Monday, June 30, 2008

THE BIG SHOW: BANKHEAD AND DIETRICH

ANGL|ICAN SPLIT

Anonymous (Patrick) has made an unrelated comment on this post.
Jay,
Completely off topic, again(!):
Could you weigh in on the impending Anglican schism (the BBC used that term last night!) arising from the boycott of the upcoming Lambeth by some bishops angry over Bishop Robinson of NH...Do you know the Bishop, since he is quite close by? How is he taking it? Do you have a thought as to how to preserve the Communion, or do you believe it should fracture at this point? Also, any word from the bishop of my hometown, J.S. Spong, on this?....
Check out the news stories for 28 June at ANGLICANS ONLINE for coverage of the just completed GAFCON meeting in Jerusalem.

But I like what Giles Goddard of Inclusive Church emailed me today:
So it's a split. The final communique from the "GAFCON" conference of in Jerusalem has set up alternative structures within the church. It's a complicated document and clearly needs more unpacking that that! But over the long term, the aim must be to seek to impose a rigid and exclusive understanding of scripture on the rest of the Communion. In the short term it provides a safe space for those who embrace that particular view of scripture. The theology of GAFCON owes more to Calvin than to Anglicanism. However it does mean that those of us who celebrate the historic breadth, inclusivity and welcome of Anglicanism can now continue to communicate our message of Christ's unconditional love. We look forward to a healthy and creative Lambeth conference. [I]f you want to keep up to date on developments in the Communion, Thinking Anglicans is always good to visit.
I was present at Gene Robinson's ordination as Bishop of New Hampshire and have heard him preach, but I don't know him personally.

I did an internet search for Bp Spong and GAFCON and found a reference to him in a recent speech by Archbishop Akinola, who called Jack Spong [retired Bishop of Newark] 'a self-conceited typical American bishop...' I've heard Jack Spong preach and talk many times. But 'typical American bishop'? I don't think so! Spong would either be insulted or amused by this label, don't you think? If anything, John Shelby Spong challenges me to think. And spripture, reason and traditon are the foundations of Anglican theology.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

España, campeona de Europa

Spain have been crowned European champions for the second time as Fernando Torres's first-half goal in Vienna proved enough to defeat Germany in the final of UEFA EURO 2008.

DON'T RAIN ON MY HAMBURGER

Yesterday afternoon about 45-50 people fought the sprinkles and enjoyed the third Burlington/Vermont Bloggers' BBQ yesterday at North Beach, Burlington. My first appearance at this annual shin-dig and had a chance to finally meet some of the other area bloggers. JD Ryan and some of the GMD folks. And there were two cute guys from Democracy for America. Christian Avard was sporting a cool Docudharma t shirt (I read that blog religiously.) Pollina and Symington showed their faces, but that was about it. Anthony looked out of place; no wonder he scrammed. Nate Freeman gathered signatures for his Lt. Gov. run. Haik Bedrosian and his family had a good time. So did I.

Friday, June 27, 2008

UNBATHED

Of course, it’s all part of international diplomacy to hand out these honours like candy, but it I think it undermines the whole point of having them in the first place. Ceaucescu did not suddenly become a vile dictator (he already was one) when he was honoured as Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath. That knighthood was taken back by the Queen later on. Emperor Hirohito of Japan was removed from the Garter rolls, and his shield removed, during WWII. He received it back during a state visit in 1971. This week Queen Elizabeth II (on the advice of a very hypocritical British government) has revoked the Order of Bath given to Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe.

