Political

Political

Governors Ritter & Schwarzenegger Launch EcoDriving Campaign

- for the Grateful Web

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today joined the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers to kick off a new EcoDriving campaign to save consumers money at the pump, reduce fuel use and cut carbon emissions.

"The EcoDriving campaign offers easy actions that all of us can take – starting today, right now – to save money, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and benefit the environment," Gov. Ritter said. "By adopting EcoDriving tips, we can lower our fuel costs by 15 percent or more. And these are easy, common-sense driving and maintenance tips, like avoiding rapid starts and stops, using cruise control, reducing idling, and knowing when it's best to use your air conditioner."

Colorado and California are the first two states to support the consumer awareness campaign, details of which are available at the interactive website www.EcoDrivingUSA.com. Gov. Schwarzenegger appeared at today's news conference at the Colorado Convention Center via a live satellite feed from California.

"You can save money and save the environment by driving green," said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. "Through EcoDriving, 10 top automakers and the states of California and Colorado have found we share an important commitment, and we commend Gov. Schwarzenegger and Gov. Ritter for their leadership in engaging consumers in green driving."

"Today's automobiles are really computers on wheels, with more than 3,000 interactive parts operating as a complex system," McCurdy added. "The more you know about your machine, the better you can reduce fuel use and CO2 emissions."

With 240 million vehicles on the road in the United States, the benefits of EcoDriving could be significant:

·       - If just half of all drivers nationwide practiced moderate levels of EcoDriving, annual CO2 emissions could be reduced by about 100 million tons, or the equivalent of heating and powering 8.5 million households.

·       -  If all Americans practiced EcoDriving, it would be equal to 450 billion miles traveled on our roadways without generating any CO2 emissions.  That's 1,500 CO2-free miles for every man, woman, and child in the United States each year.

Sample EcoDriving practices include: 

·       - Not tailgating, knowing the proper way to accelerate and brake, and using synchronized traffic lights to a driver's advantage, driving at the optimum highway speed, understanding when to use air conditioning and much more.

Sample maintenance practices include:

·       - Knowing which motor oil to use, understanding the importance of proper tire pressure and what affects tire pressure, understanding aerodynamics and much more.

In conjunction with the unveiling of EcoDriving, the National Automobile Dealers Association announced that September will be free "Green Check-up Month" nationwide.

The EcoDriving interactive website, www.EcoDrivingUSA.com, will help drivers learn practical tips to improve their mileage and reduce their carbon footprint. The site includes a video guide to EcoDriving, an "EcoCalculator" to determine benefits for individuals or states, a Virtual Road Test and a variety of educational tools.

Alliance members hope to engage all 50 states and major consumer organizations in EcoDriving.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is a trade association of 10 car and light truck manufacturers including BMW Group, Chrysler, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen.

GOV. RITTER EMBARKS TODAY ON CLIMATE EXPEDITION

Norwegian Arctic- for the Grateful Web

Following this week's G8 Summit, during which world leaders addressed the pressing issue of global warming, Gov. Bill Ritter (Colorado) announced he is embarking today on a weeklong climate-change expedition to the Norwegian Arctic.

The expedition, which runs through July 19, was organized and is being hosted by the Aspen Institute, National Geographic Society and Lindblad Expeditions. Gov. Ritter will be joining dozens of climate experts, Arctic specialists and leaders of industry, government, culture, religion and philanthropy aboard the National Geographic ship Endeavour.

The expedition sponsors invited Gov. Ritter to attend, present his Colorado Climate Action Plan and participate in policy discussions throughout the trip, including a panel on innovative leadership and climate change.

"Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time," Gov. Ritter said. "This is a challenge that requires unprecedented global cooperation and partnerships. This expedition offers a unique opportunity to exchange information, strategies and insights with a very diverse group of experts and leaders, and to see the impacts of climate change first-hand."

Gov. Ritter issued the Colorado Climate Action Plan in November. The Plan calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 20 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.

"Addressing climate change is extremely important to Colorado because our quality of life and so much of our economy – such as tourism, the ski industry, rafting, fishing and agriculture – are tied to our climate," Gov. Ritter said. "With these challenges also come opportunities, including economic and job-creation opportunities. Colorado's future very much depends on how we move forward, and it's vital that we have a leadership role."      

