Monthly Archives: April 2006

Fluffy’s new nickname: The Destructor

Fluffy has destroyed my sofabed. Not that he actually needed to do much: it was pretty brittle anyways. But I am still sour that he he chewed actually a corner off. And now the mattress cover has not only got a hole but has split apart.

I wonder if he is actually now in the rebellious teenager age for hamsters, he was such a well-behaved little cute rodent before. Maybe it is also that his teeth are growing too fast for him to controll his urge to chew, but when I put some branches in he did not use them to shorten his teeth, but instead destroyed the mineralstone to little pink pieces.

Yesterday I cleaned his cage and Fluffy has built himself a new hamster home, this time under the water drip. I am wondering how long he will keep it in that location.

Starbuck employees win against the company!

Strange how somehow these events fall together: I have just been blogging about Starbucks trying to sabotage the funding of the community radio station Leith FM after a broadcast reporting the solidarity protest of Zapatista supporters and IWW members against Starbucks, and swoosh the day after the news of the employees winning their court case against this multinational company comes through.
What a telepathic coincidence!

Here is the full email received:

Union Scores Big Victory Against Starbucks at Labor Board

IWW Starbucks Workers Union
March 8, 2006


Union Scores Big Victory Against Starbucks at Labor Board

Coffee Giant Must Rehire Fired Baristas and Rescind National Anti-Union Policies

New York, NY- The IWW Starbucks Workers Union won a watershed victory yesterday in the first National Labor Relations Board conflict over unfair labor practices between the world’s largest coffee chain and the baristas who work there. Faced with the prospect of having its widespread union-busting campaign exposed in a public hearing, Starbucks agreed to remedy all of the myriad violations committed against workers who have organized a union.
“We hope Starbucks’ decision to settle reflects a strategic assessment to cease what has been a relentless anti-union campaign and accept the right of baristas to gain a voice on the job by joining together,” said Laura De Anda, one of the union members that prevailed in the proceedings. “The IWW Starbucks Workers Union is here to stay.”

Some highlights of the National Labor Relations Board settlement with Starbucks include:

  • The reinstatement of IWW members, Sarah Bender and Anthony Polanco, who had been discharged for their union activity in order to discourage other workers from making a free and fair choice about whether to join the union.
  • The invalidation of Starbucks’ national policy that prohibited the sharing of written union information and joining the union on company property.
  • The invalidation of Starbucks’ national no-pin policy. Workers had been banned from wearing IWW pins and had been sent home from work without pay for refusing to take them off.
  • An agreement by Starbucks to end threats, bribes, and surveillance of union members.
  • What would have been a relatively hefty backpay award against Starbucks was reduced because the IWW assisted its discharged members in obtaining other employment which mitigates damages under the National Labor Relations Act. Still, the company will pay out almost $2,000.
  • And much more.

To view the settlement agreement log on to

News of the Day

Yes, I have planted the pumpkin seeds the wrong way round! Actually the round ends are to become the leaves and the pointed tops are where the roots are spreading from.

One of the houseplants is an azalea and I have planted it in the wrong compost – they need a sour soil (low pH) and I just used the ordinary lime based one as well as used an ordinary fertiliser. They actually are mini rhododendrons and need shade as well. Arrgh, tomorrow I need to rescue it by getting the right compost for it. At least now i know why these sort of plants have always died in my home so far – as well as the lack of water obviously contributed.

Also I put them on the wrong windowsill – they got burnt by the sun and developped sunscorches.

As you can imagine, I just got a book about houseplants from the really cheap mass produced “Bookworld” shop. Probably the best £2 I ever spent – I hope I will save enough houseplants by my newly found wisdom to make it also an economical success!

Journalism arguments: More trouble with Leith FM yet again!

Leith FM is going nastily mental again. Really odd some of the other board members behaved suddenly towards me, since Friday, there is a nasty email exchange going on. And I haven’t even started it, which is very unusual.
Suddenly after a year of silence they seem to gang up on me. They behave like they would want to bully me out before having their AGM so there would be no danger of me saying something critical about them in public, with some of the unemployed volunteers doing the dirty work for the mighty man in the background. Who knows what they conspired up to at the last board meeting. However, I am wondering how the more intelligent people on the board of this community radio station behave- they are most likely passively ignoring any bullying mob, like they have before during any conflict.