There’s nothing honourable about these honours, especially since the Queen has named Abdullah II of Jordan and Abdullah of Saudi Arabia as Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. Media attention is now on elections in Zimbabwe and Mugabe as dictator of the moment, but the two Abdullahs are monarchs of decidedly undemocratic lands. You won't read MSM calls for democratic elections in their countries, and don’t expect them to be thrown out of the bath any time soon, either.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

BURLINGTON: SURVEILLANCE CITY

VIA BurlingtonPol, there's a new blog in town, which tells us
On top of the 4 large poles at the intersections of Church Street and each of its cross-streets are 4-8 security cameras. Many people love this, I'm sure, as it probably makes them feel safe. It is seen only as more eyes for the cops.
It's really worse than that. At a recent Neighborhood Planning Assembly in my ward, the local Burlington Police officer assigned to our area gave a run down of the usual summer house and car break ins ("keep your doors and windows locked") and encouraged the law abiding citizenry to report to BPD any questionable activity on our streets and in our neighborhood parks. Even if it turns out harmless, he told the Assembly, the police would find out what's up. It's the same old shitty fear mongering argument in this post 9/11 Amerika. If the person is not doing anything wrong, he continued (I'm paraphrasing), a good citizen won't mind being asked a few questions by the officer. What's next? Block Wardens? And I ain't talking about the Civil Defense block leaders from WWII; as you walk around the corner, could your activites soon be reported by your Blockleiter? Let's be real, the cop was encouraging the same sort of importunate and dangerous snooping prevalent in Nazi-occupied countries during the same WWII era. In 2008-Burlington, this kind of behaviour can be called an expanded Neighborhood Watch.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

'IT'S FUNDAMENTALLY ABOUT ONE PERSON LOVING ANOTHER'

Giles Fraser: Thought For The Day

Broadcast on BBC Radio 4 this morning

A few weeks ago, two Anglican clergymen celebrated their civil partnership at a service in a famous London church. Newspapers last weekend called it a gay wedding. A number of friends of mine were at the service and told of a happy and wonderful occasion. But there are those who have been deeply upset; people who would quote scripture to argue that it threatens the very fabric of marriage itself. So what, then, is the Church of England's theology of marriage? Back in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as the Book of Common Prayer was being put together, marriage was said to be for three purposes:

First, It was ordained for the procreation of children
Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication
Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.

How do these three concerns relate to the prospect of gay marriage? The third priority insists that marriage is designed to bring human beings into loving and supportive relationships. Surely no one can deny that homosexual men and women are in as much need of loving and supportive relationships as anybody else. And equally deserving of them too. This one seems pretty clear. The second priority relates to the encouragement of monogamy. The Archbishop of Canterbury himself has rightly recognised that celibacy is a vocation to which many gay people are simply not called. Which is why, it strikes me, the church ought to be offering gay people a basis for monogamous relationships that are permanent, faithful and stable. So that leaves the whole question of procreation. And clearly a gay couple cannot make babies biologically. But then neither can those who marry much later in life. Many couples, for a whole range of reasons, find they cannot conceive children - or, simply, don't choose to. Is marriage to be denied them? Of course not. For these reasons - and also after contraception became fully accepted in the Church of England - the modern marriage service shifted the emphasis away from procreation. The weight in today's wedding liturgy is on the creation of loving and stable relationships. For me, this is something in which gay Christians have a perfect right to participate. I know many people of good will are bound to disagree with me on this. But gay marriage isn't about culture wars or church politics; it's fundamentally about one person loving another. The fact that two gay men have proclaimed this love in the presence of God, before friends and family and in the context of prayerful reflection is something I believe the church should welcome. It's not as if there's so much real love in the world that we can afford to be dismissive of what little we do find. Which is why my view is we ought to celebrate real love however and wherever we find it.

'HISTORY WILL NOT JUDGE THEM KINDLY'

From It still matters | Brattleboro Reformer Editorial, 17 June 2008
"This is not about vindictiveness and partisan politics. The acts committed by the Bush administration rise to the level of "high crimes and misdemeanors" that our founders said justifies the impeachment of public officials. And if the Democrats refuse to act upon the articles of impeachment, they are no better than the administration in upholding their oaths of office. They are co-conspirators, and history will not judge them kindly for putting politics above the Constitution."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

WORLD'S FIRST GRAPHIC DESIGN MUSEUM OPENS



24ORANGES: On 11 June 2008, Queen Beatrix royally opened the Graphic Design Museum in Breda, the first museum in the world dedicated to graphic design. The museum plans to function as a museum, knowledge centre, training facility, shop, designer café and production house for graphic design. It offers an international stage for established designers as well as a springboard for new talent.