Over the past two years, the National Geographic Society's explorers, experts and photographers have participated on several Lindblad Expeditions trips, with a special focus on education and conservation. The Aspen Institute also has created a "Dialogue and Commission on Arctic Climate Change" to identify how action can be taken to strengthen and enhance responsibilities for a shared and sustainable future of the Arctic.

Some of the scientific experts on the expedition:

·         Sally Benson, executive director, Global Climate & Energy Project, Stanford University.

·         Robert Corell, director, Global Change Program, Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, and former chair of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment.

·         Julian Dowdeswell, director, Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge University.

·         Professor Thomas Heller, Stanford University.

·         Henry "Jake" Jacoby, professor of management and co-director, MIT Joint Program on the Science & Policy of Global Change.

·         Michael Oppenheimer, Albert G. Milbank professor of Geosciences and International Affairs, Princeton University.

·         Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam University, Institute for Climate Impact Research.

420 pictures from Boulder, Colorado (4.20.2008)

CU campus -- photos by Mike Moran- for the Grateful Web
- for the Grateful Web

Check out pictures and video from today's 420 smoke up on the CU campus in Boulder, Colorado.  University of Colorado police estimated that 10,000 people gathered for the annual "smoke-up" on Norlin Quad on CU's campus.  In contrast to prior years when CU police attempted to discourage the event, they were keeping it "low-key" this year, said Commander Brad Wiesley, a spokesman. "When you're outnumbered 1,000-to-1, or even 750-to-1, it's really hard to have much say over what the crowd does," Wiesley said.

Origins of 420 (from Wikipedia):

Although many diverse theories exist to explain the origin of the term, one central root of the phrase stems from a group of teenagers at San Rafael High School in San Rafael, California in 1971; the teens would meet after school at 4:20 p.m. to smoke cannabis at the Louis Pasteur statue.[3][4] The term became part of their group's salute, "420 Louis!",[5] and became popularized in the late 1980s by fans of The Grateful Dead.[6] Many North American cannabis users continue to observe 4:20 as a time to smoke communally. By extension April 20 ("4/20" in U.S. dating shorthand) has evolved into a counterculture holiday, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis.[7][8][9] In some locations this celebration coincides with Earth Week.[10][11][12]

Enjoy,

The Grateful Web

Democrats Are Accountable Too

Maryland... wake up and vote for Donna Edwards!- for the Grateful Web

They're a problem. Democrats in Congress who vote with President Bush on the war. Who take checks from lobbyists. Who side with corporations instead of voters.

It's not enough just to fight Republicans— progressives need to make sure the Democrats we elect are on our side too.

Right now, in Maryland's 4th congressional district election, we have a great opportunity to replace a right-wing Democrat with a new progressive champion—and remind the rest of the Democrats in Congress that at the end of the day, the voters call the shots.

 

Rep. Al Wynn, the incumbent, loads up on corporate cash,1 and has voted with the President again and again—including his vote to authorize the war in Iraq.  Donna Edwards, the challenger, is a true fighting progressive who will go to Washington and take on the establishment.

 

MoveOn.org members who live in the district voted overwhelmingly to endorse Donna Edwards in the Democratic primary, and they've asked for our help.

 

Can you contribute $25 to help Donna Edwards win, and put all the other right-wing Democrats on notice? Click here:

 

This is a solidly Democratic district, and the person who represents it has a chance to be a voice of progressive reason for the whole Congress.

 

Donna Edwards is an activist and community leader. As the founder of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, she helped to pass the Violence Against Women Act. She's promised to demand an end to the war in Iraq, and to fight for health care and economic justice.

 

The incumbent, Rep. Al Wynn, has voted with Republicans on bankruptcy rules, the Estate Tax, energy issues, and other key votes. He's accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in special interest campaign contributions and taken free travel and luxury trips paid for by lobbyists.3 And to top it all off, he voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

 

This week, MoveOn members in the district voted overwhelmingly to endorse Edwards: with six candidates running in the Democratic primary, Donna Edwards won the support of over 84% of local MoveOn members. As one member, Mimi B. from Silver Spring, wrote, "I was absolutely blown away by how clear-thinking and persuasive she is—she's the real deal, a true progressive."

 

Please help Donna Edwards, the first progressive primary challenger we're supporting in 2008.  Click here to help out her campaign:

 

Why not just put this energy into fighting Republicans? Because making sure the Democratic party fights on the big issues like healthcare and education is the best way to make sure voters side with Democrats.

