Wednesday, February 28, 2007


the eXile has a hilarious send up of the Oscars here. A sample --
The eXile is proud to present the 2007 Asscademy Awards ceremony, in which we honor the top talents in the global terror industry, all the leading lights and shining stars who have helped make this LWOT (that's "Long War On Terror" for those of you who aren't acronym-savvy) the best LWOT the world has ever known. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of the year to announce our winners of the coveted Golden ASScar, the trophy made of genuine rare dingleberry-plated casing that is the dream of every man, woman, and child - be they black, be they white, be they Jewish, be they, ah, be they yellow, green or purple... Or be they gay! Let's not forget gay people, since we have a gay host tonight!

The value of the word "homophobia"

Related to my post a few days ago about Beaudry's homophobia, Dennis of psychology, dogs, politics and wine has a few words indeed to say about the value of the word "homophobia" --
Call out homophobia - do not be ashamed to identify it, even when the bigots claim that it is not what they are "feeling." Make it obvious, based on their behaviors. And make it obvious so that their children and grandchildren will be ashamed to carry on the behaviors and bigotry of this generation, as many of the children and grandchildren of racists have become.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Green announces for 2008 (oh, and then there's Ralph Nader)

Green Party Green Line February 2007 newsletter:

Elaine Brown to Seek
Green Party Presidential Ticket

Former Black Panther Party leader, noted author, community and prison justice activist Elaine Brown announced this week that she intends to seek the Green Party¹s nomination for a presidential bid in 2008.

"The 2006 elections signified a mass rejection of Bush¹s
policies--not a shift to the Democrats. We have arrived at a powerful
moment when the majority of the country is seeking a political
alternative, toward embracing progressive values and realizing a
progressive agenda. I haven¹t seen this potential since the 1960s."

Brown, who ran as a Green in the 2005 Brunswick, Georgia, mayoral
election where Republicans succeeded in illegally removing her name from both the ballot and the voter roll, intends to run on a platform that addresses the interests of poor and working families, in terms of living wages, free healthcare, decent housing and increased funding for public education and higher education; ending the war in Iraq; restoring the environment and bringing about economic parity. Strategically, she intends to target non-voters, specifically women under 30 and African Americans, constituencies she believes are not represented by the nearly identical agendas of the Democrat and Republican parties, stating these crucial constituencies "have the power to build up an alternative party to truly challenge the status quo."

"I believe I have the ability to raise consciousness among disaffected
and disenfranchised poor and working people, women and blacks, to
galvanize them to vote for a real second party. Such a broadening of the Green Party base will allow us to start winning big time, at the state level and nationally, so that we can overturn some of the most egregious policies and laws (like the three strikes crime bill which has so devastated black communities) and introduce progressive legislation.

There are a lot of great community organizations working for change,
performing Sisyphean tasks that cannot address the fundamental problems. I believe the time is right to use the ballot to make the kinds of changes we know must be made to serve the people we represent."

Brown stated she is running as a Green because: "Not only does the Green Party support reparations for slavery, but the party¹s ten key values represent the values and interests of poor and working people. Only the Green Party offers clear positions on the needs of the people, in terms of a living wage, decent housing, food, education, and medical care. The Democrats and Republicans offer black and poor people nothing."

When asked what she hopes to achieve with her run, Brown said: "I know the party can earn a significant increase in votes and membership, which will increase our viability to take congressional seats, state house seats, and local offices; so that we can really start changing the way government operates."

Oh, yeah, there's this -- it's a good article by Chris Hedges on Ralph Nader Pariah or Prophet?. Read it here.

Another conspiracy theory

Guardian: Is this really the last resting place of Jesus, Mary Magdalene - and their son?

A few questions jumped right out to me:

When were the names etched on the ossuaries (boxes)? Carbon dating tests been done?

The bones have been reburied someplace else. And what about the DNA testing?

But even as the felt was being pulled back yesterday, holes in the theory were becoming glaringly evident. The DNA available to investigators is very limited as the bones themselves have long since been reburied. The test carried out by the film-makers was mitochondrial - that is it only contained information on maternal inheritance, thus allowing the possibility that Jesus and Mariamene were brother and sister through the paternal line.

As one commenter wrote on another blog: Finding a tomb marked "Jesus" in Jerusalem is like finding a tomb marked "John" in Sandusky, Ohio. It could be anybody.

Israeli archaeologists were also quick to point out that despite the statistical work commissioned by Mr Jacobovici, the names scratched into the boxes were all highly popular and common in the first century.

DallasNews Religion has more.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Guess who supports terrorism?

Via (and many thanks to) Lenin's Tomb: Guess who supports terrorism? ---

About a quarter of all Americans:
Those who think that Muslim countries and pro-terrorist attitudes go hand-in-hand might be shocked by new polling research: Americans are more approving of terrorist attacks against civilians than any major Muslim country except for Nigeria.

