CRAP, the Video

for all those interested in school reform. . .


Ozomatli Offers Free Download: Respeto (Vote for Respect!)


new Ozomatli song “Respeto” – now available for free download at both and

(Nyack, NY) – Today, Ozomatli, a Grammy-award winning multicultural fusion band from Los Angeles, and NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, release a bilingual song titled “Respeto” that calls on Latino voters to participate in next month’s midterm elections.

“NCLR applauds Ozomatli for their efforts to get Latino voters to the polls,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía.  “Latinos have a lot at stake in these elections.  In the 2008 elections, a record number of Hispanic voters turned out to ensure that politicians heard the voice of the Latino community loud and clear.  In the midst of an economic crisis and harsh anti-Latino climate, Latinos cannot afford to stay home on November 2.  We need to stand up to those who allow our community to come under attack.  We need to tell our lawmakers to work toward real solutions to our nation’s problems.”

“The simple act of voting has proven to be an important tool in the shaping of my surroundings,” said Ozomatli’s Raul Pacheco. “As a modern American Latino, it is a meaningful step to counter the specifically hateful and hurtful rhetoric that has been aimed at Latinos throughout this country.”  Pacheco adds, “Voting demonstrates self-respect. It is the dream of many that all who are eligible to vote do so on November 2. Vote for your family, vote for Respect!

To receive a free copy of the new Ozomatli song “Respeto,” and for more information on the Latino vote and NCLR’s Vote for Respect campaign, please visit

For more information on Ozomatli, visit

Teachers Condemn FBI Raids on Trade Union, Anti-War and Solidarity Activists

Condemn FBI Raids on Trade Union, Anti-War and Solidarity Activists

Committee to Stop FBI Repression | October 20, 2010 at 12:08 am | Categories: Solidarity Statements |
The following resolution was submitted by San Jose, California Local 6157 of the American Federation of Teachers to the south Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council where it passed by a unanimous vote on October 18, 2010

Condemn FBI Raids on Trade Union, Anti-War and Solidarity Activists

Whereas, early morning Sept. 24 in coordinated raids, FBI agents entered eight homes and offices of trade union and anti-war activists in Minneapolis and Chicago, confiscating crates full of computers, books, documents, notebooks, cell phones, passports, children’s drawings, photos of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, videos and personal belongings. The FBI also raided offices of the Twin Cities Anti-war Committee, seizing computers; handed out subpoenas to testify before a federal Grand Jury to 11 activists in Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan; and paid harassment visits to others in Wisconsin, California and North Carolina; and

Whereas, one target of the raid was the home of Joe Iosbaker, chief steward and executive board member of SEIU Local 73 in Chicago, where he has led struggles at the University of Illinois for employee rights and pay equity. Brother Iosbaker told the Democracy Now radio/TV program that FBI agents “systematically [went] through every room, our basement, our attic, our children’s rooms, and pored through not just all of our papers, but our music collection, our children’s artwork, my son’s poetry journal from high school — everything.” He and his wife, a Palestine solidarity activist, were both issued subpoenas. The earliest subpoena dates are October 5 and 7; and

Whereas, the majority of those targeted by the FBI raids had participated in anti-war protests at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul MN, which resulted in hundreds of beatings and arrests [with almost all charges subsequently dropped]. Many of those targeted in the 9/24 raids were involved in humanitarian solidarity work with labor and popular movements in Colombia — “the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist”– whose US-funded government has been condemned by the AFL-CIO and internationally for the systematic assassination of hundreds of trade unionists; and

Whereas, the nationally coordinated dawn raids and fishing expedition marks a new and dangerous chapter in the protracted assault on the First Amendment rights of every union fighter, solidarity activist or anti-war campaigner, which began with 9/11 and the USA Patriot Act. The raids came only 4 days after a scathing report by the Department of Justice Inspector General that soundly criticized the FBI for targeting domestic groups such as Greenpeace and the Thomas Merton Center from 2002-06. In 2008, according to a 300-page report obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the FBI trailed a group of students in Iowa City to parks, libraries, bars and restaurants, and went through their trash. This time the FBI is using the pretext of investigating “terrorism” in an attempt to intimidate activists.

