Monday, April 30, 2007
Today, the Netherlands is orange and red-white-blue. It's the Dutch Fourth of July/14 Juillet. Today is Koninginnedag. In Amsterdam, it's like another Gay Pride or Mardi Gras all rolled into one big celebration of orange! Today's celebration is one of the warmest on record (lekker weer!). The photo on the left shows the arrival of the Queen by boat in the Dutch town of Woudrichem in Brabant! She'll travel later today to 's-Hertogenbosch, the provincial captial. More ANP/Benelux photos. And still more here.
It's the orangiest day of the year! BI celebrates, too: I've changed the blog language and added a bit of oranjegekte / orange folly!
My friend took some photos of Amsterdam's preparations for today:
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Thanks to and via Lenin's Tomb
Click Here for more great videos and pictures!
Comment by lenin - read it after you've seen the complete video -
Oh let's review it then:
1) a white, privileged family, with a tradition of military service: the target audience.
2) a lot of glances, and unspoken words, indicating difficulty with an emotionally constipated father, reaffirming a traditional American masculinism, with the traditional mater there to soften the edges. An awkward handshake and difficult words. Touching moments of teenage revelation. Both father and son are apparently unhappy about returning from war: not going there, but actually getting brought home. That's "difficult". (In reality, the soldiers are complaining of being overstretched, of having their families torn apart by prolonged absences etc). The coldness is finally overcome with the presentation of the gift, the fucking car, after which the father can finally put his arm around his son.
3) too many fucking cars. The kid drives one, the father's got one, now the little bastard who's come back from wars has got one. And the father claims that it was thinking about a fucking car that kept him going while he was killing Vietnamese peasants. Everyone else took up drugs, found prostitutes, or started fragging, but not this guy: he only wanted a desirable consumer item. He dreamed about it, and all his friends did.
4) perhaps a cynical hint is involved, namely that this war needs to be won or you can't have your three cars in the driveway.
The total picture is a 'Middle America' fantasia, unbearable wholesome, into which Ford has woven its cars as an irreplaceable part of the story. The irony is that a lot of these boys who are going to kill for the American government are from formerly respectable suburbs which had reasonably well paid blue collar work available, but which have been devastated by repeated waves of lay-offs and the flight of production facilities introduced by mass manufacturing corporations like Ford.
wow what colossal marketing dunderheads. The war is widely unpopular. I’m not sure that people want to really be reminded of it.
Well, I think their target audience - privileged, white, 'red-state' Americans, who overwhelmingly continue to support the war. Even those that don't support Bush or the war are all for the troops, and are ready to subscribe to a romantic notion of their bravery and so on. What's more, as I say, the whole thing is apple pie 'American values', oriented around loving two-parent families with leafy streets and girlfriends and gatherings and so on.
Also, there appears to be an implicit reference to the war's unpopularity, when the sister hugs the little bastard soldier and tells him "we're still proud of you".
I've adapted this living will from an email I received today from a friend -
I, JAYV, being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means. Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of pinhead politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended on it, or lawyers / doctors interested in simply running up the bills. If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to ask for at least one of the following:
Chicken fried steak
Cup of Darjeeling tea
it should be presumed that I won't ever get better. When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my appointed person and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes, and call it a day.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
As Congress sends its bill requiring partial troop withdrawals from Iraq to the White House for a certain veto, it has never been clearer that mobilizing against this war is necessary, but not enough.
Congressional Democrats may be willing to stop there, but demanding the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq is only the first of our obligations to help create the conditions for real justice and peace in the Middle East and around the world. It's crucial that we also advocate for an entirely new foreign policy based on opposition to the long U.S. drive toward empire.
Friday, April 27, 2007
For obv reasons, I delighted in this post over at left i on the news - Eli's been down at South Padre Island, Texas; check out other recent
Texas Gulf Coast bird photos here, here, and here that he's taken this week and posted for our enjoyment. Joy!
The Green Jay is one of those tropical species whose range in the United States only extends to the extreme southern tip of Texas. This one was photographed at Laguna . And this picture, as striking as it is, doesn't even do justice to the richness of color, since it was photographed in the shade (I could never get a good shot of one in sunshine).
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Vermont State Reps listed by district.
Burlington voters: That Republican Wright voted no is not surprising. But note that Democrat Keogh was the only Burlington Democratic representative to vote no. Don't let him forget his shameful action. For this vote alone, he should be given the boot at the next election. The man has thrown his moral compass into the lake. Keogh is just another chickenhawk Dem who swallows the Leahy/Sanders/Welch/Symington kool-aid. He also "represents" my Ward on the Burlington City Council. (In an earlier vote by City Council, Keogh sided with the Republicans to choose Wright as council president.) Kick him off the Council, too!