 

When MoveOn.org members were recently asked if MoveOn.org should support primary challengers against Democrats who have sided with the President, 78% said yes. And that starts with electing progressive champions like Donna Edwards.

RITTER BREAKS GROUND ON NATION'S 2nd-LARGEST WIND FARM

Wind Farm in Colorado- for the Grateful Web

Gov. Bill Ritter joined FPL Energy, Xcel Energy, local officials and about 200 other guests here today to break ground on what will be the nation's second-largest wind generation facility.

Ritter was joined by Mike O'Sullivan, senior vice president of development at FPL Energy, and Karen Hyde, managing director of Resource Planning and Acquisitions at Xcel Energy.

"Today we are making history," Gov. Ritter said. "This project will be the largest wind farm in the state and second-largest in the nation. It will have the longest transmission line in the world. Along with our tremendous agricultural crops, Colorado is the 11th windiest and 6th sunniest state in the nation. Our intellectual resources are second-to-none.

"Combined, all of this says that Colorado is well on its way to becoming the renewable energy capital of the country and a leader in the New Energy Economy," Gov. Ritter added.

O'Sullivan said, "Colorado is taking an important leadership role in the growth of wind energy in the United States . The Peetz Table Wind Energy Center will help the state realize its enormous potential for economic growth through the generation of clean, renewable energy."

" Xcel Energy continues to add more wind power to our existing system. By purchasing the energy from FPL at this project and from three others, we will reach Colorado 's renewable energy standard seven years early," said Hyde. "Wind power is a valuable part of our generation mix in Colorado . With the new renewable energy legislation requiring 20 percent of our power come from renewable energy, we feel that it will continue to grow in importance."

Peetz Table Wind Energy Center Facts:

Construction of 267 General Electric turbines should be complete by the end of 2007.

They will generate 400 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 120,000 homes a year.

Xcel Energy will purchase the energy under a long-term contract.

FPL Energy is constructing a 78-mile-long transmission line to connect the Peetz Table facility to the power grid at Xcel Energy's Pawnee substation near Brush. This will be longest power transmission line in the world.

At the height of construction, the project will employ between 300-350 workers.

When complete, the Peetz Table Wind Energy Center will have about 20 full-time employees and have a significant positive impact on the local economy.

KATE CLINTON IT'S COME TO THIS! 25TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR

Kate Clinton will be in Denver- for the Grateful Web

Beloved political humorist Kate Clinton cuts loose and runs with the burning issues of the day - same and same-old-sex marriage, pop and pope culture, good and bad Bush fatigue - in this one-funny woman, stand up performance.  You'll laugh 'til you think!

Friday, April 6th @ 7:30pm
Gothic Theatre
3263 South Broadway, Englewood
Tickets $25.00 GA
$75.00 VIP - includes artist meet and greet after the show (proceeds to benefit NCLR)
18+ Welcome
Please visit www.ticketweb.com for more information
Ticket Outlets - Boulder: Word is Out Books, Bart's CD Cellar
and Boulder Theater Box Office 
Denver : All Independent Records Stores, Twist & Shout, and Gothic Theatre Box Office
Ft.  Collins : ABCD's
Produced by Maven Productions

This year Kate Clinton celebrates her 25th Anniversary with a 50 city tour across the United States and Canada.  IT'S COME TO THIS!  Tour is being sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, The Advocate, Air America Radio and PlanetOut Inc.  Kate will be celebrating all those laughs, those first dates and those comings out with a special show that also honors 25 years of community building.

  
So where do Lily Tomlin, Melissa Etheridge, Billie Jean King and Eve Ensler play a part in this celebration?  Along with 28 other celebrities, they have put together an amazing video production that will be part of the show; a video no one will want to miss....

From lesbian-separatist coffeehouses to mainstream concert halls, from production collectives to event planners, from patchouli to professionalism, from invisibility to undeniable visibility - you too have been part of that movement.

Kate Clinton is a faith-based, tax-paying, America-loving political humorist and family entertainer.  With a career spanning over 25 years, Kate Clinton has worked through economic booms and busts, Disneyfication and Walmartization, gay movements and gay markets, lesbian chic and queer eyes, and ten presidential inaugurals.  She still believes that humor gets us through peacetime, wartime and scoundrel time.