The survey, conducted in December 2006 by the University of Maryland's prestigious Program on International Public Attitudes, shows that only 46 percent of Americans think that "bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians" are "never justified," while 24 percent believe these attacks are "often or sometimes justified."

Contrast those numbers with 2006 polling results from the world's most-populous Muslim countries - Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. Terror Free Tomorrow, the organization I lead, found that 74 percent of respondents in Indonesia agreed that terrorist attacks are "never justified"; in Pakistan, that figure was 86 percent; in Bangladesh, 81 percent.

A commenter on The Tomb (my emphasis):

[T]o Americans "bombing" means "bombing from the air", not bombing with suicide belts or car bombs, and bombing from the air isn't "terrorism," it's just war (and "defensive" or "preventive" war at that). And, to be honest, who can blame them? You won't find a single corporate news source in the United States (or probably anywhere else) who has ever referred to dropping a bomb from a plane as "terrorism."

Cognitive dissonance runs deep.

Indeed, Iraqi men, women, and children are being terrorized by Americans in a massive, underreported, continuing air slaugther.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Burlington City Election 2007 Candidates and Ballot Questions

The official list of candidates and ballot questions are listed on Burlington Voter Power!

The City Election is Tuesday, March 6. Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

After you've perused the list of candidates and ballot items, and thought about them, you may ---

Vote Early before Election Day

Go to the city clerk's office at 149 Church St. anytime on Monday-Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Tell them you want to vote at the counter or take a ballot home to vote. You can vote early or take a ballot home to vote anytime 30 days before a Primary or General Election and 20 days before the Annual City Election (Town Meeting Day).

Vote by Mail or Absentee Ballot

Call the city clerk's office at 865-7000 anytime on Monday-Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Tell them you want an absentee ballot mailed to you. Your ballot can be mailed out of state if you are away. Make sure you fill out the ballot and mail or deliver it to the city clerk's office in time to be received before the close of the office on the day before the election.

You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught.
-- YOU'VE GOT TO BE CAREFULLY TAUGHT South Pacific (Rodgers & Hammerstein)

No doubt you remember the furore last year when Outright Vermont, an organization providing social activities and support for LGBTIQQA or queer youth, encountered opposition to its presentation on anti-bullying and diversity at the Williston Central School. After initially canceling the presentation, that school rescheduled with Outright Vermont following a large community forum where the majority of those in attendance voiced their support of the presentation.

Well, the pressure is on Outright Vermont again, this time from a local conservative radio host, whacko Paul Beaudry. Thanks to Vermont Snarky Boy for alerting me to this story in yesterday's Burlington Free Press.

The lede --

SWANTON -- A proposed presentation about gender and sexual orientation-based bullying has come under fire at Missisquoi Valley Union High School after a conservative radio talk show host skewered the school district for scheduling a two-day series of panel discussions with a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender youth organization and called for the school to revoke its invitation.

Paul Beaudry, host of the "Comments Show" on WRSA in St. Albans and "True North Radio" on WDEV in Waterbury, objected to a plan to allow the LGBT youth advocacy organization Outright Vermont to present a series of workshops aimed at combating bullying and violence. Beaudry said he couldn't believe the school was allowing the group to come in.

We have a very, very long way to go to raise awareness so that reason will exist in Vermont. As a gay man, I ache at the pain that Beaudry's hate-filled speech has caused in our state. I also hunger for a world where people with vastly different opinions can sit together and share their stories. The workshops offered by Outright Vermont in schools allow for that. It is only through that connectedness, a one-on-one encounter, that people's hearts will be changed. When they sit with a gay or lesbian person and hear their stories, they begin to ask questions and that opens up some possibility of change. So, I'm with Snarky Boy --
This whole episode should be a lesson to Vermonters about how far we have to go before true tolerance and inclusion can be a reality for ALL of us. Let’s hope the Beaudrys of Vermont will actually tone down their screaming long enough to attend an Outright Vermont workshop and learn a little something about truly loving your neighbors. Similarly, I hope everyone opposing Beaudry and his wingnut views will do so in a manner that is creative, effective AND legal. We do, you know, have reason on our side.

It is noteworthy that not one of the mainstream Vermont bloggers has had the balls to decry Beaudry's abhorrent behaviour. And as for the Burlington Free Press? I won't hold my breath.

Combatting low voter turnout

I'm glad to see there's an effort in Milton, VT to register voters. The deadline in Vermont for voting on Town Meeting Day, March 6th, is Monday, February 26th. I'm sure they've been busy in Milton.

Burlington Free Press, 02/19/07 --

MILTON -- In the past five years, an average of just 26 percent of registered voters in Milton have voted at Town Meeting Day. That number is even lower when it comes to revotes on the school budget, which have taken place four out of the past five years.

Last year, the school budget failed to gain enough votes to pass on the first try. The low voter turnout -- 1,897 votes out of 5,944 registered voters -- combined with the budget's failure to pass by 121 votes, galvanized members of the community who were tired of so few people deciding for a town of 10,000.

