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NOTE: THIS WEBSITE WILL BE EXPIRING in 2018. If you are interested in any of the file archives (or the domain) please contact: .

Closing Thoughts
Clark Moeller, August 2004 -- In its inception, PAD had identified the need to coordinate and facilitate communications among progressives in order to respond more effectively to an increasingly aggressive religious-right. Our website, list-serve, and the personal networks we established helped in these areas. We also saw the need to provide more education about the basics of democracy. To this end, we published a number of reports, about PAD values, church-state separation, and public education. We participated in educating legislators on various bills. However, all of these were done within a framework of an alliance of independent organizations, each of which had its own mission, and our members had primary allegiance to those organizations. The political environment for the PAD alliance changed with 9/11. Many progressives in PA and nationally got into the business of protecting democracy as a result of the Patriot Act and related Bush administration's actions. This was good for democracy, but also made PAD less essential. Our board members continue to be active in their organizations, however PAD has officially disbanded. This website will remain so the wealth of useful information that was painstaking gathered during PAD's tenure continues to be accessible. There are still many valuable links to be explored from these pages as you seek out other people and organizations with similar missions. We hope you find it a useful resource in your continued networking.

Taking the Public Out of Education
Benjamin R. Barber, for The School Administrator, May 2004 -- There is a deep sense in which the phrase “public education” is redundant: Education is public, above all in a democracy. To think of it any other way is to rob it of its essential meaning.

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Flawed Democracies Center unveils new tool to track political accountability
Center for Public Integrity, April 29, 2004 —- In an unprecedented international investigation into the precise extent of openness, accountability and governance in 25 countries that hold elections, no country ranked in the top tier, the Center for Public Integrity has found.
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Administration Rolling Back Progress for Women and Girls with Policies That Are Out of Sight & Out of Touch
NWLC, April 8, 2004 -- The National Women’s Law Center today released a comprehensive report that documents the ways both well-publicized and carefully hidden, glaring and subtle, that the Bush Administration is rolling back women’s progress in every aspect of their lives. The report, Slip-Sliding Away: The Erosion of Hard-Won Gains for Women Under the Bush Administration and an Agenda for Moving Forward, shows that many of the Administration’s actions with harsh effects on women are occurring almost completely without public scrutiny, and some of its more well-publicized actions have a particularly harsh impact on women that is not widely known. The report includes recommended actions that should be taken to expand and protect women’s rights and opportunities.
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Kids On the Campaign Trail
What Kids Can Do, March 2004 -- They may not yet have voting rights or driver’s licenses, but high school students have blazed the campaign trails alongside adults in this winter’s Democratic Presidential primaries.
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Salvation Army Sued for Religious Discrimination Against Employees in Government-Funded Social Services for Children
NY Civil Liberties Union, February 24, 2004 -- The New York Civil Liberties Union today filed a lawsuit in federal court charging The Salvation Army with religious discrimination against employees in its government-funded social services in New York City and on Long Island.

Participants Needed for Nonviolent Direct Action: Thursday, March 4 in Harrisburg
Pennsylvania Abolitionists, February 19, 2004 --  On the morning of March 4, anti-death penalty activists will engage in nonviolent resistance at the State Capitol in Harrisburg.

National Women’s Law Center Website Highlighted
Center for Policy Alternatives, January 2004 -- The National Women’s Law Center works to protect and advance not only the legal interests of women and girls, but also their health, education, employment and economic security. NWLC’s website serves as a one-stop shop for information on a variety of related topics, and allows the visitor to view publications, contact policy-makers, and obtain the latest research on relevant issues. The site’s easy accessibility and user-friendly format make this a powerful tool for anybody interested in progressive policy and women’s issues. Visit the National Women’s Law Center at (link will open in a separate browser window)

