Friday, January 30, 2004

ENN Environmental News Network
E-mail Edition 01/30/2004

Water quality watchdogs
When the U.S. Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, the law's proponents wanted industries to decrease the flow of pollution into the nation's waterways. Thirty years later, new applications of the law are raising new questions. For instance, what happens if the pipe from which the pollution flows is up in the air, attached to a helicopter?

Mexican sea turtles are massacred by armed poachers
Carcasses of hundreds of endangered sea turtles, bludgeoned and carved open by poachers, litter the virgin beach of San Valentin on Mexico's Pacific coast in Guerrero state.

Energy Department postpones picking site to make nuclear triggers
Bowing to Congress, the Energy Department is putting off further action on selection of a site for making plutonium triggers for the nation's nuclear arsenal.

Orangutans in rehab are only the start for Borneo apes
In great ape terms, 9-month-old orangutan orphan CT could consider herself lucky. After a plantation owner tipped off staff about her fate, the furry orange ball's was sent to Malaysia's main orangutan center last month, making her future prospects quite bright.

U.S. caviar producers hope for ban on Caspian Sea beluga
The small but growing American caviar industry is hoping for a boost from federal authorities, who are considering a halt to trade of the priciest caviar from the Caspian Sea.

Environmental concerns are muddying Bali's tourism prospects
Deadly nightclub bombings in 2002 nearly devastated Bali's vital tourism industry. Now, dirty beaches, stinking rivers, and "Bali belly" are putting off visitors and threatening the tropical island's chances of a full recovery, environmental activists warn.

Experts back culls over vaccines in bird flu fight
To cull or not to cull? Despite concerns over the economic and social fallout from mass slaughter campaigns, experts say mass culling is the only way to be sure of halting outbreaks of highly infectious animal diseases such as the bird flu rampaging across Asia.

Mad cow bans mean breeding curbs at Canadian zoos
Canadian zoos may have to curb breeding programs for some rare animals because a U.S. ban on imports of giraffe, deer, and other ruminants means there is no market south of the border for the babies.

Scientists cite progress in reducing air pollution
Despite progress in cleaning the air over the past three decades, the government could do more by cracking down on groups of pollutants and letting companies trade rights to foul the sky, scientific experts said Thursday. They also said air quality standards should take into account climate change whenever possible.

Today's Press Releases (Become an Affiliate)
Direct from non-profit environmental and educational organizations.

Earth Policy Institute:
Troubling New Flows of Environmental Refugees

International Fund for Animal Welfare:
IFAW Responds To Oil Spill In Norway

Trout Unlimited - Western Conservation Office:
Hunters and Anglers Travel to Washington to Speak Out Against Energy Bill

American Society of Agronomy:
New Research Taps Companion Crops for Organic Weed Control

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy:
Budget Release Will Test Administration Response to CEOs' Call to Action on Natural Gas Crisis

Coast Alliance:
Coast Alliance Celebrates 25 Years of Work to Protect Nation's Coasts

WWF-US Communications:
New WWF Report Finds Wildlife and Humans at Risk from Commonly Used Chemicals
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Great Lakes Daily News: 30 January 2004
A collaborative project of the Great Lakes Information Network and the Great
Lakes Radio Consortium.

For links to these stories and more, visit

President wants $45M for Great Lakes cleanup
Though $5 million shy of what Congress has authorized, President Bush's
upcoming fiscal year budget proposal includes $45 million for ongoing Great
Lakes cleanup activities. Source: The Toledo Blade (1/30)

Bruce Power mulls building 2 reactors
Bruce Power is considering a plan to boost Ontario's electricity supply by
building two new reactors at its nuclear power complex on the shore of Lake
Huron near Kincardine. Source: The London Free Press (1/30)

Rusting Stelco falters
The tidal wave of restructuring that is washing through the North American
steel industry slammed Stelco Inc. yesterday, and will leave behind a
slimmer company with fewer employees, lower costs and substantially reduced
pensions for retirees. Source: The Globe and Mail (1/30)

Grants to help hunt down polluters
Funding from the Clean Michigan Initiative fund will be used to conduct dye
tests in sewer lines to identify illegal connections polluting Bear Creek
and Red Run Drain, both of which flow into the Clinton River and Lake St.
Clair. Source: The Detroit News (1/30)

Wet canary
A vast section of Lake Erie has run very short on oxygen, and that's bad
news for the fish that live there. Source: Earthwatch Radio (1/30)

Did rains lead to rise in water warnings?
Heavy storms throughout the summer washed farm waste and fertilizers into
streams and rivers that flow into Lake Erie, and caused storm sewers to
overflow and dump sewage into the water. Source: The Associated Press

Door County wants input on Wisconsin shoreline rules
Door County officials voted that if shoreland standards are going to be
changed, Wisconsin should input from the county with the most shoreland in
the state - 250 miles of it. Source: The Green Bay News-Chronicle (1/30)

EDITORIAL: Indiana's precious resources demand investment
Indiana must find money for water and soil conservation lest it lose far
more than it saved. Source: The Indianapolis Star (1/30)

Great Lakes need help
The Great Lakes Environmental Restoration Act would go a long way to
preserving the Great Lakes, proponents, including Wisconsin Sen. Russ
Feingold, have said. Source: Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter (1/30)

U.S. border money starts flowing
The long-awaited release of $25.3 million by the U.S. government is expected
to expedite passenger traffic at the Ambassador Bridge by enlarging a truck
processing area and expanding customs and immigration inspection lanes on
the U.S. side of the border. Source: The Windsor Star (1/29)

For links to these stories and more, visit
Did you miss a day of Daily News? Remember to use our searchable story
archive at

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I want to assure my readers that I will continue to provide the best collection of Great Lakes regional and global energy and environmental content I am able to find. I firmly believe that Dennis Kucinich's campaign is vital to such interests and indeed to the interests of the vast majority of the citizens of this nation and the rest of the world. This is a pivotal time in our history in a great many regards, therefore I must be certain that I have lent my voice to a cause that I whole-heartedly believe is in all our best interests and will promote the very issues this journal exists to support. That is why you are finding me posting so much on this campaign over the last several days. I will continue to do so at various times throughout this presidential campaign and until the election is over to the best of my ability alongside the more normal content of this journal for these reasons. In my estimation, it's "speak now or be forced to forever hold your peace." We can turn the tide now, environmentally, economically, socially, and politically, or we can all pay the piper quite dearly for a long time to come. Letting our manufacturing and infrastructure deteriorate is a grave risk to national security, as is continued dependence on foreign sources of energy, most especially those that harm the global environment.


Dan Stafford - GLZWEHD
The following post is a Kucinich campaign press release as have been most of the other posts below. I agree with every position candidate Kucinich has espoused with the notable exception of the Strategic Defense Initiative. I believe it is necessary to have a functional missile defense in order to rid ourselves of nuclear weapons, but otherwise I feel that Congressman Kucinich is the best thing going. I cannot however, speak to the accuracy of the quotes in this press release or it's attendant allegations. However, if they are true, then the alleged perpetrator is doing a dis-service to their subscribers by keeping from them the only true alternative to the status quo of making this country a land of economic slaves with no rights, civil or human.

Dan Stafford - GLZWEHD

Now We Know Why NY Times Wanted Kucinich and Sharpton Out of Debates
January 29, 2004

Following Dennis Kucinich and Rev. Al Sharpton's stand-out performances at tonight's debate, it seems clear why the New York Times wanted them kept out: they're just too good at debating.

Yesterday's New York Times Editorial:

"Representative Dennis Kucinich has every right to keep campaigning despite his minuscule vote tallies, but he should not be allowed to take up time in future candidate debates. Neither should the Rev. Al Sharpton, who is running to continue running, not to win."

The New York Times' position on March 2, 2003, two weeks after Kucinich entered the race and prior to the Times' 10 months of near total failure to introduce its readers to Kucinich's platform:

"Ideally, a sponsor interested in organizing a meaningful debate would like to limit it to, say, the six top-tier candidates. But who decides what top tier means?" To answer his own question, New York Times chief political correspondent Adam Nagourney supplied a sound bite from an academic pundit: "With all due respect, Kucinich and Moseley Braun have no chance of getting the nomination."

For more information:
Kucinich Stands Strong on Key Issues
January 29, 2004

Congressman Dennis Kucinich tonight stood strong as the candidate who will challenge a global trade system that gives corporations powers over governments, who will repeal NAFTA and withdraw from the WTO, replacing them with fair bilateral trade agreements.