'IF PEOPLE WANT CLEAN WATER, BUY IT IN A BOTTLE'



Thanks to Five Before Chaos.

Monday, June 16, 2008

DANGEROUS LIASONS

BROADSIDES on the desperate maneuvres in the Pollina camp:
For non-comatose Vermonters, we know that Pollina is running for governor (again) under the banner of the Progressive Party, the folks who have sometimes, kind of, maybe (depending on the day and the circumstances) tried to make the case that Vermont needs a viable third party because the Democrats and Republicans are hopelessly and ruthlessly protecting a political status quo that isn’t serving the rest of us very well. Can you say “Iraq War,” “health care,” “global warming,” “alternative energy,” “economic justice,” “corporate oligarchy”? I knew you could.

But the problem with Pollina and the Progs is that they only spew that rhetoric – or even pretend to believe in it – when it appears to be politically convenient. And they’ll just as soon say that there’s no hope in getting anything substantive done within the Democratic Party before announcing that they’re either cutting a deal with Dems over which electoral races to sit out or, in the case of Pollina, endorsing a Dem for the highest of political offices: president. Go figure.

OH, LORD!

The Election, The Candidates, The President

Saturday, June 14, 2008

THE ROAR OF THE LION

A friend writes from Amsterdam

Holland exploded (ejaculated, more like it) four times yesterday evening!! The Dutch Lion Roared! From underdog to favourite at Euro2008! Two brilliant performances so far, the dwarf beating football giants Italy and France!

Even I have mixed feelings about watching sometimes boring football. I was jumping out of my chair 4 times!! It's the best thing which could happen to a depressed country!
My Dutch friends think this will give a boost to the national psyche and will reunite "us" - has anyone ever done a study on how sports does that?

This kind of boosterism is short-term; it's just a bit of welcomed respite from the intensive navel-gazing that's been going on.

Also the "allochtonen" wear orange now. (Even if deepdown they back the team of their parents' country, f.i. Turkey.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

BILDERBERG

LAST WEEK, at the Westfield Marriott in Chantilly, Virginia: New World Order Gathering Off-Limits to American Media

It is illegal for Americans to conduct foreign policy in private, according to the Logan Act.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A NEW KEN PICARD AL-JAZEERA INTERVIEW

WEB EXCLUSIVE

KEN PICARD of 7D did an interview this week with former Pentagon spokesperson-turned Al Jazeera reporter, Josh Rushing.

Rushing and Al-Jazeera English Managing Director Tony Burman, will talk about the network and answer call-in questions TONIGHT at 6-6:45 p.m. on Channel 17, CCTV. For more information, call Sam Mayfield at Channel 17 at 862-3966, ext. 19.

Rushing will also speak tomorrow night at the public forum of Burlington Telecom's two citizen oversight committees on whether to continue airing the network. | Tuesday 11 June - from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Hauke Conference Room at Champlain College.

U.S. DEMANDS 58 BASES IN IRAQ

TODAY FROM INFORMED COMMENT (Juan Cole) --
Leila Fadel reports that Shiite lawmakers in Iraq told her that the US has requested 58 bases from the Iraqi government as part of the security agreement now being negotiated. The US also is said to want the authority to decide when Iraq has been attacked, and when and how to respond. The lawmakers are afraid that Washington will use that provision to drag them into the middle of a war between the US and Iran.

On being informed by McClatchy of some of these details, the campaign of Senator Barack Obama demanded that any such stipulation of 58 bases be submitted to the US Congress for approval, and that the Iraqis be told that the US does not seek permanent bases in that country. The McCain campaign had no comment.

