Category Archives: March 2015

Journalist Terry Anderson to speak at CMC’s SpringBoard, March 20

by Nancy Jones

On Friday, March 20, the Civic Media Center will present its 16th annual SpringBoard fundraising event with veteran journalist, Terry Anderson, addressing “Journalists: You May Not Like Us, but You’d be Sorry if We Were Gone.” In Terry’s words: “Journalists have popularity ratings lower than any other profession except lawyers. People accuse them of bias, of inaccuracy, of rudeness and arrogance.

But without them, you likely wouldn’t have many of the freedoms you do, and you would have even less control over your government.”

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Editors’ picks: the news that didn’t fit …

Report exposes link between dirty money and Florida’s dirty waterways
The advocacy group, Environment Florida, exposes top water polluters and the influence of dark money flowing into Florida in a report released today. The revelations impact local, state and federal policy makers.

5 Ways Fraternities Are Wielding Major Influence Over University Administrations
Their power is growing …

Florida Senator Submits Bill to Legalize Recreational Marijuana
Amid a long-running debate about legalizing medical marijuana, South Florida Senator Dwight Bullard wants to go a step further and allow the recreational use of pot.

George Zimmerman won’t face civil rights charges in Trayvon Martin’s death
“The death of Trayvon Martin was a devastating tragedy,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a statement. “It shook an entire community, drew the attention of millions across the nation, and sparked a painful but necessary dialogue throughout the country.”

What ISIS Really Wants
The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.

Power and “Political Correctness”
Stephanie Zvan weighs in on “callout culture” and “political correctness.”

Proving That ‘Activism Works,’ Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Bill
On the other hand, “the veto does not necessarily stop the pipeline.”

Ready for Nuclear War over Ukraine?
“A Strangelovian madnesss that the U.S. media ignores,” says Robert Parry

UF Graduate Student Labor Union pushes for graduate assistant fee relief

By: Kevin Funk, Co-President, Graduate Assistants United (GAU)

Every semester, the University of Florida’s 4,000 graduate, teaching, and research assistants are responsible for paying exorbitant university fees. This spring 2015 semester, most of us will pay around $700 back to our employer. For many, this is more than the amount of their biweekly paycheck.

That the university would charge its graduate assistants such a significant amount in fees—hundreds of dollars higher per semester on average than its peer institutions—is especially ironic given the recent campaign, which Graduate Assistants United (GAU) supports, to turn the University of Florida into a Top 10 public research institution.

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Female workers push boundaries in ‘Made in Dagenham’

The Alachua County Labor Coalition is screening the film ‘Made in Dagenham’ as part of their on-going series of monthly labor film showings in the Alachua County community.

The film will be shown on Monday, March 16, at 7 pm at the Civic Media Center, 433 S. Main St.

The Gainesville area National Women’s Liberation and Gainesville NOW will co-sponsor the event.

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Rad Press Cafe re-opening in CMC!

April 4 will mark the re-opening of Rad Press Cafe, formally Radical Press Coffee Collective.

The worker-run collective located inside the Civic Media Center has taken several months off to regroup and is now set to re-open, paying a set hourly wage to collective members for the first time.

Offering espresso drinks, drip coffee, shop-made lemonade and sodas, pre-made sandwiches, Strongtree’s fair trade organic coffee and Zapatista grown beans, you can expect the top quality product now with faster service.

In addition, Rad Press Cafe will now be carrying local dairy. Check the Radical Press Facebook page for more updates including hours.

Citizen’s Co-op Dispute Ends

by Joe Courter

The following was released to email, Facebook and the media in late February; it was welcome news:

Our Apology: We at Citizens Co-op have made mistakes in the past, but have recently been working to rectify them. In the past few months we have been meeting with the members of the Union who were fired on March 24, 2014 in order to make amends and come to resolution.

Some policies set in place did not protect our workers and did not live up to the standards that all members could support. Right now we are actively working to change policies including formal recognition of the union.

We are officially and publicly apologizing for terminating the unionized workers: Kelsey Naylor, Ryan O’Malley, Sylvia Arnold, and Teresa Burlingame. We apologize as well for the abrupt termination of our two longest standing employees: Julie Matheney and Kathy Whipple. In the future we hope that those who have lost faith will join us again and help this store continue to be a prosperous part of the Gainesville community.