Kucinich stood strong as the candidate with a plan to create single-payer comprehensive health coverage, allowing us to provide coverage for every American for no more than we're paying now to leave 43 million people without coverage while we pay for the for-profit health insurance industry's executive salaries, stock options, lobbying, advertising, and marketing.

Kucinich stood strong as the candidate with a plan to go to the United Nations with a new approach that would send UN peacekeepers into Iraq and bring US troops home. Kucinich said he would reject the doctrines of preemption, unilateralism, and first-strike.

Kucinich said he would honor the NAACP boycott of South Carolina over the use of the confederate flag by staying tonight at a hotel in North Carolina. He committed to working to heal the country on the issues of slavery, the Civil War, 9-11, and the dispossession of Native American land.

Kucinich stood out in tonight's debate despite the fact that it took debate moderator Tom Brokaw 12 minutes to get to his first question related to what it might mean for Americans for any of these candidates to be president, and 30 minutes to get to his first substantive question to Kucinich.

For more information:
Kucinich to Challenge Other Candidates on Trade Policy
January 29, 2004

Jonathan Tasini recently wrote in

"Here's a prediction--if the Democrats nominate someone who does not specifically reject so-called free trade, George Bush will be re-elected. Rejecting 'free trade' is a winner because it speaks to the millions of people who see NAFTA and its ilk as a rampaging manifestation of abusive corporate power."

At the January 22, 2004, debate in New Hampshire, Dennis Kucinich won strong applause for his commitment to cancel NAFTA and the WTO, and again for his challenge to all of the other candidates to join him in that position, and to replace NAFTA and the WTO with fair bilateral trade agreements. None of the other candidates accepted the challenge, although Dr. Howard Dean said that South Carolina had lost jobs as a result of NAFTA and the WTO "just as Dennis described."

Dean was and is a supporter of NAFTA. Here's what he said on the topic at the Sep. 4, 2003, debate in New Mexico: "Now, I do not agree with Dennis that we ought to get rid of NAFTA and the WTO. But we do need to understand what makes the European Union work. You can't get into the European Union unless you have exactly the same labor and environmental and human rights standards that you do in all those countries. We ought not to be in the business of having free and open borders with countries that don't have the same environmental, labor and human rights standards. And if you do that, we're going to be able to create manufacturing jobs in America again and they'll stay in America."

Sen. John Kerry voted for NAFTA, voted to extend free trade to the Andean nations, voted to grant China permanent normal trade relations, and voted to renew fast track presidential trade authority. He said at that same New Mexico debate: "No, I think Dennis--I admire what he is saying and I am as strongly committed as he is to those worker rights and to the efforts to raise the level, but it would be disastrous to just cancel it. You have to fix it. You have to have a president who understands how to use the power that we have as the world's biggest marketplace to properly leverage the kind of behavior that we want."

Sen. John Edwards had this to say on the same occasion: "I would also make sure in our trade agreements for some of the same reasons that Dennis just talked about, that we had real environmental protections, real labor protections, prohibitions against child labor and forced labor, so that we give our workers a better chance to compete."

Here is what Dennis Kucinich had said to prompt these remarks from the other candidates: "The following steps need to be taken in order to begin to help the American economy recover. First of all, when you consider that we've lost 2.7 million manufacturing jobs since July of 2000, it's shocking but the United States does not have a manufacturing policy, an economic policy which states that the maintenance of steel, automotive, aerospace and shipping is vital to our national economy and our national security. We will have a policy when I'm president.

"Secondly, we have to do everything we can to secure our manufacturing base, and that means giving a critical examination to those trade agreements that have caused a loss of hundreds of thousands, in some cases millions of jobs, in this economy. As president of the United States, my first act in office, therefore, will be to cancel NAFTA and the WTO and to return to bilateral trade, conditioned on workers' rights, human rights and the environment.

"On Labor Day, I announced a new initiative, a new initiative which will enable the United States to rebuild its cities in the same way that Franklin Roosevelt rebuilt America during the Depression, called a new WPA-type program, rebuild our cities, our streets, our water systems, our sewer systems, new energy systems. It's time to rebuild America. We have the resources to do it, we have to have the will to do it."

Kucinich maintains that fixing NAFTA would be a virtually impossible process and that the only position that amounts to more than rhetoric on protecting jobs and wages is his proposal to cancel NAFTA and replace it with fair trade agreements.

Kucinich, a fourth-term Congressman from Ohio, is a former union member and has received a 98 percent lifetime voting record from the AFL-CIO for voting on behalf of working families.

"When NAFTA was signed in 1994," Kucinich said this week, "it was hailed by the national media and by CEOs for ensuring American 'global competitiveness.' Since then, America's trade deficit has exploded to $418 billion, and NAFTA has cost America 525,000 jobs, most of them in manufacturing. South Carolina has lost 60,000 jobs since NAFTA was signed, and the pace of the layoffs and plant closings has been increasing. Just this past November, South Carolina lost 4,400 jobs, 3,000 of them in rural areas, most of them in manufacturing. South Carolina has lost 6.6 percent of its manufacturing jobs in the last year. Even if the pace doesn't increase, all manufacturing jobs in South Carolina will have been replaced with Wal-Mart jobs and unemployment in about the next 15 years."

Kucinich said that while "corporate chieftains have rhapsodized 'free trade' and moved jobs overseas, a disturbing pattern has emerged for millions of working Americans. Jobs with security and living wages are giving way to part-time work for the minimum wage at giant retailers. Once-vibrant communities are being robbed of wage earners and turned to economic ghost towns. This type of trade is neither free nor fair. American workers are forced to compete with workers in countries with little or no labor or environmental standards."

Kucinich promised to change things, saying "I will make my first act in office beginning the process of repealing NAFTA, withdrawing from the WTO, and replacing them with fair bilateral trade agreements that protect jobs, workers' rights, human rights, and the environment. I will make the United States an upward force on labor standards and stop encouraging a race to the bottom. Other candidates talk about fixing NAFTA, but doing so would be virtually impossible. We can talk about workers' rights or we can act to protect them, and that can only be done by repealing NAFTA."

For more information:

Kucinich Campaigns in South Carolina Thursday and Friday
January 27, 2004

What: Presidential Hopeful Dennis Kucinich makes various campaign stops in South Carolina

Details: Thursday, January 29th, Greenville, SC

7:00PM – 8:30PM MSBNC Presidential Debate, Hosted by the Young Democrats of South Carolina and Furman University, Peace Center for the Performing Arts, Concert Hall ,300 S. Main Street (located on the corner of S. Main and Broad)

8:45-9:00PM Spin Room, Westin Poinsett Hotel – Gold Ballroom 2nd Floor, 120 South Main Street

9:15-9:45PM Volunteer and Supporters Rally/Meet and Greet , Allen Temple AME Church
109 Greene Ave.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Columbia, SC
11:00AM -12:30PM “Presidential Candidate Dialogue with America’s Families” Hosted by The Center for Community Change, Township Auditorium, 1703 Taylor Street

12:30PM-12:45PM Spin Room, Township Auditorium, 1703 Taylor Street

Orangeburg, SC
2:00PM – 3:00PM South Carolina Student Political Empowerment Forum, Hosted by the Claflin University Student Government Association, Claflin University, W.V.M Fine Arts Center, 400 Magnolia Street

Congressman Kucinich has made employment his theme in South Carolina. He will address the loss of jobs in South Carolina by replacing NAFTA and the WTO with new trade agreements, a position none of the other candidates have taken. Kucinich, a fourth-term Congressman from Ohio, is a former union member and has received a 98 percent lifetime voting record from the AFL-CIO for voting on behalf of working families.

"When NAFTA was signed in 1994," Kucinich said, "it was hailed by the national media and by CEOs for ensuring American 'global competitiveness.' Since then, America's trade deficit has exploded to $418 billion, and NAFTA has cost America 525,000 jobs, most of them in manufacturing. South Carolina has lost 60,000 jobs since NAFTA was signed, and the pace of the layoffs and plant closings has been increasing. Just this past November, South Carolina lost 4,400 jobs, 3,000 of them in rural areas, most of them in manufacturing. South Carolina has lost 6.6 percent of its manufacturing jobs in the last year. Even if the pace doesn't increase, all manufacturing jobs in South Carolina will have been replaced with Wal-Mart jobs and unemployment in about the next 15 years."

