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Friday, Nov. 13th & Saturday, Nov. 14th
at the Independent Media Center
WRFU BIRTHDAY EXTRAVAGANZA
Celebrating the 4th anniversary of Radio Free Urbana
Community radio by and for the people
The Show 10pm-12am
Watch the making of a live episode of The Show with Ray Morales*
Audio Skill Shares 11am-2pm
Learn how to make great radio! All ages, all skill levels
Potluck Dinner 6pm-8pm
Meet-and-greet for radio lovers & past and current members, unveiling of photo gallery, audio scrapbook listening party, and group history of WRFU
by Michael Winship
The US Senate on Wednesday held its first hearing on the proposed Comcast-Time Warner deal — a $45 billion transaction that will affect millions of consumers and further pad some already well-lined pockets — so now seems a good time to look at how our elected officials have benefitted from the largesse of the two companies with an urge to merge.
Although the ultimate decision will be made by the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department, according to the Sunlight Foundation, a reliable, nonpartisan watchdog, “The number one and number two cable providers in the country are also big-time on the influence circuit, giving upwards of a combined $42.4 million to various politicians and groups since 1989.
The Sunlight Foundation’s Influence Explorer tool also shows that the two companies have spent a combined $143.5 million lobbying Congress since 1989 on issues including telecommunications, technology, taxes and copyright.
[Note: Urbana provides a decrim option to its police, but this bill would make a much-needed, clear-cut break with past policy by removing all criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of cannabis in every Illinois jusrisdiction.]
CHICAGO, IL — Supporters of a bill that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Illinois released the results of a statewide poll showing strong support for such legislation. The Illinois House Restorative Justice Committee approved the bill last week, and supporters are now calling on members of the House to approve the proposal.
News reports indicate that Carol Ammons -- and the mass of motivated citizenry supporting her -- has won the 103rd State Representative Democratic Primary when ballots were counted this evening. This hard fought victory against the Madigan machine came about despite the fact that Madigan spent roughly $100,000 more than the Ammons campaign was able to. The difference was people. People on the street. People door to door. People calling, emailing and messaging.
Is there hope for a Democratic Party that represents the people of Illiinois, rather than a weak alternative to Republicanism? There is now. The people of Illinois demand better.
The inequities that helped inspire change in Maryland are even worse in Illinois. In Illinois, minorities are almost eight times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession, where in Matyland they are only about 3 to 1. It makes no sense for simple possession of small amounts of marijuana to result in criminal charges. It also makes no sense for this situation to continue in Illinois, with Democrats holding power in both houses in the state legislature, the governorship and the state attorney general. So why hasn't Illinois decriminalized marijuana? You should ask all candidates and your representatives and senators what their position is and what the plan to do to quit wasting the lives of young people and our very limited state resources on criminal charges over a few grams of vegetable matter.
by Twilight Greenaway
By all accounts, Jude Becker is a very successful farmer. His organic, pasture-raised Becker Lane pork, is considered the best of the best. It’s for sale in several Northern California Whole Foods and at farmers’ markets in Chicago, as well as on plates in several high-end restaurants around the country. There’s even a small retail market for it in Japan.
Elementary school teachers in Chicago have taken what progressive education advocates are calling a "brave" and "bold" stand against the destructive role of high-stakes testing in public schools by voting unanimously to boycott upcoming, state-mandated tests.
by Jeff Biggers
When besieged residents, already choked by toxic coal dust, face off with Peabody Energy officials on Tuesday, February 18, in Harrisburg, at an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency hearing for a five-year strip mine expansion permit, more than 1,019 paltry acres will be at stake.
As President Lincoln once invoked in a moment of crisis, the courageous residents in the showdown at Cottage Grove are "our last best hope."
by Kevin Gosztola
Few terrorism cases are lost by the government prosecutors in the United States, whether at the federal level or, in rare instances, at the state level. However, last week, a jury came to a verdict in the “NATO 3″ trial that acquitted three young men of all the terrorism charges they had faced.
It was a huge defeat for Illinois State’s Attorney of Cook County, Anita Alvarez, who angrily refused to admit the state had lost during a press conference after the verdict was announced.
Alvarez emphasized that the “NATO 3″ had still been found guilty of possession of an incendiary device with the intent to commit arson as well as two mob action offenses. However, the state did not bring this case as an arson or mob action case and all along the public had been led to believe that these were “terrorists” on trial. And they were so dangerous that the men were going to be charged with offenses under a largely untested state terrorism statute.
Approx. 15 Inmates enter fourth week of withholding food despite prison retaliation, beatings, threat of force-feedings
by Sarah Lazare, CommonDreams staff writer
In the cells of a segregated "High Security Unit" at a southern Illinois prison, inmates have taken the step of going without food to protest their their isolation and inhumane treatment at the hands of "corrections" authorities.
An estimated 15 people who are incarcerated at the the Menard Correctional Center are taking part in the hunger strike, which is stretching into its fourth week, amid reports of prison retaliation against the peaceful protest. This includes the beating of hunger striker Armando Velasquez, according to historian, lawyer, and life-long radical organizer Staughton Lynd, who has been actively supporting the prisoners since they contacted him seeking help.
"The conditions here are inhumane & repressive," wrote an anonymous inmate quoted in Solitary Watch, in a letter announcing the hunger strike before its January 15th start date. "So much that we are forced to make a stand as men in righteous indignation."