DENNIS KUCINICH INTRODUCES ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST BUSH

"President George W. Bush, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office." -- Dennis Kucinich on the floor of the US House of Representatives, 9 June 2008



THE PUBLIC RECORD
Ohio Congressman and former Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush Monday evening, stating the commander-in-chief is guilty of numerous crimes, including launching a war on false pretenses, and spying on American citizens, and should be removed from office.

"The House is not in order," Kucinich said to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who has said impeachment "is off the table."

Pelosi pounded her gavel. Kucinich then began to read the impeachment articles.
DENNIS THE MENACE is on his own on this one. This story will probably only be a one-day story on the MSM wires, as Eli at Left I writes.
One interesting thing about the speech was that, although this was nominally "Articles of Impeachment," it was actually "Articles of Impeachment" plus all the evidence needed to back up the charges within, with citations from speeches by Bush and Cheney and Rice and Powell all the way to citations from books by George Tenet and articles by Scott Ritter and Seymour Hersh. Hearings shouldn't be necessary, just a vote!

Actually the question isn't how quickly the Democrats will bury this; that's pretty much a given. The question is how quickly the media will bury the fact it even happened. There are articles up on the web now from various sources (AP, Reuters, etc.), so it will be reported, but the thing with American media (and the American public) is that a one-day story, even a one-day front-page story (which I doubt this will be), means nothing. Only the stories which get hammered on repeatedly, and talked about by all the talk shows and written about by the columnists make any kind of dent. And the chances that that will happen with this story are pretty much nil.

HUP HOLLAND

Tonight, the Dutch national football team ended a 30-year wait for a victory over Italy in emphatic fashion as they won their European Championship 2008, Group C, Match 6, in Berne. The result was 3:0 for Oranje!

Pics of a Triumph (Courtesy PPE-Colourpress-Torsten Silz-ddp)

Monday, June 9, 2008

THE BISHOP OF NEW HAMPSHIRE GETS CUPPED


The Rt. Rev'd V. Gene Robinson and Mark Andrew, his lover of 20 years, entered into a civil union partnership on Saturday, 7 June, which was also the fifth anniversary of his election as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire.

AMERICAN SUMMER 2008

UNEASY TENSIONS IN THE SUMMER OF '08:

FOOD LINES FOR FEEDING A FAMILY

WORK

VACATION

A YOU TUBE FAVOURITE....

Marlene Dietrich sings in German: Sei Lieb Zu Mir (Mean to Me) and Sag Mir Adieu (Time on my Hands)

REGIONAL STEREOTYPES

THE dear departed (may she rest in peace) Molly Ivins ranted and raved about the myths of Texas. When I lived in Texas and would travel East, as a queer man, I'd have my own axe to grind: Texas may be Bigger, but that myth is definitely not true about penis size.

In Vermont, there's that flatlanders vs woodchucks gripe and the mistaken notion that this state is a bastion of progressive politcs. (Did you know that Vermont was settled by people from Connecticut and that Ethan Allen originally named the Vermont Republic New Connecticut?)

Recent coverage of Appalachian stereotypes - Jon Stewart's apeing West Virginia voters and Cheney's tasteless joke - have brought some responses, too.

catholicanarchy.org Cheney, Appalachian humor, and American imperial logic

(my emphasis)

And just as Appalachian stereotypes developed in tandem with the beginnings of economic exploitation in the region, the same stereotypes continue to serve the interests of capitalism and U.S. political and cultural imperialism. Appalachian politicians such as WV’s Governor Manchin “sell” Appalachian poverty to outside companies by advertising the region’s low wages, “docile” work force, low unionization rates, etc. The “throw away people” of Appalachia also continue to bear the burden of environmental injustice such as the ongoing practice of mountaintop removal mining, all for the “common good” of America’s energy needs.