Kucinich said that while "corporate chieftains have rhapsodized 'free trade' and moved jobs overseas, a disturbing pattern has emerged for millions of working Americans. Jobs with security and living wages are giving way to part-time work for the minimum wage at giant retailers. Once-vibrant communities are being robbed of wage earners and turned to economic ghost towns. This type of trade is neither free nor fair. American workers are forced to compete with workers in countries with little or no labor or environmental standards."

Kucinich promised to change things, saying "I will make my first act in office beginning the process of repealing NAFTA, withdrawing from the WTO, and replacing them with fair bilateral trade agreements that protect jobs, workers' rights, human rights, and the environment. I will make the United States an upward force on labor standards and stop encouraging a race to the bottom. Other candidates talk about fixing NAFTA, but doing so would be virtually impossible. We can talk about workers' rights or we can act to protect them, and that can only be done by repealing NAFTA."

For more information:

For Congressman Kucinich's Schedule:

South Carolina Contact: Michael Berg 803-251-3414

National Contacts: David Swanson 301-772-0210, cell 202-329-7847, fax 301-772-7293,, Susan Mainzer 213-840-0077,

Contact us:
Kucinich for President
11808 Lorain Avenue - Cleveland, OH 44111
216-889-2004 / 866-413-3664 (toll-free)
State primary a chance to send a message on Iraq
Posted Monday, January 12, 2004 - 5:27 pm

By Dennis Kucinich

U.S. Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, a Democratic candidate for president, in 1977 was elected mayor of Cleveland at age 31, the youngest person ever elected to lead a major American city. In 1996, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. For more information, visit

My campaign is about the end of fear and the beginning of hope. At this moment when the lives of men and women who bravely serve this nation are at risk in Iraq, our civil liberties are in peril, and the entire domestic agenda of the United States is being sacrificed, we must have the courage to see through the lies that sent us into Iraq. We must reclaim our nation.

The South Carolina primary is a referendum on the Iraq war. Every other Democratic presidential candidate, except Rev. Al Sharpton, will keep our troops in Iraq for years. I will bring our troops home quickly. I have a plan to work with the United Nations to replace U.S. troops with U.N. peacekeepers.

The United States must ask the United Nations to manage the oil assets of Iraq until the Iraqi people are self-governing. Second, the United Nations must handle all contracts (no more Halliburton sweetheart deals). Third, the United States must renounce any plans to privatize Iraq. Fourth, the United States must ask the United Nations to handle the transition to Iraqi self-governance. Fifth, the United States must agree to pay for what we blew up.

Sixth, the United States must pay reparations to the families of innocent Iraqi civilians killed and injured. Seventh, the United States must contribute to the U.N. peacekeeping mission. Eighth, the United Nations, through its member nations, will commit 130,000 peacekeepers to Iraq on a temporary basis until the Iraqi people can maintain their own security. Ninth, U.N. troops will rotate into Iraq and all U.S. troops will come home. Tenth, the United States will abandon policies of "pre-emption" and unilateralism and commit to strengthening the United Nations.

Five hundred American servicemen and servicewomen have already lost their lives in Iraq, and $155 billion has already been spent. If we stay there for years, our troop casualties will go into the thousands. Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis will die. Over a trillion dollars could be spent in Iraq, taking away money needed here at home for health care, education and housing. Inevitably there will be a draft. The Bush administration is already keeping our troops past their terms of service.

I am the only Democratic candidate with a plan which will bring our troops home quickly. All the other candidates, except Rev. Sharpton, have unwittingly conceded this singularly important issue by saying "we're stuck there." South Carolinians can make the end of the war in Iraq the defining issue. Your participation in the primary can say it's time to get the U.N. in and the U.S. out of Iraq.

A Democratic presidential candidate who concedes the ongoing occupation of Iraq to the president permits him to run for re-election without having to explain why we went into Iraq in the first place.

As the only candidate with a plan to bring our troops home quickly, I know that once the United States acts on my plan to get out of Iraq, we can focus the energy and resources of this country on taking care of things here at home. We will have the resources to provide quality education from pre-kindergarten through college. We can create universal single-payer health care. We can create a full-employment economy. These things are achievable. But we must have a dramatic change in direction.

We need to change the direction of our international policy. We must work with the community of nations. This will make America safer. We must send U.N. peacekeepers into Iraq. We must bring out troops home.

Why aren't the other Democrats saying we should give up ambitions to control the oil, the contracts, to privatize, to run Baghdad by remote control?

My candidacy gives South Carolina Democrats and Democrats everywhere a real choice for a new policy direction ? a plan to get the United Nations in and the United States out of Iraq.

All of the oil in Iraq is not worth another drop of blood. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Yet the administration is calling up more reserves. Existing troops are being retained against their will. Can a draft be far behind?

The men and women who serve this country have a right to expect that we will spare no effort in bringing them home quickly. Our troops' lives, the lives of innocent Iraqis, our tax resources and our entire domestic agenda are on the line.

South Carolinians can save the day on Feb. 3 by voting for my plan which will bring our troops home by bringing U.N. peacekeepers into Iraq.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Dennis Kucinich and the Question
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Friday 23 January 2004

Cuz take away our Playstations
And we are a third world nation
Under the thumb of some blue blood royal son
Who stole the Oval Office and that phony election
I mean
It don't take a weatherman
To look around and see the weather
Jeb said he'd deliver Florida, folks
And boy did he ever…

And we hold these truths to be self evident
#1: George W. Bush is not President
#2: America is not a true democracy
#3: the media is not fooling me
Cuz I am a poem heeding hyper-distillation
I've got no room for a lie so verbose
I'm looking out over my whole human family
And I'm raising my glass in a toast…

- Ani DiFranco, “Self-Evident”

The three most powerful letters in American politics are ‘FDR.’ Franklin Roosevelt unleashed a political revolution so powerful and complete that it required the incredible extremism of the Bush administration to bring it to heel. That is not to say the revolution wasn’t flagging before George took the Oval Office chair. Democratic Presidents and Presidential hopefuls have been running on Roosevelt rhetoric since the titan died in his fourth term, but the facts on the ground are clear. The country has been steadily retreating from the legacy of FDR for decades.

Enter Dennis Kucinich, Democratic congressman from Ohio, former Mayor of Cleveland, and candidate for President in 2004. There is not a single polling indicator that puts him above ten percent support at this point, and he managed only a 1% showing in the Iowa caucuses. Pragmatism dictates that he is merely tilting at windmills, but a closer look reveals something far different in play.

I spent Friday to Sunday on the eve of the Iowa caucuses in a giant red van with the Kucinich campaign as he stumped in a dozen cities all across the state. In speech after speech, Dennis Kucinich railed against the sorry lot of the American worker, the pale shadow that is health care in this country, the deteriorating state of the environment, and the war in Iraq. These were themes that, by and large, were echoed by virtually every other candidate running in the state. The difference, however, is that Kucinich owned a moral authority and clarity of policy on these matters that most of the other candidates would love to call their own. He is untainted by corporate funding, and has practiced what he preaches for the duration of his career. The other candidates, each one, are excellent individuals in their own right. But there is just something extra happening with Dennis.

He is the only candidate in this race hitting hard against NAFTA and the WTO. He is the only candidate promising, with details attached, to establish universal single-payer health care for everyone in America. He is the only candidate attacking the deranged nature of the bloated Pentagon budget, and has sworn an oath to clean that house to pay for his social programs. Drawing on the lessons of Vietnam, a conflict which dragged on because we were too proud to leave when we should have, he has crafted a detailed plan to get our troops home within 90 days. This, like the other policies, sets him apart. Through it all is a cry for the worker, the forgotten American worker, and the family, and the soul of the nation entire.

The ghost of FDR had come to corn country.

Welcome to Iowa

It was a bit like going back in time. The red van hummed and bounced down the highway from Des Moines to Dubuque on a morning when the sun never showed its face. A white fog hung low over the rolling hills, and whitewashed barns and farmhouses loomed out of the mist like an echo of an agrarian wonderland. The fields of corn and soy had been reaped, and the black soil waited like a postcard for spring and seeds and sunlight.