Community activist and School Board member Steve Rose and his wife, Kris Lukens-Rose, led the charge for their fellow Milton residents to get out and vote. Together with other like-minded parents, students and residents, the couple helped form Friends of Milton Voters to rally registered voters to the polls.

Read all about it here.

Burlington Voter Power had two registration drives this past week, at Burlington High School and Champlain College. Fifteen first time voters were registered.

Friday, February 23, 2007

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'

He chortled in his joy!

MadPriest has added Blazing Indiscretions to his list of Heroes of the Blogosphere.


Crossing the Constitutional line

DallasNews Religion --

The St. Petersburg Times reports that the principal of a Florida public school decided her students needed some help before they took a state proficiency test.

So at night, she and some of her staff annointed the students' desks with prayer oil.

This had several effects. It offended many non-Christian parents. It got the local ACLU riled up. And it made the desks greasy.

SPTimes story here.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Monks profit from cruelty to animals

Via Joshua Frank, from the Associated Press: S.C. monks deny cruelty allegations --
MONCKS CORNER, S.C. -- Trappist monks who operate a chicken farm in South Carolina are disputing accusations from a national animal-welfare group that their birds have been mistreated.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals allege the monks at Mepkin Abbey crammed thousands of chickens into small cages and periodically starved them to increase egg production.

I like the Trappists. I eat their jams! The Trappist monk and mystic, Thomas Merton, would undoubtedly have called this treatment an obscenity. This is not what St. Francis would have done. This is no Lenten fast. This is cruelty for profit.
On the PETA video, one monk discussed forced molting, a process that involves starving the chickens to make them lay more eggs. The monk compared the practice with a fast.

It's like running an Abu Ghraib chicken coop.

What you can do NOW.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

For A Holy and Blessed Lent

It's Ash Wednesday. Before I go off to be ashed, I thought I'd share this poem by T. S. Eliot (thanks to Fr Jake ) --

Ash Wednesday

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?
Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

- T. S. Eliot

Unity over integrity

From today's Guardian leader -

Compromise is often necessary and rarely glorious; but the outcome of the meeting of Anglican primates, which has just ended in Tanzania, does not even have the merit of balance.[...I]n the face of all the challenges facing humankind, not least in Africa, primates spent five days obsessing about their attitude to gay sex. Religion and homosexuality have long enjoyed a close, if covert, relationship, but while much of the modern world has come to adopt an approach that supports an open understanding of gay and lesbian people, Anglicanism seems to have retreated from it.

Why should I stay in this farce? I'm a cradle Episcopalian. I'm also gay. It's not simple, but I choose to remain in the Episcopal Church to bear witness to the love of God and the inclusive gospel of Jesus Christ. I try to think of other liturgical, sacramental churches I could attend, and then I realise the rest are even worse off than TEC.

After the bombshell yesterday from Dar es Salaam, I read Libby Purves with my morning Whittard. I didn't know Ms Purves wrote for a Murdoch paper. I've been delighted for years by her broadcasts on BBC R4. She's just the kind of person who'd have sat down with the dinnerladies at my school, after the washing-up. --

Pray lift your eyes above the belt
The Churches’ sexual obsession makes me despair

At the conclusion of her commentary, she writes --

Let the Churches concentrate on condemning promiscuity, infidelity, exploitation, predation — whether gay or straight. Nobody asks them to go the full Gay Pride, bathhouse-culture route; but let them recognise kindness and mutual support as virtues, and bless all honest unions. Let them condemn proselytising from either side, making it clear that there is nothing cool or clever about random sexual tourism, any more than there is anything evil in being born gay. It just happens. Being gay can, without doing any violence to the Gospels, be accepted as a potential route to holiness.

It won’t be. They’ll squabble and fudge and cling to their hierarchies and their terrors, and some will scuttle to Rome and Rome will feel smug. And the rest of society will sigh and turn away, thinking that Christianity has nothing to offer.
She's a keeper alright. Three cheers for Libby. Go gurl!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Democratic Rage (Yawn)

Vermont Snarky Boy always posts with such a flourish! Give him an A++ for sticking it (again) to the Democratic Party! They can’t even snarl enough to push a real piece of legislation regarding the war in Iraq. Instead, they keep yipping and yapping about a “resolution.” Yip. Yap. Yip. Yap. --

My guess is that there’s little time left to get anything done about his war before the 2008 election. The Republicans will continue to snicker over their coy use of the rules to stifle any debate and the Dems will begin their usual pre-election banter about “not jeopardizing the election” by taking strong stands. So the Republicans will get John McCain and his thirst to hold the military trigger and the Dems will get Hillary Clinton and her thirst to put on the strap-on presidential dildo. Take that, Bill!

As for the rest of us, well, we’re fucked. As usual. Unless, of course, we stop listening to the ninnies of both deaf parties, rise up to mimic the great activism that really changed things in this country, and demand the change that is needed rather than the rhetoric of change we’re constantly being fed.