Gay Marriage Inevitable
State has no grounds to discriminate
David French, Lexington Herald-Leader, January 12, 2004 -- During this election year, no cultural topic will be more hotly debated than the issue of gay marriage.
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Vouchers, Choice & Controversey:
Are school vouchers a good idea? Opinions remian divided as a judge strikes down Colorado's statewide program.
Glenn Cook, January 2004 -- Tamarah Quansah and Cynthia Cearley have a number of things in common beyond their roles as church pastors.
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Presidential Candidates Should Keep Emphasis on Religion Out of Campaign
Anti-Defamation League, January 6, 2004 -- The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), concerned about the growing emphasis on religion in the presidential race, today called on all candidates to keep in mind that "there is a line that must be drawn when emphasis on religion in a political campaign becomes inappropriate in our religiously diverse society."
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12 Things Top School Leaders Know (and you should, too)
Pamela Wheaton Shorr, link posted December 15, 2003 with permission from Scholastic -- What are the keys to being a standout school leader today? (Hint: It has nothing to do with budgets, although they're important, too!)
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Court Victory on Contraceptive Coverage
excerpt from South Hills NOW Newsletter, December 2003 -- 12/06/03 (WOMENSENEWS) The New York State Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit by the Catholic Church seeking to exempt some employers from having to include contraceptives as part of the package of prescription drugs they offer employees.

A Vanished Dream
John Brand, D.Min., J.D., December 10, 2003 -­ The time was a balmy spring Sunday afternoon in Vienna, Austria in 1936. The incident took place in front of the Bristol Hotel across the street from the Vienna Opera House.
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Yarris Exonerated in Delco Murder Case After 21 Years on Death Row
Death penalty critics call for moratorium on executions, investigation
PAUADP, December 9, 2003 -- After spending more than two decades on Pennsylvania's death row for a crime he did not commit, Nicholas Yarris was finally exonerated by the justice system today in Delaware County when the District Attorney's office announced that it is dropping charges against Yarris for the 1981 rape and murder of Linda Mae Craig.
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Freedom and Security
Al Gore, November 9, 2003 ...For my part, I’m just a “recovering politician” – but I truly believe that some of the issues most important to America’s future are ones that all of us should be dealing with. And perhaps the most important of these issues is the one I want to talk about today: the true relationship between Freedom and Security.

Scientific Information Being Censored
excerpt from South Hills NOW Newsletter, November 2003 -- Scientific data on which Americans rely is being manipulated by the Bush administration according to the new report Politics & Science prepared for US Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA). Read more about this & other censorship at

Electronic Voting: What You Need To Know
William Rivers Pitt, October 20, 2003 -- Author's Note: In July of 2003, I sat down for an extended, free-wheeling interview in Denver with three of the smartest people I have ever met. Rebecca Mercuri, Barbara Simons, and David Dill have been at the forefront of the debate surrounding the rise of electronic touch-screen voting machines in our national elections.

People Can Always Be Brought to the Bidding of the Leaders
Senator Robert C. Byrd, October 17, 2003 -- Mr. President, the Emperor has no clothes. This entire adventure in Iraq has been based on propaganda and manipulation.
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Supreme Court Acceptance Of Pledge Of Allegiance Case Sets Stage For Showdown Over Freedom Of Conscience
Americans United, October 14, 2003 -- The Supreme Court’s decision to review a controversial ruling striking down recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools sets the stage for an emotional clash over government endorsement of religion, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The high court announced today that it will hear Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow.

"No Death Row!"
Jeff Garis, October 13, 2003 -- The movement to end the death penalty in Pennsylvania took a major step forward this weekend as citizens from across the Commonwealth converged on the State Capitol for the largest anti-death penalty gathering in the state's history.
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'No Child Left Behind' law bumps into hard reality
Susan Snyder, Philadelphia Inquirer, October 12, 2003 -- The act says troubled schools can let students transfer to better districts. It doesn't make those districts say yes.
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All for 1, 1 for All
Lisa Santer, NCBI Philadelpia, October 2003 –- The National Coalition Building Institute Philadelphia invites you to our Building Bridges Prejudice Reduction Workshop One Day Workshops in the Philadelphia Area, from 9 AM to 4 PM.

Faith-Based Bias
How The White House Is Tilting The Playing Field

AU Church and State, September 2003 -- President George W. Bush and other boosters of the “faith-based initiative” insist that the effort is intended to create a “level playing field” between religious and non-religious groups.
  But new evidence indicates that the faith-based initiative isn’t about a level playing field at all. It’s about tilting the field dramatically in favor of religious groups.