The pastoral image outside the window belied some hard facts that speak to larger issues which demand attention in the coming election. In 1900, the topsoil in Iowa was several feet deep, made up of dirt so rich in nutrients that you could eat it by the fistful and be nourished. In the last several years, industrial farming has stripped that topsoil down to a mere 14 inches. The earth that remains is saturated with chemical fertilizers that have bled into the water table, poisoning it.

100 years ago, agriculture in Iowa was dominated by family farmers. Each farm raised its own portion of crops and kept a few head of cattle. Those cattle were fed whatever was grown on the land. It was a perfect machine, an agrarian society that hummed along in a timeless harmony. Then came the 1980s, and a new generation of farmers graduated from agricultural colleges. Their heads were filled with a desire to purchase the shiny new farming machines pitched to them in classrooms by corporate agribusinesses. Farms that had been in families for three generations or more took on hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt as these new farmers bought equipment they didn’t need. The debt held, however, because the agrarian harmony paid enough dividends to keep the banks at bay.

In the 1980s, however, corporate agribusinesses convinced those banks to call in those debts, and thousands of farms crashed. There were about two suicides a month for a long period, as farmers who felt they had failed their families killed themselves out of rage and shame and despair. The farms went up for sale, and were purchased at fire-sale prices by corporations like ADM.

Today, the cattle and crop industries in Iowa are owned by massive agribusinesses which keep thousands of head in tight quarters. The waste created by this is extraordinary, and goes straight into the ground. Likewise, massive industrial pig farms create untold thousands of gallons of pig manure which are stored in huge ‘lagoons.’ No material crafted by human ingenuity can contain this caustic filth, and so these lagoons breach their containers and further contaminate the water table. The stench from these lagoons is so extreme that houses a mile downwind become covered in flies.

In five years, the aquifer underneath the state will be completely polluted by dung and chemicals. The topsoil, denuded by factory farming, will continue to disappear, and continue to require chemical fertilizers to bring forth the crops. The introduction of genetically modified crops to the landscape, meanwhile, will change the ecosystem in ways we do not even begin to understand.

Recently, America endured its first Mad Cow scare. We were told that everything was under control, but this was a fantastic lie. Mad Cow is transferred two ways: In the manure or in the feed, two conduits that are demonstrably connected. Factory cattle farms in Iowa feed their animals an incredibly dangerous mixture. A massive turkey farm north of Des Moines composts the corpses of dead turkeys, mixed with the sawdust bedding they live in. The product of this is sold to the factory farms, which mix it with rotten candy bars purchased from candy manufacturers.

Finally, the brew is spiced with the dross created in the process of cattle slaughter: Blood and offal sluiced through grates when the animals are killed. Into this mixture goes neurological material from slaughtered cattle – brains and spines – and cattle feed is the final product. It is in the neurological parts of the cow that Mad Cow breeds. The animals eat this, and then defecate it by the ton in these massive factory yards, and all the other animals walk around in it. Because of the profoundly unhealthy manure-filled environment in which these cattle are kept, the feed is heavily spiced with antibiotics to keep them from dropping dead because of the diseases they stand in all day long. Those antibiotics translate into humans, making us more susceptible in the long run to bacteria.

This is a ticking time bomb.

If you think this problem is limited to Iowa, you are dead wrong. David, the man driving the van, described all of this to me in the context of Iowa, and in the context of the farm his grandfather owned there many years ago, but it is a national crisis. When Dennis Kucinich went on later that weekend to discuss farm policy, the control of genetically-modified crops, and a process of moving away from corporate concentrations of power in agriculture, it wasn’t just pandering to the farm voters.

The fog that morning offered only a postcard. The problems that were hidden – the wreckage of the environment, the dominance of corporations, the danger of a poisoned food source – await us all.

Will you sign my aura?

There is an assumed caricature of the typical Kucinich supporter that has worked its way into the public consciousness. People who support Kucinich are moonbeamers who commune with crystals, and who are fifth-level vegans who only eat food that doesn’t cast a shadow. I was fully expecting to meet crowds of people asking Kucinich if he would sign their auras. The reality, I quickly saw, was far different.

Kucinich stopped at coffee houses, at town halls, at art galleries, and was met each time by hundreds of people. Often, there was no room inside these places because of the crowds, and dozens of people were forced to wait outside in 18 degree temperatures and a bitter wind. They waited. And waited. And waited. And finally met the candidate. And left feeling supercharged.

I met veterans, and union workers, and college kids, and grandmothers. Here and there were the occasional Grateful Dead tour refugees, but one can find these folk within virtually every campaign. These were very normal people, and they all loved Dennis Kucinich.

The campaign van was a microcosm of the difference between perception and reality. The driver was David, a father from Iowa who had volunteered early and had risen to one of the top positions in the campaign. He wore a suit and tie, and sat at the helm of the operation with a calm hand and a quietly wry sense of humor. Kevin, another organizer, sat in the back lamenting the fact that he had not had a haircut in weeks. Yet his hair was short and neat. In the shotgun seat sat a security man carved out of Vermont stone whose heart was as big as a mountain. For that weekend, actress Mimi Kennedy from the show ‘Dharma and Greg’ rode along. A more sincere, normal, warm person would be difficult to find anywhere.

This was the infrastructure which surrounded Kucinich as we roared across the state. The cell phones and Blackberries were constantly beeping and humming as the operation rolled with the road. It was one of the most regular groups I’ve ever seen. So much for the public perception.


The first stop on Saturday was a Democratic party gathering at the Grand River Center in Dubuque, a large, modern facility on the industrialized banks of the Mississippi River. Hundreds of people were in attendance. The event was supposed to be a three-way stump spot for Kerry, Edwards and Kucinich. Kerry, however, got marooned somewhere else in the state because of bad weather. John Edwards showed up in a huge oceanliner of a bus and hit the room to the sound of some orgiastic rock anthem.

His supporters, the youngest of any candidate present, screamed and waved signs as Edwards took the stage. His speech was strong, vibrant and suffused with echoes of the vibe that so electrified the Clinton speeches of yore. His strong performance in the caucuses the following Monday came as no surprise after watching him work on Saturday. The endorsement from the Des Moines Register probably didn’t hurt, either.

Kucinich came on next. It was clear that many in the crowd were not familiar with him. That was about to change.

“I come from Cleveland, Ohio,” began Kucinich. “I’m the oldest of seven children. My parents never owned a home, and as the family grew, we kept moving because we outgrew the apartments that we lived in. During the 1950s, there used to be ads in the newspapers that would say ‘No Children’ or ‘One Child Only.’ If you had a large family and didn’t own a home, you were out of luck. So our family kept moving from place to place. By the time I was 17 years old, we had lived in 21 different places, including a couple of cars.”

“That experience,” he continued, “growing up in the city of Cleveland, and living in so many different neighborhoods, and moving from place to place, that experience informs greatly my passion for public service, and my reasons for running for President of the United States. I know that it matters to people to have a job, to have a living wage, to have decent health care, that their kids can go to decent schools, that they live in decent neighborhoods, that they have a roof over their heads. I understand this. I understand it because these are the kinds of concerns that my parents had to deal with when we were growing up. These are the kinds of concerns that many families have to deal with today.”

“In this time of rising unemployment,” he said, “all the government will tell us is that the statistics indicate that things are looking a little bit better. The truth of the matter is that there are many people not even reflected in the unemployment numbers anymore, because they stopped looking for jobs, because there aren’t any jobs available. And that’s the truth. The truth is that so many American families have breadwinners who are working part-time because they can’t find full-time work. The truth is that people working both part-time and full-time are locked into low-paying jobs. The truth is that this country is letting working-class and middle-class citizens just slowly find their economic position deteriorating without any great cause in America to lift people up, to give people the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labor. What is this government doing for all of our people?”

“We see the priorities,” he said. “Tax cuts for the wealthy. $155 billion for a war we didn’t have to get into. A bloated Pentagon - half the discretionary spending in the federal budget goes to the Pentagon. Cuts in veterans benefits. Cuts in health care. Cuts in education. Cuts in housing. Cuts in jobs programs. This country is losing its connection with its people. My Presidency will be about reconnecting America with the practical aspirations of the American people.”

By this time, the crowd had risen, somewhat surprised with itself, to its feet in approval several times. Dennis Kucinich? Rocking the house?

“I want you, the taxpayers, to think about this,” said Kucinich after the applause had died down again. “If we’re in Iraq for a few years, the cost will be over a half a trillion dollars. That’s going to come out of our budget for housing, for education, for health care. Casualties are now over five hundred, and could go into the thousands. Why? When is enough enough? I say enough is enough right now, and that’s why we need to get the troops out, and that’s why I’m ready to lead in that direction.”