That's the national Democratic Party.
He doesn't let the Vermont Dems off nicely, either:
It’s not really any better here in Vermont. The Dems have veto-proof majorities in both houses of the legislature but are still doing little but yipping and yapping. Okay, okay, they passed their own war “resolution” but it was just a – ahem – resolution. They could also pass resolutions to end global warming and provide health care for all and it would have the same affect: Zippo. The Vermont Dems have absolutely no excuse for NOT being bold right now. Other than, of course, they’re Dems and they’ve become institutionally afraid of their own shadows. Boo!

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Prince's Crazy Dream: The Sahel Opera Project

With all the despair, the story report below makes room for light amid the darkness of our world. Only connect, the writer, E. M. Forster, wrote. Here we connect through music.

My friend, David Swatling, introduces The Princes's Crazy Dream on Radio Netherlands Wereldomroep/Vox Humana (English):

Prince Claus, the Dutch Queen's late consort, had what some would call a crazy idea. Right up until his death in 2002, he dreamed of creating an opera in the Sahel; the band of African countries along the southern Sahara stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. Now, some of the Sahel's most talented musicians and artists have come together to bring his idea to the stage.

On Saturday 17 February, members of the Dutch Royal family presented the 2007 Prince Claus Award at the world premiere of "Bintou Were: A Sahel Opera" at the spectacular open-air theatre of the Palais de la Culture on the banks of the Niger River, in Bamako, Mali.

On June 7, 8 & 9 it will premiere in Europe at the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, as part of the Holland Festival, and in October, at Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, France.
Prince Claus Fund: The Sahel Opera Project (English)

Radio Netherlands Wereldomroep: Prince Claus, the unknown prince --

Frans Bieckmann says the ideas he presented were not revolutionary, but they were progressive:

"Basically, Prince Claus thought that people in developing countries should be allowed to handle their own development. It is not for the West to prescribe how people in those countries should develop […] Richer nations should enable them to develop on their own by creating the right kind of international conditions for them to do so."

Towards the end of his life, Prince Claus became increasingly bitter about the results – or lack thereof – achieved by and with development aid. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Dutch development aid in 1999, he wrote a damning speech in which he said a celebration was inappropriate because of the failure of aid to achieve anything significant in the preceding decades. His speech was so critical that he was not allowed to use it.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Maggie Maurice: The Real Deal

Maggie Maurice, a long-time columnist for the Burlington Free Press died this week --

"Everybody read Maggie -- sometimes in self-defense. You want to know whether you were mentioned," said former Vermont Gov. Madeleine Kunin. "Some would call it a gossip column, but she was never mean-spirited. She was always kind. She gave the newspaper a personality."

Maurice's friends said the breezy, friendly style her readers saw in the paper was the real deal. "She's the most upbeat, most thoughtful, most generous, most loving person. She's always concerned about you, other people. She was never focused on herself," said Meredith Babbott of Burlington, one of Maurice's many longtime friends.

She'd long since stopped writing her columns. But I knew her as an active member of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Burlington. She attended church last Sunday. She had been an usher up until her recent illness forced her to stop; but that's how I met her on my very first visit to St. Paul's. Her greeting was gracious and hospitable. Whether you were a visitor or a regular parishioner, her infectious smile took you out of the doldrums and you just had to smile back in return! Blessings on dear Maggie.

A memorial service for Maggie will take place on Saturday, March 3, 2007 at the Cathedral Church of St Paul, 2 Cherry Street (corner of Battery), Burlington. Phone the Cathedral office at 802-864-0471 for the exact time.

Maggie Maurice Archive at the Burlington Free Press

Maggie's respect for people is shown particularly in this column:
Grinding out self-sufficiency

Published: Friday, February 16, 2007
Originally Published: Sept. 28, 1980

The flowers are out of hand at the Raymond Chadwick farm in Monkton. They grew so tall, Janet said, and she got too busy with other projects. Now in September, the garden is a colorful profusion of zinnias, nicotiana, calendulus, marigolds, roses, petunias, geraniums, foxglove, pansies and snapdragons.

She loves this time of year. “It’s harvest time,” she said. “This is the worst time to have company but the best time to visit. It says everything we’re trying to tell people.”

Janet Chadwick is the author of “How to Live on Almost Nothing and Have Plenty” (Alfred A Knopf, New York), “a practical introduction to small-scale sufficient living.”

Her weekly food bill is about $10.

It was $10 five years ago, but inflation has caught up with the Chadwicks, too. At that time, five of the children were home. Now there are two. They still spend $10 (for a family of four.).

They raise all their vegetables and fruit, milk, eggs, meat, grains and herbs. They make their own bread, butter, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, wine and liqueurs.

“We do go to the grocery store for paper supplies, cleaning products and just plain junk,” she said. “When I get short and buy bread, I feel guilty.”

