If you stay alert and get lucky, you might have a chance to witness the Hoosier Raging Grannies in action.
The Raging Grannies got their start in Victoria, B.C., Canada, 23 years ago, when a group of elderly women peace activists thought they weren’t getting their message across and came up with the idea of group of women donning costumes that are stereotypes of elderly women’s outfits and singing short, snappy, satirical lyrics to well-known songs. The best Granny songs base the words on those of the original tune, like “The Old Gray Granny,” about health care and sung to the tune of “The Old Gray Mare:”
The old, gray granny ain’t what she used to be,
Had a hysterectomy, needs a colonoscopy,
But she can’t afford to pay for her care and so
I guess we’ll have to shoot her now….
Wendell Potter, Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans. New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2010, 277 pages, $26.00
“About 45,000 people die in America every year because they have no health insurance. I am partly responsible for some of the deaths making up that shameful statistic.”
Those two sentences open a book by Wendell Potter called Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans. Part expose and part memoir of the author’s experience in the health care industry, the book’s as dramatic and suspenseful as a good novel.
The biomass-combustion industry has southern Indiana under seige. The corporations are attempting to site biomass electricity-generating plants in Crawford, Scott, Dubois and Gibson/Pike counties. Those companies apparently don’t expect opposition from the residents of small towns in rural southern Indiana.
The industry touts biomass burning as a “green” technology; it’s anything but. Biomass plants are more polluting per unit of energy generated than coal-burning plants, which are the No. 1 cause of global warming. A 32-megawatt biomass plant uses 500,000–700,000 gallons of fresh water every day and regurgitates some 350,000 gallons of pollution-tainted waste water into the local river or lake.
Two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee Barry Sanders told a Bloomington audience that one morning, as he awoke, two questions came to mind: How much pollution does the military produce? How much pollution does the U.S. military produce in a year, month or day? As an ordinary citizen, not a military expert, he set about trying to answer these questions.
Sanders said he felt complicit in the military’s pollution since it was taxpayers’ money that funds the military. What drove his quest was the assumption that “an informed citizenry is a much more powerful collection of people than those who care little or not at all.”
Because of cutbacks on funding, schools across America are hurting badly. The Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC) is no exception.
In response, South Central Indiana Jobs with Justice (JwJ) and the White River Central Labor Council (WRCLC) held a news conference Oct. 14 to express support for a referendum on increasing property tax that, if voted in come November, would allocate funds to compensate for the $5.8 million shortfall that the MCCSC would experience without referendum funding.
Barry Sanders was methodically recycling and trying to live a "green" life in other ways when he had a "flash" of insight, as he put it in an interview on Oct. 12 -- that the U.S. military is massively polluting the earth.
Sanders looked into the subject and found almost nothing written on it. His research taught him that it's nearly impossible to obtain information on the Pentagon's contamination of the planet and release of climate-changing gases. That information is top secret. In mainstream America, no one challenges how the military spends its money or demands its accountability -- or even questions the amount of money the Pentagon requests. The military always gets what it wants.
"We're not giving up. Please don't give up! We can stop [the I-69 extension] yet if we all work together."
So said Tom Tokarski, president of Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads (CARR), at a public meeting on April 25 at the Indian Creek Township Fire Station in Bloomington.
CARR and the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) called the meeting to make presentations about landowners' rights under eminent domain and answer questions from landowners. Those are the people confronted with the condemnation and forced sale of their property in the path of the highway by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) in southwest Monroe County and Greene County.
“It is not too late!!! Ask for a redesign of this project!” Those were the messages 30 citizens with signs tried to convey to people driving on the SR 45/46 Bypass from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 20, on the northeast corner of Fee Lane and the Bypass.
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has begun work on widening the bypass, over citizens’ objections for the last 20 years. The citizens claim that the bypass design is outmoded. It would encourage the use of more cars when, because of global climate change, we should be putting money into public transportation, not cars, one of the largest contributors to climate change.
According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, a public-interest, human-rights law firm, "The Obama administration has ... continued and enhanced the use of 'terrorism' prosecutions against animal rights and environmental activists, indicating that the 'Green Scare' - the repression of environmental activists by designating them terrorists - continues in full swing."
In Indiana the Green Scare has been in full swing with two legal cases associated with construction of the I-69 interstate extension. Criminal charges brought against two activists have been settled, but Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) lawsuits intended to chill political activism continue against 16 others.
On July 13 Clarke Kahlo said in a letter to Sarah McKeown, Army Corps of Engineers (ACE), Louisville District, "In 1996, I attended a '2016 bicentennial visioning conference' sponsored by the Indiana Environmental Institute among Indiana regulators, educators and environmental activists. Dr. James Gammon of DePauw University (now retired) called for 'greenbelts along every stream' as a partial solution to Indiana's relatively poor condition/performance in terms of greenspace and water quality. His succinct prescription stuck with me, and I repeat it wherever it might be useful to encourage riparian preservation and restoration."
A Indianapolis grassroots environmentalist, Kahlo requested that ACE hold a public hearing to discuss the work the Johnson County surveyor intends to do on Canary Creek, which runs through city of Franklin about 25 miles south of Indianapolis.