OAK RIDGE, Tenn.: Protesters to Bush: ‘The WMDs are here’

A roving picket line of scores of Oak Ridge residents bird-dogged Bush’s motorcade July 12, denouncing the war in Iraq, calling for an end to nuclear weapons production and protesting the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment, his ban on gay marriage.

“This administration has betrayed this country in every way,” said retired Methodist minister Jim Sessions.

Peace protesters ridiculed Bush hypocrisy where while claiming to oppose weapons of mass destruction, the administration continues to build more nuclear weapons. The U.S. currently has 10,000 nuclear weapons, they said, and Bush is building more. One sign read, “Welcome to Oak Ridge. The WMDs are here.”

Police, although polite, were ordered to escort anti-Bush demonstrator Beth Mullin out of a pro-Bush crowd.

NEW YORK CITY: Sexism costs Morgan Stanley $54 million

Eleventh-hour negotiations, which brought the CFO of the Morgan Stanley brokerage firm to the table with the chairperson of the federal Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), resulted in an out-of-court $54 million settlement of a gender discrimination suit. The settlement was announced July 12.

Allison Schieffelin filed gender discrimination charges against the gigantic financial institution in 2001. The EEOC had over two-dozen women ready to testify in open court that Morgan Stanley withheld raises and denied career-building assignments from women who took maternity leave. Schiefflin said that Morgan condoned a hostile work environment, tolerating sexual comments and the firm organized trips to topless bars and strip clubs.

Schieffelin herself will receive $12 million. The settlement requires Morgan to reform the workplace, monitor and enforce civilized behavior.

WASHINGTON: FCC ruling endangers firefighters, police

Communication is a matter of life and death for victims and first responders, firefighters, EMS, and police. A national coalition charges that a July 8 ruling by the Bush administration’s Federal Communications Commission further endangers the public, emergency personnel and is a political payoff.

“This is a sad day for firefighters, police officers and other emergency personnel across America,” said First Responders Coalition coordinator Gene Stilip, of Dauphin, Pa. “Since 9/11 this administration has failed to provide funding to solve inter-operability (communication failures) problems. They had a major opportunity here, but they ignored the needs of first responders in order to solve a political problem and to bail out Nextel.”

The coalition holds Nextel responsible for communication failures that have plagued departments and interfered with their ability to do their jobs. Recently, two Pittsburgh firefighters were killed when a church tower fell on them at the scene of a fire. Their radios had failed.

In June 2004, the National Black Police Officers, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the California Seniors Coalition, the Metropolitan Fire Association of New York City and host of other groups founded the First Responders Coalition to lobby for improvements in the country’s emergency response system.

CANNELTON, W.Va.: Anger meets mine closings notice

In June, 800 union coal miners marched on the bankruptcy court in Ashland, Ky., to stop Horizon Resources from slashing and burning their hard-earned health care and pension benefits. On July 9, Horizon Resources sent Shannon Roat, veteran of 32 years underground, and 445 of his co-workers notice that their jobs are gone, forever, as of Sept. 4.

“I can’t see one man making a decision to take away everything I’ve worked for,” said Roat. “If push comes to shove, we’re not going to be pushed around.”

Roat, a member of United Mine Workers of America Local 8843, works at the Cannelton complex in southern West Virginia. Horizon, which owns 27 strip mines and 15 underground mines, also slammed the gates shut on 250 miners in Carbondale, Ill.

Bankruptcy Judge William S. Howard will rule on miner’s health care and pension benefits in August.

DETROIT: Seniors defy ban on Canadian drugs

The Bush administration claims it is illegal for U.S. residents to cross the border into Canada to fill their prescriptions for a fraction of the cost in their own country, but that didn’t stop Geraldine Keon, 79, and James Keon, 80, from getting on the bus, July 7, crossing into Windsor, Canada, for their medications. The Keons saved $1,200 on their medications for heart disease, high blood pressure and acid reflux.

In 2003, U.S. residents bought $1 billion in medicine in Canada, saving up to 70 percent of the cost of same prescriptions in the U.S.

The Keons have been without prescription drug insurance since James retired in 1987, after 40 years of working as a tool and die maker.

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