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Showing posts from July, 2007

The 11th Hour - documentary

“As an example, if we retrofitted all government buildings built pre 1950, and we created tax environments to help cities and municipalities and states and the federal government to retrofit those buildings, we could create 3 million industrial jobs plus we could import much less oil from the middle east. But more importantly we’d be having a much cleaner environment.”

Leo Gerard, USW President
from The 11th Hour - documentary
“The 11th Hour” is a new feature length environmental film in which I appear. Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, it documents the environmental crises we face.

With the help of over fifty of the world’s most prominent thinkers and activists, including reformer Mikhail Gorbachev, physicist Stephen Hawking and Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai, “The 11th Hour” documents the grave problems facing the plant’s life systems: global warming, deforestation, mass species extinction and depletion of the oceans’ habitats.

However, the most powerful aspect of “The 11th Hour” is no…

Care for Kids!

Tell congress to put families first!

More than 9 million American kids have no healthcare coverage including 163,000 Hoosier kids.

Congress has the opportunity to fully fund the State Children’s Insurance Program (SCHIP) by $50 Billion to provide health care coverage to millions of children whose families don’t qualify for Medicaid and can’t afford private insurance.

This new funding has already been approved by U.S. Senate and House budget resolutions. We need to ensure that $50 billion additional funding is approved in the final budget.

For additional information or to sign the petition electronically, go to

Dirty Chao


Workers at the Department of Labor (DOL) will have some good clean fun this week when they pass out bars of soap saying "Chao Thinks You Stink" and "Get Clean with Local 12". The workers, members of AFGE Local 12, are responding to DOL Secretary Elaine Chao's recent comments in Parade Magazine that American workers need to improve their personal hygiene in order to be more competitive. "While we're having a little fun at the Secretary 's expense," said Local 12 President Alex Bastani, "what isn't funny is the Secretary's disdain for American workers." After all, Bastani notes, "This is the very same Secretary of Labor who denied over 2 million workers their right to overtime." Local 12 recently defeated an effort to privatize over 250 jobs at the DOL at both the regional level and in the Washington DC National office. Also featured at the Tuesday and Thursday events will be a bub…

Birkholz Announces Candidacy

Press ReleaseJuly 11, 2007Debra Birkholz announces candidacy for State Senate, District 8
Birkholz formally announced her candidacy today at the LaPorte County Labor Coalition meeting in Michigan City. She has the endorsement of Jim Robinson, United Steelworker District Director and several retiree organizations. Having recently retired after a 32 year career at NIPSCO, Birkholz was elected four times as president of the clerical union at NIPSCO. Birkholz said, “ No one will ever be able to replace Anita Bowser but we do not have to lose her passion and commitment to seeing state government work for everyone.” She has been a resident of LaPorte County for nearly forty years and currently is the secretary of the LaPorte County Democratic Central Committee. She also serves on the LaPorte Labor/Management Committee. Birkholz is married to Mike Birkholz, one of the owners of Shaffner Tire in LaPorte. Together they have five children and four grandchildren.

Indiana Toll Road

VOP: Birkholz bashes Arnold on toll road lease statement Having lost by just one vote to Jim Arnold in the March Democratic caucus to fill the late Sen. Anita Bowser’s seat, I was particularly disappointed to read our current state senator say, “there hasn’t been enough time to make a justifiable conclusion” (H-A, 6/30/07) on whether the lease of the Indiana Toll Road was the right thing to do.Now more than ever, we need elected officials in Indianapolis willing to stand up and say “no” to every effort by this governor and his colleagues to sell off parts of state government. There’s a reason the U.S. House Transportation Committee just two months ago sent the governor a letter saying it was opposed to such sales or leases of public assets that obviously don’t serve the public interest.Privatizing what should be government functions hasn’t worked well on the federal level, much less…

Stop the Insanity!

3,606 dead American soldiers

26,558 wounded

$442 billion dollars so far

What does war look like?

"Like the backside of a baboon. When the baboon is up in a tree, with its hind end facing us, there is the face of war exactly: scarlet, scaly, glazed, framed in a clotted, filthy wig." Hecuba

Let's Stop Unfair Trade

Today, we need to celebrate our
independence, not lose it.

(Tell the Presidential candidates America deserves a real Independence Day.)

We hear a lot about national security from our Presidential
candidates — but none of them will tell you that one day we may
depend on foreign manufacturers for our national security.

That’s right — as America increasingly depends on foreign-built
products, our manufacturing base continues to erode. The same
manufacturing base that supplies the equipment our troops need
to keep America safe.

This Independence Day, Americans need to ask our Presidential
candidates to do more than just talk a good game and sit on their
hands while China and other countries cheat on our trade laws
with illegal subsidies, currency manipulation and dumping.

They’re taking America’s jobs — 49,000 a month in manufacturing

Today is the day we’re supposed to celebrate our independence.
But every year, we’re becoming less independent.

Tell our Presidential candidates that America needs to …

Alliance for American Manufacturing

Manufacturing in the United States

Manufacturing in the U.S. generates about $1.4 trillion, or 12 percent of our gross domestic product, accounting for nearly three quarters of the nation’s industrial research and development (R&D), two-thirds of our nation’s total exports of goods and services, and supports more than 20 million high-paying jobs. Manufacturing also ensures we have a strong industrial base to support our national security objectives.

AAM believes that America’s leadership in the information age does not mean that we have to accept defeat when it comes to manufacturing. On the contrary, the nation that has the ideas and innovation, as well as cutting-edge technology and manufacturing, is the nation that will win the global economic battles of the future.

Inside modern manufacturing facilities, you will see the most productive, highly-skilled labor force in the world applying the latest in information, innovation and technology.

The fact is, our manufacturing industry ha…