Call-in Day on Wednesday, January 25 to repudiate the excesses of the PATRIOT Act
Stop Funding Racism! - Build Levees NOT Walls!
Jan. 31, On The Night of President Bush's State of the Union Address- Drown Out Bush's Lies!
* Drop All Fines Against N.Y.C. Transit Workers! Dump All Anti-Strike Provisions of Taylor Law!
* Proposed Ban on Congressional Travel Paid by Private Parties
* NSA Expert, Jim Bamford on Domestic Wiretapping: The Bush Administration Has "Decided Simply to Violate the Law"
* Thousands Throng Streets as Bolivian Leader Sheds Tears but Talks Tough at Inauguration
* Bush, Abramoff Posed for Photos Five Times, Magazines Report
* Wal-Mart's Unionbusting Practices Face Scrutiny in U.S. Courts
* Guantanamo Hunger Strikers Close to Death
* Bin Laden: Where is he? Who's protecting him? Why can't we find him?
* Cindy Sheehan | Matriotism
* Venezuela at the World Social Forum beginning January 21st.-( Live Blog)


Friday, January 27

5:30-8:00 p.m. Chinatown In/Flux Closing Reception

Asian Arts Initiative, 1315 Cherry St., 2nd floor, Philadelphia, PA For info, call 215-557-0455.

7:00 p.m. Poems Not Prisons
A-space, 4722 Baltimore Ave., Philadelphia, PA For info, email

7:30 p.m. Screening: "Caracoles: New Paths of Resistance"
A-Space, 4722 Baltimore Ave., Philadelphia, PA For info, call 215-727-0822.

Saturday, January 28

10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Free College Financial Aid Application Workshop
Community College of Philadelphia, 18th & Callowhill Sts., Business & Industry Center, Philadelphia, PA
For info, call 215-735-2877.

7:30-9:30 p.m. Keep Kids Safe Skate Event UPenn Ice Skating Rink, 3130 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA
Admission is $8 kids, $10 adults, benefits Lutheran Settlement House For info, call 215-426-8610 x.208.

Monday, January 30
6:00-8:00 p.m. Workshop: "Managing Up: Working Effectively with Your Executive Director"
Central Library of Philadelphia, 4th floor Skyline Room, 1901 Vine St., Philadelphia, PA
Sponsored by Philadelphia Young Nonprofit Leaders For info, email

Tuesday, January 31
9:00 p.m. State of Our Values Meeting with Rev. Robin Hynicka, Rev. James Allen, Sr. Mary Scullion, Rabbi Winokur
Arch St. United Methodist Church, 55 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA For info, see

Wednesday, February 1
6:00-7:45 p.m. Parents with POWER! Workshop
Sadie Alexander Elementary School, 43rd & Locust St., Philadelphia, PA For info, to rsvp, call 215-965-7876.

Thursday, February 2
7:00 p.m. "Precious Places" (community video history project) Premiere
International House, 3701 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA Sponsored by Scribe Video. Info, 215-222-4201.

Friday, February 3
1:00-4:00 p.m. Town Hall Meeting on Progressive Hospital Reform Friends Center, Rufus Jones Room,
1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA Sponsored by Hospital Watch PA For info, email

Sunday, February 5, 2:00 p.m.
"Honoring New Prophets--Sing Shalom!" (with Cindy Sheehan, keynote speaker)
Mishkan Shalom Synagogue, 4101 Freeland Ave., Philadelphia, PA
Honoring: Jeffrey Dekro (The Shefa Fund), Judy Wicks (White Dog Cafe) and Celeste Zappala (bereaved mother)
$36 in advance, $45 at the door Sponsored by the Shalom Center, for info call 610-642-3006.

Monday, February 6, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Urban Sustainability Forum with Jaime Lerner, former Mayor of Curitiba Brazil, "World's Most Sustainable City"
Academy of Natural Sciences Auditorium,
1900 Ben Franklin Pkwy., Phila, PA For info, email

Tuesday, February 7

5:30-7:30 p.m."Walking the Walk: Values in Action" Philadelphia Cathedral, 38th St., Philadelphia, PA
Sponsored by Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia For info, call 215-222-1012.

