BlackBox Radio

October 31, 2005

Special Critical Mass October broadcast

Filed under: Weekly Show — blackboxradio @ 8:34 pm

This month’s theme for the Critical Mass Radio Network is self-reliance as communities and individuals.

On this show: Dr. Ivette Perfecto, professor in the school of natural resources at the university of Michigan. Dr. Perfecto talked with us about sustainable agriculture in Cuba and Brazil.

We also talked to Christina Snyder, an architect who specializes in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Links:
Zero-energy home competition
Washtenaw County Solar tour
Community Supported Agriculture
Solar cooking

A short interview with our engineer, Jason Voss, on the local music scene in Ann Arbor.

And Beth Barclay and Gaia Kile were in the studio talking about the practice of co-counseling.

Download the show in mp3 format (53MB).


October 24, 2005

BlackBox Radio for October 24, 2005

Filed under: Weekly Show — blackboxradio @ 2:27 pm

The University of Michigan Labadie Collection celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Industrial Workers of the World, and an interview with Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor.

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Local Headlines 10-24

Filed under: Weekly Show — blackboxradio @ 1:53 pm

As expected, the UAW concessions to GM on health care costs are serving as ammunition for other automobile manufacturers to press for similar concessions. David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, said that Ford Motor Company and the Chrysler Group will demand similar deals on health care from the UAW and will likely get them.

Meanwhile, GM’s spinoff auto-parts company, Delphi, which declared bankruptcy two weeks ago, has asked for further concessions from its union employees while refusing to reduce expensive golden parachutes for executives. According to the Free Press, in addition to a pay cut that will make Delphi wages comparable to those at McDonald’s, Delphi is also proposing ending cost of living increases and claiming the right to close, sell off, or consolidate most of its US plants in the next 3 years.


The Detroit News reports that the FBI will build a new $65 million dollar headquarters in downtown Detroit, tripling its office space when the 11-acre facility opens in 2008. In the 4 years since September 11th, 2001, the FBI headquarters in Detroit has more than tripled the number of agents assigned to counterterrorism, becoming one of the nation’s largest anti-terror units.

Most of the investigative efforts are focused on Metro Detroit’s large Arab-American population. More than 100 agents, analysts and task force officers are assigned to terror-related squads.

In recent weeks, the FBI has interviewed at least 20 Arab-Americans and immigrants in Michigan, questioning them about donations they made to the Missouri-based charity Islamic American Relief Agency. Last year, Treasury Secretary John Snow claimed the group’s international office in Sudan was providing direct financial support to Osama bin Laden and other terrorist groups and froze the charity’s assets. The FBI in Detroit — which covers all of Michigan — is currently working on more than 300 terror investigations.


A recent article in the Ann Arbor News touted Ann Arbor’s acquisition of a prototype hydrogen fuel-cell car manufactured by the Ford Motor company. Ann Arbor is one of 6 cities nationwide chosen to field-test the million dollar vehicles.

In describing the supposed benefits of fuel cell cars, the article said the vehicles will be quote “Quiet, pollution-free and run on the most plentiful element in the universe”, and goes on to say the prototype vehicle could be laying the groundwork for transportation in a time when fossil fuels are depleted.

However, these claims may be premature. In addition to being prohibitively expensive, cars run on hydrogen fuel cells as currently envisioned may end up creating as much pollution as current vehicles and will actually prolong Americans’ dependence on fossil fuels.

At present, renewable sources of hydrogen, such as solar energy and windpower, exist only in a few demonstration experiments that are decades away from commercial use. That means that the hydrogen used in fuel cell cars will be generated through other means. Currently, 95% of hydrogen in this country comes from natural gas.

Most of the interests in hydrogen technology are owned by oil and energy companies. Energy companies have also received the lion’s share of funding for hydrogen research, employing scientists at many universities including, as the News article points out, the University of Michigan.

John Heywood, director of MIT’s Sloan Automotive Lab, says a system that extracts hydrogen from oil and natural gas and stores it in fuel cells would actually be no more energy efficient than America’s present gasoline-based system. “If the hydrogen does not come from renewable sources,” Heywood says, “then it is simply not worth doing, environmentally or economically.”


The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Advocacy Initiative, TAKE FIVE FOR KIDS, recently sent an alert concerning the proposed spending cuts being deliberated in the US House and Senate.