Citizens Co-op Board of Directors & General Manager

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Lesson in deference

by Ameena Khan

To the stranger who stopped me today while I was out with my friend and our kids at the museum:

Before asking me what I think about ISIS, and then implying oh-so-politely that I am not American, please know the following: my first breath was of the air in Gainesville FL, my first steps were on the ground in Gainesville FL, my first solid foods were tasted in Gainesville FL, I was educated in Gainesville FL from preschool through grad school, I spent my summers swimming in the FL springs and floating down the Ichetucknee, I spent my springtimes playing in the warm FL rain, I spent my free time at my friends’ houses eating popsicles and watching Nickelodeon. I have no connection to the violent political ideology that is terrorizing so many people (Muslims, more than any other group of people), and I have no answer when asked what you “as an American” can do.

Perhaps today I was not in the best of form when we spoke, and so I apologize if I seemed upset or was unable to respond eloquently. I didn’t expect you to ask the questions that you did when you wandered over to us, and I wasn’t prepared. On top of that, I am tired. I am tired of being expected to apologize every single day for something horrific and unimaginable that someone else does, I am tired of being expected to be a walking political science lecturer, I am tired of being held to a standard that I usually fall short of. I am just tired.

So, I am sorry that I could not give you the answers you were seeking, but next time may I suggest that you save your questions for an appropriate venue, rather than asking a random stranger who is with her friend and their children playing in a museum.

Sincerely, Ameena

Editor’s Note:  It should be noted that the person who asked about ISIS was a polite older woman. Inappropriate questions need not be aggressive to be offensive. A lesson  for us all. 

Doctors’ group hails reintroduction of Medicare-for-all bill

by Physicians for a National Health Program

On Feb. 14, a national physicians group hailed the reintroduction of a federal bill that would upgrade the Medicare program and swiftly expand it to cover the entire population. The “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act,” H.R. 676, introduced on Feb. 13 by Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., with 44 other House members, would replace today’s welter of private health insurance companies with a single, streamlined public agency that would pay all medical claims, much like Medicare works for seniors today.

Proponents say a Medicare-for-all system, also known as a single-payer system, would vastly simplify how the nation pays for care, improve patient health, restore free choice of physician, eliminate copays and deductibles, and yield substantial savings for individuals, families and the national economy.

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History and the people who make it: Medea Benjamin (Part 1)

Transcript edited by Pierce Butler

This is the 25th in a series of transcript excerpts from the collection of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida. Part 2 of this interview will follow in the next issue of the Iguana out April 8.

Medea Benjamin was interviewed by Derick Gomez [G] in 2014.

G: You’ve been an activist for several decades now, and it’s impossible not to admire your strong code of morality, your strong code of ethics. Can you tell me a little bit about where that came from?

B: It’s funny, just coming into here, I saw the students outside with the ROTC, and they were practicing their different maneuvers with guns. It made me very sad to see, and I just kind of flashed back to many decades ago when I was in school and there was a draft, and people didn’t have a choice.  They were forced to go into the military and to be sent over to Vietnam to fight. My older sister had a boyfriend who was drafted into the military.  And he would write her letters. The letters got more and more disturbing as the months went by.  And then maybe six months into his deployment in Vietnam, he sent her back an ear of a Viet Cong, and he said that this was a souvenir that she could put around her neck and wear as a necklace. I was just so shocked by it, just the whole concept that this nice boy who six months earlier was just one of us, had suddenly turned into kind of a monster, who would think that another human being’s body part would be a souvenir.

I got involved then, started an anti-war group in my high school, started looking out to connect with tother grops. Got involved in politics ‘cause there was a acongressperson who was running for office on an anti-war ticket and I started volunteering on his campaign.  So at the age of 16, I was suddenly an activist, and I guess I’ve been an activist ever since.

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Garage bands, bar bands and the singer-songwriter 1965–2015

by Gary Gordon

Gainesville has an extensive rock music history, and I was glad to be part of it. So when the Matheson Museum called and asked me to participate in their series of evenings about that history it took me about ten seconds to say yes.

Who am I? Well, I was well known locally several years ago, but I’m not nationally famous. I titled this event as I did because my history in Gainesville was to play in garage bands and bar bands, and to write and perform as a singer-songwriter. It was not a career; it was a journey.

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March 10 Hippodrome Film: ‘She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry’

The Hippodrome Cinema will be showing “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” for the March Cinema Lounge on Tuesday, March 10, at 7:30 pm and 10 pm, for one night only!