Administration Announces Additional Actions To Spur More Public Financing Of Religious Groups
Americans United, September 22, 2003 -- The Bush administration announced plans to implement its constitutionally troubling “faith-based” initiative that could funnel large sums of public funds to religious-run social services, said Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Time to Re-Public the Republic
Paul D. Houston, The School Administrator, September 2003 -- We live in a era where we hear a lot about threats to democracy. Certainly, America has its enemies abroad. What we cannot lose sight of as we search for terrorists is what we as a nation need to flourish here at home—an educated citizenry dedicated to our ideals.

Talking to Lawmakers about School Policy
excerpted from PEN Weekly NewsBlast, October 3, 2003 -- This list of straightforward tips for communicating effectively with elected officials can help teacher leaders influence critical education policy decisions. Face-to-face meetings with lawmakers and their key staff aides can open up communication channels for key issues. Legislators, busy as they are, will usually find time to meet with their constituents. Study these tips and you'll be ready for your first contact with the movers and shakers who make education policy.


School Vouchers
Clark Moeller, September 29, 2003 -- The Daily Review printed an AP article (9/29/03) discussing the United States Senate's deliberation over a voucher bill to fund private and religious schools in Washington, DC, using tax dollars.
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Civil Liberties - Then and Now
excerpt from South Hills NOW Newsletter, September 2003 -- The PA Labor History Society will hold its Annual Conference Oct 2-5 in Homestead, PA, with art events Thursday evening; tours, a reception & dinner, & an awards ceremony Friday; free speech talk & activities, a lunch & keynote program, a march & memorial dedications, & an evening concert (with Chris Chandler & Anne Feeney, Mike Stout & the Human Union, Joe Glazer, & more) Saturday; and cemetery tours & a church service Sunday.

Secret Service Ordered Local Police to Restrict Anti-Bush Protesters at Rallies, ACLU Charges in Unprecedented Nationwide Lawsuit
September 23, 2003, ACLU -- At events attended by President Bush and other senior federal officials around the country, the Secret Service has been discriminating against protesters in violation of their free speech rights, the American Civil Liberties Union charged today in the first nationwide lawsuit of its kind.

Free Speech Under Fire: The ACLU Challenge to “Protest Zones”
September 23, 2003, Statement of Bill Neel -- I am here today because my First Amendment rights and those of many others in this country have been denied. Last year my sister and I were arrested and detained at a rally in western Pennsylvania simply because I carried a sign critical of President Bush.

See what the New York Times calls "The #1 Play of the Year" and support death penalty-related efforts in Pennsylvania!
PAUADP, September 2003 -- The Exonerated, starring Avery Brooks and Lynn Redgrave, is coming to Philadelphia for SIX NIGHTS ONLY, October 28-November 2, 2003, 8 p.m. at the Merriam Theatre, 250 South Broad Street.

Dangerous Religion
Jim Wallis, editor in chief of Sojourners, September, October 2003 -- "The military victory in Iraq seems to have confirmed a new world order," Joseph Nye, dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, wrote recently in The Washington Post. "Not since Rome has one nation loomed so large above the others. Indeed, the word 'empire' has come out of the closet."

Reclaiming Democracy: Intermediaries, Local Education Funds & Public Education
Public Education Network, September 2003 -- This year, Public Education Network celebrates 20 years of achievement by local education funds -- intermediary organizations that have made a difference in the lives of millions of children by supporting and advancing quality public education in communities across the country. Throughout American history, intermediary organizations have been instrumental in shaping, defining, and building our democracy, and in building connections between citizens and the public institutions that serve them.

Managing Culturally Diverse Classrooms
John H. Holloway, Educational Leadership September 2003 -- Cultural diversity in U.S. public schools is growing. The U.S. Department of Education (2003a) found that 38.8 percent of public school students were minorities in 2000, up from 29.6 percent in 1986. In addition, the number of students who spoke a language other than English at home rose from 6.3 million in 1979 to 13.7 million in 1999 (U.S. Department of Education, 2003b).
   These demographic trends present new challenges for schools. Eighty percent of the teachers surveyed by Futrell, Gomez, and Bedden (2003) felt unprepared to teach a diverse student population.