For more information check out www.kateclinton.com

WHERE THE RIGHT WENT WRONG...AND VICE VERSA

- for the Grateful Web

I grew up in a time when being liberal was almost a moral imperative. My parents supported civil rights, women's rights, and opposed the war in Vietnam. And as best as I could tell, then and now, there weren't a lot of gray areas in those positions. The left clearly had the moral high ground, and my home state of Alabama, in the 1960s, was arguably the front line in the battle for social change.

Yet, my parents didn't march with King or join in any organized protests. They just quietly stood up, every day, for what was right. They helped build churches and playgrounds, installed plumbing and electric in black neighborhoods, respectfully voiced their "radical" opinions, and steadfastly refused to be intimidated by the Klan or anyone else.

If they were afraid, they never showed it. Probably because, being locals, they weren't. In the absurd intimacy of a small southern town, the guy who wears the hood on Saturday night is the same person who fixes your car on Monday morning. There isn't room to build fences - only bridges - and my parents always showed kindness to those whose views were different. They understood that someone's ideology is a complex recipe of birth circumstances and life experiences that shouldn't obscure who they are as a person.

It is a lesson I never forgot, though I came to believe that the left did. Perhaps buoyed by the moral righteousness of those years, the left expanded its focus into a whole host of issues that held, at least to me, a lot of gray areas. From global warming to abortion, there was bad science being touted as truth, and the messages were often inconsistent and confusing. We were encouraged to support personal privacy but not private property rights, protect squirrels but not fetuses. And if you dared to disagree, you were labeled a fool and mocked by celebrities on late-night talk shows.

eBy contrast, the right seemed to have a clearer message. Their focus was family, hard work, personal accountability, fiscal restraint, and entrepreneurship. As a young parent and small business owner, this message resonated with me. Not that I embraced the whole package, but more and more, I found myself at odds with the left, which seemed to be a bloated, bureaucracy-loving, elitist machine, too enthralled by its own rhetoric to admit the failure of social programs that were well-intended but poorly executed.

Now, the same can be said about the right. Perhaps buoyed by the patriotism we all shared after 9/11, conservatives expanded their focus into a lot of gray areas, forgetting that human nature, in practice, doesn't function according to theory, especially in regions that we barely understand. And if you dared to disagree, you were labeled unpatriotic and mocked by self-righteous pundits on late-night talk shows.

Still, I believe that both sides are well-intentioned. There is no more inherent evil in wanting to spread democracy than there is in wanting to protect the ozone layer, balance the eco-system, or feed starving children in Africa. Yet, in all these cases - in all the attempts to save the world from itself - there are repercussions we cannot predict. Farmers lose their livelihoods, bad governments get richer while the poor continue to starve, and innocent people die.

Since neither side is particularly good at admitting their mistakes, it is our duty not to let the pendulum swing too far in either direction. Even from my somewhat limited view of history, I can see that political success leads to arrogance, and arrogance leads to extremes. And although I cannot speak for all conservatives (and certainly don't), I, for one, am relieved to see the pendulum swing left again.

The GOP needs to be Ousted on Tuesday - Go Vote!

what a shady character- for the Grateful Web

After 6 years of incompetence, hypocrisy, corruption, and fear based tactics, the time has come for change.

Let's revisit a portion of Republican corruption...

1) Mark  Foley (and the republicans trying to cover it up because they're more concerned with keeping a seat in congress than protecting children).  Hastert needs to be fired immediately.  The fat f(*k sweats in the winter time.

2) Abu Ghraib prison

3) Jack Abramoff with ties to all kinds of GOP including Dick "oil can" Cheney and Dubya, the dumbest & most inarticulate president America has even seen.

4) Halliburton (only company to get a bid on 'rebuilding' Iraq and Cheney's former company...

5) Cheney shooting a friend in face, after having "two beers"

6) Tom DeLay

7) Congressman Bob Ney

8)  Bush's "Mission Accomplished"  - lied to America about weapons of mass destruction, etc. over 600K dead innocent Iraqi civilians - and Bush claims he's "pro-life"  - 2829 dead American GI's for Bush's war for oil.  44,779 injured American troops. -  (http://www.icasualties.org/oif/) bookmark this site! (eight more dead GI's just yesterday!  Has the GOP supporters become desensitized to American GI deaths!?)