“All across the country,” he said, “we see the infrastructure of many states crumbling. Bridges, water systems, sewer systems, roads in disrepair. States don’t have the money to fix them, and local communities don’t have the money to fix them. I intend to take a page from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who in the 1930s recognized the need to rebuild America, recognized the need to put millions of people back to work, and have a new WPA program to repair our bridges and water systems and sewer systems. We will put Americans back to work, we will build a new infrastructure, we will build a new chance for America. I am running to lead the way on that.”

“I am talking about a quest to ensure the economic stability of America,” he said. “In my campaign around this country, I have visited so many communities where I have seen plant gates locked, and have looked through those gates to see grass growing in parking lots. These are plants where they used to make steel, where they used to make textiles, where they used to make car parts and washing machines and bicycles. All around this country, we’ve seen this same story of one manufacturing plant after another being closed. We are told that this is inevitable.”

“We’ve had three million manufacturing jobs lost,” he said, “since July of 2000. Three million. I explained earlier where I am coming from on this. I understand job loss. It is not just a statistic. It means a home that is threatened. It means someone in the family is not going to get the education they hoped for. It means the loss of health benefits. It means retirement benefits at risk. It means instability in a family. It could mean a family splitting up. Tremendous economic pressures are being put on so many American families today, and I’ll tell you one of the reasons.”

“Ten years ago,” he said in a rising voice, “the United States passed agreements called NAFTA and the WTO which created conditions where global corporations are setting all the rules for trade. You know what it is about? You know what it is about. It is about cheap labor. Wherever they can drive down wages, they do it. Wherever they can get someone to do a job for less than nothing, that’s what they are looking for. They don’t care about child labor, prison labor, slave labor, they don’t care about crushing workers. What they care about is being able to make more and more of a profit. They don’t care if they close down a community.”

“They don’t care if they crush small businesses,” he said, now in full roar. “They don’t care because they have the power, with NAFTA and the WTO, and all these trade agreements, to just move jobs out of this country, move out the manufacturing jobs, move out high-tech jobs, move out any kind of job that exists in this country that they can make a better buck off in another country by crushing workers rights. I’ve seen it. It is time to put an end to it.”

The thunder of the audience shook the room.

An Interview in Seventeen Parts

Being inside a campaign van during a Presidential race is like being inside a very small hurricane. The candidate does media interview after media interview via cell phone, hoping the next stretch of farmland allows for cell phone reception long enough to get his points across. Others in the van discuss language for press releases with the home office, and everyone checks the schedule for the next campaign stop, and the next, and the next.

There were eight stops on Sunday, the day I meant to get an interview with Dennis Kucinich. I got it, interspersed between phone calls, speeches and cross-seat strategy meetings.

WRP: You spoke in your Dubuque speech about having 21 homes all over the place when you were young, moving around a lot, and enduring that insecurity. How did that experience inform your view of politics and your reasons for doing the work you do?

DK: For a lot of people, life is uncertain. Many people out there do not know whether they’ll have a job from one day to the next. There are people out there who are not sure if they will be able to hold on to their homes, if their health care will be there one day to the next, if they’ll be able to send their children to college, if their retirement security is assured. There’s a lot of insecurity out there, and I understand it. I grew up in that kind of environment, so I have a deep understanding of the kind of lingering anxieties people can have about their financial position.

WRP: What, specifically, is your plan to deal with the Iraq situation?

DK: It is a plan that involves a real shift in U.S. policy, moving away from unilateralism and pre-emption to a practice of cooperating with the world community on matters of security. First, my plan is to go to the U.N. and to ask them to handle the oil assets of Iraq on behalf of the Iraqi people, until the Iraqi people are self-governing. Second, ask the U.N. to handle the contracts under conditions of transparency where contracts will be given to the best bidder, and eliminate the kind of considerations which have so tainted the contract process. Part of that is to make sure that the Iraqi people can get jobs from that contract process. One of the compounded tragedies of our presence there is that we are manipulating the contract process. There are billions of dollars sailing through the air, and most people in Iraq don’t have work.

WRP: We reported on truthout not long ago that U.S. forces opened a Burger King at the Baghdad airport, and imported workers from Pakistan to run it. So the Iraqi people can’t even get work at Burger King.

DK: This is one of the things that is leading to great resentment, as is the effort by the United States to control the oil. Another source of resentment is the administration’s plans, articulated on September 19th by Paul Bremer, to privatize the top 200 enterprises in the Iraqi economy. Such privatization plans and practices violate the Geneva and Hague Conventions. We have to renounce those. We must let the world community know that we anticipate Iraqi sovereignty, and that it will be up to the people of Iraq to make a determination as to what happens with the assets of their country. In the meantime, the responsibility of the United States is to rebuild what we blew up. Some will say that it is only a private investor who can come in and do this. That’s not right. To the extent that we destroyed a functioning infrastructure, we have an obligation to repair it.

The third thing we have to do is to turn over to the United Nations the responsibility of developing an Iraq constitution in concert with the clerical leaders in Iraq, and other leaders from within the society. The U.N. will work with the Iraqis to schedule free and fair elections. This, too, is a major stumbling block and what could prove to be the flashpoint for serious organized violence against our troops. What the administration is doing is desperately seeking a government structure which would facilitate American hegemony. The leader of the largest religious group, the Shi’ite Muslims, has rejected the plan of the United States repeatedly over the last two months. Grand Ayatollah Sistani has demanded free and fair elections, and very pointedly has said that the Shi’ites will not cooperate with any structure that was imposed by the United States. Anyone who is a student of history, in the U.S. involvement in Vietnam, knows of the ill-fated attempt by the United States government to try and impose a government in Vietnam which lacked popular support.

It is our troops who will bear the brunt of this. I don’t think anyone can state strongly enough the great risk which this administration is exposing our troops to. This is an urgent matter. Two months ago, when this question first arose in the media, there were stories in the Dallas Morning News and the Omaha paper about the potential for an uprising, a true uprising, against the United States presence in Iraq. It appears that the Grand Ayatollah Sistani is, at this moment, taking a non-violent approach. Given the explosive nature of the U.S. presence in Iraq, it is very dangerous for us to be insisting on a certain structure of governance, especially if that is met with resistance by the clerical leaders. Do the math. 130,000 U.S. troops. 25 million Iraqis. 15 million of those are Shi’ite Muslims.

WRP: You have said that, on your first day as President, you will cancel NAFTA and the WTO. Why?

DK: NAFTA and the WTO were written by global corporate interests whose ambitions are to seek cheap labor. That’s why NAFTA and the WTO both precluded institutionalizing workers rights, human rights, or environmental quality principles in trade agreements. They put the requirements of facilitating global commerce over every principle of ethics and what should attend to commerce. There has been much said about side-agreements that were made in developing both NAFTA and the WTO. They are not worth the paper they are written on.

NAFTA cannot be changed without the permission of Canada or Mexico, or the global corporations which wrote them for their own benefit. NAFTA has led to a loss of 550,000 American jobs directly. With the WTO, we’ve lost 3,000,000 manufacturing jobs since July of 2000. We are losing our manufacturing base, and our high-tech base in America, because of these trade agreements which put global commerce above every other principle.

In recognition of the toll this has taken, of NAFTA’s unsurpassed shortcomings, I would exercise the provisions of both NAFTA and the WTO which authorize parties to withdraw with 60 days notice, and proceed to do so. I will reinstate bilateral trade based on workers rights, human rights, and environmental quality principles.

WRP: You are running for President, but you are also trying to start a national movement. Explain the basis for that movement, and the goals you are ultimately trying to achieve.

DK: It is one thing to be elected to an office. I’ve won a lot of elections in my time. It’s another thing to make that election part of a broader construction of a socially and economically just society, and of a world where we can make operative the practical principles of peace as the basis for conduct between nations. I think we are at a moment in time when we are really called upon to tap the deepest capacities we have for transforming this world.

An election campaign, while a contest of ideas, and while intended to lead to a new order of things in the United States through electing a new President – in this case, me – it is part of a much larger picture. That larger picture is about the consideration of the principles, the themes, the values, the aspirations which have moved people from so many different communities to get involved in this campaign. They see something beyond it. They see the potential for something beyond it. That something is at once the realization of the potential of the future, and the creation of a structure to help us get there.

