Is Wisconsin Our Egypt? 15,000 Protest Off-the-Wall Right-Wing Governor's Policies
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Environmental groups say surface mining has buried more than 2,000 miles of Appalachian streams. "The bigger issue, I think, is that it's killing a culture. It's changing a people's way of life," said Kentucky author and playwright Slias House. "We identify as mountain people, and when those are taken away, what do we have left?"
"It's about the oldest most bio diverse mountain range in the world being destroyed," said protester Mickey McCoy. "And it's about the cancer rates and other disease these carcinogenic heavy metals are causing."
The Courier-Journal reports that in an impromptu 20-minute meeting with Berry and the other protesters on February 11, Democratic Governor Steve Beshear said he believes "surface mining can be done in a responsible way.” At the group's request, the governor has agreed to meet with people who are affected by strip mining, but he declined a request to withdraw from a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency over the Clean Water Act.
--On February 14, 300 victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault and their supporters marched on the Texas Capitol to urge lawmakers to continue funding family violence programs and crisis centers across the state. Members of the Texas Council on Family Violence and the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault said the programs and centers save lives and can't survive if their budgets are cut. One rape occurs every hours in Texas, reports KVUE.
--Affordable housing advocates in 19 cities, including San Francisco, California, Dallas, Texas, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Portland, Maine, gathered to demand an end to drastic cuts to Section 8 and public housing, and to ask lawmakers to "Have a Heart, Save Our Homes." According to the National Alliance of HUD Tenants, the new Republican-led House leadership has proposed to cut as much as $100 billion from the 2011 budget. This could cut off 750,000 Section 8 tenants from federal assistance, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. The Obama administration's new budget calls for an additional 5 percent cut to HUD and a $1 billion reduction from the $4 billion Community Development Block Grant program, which funds local housing programs.
The actions in the larger cities received some media attention, but overall, they failed to receive the coverage they deserved.
--On February 15, 45 NARAL Pro-Choice California supporters gathered outside of Republican Representative Dan Lungren's district office in Gold River, California to oppose his support of the current anti-choice, anti-women agenda in Congress. Rep. Lungren is co-sponsor of three anti-choice measures that would severely limit women's access to reproductive health services, cut funding to family planning and allow hospitals to deny a woman abortion care even if her life is in danger.
“Instead of focusing on jobs and the economy, Dan Lungren has chosen to back an extreme anti-choice agenda that is an assault on the personal, private decisions of women in California,” said Amy Everitt, state director of NARAL Pro-Choice California. “Lungren, whose priorities are wildly out of touch with his district and with California, needs to be held accountable for his support of these outrageous bills.”
In Seattle, Washington, 90 people lined the streets in front of Planned Parenthood to support the health center and oppose a Republican amendment to cut all of its federal funding. The Seattle rally was one of eight statewide, according to the Seattle Times.
The House is scheduled to vote on the amendment this week.