“She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971. The film takes us from the founding of NOW, with ladies in hats and gloves, to the emergence of more radical factions of women’s liberation, from intellectuals like Kate Millett to the street theatrics of WITCH (Women’s International Conspiracy from Hell!).

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Veterans for Peace announces college scholarship for Alachua County students

Gainesville Veterans for Peace Chapter 14 announces its annual Peace Scholarships for the spring of 2015. We are awarding two scholarships of $500 each for eligible high school seniors, college students or adults who need financial support to succeed in college and who have demonstrated a commitment and leadership in activities involving: peace and social justice and/or nonviolent social change.

To be eligible to apply for the Peace Scholarship, the applicant must either be: 1) a high school senior planning to enroll in full-time undergraduate study at an accredited two- or four-year college, university or vocational-technical school in the United States for the 2015-16 academic year; 2) a college student currently enrolled and in good standing; or 3) an adult student enrolling in higher education who needs financial assistance.

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From the publisher: Principles and practicality

by joe courter

As we humans live our lives, we all determine, consciously or not, some values and principles to live by. Within that is the balance we pick for doing things that benefit our selves and doing things that benefit others.

In reading about and watching “Selma,” it got me thinking about the level of self-sacrifice shown during the Civil Rights Movement. Not just the risks and pressures put on the leadership, but the dedication of so many who marched, whether in their own town, or to pick up and travel to another place, such as the students who went south and joined SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee), or the people from all over the country who went to Selma for that second march after the first had been so brutally repressed.

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Economist Nancy Folbre to discuss importance of ‘care economy’

An emerita scholar of economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst will give a free talk on Monday, March 16 at the University of Florida. Her lecture will examine how feminist social science applies to, and has the potential to change, traditional economic theory. The talk will be held at 5:30 pm in the Ustler Hall Atrium. This event is free and open to the public and includes time afterward for questions and discussion.

This lecture is the fifth in a series of six organized by the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere entitled The Work of the Humanities: Critical Thinking in Life and Labor during the fall 2014 and spring 2015 semesters. This series will show how the humanities play a key role in understanding and shaping the future workplace.

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Iguana supports Harvey Budd and Chris Weaver, election on March 17

by Joe Courter

Another election cycle for the City of Gainesville has come around, with voting scheduled for March 17 and the runoff for April 14. And with multiple candidates in both the District 1 and At-Large races, a runoff seems likely for both.

Never does your vote have more weight than in a local election, and with the typical unfortunately low turn out (15-20 percent) that adds to it more.

The three leading contenders in the At-Large race are Jay Curtis, Adrian Hayes-Santos, and Harvey Budd. All three have strong monetary support ($32K, $16K and $21K respectively) and have received endorsements from various community organizations. For this race we endorse Harvey Budd, whose long service and active presence in our community gives him a valuable perspective. He is a longtime Certified Public Accountant and resident since 1965, and has served numerous Boards in the City. His endorsements come from the North Central Florida Central Labor Council, the African American Accountability Alliance and a co-endorsement from the Sierra Club.

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Coalition of Immokalee Workers Fair Food Parade and Concert

by Gainesville Interfaith Alliance for Immigrant Justice

On Saturday, March 21, Gainesville Coalition of Immokalee farm worker supporters will drive to St. Petersburg for a first-ever Fair Food Parade and concert. For those folks who traveled to Lakeland two years ago in support of the 100 farm workers and allies who fasted for a week at the Publix headquarters, or who joined us eight years ago in a march where hundreds joined in from all over the country for Fair Food and dignity for farm workers, it is time to celebrate.

Though we continue to protest at Publix and Wendy’s locally in an attempt to get those corporations to join the Fair Food tsunami, we are ready to celebrate the successes of pressuring 13 retail food giants to join the campaign, ensuring their commitment to better wages, working conditions, freedom from slavery and sexual exploitation of farm workers who work in their supply chain. We will also celebrate the plans for expansion of the Fair Food Program into other states and crops.

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March 2015 Gainesville Iguana

march 15 iguana coverThe March 2015 issue of the Gainesville Iguana is now available online, and it’s got lots of good stuff (city election endorsements, Chomsky on ISIS, oral history interview with Medea Benjamin, and more!). You can also pick the issue up at any of our distribution spots, which you can find here.