7:00 p.m. Green Party of Philadelphia Meetup
Joe's Coffee Shop, 1100 Walnut St., Philadelphia For info, call 215-592-7384.
Project H.O.M.E. Will Screen Award-Winning Documentary on Women in the Civil Rights Struggle

        Tuesday, February 7, 6:45 p.m.
        Honickman Learning Center Comcast Technology Labs, 1936 N. Judson Street
As part of Black History Month, Project H.O.M.E. will host a showing of "Standing on My Sisters's Shoulders," an
award-winning documentary co-produced by Philadelphians Joan and Robert Sadoff. The film tells the first-hand story of Mississippi women who risked their lives in the fight for Civil Rights and emerged as heroines. 
        For more information, contact Will O'Brien, Special Projects
        Coordinator, at 215-232-7272, ext. 3047 or

PBS TV:  Slavery And The Making Of America, produced by Dante James and narrated by Morgan Freeman.
          Feb. 9th and the 16th from 9 PM to 11 PM     
Slavery And The Making Of America tells the story of slavery from the   point of view of the enslaved. The series recognizes the strength, humanity and dignity of the enslaved and redefines them as pro-active freedom fighters not passive victims.
         If we create a large audience for this important series PBS will be encouraged to produce and air more programs
that address the African-American experience. For Info: Two web sites:

** Playgrounds for Palestine Fundraiser** - Feb 12th - ( Please distribute widely)-

While you eat a delicious, fully halal dinner, a live band will infuse a dance hall with flavors of the Middle East. There will be sharqi (belly) and dabke dances. A percussion ensemble of talented kids will rock the air. You'll learn about Palestinian children through a unique presentation. And we'll teach you a few dabkeh moves if you join us on the dance floor.

A silent auction will line the walls with unique Arabesque items and you can write your bid next to whatever you'd like, without pressure. Some of our prize items include a Palestinian flag signed by Abu Mazen. Lots of gorgeous pieces of jewelry, embroidery, Hebron pottery, and other items. For examples, visit:
We've worked very hard to bring you a lovely evening that will enable us to continue to bring joy to children in Palestine. This particular fundraiser is meant to raise money to finance several playgrounds that are designed by Palestinian architecture students from the Islamic University of Gaza. They will be built with local materials and local labor, thereby maximizing our contribution to the local economy.

It will take place on February 12th at Samba [714 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA]. Dinner will be served starting at 5pm and live entertainment will follow shortly thereafter. The cost is $30-50 for adults and $15 for children (cash bar). If you want to come just for dancing to arabic music at 7:30, tickets are $10 (with a cash bar). For more information, see our website.

If you'd like to purchase a ticket in advance [and we'd be grateful if you did], please mail a check to:
Playgrounds for Palestine
PO: Box 559
Yardley, PA 19067
Your name and place will be reserved and we'll also mail you the tickets. Or contact us via email:

A warm Thank You to all our cosponsors, including: Yousef Hamideh of Samba, Arab-American Discrimination Committee, Bubbies and Zaydes for Peace in the Middle East, Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, American Friends Service Committee, White Dog Café, Young Advocates for Peace of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, Middle East Working Group of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, Network of Arab American Professionals, Students for Justice in Palestine - Bryn Mawr, Students against the Occupation- Swarthmore, Penn Students for Justice in Palestine, Penn Arab Student Society, SUSTAIN and Philadelphia International Action Center.

THE WILMA THEATER PRESENTS:   Heather Raffo's 9 Parts of Desire
February 1 - March 12
The Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad Street  -    215-546-7824

Through an extraordinary tour de force one-woman performance, Heather Raffo's impassioned 9 Parts of Desire unveils the stories of a multitude of Islamic women. A mother, an artist, and a cousin from New York are among this sisterhood. Written by Iraqi-American Heather Raffo, the stories are real and current, emotionally stirring and remarkably revealing. Nominated for the Lucielle Lortel and countless other awards, Heather Raffo's 9 Parts of Desire has sold out performances in New York and London, and is sure to be an unforgettable evening of theater.
        Tickets $10 - $49! Students get 50% off regular ticket prices.* (*does not include $10 student rush tickets)
Women and Islam -   SYMPOSIA AT THE WILMA THEATER after the Sunday matinee
February 5th at 3:45pm

A rare opportunity to explore the issues raised in The Wilma Theater's production of Heather Raffo's 9 Parts of Desire. A group of Islamic women take the stage to discuss the diverse views of Islamic women regarding the veil, their religion and outside perceptions of their culture, as well as share aspects of reality behind the stereotypes.
* Panelists:
Caryolyn Baugh ,  PhD candidate in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of Pennsylvania, specialist in Gender and Islamic Law
Manar Darwish ,  Lecturer on Women in Islam and Islamic Studies, St. Joseph's University
Leila C. Kubba, Iraqi-born Artist and Director of Iraqi Cultural Society, Washington, DC
Moderated by: Hayat Alvi-Aziz Program Director of International Studies, Arcadia University
Limited FREE seating available!: Call 215-546-7824 to RSVP

