LAWRENCE, Kansas – People protest war profiteering

Over 2,000 residents marched through the center of Lawrence to protest the war in Iraq. The end of the war didn’t keep people like Richard Morantz from protesting. Morantz, a member of the Kansas Green Party, called the war “illegitimate,” saying it “was a fight we picked so we could have the spoils of war.”

The April march was the second one for Lawrence. The first took place in March drawing about 1,300 people. Marchers included anarchists, democrats, religious groups, greens, veterans, and families, carrying signs “No Blood for Halliburton,” and “Jobs not Bombs.”

Heather Hall, a law student at the University of Kansas, protested the war because, “I don’t believe that Iraq poses an immediate threat to the U.S. I also believe that this is not about liberation of the Iraqi people, but about oil.”

When asked about Poland’s involvement in the war, Agnieszka Tuszynska, a Polish citizen studying English at Emporia State University, said she was “ashamed” about the Polish government’s “cowardly support” for the war. “Polish leaders should know better,” she said. “After all, don’t they remember September 1939? The positive thing is that the people of Poland oppose this fascist action.”

CARSON CITY, Nevada – Our state is not a nuclear waste dump

The state of Nevada filed a brief in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Washington, May 1, to stop the shipment of 77,000 tons of nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain, 80 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

The state, spurred to action by Citizen Alert, a grassroots environmental organization, argues that turning Yucca Mountain into a nuclear waste dump is unconstitutional. “The congressional action is tantamount to a political mugging by 49 states against Nevada,” said state Attorney General Brian Sandoval. “It is akin to the [federal] government re-establishing the military draft but only conscripting Nevadans into the service.” Rather than adhere to the constitutional limits on federal power, the Bush administration and Congress applied “raw political power” and usurped Nevada’s sovereignty, he said. Forty-nine states get rid of nuclear waste “while Nevada gets metal drums and wishful thinking.”

A written response from the Bush administration is expected in June. Oral arguments before a three-judge panel open in September.

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Civil rights ‘foot soldiers’ honored

The Civil Rights Activist Committee marked the 40th anniversary of the historic demonstrations led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that broke the back of segregation in the heart of Alabama. Most recall the famous King “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” calling on religious leaders to support young people demonstrating in the streets to end segregation. Activities over the May 2 weekend in Kelly Ingram Park honored the unsung heroic African-American youth, the “foot soldiers” who braved Bull Connor’s police dogs and fire hoses to end legal segregation in the South.

Gloria Washington Lewis was 15 in May of 1963, when she joined a march of teenagers on Birmingham’s City Hall protesting segregation. Her father was a coal miner and encouraged her civil rights activity. The group knelt and prayed. Police attacked the young people, tossing Lewis into a wagon full of men and hauled her off to jail. It took two weeks to get her out. Asked if she was afraid, Lewis said, “We were too outraged to be afraid.”

The University of Alabama in Birmingham is preserving civil rights movement history, including the oral history and stories of the “foot soldiers.”

CHARLESTON, W. Virginia – Stop privatization of Coast Guard

“The Coast Guard is a key part of the nation’s homeland security network,” Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) told Coast Guard Admiral Thomas Collins at a hearing last week. “You and the men and women under your command have the task of guarding our seaports and coastlines. This is not a mission that should be driven by a private company’s profit margin.” At stake for West Virginians are 99 jobs at the Coast Guard’s National Vessel Documentation Center (NVCD) in Falling Waters.

Last year, the Coast Guard submitted a plan to the White House Management and Budget Office (OMB) to privatize parts of the service. Employees would become part of a new “government corporation,” union-free, as part of President Bush’s “management agenda” that is serving up 850,000 federal jobs, nationally, to private companies.

Byrd told Collins to provide the Senate Appropriations Committee with all plans to privatize the Coast Guard. Byrd is the ranking Democratic member of the committee.

National clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards
( Jack Hutchens contributed to this week’s clips.