On this cool sunny morning, she was making spaghetti sauce. Turkey bones were simmering in the crockpot. When she peeked in the oven you could see rolls rising on the rack.

“I keep the kitchen door open. It gets steamed up in here with the cooking,” she said.

You could smell the tomato sauce. Yes, she nodded, it always smells good in here.

In the fall she moves her picnic table into the kitchen to provide more work space. Apples, tomatoes, canning jars were lined up on it. Onions were hanging in the window. She will string hot, red peppers next week. When they’re dry she’ll put them in the root cellar.

Jan Chadwick’s story is almost a Cinderella tale.

She was 40 and her husband was 42 when they decided to change their lives. Their oldest son had died, at age 19, of a kidney disease. “I’d had it with the city. I knew I had to do something.”

In June 1974, they moved from Burlington to Monkton. By December they had built a small barn to house the livestock. They enlarged the one-story house, put a cellar under it. The animals arrived two days before Christmas. Two milk cows, two milk goats, two pigs, several rabbits, chickens, ducks and geese. She always says she learned to milk a cow with the cow in one hand and the how-to book in the

Sitting down with a cup of coffee, an unusual sight for a Chadwick morning, she doesn’t look much like a pioneer. She smiles, almost laughs at the idea. “I am,” she said. “I didn’t know anything when we started.” She’s wearing a green blouse, black slacks, white socks, Hush Puppies. A person who always worries about being short (she’s 5 feet 2) and gaining weight (she wrote a cookbook this summer and asks “what are you going to do when you have to test 174 recipes?”), she has dark brown hair and enormous dark eyes, part of her French-Canadian heritage.

Her husband has a janitor service and works evenings, plus one or two days a week. Their children are Karen Marcelino, 26 (Karen’s husband built the rabbit cages); Gary, 24; David, 21; Mary, 18; and Kimberly, 15. A son, Steven, is deceased.

“They have been wonderful and so has my husband. I know it sounds corny, but they like life in the country,” she said.

She subscribes to many magazines. New Woman and Country Journal are on the coffee table, next to three volumes of Robert Louis Stevenson. “You don’t want to run to the hills and cut yourself off from everything. I enjoy keeping up with magazines and television. You invest time and elbow grease to have a lifestyle like this, but you want to stay in touch.”

“How To Live on Almost Nothing and Have Plenty” is a book of 271 pages. Chapter headings are to the point: “Keeping Bees,” “Raising a Veal Calf,” “Growing Fruits,” “Potpourri,” “Cooking for the Homestead.”

She recommends the chapter of recipes as a supplement for two cookbooks she uses, “Joy of Cooking” and “Putting Food By.” She includes recipes for convenience mixes you can make at home.

Illustrations are by Rachel Brown, carefully drawn so you really can tell how to build a goose house.

How does Jan Chadwick manage to get all these things done and write about it too?

“I have a really great family to take up the slack,” she said.

“I’ve often said I could use another 24 hours in each day. At least I go to bed tired.”

The house sits on a bluff above Silver Creek, not far from the road, just outside of Monkton. Between the little barn and the calf pasture is a perennial garden, berries, grapes and herbs, the poultry complex. There are piles of wood, more than they’ll need this winter.

It doesn’t look like the cover of the book. “Everything is overgrown this time of year. There’s too much going on to have it picture perfect,” she said.

The Chadwicks started with three and a half acres and have added 33 more, “which is more than enough to do all we talk about. We sell enough meat to pay utilities and taxes. We make our Christmas presents.”

Their schedule is hectic: They get up at 7, do the chores. (In her book she describes how many minutes it takes for each: rabbits, 5 to 8 minutes; pigs, 5 to 8, plus 30 minutes once a week to clean pens.) They have a light breakfast, watch the Today Show. In the morning, depending on the season, she raises seedlings in the
greenhouse, cans vegetables in the kitchen.

“By lunch time the place is a wreck. I spend an hour organizing. Between 2 and 4, we dig potatoes, pick vegetables the next morning. At 4, Ray and I have a glass of iced tea, or wine. And then it’s time for supper. Ray does the chores, goes to work. I clean up, plan.

Through the door behind her you can see the master bedroom, with her writing space by the window, small, uncluttered, organized. “I rented an electric portable to finish typing my book,” she said.

A large storage closet is off the bedroom, containing the stairs to the cellar. There are two large freezers, full, and shelves and shelves of canned goods (1,000 at last count). The root cellar, with its salt pork crocks and cheese aging box, will soon be full of carrots and cabbage.

Outside, the images left in the memory of the observer are in color. Janet standing next to the wood pile, holding a puppy; Janet gathering duck eggs; talking softly to the bunnies that were about to kindle; patting a goat named Heidi; a bantam rooster, silhouetted in the window, turning skittish when the photographer trained his lens on him.

The ducks wouldn’t come to her. She’s not the hand that feeds them.