All this war time gung-ho, stay the course, bullshit coming from Dick Cheney who never served a day of military service and Dubya who went AWOL.  Kerry, while a big mouth, is a war time veteran with 3 purple hearts.  And the truth is, he's right. I am the perfect example. I f*c)*d around in high school and my dad kicked me out of the house. I had no choice but to join the military, like many of the enlisted American heroes in Iraq.  That's right; I am a veteran of the US Air Force.

9) Senator Conrad Burns (Montana) - more Abramoff ties and one of the least effective senators, just like Colorado's own Wayne Allard.

10) Curt Weldon - congressman in PA federal investigators examine charges that he steered lobbying contracts to his daughter.

11)  Rep. Don Sherwood (Pa.), who has been dogged by the settlement of a lawsuit filed by a mistress who charged that Sherwood had throttled her.

12) Congress watchers once saw the swing seat of Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) as a missed opportunity for Democrats. But now, as the U.S. attorney's office in Phoenix examines his role in a land deal for a business partner and political benefactor, Renzi's race with political neophyte Ellen Simon (D) has tightened.

13) Rep. Jon Porter (R-Nev.) has had to contend with charges lodged last month by a longtime former aide, Jim Shepard, that the lawmaker made dozens of illegal fundraising calls from his congressional offices. And two reliably Republican districts in California are under assault by Democrats because Reps. Richard W. Pombo and John T. Doolittle have been linked to Abramoff, the lobbyist who pleaded guilty in January to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials.

14) Rep. Katherine Harris (R), was the target of local media reports this week detailing his use of business entities in Caribbean tax havens to reduce levies on his auto dealerships.

15) Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), who made his name pushing campaign finance changes and governance reforms, was confronted with media reports alleging that a 2003 trip to Qatar - partly funded by a group loosely tied to Abramoff - had not been properly disclosed.

16) Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (N.Y.) chose to issue a public apology after he admitted that he had known about inappropriate contact between Foley and a former page this spring.

The GOP is the most corrupt bunch of f*(k*rs in the history of American politics. They are going down on Tuesday.  Do your part to vote the GOP out of office. It's time for a change.

Mike Moran

The Grateful Web

CONSERVATION GROUPS NAME BEAUPREZ TO NOTORIOUS 'DIRTY DOZEN' LIST – AGAIN

Beauprez is not good for Colorado- for the Grateful Web

Congressman Beauprez has renewed his membership to the notorious "Dirty Dozen" group of enemies of the environment, the first time a gubernatorial candidate has earned a spot on the annual list.

As reported in various media outlets today, the non-partisan League of Conservation Voters on Wednesday announced that the Congressman's abysmal voting record on environmental issues led to once again naming him a member of Congress's "Dirty Dozen."

The League said the Congressman has issued pro-environment votes just 5 percent of the time during his tenure in Congress. They say the Congressman has voted to:

1) Exempt some oil and gas activities from water-protection laws.

2) Reduce royalty revenues going to Colorado communities to manage energy development impacts.

3) Subsidize oil companies at a time of record-breaking profits.

4) Oppose energy conservation measures such as increasing miles-per-gallon standards of new cars.

The Congressman's wildlife relocation plan also continues to be ridiculed as further evidence of his anti-environment ideology. "Asking elk to change migration patterns is not a sound idea, and certainly points to Bob Beauprez's willingness to bend the laws of nature in an effort to further serve special interests," outfitter Jeff Mead said at yesterday's news conference, according to the Glenwood Post-Independent.

The Congressman first made the "Dirty Dozen" list in 2004 . The League of Conservation Voters also has named Beauprez to "Tom's Tainted Team" for his support of now-resigned Republican leader Tom DeLay's anti-environmental agenda and for accepting money from DeLay.

American Apparel: Really American

- for the Grateful Web

American Apparel proves that good ethics equal good business.  Last year American Apparel made $250 million in revenue and $400 million in revenue is projected for this year.  American Apparel is a clothing wholesaler and a retailer.

"I'm really excited for it to be in Boulder because I think Boulder has been needing it," said Jules Brennan, 24, manager of the new American Apparel store which just opened on Pearl Street, claiming the Gap's former space.  Though both companies sell similar casual attire, they vary greatly in their manufacturing practices.  The roads from design to merchandising for each store could not be farther apart.  While the Gap and other clothing companies contract their manufacturing to factories around the world, American Apparel lives up to its name by manufacturing all of its clothing in Los Angeles, Calif.

