Tell NYC Mayor Bloomberg— Stop bullying our families!

first_imgFollowing snow storm, 5,000 march across Brooklyn Bridge to rally in Manhattan, Feb. 10.WW photo: Brenda RyanNew York — When more than 5,000 school bus drivers, matrons and mechanics marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on Feb. 10, the brutal nature of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attacks on their jobs became even clearer.Seeing thousands of faces of the people who care for schoolchildren every day — and whose livelihoods are endangered by Bloomberg’s austerity axe — brings home the stakes in this struggle.Before that day, public opinion was already moving toward the strikers in Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181. The media had shut out anything resembling pro-union coverage for the strike’s first three weeks — but this began to change at the start of the fourth week.On Feb. 8, City Councilor Robert Jackson held a hearing in which City Council members grilled Education Chancellor Dennis Walcott. While Walcott refused to answer questions, the hearing also featured testimony from parents, union members and union officials. Media coverage was sympathetic to the demand that Bloomberg come to the table to negotiate.The city’s line that it was merely trying to cut costs started to unravel. What emerged instead was a stark plan that threatens schoolchildren’s safety, takes away drivers’ job security and throws families with special-needs children into chaos.WW photo: G. DunkelThe powerful rally on Feb. 10 dramatized this battle in favor of the union.Marchers chanted, “What do we want? EPP!” — referring to Bloomberg’s attempt to scrap the union’s job seniority list known as the Employee Protection Provision. Placards read “Bloomberg: Stop bullying our families!” and “Where is the money really going? Open the books!”In a YouTube video, one worker said, “We’re here for our families, as well as for your families and your child. Your child is our child when they’re in our hands.”The composition of ATU Local 1181 is 60 percent women — 95 percent of the matrons are women — and 80 percent people of color, with Haitian the most common nationality.As thousands of Haitian, Latina/o and other workers marched, people could see how a billionaire mayor, one rich enough to buy himself a third term, is blocking the job security of workers whose average salary is $35,000 a year — and endangering the safety of schoolchildren in order to push through an austerity plan.‘Let’s get rid of capitalism’WW photo: John CatalinottoFrom the school bus strike to the so-called fiscal cliff, the banks are mandating austerity for every level of government: the post office, public education, public hospitals, Medicaid, Medicare, school bus service. With the capitalist crisis deepening — and money for war and repression only increasing — banks want to make sure they continue to get their interest payments every month.It’s one of the great absurdities of capitalism: While the banks are awash in cash, they’re imposing poverty on the people.A highlight of the rally was when New York City Councilperson Charles Barron — who is Black — called attention to this. Noting that the city has found hundreds of millions for new stadium projects, while it cuts people’s services, Barron told a cheering crowd, “Capitalism is the real problem here. After we win the strike, let’s get rid of capitalism!”In New York, the city pays banks about $14 billion a year in debt service. The city’s education budget is $1.1 billion. As low as the school bus drivers’ wages are, Bloomberg’s plan to scrap the EPP would mean that, in a best-case scenario, the drivers and matrons would have to apply for their jobs at an even lower rate, without their accumulated seniority and benefits.The worst-case scenario, of course, is that they would lose their jobs altogether.Parents don’t want their children to lose the workers they’ve come to know and trust. While during the strike the corporate media has treated parents as helpless victims caught in someone else’s fight, many feel it’s in their interest to support the union — so they marched in the Feb. 10 demonstration. The group Parents to Improve School Transportation (PIST) was out in force, with banners, placards and a speech by co-founder Sara Catalinotto.Catalinotto said from the stage, “Bloomberg needs to know that the parents blame him for this mess.” She also announced that parents would be holding a protest on Feb. 12 when the city opens the bidding process for new school bus contracts, this time without the EPP. “Parents are going to be there. [The city] told us we can’t go, but we’ll be there.”“We parents are stakeholders in these contracts,” stressed Catalinotto. “We should be a party of interest. We want to be at the table — and we want to see what’s going on under the table!”Marching along with the strikers were contingents from a handful of other unions. Members of the United Federation of Teachers turned out 50 people decked out in blue hats and marching with a union banner. The Transit Workers Union Local 100’s delegation, led by union president John Samuelson, carried the local’s flags. Along with other delegations, the presence of rank-and-file members from other unions showed that people are eager to find ways to support the strikers.Hopefully, this solidarity impulse will find a lot more avenues, from the labor movement as well community and progressive groups. Public opinion is generally on the side of the school bus drivers — when people can break through the media’s uneven coverage of the strike to find the truth.Looking for ways to elevate this struggle in the public’s mind, PIST is calling for Valentine’s Day deliveries of candy, flowers, cards and gifts to ATU picket lines. For more information, call 347-504-3310.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Bond film violence doubles since Dr No

first_imgNZ Herald 11 Dec 2012James Bond films are more than twice as violent as they used to be, researchers from Otago University have found. The finding comes as no surprise to a local criminologist, who says film violence has become more extreme to pull in young audiences – some of whom identify with the violence to the point they commit brutal acts themselves. Researchers analysed 22 films in the Bond franchise, from Dr No in 1962 to Quantum of Solace in 2008, to test the theory that popular movies are becoming more violent. Not only did the newer Bond films feature more violence, there was an even bigger increase in the amount of severe violence – acts likely to cause death or injury if they occurred in real life.…Bob McCoskrie, director of conservative lobby group Family First, said the findings did not surprise him at all. He said film classifications were looser now than a decade ago, which was helping to normalise violence, bad language and sexual content. “Society simply responds to that, and this study is a classic example of how far it’s going,” he said. “I think we’d be naive to think that we can continue to feed ourselves violent images and from there try to argue it has no influence on our actions or our attitudes – especially perhaps for younger people.” Chief censor Andrew Jack said societal attitudes towards the likes of violence and sex had changed, and that was reflected in the types of films being made. But he disagreed there had been a discernible loosening in the classifications given to films. read more