“Here’s our smelly pigpen. We do produce marvelous pork,” she said. Pork was, she added, 32 and a half cents per pound, hanging weight. It will be lower this year. Grain went up but they used less. The customer takes it to the slaughter house, has it cut, packaged and smoked (“at Wallingford, without nitrates”).

The lambs got out and ate the tops off the strawberries. She lost her perennial herb garden because there was no snow cover last winter. Philosophically she took it in her stride. You expect things to go wrong, she said. She was standing near the new plants, so young it was almost impossible to tell the parsley and sage from the rosemary and fennel.

Does she keep a diary? “No, I never have time,” she said. A calendar, perhaps? Sort of.

“I play it by ear. I know I’ll buy hogs in the spring, feed them until late October when they get butchered. You can’t have real tight rules or you’re apt to make mistakes.”

“How To Live on Almost Nothing” evolved from a small booklet she prepared for Adult Basic Education in Vermont. “They heard what I was doing and asked if I would aim my material not only at teaching people to read but to live a better life,” she said.

An editor with Knopf, Jane Garrett of Starksboro, heard about the booklet at a conference.

“She came to see me. I guess she was surprised. I’m definitely not the hippie type, just a middle-aged, middle-class woman who accepts these challenges. She asked me if I’d like to write a book. I said I’d give it a try.”

Six weeks later, Knopf came back with an option, four months later, after submitting an outline of four chapters, Janet Chadwick received a contract and an advance of $3,500. She finished the book in September, 1978 and it was released in October, 1979.

Now Country Journal has taken her second one.

“God has blessed me. Let’s face it. I’m an unknown author and within 16 months, I have two books out,” she said.

She has appeared on talk shows and hot lines, answering questions like, “How can I lime my field without a spreader?” She loves being on television. The right kind of interviewer makes it so easy, she says.

One time she was in Brookfield, in her dungarees and heavy jacket, and a farmer said to her, “I saw you the other day on TV. Am I glad to see you dressed like this. I thought you were rich and didn’t know what you were talking about.

Janet Chadwick, who has bartered for everything from a new tile entryway to a Troy-Bilt rototiller, thought the remark was funny. Her one extravagance, if you can call it that, is her feet. She wears classy boots in the barn.

The number of family farms in Vermont is growing, she says. “Young people maybe hated it, but they grew up with morals and they knew the value of a buck. Now when they have their own kids, they say, ‘when I was a boy...’

“Everything starts at home,” she said. “I think it’s true for the whole nation.”

Life isn’t all work for the Chadwicks. They like to entertain, and they’re able to, because there’s always plenty of food on hand. They like to dance and go out for dinner.

She’s also the choir director at St. Jude’s Church in Hinesburg. “Without God I am nothing,” she said.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Anglican Primates' Meeting in Tanzania

Well, from the looks of it, to paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of the demise of the Anglican Communion are highly exaggerated. The New York Times reports today on the Anglican Primates' gathering in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Here's the link.

And for some interpretation, and more links, go here and here.

Foie gras is a disease not a delicacy

MickeyZ/Cool Observer writes about foie gras on his blog, with identical posts on Smirking Chimp (don't miss the "liberal" comments at the end) and more liberal reactions to it on Daily Kos.

Friday, February 16, 2007

We're in deep, deep trouble

Martin Murie, MR Zine, February 14, 2007 reviewin Al Gore's book, An Inconvenient Truth:

If the struggle to temper global warming is dependent on corporate profitability, we might as well give up before we start. The pursuit of perpetual expansion, of greater and greater profit margins, and of worldwide empire building for the sake of profit has to be pulled down from its pedestal. We and Earth can't have the money-laden tail wagging the lean dog much longer. We the people will have the pleasure and hard work of figuring out how to do that. Politicians dependent on corporate welfare will not do it; they are simply not up to the job. It's up to us. We have to face the job, study it, boldly pursue it. We the people. That is not mere sentiment; that is a historical fact: fundamental changes have always depended on action from below, collective action arising from thought as well as anger.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Valentine's Day Storm - The Day After

Burlington Free Press 02/15/07 Vermont digs out while....
Burton Snowboards in Burlington gave employees the day off to go riding.

“Nothing makes me happier than giving the people who work here the opportunity to experience the essence of a sport that they are making accessible and fun for so many others,” said company founder Jake Burton.

Sells snowboards, doesn't it? Self-serving consumerism promotion, innit. Typical of the Free Press to give free advertising in a story about a snow storm. Who supervises the news copy at that paper?

Monday, February 12, 2007

It's getting hot and hotter vis à vis Iran

One expert on Iraq asked me in perplexity: "Even if Bush does launch a war against Iran, where does he think it will get him? He will still be stuck in Iraq and the Iranians are not going to surrender. He will just have widened the war."

