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News :: Elections & Legislation


On saturday, November 27, 2004, In solidarity with votersunite.com, a small but determined group of concerned citizens gathered at the Gentle Strength Co Op in Tempe Arizona for a "Black Box T Party" a creative display of street theatre dedicated to making a spectacle of our electoral process. After a brief rally and bullhorn speeches from two of the participants a march was led past the wide eyed consumers shopping and eating in the "JP Morgans Chase" Center Point shops and restaurants and out to the bridge above Tempe Town Park. Random shouts about not being apathetic and participating in democracy were met with a mixed reaction of huh? and what? but that did not stop the group from continuing their chanting and repeating of web addresses to people who appeared interested. "VotersUnite.com" and "blackboxvoting.org" - "There's evidence of fraud in Ohio's vote." "Throw the election out!" "Throw the election out!"

The march stopped at the bridge above the park, where we made our declarations and than cast the boxes into the open air to land with a smashing thud on the hard gritty earth beneath. Cheers of laughter filled the air and if only for a short time, there was a sense of joy and a feeling of relief. This time, it was empty cardboard boxes onto an imagined sea of dirt. But who knows what we could accomplish with enough support. If we can spread this idea around the country and get other cities to participate... They could not stop us. This is OUR country! We Have to stand up for the integrity of our elected offices. We can not allow the elite to continue to install whomever they know will dance around on their puppet strings. If we have to dump the real black boxes into the sea... Than I say "Let's Do It"

For Full report and photos go to www.activistqueerfolk.com

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News :: Peace & War

Witnesses say US forces killed unarmed civilians

"The Americans told the police that it was all a mistake, and I could get compensation. But what about my family? My life has gone. They might as well have killed me as well."

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News :: Peace & War

Iraqis emerge amid the ruins of Falluja

"Please colonel, you have just one more family here," said Chibib, a staff member with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society...

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News :: Peace & War

The US Casualty Rate in Iraq: 9%

US soldiers deployed in Iraq have nearly a one-in-ten chance of getting killed, physically wounded, or psychologically traumatized.

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News :: Miscellaneous

Enon gas station destroyed in Wednesday fire

By: BEN BAGWELL, Staff Writer


ENON - Firefighters from Chesterfield and Hopewell raced to the Chevron Gas and Convenience Store at Route 10 and Allied Road just hours before dawn on Wednesday to extinguish a potentially disastrous blaze.

Arson is suspected.

Fortunately, the fire did not reach the underground gas tanks or vehicles parked on the store's property overnight. The firefighters were able to prevent an explosion, but the convenience store was completely destroyed by the blaze, officials said.

The fire began outside the building and Capt. James Dawson of Chesterfield Fire said, "Intentional setting of the fire is suspected."

Besides the Hopewell units, firefighters from Enon, Rivers Bend, Dutch Gap and Chester assisted.

Officials blocked traffic on Route 10 going east and west to prevent danger to rubber-neckers from being hurt. No one was apparently inside the building when the fire broke out. No firemen were hurt.

The Hopewell Fire Department sent one fire engine and one ladder truck to the scene, which is on a hill just above the C. Hardaway Marks bridge between the city and Chesterfield County.

The convenience store had been a popular eating place for plant workers and others going to and from the Bermuda Hundred area.

By daylight the fire was contained and Route 10 traffic resumed to its normal pattern.

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Commentary :: Civil & Human Rights

Post defends bigoted anti-gay magazine

Yes, if you had an ounce of respect left for the Washington Post, feel free to let it go now.

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News :: Civil & Human Rights

NORM!!! and 16,000 others protest the School of the Americas

Peace to Sue Daniels. Your struggle continues...
Record numbers converge at the School of the Assassins

Additional fence and barbed wire fail to stop Latin school protest

Sunday, November 21st 2004

Elliott Minor, Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ga. - At least 20 demonstrators were arrested Sunday, on charges ranging from trespassing to wearing a mask, as a record 16,000 people protested against a Fort Benning school for Latin soldiers.

Seventeen of the arrests were federal trespassing charges for people who scaled chain-link fences, some topped with coils of barbed wire, to carry the protest into military property, said Bill Quigley, legal adviser for the protest group.

One who attempted to enter illegally was Ed Lewinson, 74, a blind, retired Seton Hall University professor. One protester was charged with the unusual crime of wearing a mask. A law aimed at the Ku Klux Klan makes it illegal to wear masks in Georgia except on "special occasions," although the rule is seldom invoked.

Organizers of the star-studded protest by School of the Americas Watch said concern about the war in Iraq and President Bush's re-election boosted attendance to the record 16,000.

Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon addressed the group on Saturday, and Martin Sheen, who plays the president in NBC's "West Wing" TV series, delivered a fiery speech on Sunday.

