorney Maria Kayanan, who is helping in the group’s defense. “It’s particularly suspect in light of the mission of Greenpeace.” The case is viewed as an attempt to silence political dissent and is being closely watched.

In April 2002, six Greenpeace activists boarded the APL Jade, a ship that was allegedly carrying illegal mahogany to Miami, and unfurled a protest banner. They were arrested and served a weekend in jail. Fifteen months later, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft indicted the entire organization.

National Clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards (dwinebr696@aol.com). Jeanne Clark and Julia Lutsky contributed to this week’s clips.

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