And not only are a disproportionate number of Appalachian bodies exploited, generation after generation, to serve in the U.S. military, Appalachian stereotypes are invoked as part of the mythological narratives that drive U.S. imperialism, especially the War on Terror, as Carol Mason demonstrated in a recent journal article. Mason provides a fascinating analysis of two female soldiers from West Virginia, Jessica Lynch and Lynndie England, who made headlines over the last few years and who embodied the two contradictory hillbilly images we referred to earlier, Lynch representing the good country girl rescued from barbaric Iraqis, and England representing the barbaric savage who was photographed torturing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Attending to the role of class, gender, and race in the two stories, Mason showed how each used Appalachian hillbilly stereotypes either to inspire support for the war on terror or to explain away U.S. torture tactics by blaming them on a “gender-bending hillbilly.”

Saturday, June 7, 2008

AL JAZEERA IN BURLINGTON ATTRACTS WORLDWIDE MEDIA ATTENTION

I love it when Burlington gets national and international coverage!

THE COUNTERSPIN program on FAIR features Ken Picard of Seven Days.

The GUARDIAN has done a piece on Tony Burman, the new boss of Al Jazeera.
In Burlington, New England, where a tiny city-owned broadcaster with a few thousand subscribers carries Al-Jazeera, complaints from locals prompted the company to announce that it will be taken off air, but a local Republican representative is supporting its continued presence, Burman claims, and that decision could be reversed.
Hmmm, I wonder who the Repub is. Any guesses?

Mr Burman will be attending next week's public forums on the Al Jazeera presence in Burlington.

TWO NEW HAMPSHIRE PAPERS with Vermont readership have editorials:

VALLEY NEWS (NH)
Channeling Free Speech
Al-Jazeera English on TV
***

Given what passes for television “news” programming in America these days, it's not astonishing that some viewers would like to banish a channel or two from the satellite or cable menu. That, however, seems quite different from what's going on in Vermont’s largest city, where Burlington Telecom is under pressure to drop the English language service of Al-Jazeera, the Arab-owned network based in Qatar.

As it happens, Burlington is one of the few places in the United States where Al-Jazeera English can be seen, others being Washington, D.C., Houston and parts of Ohio (figure that one out). It is largely invisible in this country because, in the words of the International Herald Tribune, “the reputation of its Arabic sibling as the preferred outlet for videos from Osama bin Laden has made the English-language version too hot to handle for some U.S. cable operators.”

Urging the municipally-owned Burlington Telecom to join the blackout is something called the Defenders Council of Vermont, whose 15 or 20 members conceive it as their mission to “educate the citizens of Vermont about the nature, reality and threat of radical Islam.” It seems not to have occurred to the Defenders that pulling the plug on an Arab-owned news service might not be the best way to educate Vermonters about the political and social perspectives of the Islamic world. Or that anyone offended by the programming has recourse to the TV viewer's ultimate trump card -- the remote.

This is not the only irony involved in this story, though. As the Associated Press reported earlier this week, the executive director of Burlington Telecom, Chris Burns, was only too happy to oblige the Defenders Council. He announced that the channel would be removed, but Mayor Bob Kiss put on the brakes until public reaction could be more thoroughly gauged. Perhaps in the meantime, the mayor will introduce the telecom director to the First Amendment, which, after all, is not only about the right to voice unpopular opinions but also about the right to hear them. If democracy is based on the notion that citizens best govern themselves by sorting through conflicting opinions in the marketplace of ideas, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for a government entity to restrict the range of ideas about public affairs that are offered in that marketplace. It wholly contradicts the nation's democratic faith to believe that Americans are unable to distinguish between ideas that have merit and those that are spurious.

Beyond that, it seems to us that one of the gravest threats to national security in the 21st century is the extent to which America remains ignorant of the world and of how that world views this country. It is perhaps telling that BBC World, the BBC's round-the-clock news channel on which Al-Jazeera English was initially modeled, is also largely unavailable in the United States. In a dangerous world, Americans live in isolation at their own peril.

