The Youth and Elders Project. Interview with Co-Leader Erik Van Lennep by Willi Paul, PlanetShifter.com Magazine

The Youth and Elders Project. Interview with Co-Leader Erik Van Lennep by Willi Paul, PlanetShifter.com Magazine http://planetshifter.com/node/2012 “Reaffirming our commitment to work through the heart, we also affirm the ability to learn from everyone, and to share what useful knowledge and experience each of us has to offer. This is not about age, it’s about being human.”

INTERSECTIONS 2012 Occupations

Friday evening I got to the Ryerson U Student Centre early. This time their was a cost for the cocktails but the food we vegie and free! A few Occupiers were in attendance, it was mostly academics. By 7something the first keynote speaker Sarah of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill spoke on “Because the Night Belongs to Lovers:Occupying the Time of Precarity.”

Living in a park at night had a lot of interpersonal problems especially on the gender divide. The precarity was the situation of uncertainty or safety. The funny example was the men feeling uncomfortable among the transgender women who identify as women. Precarity could also alude to an underemployment given people had time to live in a public space.

Getting the Q & A rolling. I mentioned that living in a park was in itself an act of civil disobedience to assemble with others. The numbers of new and apolitical people who knew something was wrong. Being “loving” was being patience with those who had something to say and listening to them. Ofcourse there was challenges with those who did not look at the long term objectives of the movement.

 

OB Finance Community Work Session

The Occupy Boston Finance Community Work Session, scheduled to address the issues and concerns raised at the FAWG hosted 4/10/12 Community Conversation, concerning Occupy Boston’s relationship to its finances, is now confirmed for Sunday, May 6, from 1:00 to 4:00, at Hope Church, in Jamaica Plain. FAWG invites the entire OB community to help create the financial decisions necessary, for the next phase of the movement. Hope Church is located one block from the Green Street T Station on the Orange Line.

 

Please see FAWG’s transcription and categorization of the comments and identification of issues, from the 4/10 session: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsQk3Yy-nTUxdHgzbUdCd3U2Z0hrUi1jNV93di1XM3c#gid=0

 

Also, see these minutes from the 4/10 community conversation: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZDSrDgRgj4yptY0nA7glRNPobJJBcq8FONEozoCxEwk/edit

Occupy Boston Daily Digest for 4-29-12

Good Morning from Occupy Boston!

Stories of the Day: Anonymous responds to CISPA by calling for specific protests throughout May and June. For the video message, click here. And, from The Portland Occupier: In a grandstand maneuver, our president stands tall with Elie Wiesel at the national Holocaust museum to speak out against the governments of Syria and Iran and the way they control their citizens’ internet and phone access. Meanwhile, the NSA security arm of our government monitors the internet and phone usage of its citizens, while police forces across the country conspire to limit the free speech rights of American patriots. For the story, click here. For more on the ironic contrast of the statements our government makes in support of protests in other countries and the way police are treating American protesters, and a timeline of the protests all over the world, watch this short video from the Vancouver-based filmmakers creating Occupy the Movie (who were filming us at our Media discussion on Wednesday!): I Am Not Moving. And, the House of Representatives advanced a bill Friday that funds cheaper student loans by cutting a preventive health care program, the Prevention and Public Health Fund created in President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. For more, click here. And, are you aware that in many cities, laws are being passed to criminalize feeding the homeless? For more, see A War on Homelessness or A War on the Homeless? And, here’s a creative idea: students suspended for walking out of class at Detroit’s Western International High School earlier this week to protest school closures and demand a better education, created a “freedom school.” Classes at the freedom school will be held with help from community volunteers for the duration of the students’ suspensions, including over the weekend.