Burlington Free Press - IMPEACHMENT ROLL CALL VOTING
NO: Joe Acinapura, R-Brandon; Steve Adams, R-Hartland; David Ainsworth, R-Royalton; George Allard, D-St. Albans Town; Margaret Andrews, D-Rutland City; Kenneth Atkins, D-Winooski; Albert Audette, D-South Burlington; Joseph Baker, R-West Rutland; Clement Bissonnette, D-Winooski; Bill Botzow, D-Pownal; Carolyn Whitney Branagan, R-Georgia; Christopher Bray, D-New Haven; Patrick Brennan, R-Colchester; Cynthia Browning, D-Arlington; William Canfield, R-Fair Haven; Harry Chen, D-Mendon; David Clark, R-St. Johnsbury; Gregory Clark, R-Vergennes; Alison Clarkson, D-Woodstock; John Clerkin, R-Hartford; Jim Condon, D-Colchester; Michel Consejo, D-Sheldon; Timothy Corcoran, D-Bennington; Gale Courcelle, D-Rutland City; David Deen, D-Westminster; Dennis Devereux, R-Mount Holly; Andrew Donaghy, R-Poultney; Anne Donahue, R-Northfield; Joyce Errecart, R-Shelburne; James Fitzgerald, D-St. Albans City; Margaret Flory, R-Pittsford; William Frank, D-Underhill; Avis Gervais, D-Enosburg; Gary Gilbert, D-Fairfax; Reginald Godin, D-Milton; Martha Heath, D-Westford; Steven Howard, D-Rutland City; Richard Howrigan, D-Fairfield; Richard Hube, R-Londonderry; Cola Hudson, R-Lyndon; Peter Hunt, D-Essex; Tim Jerman, D-Essex; William Johnson, R-Canaan; Kathleen Keenan, D-St. Albans City; Bill Keogh, D-Burlington; Duncan Kilmartin, R-Newport City; Thomas Koch, R-Barre Town; Patti Komline, R-Dorset; Joseph Krawczyk, R-Bennington; Michele Kupersmith, D-South Burlington; Leigh Larocque, R-Barnet; Steve Larrabee, R-Danville; Kathy LaBelle LaVoie, R-Swanton; Richard Lawrence, R-Lyndon; Judith Livingston, R-Manchester; John Malcolm, D-Pawlet; Ann Manwaring, D-Wilmington; Michael Marcotte, R-Coventry; Norman McAllister, R-Highgate; Virginia McCormack, D-Rutland City; Patricia McDonald, R-Berlin; Francis McFaun, R-Barre Town; Harry Monti, D-Barre City; Anne Mook, D-Bennington; John Morley, R-Barton; Mary Morrissey, R-Bennington; Linda Myers, R-Essex; Pat O'Donnell, R-Vernon; Harvey Otterman, R-Topsham; Kitty Oxholm, R-Vergennes; Janice Peaslee, R-Guildhall; Kathy Pellett, D-Chester; Albert Perry, D-Richford; Mary Peterson, D-Williston; Dave Potter, D-Clarendon; Heidi Scheuermann, R-Stowe; Ernest Shand, D-Weathersfield; Loren Shaw, R-Derby; Shap Smith, D-Morristown; Will Stevens, I-Shoreham; David Sunderland, R-Rutland Town; Donald Turner, R-Milton; Leo Valliere, R-Barre City; Richard Westman, R-Cambridge; Scott Wheeler, R-Derby; Philip Winters, R-Williamstown; Kurt Wright, R-Burlington
VOTING YES Janet Ancel, D-Calais; Jon Anderson, D-Montpelier; William Aswad, D-Burlington; Denise Barnard, D-Richmond; Margaret Cheney, D-Norwich; Sarah Copeland-Hanzas, D-Bradford; Susan Davis, D-Washington; Johannah Donovan, D-Burlington; Robert Dostis, D-Waterbury; Sarah Edwards, P-Brattleboro; Alice Emmons, D-Springfield; Debbie Evans, D-Essex; Gail Fallar, D-Tinmouth; Michael Fisher, D-Lincoln; Patsy French, D-Randolph; Maxine Jo Grad, D-Moretown; Sandy Haas, P-Rochester; Helen Head, D-South Burlington; Carol Hosford, D-Waitsfield; Jim Hutchinson, D-Randolph; Willem Jewett, D-Ripton; Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero; Warren Kitzmiller, D-Montpelier; Tony Klein, D-East Montpelier; Mark Larson, D-Burlington; Joan Lenes, D-Shelburne; Lucy Leriche, D-Hardwick; William Lippert, D-Hinesburg; Jason Lorber, D-Burlington; Steven Maier, D-Middlebury; Richard Marek, D-Newfane; Cynthia Martin, D-Springfield; Linda Martin, D-Wolcott; Jim Masland, D-Thetford; Jim McCullough, D-Williston; Virginia Milkey, D-Brattleboro; Alice Miller, D-Shaftsbury; Sue Minter, D-Waterbury; Mark B. Mitchell, D-Barnard; John Moran, D-Wardsboro; Michael Mrowicki, D-Putney; Floyd Nease, D-Johnson; Betty Nuovo, D-Middlebury; Michael Obuchowski, D-Rockingham; Hilde Ojibway, D-Hartford; Scott Orr, D-Charlotte; Carolyn Partridge, D-Windham; Christopher Pearson, P-Burlington; Peter Peltz, D-Woodbury; Daryl Pillsbury, I-Brattleboro; Ann Pugh, D-South Burlington; Dexter Randall, P-Troy; John Rodgers, D-Glover; David Sharpe, D-Bristol; Kristy Spengler, D-Colchester; Donna Sweaney, D-Windsor; Ira Trombley, D-Grand Isle; Rachel Weston, D-Burlington; John Zenie, D-Colchester; David Zuckerman, P-Burlington
NOT VOTING Donald Bostic, R-St. Johnsbury; Robert Helm, R-Castleton
And they're worried about sectarianism in Iraq. Sure.
A new United Nations report on human rights in Iraq paints a devastating portrait of the conditions of life facing the civilian population as the US occupation enters its fifth year.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Consituents can fill out this little sheet requesting an appointment with their state rep. My friend and I did that – the pages deliver them. “Meet me by the cafeteria at Noon.” Well, all 300+ of us were still seated in the well of the House chamber at 12:25 p.m., listening to Symington’s lame excuses and Shumlin’s pathetic thank you. So, we break for lunch, but before that, Liza Earle told us that the most of the notes requesting meetings with our reps had not been delivered to the members, so they would pick them up when they returned for the 1 o’clock session. We gotta be back by the 1:00 p.m. House session. I see Keogh at his desk. “Jay! I got your note at 10:45 a.m. Where were you at Noon?” We were still in here, I tell him - he knew that of course, but he was just putting me off (typical). He'd known where we were. It’s as if it was my fault. My friend and I told him how we felt about the upcoming vote. He just said to us he’d vote how he felt. That didn’t tell me much about his reasons, though. I knew he’d vote ‘no.’ He’s just one of the conservative Dems from our neighborhood. I am pleased that the other rep, Donovan, voted for the resolution. Keogh voted a loud NO when the voice vote came around after a meandering, boring debate.