It is also worth noting that the English language service of Al-Jazeera recently hired as its new managing director Tony Burman, a former editor in chief of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. He plans to increase coverage of news in the United States heading into this fall's presidential election; invest in more news bureaus; and present “more provocative” news programming and investigative journalism. In short, Al-Jazeera English proposes to do what major American broadcast news organizations used to do.
Citing the Valley News editorial, the KEENE (NH) SENTINEL writes
What Al-Jazeera says
[I]t seems to us that one of the gravest threats to national security in the 21st century is the extent to which America remains ignorant of the world and of how that world views this country. It is perhaps telling that BBC World, the BBC's round-the-clock news channel on which Al-Jazeera English was initially modeled, is also largely unavailable in the United States. In a dangerous world, Americans live in isolation at their own peril ...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN AUDREY HEPBURN AND KAISER WILHELM II?

Beautiful Audrey Hepburn was the daughter of the British banker Joseph Anthony Hepburn-Ruston and the Dutch aristocrat Ella, Baroness van Heemstra (Audrey was raised near Brussels). Grandmother de Beaufort and her husband Willem, Baron van Heemstra owned House Doorn in Doorn, the Netherlands, which was bought by German Emperor Wilhelm II when in exile in the Netherlands.
Small world.


I write this bit of royal trivia, because I just read that Mel Ferrer has died. And it got me thinking, since he was married to Audrey, who was a baroness in her own right. Ferrer and Audrey spent part of their Honeymoon in the Netherlands. Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and of course Arnhem where Audrey spent the war years. Her experiences of malnutrition there and the food given after the war made such an impression that she became a UN amassador.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

THE SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN IN VERMONT? - SECOND VERMONT REPUBLIC EXPOSED BY THE SPLC

Crossposted at Five Before Chaos, Docudharma, iBrattleboro and Green Mountain Daily.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a well-known organization known for tracking hate groups and/or hate crimes around America. Many of you may remember the recent controversy regarding the Second Vermont Republic (SVR), Vermont's secessionist movement. John Odum of Green Mountain Daily pointed out SVR's ties to groups and individuals being tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center and as a result, SVR came under greater scrutiny. Now the SPLC released their much anticipated report on the Second Vermont Republic and the report includes a revealing anecdote on former SVR board member and local impeachment hero, Dan DeWalt.

The authors write:
"... playing footsie with neo-Confederates has cost SVR, as several members have left the group or distanced themselves from it in recent years. Former executive director Jane Dwinel quit the group in 2006, telling the Report later that she had had sharp disagreements with Naylor. John McClaughry, a supporter of decentralization, told the Report that SVR has "shaded over to hating America." According to the Vermont Secession blog, Dan Dewalt, a former SVR advisory member, was dismissed from the group for merely raising irksome questions about Naylor's connection to groups including the league.

Even many of those who remain Naylor's colleagues are worried by SVR's new Southern friends. "You've got to watch whose conference you go to. There's no doubt about it," SVR advisor Frank Bryan told the Report. Added longtime SVR ally Jim Hogue, "If [Naylor] was very flattering toward the League of the South, and they're racist, that was probably a bad idea."

In the face of these criticisms, Naylor remains defiant. "I don't give a shit what you write," he told the Report. "If someone tells me that I shouldn't associate with the League of the South, it guarantees that I will associate with the League of the South."

THE PEOPLE BURLINGTON ARE TRUMPED AGAIN

Burlington's homeless, first time home buyers in search of "affordable housing," people living paycheck-to-paycheck, hungry people who increasingly patronise the local food bank, will no doubt be disappointed with the Design Review Board's "reluctant" decision to cave into the Burlington city council's earlier vote to go easy on the Westlake developer.