Other Occupies/Protests: From Occupy Wall Street: The Free University is a collective educational experiment that will be held on May 1, 2012, from 10am-3pm. In solidarity with the general strike, the Free University offers a public space for the 99% to disengage from an unequal system and imagine a model for alternative education. Those gathered in Madison Square Park, and those meeting in other spaces in solidarity, will create a university that is open to all, without debt or tuition for students, without pre-requisites, age limits or any other disqualifying requirements. Learning can only happen through interaction, exchange, and dialogue. To create a living future together, all must be included and welcome. The Free University is an open invitation to educators around New York City to participate in May Day 2012. During the day, lectures, workshops, skill-shares, and discussions will be held — all open to the public. If you are in solidarity with the general strike but cannot cancel your class, bring it here! We also invite all educators interested in volunteering special sessions and classes for the day. We will have designated spaces for the quieter and more intimate classes. No single day, park, or effort can contain our vision; instead, we propose and will struggle to make all our universities places of free education, inquiry, and access to knowledge for all. We demand that our society put forward the necessary resources to provide such an education for all. For the full schedule of actions Occupy Wall Street has planned for the May 1 General Strike, click here.

“It is possible to be militant and nonviolent.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Upcoming Events:
  • May 1 General Strike! A Day Without the 99%. NO WORK – NO SCHOOL – NO SHOPPING – NO BANKING – NO TRADING. GENERAL STRIKE AND BOYCOTT CALLED! 7am-11am: Financial District Block Party! (corner of Federal and Franklin Streets). Bring a friend and let’s party! Bring whistles, drums, noise makers. Bring street theater ! 12:00pm: Boston City Hall Rally. Can’t make it to Boston City Hall at Noon? Well how about: The Chelsea City Hall? – Gather at Noon – March at 2pm (For More information please contact La Colaborativa (617) 889-6097). 2pm: LoPresti Park Rally/March (Blue Line: Maverick Square) (For more information contact Dominic at City life/Vida Urbana (617) 710-7176). 4pm: Everett – Glendale Park (For more information please contact La Comunidad (617) 387-9996). 7pm: Death of Capitalism Boston Funeral March (Copley Square). We invite people to participate in this piece of street theater which includes puppets, a marching band, and other creative surprises. People will begin gathering at 7pm at Copley Square Park (by the steps of Trinity Church) to put on costumes, puppets and face-paint and get info on their respective role in the funeral procession. We ask that people participate as: mourners (dressed in black), celebrators (wearing neon/bright colors/glow stuff), skeleton block (bring your own skeleton costume). The funeral procession will leave Copley Square Park at 8pm and will travel through areas of wealth and commerce.
  • Lecture at MIT: THE ILLUMINATOR PROJECT: Developing Best Practices for Public Projection Interventions, MARK READ of New York University

    May 3, 2012 (Thursday)
    5pm-6pm
    Room 14E-310, MIT

    Free and open to the public, light dinner to follow

    The Illuminator is a white cargo van equipped with video and audio projection, as well as a fully stocked infoshop and mini-library. It is a tactical media tool available to the Occupy Movement, both useful and beautiful. It is a shapeshifter, a transformer of public space which disrupts the patterns of everyday life, and embodies the social and political transformations for which the Occupy Movement continues to fight.

    Mark Read is an artist, activist, and educator based in Brooklyn, New York. He is perhaps best known as the creator of the “99% Bat Signal” that was projected onto the Verizon Building in New York City on November 17th, 2012. His films have been shown internationally in a variety of venues, from the Piazza de Ferrari in Genoa Italy, to the Halls of the Whitney Museum. He is an adjunct professor of Media Studies at New York University.

    Sponsors: MIT Cool Japan research project and Comparative Media Studies.
    Contact: Prof. Ian Condry, condry@mit.edu
  • Keep Immigrant Families Together! Stop the Raids and Deportations! Prayer Vigil for Immigrant Detainees, Sunday, May 6th, 2 p.m.Suffolk County House of Correction, 20 Bradston St., BostonFor more information about the vigil, contact our Facebook page, or email SocialAction@ascboston.org. www.bostonnewsanctuary.org.