Co-Sponsored by:
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, U of PA Museum of  Archaeology & Anthropology&  Middle East Center, World Affairs Council
Current State of Affairs in Iraq
on the Wilma Stage after the Sunday matinee
February 19th at 3:45pm

As the third anniversary of the overthrow of Saddam Hussein approaches, what is Iraq really like today? This panel will discuss the current situation and relate it to the Wilma's production of Heather Raffo's play. Is life better or worse for the men and women who live there? What does the future hold?
* Panelists:
Deborah Amos, Foreign Correspondent on Iraq for National Public Radio
Sinan Antoon, Professor of Arabic Literature and Culture at NYU
Trudy Rubin, Foreign Affairs Editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer
Kate Saxon, Artistic Director of Heather Raffo's 9 Parts of Desire
Moderated by: Marty Moss-Coane, Host of WHYY's Radio Times
Limited FREE seating available! Call 215-546-7824 to RSVP

The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA) invites you to: Lift Every Voice and Be Heard!

        Saturday, February 25, 2006, 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
        Temple University, Berks St. between 11th and 12th Sts- Gladfelter Hall  LL-13
Confirmed panelists:
Attorney Adjoa Aiyetoro, N'COBRA Legal Defense and Education Fund & WILPF Member
Dr. Greg Carr, Howard University
Bro. Rob Gray, Founder, African American Freedom & Reconstruction League
Dr. William Jenkins, African American Studies Department, Temple University
Queen Mother Dorothy Lewis, Co-chair N'COBRA International Affairs
Rev. Frank Tyson, Assoc. Minister, Salem Baptist Church, Jenkintown, PA
Dr. Raymond A. Winbush, Author, Should America Pay? Slavery and the Raging Debate on Reparations
        On December 13th the  of Philadelphia, Mayor John F. Street, signed a bill into law that will make Philadelphia
one of the first cities in the United States to demand reparations from banks that have benefited from slavery. The law
was introduced by City Council members Wilson Goode and Blondell Reynolds-Brown in March 2005.
 Contact: (215) 747-8601- Department of African Studies, Temple University

Wednesday, February 8, 8:30-11:30 a.m.
Workshop: "Technical Decisions for Non-Technical Managers" United Way of SEPA, 7 Ben Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA
Free to Teaming for Technology & UWSEPA members, $30 for everyone else For info, email

Sunday, February 12,

4 p.m. Folk Factory Family Concert: 2 of a Kind 6900 Stenton Ave., Mt. Airy, Philadelphia
$2-5 sliding scale For info, call 215-848-6246,

7:30 p.m. Folk Factory Concert for Grown-Ups: What Four, 6900 Stenton Ave., Mt. Airy, Philadelphia
$8-25 sliding scaleFor info, call 215-848-6246,

Tuesday, February 14, 7:00 p.m.
Report on World Social Forum Calvary Church, 48th & Baltimore Ave., Philadelphia, PA
For info, email

Wednesday, February 15

9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon Info Session: "The Disability Advocacy Program (DAP): How Your Clients can get help with
applications for SSI & SSD"
United Way of SEPA, 7 Ben Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA For info, email

6:00 p.m. UPenn Asian American Studies Panel Discussion & Film Screening: "South Asian Americans in Hip-Hop"
360 Huntsman Hall, Univ. of PA, Philadelphia, PA For info, call 215-898-1782.

Thursday, February 16, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Urban Sustainability Forum:"Directing the Flow: Managing Philadelphia's Water"
Academy of Natural Sciences Auditorium
, 1900 Ben Franklin Pkwy., Philadelphia, PA For info, email

Friday, February 17, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
"Neither Here Nor There" Exhibition Opening Reception
Asian Arts Initiative, 1315 Cherry St., 2nd floor, Philadelphia, PA For info, call 215-557-0455.


Free Tutoring for Children in TANF Families
        EPP tutors children at all grade levels on weekdays and weekends and is able to pick-up and drop-off
children at most locations.  One-on-one tutoring and group tutoring in math and reading available.
To register, call 267-253-5444 or<>. :DHS Prevention Services[]

10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.   Talk Radio Program with Sandra Dungee Glenn (Member, School Reform
Commission)   On WURD 900 AM--call in number is 215-426-1310.

