Another Goodstorm Horror Story–And still no black tee with a union bug

My readers want black tees with “We will not be silent” printed in Arabic. I want to offer a tee that is not made by sweatshop labor.

Goodstorm had a black union-made tee that came in large sizes, as well as smaller, fashion-fit black tees from American Apparel, a U.S.-based non-union company whose fair labor practices have been documented. But Goodstorm stopped paying its shopkeepers. My own problems with Goodstorm have still not been resolved.

I thought Goodstorm was a problem just for shopkeepers, but now it looks like customers didn’t receive the goods they ordered either. Blogger Zootso set up Goodstorm shop and ordered some stuff from it to see what would happen. The first orders merely arrived late. Subsequent orders did not arrive at all and Zootso was able to get a refund (but not the goods) only after much wrangling.

I am still looking for the internet fulfillment company that will offer that ethically-produced black tee .

Posted in Fair Trade, T-shirts. Comments Off

Who won the Democratic Debate–Edwards, Obama, or Hillary?

I’m still looking at the transcripts for the January 21, 2008 Democratic debates on CNN. Who won–John Edwards, Barack Obama, or Hilary Clinton?

Here are the links to the transcripts: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3.

And here are the T-shirts:

a T-shirt for Hillary for President,

a T-shirt for Edwards for president,

and a T-shirt for Obama for president.

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Obama Tee Edwards Tee Hillary Tee

It will be interesting to see which shirt is the most popular.  Right now the Edwards bumper sticker is ahead of everything else.

Posted in Election 2008, Merchandise, Obama, Products, T-shirts. Comments Off

What is happening to Goodstorm?

A little over a year ago the internet fulfillment company Goodstorm announced it would start selling black t-shirts that were ethically produced in the United States. I was excited by the thought of offering tees that weren’t produced in sweatshops with child labor, so I started a little shop with some Arabic language tees.

Now Goodstorm has stopped paying out shopkeeper royalties. One blogger even reports he has never received a payment and can no longer access his shop in order to close it. He has discontinued working with Goodstorm and no longer recommends it. In fact, he even posts a link to the Better Business Bureau in case someone wants to file an official complaint.

I can still access my shop, but I have closed all the links to it. I have been promised more information about when I might receive a check within a few days. When a company has already received payment for items purchased, but can’t pay the royalty, that does not look good.

Still, people keep asking me for the products, especially the black “lan nesmit” (We will not be silenced) black t-shirt in Arabic.

I will try to work with Goodstorm a little longer.

In the meantime, I will be looking for another source for union or ethically produced black tees.

Posted in Arabic, Fair Trade, Merchandise, Products, T-shirts. Comments Off

Academic Freedom–the shirt

I’m not one of those people who arrives at a meeting with a Chomsky quotation up my sleeve. But I was impressed with the strong turnout for academic freedom at University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel Friday–an event where Noam Chomsky was scheduled to speak along with Israel Lobby co-author John Mearsheimer and others.

So here are two Chomsky Freedom T-shirts with academic freedom themes. One says,

If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.

The other says,

For those who stubbornly seek freedom, there can be no more urgent task than to come to understand the mechanisms and practices of indoctrination. These are easy to perceive in the totalitarian societies, much less so in the system of ‘brainwashing under freedom’ to which we are subjected and which all too often we serve as willing or unwitting instruments.

Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is coming up. Might be just the thing.

Tees are sweatshop-free and ethically produced, either in the U.S by union labor or by American Apparel whose fair labor practices have been well documented. Chomsky Freedom Tees are available in organic, fitted, hoodie, raglan, tank top and dog.

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Related posts:

Chomsky Ditches Rockefeller Chapel, Politics is Still Local

Noam Chomsky and Israel Lobby Co-author Mearsheimer to Speak at Rockefeller Chapel in October 2007

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Posted in Free speech, peace, Products, T-shirts. Comments Off

Chomsky Ditches Rockefeller Chapel, Politics is Still Local

On my way to Rockefeller Chapel for the symposium on the Israel Lobby, two things were uppermost in my mind. One was whether the Israel Lobby was the only force preventing the formation of the Palestinian state. The other was why I couldn’t get my hair to lie straight. I needn’t have worried about either one.

As it turned out, the afternoon’s festivities were not about Palestine at all, but rather about a subject closer to home: the denial of tenure for two DePaul professors. And the U of C fashion statement for the semester seems to be tousled hair, drab dark colors, and flimsy twisted scarves, wound around the neck once with both ends hanging in the front.