Snarky Boy was there, though I did not see him. As usual, he has some, well, snarky comments.
Oh, the drama. Well, kind of. Hmm, on third thought, I could have just continued watching paint dry. It would have been just as fruitful and exciting as watching the all-too-predictable Dem slaughter of the grassroots this afternoon in the Statehouse. You gotta hand it to these Dems, they sure know how to stick it to their base, don’t they? In fact, if passion were one side of a magnet, the mainstream Dems would certainly be repelling it on the opposite side.
I was disappointed with the main sponsor of the resolution, Dave Zuckerman. He could have been more passionate and forceful about his reasons for presenting this motion, when asked by some Republican rep from Rutland. At the 11 a.m. session we had with Symington and Shumlin, there were some impassioned statements by the people - more eloquent than the during the house debate on the resolution.
But Symington should be pleased tonight. She did Leahy/Sanders/Welch’s bidding and got her minion fat, bald, white men reps to vote against it. (You could see their shiny heads from the balcony gallery.) The Bush supporting Dems. No principles. Deaf to the people’s wishes.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Here's an answer to Vermont House Speaker Gaye Symington's view that impeachment diverts from ending the war, written by David Swanson, Director of After Downing Street, a national organisation promoting impeachment:
The president and vice president have made clear that they will not end the war while in office and will disregard anything Congress does to end the war. Congress has made clear that it will not attempt anytime soon to use the power of the purse to end the war. When Congress moved toward the impeachment of Richard Nixon, it developed the nerve to end the Vietnam War; and it was the pressure of the looming impeachment that led Nixon to back off on continuing the war.
In the case of Bush and Cheney, the benefits to the antiwar movement of an impeachment movement are likely to be greater because the impeachment will be about the war and about crimes that the administration has attempted to justify in the name of the war. Investigations of these crimes by Congress have arrived at an impasse. The administration is refusing to comply with subpoenas and refusing to answer questions when testifying under oath. The current Supreme Court provides no way out of this threat to our constitutional republic.
Impeachment is the only tool we have left. Impeachment has the potential of not only ending this war but also off reversing the militarism and imperialism that are driving our nation ever more rapidly into additional wars.
We lost the vote, but we won because our voice was heard around the world. I got emails today from friends and family as far away as The Netherlands and Wales. The movement is growing. Vermonters should be proud!
Answers to all objections are here.
Impeachment Action Wednesday, April 25
Meet in the Cafeteria at the State House in Montpelier
Email from Liza Earle - Keep the phone calls going, and keep filling car loads up for Wednesday! You are each doing great, great work! Senators I've called to thank are delighted that they are hearing some nice words from their constituents. Keep the praises flowing--even publicly in a letter to the editor!
There are some murmurings that Gaye is currently considering allowing the resolution to be taken up for discussion rather than sent to a committee to die! That is by no means certain, and may have already changed since I last heard. But we have hope! If Gaye decides to not send it to committee, she will schedule a future date for the discussion/vote.
To Gaye's credit, she is realizing that in trying to keep impeachment from being a distraction, the real life "civic-minded citizens" of Doonesbury's "picturesque towns" have created a distraction she is not sure the House can continue to ignore.
No one is optimistic that the votes are there for the resolution to pass, even if debated, but there have been brick walls along this entire movement and many times they eventually turn into doorways for Democracy to enter in!
Brattleboro Reformer: Truth is winning out by Dan DeWalt -
The people of Vermont have just taken another giant step towards the day of reckoning for administration of Pres. George W. Bush administration.
When we were told by the Democratic leadership in the Vermont Legislature that there was no chance of impeachment action being taken by them, we refused to acquiesce and instead flooded the State House demanding that they listen to their constituents and honor the Constitution.
We also presented our case through letters to the editor and by calling in to radio shows across the state. Our arguments convinced many prominent commentators and editors to echo our calls, and when the heat had sufficiently turned up the pressure, the Vermont Senate changed course, introduced and voted quickly for an impeachment resolution demanding that the national Congress do their job and bring charges against Pres. Bush and Vice Pres. Dick Cheney.
Continue reading "Truth is winning out..."
John Nichols (Editor of The Nation, author of The Genius of Impeachment) - To All: Old Tom Jefferson would be rather proud of Vermont today, but I am prouder still. You have accomplished so much -- and you have made so much more possible. The Republic rests a little easier tonight, but only to gain the strength to renew and advance the struggle tomorrow -- with the words: "As Vermont Goes, So Goes the Nation!" With Love, JN
Howard Zinn writes -- "Vermont is setting an admirable example to the rest of the country as so many of its town meetings, as well as the state Senate, have voted for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. Certainly the policies of this administration meet the constitutional requirement for impeachment for "high crimes and misdemeanors." What could be a higher crime than to send our young halfway around the world, at the cost of thousands of their lives, to invade and destroy another country, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths in Iraq, and bringing upon our nation the indignation of the rest of the world? Vermont's actions represent democracy at its best."
Well worth the read: Lenin's Tomb has an excellent post up today on how the Anybody But Bush politics of MoveOn.org, Howard Dean's fan club, and such alignments, are diverting mass disaffection with Bush's wars into the mainstream of the Democratic Party.
Monday, April 23, 2007
"Cry 'God for Harry, England and Saint George!'" - Henry V
It's William Shakespeare's birthday. (It's also St. George's Day, my English friend reminded me via email today.)