6:00-8:00 p.m.   Workshop: "Build Your Own Computer"
Nonprofit Technology Resources, 1524 Brandywine St., Philadelphia, Pa
$25 per session   To register, call 215-564-6686.

7:00-9:00 p.m.
International Concerned Friends & Family of Mumia Weekly Meeting
4601 Market St., 5th floor, Philadelphia, PA   For info, call 215-476-5416.

noon-1:00 p.m. Vigil across from the Israeli Consulate
15th & Locust St. <>
4:30 p.m.   Anti-war leafleting and picket
Market & 11th Sts., Philadelphia, PA   For info, email

5:00 p.m.   Vigil--Women in Black
Swarthmore Train Station, Park Ave. & Chester Rd., Swarthmore, PA   For info, email

 10:00 a.m. to noon
"Talking Union" weekly call-in radio show, 1340 AM

noon-1:00 p.m.   Peace Vigil   Rte. 38 & Cherry Hill Mall Dr., Cherry Hill, NJ
For info, email

1:00-2:00 p.m.   Protest at Ferber Furs
1708 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA   For info, email

5:00-7:00 p.m.   Radio Show: "Labor to Neighbor" with hosts Janet Ryder, Pat Eiding &
Pete Matthews   900 AM WURD--215-634-8065.

6:00-9:00 p.m. Weekly ACT UP Meeting
St. Luke's Church, 330 S. 13th St., Philadelphia, PA For info, email

7:00-9:00 p.m.   Organizing Meeting   Toviah Thrift Shop   Chestnut St. (between 42nd & 43rd)
Call (215) 382-7251 or (215) 474-6459 box 1 for more info  - Sponsored by Neighbors Against McPenntrification

7:30 p.m.   Books Through Bars Packing Cafe   The A Space, 4722 Baltimore Ave., Philadelphia, PA
Help pack books to send to prisoners.   Email

4:30-5:30 p.m. - Federal Building, 601 Market St., Philadelphia, PA
Sponsored by House of Grace Catholic Worker   For info, email .

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm - Outside Unitarian Society of Germantown
Street: 6511 Lincoln Drive (between Wayne & Horter) in West Mount Airy,  Philadelphia, PA 19119
- Candles and signs welcome. Let's make them "HONK FOR PEACE!"

7:00 pm - 8:00 pm - Outside Borders Book Store, Germantown Avenue at Bethlehem Pike in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA 19118    Note: Dress warmly and bring your candle and sign. (Try this in your neighborhood.)
7:30 p.m.   International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement Weekly Meeting
Uhuru House, 1021 S. 49th St., Philadelphia, Pa   For info, see


                (located at 1 First Street N.E., Washington, DC)  

CALL YOUR SENATORS ON THE TOLL FREE NUMBERS, 888-355-3588, 888-818-6641, 800-426-8073
Contest to find the best Alito Filibuster Affirmation.
        We have been told the most effective way to follow up now is to call or fax your senators' LOCAL district offices,
so if you haven't done that yet you can get all the numbers from the instant lookup at

 National Call-in Day, Today to repudiate the excesses of the PATRIOT Act and government violations of our civil liberties!:
CODEPINK Women for Peace (ACLU Has a Similar Action)

Are you concerned about government spying on peaceful protestors (including CODEPINK), wiretaps of phone calls without a court order, and FBI searches of personal records of people who are not suspected of any wrongdoing? So are we.

The USA PATRIOT Act gives the government increased authority to wiretap your phone, monitor your e-mail and demand your medical, financial and student records from banks, vendors, doctors offices, and libraries. Furthermore, it prevents anyone who is required to turn over your records from ever telling you or anyone else, even if the records turned up no wrongdoing.
And did you know that the latest version of the PATRIOT Act contains a new provision that can throw protesters like us in prison for 10 years for disrupting major events such as political conventions? (In 2004 CODEPINK took our anti-war message to the floors of both the Republican AND Democratic Conventions.)

Very soon Congress will have a chance to repair some of the PATRIOT Act's worst excesses. In December 2005, a bipartisan group of senators filibustered to stop the passage of a bill that would have reauthorized 16 expiring PATRIOT Act provisions. As a compromise, the provisions were extended for 5 weeks to give the officials more time to work out their differences. This temporary extension will run out on February 3, 2006.

