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Peter Shukat, Entertainment Lawyer, Childhood Friend: April 1945 – June 2014

July 8, 2014
Peter Shukat, Jamaica High School 1962 Yearbook

Peter Shukat, Jamaica High School 1962 Yearbook

Yoko Ono continues to oppose any effort to grant parole to Mark David Chapman, John Lennon’s assassin. Chapman shot and killed Lennon at point black range with a hand gun using hollow point bullets as Lennon and Yoko Ono returned to their apartment, the Dakota, a luxury apartment just off Central Park West in Manhattan. On August 22, 2012 Chapman was denied parole for the eighth time. Representing Yoko Ono, as he did often in the past was entertainment lawyer, Peter Shukat.

Shukat not only personally represented Yoko Ono but also the estates of Miles Davis, Jimmy Henrix and Bob Marley. Peter S. Shukat, a founding partner of New York-based entertainment law firm Shukat Arrow Hafer Weber & Herbsman, died on June 7, 2013 – a month ago – after a ten-year long battle with cancer.  His obituary appeared throughout the music industry, including in Music Week, Jazz FM, as well as the New York Post, The New York Daily News and The New York Times. Read more…

California Prisons Where Eugenic Sterilization Remains A Common Practice

June 24, 2014
In the 19th and early 20th Skull Measurements were used to determine "eugenic" characteristics.

In the 19th and early 20th Skull Measurements were used to determine “eugenic” characteristics.


Some presume that eugenics, that perverse notion of genetic engineering based on flaky genetics, died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, the factory floor of I.B. Farben where it was exposed for the inhumane, racist, class-biased bigotry that it was. This was not the case. Its advocates crossed the political spectrum from left to right. It was not just right-wing weirdos of all stripes, Christian identity types and KKK types whose eyes lit up and penises stiffened at the thought of Blacks, Native Americans, Jews, Mexicans and generally speaking poor people having their vas deferens snipped or their tubes tied.

Liberal politicians, socialists, Unitarians – those who believed in “managed progress,” “rational development” were, in the day, equally as enthusiastic – and as racially bigoted and class biased as their more conservative brethren and sisteren (if the latter is a word). It was  the rage to support interfering with the reproductive rights of others as a way to make the world a better place, as long as the movement did not cut out the testes and purge the ovaries of those too close. Read more…

A Hundred Years After Ludlow, Colorado Labor Makes Slow Gains

June 23, 2014
ColoradoWINS lobbying the state legislature, December, 2013

ColoradoWINS lobbying the state legislature, December, 2013

1. A New Day for Colorado’s State Employees?

November 2007 was a historic moment for union-unfriendly Colorado, or so it seemed. The breakthrough drew little attention from Colorado’s general public for labor movement developments get little to no airing in the state’s media. But the shift was noted among politically sensitive business and government circles, as well as state’s labor movement: Governor Bill Ritter issued an executive order legalizing union activity for the state’s employees.

The rules of the state sector labor-management game were about to change. Each “side” had its priorities. For labor it was use the new situation – an executive order allowing state employees to unionize – to increase its modest leverage and bargaining power in the state. The goal of business – and the business oriented bureaucracy in state government – to the contrary, was to limit the impact of the changes as much as possible.

Not long before, in February of that year, Ritter vetoed HB 1072, which, if passed would have eliminated one of two votes needed for unions to negotiate all-union shops. The two stage voting system to achieve a closed union shop is unique to Colorado and has been one of the main legal mechanisms for keeping the state’s labor movement in a weakened position. Read more…

Helping A Preschool in Bukina Faso by Geraldine Auel

June 17, 2014
Pre-school - Burkina Faso where Gerry Auel works as a Peace Corps volunteer

Pre-school – Burkina Faso where Gerry Auel works as a Peace Corps volunteer

(Note: Gerry Auel and I worked together in the Peace Corps in Tunis 1966-1968. We have remained friends ever since for half a century now. Gerry went on to become the International Student Adviser at Oklahoma State University. She married and has four grown children. A year ago, Gerry Auel re-upped for another Peace Corps experience, this time in Burkina Faso – formally referred to as Upper Volta. She is there now; if you want to contribute to the pre-school where she works – and I hope you might consider it – here is a link below. )

Do you want to help our pre-school in Burkina Faso?

The Peace Corps adventure continues!  The 125 or so children in the community preschool where I teach 5 days a week show up every morning on foot, with or without shoes.  They greet me with “Bon jour, Yaba” (Hello, Grandmother) and make a little bob with their arms crossed across their chest.

The preschool is set right in the middle of the village crossroads.  With motorcycles zooming across the school grounds, animals wandering through, and our playground equipment at the mercy of after-school adolescents, we are determined to build a protective fence to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for our children.  Parents began to contribute their share of the project cost even before the project was approved by Peace Corps.  They are eager.

The cost of the project is going to be beyond the ability of the parents alone to pay, around four million Central African Francs or CFA.  To give you an idea of family resources in this rural community — the preschool charges 2,000 CFA per year, the equivalent of roughly $5.00 US dollars.  We often have to wait a month or so for payment, until the harvest is finished and money is available.  We are seeking funds from far and near – from the mayor’s office in Rouko, to representatives of the Rouko Sister City in Normandy, France, and to YOU!