Featured speaker Noam Chomsky didn’t make it on account of his wife’s illness, but sent a video. Summaries of the speakers’ comments “In Defense of Academic Freedom” are available elsewhere on the net, as are discussions of the Norman Finkelstein/Mehrene Larudee tenure issues.

But how does the Israel Lobby work? Some answers came out during the question and answer session. In the U.S. congress, the Middle East is a “small issue” but a bridge is a “big issue”. The Israel Lobby does not provide direct money or direct pressure. Even if a legislator has no problem getting reelected they still can’t afford to offend the Israel Lobby. They would sacrifice their career, since they would be able to get no bills through, to get the bridges and local projects that get them reelected. The Israel Lobby is not a conspiracy, it is just a policy group like the NRA. It is part of the legitimate political process. The way it is not legitimate is when it tries to stifle academic discussion.

The way that the Israel Lobby influences academic decisions like tenure was not made really clear. Apparently this is also not an overt process, the schools simply “know” what they are expected to do. Academians are told through the grapevine they could have problems if their names become linked to people like Finkelstein. Possibly they anticipate a smear campaign. Even sitting on the same stage with someone like Israel Lobby co-author John Mearsheimer could have repercussions for their careers, they are told.

Suddenly the importance of someone with Chomsky’s reputation lending his name to this issue became clear, as did the clearing of the stage after the question and answer session, to allow all new speakers to come out–including the two DePaul professors–for a separate session. Ah, academia.

Yes, the world needs people like Chomsky, Finkelstein, Juan Cole. Not because their assertions are necessarily true, or even because they believe what they say themselves. The way I understand it, it’s a huge case of “the game’s afoot.” It’s a way to arrive at truth. One group takes one side of an argument and argues it vehemently. The other group takes the other side. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Academic reputations are made on the twist of a phrase or an insult that no one else can understand. Meanwhile , youths burning embassies in Turkey or the Middle East take the whole dialog seriously, believing they have discovered the truth in the academics’ statements. They have only discovered a process meant for arriving at the truth.

Who knows how closely the academic discussion actually mirrors real life events. Does it matter? After all, tenure for professors–like bridges–is a “big issue”. The Middle East is a “small issue.” I wonder how I could explain that one to my Palestinian friends. Still, not having those voices would mean quite the lopsided public discourse.
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Related posts:

Academic Freedom-the shirt 

Noam Chomsky and Israel Lobby Co-author Mearsheimer to Speak at Rockefeller Chapel in October 2007 

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Posted in Middle East, peace, T-shirts. Comments Off

Chicago City Colleges Outsources T-shirts to Foreign Sweatshops

You would think the City Colleges of America’s Second City would not be supporting sweatshop labor, child labor and union busting. But the other day I went to a concert at one of Chicago’s city colleges and as a door prize, I received a t-shirt made in a sweatshop.

Everyone who walked in the door received a t-shirt with the school logo on it. My shirt was a Hanes “Beefty-T” made in the Dominican Republic. I seemed to remember something about Hanes, so when I got home I looked it up.

Hanes has one of the worst, if not the worst human rights records in the industry. Last October the national labor committee reported the re-emergence of child labor in factories making apparel for Hanes and WalMart.

The children report being routinely slapped and beaten, sometimes falling down from exhaustion, forced to work 12 to 14 hours a day, even some all-night, 19- to 20-hour shifts, often seven days a week, for wages as low as 6 and a half cents an hour.

Now a new report from the Worker’s Rights Consortium talks about the same factory in the Dominican Republic that manufactured the t-shirt I got as a door prize. The one with the name of one of Chicago’s city colleges on it.

The Worker’s Rights Consortium has over 150 affiliated colleges and universities that help support its work of investigating overseas factories an d insuring fair labor practices for  workers in factories that produce apparel for college logos. Harvard University is a member.  Duke University is a member.  The University of Illinois at Chicago is a member.

What about Chicago City Colleges?  Surely the City Colleges of Chicago supports fair labor practices.  Do you see any of the Chicago City Colleges on the list?

Nope.

Is your school on the list?

Impeach Bush sign taken down? Try a t-shirt instead.

Is it illegal to post an “Impeach Bush” sign on public property? We’re about to find out.

Ohio teacher Kevin Egler and his friends have been posting anti-war signs all over Ohio and surrounding states. They say the war in Iraq is illegal and immoral. Now Egler has been issued a ticket for posting an Impeach Bush sign in Kent in Portage County. The Kent police said he was “unlawfully advertising in a public place”.

Egler said that when he was stopped in Kent, he asked the police officer how his sign differed from Realtors posting signs on public property saying “This way to the house for sale.” He said the officer asked, “You don’t know the difference?” but never explained what it might be.