The answer to this question is probably that the anti-Iranian tilt of the Bush administration has more to do with American than Iraqi politics. A fresh demon is being presented to the US voter. Iran is portrayed as the hidden hand behind US failure in both Iraq and in Lebanon. The US media, gullible over WMD, is showing itself equally gullible over this exaggerated Iranian threat.

The Bush administration has always shown itself more interested in holding power in Washington than in Baghdad. Whatever its failures on the battlefield, the Republicans were able to retain the presidency and both Houses of Congress in 2004. Confrontation with Iran, diverting attention from the fiasco in Iraq, may be their best chance of holding the White House in 2008.

Patrick Cockburn/Counterpunch

Marriage Equality/Rutland Herald Poll

Regarding LBGT marriage equality, the 2004 Green Party Platform stated

In keeping with the Green Key Values of diversity, social justice and feminism, we support full legal and political equality for all persons, regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation.

We support the recognition of equal rights of persons gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender to housing, jobs, civil marriage, medical benefits, child custody, and in all areas of life provided to all other citizens.

The Rutland Herald is currently conducting a "poll" about the marriage equality bill that was introduced last week in the Vermont legislature. Right now, the poll numbers don't look good for “gays.” If you are willing, please take 2 seconds to log on to If you scroll down to the right, you'll see the "poll." You can vote with the click of a mouse. Thanks so much!

While you may not personally feel the urge to make a trip down the aisle, many LGBTQ couples would like the opportunity (and the legal right!). This message needs to be presented to the general public. Make it work…

Link: Rutland Herald

Political Art....

at its best.

The Dixie Chicks won the Grammy for Record of the Year. C&L has the video. (The fuckers at YouTube pulled it.)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Ian Richardson R.I.P.

Ian Richardson has died in London at the of age 72. Noted for stage roles with the RSC, I saw him first as Henry Higgins at the St James Theatre in NYC in a 1976 revival of My Fair Lady. On TV, I remember him as the enigmatic Nehru in Lord Mountbatten: The Last Viceroy (much more interesting than the boring subject of this mini-series) and in the last few years in Agatha Christie's Marple: The Body in the Library. But I delighted in him mostly as the deliciously evil Francis Urquhart in the political thriller, House of Cards. (Get it on DVD; you'll be glad you did.)

Guardian obit -- In television, Ian Richardson excelled in bringing unsympathetic characters to life. As the politician who hovered balefully over the serial House of Cards he imbued the phrase, "you may say that, but I cannot possibly comment" with a Machiavellian menace.

Ian William Richardson, actor, born April 7 1934; died February 9 2007

Friday, February 9, 2007

Let's return to a more human scale in Burlington

Sam Smith/Progressive Review: A FIELD GUIDE TO DEVOLUTION --
Consider two current examples: the assault on local control of public schools and the smart growth movement. Both are driven by a curious alliance of liberal, conservative and corporate interests. And both attempt to replace the decentralization of decision-making with centralized, bureaucratic choices.

For example, only Vilsack among the Democratic candidate for president has challenged the No Child law despite it being based on absurdly inadequate justifications, proposed by the least qualified president ever to hold office and pushed by a bunch of child profiteers who will probably be the only clear winners under the legislation.

Similarly, the smart growth movement is being increasingly driven by a dubious alliance between "we know what's good for you" liberal planners and developers who initially resisted the idea until they realized how many new high-rises might result.

Read all of it here, and when you do, think of the onslaught of centralisation plans in CEDO's development goals and zoning re-write for Burlington and the assault on our local schools being considered by the Burlington school board and the Vermont lege.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

More on Bottled Water

Canadian environmentalist, David Suziki: Buying bottled water is wrong

I'm not surprised David Suziki would be against buying bottled water.
In the article, though, he encourages people to use tap water. Unfortunately, there are 100's of questionable chemicals in our own Burlington drinking water - one of which is fluoride (you all know how I feel about that!). The Burlington Board of Health's actions on fluoride and the local People Concerned about Chloramines' work to stop chloramination of water by CWD are hugely uphill battles when the Dept of Health supports the status quo! We don't know what is in the bottled water either, or how many people might be losing their drinking water, as it is being sold to the bottling corporations.

I blogged about the importance of our water in earlier posts here, here, and here.

Saturday, February 3, 2007


This is a follow-up on a post I made about U2's Bono a few days ago. As I'm wont to do, occasionally I check my bookmarked sites. Today, while looking at the webpages of my former parish in London, St James's/Piccadilly, I cheked out a link to Pressureworks, and found this this about Product (RED). I'm sure you've seen the adverts for this trendy fashion line. The NYT ran a series of full page ads of celebrities promoting the cause a few months back. (I've got a photo of ever-so-sexy US speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno on my fridge.) But did you know.... if you

[s]imply buy a product from the RED range – a T-shirt, or a pair of shoes – [...] a percentage of the profit will go to The Global Fund, established in 2002 to channel money from various sources to AIDS programmes. Except we can’t know exactly what percentage, because the companies involved are so busy marketing themselves as saviours of the world that they’ve forgotten to give us the figure (the exceptions being Gap: 50%, from one line of products, and Amex: 1%). [...]