Founded in 1997 by Canadian Dov Charney, 37, American Apparel initially contracted its manufacturing to Mexico, but Charney moved manufacturing to the United States since it is difficult to manage someone else's company.  Charney prefers a hands-on approach and oversees every aspect of the company from designs to the openings of dozens of new stores around the world.  "He wants to be in every part of the company so he can get a feel for what is going on and where the company should be going," said Brennan, and added, "Even though it's corporate you still have a lot of freedom."

"The company's identity embraced a concept of a positive experience, and that means everyone is going to have a positive experience.  I think that's a real important basic premise," said Roian Atwood, 28, director of community relations at American Apparel.  The Los Angeles factory has modern sewing equipment, offers medical benefits after 90 days, has free masseurs on site, and offers subsidized bus passes, free ESL classes, free parking and bicycle lending.  Employees are allowed to use bathrooms whenever needed and to make brief personal phone calls on company phones.  The Los Angeles factory's location has plenty of natural light and is air-conditioned.  The atmosphere is laid-back and still productive.  According to www.americanapparel.net, the factory can create over 210,000 T-shirts each day, or about 1 million per week.

"We're reinvesting in ourselves," said Greg Martinelli, 35, the manager of the Denver store in the midst of helping the Boulder store on its opening day, referring to American Apparel's practice of vertical integration.  Everything from design to distribution is done in the Los Angeles factory.  Vertical integration eliminates the middle man and increases efficiency.  Design and assembly errors are noticed and amended faster.  The entire production is seamless and money is saved as a result.  Employees are also valued.  American Apparel's factory does not have a high level of turnover, which is also cost efficient.  Atwood also said Charney learned from the mistakes of the automobile industry.  As rising sales demand new technology, workers are trained instead of being laid off.

aaThe philosophy of vertical integration extends to marketing as all of the models in American Apparel's advertisements are employees of the company or friends of employees.  The Gap, while too sparing to pay manufacturing workers livable wages, paid Madonna $5 million for appearing in print ads and a television commercial in 2003.  Vertical integration could become the manufacturing model for the future in light of American Apparel's success and rapid expansion.  American Apparel already has stores in ten countries and 100 new stores will open this year.  The company also has 55,000 wholesale customers.  American Apparel has a growing fan base while its competitors continue to be scrutinized for their dishonorable practices.

"A lot of the companies that utilize contract labor have these large networks.  For them to consider changing…it's very difficult.  Making [clothes] in the U.S. may not be so easy for them to consider," said Ben Giardullo, 24, operations manager, but added, "They're running out of room to say it has to be done with contractors."  Clothes for Gap, Inc. are manufactured in over 50 countries by workers in more than 3,600 factories according to www.behindthelabel.org.  Garment workers at American Apparel's Los Angeles factory are paid $12.50-$20.00 per hour according to American Apparel's web site.  Many contractors in China pay workers an average of 22 cents per hour and as little as 14 cents per hour.  People sometimes work over 90 hours per week.  Workers are ruled by intimidation and are beaten if they make mistakes.  Workers in countries such as Mexico and Bangladesh are fired if they speak out about their poor working environments or try to organize unions.  Many of the Gap's contracted factories are surrounded by barbed wire fences and patrolled by guards.  The factories are basically prisons.  To make matters even worse, many workers are cheated out of their earnings by their employers.

gapThe BBC exposed the Gap for having a contractor which used child labor in Cambodia.  Some of these laborers were only 12 years old.  Cambodian workers were forced to work overtime and seven day work weeks while living in squalor, according to www.behindthelabel.org.  The Gap is not alone in its support of human rights abuses as Abercrombie & Fitch, J. Crew, Eddie Bauer, Ann Taylor and others have utilized contractors which treat human beings as product-producing machines. Contractors also act as loan sharks to their employees who borrow money at high interest rates to buy food.  The employees essentially become indentured servants who are trapped in a borrow and work cycle.

"Nobody does what we do.  We do exactly what everyone else says is impossible," said Giardullo.  American Apparel proves a company does not have to be unethical to be profitable.  American Apparel will add to the paradoxes it practices by exporting American-made T-shirts to China.