Statement On the Second Anniversary of 9/11
Peaceful Tomorrows, September 11, 2003 -- Two years ago today our loved ones were tragically murdered in an act of terror that shook the United States and the world. In the time since their deaths, as we continue our personal paths of grieving, we are comforted by the thoughtful and compassionate response of people all over the world who have offered sympathy and support to the victims of these terrible attacks. But much about the US government’s approach to responding to our loved ones’ deaths stands in stark contrast to the common sense words and comforting actions of ordinary people.

Significant Developments in PA
August 25, 2003, Abolisionist E-Newsletter -- As the summer season steams to an end, things continue to heat up in the movement for a halt to executions.

No Child Left Behind Law & Vouchers Fail to Gain Public Support
August 22, 2003, Public Education Network Weekly NewsBlast -- Take schools that have strong public support from the communities they serve. Impose on those schools a major federal mandate that attempts to reach worthy goals using strategies that lack public approval, and you have the ingredients for a failed system.

Standing Against The Fear
William Rivers Pitt, August 18, 2003 -- "But as I drove toward Key Biscayne with the top down, squinting into the sun, I saw the Vets. They were moving up Collins Avenue in dead silence; twelve hundred of them dressed in full battle fatigues, helmets, combat boots..."

August 23 is proclaimed Franklin County Diversity Day
Chambersburg Community Improvement Association and collaborators -- It will be a day of multiple activities involving local children and their families and tourists from other counties in Central Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. The theme of the day is the advancement of social justice through education and entertainment concerning local Underground Railroad history.

Bush's Moral Message Losing Legitimacy
Matthew Riemer Columnist, August 08, 2003 -- On December 19th, 2002, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press released a report entitled "Wealthy nations ... U.S. stands alone in its embrace of religion."
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Pennsylvania People of Faith, Stand Up, Speak Out!
National Religious Leadership Roundtable, August 1, 2003 -- Are you a Pennsylvania clergy person or faith activist? Join the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force National Religious Leadership Roundtable and organizations sponsoring pro-GLBT legislation in Pennsylvania on Sunday, August 17 2:30-4:00 PM, at the Tabernacle United Church.

Backing for Basic Freedoms Returning to Pre-9/11 Levels
First Amendment Center, July 31, 2003 -- Americans’ support for their First Amendment freedoms – shaken by the events of Sept. 11, 2001 – appears to be returning to pre-9/11 levels, according to the annual State of the First Amendment survey, conducted by the First Amendment Center in collaboration with American Journalism Review magazine.

ACLU Files First-Ever Challenge to USA PATRIOT Act, Citing Radical Expansion of FBI Power
ACLUPA, July 30, 2003 -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania announced today that the national ACLU had filed the first legal challenge to the USA PATRIOT Act, taking aim at a section of the controversial law that vastly expands the power of FBI agents to secretly obtain records and personal belongings of innocent people in the United States, including citizens and permanent residents.
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Online Voting in 2004
excerpt from Democracy Dispatches, Number 36, July 30, 2003 -- Thousands of eligible voters will be able to cast their vote on the internet for the 2004 presidential elections. The Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment (SERVE) began with the 2000 election and included 84 voters.
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Supreme Court Gay Rights Ruling Advances ACLU’s Lawsuit Against University of Pittsburgh Over Gay Employee Benefits
ACLU, July 29, 2003 -- In its seven-year gay-rights battle to force the University of Pittsburgh to provide healthcare benefits to gay employees’ domestic partners, the American Civil Liberties Union today advised the trial court that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last month in Lawrence v. Texas requires it to reject the University’s most recent attempt to end the litigation.
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DNA Exoneration of Pa. Death Row Prisoner Prompts Renewed Calls for Study and Moratorium
Action Needed from State Officials to Prevent Wrongful Convictions
PAUDP, Philadelphia, July 28, 2003 -- Today's Federal Court filing of DNA test results exonerating Nicholas Yarris, a Delaware County man on death row for the past 21 years, is prompting renewed calls for a moratorium on executions and a thorough review of the Pennsylvania death penalty system.
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Editorial Memo on Voting Machines and Election Reform
Common Cause, July 25, 2003 -- The 2000 presidential election damaged Americans’ faith in the country's election laws and procedures, revealing deep problems with voting systems nationwide.