O, how thy worth with manners may I sing,
When thou art all the better part of me?
What can mine own praise to mine own self bring?
And what is 't but mine own when I praise thee?
Even for this let us divided live,
And our dear love lose name of single one,
That by this separation I may give
That due to thee which thou deservest alone.
O absence, what a torment wouldst thou prove,
Were it not thy sour leisure gave sweet leave
To entertain the time with thoughts of love,
Which time and thoughts so sweetly doth deceive,
And that thou teachest how to make one twain,
By praising him here who doth hence remain!
-- Sonnet XXXIX
Sunday, April 22, 2007
If you’re anti-war, you are also anti pro-war.
If you find excuses to defend the legitimacy of effective pro-war lobbying, you are not a peace activist, you are a war enabler.
Warmongering is wrong. Period. Nobody should get away with it. Subverting democracy in the interest of war is not just wrong, it should be criminal. And nobody should get away with it.
It is as simple as that.
War Enablers Welch, Leahy & Sanders are not only full of it, but full of excuses. Ask them about AIPAC, the continued funding of the Iraqi occupation, war with Iran and you'll get some obfuscatory answers.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Consider Lenin's Tomb's answer to the racist and Islamophobic accusations: If only he'd been a Muslim.
This is a good article and takes the right wing nutzos to task: Marina Hyde in The Guardian: Still, the investigation continues, and one can only marvel at the speed with which 32 corpses - or 33, depending on the perimeters of your humanity - have been made standard bearers for every principle out there. Do let's count NBC's ratings as a principle.
And while you're at it, left i on the news, right after the shootings: More than 30 people are dead from a shooting at Virginia Tech. Words like horrendous, carnage, horrifying, tragedy, shock, are all being used, and rightfully so. Let me be the first (?) to display what some will undoubtedly call my insensitivity and point out that in Iraq, a country with less than one-tenth the population of the United States, this type of horrifying act has happened nearly every day since the United States and its partners invaded that unfortunate country four years ago. Every human tragedy that is happening in Virginia today, every parent that has lost a child, every person that has lost a spouse, every person that has lost a good friend, is repeated every day in Iraq. Every day. The scale of human tragedy taking place in Iraq is so great that it's all too easy to lose sight of it. Multiply what is happening today in Virginia by 25,000 (!!!) or so and you'll have some idea of its scale.
I've got way too much Bush,
George you got to go.
You've worn out your welcome
Close your puppet show.
People can you hear me,
What I'm trying to say.
Too much Bush for far too long,
Time for a brand new day.
scribe's diary on TalkLeft: On impeachment, again
I don't know whether the resolution will pass the Vermont House, and I don't have a vote or a voice in that. But I have one thing to say, in two parts:In deciding whether Bush and Cheney should be impeached, any person holding a vote in the matter (and their constitutents seeking to exercise their petition rights, in one direction or the other) has to answer the following questions:(a) Do you think the conduct of Bush and Cheney in their respective offices has been and is acceptable?
(b) Are you willing to say, as a matter of eternal precedent*, that conduct like Bush's and Cheney's should be considered as surmounting the threshold for acceptable conduct (or, said another way, that their conduct has not found the bottom of what's acceptable)?
As to each of these office-holders, if you answer "Yes" to both questions, then you must vote against impeachment. If you answer "No" to either (a), (b) or both, then you must vote for impeachment.
It's that simple.
Oh, and as a matter of (I suppose you'd call it moral philosophy), if you vote/stand against impeachment, you're equally complicit with Bush and Cheney in all they've done - you've ratified their conduct.
Daily Kos: Vermonters, contact your state representatives! They need to hear from you, and they need to know that they, like the Senate, can pass this bill in five minutes.
Update @ 1:35 p.m. Another e-mail update from Liza Earle: [Shumlin and White added Cheney's name to be impeached.]
When the cats away, the mice will play! They seized the moment, considering that Republican Lt. Gov. Dubie was not there today, so Shumlin was presiding--thus able to avoid having to send it to a committee (as Dubie most likely would have done.)Vermont Guardian: Vermont Senate Calls for Impeachment of Bush and Cheney
We need to focus on getting House Reps to say they will support a motion to pull it out of committee next week, to allow discussion on the floor.
Come to the Rally in Burlington--tomorrow-Noon, City Hall. Celebrate and enjoy impeachment cobbler, speakers, music, fun activities for kids--balloons, facepainting, etc.
Rep. Dave Zuckerman, P-Burlington, will spend today and Tuesday collecting signatures from House members to introduce an identical resolution in the chamber.Herald Sun (Australia): Vermont approves Bush 'impeachment'
“We will take the same language the Senate passed today, collect signatures today and Tuesday, and turn it in Tuesday afternoon, which gives people around the state time to call their representatives and ask them to sign it; we would then have it on the calendar for Wednesday and the speaker will either let it be voted on or have it sent to committee,” said Zuckerman. “In respect to the senate action, many of us are quite pleased they took the vote, but it’s clear that it only happened because citizens got involved.”
Breaking News! Just received an email from Liza Earle, so I'm passing the news along --
A Senate Resolution asking for the US House to initiate impeachment investigations of Bush and Cheney passed first thing this morning in the VT Senate: 16-9! It was originally introduced by Dick McCormack (Windsor County), but because it lacked Cheney's name, Shumlin and White introduced it with Cheney added. It was decided that it should go right to a vote and took about three minutes!
It was not a joint house resolution, so the House still has no obligation to take it up. Let's celebrate this and if we get the House to take it up, that would be fantastic!
FreyneLand: Friday Surprises
Thursday, April 19, 2007
“I don’t recall” was the U.S. Attorney General's favorite line, uttered dozens and dozens of times, making him sound like what we used to call a "broken record."