You Eat the Apple and Give Me the Corps

At one stop outside a burger joint, an older man came out of the crowd and embraced Kucinich in a bear hug. He commandeered the microphone Kucinich was using to address the large crowd and demanded that U.S. troops be withdrawn immediately from Iraq. Kucinich hailed him, shook his hand, and went inside the shop to address the rest of the crowd away from the bitter wind. The man stayed outside, and I went to speak with him.

I made my introduction, and was told that I was speaking to K.C. Churchill. “You eat the apple,” he said in a voice that sounded like a combination between the explosion of a howitzer cannon and a gravel truck going uphill in low gear, “and give me the Corps. The Marine Corps! HOO-YAH!” The red Corps hat on his head, festooned with combat pins and American flags, gave testament to his martial pedigree. I asked Churchill why he was there.

“I wanted to meet the man in person,” said Churchill, “and see what he had to say. I got to see Dean on Monday night, I got to see Edwards, but I got sick before I got to see Kerry. I wanted to see Kerry very badly. I like Dennis. I really like Dennis. I raise dogs, and he reminds me of a little fox terrier. He is the smallest candidate size-wise, just like the fox terrier is the smallest dog I own. My hounds are ten times bigger than that fox terrier, but my fox terrier walks around amongst them hounds, and he is the boss. It don’t matter how small he is, he would let them know that he was the boss. He makes them hounds back down. That’s Dennis.”

“I’m like a lot of people,” he said. “I’m undecided, even at this last minute. I got out of Vietnam in October of 1968. The government borrowed $300 billion to finance Vietnam, even after I got out. That pisses me off, big time. Because of that, Social Security ran into trouble, and now it’s gonna run into trouble again. They gotta keep their hands off of Social Security. That’s my biggest thing.”

As we talked, I found out why. K.C. Churchill had been wounded three times in Vietnam. At one point, he turned his head and showed me a scar in his neck deep enough to lay his entire index finger in. He still had metal fragments in his leg and hip from a mortar blast. “This cold,” he said, “throbs and pains me because of that metal like a toothache times three.” Yet it took him two months to even get an appointment at the VA hospital down the road. “I go up there on a regular basis, but get hit with the old hurry-up-and-wait policy,” he said. “They’ve cut the government funding so bad that they are understaffed to beat hell. I’ve begged them for the last three years to take this metal out of me. They haven’t done it yet. What do I have to do, get a lawyer and sue their ass? What are my chances of winning? A well-diggers ass in Hell, that’s my chances.”

K.C. Churchill does not live it large. He is a construction worker, but his war wounds make it impossible for him to get cold-weather work. Arthritis has begun to claw its way into his hands and knees. Social Security is about all he has to keep him off the street. He cannot get any assistance or medical aid from the veteran’s hospital, because the Bush administration has stripped billions of dollars in funding from basic veterans benefits to pay for the Iraq war and the tax cuts. Here was a man who served in Vietnam and took wounds up and down his body three times, but tried to re-up for another tour despite his injuries. Is he alone in his predicament? No.

It is a national disgrace. The American people have been beaten about the head and shoulders with demands for patriotism. Support the troops, says the Bush administration, or be ashamed. ‘Support the troops’ was translated into ‘Support the Iraq war.’ Yet where it truly matters, the administrations’ rhetoric is shown to be an empty well. Combine that with the ugliest of truths: Over 500 soldiers are dead in Iraq, 26,000 more have been medically evacuated for physical or mental wounds, and another generation of veterans has been born, men and women who will be lauded when war has come, but will be otherwise forgotten and discarded like broken toys after a rough game.

“What do I have to do to get my message across?” thundered Churchill outside the coffee shop. A moment later, one of the people who came out to see Kucinich stepped on a balloon that had been put out to decorate the campaign stop. It exploded with a bang. K.C. Churchill, every inch the proud and strong Marine, jumped like a scalded cat and went into a crouched, defensive posture. His eyes were wild and fearful. For several moments, he could not speak.

“Those mortars,” he finally whispered. “You never, ever get over that.”

How much change are you ready for?

In speech after speech, in place after place, Dennis Kucinich asked the same question time and again. “How much change,” he asked, “are you ready for?” The people gathered in these places, people who came out by the hundreds, always leaned forward hungrily, always cheered, always waited for the word. Without fail, Kucinich brought that word, and people left filled.

It comes down to this. Dennis Kucinich is running for President, but he is also formulating a national movement that will be in place long after the race is run. This movement, in all 50 states, will stand ready to defend the most basic American principles that have been lost for years. The movement stands for the workers. The movement stands for the families. The movement stands for the environment. The movement stands for health care. The movement stands for peace.

The movement stands for America. During his speech in Dubuque, Kucinich said, “My campaign is about bringing the end of fear in this country, the fear which keeps us from standing up for our own interests, the fear which causes people to take positions that are against the interests of the American people. The red in our flag stands for courage, not fear. The white in our flag stands for purity. The blue in our flag stands for loyalty. When Francis Scott Key wrote the Star-Spangled banner, he posed a riddle to all of us. He asked a question. Does that Star-Spangled banner yet wave in the land of the free and the home of the brave? He made the connection between freedom and bravery, between courage and democracy.”

“My candidacy,” he said in Dubuque, “is about calling forth the fearlessness that exists in the heart of every American, calling forth the courage to meet each day on its own terms. Without fear, with confidence, with hope, with the anticipation that we can meet the challenges, whether they be terrorism or poverty. This campaign is about a celebration of who we are as Americans, about the path of fearlessness that will lead us forward in the world, about the path of courage which will lead us to a country where we have health care for all, jobs for all, education for all, and peace in the world. We are capable of this. It is time to create a new America. The time is now. The time is now.”

Dennis Kucinich reminds people why they are Democrats, why they are progressives, in the first place. He is the soul and the spirit of those beliefs personified, he is Franklin Delano Roosevelt returned, walking and talking and preaching in the 21st century. Anyone who doubts this has not seen the man in action, has not met the people who surround him and support him.

This run for the White House is about far more than winning that office. If you think the end of the primaries will spell the end of his run, think again. If the Democratic Party should win the White House in 2004, a powerful progressive network will have to be in place to push the new administration in the right direction, and against the tide that has been unleashed. This is what Dennis Kucinich is constructing, one brick at a time.

This tide has only just begun to rise. How much change are you ready for?


William Rivers Pitt is the Managing Editor of He is a New York Times and international best-selling author of three books - "War On Iraq," available from Context Books, "The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available from Pluto Press, and "Our Flag, Too: The Paradox of Patriotism," available in August from Context Books.

Dear Supporter ,

This is a quick update on both the NATIONAL and ILLINOIS Kucinich Campaigns.


According to the media, it looks like Kerry has this thing wrapped up, but our fearless leader has stated otherwise. Our national strategy is to stage a fight in our strongholds, New Mexico and California. Here in Illinois, we have to get 15% in each congressional district in order to get our delegates to convention.


Our statewide strategy meeting will be in Chicago.

Where: The Zephyr [1775 W. Wilson, Chicago, IL / (773) 728-6070]

When: Feb. 8th from 4-6:30 PM

Who: Every Kucinich supporter who is ready to take this campaign to the streets of Illinois.

What: This is a chance to come together, and get a clear picture of our Illinois campaign strategy and share ideas for outreach.


1. Register voters. We will be counting every vote and must work hard to bring new voters to the polls on March 16th.
2. If you are happier making phone calls or writing letters to another state, please feel free to follow the listserve or contact nationals through
3. Write down any strategy ideas and forward to Johnny
4. Write down speaking engagements or events that you think Dennis should attend and send to Melody for consideration

In Solidarity, The Illinois Team
Hi Dan,

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I think this is an important issue in the design of any functioning community, both from the standpoint of helping those with limited transportation resources and from the standpoint of lessening the resources needed to support such individuals in any community. I think this concept is a win-win scenario and I doubt many municipal planners takes this type of thing into consideration these days.

Dan Stafford

CONTACT: Michael Hunt, (608) 262-8822,


MADISON - No matter where you live or work - apartment complex, suburban neighborhood, school, shopping mall, hospital, nursing home - you should have access to a "Main Street."

Michael Hunt and his students aim to see that you do, no matter what your circumstances.