    1. Immigration through Faith: Faith through Immigration – Personal experiences of immigration as a moral and religious issue.
      A facilitated panel discussion exploring personal experiences of faith and immigration. This session is designed to help participants articulate and claim religious language and relevancy in a conversation dominated by secular and political messages. The panel discussion will be followed by an open period for questions and reflections.
    2. U.S. Immigration History and Your Faith: We will look at who came and why? What laws were enacted as barriers? What role have people of faith played in this history? We will also ask where we find ourselves in the story, and who belongs here?
    3. Immigrant Stories in the Struggle for Workers Rights

    To register, go to www.bostonnewsanctuary.org, or call Newell Hendricks at 617 876-5038. $10 suggested donation

  • Occupy New England – M12 Day of Action and Regional Gathering. 9am-5:30pm, May 12: Come join Occupy groups from all around New England as we converge in Worcester for a day of action and networking! The day will have four core key components to it: getting as many Occupy groups and participants in one centralized location at the same time for a day of networking and planning, direct actions and public visibility, continued actions against corporations backing ALEC, and finally the flared up “War on Women” – discussion on women’s issues (rights, health care, etc…) Preliminary timeline of events:
    (Please note the following is a rough draft discussed by Occupy Worcester and the M12 working group. More details will be released later on, and times/actions are subject to change.)
    9 am: Begin gathering at Worcester Common
    10 am: Second New England Solidarity March
    Late morning: Direct Action (w/ CD potential)
    Midday: Occupy New England gathering. Have lunch and talk a lot to each other.
    Mid afternoon: Occupy Worcester’s Women’s Caucus event, details TBA
  • May 17 – nationally recognized transgender activist and member of Occupy Boston Gunner Scott will be honored with The Theater Offensive’s Out on the Edge award. As Executive Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, Scott led the battle for passage of the Massachusetts Transgender Equal Rights Bill in November. The Transgender Equal Rights Bill, also known as An Act Relative to Gender Identity, makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity in the areas of employment, housing, public education and credit & lending.Who: Transgender activist Gunner Scott. What: The Theater Offensive honors Scott with Out on the Edge award. When: Thursday, May 17 @ 6:30 pm. Where: Hibernian Hall (184 Dudley St, Roxbury). Open to the Public: Yes (with ticket purchase) Occupy Boston Daily Digest for 4 29 12
  • Sponsored by the Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture Series: Book launch for Truth and Revolution by Michael Staudenmaier. May 22 at 6 pm at Encuentro 5, 33 Harrison Ave, Boston. Michael Staudenmaier speaks on the Sojourner Truth Organization/STO. STO was Founded in Chicago in 1969 from the rubble of the recently crumbled SDS, the Sojourner Truth Organization (STO) brought working-class consciousness to the forefront of New Left discourse, sending radicals back into the factories and thinking through the integration of radical politics into everyday realities. Through the influence of founding members like Noel Ignatiev and Don Hamerquist, STO took a Marxist approach to the question of race and revolution, exploring the notion of “white skin privilege,” and helping to lay the groundwork for the discipline of critical race studies. Michael Staudenmaier is a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Illinois.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Event Highlights:

  • May 1st Training with Occupy Boston: Sunday, April 29, 12pm-3pm, location TBA (see Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/396045130426024/). Gearing up for May 1st? Want to feel more prepared? Join Occupy Boston as we get ready for the General Strike! Direct Action and the Medics will be providing basic training this Sunday in preparation for Tuesday’s General Strike! There will be plenty of fun activities as well as training in basic safety procedures. Join us!
  • Boston New Sanctuary Movement Presents A Return to A Faithful Understanding, An Interfaith Conference: Toward a More Compassionate National Debate on Immigration, Sunday, April 29, 2012, 12:30 – 5 p.m. (12-1, lunch provided by Brazilian Immigrant Center), Church of the Covenant, 67 Newbury St., Boston, MAWorship leader: Rev. Rob Mark, Pastor, Church of the Covenant, Boston, Presbyterian/UCCSpeakers, Reflection leaders: Members of the Boston New Sanctuary Movement. Schedule: 12:30 Registration; 1:00 Welcome, opening reflection; 1:15 Current Immigration issues in Boston, and the Boston New Sanctuary Movement; 1:40 Workshops, period I; 3:10 Workshops, period II; 4:40 Closing reflection; 5:00 Networking.
  • Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day, Sunday, April 29, 10am – Monday, April 30, 12am. Where: Lots, medians, privatized public land, unpleasant public land. May 1 is International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day — people all over the world will be sowing seeds of optimism and planting sunflower seeds. It’s about occupying our city and promoting gardening, public space, food and habitats for all the human and non-humans who share the Boston ecosystem. Let’s plant 1,000 seeds!

Calendar for Sunday, April 29, 2012

12pm-2pm, Boston Occupier WG Meeting, at City Place Food Court in Mass Transportation Building, 8-10 Park Plaza

1pm – 3pm The Icarus Project WG Meeting, Gazebo on Boston Common (City Place Food Court in the Transportation Building if raining) Radical mental health support and activism.

3pm – 5pm People of Color WG Meeting, Encuentro 5. 33 Harrison Ave 5th Floor

4pm – 5pm Socialist Caucus Meeting, Encuentro 5, 33 Harrison Ave 5th Floor

5pm – 8:30pm, Action Assembly, Community Church of Boston, 565 Boylston Street (across from Copley)

Please note! Meetings and their locations are subject to change. We encourage you to check the Occupy Boston Calendar for the most up-to-date information.

Volunteer Opportunities/Announcements:

1) Issue 7 of the Boston Occupier is out now, and we need your help distributing!!

We rely exclusively on YOU, the broader Occupy community, to get our papers out there to the 99%. So…

** We would love for you to join one of our planned outreach/distribution efforts on the T.

** ANYTIME you’re going to a progressive or Occupy-related event, try to pass out papers. These are the most effective occasions to connect sympathetic readers to our paper. Copies of the issue are stored in the OB cubicle at E5, so PLEASE remember to grab a stack.

** Get them to readers in your community. We recommend small stacks in small stacks in cafes, libraries, bookshops, laundry mats, community centers, waiting rooms, campuses, etc. Be creative!! But we’ve found that the BEST way to get papers to readers is to hand them out face to face, combining outreach and distribution.

** If you are a part of another local-area Occupy movement, a union, or a community organization that is willing to distribute papers — let’s make it happen! You can just come by E5 (between 9 am and 7 pm most days) and grab a stack, or coordinate with us if you’re not able to do so. Send questions or suggestions about distribution to Julie O (juliettejulianna@gmail.com).

** We’re also trying to raise funds so that we can continue printing the stories of the 99%! To that end, we’ve started a subscription service. Read about it online here. I hope you’ll encourage those you know to subscribe to the paper as well!!

As always, we welcome questions, suggestions, and distribution ideas — send to juliettejulianna@gmail.com. We’ve printed a gorgeous May 1st poster on the back of this issue, so we’re hoping to get all 10,000 copies out in the next week and a half, to promote the General Strike. Papers to the people!!