TalkLeft: Republicans: Gonzo Going Down In Flames
Boston Globe: The White House Truth Gap
Indeed, as you will read below, the worms have come out of the woodwork - the Mayor, CEDO, and City Council don't have a clue about what the people want. So the fearless citizen Waterfront Watchdogs have been forced to stand up for the real people and petition the city to put the demolition of Moran Plant on the March 2008 election ballot.
Burlington, VT -- April 19, 2007 -- Waterfront
Watchdogs Loyal Ploof and Owen Mulligan received word from the Clerk/Treasurer’s office that their ballot question regarding the demolition of the Moran Plant was approved for petitioning.
The question will appear on the March 2008 Annual City Election ballot if at least 1,300 signatures are gathered before the end of January of 2008. The question will read, “Shall the voters urge the Mayor and the City Council to have the Moran Plant completely demolished and to begin the project no later than June of 2009 so the site can be utilized as a multi-use public park?”
“I’m appalled that the mayor’s office is not listening to the people and that the people once again have to lock horns with the city to get their voice heard,” said Loyal Ploof in response to yesterday’s Free Press article on Mayor Kiss’s redevelopment plan.
According to a ballot survey from March 2006, 86% of the voters prefer a waterfront park and 55% prefer to remove the Moran Plant building. Only 34% of the voters prefer to have the building refurbished.
“I believe the ballot survey results from last year support our ballot initiative” said Owen Mulligan who also noted that, “The demolition of the Moran Plant would cost dramatically less than the Mayor's proposed redevelopment plan. The mayor conveniently fails to mention this. ”
The Waterfront Watchdogs will begin petitioning immediately and encourage Burlington residents to voice their concerns to the mayor and the city council.
Waterfront Watchdogs was founded by Burlington residents concerned about the overdevelopment of the waterfront. Waterfront Watchdogs is a political action committee (PAC).
Why demolish the Moran Plant?
The Moran Plant is an eye sore and takes away from the aesthetic beauty of the waterfront. The Moran Plant is also an environmental hazard and its infrastructure contains many hazardous materials including chrysotile asbestos and lead. The demolition of the Moran Plant is estimated to cost over $2 million, but the demolition would cost dramatically less than the Mayor's proposed redevelopment plan which would have to include clean up costs to remove contaminants. We say demolish the Moran Plant and then examine multiple uses as a public waterfront park.
Why a multi-use public park?
The Moran Plant is on Public Trust land and Under Public Trust, there is no opportunity for commercial development: the use must be shown to have public benefit. Specifically: “indoor or outdoor parks and recreation uses and facilities including parks and open space, marinas open to the public on a non-discriminatory basis, water dependent uses, boating and related services” The ballot survey in March of 2006 clearly shows the voters prefer a waterfront park. Multiple uses could be easily incorporated in the future as voters see fit such as a home for the Community Sailing Center, restroom facilities, park benches and picnic areas.
The future of the Moran Plant is in our hands. Help gather signatures from legal Burlington voters: download a petition
We exceeded our highest expectations. I think we expected 30-40 people max. And this was just from a last ditch brainstorm last Wednesday night, when Shumlin and Symington thought they had shut the door for good. In just five days, look what we, the people, pulled together!
We had over 130 people representing 56 towns. Many people sacrificed a vacation day, or a day's pay. We were of nurses, truck loaders, educators, veterans, artists, engineers, painters, students, builders, lawyers, gardeners, writers, homemakers, dental hygenists--the list goes on! Many thanks to everyone who came, brought their kids or a friend, made a few phone calls, organized a carpool, helped register people, and who added their voice to democracy in action!
So this is what is happening after the protest....
In the Vermont Senate:
Sen. Jeanette White and Sen. Dick McCormack are working today on the wording of a better resolution than the old one which is stuck in the House Judiciary Committee. That in itself is a success, because Monday night I spoke at length with Jeanette and she had decided to not introduce anything. They hope to introduce it and we are working with them to figure out the best way to have it proceed from there. For now we need every Senator hearing from dozens of constituents voicing their support for it at least coming up for a vote.
In the Vermont House:
A representative is collaborating to make the same resolution for the House--with simple clear wording. He will wait and see if the Judiciary Committee of the House will submit the old resolution (JRH 015) in the coming days. The Chair of the JC (Bill Lippert) has 2 votes out of 11, so it is not likely to move. Next week a representative will, in a last ditch effort, make a motion to "call it out of committee" to the House floor for discussion/vote.
This motion requires a majority vote to allow it to come to the floor for discussion. This method has only been successful a handful of times in the last 15 years. It is not often done b/c it is seen as undermining the committee and the process. But--I don't think they've had many showings like ours yesterday in the last 15 years. I spoke to a couple of Reps yesterday who said they are hesitant to approve such a motion--but if they heard from enough of their constituents, they would be more likely to consider it.
What can you do?
Write letters to the editor. Contact your state reps and state senators. Share this post and the Brattleboro Reformer's editorial with your family, friends, work colleagues.
(Even though the Symington's and Shumlin's reaction to our efforts on Tuesday were less than positive, we did get good press coverage. That was also a goal. I mean, 130 people; much more than we expected.)
Attend the "Listen to the People: Reclaim the Constitution" rally at Burlington City Hall, this Saturday April 21st, Noon. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in helping in some small way.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
More than 125 Vermonters from 56 communities congregated at the Statehouse Tuesday and sought to pressure legislators from both chambers and of all political persuasions to act on a resolution calling for President Bush's impeachment this session.
"It's disingenuous for them to say they don't have time to vote on the resolution when just today the House listened to a member read two poems and then honor a school sports team," said Boots Wardinski, a landscaper from Newbury.[...] You are breaking down a cornerstone of democracy," one woman accused Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, D-Windham, and House Speaker Gaye Symington, D-Jericho, during a meeting in the Cedar Creek Room at the State House.
