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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

  • Help end world hunger
  • Saturday, March 12, 2011

    SOUTH CAROLINA FOCUS: Progressive Talk Radio, NAACP, Cherokee, Iriquois, Hispanic/Latino, Events and Organizations

    From the South Carolina AFL-CIO:

    The Battle for Unions in Wisconsin—How You Can Help

    Folks from outside Wisconsin are contacting me and asking how to help with the battle to save collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin. (Additional information on the current status of things here is at the end of this letter.)

    People of generally modest means, including many college students, are continuing the occupation of the state Capitol and the daily picketing in resistance to Gov. Scott Walker’s plans. Most teachers have had to/have chosen to return to their classrooms, but many other union members remain, people from private-sector unions and public unions, including police and firefighters.

    There are many private citizens, often seniors. Those remaining in the Capitol and on the picket lines need food, water, transportation, housing. The Wisconsin State AFL-CIO is coordinating much of that support. No matter how small, financial support is welcome (contributions are not tax deductible):

    ONLINE: The AFL-CIO is accepting donations online through PayPal or any major credit card. Please go to http://wisaflcio.org for the link.

    CHECKS can be made payable to the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO Defense Fund, 6333 W. Blue Mound Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53213 (Please indicate the purpose, e.g. “Capitol protests” or “Madison rally”, on your check.)

    * * * *

    These two close-by shops will supply food and water to those in the Capitol or on the picket line:

    Ian’s Pizza, 608-442-3535, minimum order $20.00. These folks are now taking orders only for delivery to the resistance, they’ve stopped all delivery to the general public. They tell me they deliver to wherever the people are—if they’re inside the Capitol, they go in. If people are marching and picketing, they take the food to the picket line.

    Subway on the Square, 608-255-1636. NOTE: minimum order $100.00. They have set up a fund there for your orders, and they are giving free food from that fund to any union member or pro-union demonstrator who requests food. Thank Pat for arranging that, I’m sure this is the first time they’ve done anything like this...

    In a remarkable act of civil disobedience and courage, the 14 Democratic senators have left the state to deny the Senate a quorum. Without at least one of them, the Senate cannot pass this particular legislation. Their leaving had to be done quickly and some left, literally, with just the clothes on their backs.

    Contact information for the “Wisconsin 14″ is listed below.

    I suggest:

    ** Send them messages of solidarity and support, and urge them on.

    ** Most of these folks are not wealthy. Consider writing a check to their campaign committee to help with these extraordinary expenses. Send it to their home addresses and be sure to write it to “The Campaign Committee of Senator xxxx” — home addresses are on their Senate web pages (“voting address”), which you reach via http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate.

    (The Government Accountability Board here has ruled that campaign contribution funds can be used for these expenses. No personal gifts are allowed, and they will be returned.)

    Tim Carpenter, District 3
    [log in to unmask]

    Spencer Coggs, District 6
    [log in to unmask]

    Tim Cullen, District 15
    [log in to unmask]

    Jon Erpenbach, District 27
    [log in to unmask]

    Dave Hansen, District 30
    [log in to unmask]

    Jim Holperin, District 12
    [log in to unmask]

    Bob Jauch, District 25
    [log in to unmask]

    Chris Larson, District 7
    [log in to unmask]

    Julie Lassa, District 24
    [log in to unmask]

    Mark Miller, District 16
    [log in to unmask]

    Fred Risser, District 26
    [log in to unmask]

    Lena Taylor, District 4
    [log in to unmask]

    Kathleen Vinehout, District 31
    [log in to unmask]

    Bob Wirch, District 22
    [log in to unmask]

    Thank you.


    The battle lines here have been definitively clarified: ...the public employee unions all agreed to the Governor’s economic demands contained in this contested “Budget” Bill. But the Governor continues to insist that the abolition of collective bargaining, as included in the Bill, is non-negotiable. So as we’ve known all along, this Bill is not really about budget issues….

    Also, FYI, the Legislature’s reach with this Bill is far beyond collective bargaining. Other major components of the Bill are an assault on any decent notion of the civil society to which we aspire.

    For example, access to health care assistance for the poor and elderly will be curtailed. And supervision of the privatized workers who care for the most vulnerable among us would be effectively abandoned. Important civil service positions, now filled by merit selection, are converted to political appointment—including such civil arbiters as agency lawyers.

    Legislators are meeting today (remember, the Republicans have majorities in both houses of the legislature) to continue this juggernaut as best they can without a quorum in the Senate. They are limited to non-fiscal actions in the Senate without the quorum denied them by the Democrats. The situation in the Capitol is tense. Police are now everywhere, and reporters tell me that the call has gone out for more police to be sent to the Capitol. Access to the Capitol is limited, with one door open and slow security searches of all entering.