In the concept of Main Street, Hunt sees an opportunity for people to get together informally, to run into each other like they did in the early years of the 20th century when the grocery store was on the corner of the block and not in the strip mall.

However, even malls have their uses as Main Streets. "Some lunchtime, take a look at the Chocolate Shoppe in Hilldale," a shopping center on Madison's west side, says Hunt, a professor of environment, textiles and design at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Chocolate Shoppe "commons" area is just off the mall's main thoroughfare, but with a clear view of the action.

"You'll find a lot of people-watching, maybe by groups or individuals, maybe while eating, reading or knitting," he says. "Our society often goes to great lengths to engineer independence - single-family housing, driving to places alone in the cocoon of our cars, working by ourselves at computers. You often see this phenomenon at work in retirement communities or nursing homes, where residents are physically taken out of the usual fabric of daily life. However, the truth is, we all need to be able to get out among one another from time to time."

This is especially true for those who are retired, says Hunt, who has spent the past 15 years studying factors in "naturally occurring retirement communities," or NORCs, that make it possible for older people to remain in their own houses, rather than move to assisted-care facilities. A circumstance called "age in place" by professionals, about 90 percent of America's senior population indeed will continue to live out their lives at home, without ever moving to assisted-care residences. That prevalence, Hunt says, makes his research all the more urgent.

He has found, for example, that convenient necessities, such as nearby grocers, clinics and pharmacists - perhaps even within walking distance - make it easier for older people to get what they need, when they need it. Not surprisingly, perhaps, Hunt sees a good deal of potential in mixed-use neighborhoods, like those springing up in Middleton, Madison's neighbor.

Hunt also recommends expedient access to commons areas like the one at Hilldale, to make companionship available if and when people want it. He also suggests resident pets or animal visitors to improve the texture of day-to-day life.

From a design standpoint, Hunt has made several trips to China to study how ancient design principles have made it viable for generations - and/or species - to mix naturally. "Many housing units traditionally contain a courtyard," he says. "It's ironic, though, because as communities there develop, they are beginning to follow Western architectural practices of isolating people from each other in big modern high-rises."

Hunt and his students are working with the Madison Area Continuing Care Consortium (MACCC), which is in line for a $350,000 grant from the federal government to study NORCs in Dane County in hope of discovering more factors that might help people age in place.

John Noreika, executive director of Oakwood and director of the MACCC project, says that projects will draw from the fields of environmental design, nursing, nutrition, medicine, geriatrics and more, and use personnel from the private and nonprofit sectors as well as academia. He says that MACCC will create a pilot program of coordinated health care management and services in NORCs.

Recommendations that grow out of the pilot will be made available to the general public in fall 2005 through the annual meeting of the American Association of Home and Service for the Aging.

Hunt's involvement with the consortium began almost two years ago with a service-learning project that his undergraduate design students undertook with Noreika and Oakwood retirement center in Madison. Ironically, although Hunt's research focuses primarily on naturally occurring retirement neighborhoods, he and his students have found that studying life in an assisted-care residence provided invaluable insight.

"We approached it as a design challenge," Hunt says. "When Oakwood Village expanded on Madison's west side, we devised a partnership with them for which we contributed design suggestions, based on theoretical research. In turn, the students were able to get real-world practice in developing design proposals and making client presentations."

"The quality of their work has been absolutely superb," Noreika says. "The recommendations they made were extremely practical, easy to do and cost-effective - adjusting the height of microwave ovens or the swing of doors, the use of hardware on cabinets, suggestions to make way-finding easier for visually or hearing-limited people."

Noreika says that Oakwood has about $40 million in new housing units on the board and will incorporate the design students' recommendations. Hunt adds that what often drives housing design is the fiscal bottom line. However, he points out, incorporating livability enhancements can make units more profitable.

"We've been extremely good at keeping people alive no matter whether they live in nursing homes, assisted-care residencies or their own homes, as about 90 percent of older adults do," he says. "The challenge now is to create an environment that makes life worth living."
- Barbara Wolff, (608) 262-8292/

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Bush to seek more cash to clean up Great Lakes
The Bush administration is expected to announce today it wants to more than
quadruple the money it is spending on ridding toxic pollution from the Great
Lakes basin. Source: The Plain Dealer (1/29)

Official lauds security partnership of Great Lakes firms
Security against terrorism has been greatly enhanced in the Great Lakes
region by the private sector's willingness to help the U.S. and Canadian
governments protect the region's shipping channel. Source: The Toledo Blade

Option to landfill PCBs not buried yet
Hours after the Outagamie County Board sought to bury a plan to dump
PCB-laden Fox River sediment into landfills, a Wisconsin state official
promised to kill further debate. Source: Green Bay Press-Gazette (1/29)

Wetlands bill criticized by environmentalists
Area environmentalists are worried that a new Indiana state law could
threaten several isolated wetlands, especially in Lake County. Source:
Merrillville Post-Tribune (1/29)

COMMENTARY: Low lake levels are still big concern
Low water levels across Michigan continue to produce more than a few boating
problems. Source: Heritage Newspapers (1/29)

Playing it safe on the sled
Trails, roads and lakes are all busy with snowmobilers so people should
remember to be safe during the heart of the season. Source: Cadillac News

Lake Michigan water intake pipes freeze up for 3 Wisconsin towns
Subzero cold gripped Wisconsin Thursday, causing icing in the two water
intake pipes in Lake Michigan for the water system serving Sheboygan,
Sheboygan Falls and Kohler. Source: Star Tribune (1/29)

50 gather to hear pros, cons of ethanol plant
Pennsylvania residents gather to learn what is necessary to develop an
ethanol plant near Meadville. Source: Erie Times-News (1/28)

Peshtigo fisheries biologist heads DNR effort to build Bay sturgeon
So rare had sturgeon become on the lower bay by the 1950s that lakeside
residents had forgotten what the species - which barely 100 years earlier
was regarded as one of the most numerous fish in the Great Lakes - looked
like. Source: Green Bay Press-Gazette (1/25)

For links to these stories and more, visit
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ENN Environmental News Network
E-mail Edition 01/29/2004

Messing up a planet is easy, fixing it takes time
Most Canadians are used to life moving at break-neck speed. We carry cell phones so we can be reached instantly. We use email so we can transmit text and photos in the blink of an eye. We eat at fast food chains so we can get our food immediately. We drive everywhere to get there faster. Once we've made a decision, we want results — now.

Japan to consider sharing international fusion project, says official
Japan would consider sharing with France the right to host the world's first large-scale nuclear fusion plant, if an international consortium can't decide between the two next month, a top government official said Wednesday.

Hitler's chemical weapons are a seeping menace
Six decades after the defeat of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler's chemical weapons are coming back to haunt Europe as they ooze from rusting and poorly mapped graves on the seabed.

Worst drought in more than a decade threatens millions in southern Africa
From miles around they come, pushing wheelbarrows in the relentless heat to collect sacks of maize meal, beans, and cooking oil from the U.N. food agency.

Judge orders Exxon Mobil to pay nearly $7 billion in spill damages
A federal judge ordered Exxon Mobil Corp. to pay about $6.75 billion on Wednesday to thousands of Alaskans affected by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Government begins work on CO2 storage project at Teapot Dome
The government is trying to bury something at its Teapot Dome oil field again. Not secret oil leases, as it did during an infamous scandal of the 1920s, but carbon dioxide: lots of it.

E.U. head office proposes 1 billion euros for water for Africa, Caribbean, South Pacific
The E.U. head office asked European Union governments Wednesday to allocate euro1 billion (US$1.26 billion) in aid to improve access to safe drinking water and sanitation for the poor in Africa, the Caribbean and the South Pacific.

Painkiller threatens survival of Asian birds, says study
A common painkiller used to relieve the aches of arthritis is threatening the extinction of three types of vulture in Asia, conservationists said in a report Wednesday.

E.U. moves a step closer to ending GM food ban
The European Union took one more step toward removing a five-year unofficial ban on new biotech crops and products Wednesday when its executive backed a proposal to allow imports of gene-altered corn.

Today's Press Releases (Become an Affiliate)
Direct from non-profit environmental and educational organizations.