"If the Democratic Party won't listen to us, maybe we should just leave the party," yelled one man during the meeting.
I was there. Talk about a waste of time. Symington and Shumlin, saying they disagree on the issue of impeachment, apparently agreed not to hear the concerns of the 130 citizens who gathered yesterday urging our legislators to take action to initiate impeachment investigations. Shumlin, once a supporter of the effort, did a switcheroo and out and out lied. Go figure. We have come to expect that from the people who we elect. It's so easy to become cynical.
By not calling for impeachment, Symington and Shumlin are enabling the continuation of the Bush lies, torture and the descecration of our constitution. For shame!
Not unusual that in today's Free Press print article, the reporter called the citizen group a crowd and leftist, as if we were some anarchic rabble rousers threatening the biz-as-usual at the State House. We were citizens wanting our voice heard: Greens [two from the Green Party of Burlington], Progs, Dems and I'm sure even Repubs. Several of us had also been involved in the recent sit-ins at Welch's, Sanders' and Leahy's offices in Burlington, but then, as yesterday, we were peaceful and respectful. But only when it was evident that our pleas to Symington and Shumlin were unheard, did the group boo them. Shumlin walked out.
SnarkyBoy hits the nail -
I would have rather we rushed the podium and declared ourselves the true and only captains of the ship for a moment or two. At least we would have made the nasty spirited cops hanging around the place actually do something other than look surly. And all those lingering media types would have had something to do other than camping out at the doors of power.
Monday, April 16, 2007
May light perpetual shine upon them.
Lord make me an Instrument of Your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Divine Master, grant that I may not seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen
The escalating tension, combined with suggestions the U.S. may have a war plan that includes targeting Iran 's nuclear facilities, led the Green Parties of the U.S. and Canada to state today that nuclear facilities should never be targeted for deliberate attack.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
There will be a time when future generations will look at us and wonder why President Bush and Vice President Cheney were not removed from office.
They will look at us and question why, when confronted by the most corrupt and incompetent administration ever witnessed in the United States, nothing was done to stop Bush and Cheney.
They will look at the craven behavior of the Democrats, too afraid to take on the president when it mattered. They will look at the Republicans, so intoxicated with power that they backed their president to the hilt, even as he ran this country off a cliff. They will look at the press, and how too many journalists were cowed into parroting the words of the administration. They will look at the voters, and shake their heads in disbelief that a number of Americans voted for all this -- the electoral equivalent of the chickens voting Colonel Sanders president.
And they will look at Vermont, and how a bottom-up impeachment effort with broad support ran into a brick wall of indifference in Montpelier as well as Washington.
History will not look kindly on House Speaker Gaye Symington for her insistence that her chamber must focus on "important matters" and that the House "does not have the time" to deal with impeachment.
History will not look kindly on Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, who has talked loudly about impeaching Bush and Cheney, but won't pursue the issue as long Symington says no.
Even though an impeachment resolution, like any other Vermont law, can start in either chamber, Shumlin is using decorum and the "we don't have time" argument as an excuse to duck this important issue.
History will not look kindly on Sen. Bernard Sanders, and his successor in the House, Peter Welch, as well as Sen. Patrick Leahy, for treating impeachment as if it were a barrel of toxic waste. Short-term political considerations apparently are more important than the Constitution, which they took an oath to uphold and defend.
Nearly 40 towns voted for impeachment at their town meetings this year. There is little support for Bush, Cheney and the war in Iraq that they lied us into. The list of the administration's failures at home and abroad is long and embarrassing. Yet Symington, Shumlin, Welch, Sanders and Leahy feel no sense of urgency to hold Bush and Cheney accountable.
We believe this is unacceptable and that both the Vermont Legislature and Congress are shirking their responsibilities. There is time to deal with impeachment and we believe nothing is more important.
When the story of our time is written by future historians, there will be but one question asked: When confronted with the malevolence and mendacity of the Bush administration, how did the people in positions to do something about it react?
Does Vermont want to go down in the history books as standing up to the worst president ever? We, the people of Vermont, have the chance to affect the outcome of this story. We must seize this opportunity.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
The fracturing of the Anglican Communion seems imminent and it appears the American Church and gay people will carry the can. Well, every crisis needs a scapegoat. It is the way of the world . . . and of the Church. Jews, women, minorities and other outsiders have all in their time borne (and sometimes still bear) the brunt of the blame in moments of social or ecclesiastical crisis.
I am filled with hope! Rodriguez ends on a positive note:
I have little doubt that history will view the actions of the Episcopal Church as simply one more step in an ongoing movement that started long before them and continued long after them. I have no doubt that Anglicans in the future will consider those actions prophetic, and that the consecration of Gene Robinson will be commemorated alongside that of Samuel Seabury, the ministry of Absalom Jones and the ordination of Florence Li Tim-Oi.
I have many spiritual heroes and count Absalom Jones, former slave, abolitionist, first African-American Episcopal priest; Li Tim-Oi, the first woman priest in the Anglican Communion; and Gene Robinson, the first openly queer person elected a bishop of the Episcopal Churth - right at the top of the list. I was blessed to meet Li Tim-Oi in Houston just before she died in 1992.
Continue reading "Church will find a special place for its scapegoats — again..."
Friday, April 13, 2007
Racism, sexism fueled by society, business --
How deep is the bias? Just look at whom the media sought out when the Imus story broke.
Did they ring up the president or the women of Spelman College? Did they call Johnnetta Cole, Julianne Malveaux, Maya Angelou, Angela Davis, Callie Crossley, Vanessa Williams, Nikki Giovanni, Rita Dove, Shirley Franklin, Mae Jemison, Condoleezza Rice, Kathleen Cleaver, Pearl Cleage, Susan Taylor, Renita Weems, Jill Nelson, Sheryl Swoopes, or any of the legions of accomplished black women who could bring historical and political context to the harm of calling young women hos?