Boeheim rants on NCAA graduation rates

first_imgThree minutes into his postgame press conference on Tuesday, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim switched topics to his team’s graduation rate.He stayed on it for four and a half minutes.“I’d like to address one thing. I think there’s something in terms of people’s opinions,” Boeheim said calmly.The NCAA released its annual graduation rates of Division I member institutions on Oct. 24. It revealed the men’s basketball program graduated 45 percent of its players from 2003-04 to 2006-07, while Syracuse as a whole graduated 87 percent of all athletes in that span.“We had six guys stay out of the 12, five graduated. The other six, a couple for the NBA, a couple who weren’t playing enough and transferred, one guy was hurt and just didn’t play anymore,” Boeheim said. “So if somebody can tell me how we’re supposed to graduate a guy who leaves, I would love for somebody to come tell me that, and explain how we can do that.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBoeheim said this isn’t a new issue. There’s been an “obsession” surrounding it during the last 20 years, he said.“There’s an obsession that if somebody comes here they should graduate,” Boeheim said. “It’s an obsession. Some kids obviously want to play more so they leave.“When they made the decision, prior to leaving, some kids when they make that decision they just leave, so they become ineligible because they’re not going to finish the course work and not count toward graduation. “There’s not much you can do in those cases.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 6, 2013 at 3:17 am Contact Stephen: [email protected] | @Stephen_Bailey1last_img read more

Liverpool close on City, Arsenal held by Man Utd

first_img“The character we showed after going behind, to come back in that fashion is what we expect from this team,” said Milner.Arsenal stretched their unbeaten run to 20 games, but failed to take advantage of two gifts from the hosts as United’s winless run in the Premier League extended to four matches.Amid an underperforming side this season, goalkeeper David de Gea has remained in almost impeccable form, but the Spaniard spilled Shkodran Mustafi’s header over the line to hand Arsenal the lead 26 minutes in.Four minutes later the hosts levelled when Anthony Martial turned home Ander Herrera’s cross after Bernd Leno saved Marcos Rojo’s cross.– Spurs go third –Both second-half goals came in a crazy minute as firstly Rojo turned the ball off Alexandre Lacazette and into the United net in his attempts to make a last-ditch tackle.“We scored four goals and drew 2-2! As always we made mistakes and we paid for the mistakes,” said United manager Jose Mourinho.“Today was more the same, but with great spirit and people ready to have a go and fight hard, it was a credit to the team.” Arsenal were barely done celebrating when the ball was in the net at the other end as a misunderstanding between Sead Kolasinac and Leno allowed Jesse Lingard to nip in and equalise.De Gea redeemed himself with two fine saves from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan also had a late Arsenal goal ruled out for offside.Wolves registered their first win in seven games despite going behind to Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s 18th minute opener for Chelsea.“We played very well for 55 minutes and then suddenly we were another team,” bemoaned Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri.Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota struck in a four-minute spell either side of the hour mark.“This doesn’t mean all the problems are solved. It means we have to maintain these standards,” said Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo.Spurs took advantage of Chelsea and Arsenal dropping points to move back up to third with a comfortable 3-1 win over Southampton, whose new manager Ralph Hasenhuttl watched on from the stands at Wembley. London, United Kingdom | AFP | Liverpool closed back to within two points of Premier League leaders Manchester City by coming from behind to beat Burnley 3-1 as Manchester United and Arsenal shared the spoils in a thrilling 2-2 draw at Old Trafford.Wolves also overturned an early deficit to inflict just Chelsea’s second defeat of the season in a 2-1 win at Molineux, allowing Tottenham to move back up to third with a comfortable 3-1 win over Southampton.Chelsea and Arsenal are now tied on 31 points in fourth, still eight clear of United in eighth.Given the relentless pace being set by City at the top of the table, Liverpool couldn’t afford any slip ups at Turf Moor despite Jurgen Klopp making seven changes with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino left on the bench and Sadio Mane missing through injury.Their firepower was badly missed as Liverpool laboured in the first-half and went behind early in the second.A huge error by £67 million ($75 million) goalkeeper Alisson Becker for Burnley’s shock opener when Jack Cork bundled home after the Brazilian fumbled in the wet conditions.However, the visitors quickly rallied to stretch their unbeaten start to the league season to 15 games.James Milner levelled just after the hour mark and then turned provider for Firmino to turn the game around just three minutes after coming on as a substitute before Xherdan Shaqiri sealed the three points late on.center_img Harry Kane turned home Christian Eriksen’s cross to give Tottenham a half-time lead before Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min scored twice in four minutes after the break to bounce back from a painful North London derby defeat to Arsenal on Sunday.Fulham edged to within a point of safety despite blowing the lead in a 1-1 draw with Leicester.Honours were also even in a 1-1 draw between Everton and Newcastle as Richarlison cancelled out Salomon Rondon’s opener.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more