April 26-May 3, 2006

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David Cole

Civil Warrior: David Cole barnstormed Santa Cruz this week with bad news about the war on terror.

Nūz: Santa Cruz County News Briefs

War on Legitimacy

According to award-winning civil liberties writer, National Public Radio legal correspondent and lawyer David Cole, Americans are losing the "War on Terror." Not only that, but we are less free and less safe today than we were before the attacks of 9/11.

Cole made this case on Sunday before a packed auditorium at Santa Cruz High School/b> during a free lecture co-sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union and the high school's social studies department.

With winds of anti-Americanism sweeping the globe after the invasion of Iraq, Cole argued, "it's pretty hard for the Bush Administration to point to evidence that the 'War on Terror' is working. ... When you seek a legitimate end by illegitimate means, you undermine the legitimacy of the enterprise."

Cole, who also spoke along with former ambassador Joe Wilson at Monday's teach-in at UC-Santa Cruz, railed against the Bush administration's roundup of thousands of Muslim foreigners, many of whom are still incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay, stripped of legal aid and other constitutional rights.

Since 9/11, Cole said, some 5,000 foreign nationals have been detained in the Bush administration's "War on Terror," another 8,000 have been interviewed by the FBI and about 80,000 have been called in for "special registration." Yet none, claimed Cole, were found guilty of committing a hostile act.

"Why are we locking them up?" he asked. "It's a tremendous waste of resources."

In attendance at Sunday's event were more than 150 concerned locals, a number of them ACLU chapter members, and a brigade from City Hall including Mayor Cynthia Mathews, Mike Rotkin and Ryan Coonerty. Former mayor Celia Scott, who rose during the Q&A session, asked Cole if impeachment is now a "dead letter." Cole suggested that it was still a possibility, but not with one party driving all three branches of government.

The lecture was the first of its kind at Santa Cruz High. Local ACLU co-chair John Thompson said the group would continue looking for ways to engage high school students, few of whom were present Sunday.

What's New, Alley Cat?

Looking to do something absurd with your bike this weekend? Then look no further than People Power's first-ever Alley Cat Scavenger Hunt.

The local bike advocacy group is hosting the race, which is being billed as more of an urban scavenger hunt/rolling party than an actual competition, to drum up enthusiasm for pro-cycling activism.

"Sometimes the best thing to do for advocacy is have a great time, and that's what we're going to do," says Micah Posner of People Power.

People Power, which is responsible for bike lanes on Beach Street, bike racks on Metro buses and the preservation of the path through the Great Meadow at UCSC, among other local feats of bike activism, is always looking to motivate the Santa Cruz cycling community to fight for their right to bike.

The idea for the ally cat race came from PedX's well-attended Loose Scruz event last October, which helped stimulate business for the bike-powered delivery service.

Saturday's race will consist of two courses, a shorter, kid-friendly route, as well as a longer route for more serious competitors. Racers will ride to various checkpoints around town, gathering clues about where to go next and collecting information about bike advocacy along the way.

"It's not like a regular race with everyone moving in one direction," insists Posner. "People will be going all over the place. It's going to be super-duper fun."

Bike-related prizes will be awarded to the winner and to some of the particularly spirited losers as well. Two-wheeled, self-power conveyances of all shapes and sized are welcome.

The race begins at 703 Pacific Ave. on Sunday, April 30, at 11am. For more information, or to pre-register, call 831.419.0162.

God Hates Chain Stores

It's time to round up the family and put on your fair trade, 100 percent organic, locally manufactured church-going shoes, because Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir are coming to town.

The Reverend, determined to deliver sinners from the evil grip of consumerism, has been preaching the Stop Shopping gospel for almost 10 years. Through entertaining displays of activism, he and his choir have led campaigns against corporate chain stores like Starbucks, Disney and Wal-Mart. When not involved in anti-corporate protests, Billy and his choir tour regularly, spreading the good word throughout the U.S.

This isn't Billy's first visit to Santa Cruz. In June of 2005, he made an appearance at the Guerrilla Drive-In under the Soquel Avenue bridge, preaching the message of "buy locally" and "just say no to big box stores" prior to the Drive-In's showing of Night of the Iguana.

This Friday at 7:30pm, Billy will be appearing at the slightly more glamorous Rio Theatre for his Rapture Interruptus Revival, which will feature singing and dancing by the choir as well as a fiery sermon from the good Reverend himself.

Nūz just loves juicy tips about Santa Cruz County politics.

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