It's not really a case of politics trumping policy, as some would say. Rather, it's a case of politics trumping principles. Vermont Interfaith Action worked diligently over the past two years researching affordable housing and the Westlake project, attending DRB meetings, and even held a city-wide action last year. I don't know if this decision will be appealed, as it could be. The $400,000 will be placed in the Burlington affordable housing fund and can be used for ten affordable units. The Browns Court project could be a beneficiary.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

MORE CUTS ON STUDENT LOANS TO THE POOR

FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES:
Some of the nation’s biggest banks have closed their doors to students at community colleges, for-profit universities and other less competitive institutions, even as they continue to extend federally backed loans to students at the nation’s top universities.
And TMiss comments:
This isn’t class warfare, of course. No, it’s just another example of people who just happen to be rich and parasitical sticking it to people who just happen to be poor and underrepresented in Congress thanks to the Democratic party’s love affair with Wall Street.

GREEN DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE UPDATE....

Green Democratic Alliance members will be tabling on Sunday, June 8 from 12 Noon to 6 p.m. on the Church Street Marketplace. Members will have information about the Alliance and provide voter registration. Tabling will happen on the second Sunday of each month, through September.

GDA members René Kaczka-Vallière, Owen Mulligan and and Jay Vos were re-appointed to city commissions at the City Council meeting on 2 June. René was reappointed to the Conservation Board for a four year term; Owen, to the Housing Board of Review for a five year term; Jay, to the Board of Health for a three year term.

GDA Bottle Drive
continues....please drop off your bottles at 305 S. Union St. #3. There is a bottle bin on the porch labeled "GDA Bottle Drive". Your bottles can help GDA have more of an impact on the next Town Meeting Day.

Please urge Burlington Telecom (BT) to keep Al Jazeera English on its channel offerings. (You can read about what's happened so far here.) Greg Epler-Wood, who chairs both the Citizens Advisory Committee and the Burlington Telecommunications Advisory Committee appointed by the City Council, says another public forum will be held sometime in June before any recommendation is made. Epler-Wood also has invited written comments either via e-mail (greg@burlingtontelecom.net) or care of Burlington Telecom, 200 Church Street, Burlington, VT 05401. In the end, BT and Mayor Kiss will make the call.

Monday, June 2, 2008

YOUR 'LIFESTYLE' MATTERS TO VPR

Today I heard on Vermont Public Radio two ridiculously inane "sponsorship advertisements." One was by a shoe store in Montpelier that sells footwear to enhance "your Vermont lifestyles." The other was from a bed and breakfast in Hanover, New Hampshire, which is located in a "country setting." A nice get-away from the hum-drum, one would think. Not totally - and here's the disconnect - the place offers "wireless internet connection throughout the house."

DERELICTION OF DUTY

As I'm wont to do, I like to return to archival posts by my favourite bloggers and writers. Michaal Colby, one of the most brilliant writers around Vermont, doesn't really rant and rave, but voices a deep sigh in his essay about citizen malpractisce which was posted on Broadsides last March.
Imagine, if you will, if you went to a doctor and she said: “Yep, it’s cancer.” And then she left the room. Better yet, she got on the public address system in the office and announced: “This patient has cancer.” And everyone on staff and everyone in the waiting room just nodded about the horrors of it, called some folks they knew to repeat the horrors, emailed their list-serve about it, and then just carried on with their day and their lives.

We’d call that medical malpractice. Because in medicine, we don’t just expect a diagnosis, we also expect one hell of a good faith effort at treatment or, if you will, an activist remedy.

Oh, if modern-day citizenship only carried the same kind of expectations. You know, a simple kind of expectation that would follow the medical lineage between diagnosis and cure. And if we, the citizens, simply acknowledged the problems without effectively addressing them, we’d be accused of citizenship malpractice – a most serious dereliction of duty that has betrayed our ideals, our future, our health, our safety and the very foundation of our democracy that requires citizen leadership.

Consider ourselves charged – on several counts – of citizenship malpractice.