The Senate version of the bill has much stronger protections of civil liberties and more meaningful opportunities to challenge unwarranted information requests and gag orders. Please call your representatives and senators, and ask them to support the Senate version of the bill. You can call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 or find your representatives and get their direct numbers by clicking here ( And if you'd like additional talking points or a sample letter you can send, click here:

Don't let the Bush administration take away our basic rights to protest THEIR illegal actions. Your phone calls on January 25 can help restore our rights to privacy, free speech, and due process.

Your sisters against Big Brother, Dana, Farida, Gael, Jodie, Medea, Nancy, Rae & Tiffany
        P.S. On January 31st President Bush will deliver his State of the Union address to Congress. He'll defend the mounting death toll in Iraq, claim that spying on peace groups like CODEPINK is lawful and make more excuses for the sorry state of our union. In times like these it's important to keep our spirits up. We suggest you get together with your friends and fellow activists and head to your favorite watering hole for a People's State of the Union. Click here ( for action ideas and to find an event in your town.

Stop Funding Racism! - Build Levees NOT Walls! January 22, 2006

As our brothers and sisters in New Orleans and the Gulf States struggle to
rebuild their lives from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, and while the
White House has indicated that the Federal funds assigned for hurricane
recovery are not enough, Israel is demanding additional billions of dollars
from the US administration for the expansion of Jewish-only
settlements on Palestinian land.

These Israeli demands come after Congress had already awarded ONE THIRD of
the total foreign aid budget to affluent Israel, which is also heavily
subsidized with tax-deductible contributions by wealthy American Zionists.
In addition, US labor unions (through the AFL-CIO), local governments and
universities hold Israel Bonds, another form of private subsidy to Israel.
Further, to this day, US citizens are still forced to pay taxes to bribe
Russians and other white Europeans to leave for Israel, while the Israeli
government refuses Palestinian refugees their inalienable, natural and
historical right to return to their homes.

Now, as African American and other hurricane victims in Louisiana and
Mississippi face eviction from emergency housing and endless delays in
obtaining building permits, frequently failing to receive straight answers
from the government as to when or whether the ruined levee system will be
rebuilt,  Israel is insisting that our Congress appropriate billions of our
tax dollars for planned Israeli developments on land where Palestinians now
live and have lived for generations. The people living on these lands in the
Jaleel (Galilee) and Naqab (Negev) regions are to be evicted and replaced
with Jewish-only settlements and segregated roads, water systems and
industrial areas built with these US tax dollars.

Some of these funds will also be used to extend the illegal Annexation Wall,
a 26 foot high, 400 mile long concrete and barbed wire structure meant to
keep Palestinians penned up in their towns or force them off their land
entirely. Major Palestinian towns including Qalquilya, Tulkarem and
Bethlehem have already been imprisoned this way, using US tax dollars. Next
on the list for further aggression are the Palestinian town of Nazareth in
the north, and the arid grazing areas of the Naqab where Bedouins have made
their living by agriculture and herding for centuries. The Bedouins are now
faced with being herded into reservations themselves.

What happens to the people of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans when there is no
more money in the treasury for rebuilding the ruined neighborhoods and infrastructure? 
Will the US government put its people into concrete-walled ghettoes?

The Educate Congress Action Committee of Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to
Return Coalition, is asking Al-Awda members, supporters and all people of
conscience to call, email, and fax your letters to the White House, the
Secretary of State and your congressional representatives.

* Tell them that our tax dollars must be used to rebuild the levees and the
devastated neighborhoods of Louisiana and  Mississippi; to keep jobs in the
US; and to refuse any additional funding to the racist Israeli government which
uses these funds to oppress and  dispossess our Palestinian brothers and sisters.

* Remind them that the White House has already indicated that the Federal
funds assigned for hurricane recovery won't be enough.

* Tell them that all people have the Right to Return to the homes they were
forced to flee due to natural or man-made disaster. This right is enshrined
in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the US has ratified.

* It's the Law - Everyone Has the Right to Return Home! *


*President George W Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Phone: 202-456-1414
Fax: 202-456-2461

*Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Tel: 202-647-4000 or 1-800-877-8339 (Federal Relay Service) Fax: 202-261-8577
Web Form: Use the "Send a Message to the Secretary of State" link at

* Your Representatives and Senators:
Call the Capitol switchboard at:1-877-331-2000, 1-800-839-5276 or 202-224-3121

Letters in the US may be faxed online via:

Please cc your correspondence to

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
PO Box 131352
Carlsbad, CA 92013, USA
Tel: 760-685-3243
Fax: 360-933-3568

Jan. 31, On The Night of President Bush's State of the Union Address- Bring the Noise! Drown Out Bush's Lies!