Rendell Invites the Public
Letter to Editor of Democracy Dispatches #35-National News, July 22, 2003 -- The Pennsylvania Department of State has taken a proactive approach to maximize public input and solicit comments from the general public regarding its State Plan as it relates to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).
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Former Illinois Governor Scheduled to Speak at Pa. Moratorium Rally, October 11th
Pennsylvania Abolitionists United Against the Death Penalty, July 18, 2003 -- Former Illinois Governor George Ryan will be the keynote speaker at a massive rally for a death penalty moratorium on Saturday, October 11th, at the State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Voucher Veneer: The Deeper Agenda to Privatize Public Education
People for the American Way, July 2003 -- Today, governmental responsibilities in education and the strong connection that Americans have with their public schools are being put to a serious test. A network of Religious Right groups, free-market economists, ultraconservative columnists and others are using vouchers as a vehicle to achieve their ultimate goal of privatizing education.
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ACLU Releases Manual for Improving Access to Emergency Contraception for Sexual Assault Survivors
ACLU, July 18, 2003 -- The American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project and the Clara Bell Duvall Reproductive Freedom Project of the ACLU of Pennsylvania today released a new manual to help advocates determine whether hospitals in their states provide emergency contraception (EC) to sexual assault survivors and to use this information to increase access to EC.
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Iraq Intelligence
Carl Levin, Congressional Record, July 15, 2003 -- Last week, CIA Director George Tenet accepted responsibility for having gone along with the African uranium statement in the President's State of the Union address. His acknowledgment that it should not have been included in the address and his acceptance of responsibility were appropriate. But his explanation of the CIA's acquiescence in allowing the use of a clearly misleading statement raises more questions than it answers, and statements by other administration officials, particularly National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, compound the problem.

Third Annual Unity March for Youth
Unity Coalition List, July 14, 2003 -- The York City Human Relations Commission is pleased to announce the date of the 3rd Annual Unity March for Youth. This year, the march will take place on Thursday, August 14th, beginning at 10 a.m.

Mr. Bush, You Are A Liar
William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t, July 11, 2003 -- There was a picture on the front page of the New York Times on Tuesday, July 8. It showed several American soldiers in Iraq sitting in utter dejection as they were informed by their battalion commander that none of them were going home anytime soon, and no one knew exactly when they were going home at all.

Bush, Media, and the Bill of Rights
Jennifer Van Bergen, t r u t h o u t, July 9, 2003 -- In May 2002, Broward County, Florida became the largest community to pass a resolution protesting the Patriot Act and affirming its commitment to the Bill of Rights.

Pathways to Participation: Volunteering and Voting
excerpt from Democracy Dispatches, Number 35, July 3, 2003 -- Arsalyn, a project of the Ludwick Family Foundation, will host a regional conference in Washington DC on August 1 - 4 for roughly 110 young people ages 16 to 22 to discuss the nature of political campaigns and discover ways to channel volunteerism into political participation. Arsalyn will provide participants with room and board and travel expenses up to $200. For more information visit (link will open in a new browser window)

47 States Now In Public Comment Phase of Help America Vote Act
excerpt from Democracy Dispatches, Number 35, July 3, 2003 The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requires that each state create a plan describing how it will use federal funds to comply with the new federal voting mandates.
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HAPPY MID YEAR: Revisiting Resolutions, July 1, 2003 -- Six months ago, the staff of offered its list of New Year's resolutions for 2003. These weren't lose-weight, stop-smoking goals; these were about losing bias and stopping prejudice.


Head Off Damage to Head Start
excerpt from South Hills NOW Newsletter, July 2003 -- During the week of July 7th, the House of Representatives will likely vote on HR 2210, the bill reauthorizing the Head Start Program. A coalition of national organizations oppose HR 2210 in its current form because it repeals the federally-funded program's current non-discrimination language that protects people from religious employment discrimination.

