ANN ARBOR, Mich.: Students hold ‘spy-in’ protest

The only prop missing was the famous James Bond martini, “shaken, not stirred,” as students donned Hollywood “spy” gear in a street theater action Feb. 17 in front of the Federal Building. They were protesting the Bush administration’s domestic spying.

At least 200,000 U.S. citizens have been victims of the illegal practice.

“We don’t like what’s going on and this provides a voice for us because we can’t vote,” said Joanna Ransdall, 15, one of the scores of high school and college students who participated.

A storm of criticism has swirled around Bush’s post-9/11 decision to authorize wiretapping Americans and other domestic spying without going through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) court for a warrant.

The students from nine area high schools and the University of Michigan are part of the Michigan Peaceworks Youth Activist Network.

SACRAMENTO, Calif.: State Assembly condemns Patriot Act

With Congress debating reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act, the largest state in the country weighed in with a sharply worded resolution defending the democratic rights of its residents and condemning the law.

Nancy Talanian, director of the Bill of Rights Defense Coalition, said, “The California resolution sets a standard we hope Congress will follow as it considers reauthorizing several controversial sections of the Patriot Act and the administration’s approval of warrantless wiretaps. The resolution states that no state resources will be used to collect information based on residents’ activities that are protected by the First Amendment or to scoop up personal records without a direct connection between the records sought and suspected criminal activity.”

California joins Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Montana and Vermont in taking action to protect residents’ civil rights against federal government action. As of Feb. 16, state and local governments representing 87 million people have adopted such a stance.

COLUMBUS, Ohio: Authorities reject ‘intelligent design’

Science and the teaching of evolution survived another challenge Feb. 14 when the Ohio Board of Education voted 11-4 to reject “intelligent design” and sustained the current science curriculum, which includes the teaching of evolution.

The Board has 19 members, 11 elected and eight appointed by the governor.

Case Western Reserve biology professor Patricia Princehouse said the coalition that struggled to defend the integrity of science teaching in public schools isn’t letting down its guard and will continue to monitor actions of the state board.

The high cost of litigation in Dover, Pa., where a long court battle resulted in the rejection of “intelligent design,” played a role in the Ohio board’s decision.

MOBILE, Ala.: Vets, hurricane survivors to march

On March 14 hundreds of Iraq and Vietnam War veterans, members of Gold Star Families for Peace and families who survived Hurricanes Katrina and Rita will step off for a five-day organizing drive to bring the troops home and re-direct war spending to rebuilding the Gulf Coast. The march is scheduled to start here and proceed along Gulf Coast Highway 90. It will end in New Orleans on March 19.

There are two demands: Immediate return of troops from Iraq, and spending the money saved on rebuilding the Gulf Coast under control of the region’s residents.

For more information, visit www.vetgulfmarch.org.

National Clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards (dwinebr696@aol.com).

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