Therefore be it resolved, that the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council denounce the Sept. 24th FBI raids on the homes and offices of trade union, solidarity and anti-war activists in Minneapolis, Chicago and elsewhere; the confiscation of computers and personal belongings; and the issuance of Grand Jury subpoenas. This has all the earmarks of a fishing expedition. The FBI raids are reminiscent of the Palmer Raids, McCarthy hearings, J. Edgar Hoover, and COINTELPRO, and mark a new and dangerous chapter in the protracted assault on the First Amendment rights of every union fighter, international solidarity activist or anti-war campaigner, which began with 9/11 and the USA Patriot Act;

And be it further resolved, that this Council make the following demands:

1.  Stop the repression against trade union, anti-war and international solidarity activists.

2.  Immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones, papers, documents, personal belongings, etc.

3.  End the Grand Jury proceedings and FBI raids against trade union, anti-war and international solidarity activists;

And be it further resolved, that this Council participate in the ongoing movement to defend our civil rights and civil liberties from FBI infringement; forward this resolution to our affiliates, Bay Area labor councils, California Labor Federation, Change to Win and AFL-CIO; and call on these organizations at all levels to similarly condemn the witch hunt;

And be it finally resolved, that this Council urge the AFL-CIO to ensure that denunciation of the FBI raids is featured from the speakers’ platform at the October 2, 2010 One Nation march in Washington, DC, possibly by inviting one of those targeted by the raids, for example the SEIU chief steward whose home was raided, to speak at the rally.

Janelle Monae — Danny Alexander writing in Pitch

Janelle Monae’s cyber-girl stare, perfect pompadour and stark black-and-white outfits — tuxedos, typically — have landed her spreads in Vogue, InStyle and Essence. Onstage, though, the rising star is giddily human. She captivated the crowd at her Late Show With David Letterman appearance with a one-legged mashed-potato dance and a knowing glint in her eye. (Her soulful, swooping vocals on “Tightrope” may have helped, too.)

But Monae isn’t all style and charm. Later that night, at New York’s Highline Ballroom, her pompadour suddenly fell out, and she showed a glimpse of the woman who existed well before her science-fiction opus did. Stepchild, she sang, freak show, black girl, bad hair.

Local girl turned visionary Janelle Monae.

Jiro Schneider
Local girl turned visionary Janelle Monae.
Her family is rooting for her in KCK.

Brandon Frederick
Her family is rooting for her in KCK.

At 24, Monae has already enlisted Sean “Diddy” Combs and Big Boi of OutKast as co-conspirators in her four-suite series based on Fritz Lang’s 1927 sci-fi masterpiece, Metropolis. (Three of the four suites are out, spanning one EP and one LP, and a graphic novel is in the works.)

In Monae’s version, though, the hero — much like Monae herself — doesn’t come from the upper classes. (The movie’s monster rises up to become, as Monae puts it, “the mediator between the haves and the have-nots.”) Her work synthesizes bright, colorful shards of folk culture — reaching back to madrigals and then forward to big-band jazz through punk and hip-hop — to create something dazzling and new. Music journalists across the Atlantic and back have all echoed the sentiment expressed after a London show in the alt-urban PinBoard blog: “Where did she come from?”

That’s one very good question.

This emergent rock-and-soul hero grew up on the tough streets around 21st Street and Quindaro in Kansas City, Kansas, a community that was established in 1856 when Wyandot Indians and abolitionists assisted runaway slaves. Now, thick black-metal bars cover windows on the few storefronts that aren’t boarded-up. Apart from the modest, A-frame homes, the only signs of vitality revolve around a barbershop, a beauty salon and three churches.

Weathered remnants of an age of hope stand a few blocks away. A statue of John Brown marks the old entrance to Western University, which was originally known as Quindaro Freedman’s School. Founded at the end of the Civil War, it was the first school for black children west of the Mississippi. The house of Monae’s great-grandmother sits just a fly ball’s arch away from the historic statue. A young Monae could stand at the Quindaro overlook and see the spot in Parkville, Missouri, where escaped slaves gathered to catch the Underground Railroad boats that would deliver them to freedom in Quindaro.

Jesse Hope III runs the Old Quindaro Museum and knows all about Monae’s family roots, which date back to 1879. Hope and Loretta Norman, Monae’s great-grandmother, are good friends. A visit to the community museum soon leads to reminiscing in Norman’s neighboring yard about the way the area looked before Interstate 635 tore through it in the early 1960s. “It took a lot of people’s houses,” Norman recalls. “We lost people, but we’ve maintained.”  Click here to read more.