    People are concerned that they are attempting to slowly strangle the occupation—hallways of the Capitol have been emptied and then closed off. Last night, those sleeping on the 3rd floor of the rotunda were told to move “to clean that area”, and they’ve secured that area. Internet access has been cut off. It appears the tactic is to limit access to the building and confine protesters to smaller and smaller spaces. This process, which may elude high-profile and organized resistance from the protesters, can lead to minimum media interest—as we are all slowly just pushed out the door and out of any semblance of a democratic process.

    The right wing extremist Republicans are trying to gut the very unions that stand up for our firefighters, police, teachers and nurses. They are trying to break the unions that brought us the 40 hour work week, child labor laws and the weekend. We have to fight back against this disgusting attack. Please step up to the plate and help.

    The Latest from SC Alliance for Retired Americans:

    Public Workers in Wisconsin, Ohio Still Threatened; Retirees Continue to Protest

    Wisconsin’s budget stalemate over union bargaining rights shows no sign of resolution, and it could be a long wait, according to the Associated Press. Governor Scott Walker (R) isn’t budging; Democrats in the state Senate who are gone are not planning to come back; and, despite talk of deadlines and threats of layoffs, the state doesn't have to pass a budget to pay its bills until at least May. Even then, there may be other options that could extend the standoff. The bill passed the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Assembly last week after nearly three days of debate. Republicans in the Senate say they have enough votes to pass it once Democrats return.

    Further east on Wednesday, the Ohio Senate approved a sweeping bill that would weaken the powers of public employee unions to negotiate contracts, propelling Ohio into the forefront of states seeking to revise public-sector labor laws. Like their counterparts in Wisconsin, demonstrators accused lawmakers of trying to use a budget crisis to destroy public-sector unions. But unlike in Wisconsin, Democratic lawmakers there did not have the numbers to delay the legislation through a walkout. The vote came after more than 8,000 union supporters descended on the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus to protest. The GOP-sponsored bill passed the Senate 17 to 16, with six Republicans voting against it. According to The Washington Post, as the roll call finished, dozens of union supporters in the Senate gallery chanted, “Shame! Shame! Shame!” Screeches and shouts echoed down the corridors of the Statehouse, where hundreds of opponents of the bill had gathered.

    The bill next goes to the state House, where it is expected to pass, and then to the desk of Gov. John Kasich (R), who is expected to sign it. According to the Post, by including police and firefighters unions, the Ohio bill goes even further than the one under consideration in Wisconsin. There, Gov. Walker has gained national attention by railing against the power of public unions, but he exempted police and firemen from his plan to strip collective bargaining rights. Ohio Republicans revised the bill to restore collective bargaining on issues including wages and hours, but they also extended an existing ban on strikes to include teachers, and they blocked binding arbitration, giving the final say in contract disputes to the government.

    The changes don’t maintain workers’ ability to bargain on a wide range of contractual issues, such as pensions and health benefits, as well as on such matters as equipment for police officers and firefighters. Making strikes illegal for all public workers, their supporters argue, effectively neutralizes the power of collective bargaining and removes the incentive to come to the table. Opponents of the legislation said they are already planning to fight it with a ballot challenge. If it gathers enough signatures, the challenge would give voters a direct say on the measure this November. “Public workers did not cause the crisis, and blaming them for it will only serve to decimate the middle class,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance.

    96 Cities Protest Cuts to Social Security Administration

    House Republicans voted on February 19 to cut $1.7 billion from the Social Security Administration (SSA) budget in 2011, and that could result in workers being furloughed for up to 1 month over the next 7 months. As a result, Social Security office doors may be temporarily closed, phones will not be answered, and claims processing will grind to a halt. On a Wednesday conference call with reporters and Social Security policy experts, U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and other national leaders demanded a halt to the deep cuts to SSA. During the call, Richard Fiesta, Director of the Department of Government and Political Affairs at the Alliance, said, “These cuts are nothing but cuts for cutting’s sake. Social Security does not contribute a penny to our deficit -- both benefits and the cost of running SSA offices are funded by worker and employer contributions.”

    The same day, retirees and SSA employees in 96 cities held informational pickets outside Social Security offices to draw attention to the devastating effects the cuts would have on services. For more information on these actions, go to http://strengthensocialsecurity.org/social-security-keep-it-working. Also, tens of thousands of Alliance members were asked to call their senators this week to drive home the message that the Social Security Administration cuts would hurt thousands of Americans. For a state-by-state analysis of the potential losses Social Security recipients would see, go to http://bit.ly/ihFxtF. Check out http://bit.ly/eVgLZ7 and http://bit.ly/8YG9i0 for photos and videos from Washington state protests of the cuts to SSA. For Florida, go to http://bit.ly/hrbWYv and http://bit.ly/gxmY2s, and for protest photos from Ohio, go to http://bit.ly/eFJqgy.

