Monday, December 31, 2007

GREEN DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE MEETING IN BURLINGTON ON SUNDAY, 6 JANUARY



Green Democratic Alliance members will gather next Sunday, January 6th at 2:00 P.M. at the Department of Public Works building, 645 Pine Street @ Lakeside. This meeting is open to the public. There will be an opportunity to learn more about GDA and its activities. A board and officers will be elected.
The mission of the Green Democratic Alliance (GDA) of Burlington, Vermont is to form lasting alliances among Greens, Democrats, and Independents who are dedicated to the Green values of non-violence, grassroots democracy, social justice, and ecological wisdom.
Also on the Agenda: An Endorsement Motion - Dennis Kucinich for President in the March, 2008 Democratic Primary.

***Proost! Happy New Year!!***


Dear BI Readers --

Happy and healthy 2008 - Gelukkig en gezond 2008
and thanks for lurking, reading and commenting in 2007!

And for this midnight: Cheers! Proost! Santé! Skål! Cin cin! ¡Salud! Gesundheit!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Kersttoespraak Koningin Beatrix 2007 | Queen Beatrix's Christmas Speech (on Youtube)

PUER NATUS EST IN BETHLEHEM

It's Christmas Day, the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord. Zalig Kerstmis|Merry Christmas!

Denise Levertov (1923–1997)

On the Mystery of the Incarnation

It's when we face for a moment
the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know
the taint in our own selves, that awe
cracks the mind's shell and enters the heart:
not to a flower, not to a dolphin,
to no innocent form
but to this creature vainly sure
it and no other is god-like, God
(out of compassion for our ugly
failure to evolve) entrusts,
as guest, as brother,
the Word.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

FAVOURITE ‘DUTCH’ WORD FOR 2007


From Dunglish blog --
Favourite ‘Dutch’ word for 2007 is ‘Bokitoproof’
Language fans chose the Dunglish ‘Bokitoproof’, which indicates that a zoo is gorilla-proof, as the Word of the Year 2007. For those who missed the commotion, Bokito was the gorilla that ran amok in a Dutch zoo in Rotterdam earlier this year. It beat out perfectly good Dutch neologisms such as ‘comadrinken’ (drinking yourself into a coma), ‘klimaatneutraal’ (neutral for the environment), ’slurptaks’ (tax on gas/petrol guzzling cars) en ‘lokhomo’ (gay bait).

The voting for ‘Woord van het jaar 2007′ was organised by newspaper De Pers, het Genootschap Onze Taal (linguistic association) and the Van Dale dictionary. Some 10,000 people voted and ‘Bokitoproof’ got 19% of the votes.

Another known Dunglish expression with the word ‘proof’ in it was ‘Rabo proof’, with a space, which is apparently wrong in Dutch.
(Link: Dunglish)

MORE ON RIGGED ELECTIONS

By Greg Gordon McClatchy Newspapers 16 December 2007

Inside a GOP effort to rig the 2002 New Hampshire elections
WASHINGTON — A former GOP political operative who ran an illegal election-day scheme to jam the phone lines of New Hampshire Democrats during the state's tight 2002 U.S. Senate election said in a new book and an interview that he believes the scandal reaches higher into the Republican Party.

Allen Raymond of Bethesda, Md., whose book Simon & Schuster will publish next month, also accused the Republican Party of trying to hang all the blame for a scandal on him as part of an "old-school cover-up."

Raymond's book, "How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative," offers a raw, inside glimpse of the phone scandal as it unraveled and of a ruthless world in which political operatives seek to win at all costs.
---
Raymond predicted that political dirty tricks "will only get tougher, nastier, more brutal" in coming elections.

As for his three months in a Pennsylvania prison, he wrote: "After 10 full years inside the GOP, 90 days among honest criminals wasn't really any great ordeal."
Read all of 'Inside a GOP effort to rig the 2002 New Hampshire elections'...

EVEN DOCTORS BELIEVE SOME HEALTH MYTHS

Well, whaddya know?

By Frank Greve McClatchy Newspapers 21 December 2007
Even doctors believe some health myths
WASHINGTON — Just because your doctor tells you to drink eight glasses of water daily doesn't mean you should, according to researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Doctors often fall for the same health myths that their patients do, Drs. Rachel Vreeman and Aaron Carroll report in the Christmas-New Year's issue of the British Medical Journal. Among seven myths they cite is the eight-glasses-of-water one.

"There is no medical evidence to suggest that you need that much water," Vreeman concluded after their intensive review of medical research on the subject.

She and Carroll trace the misperception to a 1945 recommendation by the Nutrition Council that Americans consume the equivalent of eight glasses of fluids daily. Lost over the years, they concluded, was the council's note that the 64 ounces called for included water contained in coffee, soda, fruits and vegetables.
No wonder we're over-fluoridated. Doctors and dentists are also trapped by the fluoridation belief system, too, but more and more are realising the importance of the new science.

Continue reading 'Even doctors believe some health myths'....