        In large cities and small towns all across the country, join in rallies one hour before Bush's address as we make our determination to "Drive Out the Bush Regime" the political message of the day. 
        At 9:00 PM EST, just as Bush starts to speak, everywhere we will BRING THE NOISE. In a cacophony of sound, drown out his address with music: from drums to violins, from hip hop and classical; and with noise: banging pots and ringing church bells, sound car horns and lifting our voices.

In Philadelphia: Gathering at 8pm at the corner of 12th and Market Sts. Bring your noise; pots and pans, music, horns, whistles, bells, signs and banners and at 9pm we will "Drown Out Bush's State Of The Union Address. We will not allow Bush to set the agenda for our future as we demand BUSH STEP DOWN and Take Your Whole Agenda With You!!!
e-mail us at call us at 267-408-6286
# The President's State of the Union address is just four days away (January 31), but it's not too late to throw a house party.

We have already heard from folks from coast to coast - from New York to California, in Missouri, Idaho, Ohio and several other states – who are organizing State of the Union gatherings.

State of the Union parties are a great opportunity to raise funds for your local organizing work and United for Peace and Justice. Our "Parties for Peace" kit offers lots of tips on hosting a successful event. We hope that you will find this kit useful, and that it will help you to develop the financial resources to support your local organizing work, help you draw newcomers into the peace and justice mo
vement, and help raise money to support the work of UFPJ, so that we can better support our member groups.

UFPJ, several of our member groups, and allies have also put together a number of party games, discussion guides, and other materials that you can use for your party. Some are irreverent, some are serious, some are downright raucous -- choose the activities that you think will resonate most strongly with your guests.

"Track the Lies" Tally Sheet from United for Peace and Justice
Print out copies of this sheet for each of your party guests and have them jot down notes throughout the speech. The process of tallying and comparing afterward should generate a great discussion -- and the person who identifies the greatest number of lies, manipulations of fact, half-truths, and other distortions in Bush's speech wins.

CodePink State of the Union "Liars Bingo"
It's not really competitive -- there are only two cards -- but with its colorful graphics and cheeky tone, this bingo game from UFPJ member group CodePink will keep your guests howling with laughter.

National Priorities Project: Local Costs of the Iraq War
This guide from the National Priorities Project offers a breakdown of what the Iraq war is costing local communities across the country. Look up your locale before the State of the Union a
ddress, and ask your party guests to guess the figure.

United for Peace & Justice Legislative Action Team
Information and resources for groups and individuals who want to become active in pressuring their legislators to take action against the war.

AFSC's "Ten Reasons Why the U.S. Must Leave Iraq"
A cogent and comprehensive summary of why we should bring all the troops home now from the American Friends Service Committee, a member group of UFPJ -- a great resource to share with your party guests.

Sojourners and Call to Renewal "The State of Our Values" Tookit
Party planning tips and discussion guide from a progressive faith-based perspective.

Huffington Post State of the Union Games
"Guess the Guest," "Beat the Speaker!" and a presidential speech drinking game.

State of the Union Drinking Games: Version One | Version Two
A political version of the classic drinking game; 2006 rules to be posted soon.

If you have the stomach for it, you might also check out the official George W. Bush party packs -- and then order a stack of "Bush Lies, Who Dies?" posters from UFPJ!
If you're holding a public State of the Union event, please don't forget to list your activities on the calendar on the UFPJ website.
Yours, for peace and justice,
ACTION ALERT * UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE | 212-868-5545   -  To subscribe, visit



Drop All Fines Against N.Y.C. Transit Workers!
Dump All Anti-Strike Provisions of Taylor Law!

The Organizer Newspaper
P.O. Box 40009, San Francisco, CA 94140.
Tel. (415) 626-1175; fax: (415) 626-1217.
To UNSUBSCRIBE, contact <>
email: The Organizer <>
New web site:
[Note: The following article is reprinted from the January-February 2006 issue of The Organizer Newspaper. To obtain a sample hard copy of The Organizer -- or to be added to our weekly email list -- please contact us at the address listed above.]

