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Angel Torres: Militant seaman, 1929-2003

Angel Rene Torres, a lifelong fighter for democratic, member-controlled unions, died in September. Torres was a Puerto Rican who born in New York. While only in his teens, Torres shipped out as an able-bodied seaman. He joined the National Maritime Union where he fought for seaman’s unity. He fought against racism on U.S. merchant vessels and for the 40-hour workweek.

Toronto Film Festival 2003: Documentaries show glimpse of real life

Documentaries always provide a rich fertile ground for progressive ideas and those selected for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival’s Real to Reel Program are no exception. Outstanding titles include “The Corporation,” an impressive Canadian examination of the institution that’s taking over the world. “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is a “you are there” filming of the actual Venezuelan military coup and the kidnapping of President Hugo Chavez. This nail-biter offers the closest feeling most people will ever get to being part of a major historical event.

Book review: Maybe Caesar wasnt such a bad guy, after all

Karl Marx observed that “The history of hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” Michael Parenti’s “The Assassination of Julius Caesar” is a unique look at how Marx’s observation played out in ancient Rome during the last century of the Roman Republic.

School lunches use kids as guinea pigs

As obesity statistics continue to soar for U.S. children, schools across the country are examining their lunch menus with a critical eye. Large school districts like New York City and Los Angeles have banned soda in an effort to curb calories, and the state of Texas has banned junk food. But reducing calories and sugar shouldn’t be parents’ only concern.

Institutional racism still going strong

Coming on the heels of statistics showing vast disparities between the educational outcomes of African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans and whites, a new, comprehensive report shows how far we have to go in Chicago before institutional racism is a thing of the past.

Sticky situation in Miami

The alert public authorities in Miami are to be commended for discovering a new terrorist threat, a new fundamental attack on the safety of all Americans. A threat to our way of life, a threat to our economic security, a threat to public order. A threat so dangerous that it must be immediately stopped by a hastily passed public ordinance.

The real heroism of Pfc. Jessica Lynch

Watching Diane Sawyer’s interview with former Pfc. Jessica Lynch on ABC’s “Primetime,” it was easy to see why the young soldier is a hero to the people of her hometown, Palestine, W.Va., and the rest of the Mountaineer State.

Its a hit to left-center field!

“Press Box Red” tells the story of Lester Rodney, sports editor of the Daily Worker, in developing and leading the campaign to break the color line in American sports. The book offers us insight into the history of our country, the Communist Party USA, and our national pastime.

HealthSouth fraud impacts millions

You may have already heard a lot about Mr. Richard Scrushy, the founder and former CEO of HealthSouth Corp. Scrushy was indicted on 85 criminal counts alleging that he was the mastermind of an enormous corporate fraud involving money laundering, conspiracy, and securities fraud, that allowed him to pocket more than a quarter-billion dollars. The government wants him to fork over $279 million worth of his own personal assets, including a 92-foot yacht; a Rolls Royce Corniche and a Lamborghini; a nearly 22-carat diamond and platinum ring; aircraft; and paintings by Picasso, Chagall, Renoir and Miro.

Whatever it takes!

An unprecedented turnaround took place during contract negotiations between the 33,000 Chicago Teachers Union members and the Chicago Board of Education. Both the union’s governing body, the House of Delegates, and the rank and file members voted no to the first contract proposal recommended by newly-elected President Deborah Lynch on Oct. 16. The major sticking points were the length of the proposed contract – five years – health care costs, school day extension partially offset by a shorter school year and lack of improvement in working conditions.

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