No. Black women were insulted, but the media rushed to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
Are black women wearing burqas? Are they so invisible that they don't even get to speak first about their own pain?
If the press had to have a Sharpton or Jackson, why not their wives or daughters?
Instead, the public was distracted yet again by all the tired reasons why Sharpton's and Jackson's own flaws render them unfit to criticize Imus.
Fox's Sean Hannity, for example, repeatedly interrupted a black woman who was trying to speak about the harm of calling women bitches and hos, to press her on whether the worse name-calling was by Imus or some black rapper.
The deeper truth is that both Imus and black misogynist rappers are just the voices we hear and the faces we see. But who is backing up and enriching such miscreants?
The answer is huge institutions such as CBS Radio, MSNBC, Viacom and Black Entertainment Television, which have executives, stockholders and advertisers who've gotten very rich by fostering uncivil dialogue and exploiting nasty rap lyrics.
It's not sentimental; it's cold, calculating business.
Just as slavery was business - the business founded on the vile proposition that persists to this day that black women are just nappy-headed hos who can be disrespected at any time by anybody.
Episcopal News Service -
Bishop V. Gene Robinson of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire told a state Senate hearing on civil unions April 10 that legalizing same-gender unions doesn't threaten religion or families.
Robinson was one of more than 300 people who attended the nearly five-hour-long Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on a state bill that passed the state House April 4.
The state to the west of New Hampshire has had civil unions since 2000, but the struggle for a full marriage equality bill continues.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
LOGICAL CONSEQUENCES: LIBERAL CENSORS NOW TARGET SHARPTON, JACKSON, TOP RAPPERS, BOTH CLINTONS AND PAUL MCCARTNEY
[If, that is, there was any logic to the Imus affair. But carefully concealed behind the liberal sanctimony and speech suppression is an unspoken rule: it's okay if our guys do it. A few examples follow]
Read the comments, too.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
It's admirable that Mayor Kiss praised the city's younger citizens in his State of the City Address last night.
Burlington city government wants spring this year to be safe, harmonious and quiet.
Mayor Bob Kiss said Thursday in a news release that the city plans a campaign this spring to keep student noise to a minimum.
Blame it on our youth.
If only the Mayor and City Council had listened to concerned citizens last August.
Democrats for War
The Imminent Compromise
The precipitous decline of antiwar sentiment within the Democratic Party has been on grand display over the past few months. The majority of leading Democrats say they oppose the war in Iraq, but still refuse to cut funding. And when Bush vetoes the pork-swollen appropriations bill, which he’s promised to do, the Democrats have pledged to compromise, rewrite the bill, and grant President Bush exactly what he wants: more cash and no timetable for troop withdraw from Iraq.
“We're not going to cut off funding for the troops,'' said Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin over the weekend on ABC’s This Week. “But what we should do, and we're going to do, is continue to press this president to put some pressure on the Iraqi leaders to reach a political settlement.''
Levin also stated that Democrats would take out language calling for troop withdrawal, but reiterated that they would not “vote to cut funding, period.” Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York defended Levin as well as the Party’s forthcoming concession, “We will try to come up with a way by talking with the White House, trying to compromise with the White House that both supports the troops and yet changes the strategy in Iraq,'' Schumer said on the Fox News Sunday.
The Democrats may not have enough votes to overturn a Bush veto, but they certainly have enough to filibuster the war-funding bill, which at this point is the only way to stop this god-awful disaster. One brave Democrat could take a stand, filibuster, and 40 more senators could then abstain from breaking the filibuster. That is all it would take. Bush would then have to be the one to compromise and produce a plan that was acceptable to the 41 Senate Democrats who want to end the war.
But, of course, we are more likely to see Dick Cheney drinking margaritas with Cindy Sheehan on the White House lawn before we’d witness this scenario play out. Indeed the Democrats have assured us that they will continue to fund Bush’s egregious war. There will be absolutely no fight in Congress to stop it. The bloodshed will rage on. More money wasted, more innocent Iraqis dead.
Betrayal after betrayal and we are still told that the Democrat Party is the only vehicle for change in this country. We are told they are the only ones who will halt the madness of the Bush Regime. Well, we elected the Democrats to office last November and they have done absolutely nothing to pay us back.
Sure there may be a few true antiwar Democrats in Washington, but in the end they are Democrats. Not antiwar activists. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who is running another campaign for president, wants to bring the war to an end. But as we should have learned back in 2004 when Kucinich embraced John Kerry’s pro-war campaign after running in the primaries -- we shouldn’t be trusting Kucinich’s rhetoric today. Or the rhetoric any other so-called antiwar Democrats.
When will the antiwar movement begin to put pressure on the Democratic Party? More importantly, when will we break with the Democrats? They have given us more than enough reason to do so. And until we do, we will continue to remain politically irrelevant.
Monday, April 9, 2007
This interfaith conference will explore religious and ethical
perspectives on issues concerning water and a sustainable
future. It will be held at Saint Michael's College, Colchester,
from April 19 - 21. The conference is free and open to the
public. It is sponsored by the Edmundite Center for Faith and
Culture. It will begin on Thursday evening in the Hoehl
Presentation Room with the keynote address by Dr. Mary Grey.
It continues all day and into the evening on Friday, finishing
at noon on Saturday. Other speakers at the conference include
Dr. Allen Betts, Rabbi Simenowitz, Ms. Ellen Bernstein, Dr.
