January 3, 2012

News Release
Indiana AFL-CIO

In a must-read report issued by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) Jan. 3, arguments made by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, American Legislative Exchange Council, National Right to Work Committee and other out-of-state and corporate special interest groups pushing for a so-called "right to work" (RTW) law here in Indiana are taken to the woodshed.

These groups have been playing fast and loose with the facts in an attempt to hide the political motivations behind "right to work" and distract our elected officials from working to create good jobs for Hoosier families. According to the EPI's independent review, statements and materials distributed by interest groups to the Indiana General Assembly have supplied lawmakers with blatantly incomplete, outdated and twisted information.

Presidential candidates confronted in Iowa, encampment struggles continue

December 31, 2011

While Occupy protesters nationwide occupy presidential headquarters, take over foreclosed homes and reclaim their encampments, Occupy Chicago has turned to the stage in their efforts to engage citizens in the grassroots’ struggle against corporate elites.

Occupy Chicago organizers produced a show based on a Charles Dickens classic titled Occupy My Heart to celebrate the movement and bring its spirit and message to a broader audience. The premiere was on Dec. 23 outside at the Lincoln Memorial in Grant Park. On Dec. 24, it was broadcast as a radio performance during Marshall Stern’s Awakened America. The play was also performed indoors for free at the Prop Theatre on Dec. 26 and at Studio BE on Dec. 27, according to Occupy Chicago’s website.

“It's a great vehicle to get people interested and to bring more people into the conversation who might not come out to a protest — but who might come to a play," Hannah Friedman, director of “Occupy My Heart: A Revolutionary Christmas Carol,” said in a Dec. 24 Chicago Tribune article about a staged Christmas Carol-esque protest show put on by the Occupy Chicago activists.

December 31, 2011

Erin Mahon relies on alternative medicines now more than ever because she is seven months pregnant and plans to give birth at home. The 27-year-old prepares for her home birth by taking several vitamins, drinking different types of teas and receiving acupuncture.

Mahon said she hates hospitals because they make her uncomfortable. She is doing as much as she can to be ready when the time comes.

"No one is going to offer me an epidural in my living room," she said, referring to a pain relief injection often given in the spine during labor. "Any little thing that I do helps me feel more prepared and more comfortable with [giving birth at home]."

December 30, 2011

Third-year MFA photography student Audim Culver said she can display her work in just about any of Bloomington's local coffee shops. However, when it comes to finding a gallery space, she must to seek options out of town.

"You can always get a show at a coffee shop," the 28-year-old IU student said. "There are those more grassroots places. But as far as finding a more legitimate gallery space, that's when things get more difficult."

Amy Countryman envisions concept, inspires public fruittree project

December 30, 2011

Two years ago, the idea of picking fresh fruit from a public tree without paying in Bloomington was unheard of. Now, thanks to Amy Countryman, an entire orchard is dedicated just to that cause.

“This is food, and it’s free,” the 35-year-old force behind the Bloomington Community Orchard said. “You should be able to come in and pick apples and take them home just because you can, and because we care about each other like that.”

Presidential candidate stresses jobs, environment, health care and peace

December 26, 2011

Seven weeks before Jill Stein declared her candidacy for president, the Lexington, Mass., physician outlined her priorities in a plan she called the "Green New Deal" – jobs, climate change, universal health care and peace. When she announced her bid for the Green Party nomination on Oct. 24, 2011, the Chicago native presented herself as an alternative to the two "Wall Street parties.”

“They’re privatizing education, rolling back civil liberties and racial justice, plundering the environment and driving us towards the calamity of climate change,” she said in a news release accompanying her announcement. "… We need people in Washington who refuse to be bought by lobbyist money and for whom change is not just a slogan.”

Activists nationwide confront the 1% and the police state in the streets and courts

December 26, 2011

With images of mass demonstrations and police brutality gripping the world, the Occupy Wall Street movement marked its three-month anniversary on Dec. 17. Skeptics have questioned the movement’s momentum since its beginning and have claimed it wouldn’t last long enough to deliver any significant message. But protesters around the nation are feeling stronger and more united than ever, attracting more participants and expanding their confrontations with corporate greed and influence.

“This movement has been built on the need of the working class and the middle class,” New York City Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez told marchers during a daylong protest in Lower Manhattan. “This movement is not going anywhere, is not leaving this city, unless we take particular initiatives to close the gap between the 1 percent and the 99 percent."

December 23, 2011

"The Protester" is Time magazine's person of the year. Featuring a fierce-looking, veiled figure peering back at the reader, Time's front-cover image succinctly captures the uprisings and social upheavals that made history in 2011. As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words."

Nonetheless, we shouldn't forget the slogans, catchphrases and epithets that made headlines this year. After all, whatever comes of the Occupy movement, the mantra of the politically and economically disenfranchised - "We are the 99%" - has dramatically altered American political discourse as we plunge headlong into the 2012 presidential race.

Indictments issued against former IURC chair for official misconduct

December 15, 2011

While citizen advocates hail indictments charging Gov. Mitch Daniels's chief utility regulator with official misconduct, they say David Lott Hardy is but a symbol of rampant corruption during the outgoing governor's two terms. A Marion County grand jury on Dec. 12, 2012, indicted the former chair of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) on three felony counts in cases concerning Duke Energy Corp.

"Although assaults on democracy are bipartisan and in Indiana date back to the Bayh administration, Mitch Daniels has taken crony capitalism to new heights," ValleyWatch's John Blair said in a statement issued to The Bloomington Alternative. "It seems there is nothing he won't do to enrich his corporate friends at the expense of taxpayers and ratepayers. And although he must share the blame with his appointed IURC, which is still inherently corrupt, it is clear the problem here runs to the top of the Daniels administration."

Former Salt Lake mayor says Democrats, Republicans sustain corrupt system

December 14, 2011

Americans who feel betrayed by timid, capitulatory leadership from Democrats like President Barack Obama and Indiana Senate candidate Joe Donnelly now have a candidate to consider at the presidential level. On Dec. 12, 2011, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson announced his candidacy on the Justice Party ticket and the next day laid out a cogent progressive agenda on Democracy Now!

"Although hailing from a solidly red state, Anderson has been known as one of the most progressive mayors of any major U.S. city in recent years," host Amy Goodman said in her introduction to the report. "During his two mayoral terms from 2000 to 2008, Anderson was an outspoken champion of LGBT rights, environmental sustainability and the antiwar movement in opposition to the Iraq War."