January 19, 2001

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In Washington, DC this week, many groups have been working hard to set the stage for the Bush administration. For the White House, there have been hurried inaugural preparations which began weeks behind schedule due to the battle over the outcome of the election in Florida. For the Senate, there’s been a full schedule of confirmation hearings for the Bush cabinet, including Attorney General designate John Ashcroft, Secretary of State nominee Colin Powell and Gail Norton, who Bush has picked to head the Interior Department. And for those who question the legitimacy of Bush’s election or fear that”compassionate conservatism” will be reactionary in practice, it’s been a week of planning and mobilization for what’s expected to be a huge and remarkably diverse protest. But, as Ginger Otis reports from New York, many of Bush’s critics have had to spend weeks in court to guarantee their day in the streets.

Protests challenging the legitimacy of the George W. Bush Presidency are planned for throughout the country, including one at the epicenter of the post-election controversy – Tallahassee, Florida. Free Speech Radio News’ Mitch Perry reports from Florida that while activists are gearing up for tomorrow, elected officials in Florida are trying to pick up the pieces to ensure that what happened on November 7th doesn’t happen again.
Last November, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced they are listing wild Atlantic salmon under the Endangered Species Act in an attempt to prevent its extinction. Three weeks later, the State of Maine appealed that decision. And a few days after that, the aquaculture industry — whose irrigation practices may harm the salmon — joined the state’s effort. The listing of the Atlantic Salmon could be the first major environmental controversy to face George W. Bush, who, as President, will have the power to take the fish off the endangered list. Gail Norton, Bush’s nominee for Secretary of the Interior who has faced strong opposition from major environmental groups, has advocated collaborative approaches similar to those being sought by environmental  advocates in Maine. Emily Bernhard reports from Blue Hill, Maine.
Hundreds of thousands of Californians lost their power this week. The rolling blackouts were the latest and harshest effect of California’s electricity deregulation law. Lawmakers scrambled to find a solution that would stop the outages without handing a financial windfall to the utilities. Aaron Glantz reports from Sacramento.
California has embarked on a school reform program much like the one George W. Bush has touted in his state of Texas. It’s based on a system of rewards and punishments – financial bonuses for improved performance on standardized tests and sanctions for schools who fail to raise their scores. This week, the state Board of Education denied thousands of dollars in reward money to schools where large numbers of parents had kept their children from taking the Stanford 9 achievement test. Robin Urevich reports.
On December 15th, the US Military’s School of the Americas (SOA) was closed. Opponents of the school such as Schools of the Americas Watch have called for the School’s closure for years pointed based on evidence that many of the Latin American soldiers and officers trained at the school have later been guilty of massacres, torture, and other war crimes. But a new school, Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Concerns, or WHISC, has opened in it’s place and the critics say they’ll continue to protest. Jade Paget-Seekins reports.

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