GREENWICH, Conn.: Bush feels street heat in arctic air

High school students sent out the call and 500 showed up to protest Bush as he stopped in to pick up $1,000 checks at a campaign fundraiser.

Family members among the demonstrators didn’t recognize each other as demonstrators bundled up to fend off the Artic cold and blowing snow.

“I see daily what the policies of the Bush administration are doing to the country, particularly in terms of job loss,” said a shivering Blair Bertaccini, leader of the Central Labor Council.

As Bush’s limousine entourage pulled up to the Hyatt Hotel, a roar of “No More Bush” erupted from the people. Among the popular hand made signs were “Elections Not Auctions” and “Unalienable Rights Doesn’t Include Oil Profits.”

READING, Penn.: School district sues on ‘No Child’

Last December the Reading School District with 16,000 students quietly unleashed a storm of protest when it sued the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which oversees the Bush administration’s education reform act, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), because there is no funding provided to meet Washington-imposed mandates.

The suit seeks to head off sanctions by the state until Reading schools receive funding to implement English as a second language programs and other needed additions. Over 60 percent of the district’s students are Latino and 11 percent are non-English speakers. The district is also demanding that standardized tests be provided in Spanish.

If the district is successful, said Tim Allwein of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, other districts will file similar suits.

Utah and Virginia school districts took action in late January to openly challenge Bush’s NCLB. The Virginia House of Delegates voted 98-1 demanding that Congress exempt the state’s schools from NCLB mandates because it is bankrupting public education. No Republican opposed the resolution.

SALT LAKE CITY: State House says drop firing squad

By a vote of 57-16, representatives to the Utah State House sent a bill to the State Senate which would bar the Utah’s use of the firing squad to execute people on death row. The state still has the death penalty and would execute people by lethal injection.

The Bill goes to the State Senate where passage is expected.

During the debate, Rep. Scott Daniels pleaded with legislators to completely outlaw the death penalty. Only Idaho and Oklahoma execute people by firing squad.

SACRAMENTO, Calif.: State jails dangerous for youth

If the streets of California cities can be tough for young people, the state’s jails are much worse. A study released by the California Youth Authority Feb. 2 concluded that correctional facilities for youth are the most dangerous in the country. They have the highest rates of violence, youth offenders are locked up for 23 hours a day, are given little supervision, live in “decrepit living units” that “need to be closed immediately,” and receive inadequate physical and mental health treatment.

“When kids go there (youth correctional facilities), their lives can be ruined,” said Don Spector, director of the Prison Law Office, an independent nonprofit organization. “They go there for treatment and instead they are subjected to brutal sexual and physical violence and there’s very little rehabilitation.”

MONTGOMERY, Ala.: Some get landfills, others don’t

U.S. Rep. Artur Davis (D-West Ala.) is launching a probe into allegations of environmental racism beginning with the question of why some, mostly African American, communities are garbage landfill sites and others, mostly white, are not.

Davis said environmental justice refers to the fight against unequal distribution of environmental hazards among populations. Historically, poor or minority communities have had more of a burden. Davis’ district includes part of the Black Belt, the poorest section of the state.

Currently garbage from as far away as New York City is dumped in Perry County, the heart of the Black Belt. Landfill owners want to expand garbage dumps in the county which was brought a barrage of protest from residents, health officials and environmentalists.

National Clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards (
Nick Bart contributed to this week’s clips.