Included is a requirement to potentially cut $10 billion dollars from Medicaid, a move that poses a substantial threat to the health of Michigan’s children. Most of the cuts are to preventive and diagnostic programs, a shortsighted move that may result in larger emergency care costs. The cuts will also require cost-sharing, or copays, for services and prescription drugs. Even nominal copays can be unaffordable for a low-income family, says the group.

29% of Michigan’s children are enrolled in Medicaid. It costs Michigan just over $1,000 dollars per year for each Medicaid-eligible child, compared to almost $5,000 dollars per year per adult. It is estimated that 1 in 13 Michigan children is

The organization is asking concerned citizens to contact their Senators and Congresspeople and encourage them to keep children in mind before making decisions on Medicaid cuts. For more information, contact the Children’s Advocacy Initiative at 734-615-5379.

National and International Headlines 10-24

Filed under: Weekly Show — blackboxradio @ 1:52 pm

Columbus Indymedia has published a request for bail money for those arrested at the anti-Nazi demonstration in Toledo, OH. Over 114 people were arrested, and 12 of those are still being held with bail set at $10,000. Charges of those arrested ranged from misdemeanors to felonies.

Donations can be sent to: Kent ARA, Box 8 Office of Campus Life, 226 Kent
Student Center, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio 44242.


The Hurricane Katrina crisis continues in New Orleans, where landlords are
serving illegal eviction notices to residents of publicly-funded housing. The
New Orleans government is colluding with these landlords to prevent African-American residents from returning to their homes, according to a group of New Orleans residents and activists.

The Forest Park Tenants Association released a statement accusing the Department
of Housing and Urban Development and the Housing Authority of New Orleans of
using allegations of storm damage as a pretext for expelling former residents.

The Tenants Association states that the government housing organizations are
preventing tenants from returning in order to sell the homes and property to
developers who will build high-priced housing. This would effectively bar
African-Americans and working class people from returning to their homes and
communities in New Orleans.

The coalition of residents is demanding that “any tenant whose place of resident
is still legally inhabitable be allowed to stay,” that there will be no raises
in rent, and that housing management must assist tenants in finding alternative
temporary housing while their property is being renovated.


Democracy Now! reports that hunger-striking detainees at Guantanamo Bay have been force-fed by guards and medical staff. Attorney Julia Tarver, who is representing detainees at Guantamo Bay, said that feeding tubes were forced into their noses and stomachs, and that guards used the same feeding tubes on different detainees.

Over 100 detainees have been hunger-striking for the past three months to protest their conditions in prison and their indefinite detention. Some prisoners have been held for almost four years without charge. The BBC reports that due to US legal restrictions, the detainees are in many cases not permitted to reveal why they are hunger striking.

Besides the force-feeding of hunger strikers, there have been many reports of abuse and mistreatment of Guantanamo detainees at the hands of US guards. In the BBC, Aamani DeGhayes whose brother is being held at Guantanamo, described the conditions. She said that his lawyer had revealed that he was being denied water and had been blinded in one eye.


The US Senate voted down measures that would have increased the federal minimum wage for the first time in nine years, reports the New Standard. The bills would have raised the minimum wage by $1.10, in a small attempt to combat the widening gap between rich and poor in the US.

The current federal minimum wage is $5.15/hr, and in 2003 there were 40 members of the US Senate who were millionaires. The annual Senate salary is over $150,000/yr., while, according to Senator Edward Kennedy who supported the bill, a single worker earning $5.15/hr would earn $10,700 per year, still $4500
below the poverty line.


The Federal Communications Commission said it is going to require universities,
companies, and cities to allow law enforcement agencies to monitor email and
online communications, according to an article in the New York Times.

Many universities, however, have threatened lawsuits, arguing that it will cost
them over $7 billion. The Times reports that the requirement will also apply
to cities that provide Internet access to residents. Both San Francisco and
Philadelphia have plans to build their own wireless networks.

While the main opposition has been universities who are concerned with the
financial burden of complying with the order, the Center for Democracy and
Technology, a civil liberties group, is drawing up a separate lawsuit that
would focus on invasion of privacy and government control over the Internet.


October 17, 2005

BlackBox Radio for October 18, 2005

Filed under: Weekly Show — blackboxradio @ 10:21 pm

Kris Kauls interviews William Blum, and Enemy Combatant Radio speaks with Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor.

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