NITRO, W.Va.: Veterans camp for Kerry

Military veterans are pitching tents in their hometowns of Charleston, Wheeling, Clarksburg, Martinsburg, Bluefield, Princeton and Nitro to establish “Camp Kerry” in this battleground state.

The movement started in Martinsburg Sept. 16, when Veterans Administration (VA) psychiatrist Dr. Sonny Wells — having picked up on veterans’ anger over President’s Bush’s cutbacks to their health care and his disastrous Iraq war policy — rented a vacant lot and encouraged veterans to build the first camp.

Veterans from across southern West Virginia jammed Nitro, a town of about 6,600, for the local camp’s grand opening. Sen. Jay Rockefeller told the crowd he is deeply bothered that the president has never attended a funeral for military personnel killed in Iraq, even though Bush may talk eloquently about the war.

“John Kerry understands war and the world,” said Rockefeller. “George Bush understands neither.”

Navy veteran and current VA worker Keith Gwinn said Bush has upped the amount veterans have to pay out of their own pockets for health care, and that the waiting list at VA hospitals has gotten longer.

ORLANDO, Fla.: Teachers union leaders stump for quality public education

Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association (NEA), the country’s largest teachers union, jumped off an NEA bus here, Oct. 4, to deliver badly needed school supplies to staff and students slammed by a string of hurricanes. He also came to fire up union members and supporters to vote Nov. 2.

The bus, emblazoned with the sign “Vote for great public schools Nov. 2,” is packed with literature, reporters, bumper stickers, yard signs and a full coffee pot.

Meetings with staff and students in bus barns, staff rooms, football stadiums and school parking lots are on the schedule for the three-week tour across Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

DENVER: State sued to count all votes

Dirty tricks by the secretary of state, the official who supervises elections, is not confined to Florida. Colorado Secretary of State Donetta Davidson, a Republican, has ordered that only votes for the presidency, not Congress or other offices, will be counted on provisional ballots. Provisional ballots are cast by voters who forget to bring their photo ID to the polls or have other problems with voting.

Common Cause, a citizen’s action group, has filed suit to overturn Davidson’s order, noting that “given the competitive Senate race and a number of competitive House races, this could destroy the Democrat’s chances of winning control of the Senate and the House on Nov. 2.”

NEWPORT, Minn.: Hate – coming to a school near you

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), founded in 1913 to fight anti-Semitism, has notified school officials across the U.S. that dangerous neo-Nazi groups began distributing 100,000 “sampler” CDs in schoolyards Oct. 4.

“Once again, the hate groups are finding ways to repackage their old-fashioned hatred and anti-Semitism into new, more deceptively attractive forms that can appeal to a younger audience,” said ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman. “In reality, it is a thinly veiled attempt to attract kids to hateful, racist music and White Power bands.”

Panzerfaust Records, the CD’s manufacturer, is run by former members of the violent neo-Nazi National Alliance.

WASHINGTON: The right to choose is at stake

“We are really, I think, in some peril now,” Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) told a press conference here Oct. 5, reacting to a report released by the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) that raised the alarm that 30 states are prepared to outlaw abortion rights.

The CRR believes five of the nine Supreme Court justices support a woman’s right to choose and will uphold the landmark 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. But, the group said, the balance would be tipped if Bush were re-elected and made his expected anti-choice appointments to the high court.

Despite being a Catholic, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is pro-choice and supports women’s rights.

The CRR said that 18 states have laws on the books outlawing abortion that would be revived if Roe v. Wade were overturned. Other states do not have existing outright bans, but currently have anti-choice state governments that are expected to act within a year if Roe is struck down.

National Clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards ( David Baldinger and Julia Lutsky contributed to this week’s clips.