U.S. Office for Civil Rights Investigates PSSA's Impact on English Language Learners
Pennsylvania School Reform Network and Education Law Center, June 30, 2003 -- The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education has announced that it will investigate whether Pennsylvania’s state testing program, known as the PSSA, is unfair to children whose native language is not English.
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Inspiration for Weary Educators!
excerpt from PEN Weekly NewsBlast, June 27, 2003 -- They leave your school and you may never see them again. They grow and mature, but in your mind, they're still those half-child, half-adult kids you invested a year of your life in.
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Striking Down Texas Law Against Same-Sex "Sodomy," Supreme Court Rights Egregious Wrong of 17 Years, Signaling New Era for Gay Rights
ACLU of PA, June 26, 2003 -- In an historic decision with wide-ranging implications, the U.S. Supreme Court today struck down a Texas law that makes some kinds of sexual intimacy a crime, but only for gay people.
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Alliance for Tolerance and Freedom Applauds Supreme Court Decision
Laura Montgomery Rutt, June 26, 2003 -- The Alliance for Tolerance and Freedom today applauded the decision by the United States Supreme Court in Lawrence v Texas overturning Texas's sodomy law.
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Will the State Budget Invite Young Families to Move Ahead or Move Out?
Timothy Potts, June 25, 2003 -- Like most Pennsylvanians, I have reached an age when I know young people who have young people of their own.
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Weapon of Mass Deception: What the Pentagon Doesn't Want Us to Know about Depleted Uranium.
Frida Berrigan, In These Times, June 20, 2003 -- In the weeks leading up to the war on Iraq, TV screens across America were crowded with images of U.S. soldiers readying for upcoming battles with a crazed dictator who would stop at nothing. One clip after another showed U.S. soldiers racing to don $211 suits designed to protect them from the chemical and biological attacks they would surely suffer on the road to ousting Saddam Hussein. But these grim forecasts were wrong.

Pennsylvania Senate Votes to Ban Executing Mentally Retarded
Bill would ensure compliance with U.S. Supreme Court ruling

Pennsylvania Abolitionists United Against the Death Penalty, June 17, 2003 -- In an historic vote to fulfill a U.S. Supreme Court mandate banning the execution of persons with mental retardation, the Pennsylvania Senate passed a landmark bill Tuesday by a 48-1 vote.
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The Dog Ate My WMDs
William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t, June 13, 2003 -- After several years teaching high school, I've heard all the excuses. I didn't get my homework done because my computer crashed, because my project partner didn't do their part, because I feel sick, because I left it on the bus, because I had a dance recital, because I was abducted by aliens and viciously probed.

BSA Squelches Change?
Brian Willoughby,, June 12, 2003 -- What at first appeared to be a bold move by the third-largest Boy Scout council in the nation to stop discriminating against gay members now appears to have been watered down by the national office.
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Articles of Impeachment
Clark Moeller, June 9, 2003 -- The Bush administration has not found weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or any creditable smoking gun which documents that Iraq harbored and abetted al Qaeda. Now we learn from Pentagon officials that they knew last fall that they did not have hard evidence that Iraq had WMD. However, President W. George Bush sent our troops into war based on his assertions that Iraq did have WMD.
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Further fanning of the flames
Ash Pulcifer, Columnist, June 8, 2003 -- In December of 2002, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press released a study titled, "What the World Thinks in 2002."
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Churches do about-faces and learn the price of supporting peace
Roger Buchanan, June 2, 2003 -- When the church supports war, governments find ways to show their appreciation. It has been that way for the past 2,000 years.
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New FCC Rules Threaten To Shut Out Women
excerpt from South Hills NOW Newsletter, June 2003 -- NOW strongly opposes the 6/2 decision by the Federal Communications Commission to re-write the rules governing media ownership. In a 3-2 vote, the FCC instituted "the most sweeping and destructive rollback of consumer protection rules in the history of American broadcasting," according to Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein, who voted against the de-regulation.

