Archive for the ‘ross levin’ Category

h1

Five-way Green primary to take place in Illinois; twenty six candidates in total

January 23, 2009

ross Ross Levin • Operation Itch Contributing Writer header
more in  NEWS & ANALYSIS  
See all posts from Ross Levin
In Illinois’ fifth congressional district, over two dozen candidates have filed for the March 3rd primary.  The special primary and special election are being held to replace Rahm Emanuel, who will be moving from the House to the White House.  He will become Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff.

The five candidates are Deb Leticia Gordils, Mark Arnold FredricksonAlan Augustson (who was previously reported on here), Mathew Reichel, and Simon Ribeiro.  Only 30 signatures were needed to qualify for the primary ballot.

There are interesting political histories behind these candidates.  First, Deb Gordils challenged an incumbent, Dick Mell, for city council in Chicago’s Ward 33 who could not be unseated in 2003.  She is Hispanic and the district has a fast-growing Hispanic constituency.  Even though she was unsuccessful, garnering 13.75% of the votes in the non-partisan two-way race, it amounted to a Pyrrhic victory for the incumbent.  An ally of his was defeated because he had to focus on his own reelection instead of focusing on electing this ally.  Two cops even tried to take pictures her as a “representative of Mell’s,” and her video recording of this led to the defeat of one of the cops in a race for Alderman:

Gordils made headlines earlier when she confronted two uniformed police officers taking pictures of her and identifying themselves as Mell’s representatives.

“They said, ‘What are you looking for? What job can we get you? Do you want something with the Water Reclamation District? You only have to go to a couple of meetings,”” Gordils said.

Gordils turned her video camera on them. One was Chester Hornowski, who’s running against Ald. Tom Allen (38th).

As IPR has previously reported, Alan Augustson ran in the same district as a Green in November.  He got just over 9,200 votes – or 4% – with the Democratic winner getting over 170,000 votes, and the Republican getting about 50,000.

Another former opponent of Rahm Emanuel in the race is Mark Fredrickson, who ran against him in the 2006 Democratic primary and got about 9% of the vote.  Emanuel is a Democrat of the highest order – apparent from his recent appointment by Obama and being the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaigns Committee – so Fredrickson had an uphill battle to fight with his 2006 candidacy.  Emanuel is also infamous for being a vicious partisan and relentless fighter.

Candidate Matt Reichel is only 27 years, yet has some political experience.  He worked with the peace movement while in college, volunteered for political causes in France during graduate school, and in 2007 he moved to Las Vegas, Nevada and worked for the Dennis Kucinich for President campaign.  After Kucinich conceded, he went to Ohio’s 10th congressional district to help re-elect the Congressman.

Interestingly, Simon Ribeiro is the nephew of former US Senate Alfonse D’Amato, who represented New York.  The following video was posted at Ribeiro’s campaign website:

Advertisements
h1

Are your Skittles destroying the rainforest? Part 1

January 5, 2009

ross Ross Levin • Operation Itch Contributing Writer header
more in  NEWS & ANALYSIS  
See all posts from Ross Levin

Today, I’ve decided to start a series on palm oil and palm ingredients – and alternatives to them.  I’m in the process of building a website on the same subject, but that will take a bit of time, and time is not something worth wasting in this context.

One of the biggest populations of wild orangutans on Borneo will be extinct in three years without drastic measures to stop the expansion of palm oil plantations, conservationists say. AFP/AFP/Getty Images

One of the biggest populations of wild orangutans on Borneo will be extinct in three years without drastic measures to stop the expansion of palm oil plantations, conservationists say. AFP/AFP/Getty Images

A specific type of vegetable oil may not sound like a particularly interesting subject, but palm oil is no ordinary vegetable oil.  It is one of the more destructive forces on our planet today.  Or maybe I should say that the machine of people and corporations in place to grow and distribute palm oil is one of the more destructive forces on our planet.  Either way, consuming this ingredient – which is in an unbelievable amount of foods and cosmetics and other things – is something which makes one responsible for encouraging this. 

If you want some outside info, here’s a good place to start:  http://www.cspinet.org/…

Let’s start with a basic statement, and add more to it as we go:

The rainforest is being cleared at an alarming rate to make room for palm plantations.

The rainforest is being cleared at an alarming rate, particularly in Southeast Asia, to make room for palm plantations.

The rainforest is being cleared at an alarming rate, particularly in Southeast Asia, to make room for palm plantations.  Many species – both discovered and undiscovered – are being driven to extinction because of habitat loss.

The rainforest is being cleared at an alarming rate, particularly in Southeast Asia, to make room for palm plantations.  Many species – both discovered and undiscovered – are being driven to extinction because of habitat loss.  The most notable is the orangutan, which could become extinct within the decade because of deforestation in Malaysia, Borneo, and Indonesia.

Now you’ve got the gist of it.  Palm oil plantations – while providing a considerable amount of jobs and a product that is used in many places – are hurting our climate (through the burning of forest and the destruction of a carbon sink), the local environment, and even small landowners.  Take a look (below the break) at this recent AFP story:

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Former US Congresswoman sailing to Gaza to help Palestinians

December 31, 2008

Ross Levin • Operation Itch Contributing Writer 

headermore in  NEWS & ANALYSIS

Former Democratic Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney – who has since run for president on the Green Party ticket – is on her way to the Gaza Strip.  She is not taking the recent Israeli attacks lightly, and she is taking some friends with her, including an Al Jazeera reporter who was once held in the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

This is being coordinated through the Free Gaza organization, which is holding a press conference tomorrow (they also have a newsletter about it here).  Their press release about the subject is below the fold.   (update hereRead the rest of this entry ?

h1

A gay congressman wants MORE and national ballot initiatives? Seriously?

December 15, 2008

pompeii-2Ross LevinOperation Itch Contributor

With Prop 8 passing in California and various other civil rights-restricting ballot initiatives passing elsewhere, direct democracy has been receiving a strong rejection by the gay community nationwide this year. But someone who could potentially be one of their greatest allies in all of politics not only accepts direct democracy, but is urging its expansion to the rest of the nation (currently, some form of direct democracy, whether it is initiative and referenda or something similar, exists in about half of the states in the US).

Read the rest of this entry ?