SOUTH BEND, Ind.: Cheney picks up checks, anger

Vice President Dick Cheney thought it was a garden variety $2,000-a-plate luncheon, but outside the Notre Dame University’s Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center, hundreds of students, community residents and workers protested the Iraq invasion and occupation and demanded health care, jobs and social services.

Wearing yellow protection suits, the Women’s Action for New Directions conducted a mock search for weapons of mass destruction, but discovered only Cheney.

Antwan Edson drove 200 miles from Flint, Mich., to march against Cheney and demand that federal dollars be used to provide health care and jobs for the U.S. people.

HARRISBURG, Penn.: High court rejects Mumia Abu-Jamal’s appeal

In an “Alice in Wonderland” decision, the state’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Mumia Abu-Jamal and refused to hear testimony from Arnold Beverly who confessed to murdering Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec. 9, 1981. Mumia was convicted of the killing and has been on death row since. In rejecting Beverly’s confession, the court cited the infamous 2001 ruling where Federal District Justice William H. Yohn ruled that “innocence is not defense.”

Only one of the nine Supreme Court justices dissented. Of the eight judges who agreed, Ronald Castille did not recuse himself. Castille prosecuted Mumia in 1981.

Mumia’s case now returns to the Federal District Court where his life sentence could be reversed and the death penalty reinstated.

MISSOULA, Mont.: Blue/Green coalition saves union jobs

The surest to start a bar fight in Missoula is not religion or politics but the environment vs. jobs debate. That is starting to change as Ironworkers Local 1 worked with environmental groups to preserve union jobs on the construction of a Lowe’s.

The Jobs with Justice coalition in the Missoula Central Labor Council organized nine environmental leaders and organizations to sign a letter to the general contractor on the Lowe’s project to reject a nonunion, out-of-state subcontractor who submitted a bid $50,000 lower than local union companies. The pressure worked, and the sub-contract was awarded to a local company where workers are union members.

Building on the success in Missoula, Blue-Green coalitions have sprung up in Billings and Great Falls.

BROOKLYN, N.Y.: Women defy racism, build safe haven for moms and kids

Immigrant women face a double whammy if they find themselves in an abusive situation. In addition to violence in their home, they face the Immigration and Naturalization Service and possibility of deportation if they seek help.

The New York Asian Women’s Center is one of several groups acting to protect women and children. They have run into a buzz saw of racism as they build a women’s shelter in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood. The new million-dollar, 20-bed shelter is scheduled to open next month.

In August, the “Concerned Citizens of Carroll Gardens” organized to stop the project. The code language of racism has been used to attack the center. Some opponents picketed the construction site, and its address has been widely publicized on the web and through leafletting.

Kyung Yoon, project coordinator, has led the fight to defend the center. “This was real ‘strategy’ on their part,” she said. “They wanted to ‘out’ the address so that the location would be compromised and we would not be able to use this as a place of safety for women.”

The Women’s Center has three other shelters in New York, and have never had a violent incident on their property.

DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn.: Corporate greed contaminates drinking water

“In Tennessee, at least half of the ground water [drinking water] is contaminated,” said Mike Apple, director of the state’s Solid Waste Department. “Ground water in all urban areas, including Nashville, contains toxic chemicals.”

In October, rural communities in Dickson County found their wells polluted with toxic chemicals. Nearby landfills, used primarily by manufacturing companies for waste disposal, were the culprit, Apple’s department concluded. Residents can not drink water from their tap nor can they wash clothes or dishes. The County has rushed in water buffaloes and is working to tie residents into the Nashville water system.

Residents first contacted the Southern California law firm of Masry and Vititoe, where Erin Brockovich, subject of a recent movie, is the director of research. The firm has been working with the Environmental Protection Agency.

“It’s scary because no one knows what’s going on 100 feet underground,” said Dickson County attorney Larry Ramsey. “It’s a horrible problem created by ignorance and corporate greed.”

National Clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards ( David Bernt and Lee Gloster contributed to this week’s clips.