Is there anything left that matters?
Joan Chittister, National Catholic Reporter, May 27, 2003 -- This is what I don't understand: All of a sudden nothing seems to matter. First, they said they wanted Bin Laden "dead or alive." But they didn't get him. So now they tell us that it doesn't matter. Our mission is greater than one man.

Title IX Still Being Attacked - Support Saving Bill
excerpted from South Hills NOW Newsletter, March 2003 -- Concluding a six-month "study" of Title IX , the Secretary of Education's so-called Opportunity in Athletics Commission adopted more than two dozen policy changes that will dramatically weaken Title IX's goal of achieving equality in athletic programs in educational institutions.

Moratorium Proponents Applaud Pa. Supreme Court Committee Recommendation; Demands for a Suspension on Executions Renewed
PAUADP, March 4, 2003 -- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court's Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System recommended today that the governor and legislature order a moratorium on executions until the Commonwealth can ensure that the death penalty is administered fairly.
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U.S. Diplomat John Brady Kiesling Letter of Resignation, to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
t r u t h o u t, February 27, 2003 -- EDITOR'S NOTE: What follows is a letter of resignation written by John Brady Kiesling, a member of Bush's Foreign Service Corps and Political Counselor to the American embassy in Greece.

Gaining an Empire, Losing Democracy?
Norman Mailer, Tribune Media Services, February 25, 2003 -- Iraq is an excuse.    There is a subtext to what the Bushites are doing as they prepare for war in Iraq. My hypothesis is that President George W. Bush and many conservatives have come to the conclusion that the only way they can save America and get if off its present downslope is to become a regime with a greater military presence and drive toward empire. My fear is that Americans might lose their democracy in the process.


Considering the N-Word
Brian Willoughby,, February 11, 2003 -- Bill Cosby doesn't say it.     Chris Rock does. A lot.     The Baltimore City Council officially "renounced and denounced"it in a resolution last year.     And Lessie James of San Jose's Coalition of ConcernedCitizens and Organizations just wants the word to go away.

Justice Department Secretly Drafts Legislation to Strengthen the Patriot Act
Democracy NOW! February 10, 2003 -- The Justice Department is drafting legislation that would strengthen the already sweeping powers granted by the USA Patriot Act.
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Indivisible in Pa.? Not exactly.
Dan Hartley, Philadelphia Inquirer, February 7, 2003 -- A roomful of Coatesville Head Start students, ages 3, 4 and 5, put their hands over their hearts Monday morning and did their best to recite the Pledge of Allegiance together for the first time. This article will be available on the Web for a limited time, and will open in a separate browser window.

A Citizen's Response to the National Security Strategy of the United States of America
Wendell Berry, March/April 2003 Orion -- The new national security strategy published by the White House in September 2002, if carried out, would amount to a radical revision of the political character of our nation. Its central and most significant statement is this:
   While the United States will constantly strive to enlist the support of the international community, we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self defense by acting preemptively against such terrorists... (p. 6)
  A democratic citizen must deal here first of all with the question, Who is this "we"?
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Bush Tax and Budget Plans: Radical and Irresponsible
When It Comes to Education and Other Urgent Needs, Bush Administration's Budget Doesn't Match Its Rhetoric
People for the American Way, February 6, 2003 -- The $2.23 trillion federal budget that President Bush sent to Congress this week effectively asks House and Senate members to serve as willing accomplices in a scheme that seriously shortchanges children, seniors, low-income families and others who are among the most vulnerable Americans.
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The Bill of Rights Defense Movement: Growing Consciousness & The American Way
Jennifer Van Bergen, t r u t h o u t, January 30, 2003 -- All across the nation, the municipal resistance movement has been spreading. Known as the Bill of Rights Defense Movement, after the original Bill of Rights Defense Committee in Northampton, Massachusetts, and, obviously, in defense of our most sacred Bill of Rights, this movement is growing rapidly, its roots planted firmly and deeply in the American soil.