    WOIC 1230 AM

    Check out their program schedule here.


    South Carolina ETV is currently made up of 22 TV transmitters, including 11 digital and 11 analog transmitters. There are five full-fledged TV stations in the ETV network that produce programs.

    Allendale, WEBA-DT/14
    ETV Lowcountry, WJWJ-DT/16
    Charleston, WITV-DT/7
    Columbia, ETV Headquarters, WRLK-DT/35
    Conway, WHMC-DT/23
    Florence, WJPM-DT/33
    Greenville, WNTV-DT/29
    Greenwood, WNEH-DT/38
    ETV Carolinas, WNSC-DT/30
    ETV Upstate, WRET-DT/49
    ETV Sumter, WRJA-DT/27
    To locate our channels, visit AntennaWeb.org

    To check out their TV program schedule, click here (PDF)

    ETV Radio is comprised of eight radio transmitters, with the broadcast center in Columbia. The radio frequencies of all stations in the network are on the low end of the FM dial, between 88.1 and 91.3.

    Aiken, WLJK/89.1
    Beaufort, WJWJ-FM/89.9
    Charleston, WSCI/89.3
    ETV Radio Headquarters, Columbia, WLTR/91.3
    Conway, WHMC-FM/90.1
    Greenville, WEPR/90.1
    Rock Hill, WNSC-FM/88.9
    Sumter, WRJA-FM/88.1

    To check out their Radio program schedule, click here

    Current TV, founded by Al Gore, includes some of the best journalism in America today. In particular their Vanguard series is amazing and should not be missed by ANYONE who wants to know in depth coverage of some of the major stories in the world.

    In most areas Current TV is available on:
    DIRECTV Channel 358
    DISH Network Channel 196
    Comcast Digital: Channel 107
    AT&T U-Verse: Channel 189

    Check out their program schedule here.


    South Carolina Progressive Network Blog: This space was created for members and friends of the South Carolina Progressive Network to promote and advance the good work they are doing in communities across the state. We want to connect organizations and individuals of like mind to maximize collective power, and we are working to grow the grass roots to change government and social policy from the ground up.

    Recurring Events in South Carolina:

    • CHARLESTON •First Wednesday, 6:30pm: Greater Charleston Central Labor Council meeting, 2556 Oscar Johnson Dr., N. Charleston. For details, email erinm776@gmail.com.

    Third Thursday, 7pm: Charleston Peace meets at the Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St. For details, call 843-763-7304.

    First and Third Saturdays, noon: Peace vigil at Marion Square, corner of Calhoun and King. Sponsored by Charleston Peace.

    Fourth Saturday, 10am-noon: Genetic Literacy, Charleston County Main Library, 68 Calhoun St. For information, email jamesecj@aol.com or call 843-762-7139.

    • COLUMBIA •
    First Tuesday, 7pm, Columbia Central Labor Council meeting, 2025 Marion St. The 17 unions in the Columbia area meet monthly to promote issues important to working families. The SC Progressive Network is a union shop and member of the Central Labor Council. For details, email jennypatterson@knology.net.

    First Sundays, 3pm: Regular working meetings at the Rosewood Community Garden, an organic vegetable garden at 1100 S. Holly St., behind Ben Arnold Center. All who live near the garden are welcome to become growers. Reap the benefits of fresh food and community! For more information on this and other Carolina Peace Common Ground projects, click here. Call 803-446-2772 or write to info@carolinapeace.org to join the community gardening listserv.

    Sundays: West African Drum and Dance Classes, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, corner of Heyward and Woodward. Master drummer Amara Camara teaches drum lessons 2:30-3:30pm. West African dance classes 4-5:30pm. For details, call 803-260-6486 or email tonijones@sc.rr.com. The money is used to buy rice for the Ratoma neighborhood in Conakry, Guinea, West Africa.

    Sundays, 3pm: The public is invited to a weekly discussion group on the environment, led by Mel Jenkins of Environmentalists, Inc., at the USC Green Quad (West Quad). Discussions include local environmental and energy issues. For details, call 803-929-0200.

    Every Wednesday, 5pm: Women in Black, State House. For details, call 803-446-2772.

    Every Wednesday, 6:15-8pm: Progressive Social Hour, Tio’s, 921 Sumter St. Sponsored by Carolina Peace.

    Third Thursday, 6pm: PFLAG Columbia meets at St. Martin’s in the Fields Episcopal Church in the Community House, next to the parking lot behind the church, 5220 Clemson Ave. For information, call 803-781-0515.