The whole trouble starting some years ago, when I was trying to find a radio station in Edinburgh which would broadcast audio pieces on social justice and human rights issues, such as did Radio Z, the best radio station in the world.
After first landing on Fresh Air FM, where I first missed the technology introduction session and then found out they would not broadcast issue-based interviews and talks as they focussed at that time much more on the club scene and music presentations as well as had been fined for swearing live on the microphone in the past, I moved on to find a different radio station. I tried to get my foot into the internet-based comedy radio station which was based downstairs at the Forest called Dilated Radio, but for some strange reason I never managed to get in contact and they gave it up apparantly some months later. Fresh Air FM has now changed to only broadcast on the internet, too, as they have troubles finding enough money for the temporary license. Anyways, the Community Media Association people and others recommended Leith FM, so I went down there.

Since then, there has been a constant conflict really with some people who encourage reporting about social issues, human rights and critical news reporting and the crowd who seemed to start Leith FM as an addition to promote and feature the Leith Festival to a wider audience. One of the main editorial restrictions is that many members of the station see Leith FM only reporting about issues based in and only directly concerning the local community, with a disregard to any international and wider issues. There is also a disrespect against anything slightly political, with the Ofcom guidelines being the main argument as well as advertising and financial panic. So for example they refused to broadcast anything about the G8 last summer, and the interview with one of the African community radio journalists about G8 debt and World Bank, IMF and structural adjustment programmes had to take place in the toilet under severe time pressure, as they did not want to actively support it.
So, at the start it seemed Leith FM would be a suitable outlet to broadcast a Scotland Indymedia radio show on, but the first trial already brought on major difficulties, so I decided for myself that it would not be worth the hassle and effort to continue to be involved, despite that I had been voted on the board before in a more optimistic moment.

Basically Starbucks complained to Ofcom about a really well edited story (not mine though) about a protest of IWW workers and Zapatista supporters against Starbucks because of the court case featuring the union members getting sacked in the US and the hostility of Starbucks against union membership and unionising. Ofcom said they can not do anything and the only thing Starbucks could do would be to pull the funding. But Starbucks – naturally – never funded the radio station in the first place, so they could not pull any funding, at least not their own. So they tried to persuade other funders to pull their funding.
This alarmed the programming director for this broadcast, Tony Leach, who has put a lot of his own money and time and energy into the project, and he pulled the next community radio show which would have featured mainly and comprised of reports and live interviews with four guests about landfill, waste, receycling and rubbish and the communities living beside the waste dumps. As destiny has it, though one of the main issues coming up now for the Leith community are covered-up plans to create a waste dump/landfill site near the docks, see the Edinburgh Evening News reports. [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ]

After subscribing to the JournoBiz forum after finding it on Holdthefrontpage I stumbled over or into an argument with and one or more of its contributors (The other side of JournoWimps 11.04.2006).
I find it totally insignificant but interesting. However, there are constant references to the hard discussions on the email list, and it seems impossible to me to subscribe, as there is a constant “bad confirmation string” for the email address or it doesn’t send out the password if requested and it doesn’t allow a login into the members archive.
But I am so curious!

Actually I just found another journalist news forum called “newsmonkey” from Les Hacks Blog. However, at the moment it seems my skin depth has to increase tremendously before being able to contribute to the discussion.

There is another forum on UKPress, but it does not seem to be so active.

Adult Education Courses

Finally, the ILA Scotland approval has come through. I am unsure which course to select, as I am gardening wild at the moment I am considering the horticulture course by the Royal Horticulture Society held at the Botanic Garden.
There is also a one day workshop available on plants, but it seems closed and only available to people who are already taking part in their current regular weekly course. Anyways, after looking around on their websites, I found their full educational programme. Also, they seem to have a plant shop, too, and guided tours.

Other possibilities are driving courses such as the extension of the driving license to include passenger transportation – not sure if this is a minibus license.

There are also offers for an advanced photography course and SAGE at Stevenson and Shorthand at Pitmans. In total the offer of courses is a bit disappointing; neither the Open University nor the Edinburgh University Adult education courses are on offer.

My parents have left now after a week, and the allotment is now much more tidier. We got rid of a lot of carpets and there seem to be only a few left now, hopefully. Most of the seed beds are prepared and the hill has been decreased by about 30 cm. The seedlings are doing well and are getting hardened up on the balcony ready for transfer. The courgettes are doing well and so are the sunflowers, but the spinach looks delicate and only 3 out of the 8 pumpkins so far made an appearance. I wondered if I have planted them accidently the wrong way round.
My neighbour has given me some nice Indian red carrot seeds which I should try out, too.

There is masses of spam on Indymedia Scotland, we haven’t yet found out how to work the spamguard if there is any and how to find it. Furthermore we get personal postings about being a cancer patient and I dunno what to do with it – it would rather belong on a blog but somehow it seems relevant to me, too, to keep it on indymedia. There is the usual load of conspiracy theories and global polit spam mainly from the US but also Australia and the occasional Finnish mass postings.