John Carroll, Professor John Elder and more. For a schedule
or for more information, please contact Edward Mahoney at
Saint Michael's: email@example.com
St Michael's College conference link
See Cross Currents for a series about Ecotheology - Nature as Thou
People are reawakening to nature as a sacred sphere; a rediscovery of Native American spirituality, the Gaia Hypothesis, and the Ecological Spirituality of Matthew Fox and Wendell Berry.
Sunday, April 8, 2007
Most glorious Lord of life, that on this day
Didst make thy triumph over death and sin,
And having harrowed hell, didst bring away
Captivity thence captive, us to win:
This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin,
And grant that we, for whom thou diddest die,
Being with thy dear blood clean washed from sin,
May live forever in felicity:
And that thy love we weighing worthily,
May likewise love thee for the same again;
And for thy sake, that all like dear didst buy,
May love with one another entertain.
So let us love, dear love, like as we ought,
Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.
-- Edmund Spenser 16th. Century
Thursday, April 5, 2007
The Dems' throw the workers a bone: New Standard - Congress Challenges Labor Board Anti-Union Definitions. Keep in mind the Asses are just as pro-corporation as the Pachiderms.
Vermont Workers Center
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
20 anti-war protesters gathered yesterday at the sit-in in Senator Patrick Leahy's office. 10 protesters were arrested. The story also got national attention on Common Dreams. (Thanks to RickB at Ten Percent.)
Despite the threat of arrest by State's Attorney T. J. Donavan (by mid-afternoon today, the charges were dropped), 5 members of the Green Party of Burlington remained to be arrested by the Burlington Police Department. (I took the photo on the left of four of the arrested Greens.)
Even the intimidating arrival of Burlington Police 50 minutes before the official closing of Leahy's office did not stop us from talking with Chuck Ross, Leahy's point-person in Burlington (Leahy was on vacation). I don't know why the fuzz thought they needed to bring transport back-up ("You got back up transport?" I heard one of the officers speak into a phone as we were escorted downstairs); we were peaceful and orderly and respectful.
They parked several police cars around the corner in the VFW parking lot.
Our message to Leahy? There remain loopholes in the Senate, House and the newly offered Feingold/Reid bill that will allow US troops to remain in Iraq.
The Burlington Free Press Sam Hemingway story linked above shows the frustration among the 20 protesters about taking a decision to be arrested yesterday. We took a vote about getting arrested. One-half of those gathered decided to remain in the office. The argument by the dissenters was we had had our meeting with Ross, the media would only cover the arrests and not our message, there would be other opportunities to get arrested. It's pure naivete to think that just giving the assembled press our 'message' would result in front page above the fold coverage. Credit to him, Hemingway's story focussed on the arrests, and his story included quotes of the arrestees about the war funding. Will Allen, one of the arrestees (at Sanders' office the previous week and yesterday) said it's an individual decision to be arrested and part of a civil disobedience against the war; we should remain unified in getting out the message about this immoral and illegal occupation. Even the arrests are an important part of that message!
Monday, April 2, 2007
Tuesday, April 3rd—Sit-In/ Call-In at Senator Leahy’s Burlington Office Meet in front of Burlington City Hall, 2pm
We will meet Vermont Director for Leahy, Chuck Ross. He has given us a warm welcome and we plan on voicing appreciation for Leahy’s work in the Gonzales case. Our primary goal, however, will be to voice our opposition to the war funding bill and ask for answers regarding our serious concerns that this withdrawal has too many loopholes to be called a withdrawal. We will also be asking that Leahy and the other two Vermont members of Congress be a part of a town meeting type forum for local vets, their families, and the public.
Can’t make it to the sit-in on Tuesday? Call the office in solidarity. Voice your opposition while asking for a town meeting forum. Leahy Office phone: Call 802.863.2525 or 800.642.3193
Questions? Call Liza at 802-434-2054 (h) 802-310-1943 (c)
Metroactive's exposé of her ethics.
Joshua Frank on the Dems' Daddy Warbucks.
You can read about Senator Patrick Leahy's relationship with General Dynamics here.
Sunday, April 1, 2007
When the U.S. Senate approved a spending measure to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on Thursday, public attention focused on the attached timetable for troop withdrawal and the impending congressional confrontation with President Bush over Iraq policy.
One little-noticed casualty in the Senate's final version of the bill was a $2 million "earmark" for the University of Vermont that had been added by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., but was removed before passage. The money was to have funded a new institute at UVM, named for former Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords and focusing on early child-education policy research.
Casualty? Messrs Leahy, Sanders and Welch: what about this, this, this and this?
Anushka Asthana The Observer Sunday April 1, 2007: Bishop blocks gay youth worker's job -
A leading bishop has fuelled the controversy over the Church of England and equality after being accused of refusing to employ a youth worker because he is gay.[...] Anni Holden, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Hereford, said: 'We expect the same sexual standards of behaviour from our support ministers or lay ministers as we do of clergy.'
Continue reading "Bishop blocks gay youth worker's job..."
Relatedly, +Rowan: "Church must be a 'safe place' for gays"
MadPriest: Prudish Priddis Proves Episcopal Prejudice
7. The ancient Iranians (also known as Persians) were pioneers in mathematics and architecture. The world's first windmills were created in Iran, as was one of the world's oldest monotheistic religions, Zoroastrianism
Continue reading about the other 9 things about Iran
The William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow (London, UK) is under closure threat from Waltham Forest council. I lived in Walthamstow for 4 months, and during my meanderings around the borough, I was blessed to discover the Gallery.
William Morris was a giant in the Arts and Crafts Movement, a green thinker, and a founder of the socialist movement in Britain. His legacy should be celebrated, not put in the bin!
Sign the petition!
Morris placed great value on work and the joy of craftsmanship. His belief in the natural beauty of materials led him to learn and revive traditional skills such as natural dyeing, hand-block printing and tapestry weaving
Keep your museums open!
William Morris Society