    Every Saturday, 10-10:30am: Women in Black Silent Vigil, Hilton Head Public Library, Hwy. 278 and Beach City Road. Email marysull@hargray.com.

    Second Wednesday, 7pm: Hilton Head for Peace programs. For details, call 843-681-4010 or email fintaylor@hargray.com.

    Third Saturday, 2-3pm: Peace vigil at Chapin Park, Business 17, Myrtle Beach, next to the library. Sponsored in part by Low Country Peace Network. For information, email DwightFee@aol.com.

    • ROCK HILL •
    Second Monday, 7pm: Catawba Central Labor Council meeting, 1024 East White St.. For details, email bwise1@gmx.com.

    South Carolina Hispanic/Latino Health Coalition

    We recognize that many Hispanics in South Carolina confront multiple barriers to healthcare. These include access, information, knowledge, resources, and cultural competency, both in terms of providers and those utilizing services. With this in mind, the overarching goal of the South Carolina Hispanic/Latino Health Coalition is to work together to advocate for the availability of quality, culturally and linguistically appropriate healthcare services in South Carolina.

    We are a non-profit organization made of various professionals (both health-centered and non-health professionals) who seeks to improve the health of Hispanics/Latinos in Columbia via healthcare services, outreach programs, and research.

    Check out their initiatives here.

    Contact them for more info:
    PO BOX 722
    Columbia, SC 29202-0722

    The South Carolina State Conference is the leading civil rights organization in the state of South Carolina. The organization was chartered in 1939 and now operates through a network of branches, youth councils and college chapters located across the forty-six counties of the state. The NAACP is driven by volunteers committed to the mission of the oldest civil rights organization in America.

    Our Mission

    Through a dedicated volunteer force we seek to eliminate the impact of racial discrimination in housing, employment, voting, health care, education, and the Courts.

    Getting Involved

    To join your local NAACP, call us at 803-754-4584.

    Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois and United Tribes of SC
    Official site of the Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois & United Tribes of South Carolina, Inc

    Volunteer Opportunities

    Human Rights and Current Issues

    For more info visit their website, or contact them by email: taygoinres@aol.com

    South Carolina Progressive Network:
    South Carolina Progressive Network
    PO Box 8325, Columbia, SC 29202

    The South Carolina Progressive Network is a coalition of grassroots activists who have joined forces to promote social and economic justice in the Palmetto State. Created in 1995 as a tool to engage South Carolinians in their communities and in their government, the Network connects people to each other and to resources designed to leverage the work of progressive organizations.

    Meetings: The Network meets each month in Charleston, Greenville and Columbia to share information, coordinate projects and plan events. Meetings are informal and open to anyone interested in good government and improving the quality of life in South Carolina. See calendar listing for details.

    Join us! While the Network is a member-driven organization, you don’t need to be a member to participate in meetings or other Network events. Our members are comprised of groups and individuals who support our mission statement and agree to pay annual dues based on a sliding scale. To join, download the appropriate form and mail to PO Box 8325, Columbia, SC 29202.

    Among their current important projects are:

    • Universal Internet Access in SC
    Help us in our campaign to provide universal Internet access in South Carolina. Click here to find out how (PDF).

    • Study Group:
    Every 4th Tuesday, 7pm: Progressive Network Study Group, Network offices, 2025 Marion St. Free and open to anyone. Meetings are informal; bring snacks and drinks to share. We encourage participants to read the suggested material before each session. For details, call 803-808-3384 or email network@scpronet.com.

    • Missing Voter Project:
    Since 2004, the SC Progressive Network‘s Missing Voter Project has registered about 6,500 new voters. This year, we are being much more strategic, and want to leave organized community teams in place to continue to work on our ailing democracy after the elections are over. This is a non-partisan project. We will train organizers on registering in schools and jails, targeted neighborhoods and events. We will organize teams, who will determine their own schedules. The project focuses on historically under-represented citizens.

    Democracy is not a spectator sport. Do your part! Contact the Network office to set up a FREE training for your organization by calling 803-808-3384. We will provide you with all the tools you need to do a registration drive in your community.

    SC Legislative Black Caucus
    1105 Pendleton Street, Suite 207
    207 Solomon Blatt Building
    Columbia, SC 29201-3732
    Phone: 803.734.3041 | Fax: 803.734.8711

    SC HIV/AIDS Council

    The South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council (SCHAC) is an organization dedicated to developing strategies to reduce the rate of HIV/AIDS and improve the quality of life of citizens throughout South Carolina impacted by the human immunodeficiency virus.

    Click here to see their list of programs

    Click here for their calendar of events.

    Click here for a list of HIV testing sites in South Carolina

    For more info, call: Phone: 803) 254-6644 or email: support@schivaidscouncil.org



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