Teachable Moments: Virginia and the Bill of Rights
excerpt from Dissent Is Patriotic, The Bill of Rights Defense Committee's e-mail newsletter, January 16, 2003 -- The Virginia House of Delegates is considering legislation to require that the Bill of Rights be placed prominently in every public school building in the state. They are seeking a free source of Bill of Rights posters. BORDC applauds this proposal and urges other states to consider exposing their students to the Bill of Rights.


Know Your Rights: Stop the USA Patriot Act!
United for Peace and Justice -- Through new legislation and Executive orders, the Bush Administration has radically altered our constitutional rights. Under the auspices of investigating "terrorism," the government may now infringe upon your legal rights without probable cause.

A Year of Loss: Reexamining Civil Liberties Since September 11
Lawyers Committee for Human Rights -- More than a year has passed since the horrific events of September 11, 2001. America has much to mourn. Individual families will mourn the loss of loved ones, and the country, as a national family, will mourn the tragic loss of life. The United States will also grieve another collective loss: the loss of invulnerability – or the idea that America was impervious to this kind of violence. There is another loss to mourn, however – one that has happened less abruptly and less publicly, but no less profoundly. Since September 11, the United States has lost something essential and defining: some of the cherished principles on which the country is founded have been eroded or disregarded.

Homeland Security: Less Privacy, More Government and Corporate Secrecy
excerpt from The Bill of Rights Defense Committee's newsletter, December 18, 2002 -- In November of 2002, Congress passed the Homeland Security Act by margins that were nearly as wide as those for the USA PATRIOT Act one year earlier.

ACLU Blasts Bush Executive Order Allowing Discrimination in Workplace
The American Civil Liberties Union , December 12, 2002 -- In response to President Bush's new executive order that imposes by White House fiat much of his plan for government-funded religion, the American Civil Liberties Union said the sure result of the move will be blatant discrimination by religious groups in how they hire and to whom they provide taxpayer-funded services.
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Homeland Security Act: The Rise of the American Police State
(Part 1 of a Three Part Series)

Jennifer Van Bergen, t r u t h o u t, December 2, 2002 -- "It is far more dangerous and threatening to our few remaining civil liberties than he appears willing to suggest," writes Professor E. Nathaniel Gates of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law about William Safire's recent article on the Homeland Security Act.
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Knowing It by Heart: Americans Consider the Constitution and its Meaning
Public Agenda, November 7, 2002 -- Most Americans admit they don't have detailed knowledge of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, but they've absorbed the core values: majority rule, with protection for the rights of all.
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The Battle for New Ideas
September 25, 2002, Reynaldo Forte Lacaba -- Old ideas kill. And they are killing the future of this state.
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Bush foe loses 'fencing' match
September 4, 2002, Milan Simonich, Post-Gazette Staff Writer -- Sixty-five-year-old Bill Neel wanted to needle President Bush in the spirit of the First Amendment.
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Democracies Die Behind Closed Doors
Larry Frankel, August 28, 2002 -- Dear Secretary Logan, I have heard that your agency has proposed that members of the Harrisburg Capitol press corps be required to submit to criminal background checks in order to maintain their access to the Capitol complex.
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Civil Liberties or Civil Luxuries?
Matthew Remier, Guest Columnist, April 18, 2002 -- The opinions and rhetoric surrounding the debate over civil liberties and the so-called anti-terrorist legislation (the official title is the Patriot Act, but perhaps a more fitting one would be the Anti-Patriot Act) is just another example of how twisted events have become in our post-9-11 surrealism.
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A Beacon of Liberty
Liz Hrenda, September 13, 2001 -- Pennsylvania Alliance for Democracy joins with citizens of the United States and of nations around the world in mourning the loss of the life and devastation to so many caused by the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the airplane crash in Pennsylvania. Those who have suffered injury or lost loved ones, friends and co-workers have our deepest sympathy.
   We support efforts to identify, prosecute, judge and punish those who have committed these acts of terror, while at the same time, we remain no less committed to preserving the values that undergird our democracy. The ideal and the reality of an open and free society, embodying the values of inclusiveness, tolerance, dissent and the use of rational investigation, relying on facts rather than authority to determine what is true have made our nation a beacon of liberty and freedom for people around the world. During the dark days of this tragedy, this beacon must not be dimmed.