Gerry is in Rouko; I don't see it on this map, but she told me it was in the north of the country, not far with Burkina Faso's border with Mali

Gerry is in Rouko; I don’t see it on this map, but she told me it was in the north of the country, not far with Burkina Faso’s border with Mali

Would you like to be part of this initiative?  It’s a great opportunity to be directly connected to a project you are supporting….and there is no added administrative overhead.  I’ll be administering the funds and I can’t receive a salary.  Furthermore, I am committed to transparency and updates!

Because of my Peace Corps volunteer status, I submitted a grant application through the Peace Corps Partnership Program.  This means the Peace Corps has approved the project and has posted it on the Peace Corps grant website to invite general contributions.

You’ll have to log in to the Peace Corps website: and look for the project number 14-686-017.  It will be exciting to work along with you to give our children in Rouko a good start to a better education and a more hopeful future.

Gerry – Peace Corps – Burkina Faso

Student Paper: The Labor Movement in 20th Century Chile by Lily Montesano

June 5, 2014
Victor Jara, Chilean singer, tortured and killed by the U.S. backed (and planned) 1973 coup in Chile

Victor Jara, Chilean singer, tortured and killed by the U.S. backed (and planned) 1973 coup in Chile.

(Note: This is a part of a series of articles that I am posting; 10-12 page papers for a course I just finished teaching: Labor and the Global Economy. I asked permission to post several of them. Here is one.)

The Labor Movement in 20th Century Chile: A Brief Retrospective

Chile has a rich and storied history of labor struggle that extends its ideological roots all the way back to the European Revolution of the mid 19th century (Alexander, 1962). However, labor struggles in Chile truly began to gain speed at the turn of the 20th century, due to a mix of social, political, and economic conditions. This essay seeks to offer a brief insight into what factors underpinned Chile’s regionally revolutionary approach to labor relations, and how those relations changed over time.

Ultimately, it will argue that the economic oppression of Chilean laborers, which was justified through paternalistic social rhetoric, and supported with dominance of the political sphere by the capitalist class, was analyzed using the newly-introduced socialist framework in the late 19th and early 20th century. This gave laborers both a mechanism by which they could understand and organize against the forms of oppression described above. With this new analysis in hand, Chilean laborers concentrated their power in unions and other community organizations, and were ultimately able to change class relations, the political landscape, and social rhetoric in their favor.  Read more…

Student Paper: Colonialism and Labor Migration In West Africa by Heather Cook

June 4, 2014


Note: This is a part of a series of articles that I am posting; 10-12 page papers for a course I just finished teaching: Labor and the Global Economy. I asked permission to post several of them. Here is one.

Colonialism and Labor Migration in West Africa

by Heather Cook

In West Africa, labor migration patterns have largely been determined by colonial and neocolonial policies that focus primarily on exploiting the natural resource endowment of a given country. West Africa, which includes Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, the Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo, have seen colonial occupation from various European powers since the 19th century. This includes British West Africa (Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia, and Nigeria), as well as French West Africa (Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Niger). Read more…

Audi’s nazi concentration camp past

May 28, 2014

Rob Prince:

This is raw footage shot by U.S. military photographers of Nazi concentration camps at the moment of liberation in 1945. I have seen like footage before, visited several camps – Buchenwald, Sachenhausen – (although it was years ago) – but I found this film striking, the power of black and white photography is there in every scene…it emphasizes all the victims of Nazism from all over Europe – even a few Americans. I watched the first twenty minutes of it and will watch the rest tomorrow. It says a lot that what in the 19th century was one of the most cultured and liberal countries in Europe – or anywhere else – could turn into modern day barbarians shortly thereafter. The Germans are not the only ones… they killed with gas, in the post war period others killed with napalm, phosphorus bombs, drones, For those of you think that Americans are incapable of such savagery I recommend Nick Turse’s “Kill Everything That Moves” about the U.S. military intervention in Vietnam, or pretty much anything about the French war against Algeria (1954-1962)….Cheers, RJP…

Steve Weissman – on the victory of far-rightwing, neo-Nazi parties in France and Germany

Originally posted on Dear Kitty. Some blog:

This video is called HD Stock Footage: WWII German Atrocities in Concentration Camps.

From the Daily Mail in England:

Audi employed thousands of concentration camp inmates during Second World War and was ‘firmly ensnared’ in Nazi regime, shocking investigation finds

Firm hired 3,700 concentration camp inmates in deal brokered by the SS

Another 16,500 labourers also forced to work in Auto Union plants

New study was commissioned by Audi in ‘house cleaning’ exercise

Many workers were forced to live in unheated barracks, report finds

Disabled employees shipped north to be executed, according to historians

By Allan Hall in Berlin

Published: 16:18 GMT, 26 May 2014 | Updated: 18:36 GMT, 26 May 2014

Car giant Audi employed thousands of concentration camp inmates during the Second World War and was ‘firmly ensnared’ in the Nazi regime, an investigation has found.

During the war years Audi was known as Group Auto Union…

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