WWF-US Communications:
Carter Roberts To Join World Wildlife Fund

Earth Policy Institute:
Glaciers and Sea Ice Endangered by Rising Temperatures

International Fund for Animal Welfare:
IFAW Responds To Oil Spill In Norway

American Society of Agronomy:
New Research Taps Companion Crops for Organic Weed Control

Trout Unlimited - Western Conservation Office:
Hunters and Anglers Travel to Washington to Speak Out Against Energy Bill

Earth Policy Institute:
Troubling New Flows of Environmental Refugees
Dennis Kucinich: The Progressive Vision

It’s time for America to resume its glorious journey. Time to reject shrinking jobs and wages, disappearing savings and rights. Time to reject the detour towards fear and greed. Time to look out
upon the world for friends, not enemies. Time to counter the control of corporations over our politics, our economy, our resources, and mass media. Time for those who have much to help those who have little by maintaining a progressive tax structure. Time to tell the world that we wish to be their partner in peace, not their leader in war. Most of all, it is time for America to again be the land where
dreams come true because the government is on the side of its people.

Unfortunately, America now leads the world in categories we should not be proud of. America is now the world’s leading jailer with an incarceration rate higher than China. We lead the industrialized world in poverty and in the growing gap between rich and poor. And we are the only industrial nation not to provide national health care.

This is what a Kucinich administration would work to deliver for America:

[1] Universal Health Care with a Single Payer Plan

Over 40 million Americans have no health care and 30 million more have only minimal coverage. Those with coverage often pay exorbitant amounts. The current profit-driven system, dominated by private insurance firms and their bureaucracies, has failed. A Kucinich administration would establish streamlined national health insurance, Enhanced Medicare for All. It would be publicly financed health care, privately delivered. It would provide affordable prescription drugs, thanks to bulk
purchasing. The General Accounting Office of Congress has concluded: “If the U.S. were to shift to a system of universal coverage and a single payer, as in Canada, the savings in administrative costs would be more than enough to offset the cost.”

[2] Full Social Security Benefits at Age 65

Social security is the basic covenant our society has with workers who have built our economy. At a time when CEOs earn 240 times the pay of the average worker, it is unconscionable not to return full retirement benefits to age 65. A Kucinich administration would make that possible through a progressive tax structure and reordered national priorities. Social Security must not be privatized.
Retirement years cannot be dependent on the rise and fall of the stock market.

[3] Withdrawal from NAFTA and WTO

The global trade regime of NAFTA and WTO has enriched multinational corporations. But for workers, family farmers, and the environment, it has meant a global race to the bottom. Companies leave the U.S. in search of low wages, low commodity prices, anti-union climates, and lax environmental laws. NAFTA has been used to whipsaw workers at the negotiation table, forcing wages and benefit concessions under threat of moving jobs overseas. Trade treaties must be conditioned on workers’ rights, human rights, and environmental principles. Among the first actions of a Kucinich Administration will be withdrawal from NAFTA and the WTO—to be replaced by fair trade agreements.

Who is Dennis Kucinich?Congressman Kucinich of Ohio is a modern “Profile in Courage.” In the late 1970s, as the youngest mayor ever of a major city, Dennis bravely said “NO” to an Enron-like takeover of Cleveland’s city-owned power company, Muny Light. In retaliation, major banks—which were interlocked with the private utility that would have become a monopoly by seizing Muny—drove the city into default. Dennis’s political career was derailed ... until 15 years later, when he was vindicated for resisting a corporate power grab and saving Cleveland residents hundreds of millions of dollars on their electric bills. In five consecutive winning elections since 1994, his campaign symbol has been a light bulb.

Elected to Congress in 1996, Dennis has continued to wage courageous battles for workers, consumers, the environment, and civil rights. He is the only presidential candidate who voted against
the civil liberties-shredding “Patriot Act.” He rallied opposition to the illegal and destabilizing Iraq war—from a small group of Congressional dissenters to the nearly 2/3 of House Democrats who
ultimately voted against the war resolution. He co-chairs the Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus of Democrats in Congress. Dennis Kucinich is a heartland politician who can win elections. When he became mayor, state senator, and then Congress member, he defeated a Republican incumbent each time. In 2004, he hopes to defeat another one: George W. Bush.

[4] Repeal of the “Patriot Act”

The “Patriot Act” is not what American patriots have fought and died for. To allow our Bill of Rights to be nullified without judicial supervision invites tyranny. The Attorney General has been handed unfettered power to wiretap, search, jail, and invade our most sacred right to privacy. The government must not be allowed, without probable cause or warrant, to snoop on our
communications, medical records, library records, and student records.

[5] Right to Choose, Privacy, and Civil Rights

In a Kucinich administration, a woman’s right to choose will be protected as essential to personal privacy and gender equality. Only those who agree to uphold Roe v. Wade will be nominated for the Supreme Court. Civil rights (and voting rights) enforcement will be intensified. Lesbians and gays will
be afforded complete equality throughout society. Affirmative action will be maintained as a tool for racial and gender equality. Drug policy will emphasize treatment over criminalization, and not a rampaging war that erodes Constitutional freedoms, privacy, and law enforcement resources. An end to capital punishment will be sought.

[6] Balance Between Workers and Corporations

American workers are working longer and harder for less pay than 20 years ago. What’s needed is a resurgence of organized labor, and a Kucinich administration will tenaciously defend the rights of workers to organize and bargain collectively. Since the purchasing power of the minimum wage
has dropped 21% in two decades, it’s time for living wages, not minimum wages. And it’s time to reverse tax cuts that benefit the already well-to-do, and retain an estate tax. Investing $500
billion to rebuild schools, roads, bridges, ports, and sewage, water and environmental systems will do more to stimulate our economy than tax breaks for the wealthy.

[7] Guaranteed Quality Education, Pre-K Through College

Since education is the only proven way to reduce poverty, it is unacceptable that a child’s education be dependent on where they are born or the financial status of their family. The federal government spends only 2.9% of its budget on education. That will change under a Kucinich administration, because quality education is a core American right and value.

Education must emphasize creative and critical thinking, not just test-taking. Schools need money to decrease class size, increase teachers’ salaries, renovate decaying facilities, and include hands-on job training for those not going to college. Pre-K and after-school programs will get increased funding, and the soaring costs of college will be reversed.

[8] A Renewed Commitment to Peace and Diplomacy

America will return to its role as the most admired—not hated—nation. The doctrine of “pre-emption” will be retired, as will an aggressive, unilateralist foreign policy that makes our homeland less secure, not more. Our security will be enhanced by working with other nations and the U.N. instead of acting like an Empire, arrogantly undermining international agreements such as the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions, the Small Arms Treaty, the nternational Criminal Court, and the Kyoto Climate Treaty. As President, Kucinich will work to implement two measures he sponsored in Congress: the Space Preservation Treaty, which bans space-based weapons, and a cabinet-level Department of Peace, to establish non-violence as an organizing principle in both domestic and international affairs.

A Kucinich administration will cut bloated and unneeded weaponry from a military budget that now almost equals the military spending of all other countries combined. The Kucinich peace dividend will be invested in education, health care, environmental clean-up, urban infrastructure, Social Security,
veterans’ benefits, and other pressing domestic needs.

[9] Restored Rural Communities and Family Farms

Agriculture, trade, and economic policies that favor agribusiness conglomerates have devastated family farmers, rural communities, and the environment. While the number of family farmers has plummeted, profits have soared for a handful of agribusiness giants that increasingly control everything from seed to shelf.

A Kucinich administration will break up agricultural monopolies and restore a strong, independent family farm system with fair prices for farmers and healthy food for consumers. A Kucinich Administration will monitor and reduce contamination of our air, water, and food from factory farms,
with strong USDA enforcement of tough new food safety laws.

[10] Environmental Renewal and Clean Energy

Clean air and water, as well as an intact ozone layer, are not luxuries, but necessities for our children’s future. A Kucinich administration will toughen environmental enforcement, support the Kyoto Treaty on global climate change, reduce oil dependence, and spur investment in
alternative energy sources, including hydrogen, solar, wind, and ocean. Clean energy technologies will produce new jobs. Tax and other incentives will favor sustainable businesses that conserve energy, retrofit pollution prevention technologies, and redesign toxins out of their manufacturing processes. The right to know (for example, when food is genetically engineered) will supersede corporate secrecy. Globally, the U.S. will become a leader in sustainable energy production and a partner with developing nations in providing inexpensive, local, renewable energy technologies.

To make a contribution or for more information:

Kucinich for President 11808 Lorain Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44111 Toll free: 866-413-3664
Paid for by Kucinich for President