RED is not radically different from any of the other private sector initiatives that surround us. These days a company only has to stick an ‘ethical’ sticker on one of their products to be allowed to continue to make vast profits at the expense of the poor.

Corporations spend millions promoting the tiniest gesture, not because they care, but because it’s good for business and it keeps the regulators off their backs. So Caterpillar can continue to supply the Israeli army with bulldozers to carry out violations of international law, as long as they donate a few thousand to an educational project.

And where do these products come from?
Converse, one of the RED partners, has been owned by Nike since 2004. The latest research from Labour Behind the Label shows that although Nike have improved since the peak of their child labour infamy, up to one half of Nike’s factories currently pay wages below the legal minimum and most have been found to expect a working week in excess of 60 hours. It also shows that Nike has stopped placing orders with several factories in which trade unions had been established.

As a mobile phone company, Motorola depends on coltan, a rare mineral used to make phones. Much of it is mined by militia in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to fund the prolonged civil war that has claimed millions of lives. Of course, Motorola are keen to dissociate themselves from this, stating that they 'regularly require all of our suppliers to verify in writing that materials sold to Motorola do not contain tantalum derived from illegally mined Congolese coltan.'

The problem is, it’s extremely difficult to know exactly where this stuff has come from: like Chinese whispers, the longer the supply chain the more sketchy the details become. And business is business – maximising profits means using the cheapest materials available.

The fundamental problem -
Like the roots of war, the roots of disease are in poverty. The reason HIV/AIDS is such a massive problem in Africa is because people are poor. RED has at least got this bit right.

But, being the private sector, it fails to ask why they are poor. Or rather, it knows very well why they are poor, but would rather not draw attention to it thank you very much.

When an unregulated free market is allowed to rule the world’s economy, corporations can – and need to – keep the global South in poverty, and no amount of special T-shirts will change that.

Friday, February 2, 2007

First World Fiddling

Fossil fuel and land use behind CO2 rise --

The first volume of the fourth assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been almost three years in the writing and brings together the work of 600 writers from 40 countries. More than 620 experts have reviewed the findings, and representatives of 113 governments have read and revised the key points.
The report assesses our current knowledge of climate change and the reasons behind it, looks at how the climate has already changed and how a range of different scenarios may have an impact in the future.

Read the rest of the story.

Scientists offered cash to dispute climate study.

From Green Left Weekly --

Gore focuses on individual actions, makes few serious demands on big business and endorses the largely voluntary market-based measures, such as emissions trading, that are contained in Kyoto. He, like most mainstream environmental groups and the major Green parties, place the onus of solving global warming onto individuals, while relying on the capitalist market, nudged along by so-called “green” taxes and legislative regulations.

Such views reflect a well-meaning but utopian belief that if enough of us decide to drastically reduce our demand on the world’s resources, big business and governments will respond to “market signals” and adapt to a slow-growth or no-growth economy.

It is a good thing to organise our lives to live more ecologically. But that alone will not be enough to halt the crisis. It certainly cannot be the main strategy as it will let the real culprits off the hook and divert precious activist energy away from challenging the underlying systemic dynamic driving ecological degradation.

What is required is the rapid, far-reaching reorganisation of industry, energy, transport and mass consumption patterns, and the massive transfer of clean technology to the Third World. This is simply not possible under capitalism.

And a Happy Ground Hog Day to You, Too!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Earth to Welch, Earth to Welch

Snarky Boy has a spot-on post about Vermont's one-term Representative in DC. --

I’ve now heard Peter three times on radio shows talk about his concern and support for the middle class and then mention the minimum wage as the only piece of legislation he’s supported in that realm. Huh?

Earth to Peter: Minimum wage is for the poor. As in: The Minimum, you ninny.

And the minimum is clearly something he should know about. Peter, for example, has minimally opposed Bush’s war by signing onto minimalist resolutions that simply aim to offer an opinion – not law – on Bush’s escalation. Worse, Peter the Dick has steadfastly refused to sign onto the real legislation that would become law if passed and mandate clear and unequivocal deadlines for getting the troops out of Iraq and ending the war – you know, just like he promised he would do if elected.

[...] Peter the Dick, for example, hasn’t signed onto one piece of legislation that would mandate an end to the war. He hasn’t signed onto any of the many pieces of legislation that would move toward universal health care. And he refuses to sign onto efforts to impeach a president who has clearly and rather proudly usurped the Constitution and the trust of the American people.

Instead, Peter the Dick just keeps acting like any slick trial lawyer acts when they think they’re smarter than anyone else in the room: they just filibuster and pretend that they’re the smartest one in the room. The problem, of course, is that these kinds of guys convince themselves that the silence around them translates to support when, in fact, it usually translates to silent contempt.

Read the entire Snarky Boy post here.