George Wendt, who played norm in the TV series, "Cheers," carried a cross during the group's traditional funeral procession to honor alleged victims of SOA graduates. Because of the huge number of protesters this year, the procession lasted more than two hours, about an hour longer than usual. Some carried signs that said, "Drop Bush, not bombs," and "Shut down the SOA."

"All we can do is be a presence," said Sheen, who has been arrested but not jailed for trespassing during previous demonstrations. "It's no secret that the country has been very much to the right... Any protest is taken as unpatriotic. So it's very important to speak up."

SOA Watch has been holding vigils at Fort Benning's front gate since 1990 to call for the closing of the School of the Americas, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. They blame school graduates for human rights abuses, including murders of six Jesuits in El Salvador in 1989, and exploitation of the poor and the natural resources of Latin America.

"We gather to revive the memory of those who have died at the hands of this combat school," said the group's founder, the Rev. Roy Bourgeois, a Catholic priest who served as a Naval officer during the Vietnam War. "How do you teach democracy behind the barrel of a gun? If they are so concerned about teaching democracy, then why not close this school and send these students to some of our fine universities."

In previous years, Army officials have held news conferences to deny the group's claims, but this year they offered no response.

The Army recently erected a second 10-foot chain link fence, topped by coils of concertina wire, inside the post's outer fence, which was topped by strands of barbed wire. But neither of the fences proved adequate to stop some of the young protesters, who seemed to scamper over the barriers with relative ease.

The vigil attracted college students and activists, young and old, from all over the country.

Speakers included a Marine veteran of the Iraq war and a mother who lost her son in Iraq.

"The pre-emptive war and the torture is an affront to God," said Celeste Zappala, whose son, Sherwood Baker, 30, was killed on April 26. He was a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard.

"Let us not think of these casualties as just casualties," said Zappala, from Philadelphia. "They were someone's beloved."

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News :: Elections & Legislation

Bush-counties vs. Kerry-cities = Bush Landslide in Virginia

This article shows a widening gap between Virginia's disconnected and isolated progressives and the rest of the state. When will we learn?

Turnout won Va. for Bush

More voters in counties cast ballots than in cities, where Kerry ran stronger

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Voters in Virginia's counties, which generally went for President Bush, turned out for the presidential election in proportionally greater numbers than did voters in the John Kerry-leaning cities.

In the counties, 72.7 percent of registered voters cast ballots. In the cities, 68.1 percent did so, according to the official canvass of the results completed yesterday by the State Board of Elections.

The overall turnout of 71.3 percent was almost 3 percentage points higher than four years ago.

A total of 3,223,156 Virginians cast ballots, 450,000 more than in 2000. The Bush-Cheney ticket increased its vote total by 279,000 votes over four years ago. The Democratic ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards surpassed the total for Al Gore and Joseph I. Lieberman by 217,000.

Four years ago, consumer advocate Ralph Nader, as a candidate of the Green Party, won 59,398 votes in Virginia. It was generally thought he siphoned votes away from the Gore-Lieberman ticket.

This year, Nader ran again but did not get enough signatures of registered voters to qualify for a spot on the Virginia ballot. He ran a write-in campaign and received 2,393 votes.

Bush received 1,716,959 votes, 53.7 percent. Kerry received 1,454,742, or 45.5 percent.

The two minor-party candidates on the ballot did not fare well. The Constitution Party, led by Michael Peroutka received 10,161 votes. The Libertarian Party, led by Michael Badnarik, received 11,032.

In Virginia's winner-takes-all system, the 13 Republican presidential electors will meet in the state Capitol on Dec. 13 to cast their electoral votes for President Bush.

Reviewing the results yesterday, Jean R. Jensen, secretary of the State Board of Elections, said the election went well despite the large number of new voters and new voting machines. Complaints were few, despite unusual scrutiny, she said.

The longest wait to vote was two hours, she said. The wait can be corrected with improved procedures, she said, and she does not think more precincts or voting machines are needed.

She also said she expects legislation will be introduced in the 2005 General Assembly to allow no-excuse absentee balloting as a way to ease Election Day delays. Similar attempts in the past have been defeated by conservative legislators fearful of absentee-ballot fraud.

The final numbers show that all the incumbent members of Congress won with at least 59.2 percent. Democratic Rep. Rick Boucher of Abingdon received that percentage of the vote in the 9th District. Rep James P. Moran Jr. won 59.7 percent in the 8th District. The other eight incumbents each carried more than 60 percent of the vote.

The closest congressional race was in the Virginia Beach-area 2nd District, where Republican Del. Thelma Drake won an open seat over Democrat David Ashe with 55.1 percent.

Contact Tyler Whitley at (804) 649-6780 or twhitley@timesdispatch.com

This story can be found at: http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD%2FMGArticle%2FRTD_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1031779300288&path=%21news&s=1045855934842

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