2) Occupy Boston seeks RADICAL CLOWNS to participate in the May Day rally at City Hall Plaza at 12:00 noon. Will you be a radical clown? contact 617strike@gmail.com. Occupy Boston is looking for the following supplies to be donated or loaned for May Day actions. Please send an email to 617strike@gmail.com if you are able to provide any of these items.

microphones

guitar amps

electrical inverters (for 12V to 110/120VAC) (cigarette lighter plug)

blank T shirts

white fabric

black fabric

neon colored fabric

spring clamps

duct tape

black paint

white paint

glow-in-the-dark paint

sharpies/markers

clamp lights

face paint

glitter

neon posterboard

blacklight bulbs (standard light bulb size)

red light bulbs (standard light bulb size)

portable lights with power source/battery pack

Beer coolers (for dry ice)

Brass bell (should ring pretty loud)

3) GA locations:

The following proposal passed the General Assembly of Occupy Boston on April 17, 2012:

Facilitation Working Group proposes the following changes to the current General Assembly schedule:

  • Tuesdays: We propose that, effective May 1st, all Tuesday GAs be held outside. We propose the Boston Common as a temporary location with the idea that location may change in the future. We will give Arlington Street Church notice that our last night using ASC space will be April 24, 2012.
  • Thursdays: We have ended our relationship with Emmanuel Church and therefore propose that all Thursday GAs be held outside effective April 19, 2012, at the Boston Common as a temporary location with the idea that location may change in the future.
  • Saturday: We propose to continue to hold GA at Community Church of Boston on Saturdays in order to ensure that at least one GA per week is held indoors. FWG is in the process of asking CCB whether it would have space available on Tuesdays. If so we would ask the GA to decide whether that one GA indoors should be on Tuesday or Saturday.
  • Community Gatherings will remain on Mondays and effective May 14, 2012, will be held at CCB.

This schedule is subject to review by the GA at any time.

Amendments:

  • GA will be canceled Tuesday, May 1st.
  • FWG will seek access to the web banner and text service to ensure that any change in GA location or time will be widely communicated.

To join the Occupy Boston Community Forum email list, a general discussion list, click here! For a partial listing of Working Groups looking for volunteers, please click here! For a list of Working Groups with contact info, click here! For more information on Occupy Boston’s General Assembly, including passed resolutions, click here! And if you’re interested in learning more about Occupy Boston and how you can participate, click here! For contact info for other Occupies in the area, click here!

Contact Us: Want to subscribe to the Daily Digest? Click here to have it sent to your email inbox every morning! All Working Groups or Occupy Boston events that need placement in the Daily Digest, please email AnnaC@OccupyBoston.org. To view past issues of The Daily Digest, click here. And subscribe to the Occupy Boston Media Rundown, a daily listing of Occupy-related news, by contacting JohnM@OccupyBoston.org.


The OB Media Rundown for 4/29/12

Brandeis: Activists hold ‘teach-in’ to educate about Occupy movement

Students for a Democratic Society joined with their peers in a group led by Professor Gordon Fellman (SOC) hosted a teach-in in the Shapiro Campus Center atrium on Tuesday. This teach-in incorporated a series of speakers as part of the group’s Occupy Brandeis Spring Week.

Fellman’s team spent six weeks organizing the teach-in. The idea of a teach-in originated in a conversation Fellman had with Provost Steve Goldstein.

“Since the ’60s and ’70s, I have been taken with that form of education and stimulating awareness and thought, and this seemed like a rich and complex enough topic to warrant dusting off the old teach-in template and seeing where we might be able to go with it now,” Fellman said. “I hope it raised awareness among people who attended of the realities of U.S. society that Occupy addresses, of some of the movement’s actions and ideas, and of the General Assembly method of discussing and moving forward.”

http://tinyurl.com/898d9k3

Banks cooperate with police to track Occupy protesters

The world’s biggest banks are working with one another and police to gather intelligence as protesters try to rejuvenate the Occupy Wall Street movement with May demonstrations, industry security consultants said.

http://tinyurl.com/85n8r2t

Using social media to monitor Occupy movement

Facebook and Twitter are now essential tools for protest movements like Occupy Wall Street. Nine in 10 law enforcement agencies say they monitor social media. CBS News correspondent Tony Guida reports they are using what they find to make cases against demonstrators.

When Occupy Wall Street occupied the Brooklyn Bridge last October, police arrested 732 protesters, virtually all charged with disorderly conduct — neither a crime nor a misdemeanor — but a violation, like loitering.