HAPPY SATURNALIA, EVERYONE!

Whatever happened to Christmas?

By JOHN STEELE GORDON Wall Street Journal 21 December 2007 A Brief History of Christmas

It was New York and its early 19th century literary establishment that created the modern American form of the old Saturnalia. It was a much more family -- and especially child -- centered holiday than the community-wide celebrations of earlier times.

St. Nicolas is the patron saint of New York (the first church built in the city was named for him), and Washington Irving wrote in his "Diedrich Knickerbocker's History of New York" how Sinterklaes, soon anglicized to Santa Claus, rode through the sky in a horse and wagon and went down chimneys to deliver presents to children.

The writer George Pintard added the idea that only good children got presents, and a book dating to 1821 changed the horse and wagon to reindeer and sleigh. Clement Clarke Moore in 1823 made the number of reindeer eight and gave them their names. Moore's famous poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas," is entirely secular. It is about "visions of sugar plums" with nary a wise man or a Christ child in sight. In 1828, the American Ambassador Joel Roberts Poinsett, brought the poinsettia back from Mexico. It became associated with Christmas because that's the time of year when it blooms.
Continue reading 'A Brief History of Christmas'...

Friday, December 21, 2007

PEACEABLE COEXISTENCE

Last May, when I was in NYC, I attended a Sunday service at St Bart's. My late uncle was a member. When I was a teenager, during school breaks in the city, my brothers and I would attend the EYC events at that parish.
New York Times 21 December 2007 - To Keep Doors Open, St. Bart’s Opens Its Arms
Peaceable coexistence — street people and devout souls — is the prevailing vibe, and Mr. Tully is its architect.

“I came here for the risk of it,” he says. His job as rector of St. Columba’s, the largest parish in Washington, “was getting too cushy after 14 years.”

And after 14 years at St. Bartholomew’s? Cushy address, certainly, Park Avenue at East 50th, but the luster stops there. “There was a question of whether we should even be here, of whether it is too costly to be running a world-class landmark in the middle of New York City, a place where real estate is one of the religions,” he says. “We exist in a city where it takes a lot of trouble and expense — $8 million a year — to keep the door open.”

Continue reading 'To Keep Doors Open, St. Bart’s Opens Its Arms'...

CYNTHIA MCKINNEY ANNOUNCES RUN FOR PRESIDENT



More info at runcynthiarun.org

AMERICAN NATIVISIM LOOMS AT THE POLLS

Lenin's Tomb 16 December 2007

The cracker asshole vote is probably not as large as many people outside America take it to be. For example, these cracker asshole minutemen seem to consist of a small number of Aryan supremacists and classic Western vigilantes - certainly of the variety that launched pogroms against the Irish, the Chinese, the poor from Oklahoma, labourers, communists, trade unionists etc, but much smaller than their forebears. They are capable of spotting a potential meat factory labourer or gardener with binoculars directed across cactus-strewn borderland, and such an unfortunately witnessed interloper might well end up being beaten or murdered. And the superpatriots have spread geographically from a base in conservative regions of California into Arizona and Texas, and have branches in several other states. Yet, as a movement they remain a narrow sect, eminently ignorable by national politicians. Yet, despite this, they have acquired some striking support not only from local radio 'hell-in-a-handbasket' hate programmes, but also from California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger back in 2005, when his attacks on public spending caused his poll numbers to slump. With characteristic McBain-like eloquence, he has showered praise on the efficacy of the Minutemen, depicting them as conscientious citizens looking out for fellow whiteys.
Continue reading 'American Nativism Looms at Polls'...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

DON'T FENCE ME IN

Not only do independent and third party presidential candiates have a problem getting the attention of the public (and the MSM), but so do Democratic and Republican candidates who are outside their respective party's power structure. It's a fluff piece in yesterday's Burlington Free Press, highlighting the "weirdo" candidates, and definitely pushes the party duopoly (as if there were no other choice). The St Michael's prof who teaches the students who gathered names and profiles of twenty-seven candidates and featured them on their website should know better to limit the choices to the DemRepubs.
"I signed in on this campaign Sept. 6, the same day as Fred Thompson," said Cap Fendig Jr., 53, of St. Simons Island, Ga., a GOP contender in the New Hampshire primary.

"Repeatedly since that day, I've e-mailed all the national network news and media organizations and have gotten not even the courtesy of a 'Thank you, we're not going to cover you.'

"I knew that entrance into that arena was roped off. I just didn't realize how tightly and how bad it was roped off."

He welcomed the attention from the students' Web site and said he believes it's responsible for some e-mailed inquiries he has received about his campaign.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Great O Antiphons

This Thursday, December 20 at 7:30 p.m., the choirs of St Paul's Cathedral, under

the direction of Mark Howe, will sing their annual Advent service of the

Great O Antiphons. Similar to a service of Lessons and Carols, this liturgy

uses old and new musical sources to illuminate biblical readings that

prophesy the coming of Jesus. The music will include Peter Hallock's setting

of the seven Great O Antiphons, as well as works by William Byrd, Ellen

Gilson Voth, Michael Fleming, and others. Festive banners designed by Judith

McManis will adorn the Nave. Come and bring a friend.

