ANOTHER WIN FOR MEDIA DEMOCRACY

Take that, Rupert Murdoch! Invoking its authority to “veto” decisions of regulatory agencies, the Senate voted 55 to 40 to overturn FCC moves to loosen controls on media ownership. “What Americans see, hear and read is increasingly controlled by a few people. That is not in the public interest,” declared Senator Byron Dorgan, sponsor of the measure that the White House, Senate leaders and the broadcast conglomerates sought to derail. Before the vote, Dorgan accepted petitions from 342,000 Americans calling on Congress to kill the FCC rules. “Broadcast stations operate on airwaves that are owned by the public…. The FCC seems to have forgotten that, but the American people have not forgotten,” Dorgan said. Next step: Pressure House Speaker Dennis Hastert to let his chamber follow the Senate’s lead.

POISON IVY

Kim Phillips-Fein writes: On September 13, approximately 10,000 workers and students gathered on a rainy New Haven afternoon in support of a two-and-a-half-week strike by Yale University’s clerical, maintenance and dining hall employees. Surrounded by crowds chanting “Shame on Yale!,” some 150 protesters were arrested for blocking traffic–among them several labor leaders, including AFL-CIO president John Sweeney, as well as the presidents of UNITE! (the garment workers’ union), the Carpenters’ union, the Service Employees International Union and the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (the parent union of the Yale locals). Those engaging in the mass civil disobedience also included college students, at least one Yale professor and many middle-aged and elderly members and supporters of the unions [see www.thenation.com].

JOHNNY CASH, MAN IN BLACK

“I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down, livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town,” sang country star Johnny Cash, explaining his dark taste in clothes. Recorded in 1971 as the Vietnam War raged, “Man in Black” featured the line, “I wear the black in mournin’ for the lives that could have been. Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.” Cash’s death at 71 was marked by appropriate recognition of the man’s artistry, but Kris Kristofferson got it right when he said his friend was beloved at least as much “for his championing of the common man.”

RUMSFELD MUST GO

“The Defense Secretary should resign–now,” we wrote back in April, and we believe it even more strongly now. That’s why we support the Move On/Win Without War “Change the Team” campaign. As we noted in our bill of indictment, Rumsfeld, together with his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, his adviser Richard Perle and Vice President Cheney, were the principal architects of the Administration’s Iraq venture “in pursuit of which they have deceived the American people, misled US soldiers whose lives are at risk, scorned the United Nations and defied international law.”