“It’s a whole lot of fuss over a politicized traffic ticket,” said 23-year-old Malcolm Harris, who was among those arrested. However, he was one of just a handful whose Twitter account was subpoenaed. The D.A. maintains that Harris’ public Tweets prove his intent to defy police orders to disperse.

http://tinyurl.com/7znszgo


CISPA: US plan for sweeping surveillance of internet users a betrayal of trust

“It will allow existing privacy laws to be overridden using new laws that enable too great a range of possible intelligence-gathering activities, potentially allowing too great an imposition on the consumer,” says Mark Little, an analyst at the research company Ovum.

Google and Facebook already appear to be giving their cooperation to the act. Google has been in discussion with the intelligence agencies for years over access to its ocean of consumer data, and Facebook supports the tough new legislation.

But these two internet giants and other organisations supporting Cispa may soon come to regret backing legislation that may enrage many of their users who expect that personal details will be treated as confidential.

http://tinyurl.com/d5sjo94

CISPA Would Allow Big Corporations to Steal All Your Data

CISPA is another attempt by corporate entities to obtain access to governmental intelligence sources on the Internet. That’s what the fuss is all about.

This bill talks about sharing governmental intelligence information with “certified entities,” but the only requirement to become a certified entity is to demonstrate that you can keep a secret. It doesn’t seem to be necessary that you prove a national security position for your company.

http://tinyurl.com/bvywcfw

Government borrowing used to create manufactured crisis, provide the pretext to attack progressive government

The mechanisms of borrowing and repayment now serve mainly to bamboozle the public and empower unscrupulous opponents of public spending and progressive government. These borrowing and lending operations create large, frightening debt numbers on government account books. These numbers are exploited by demagogues to create insolvency fears among the public, and these fears are in turn exploited to pressure citizens into shrinking the active role of government.

http://tinyurl.com/c73dxcn

The Politics of Sight

Would Americans eat less meat, and would animals be treated more humanely if slaughterhouses were made with glass walls and we all could see the monstrous killing apparatus at work? This is the query at the heart of Timothy Pachirat’s new book Every Twelve Seconds-the title a reference to the typical slaughterhouse’s cattle-killing rate.

Before you think this is a column merely about food, recognize that Pachirat’s question isn’t (only) about the immorality of the cheeseburger you had for lunch. It’s about the larger phenomenon whereby modern society has reconstructed itself to hide so many horrific consequences from view.

Calling this the “politics of sight,” Pachirat’s blood-soaked experience inside a slaughterhouse spotlights only the most illustrative example of how we’ve divorced ourselves from the means of producing violence-and how, in doing so, we have made it psychologically easier to support such brutality. Sadly, billions of factory-farmed animals dying barbaric deaths are just one subset of casualties in that larger process.

http://tinyurl.com/cdc9n7q

Halfway Through the Lost Decade

Does anyone care that the economy is floundering and that we are not getting out of this crisis anytime soon? Housing values are in the cellar, the Fed foresees unemployment remaining unacceptably high for the next three years, and national economic growth is predicted to be, at best, anemic.

http://tinyurl.com/cs2nh6e

Obama: Big spender or austerity president?

(chart)

Let’s have a look at Real Government Expenditures & Investment and index it to 100 at presidential inaugurations:

http://tinyurl.com/6sbd7w5

Some journalists starting to fight back against false equivalency

When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.
. . .

We understand the values of mainstream journalists, including the effort to report both sides of a story. But a balanced treatment of an unbalanced phenomenon distorts reality. If the political dynamics of Washington are unlikely to change anytime soon, at least we should change the way that reality is portrayed to the public.