Friday, December 7, 2007

THROW THE DOG A BONE

Today is Friday - funday in a lot of commercial enterprises - where employees are "encouraged" to make their workday more palatable by dressing down. As lenin writes today in Lenin's Tomb
These employers really take the fucking piss, don't they? Not content with sucking the lifeblood out of you for the working day and tacitly getting free overtime out of you (they call it 'flexibility', almost as if your free labour was a fact about your personality, something you willingly and charitably part with because you aren't one of those inflexible assholes), they have the nerve to try and structure your fun.
I know, len, it's disgusting, innit. When I moved to Houston, TX in '76 - 1976 - I worked for a Houston-based, family-owned insurance company. In Texas, they celebrated many holidays, one of which was Confederate Heroes Day, on 19 January. Employees were required on that day to go to the company cafeteria, where they were given a slice of celebration cake, emblazoned with the Confederate stars and bars. The sheet cake was baked in the kitchen by an African American cook! This day is celebrated in various guises across the South, but in Texas it was to mark the birthdays of Robert E. Lee and Jeff Davis. The slices were passed out by a management employee dressed as Stonewall Jackson, another "hero."

I had recently moved to Texas from the North and was appalled by this celebration. I remember remarking to a friend from Lubbock, "But they lost, didn't they?" To which she whispered in reply, "Don't tell them that!"
Apparently, this sort of thing boosts productivity and team cohesion, but it seems more likely that it reinforces an ideological norm of cheerful willingness to be fucked around, to participate in official lies, to tolerate hypocritical wall-to-wall grins and bonhomie with people who will tomorrow be undermining you or overworking you by any means possible. Hey - you don't want to be a bad sport do you?

(I don't recall them celebrating Juneteenth with as much gusto at Great Southern Life Insurance Company.)

Ah! the memories of my time in Texas. At the start of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was Go Texan Day, a Houston tradition. At this insurance company, as in all over the city, employees were encouraged to dress in Western attire - jeans, cowboy boots, and cowboy hats. If an employee didn't comply with this dress code, they were arrested and thrown into "jail," down in the lobby. You'd have to make arrangements to get bailed out before you could return to work. And yet, the management was constantly reminding us in our annual employee reviews about efficency, productivity, and the company policy of no overtime.

Vermont companies are no different with their cosy employee "incentives."
Small Dog is a socially responsible company which means we have a multiple bottom line. The effect we have on our environment, community, customers and employees is just as important as maintaining our profitability.
Remember Burton's being a good guy last winter by allowing employees to take the day off and head out to Smuggs or Bolton after the Valentine's Day blizzard? Good marketing ploy. Seventh Generation even permits employees to bring their dogs to work! Arf! Arf!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

THE YEAR WITHOUT TOILET PAPER

Welcome to Walden Pond, Fifth Avenue style, or how the Lancôme liberals reduce their impact on the environment.

COMMENT No joke, this story did not appear in the 'Style' section of the Times, but in 'Home & Garden.' A positive impact? It's going to demand a more substantial cultural lifestyle change than giving up Zabars and Dean & Deluca imports.

GUNS BEAT GREEN: THE MARKET HAS SPOKEN

By Naomi Klein, The Nation, November 29, 2007
Anyone tired of lousy news from the markets should talk to Douglas Lloyd, director of Venture Business Research, a company that tracks trends in venture capitalism. "I expect investment activity in this sector to remain buoyant," he said recently. His bouncy mood was inspired by the money gushing into private security and defense companies. He added, "I also see this as a more attractive sector, as many do, than clean energy."
Got that? If you are looking for a sure bet in a new growth market, sell solar, buy surveillance; forget wind, buy weapons.
---
The idea that capitalism can save us from climate catastrophe has powerful appeal. It gives politicians an excuse to subsidize corporations rather than regulate them, and it neatly avoids a discussion about how the core market logic of endless growth landed us here in the first place.
The market, however, appears to have other ideas about how to meet the challenges of an increasingly disaster-prone world.
---
Bush wants to leave our climate crisis to the ingenuity of the market. Well, the market has spoken: it will not take us off this disastrous course. In fact, the smart money is betting that we will stay on it.
Read all of 'Guns Beat Guns: The Market Has Spoken'...


Many thanks to Green Left Infoasis.

Monday, December 3, 2007

UPDATE ON STUDENT ACTION AT MILITARY RECRUITMENT OFFICES IN WILLISTON, VERMONT

BOOKS, NOT BOMBS!



“Out of Our Schools – Out of Iraq"

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend last Friday's civil action organised by the Mount Mansfield Union High School Peace Club (from Jericho, VT) at the military recruitment centres in Williston. You can read reports about it here, here, here, and here; there are photos here; and you can listen to a report here.

Think about what you can do to get involved in future civil actions. There will be more.