Local activists working against corporate globalization, air pollution or U.S. military policy might be surprised to know that their names, addresses and telephone numbers are posted on a white supremacist Web site identifying them as "commies and Jews." A message board on Overthrow.com — which features a portrait of Heinrich Himmler, the Nazi mastermind of the Holocaust — lists 63 activists involved in Cincinnati CopWatch, the Sierra Club, the Cincinnati Black United Front and the 2000 protests downtown against the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue. Several University of Cincinnati professors, the Rev. Damon Lynch III and former city council candidate Brian Garry are also listed.
"What we are doing is just sucking in all the raw data and potential leads on these commies and Jews looking for clues that will give us more names," the Web site says. "Once we feel we've got everyone — in a city like Cincinnati, we'll probably find 300-500 people of interest — then we do full backgrounds and cross-references on the ones we like. The ones we don't care about, we just keep the raw data in case they become of interest later."
Neither neo-Nazi intelligence apparatchiks nor piles of snow kept labor supporters from marching downtown Dec. 10, when the AFL-CIO marked International Human Rights Day.
"Workers rights have been under attack for some time, but it seems the methods are becoming more varied — whether it's using a bankruptcy court to offload pensions or harassing a janitor for trying to organize," said Daniel Radford, executive secretary/treasurer of the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council.
Participants gathered in Piatt Park before marching to buildings owned by Duke Realty, which union leaders say has engaged in anti-union tactics against janitorial and construction trade workers. The right to form a union is one of the basic freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ratified by the United Nations on Dec. 10, 1948.
Union supporters also marched in Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo.
The AFL-CIO is petitioning Congress to adopt the Employee Free Choice Act, which would help restore U.S. workers' rights to freely choose to form unions. To sign the petition, visit www.unionvoice.org/campaign/ unionfreedomD10.
Censorship, Death and Other Reasons to Get High
It's bad enough that the FCC has broadcast media cowering, fearing heavy fines and even the loss of licenses if crude language or a "wardrobe malfunction" should upset part of the audience. But print journalists are sometimes even more constrained.
A front-page article in the Dec. 7 Cincinnati Post reported on the trial of builder Tony Erpenbeck on charges of threatening to have a federal judge and prosecutor killed. A key piece of evidence was recordings of conversations Erpenbeck had with a jailhouse snitch. But readers got only a sanitized version of the alleged remarks, as The Post called some of the comments "too violent and profane for print."
When journalists censor themselves, government needn't bother.
A group of women who are the mothers, sisters and cousins of convicted murderers has written an open letter to Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, urging him to support the movement for a moratorium on use of the death penalty.
"More and more people understand that the death penalty makes mistakes, disproportionately affects the poor and people of color, doesn't deter crime, and is expensive, arbitrary, and immoral," the letter says. "Ohio is not immune from these problems. The death penalty is inappropriately applied in Ohio. Anyone with a fair and open mind would see this and if not supporting total abolition should at least call for a moratorium."
Ohio, one of 38 states that still have the death penalty, has executed 19 men since 1999.
If the stress of holiday shopping or family get-togethers make you depressed, relief is right around the corner: Smoke pot. In the largest-ever study of marijuana and depression, recently published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, daily or weekly marijuana users had fewer symptoms of depression than non-users. Marijuana users were also more likely to report positive moods and fewer complaints such as sleeplessness.
The new research appears to contradict statements by government officials suggesting that marijuana is a cause of depression. For example, a May 3 press release from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said, "Marijuana use, particularly during the teen years, can lead to depression, thoughts of suicide and schizophrenia."
But the new study contradicts that claim.
"Not only does marijuana not cause depression, it looks like it may actually alleviate it," says Mitch Earleywine, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at the University at Albany, State University of New York.
The findings also have implications for states such as Ohio that are contemplating bills to allow medical use of marijuana.
"Those who use marijuana to battle the symptoms of illness may be depressed because of their illness, not because of marijuana," Earleywine said. "Studies that do not identify medical use might falsely implicate marijuana, rather than sickness, as the cause of depressed feelings."
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