Egler’s lawyer says he knows the difference. A real estate sign is a commercial message. Egler’s sign is a political message. Political messages have more legal protections, says the attorney, Bob Fitrakis, who specializes in first amendment law. Fitakis is also editor and publisher of The Free Press website, which so far has not commented on the arrest.

For some time I have been quietly offering a few sweatshop-free “impeach” t-shirts through the Columbus, Ohio-based company Skreened. I haven’t written about them though, because I’m not at all sure impeachment is the best approach. But if someone does believe impeachment is the right approach, they should be able to say so. That part is a no-brainer. So for anyone who wants to exercise their freedom to say Impeach!, here is your shirt.

Shirts are available in a several styles and colors. The slogans are shown on a variety of different tees so you can get an idea of what’s available. Sizes run small–they are “fashionably snug”–so for a looser fit, order up a size. Oh, yes, there is one slightly naughty slogan. If you were offended by the detail of the Monika Lewinsky discussion, you will be offended by this–it’s definately NSFW and not child-friendly. It’s the light green one in the upper right with the navy blue slogan, but too hard to read in thumbnail size. So if you’re offended by that sort of thing, don’t click on it.

To order a shirt, click on the picture.

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I heart Miami tees for Florida lovers

Kathryn wants to know if I can make her a tee shirt that says “I love Miami”. Why not? Here it is in the Arabic language. Available in fitted (shown), tank (shown), raglan, hoodie, and even dog. iheartmiami-fitted-tee.jpgiheartmiami-tank.jpg

If you’re in the mood for summer colors, check here.

I hope that’s something like what you were looking for, Kathryn.

Posted in Merchandise, Products, T-shirts. Comments Off

Cafepress changes to non-fair trade product, jr. baby doll tees removed

Tomorrow CafePress is scheduled to replace the American Apparel manufactured “Jr. Baby Doll T-shirt” with something called the “Jr. Jersey T-Shirt” of unknown origin. American Apparel is a company whose fair labor practices are well documented. CafePress has revealed nothing at all about the sourcing of the replacement product.  Since all tees offered here are ethically produced and can be documented to have been produced without sweatshop or child labor,  the “Jr. Baby Doll Tee” has been deleted.

CafePress still offers organic, fitted, hoodie, raglan, tank top and dog t-shirts from American Apparel that are ethically produced.  Those items have not been deleted.

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Related posts:

Make a difference on World Fair Trade Day–contact CafePress
Is CafePress.com hiding sweatshops?
CafePress responds to Fair Trade concerns with form letter, maintains holding pattern
Skreened.com offers Fair Trade tee shirt alternatives

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Posted in Fair Trade, Products, T-shirts. Comments Off

Skreened.com offers Fair Trade tee shirt alternatives

Shopkeepers who don’t want to sell t-shirts produced in sweatshops or with child labor are still waiting to find out how the marketing department at Cafepress.com is going to supply information about the origins of their products. Fortunately Cafepress offers shopkeepers the option of choosing which products to offer for a given design, so I will continue to offer their products identified as either union made or made by American Apparel, whose fair labor practices are well documented.

In the meantime, I will start offering tee shirts through Skreened.com. Skreened uses only shirts made by American Apparel and donates 10% of its sales to a not-for-profit called Asia’s Hope. So when you wear one of their shirts, you know it was not made with inhuman labor practices or child labor.

Here are the same Arabic language tees I have been offering now in summer colors from Skreened:
skreened-lime-wwnbs.pngskreened-white-ihrtny.pngskreened-wwjt-lemon.png

The green shirt is based on the “T-shirt of mass destruction” that got Raed Jarrer thrown off of Jet Blue airlines. It says “We will not be silent”, in Arabic pronounced “lahn nesmitt”, and has the English translation underneath. The one pictured has dark blue letters, you can also get black letters.

The white shirt says “I heart New York”, also in Arabic. So far, you can also heart Chicago, Jordan, Amman, and Baghdad. If you want to heart something or someone I don’t have listed, post a comment and I’ll see what I can do.

The slogan on the yellow tee is from a sign I saw at an impromptu street demonstration while Christmas caroling at Daley Plaza. It says “Who would Jesus torture”. If you are fond of the Geneva Convention, there are several designs with this slogan.

You can check out the designs here.

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Related posts:

Make a difference on World Fair Trade Day–contact CafePress
Is CafePress.com hiding sweatshops?
CafePress responds to Fair Trade concerns with form letter, maintains holding pattern

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