Our advice to the press: Don’t seek professional safety through the even-handed, unfiltered presentation of opposing views. Which politician is telling the truth? Who is taking hostages, at what risks and to what ends?

http://tinyurl.com/c9lfufx

Prison Industries: “Don’t Let Society Improve or We Lose Business”

In the past decade, there has been a movement to privatize more and more of our state and federal prisons to save money (which has not materialized) and ease overcrowding under the pressure of the courts. This has led to a wide world of influence peddling, self-dealing and lobbying while preying on a captured group of people to fill prison beds. Just as I have feared that privatizing the logistics of war will encourage private war-service industries to lobby for a hot war or long occupation to keep their industries viable, there has emerged a group of prison industries, state and federal legislators, and other players who will continue to benefit from our disgraceful ranking as the world’s largest warden.

http://tinyurl.com/77g98z5

Why Isn’t Closing 40 Philadelphia Public Schools National News?

In what should be the biggest story of the week, the city of Philadelphia’s school system announced Tuesday that it expects to close 40 public schools next year and 64 by 2017. The school district expects to lose 40% of current enrollment to charter schools, the streets or wherever, and put thousands of experienced, well qualified teachers, often grounded in the communities where they teach, on the street.

Ominously, the shredding of Philadelphia’s public schools isn’t even news outside Philly. This correspondent would never have known about it save for a friend’s Facebook posting early this week. Corporate media in other cities don’t mention massive school closings, whether in Chicago, Atlanta, NYC, or in this case Philadelphia, perhaps so people won’t have given the issue much deep thought before the same crisis is manufactured in their town. Even inside Philadelphia the voices of actual parents, communities, students and teachers are shut out of most newspaper and broadcast accounts.

http://tinyurl.com/73n4fuk

Pittsburgh public transit blasted with austerity cuts

On Friday, the board of the Transit Authority of the city (known locally as PAT or Port Authority Transit) voted reluctantly for the deepest round of service cuts and fare increases in its 48 year history. The massive level of service cuts are unprecedented and every neighborhood will feel the effects: 48 of the 102 remaining bus route will be cut; all but 13 bus and light-rail routes will stop running after 10 p.m.; 18 Park ‘N Ride lots will be closed; an estimated five to six hundred transit workers will see layoffs; and fares will rise to at least $2.50 for basic, Zone 1 service.

The cuts represent 35 percent of city transit services and will likely bring a loss of 40,000 out of 225,000 daily riders. Also planned are higher fares and reductions to the Pittsburgh paratransit “Access” service which provides special needs transportation to seniors and disabled Pittsburghers, many of whom rely on public transit as their only means of getting around.

The effect on Pittsburgh’s elderly and disabled will be particularly hard, as was pointed out by Judy Spruill, Director of Public Policy for United Cerebral Palsy of Pittsburgh, who feared a future where the disabled might become virtual prisoners in their own homes.

http://tinyurl.com/c83t4ew

‘Occupy the Farm’ Protesters Plan Big Weekend in Albany

A group of protesters continue to occupy a 10-acre plot of agricultural land in Albany that is owned by the University of California at Berkeley and plans many activities there this weekend, a spokeswoman said Saturday.

Anya Kamanskaya of Occupy The Farm said about 70 to 80 people are on the land now and “are setting up for a big weekend” that she hopes will draw at least several hundred people to the site.

http://tinyurl.com/czchccj

Suicides have Greeks on edge before election

On Monday, a 38-year-old geology lecturer hanged himself from a lamp post in Athens and on the same day a 35-year-old priest jumped to his death off his balcony in northern Greece. On Wednesday, a 23-year-old student shot himself in the head.

In a country that has had one of the lowest suicide rates in the world, a surge in the number of suicides in the wake of an economic crisis has shocked and gripped the Mediterranean nation – and its media – before a May 6 election.

The especially grisly death of pharmacist Dimitris Christoulas, who shot himself in the head on a central Athens square because of poverty brought on by the crisis that has put millions out of work, was by far the most dramatic.

http://tinyurl.com/7fdf9ay

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