Editor's Introduction

On Jan. 20, New York City's 33,000 transit workers voted to reject the new three-year contract that had been approved by their union leadership. One month earlier, on Dec. 20-22, the transit workers staged a three-day strike to demand equity and better wages and conditions for all union members.

By an extremely narrow margin -- only seven votes out of more than 22,000 votes cast -- the transit workers rejected the call for ratification by Transportation Workers Union Local 100 President Roger Toussaint, heeding instead the dissident voices on the union's Executive Board that urged rejection. (On Dec 27, the union's Executive Board voted to approve the new contract by a vote of 37 in favor, 4 against, and one abstention.)

The agreement would have provided workers with raises of 3 percent, 4 percent and 3.5 percent over the next three years. But it would have required, for the first time, that all workers contribute 1.5 percent of their salaries toward healthcare premiums. This was the single most important reason workers rejected the contract, according to the New York media.

At the same time, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) agreed to pull a proposal that would have raised the retirement age for new hires from 55 to 62, or required new employees to contribute more to their pensions.

The three-day strike violated the state's anti-union Taylor Law and was therefore characterized as "illegal" by the city and state authorities. TWU Local 100 was fined $3 million, while TWU workers were hit with $35 million in fines -- two days pay for each day on strike. There was no amnesty -- unconditional or otherwise -- in the proposed contract regarding these cruel and unusual penalties.

A Brooklyn judge has yet to determine exactly how much of those fines the union and its employees will pay. Toussaint could also face jail time over the walkout. A hearing scheduled for January 20 was postponed.

The article below by New York labor activist Ruben Panovino explains the stakes in this battle and urges all trade unionists and activists in the city and across the country to come to the aid of these embattled workers, beginning with the call, as Panovino writes, "to mobilize every union, community organization and supporter to demand unconditional amnesty for the workers of TWU Local 100."

The Editors

NEW YORK - Thirty-three thousands New York City subway and bus workers went out on strike for three days on December 20-22 to say
"NO!" to pension demands that would have sown seeds of division within the union's rank-and-file, giving lesser pension benefits to future workers.

This action was not taken lightly. On the eve of the holidays, the transit workers were conscious of the hardships a strike could provoke for all the strikers' families and for the community at large. They also knew that under the 1967 anti-union Taylor Law each striker was threatened with losing two days of pay for every day on strike, and the union itself was faced with fines as high $1 million per day.

Roger Toussaint, president of Transport Workers Union Local 100, explained, "We are fighting for those who are not yet born." The union insisted that all workers should be paid the same and receive the same benefits as the current membership.
Strikers stood firm in the face of vicious attacks by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), the mayor, the state governor, the courts and the mainstream news media. In fact, with a $2 billion surplus in the city's budget, the MTA squandered these public funds in a month-long anti-union media blitz. Roger Toussaint was characterized regularly in the media as a "thug."

The majority of New Yorkers, however, knew there was something greater at play here. The media could not hide the fact that 52% or more of New Yorkers, according to all the polls, supported the transit strike despite the incredible hardships they were asked to endure. Local unions stood up one by one to proclaim that "the transit workers' strike is our strike." They understood that if the City and MTA could impose this two-tier pension plan upon the transit workers, all other public employees would be next when their contracts expired.

Despite the constant barrage of anti-union epithets on the news, the majority of New Yorkers knew these transit workers symbolized hope, they symbolized the truth. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, in a statement issued Dec. 21, noted that the "New York transit workers are taking a brave stand for future generations of transit workers, holding the line against a separate and unequal retirement plan for people who will be hired in the future." Sweeney said the strikers were "drawing the line for good jobs," and he urged union members across the country to support the TWU Local 100's strike fund.

TWU Local 100's Defiance of the Taylor Law

New York Governor George Pataki, N.Y.C. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and MTA Chief Peter Kalikow had a much larger problem on their hands than just a labor dispute. What was most troubling to these pro-business politicians was the defiance by TWU 100 of New York State's Taylor Law -- a defiance that inspired working people across the city and state.

The Taylor Law -- formally the 1967 Public Employees-Fair Employment Act -- was enacted after the 10-day TWU strike in 1966. It reads: "No public employee or employee organization shall engage in a strike, and no public employee or employee organization shall cause, instigate, encourage, or condone a strike." While the Taylor Law is supposed to make both job actions by unions and unfair labor practices by employers obsolete, this statute actually functions to emasculate unions from properly mobilizing and fighting for their members. It does nothing to force public sector employers to bargain in good faith, as it contains no real mechanism to discipline employers who violate the law.

It was barely mentioned in the news media, moreover, that the MTA did much to provoke the strike by breaking the Taylor Law first with its illegal pension demands and defiance of court orders to stop its unilateral imposition of One-Person Train Operation. Even the union's appeal to the state Pension Employees Retirement Board (PERB) -- the same PERB that ultimately dispatched a mediator to work out a deal -- was rejected on the grounds that the MTA's pension demands did not provoke the strike. In the meantime, the mayor and governor have insisted that the fines will be strictly enforced. This comes well after the TWU International exempted itself from Taylor Law penalties by ordering workers to scab and go back to work. Now rank-and-file workers of all affiliations are asking, "Where is labor movement solidarity?"

What To Do Next

The first things we must do is mobilize every union, community organization and supporter to demand unconditional amnesty for the workers of TWU Local 100 or this will set a damaging precedent for the labor movement as a whole, and for all workers -- unionized and non-unionized alike.

Next, we must go after the anti-union Taylor Law. The law cannot be immediately done away with because it grants a -- flawed and limited -- right to organize and collectively bargain. But its prohibition of public-sector strikes must be overturned!This, of course, raises the question of who represents the interests of New York City workers and why we should allow the authorities to take our tax dollars and use those funds against our own interests.

History has demonstrated clearly -- here in New York City and in other metropolitan regions across the United States -- that neither the Democrats or Republicans will stick their political necks out for the interests of workers -- especially trade unionists. Laws that are unjust and undemocratic are meant to be broken. This is precisely why transit workers risked everything by breaking the law. But at every press conference concerning the strike, you couldn't find one single politician who spoke out in favor of the union's defiance of the Taylor Law. All urged the union members to put the union's fate in the Taylor Law's pro-business arbitration procedure.

That's why -- more than ever -- we need a Labor Party that truly represents the will of the trade union movement and the working-class. Workers need a political expression that is independent of the political parties of the bosses -- the Republicrats. Workers need to have a political party that is accountable to them. No nation can claim it is democratic when at every opportunity employers trample upon the workers' right to organize and strike. There can be no freedom when workers walk into the worplace and are faced with the employers' concerted campaign to coerce workers into submission.

So while we advance our slogans of "Unconditional Amnesty For All Members of TWU 100," let us also advance the much-needed discussion of forging a Labor Party in this country. The labor movement needs to cut its umbilical cord with the Democrats. Imagine if we had a Labor Party Mayor and City Council in New York what we could accomplish? Imagine what the members of TWU 100 could have accomplished?

Proposed Ban on Congressional Travel Paid by Private Parties
      In the wake of the current lobbying scandals, both major political parties are proposing reform legislation that would ban US Congressmen from privately funded travel. 
     One salutary effect of such legislation would be to curtail the long procession of American legislators who regularly visit Israel, courtesy of private groups, thus opening the door for undue access and influence. "These trips  include extensive travel in Israel and meetings with key leaders," according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA). "Travel has been credited with helping lawmakers see controversial topics - such as the West Bank barrier and Gaza Strip withdrawal - in a light favorable to Israel." (1)
     The American Israel Educational Foundation, an organization that provides funding for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), accounted for the visits of 38 members of Congress in the second half of 2005 alone, and others have undoubtedly travelled there under the auspices of other private organizations as well.  Jewish organizations are sufficiently worried by the proposed reforms that they are  also considering "ways around the regulations, including taking congressional candidates to the Middle East before they're elected and subject to congressional restrictions,"  the JTA reports.
    Although peace in the Middle East is often thought to require the good offices of the United States as an honest broker, the Administration's lack of even-handedness, routinely echoed by lopsidedly pro-Israel votes in Congress, is widely resented throughout the region. Congressmen might be exposed to more diverse views and access to them might be more balanced by requiring that all their expenses be paid from the Congressional budget, with strict disclosure to the public.
        The American Council on Middle East Policy

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The Bush administration has launched a public-relations offensive to defend
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warrants. We speak with James Bamford, author of several books on
intelligence, including the first book ever written about the NSA. Bamford
is also a plaintiff in an ACLU lawsuit that charges the spying program
violates Americans' rights to free speech and privacy under the first and fourth amendments
of the Constitution.

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* Cindy Sheehan | Matriotism

* Venezuela at the World Social Forum beginning January 21st. 
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