Friday, May 30, 2008


Greg Guma, author of The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution, co-founder of the Vermont Guardian and former exec director of Pacifica, has written an overview about Burlington Telecom's dropping of Al Jazeera English in an article on Common Dreams and on his blog. The comments on the Common Dream article are worth a read, too.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I attended yesterday’s meeting about Al Jazeera’s English language television programs continuing on Burlington Telecom. The meeting brought 100 or so people to the auditorum. Haik dropped in and has a few things to say.

The public comment was predictable. A majority of speakers wanted BT to continue broadcasting AJE and claimed the network brings more program diversity to Burlington; gives an alternative news (non-corporatist/consumerist) to viewers; is even a respected news source in Israel (a woman and I said that, actually); the issue is about free speech; if viewers didn’t like it, they could just not watch it, switch channels or turn it off. A minority of speakers said AJE in Burlington was an affront to the Jewish community here; maintained that AJE was hateful propaganda. Paul Decelles, a city councilor said he'd never subscribe because having AJE on the schedule is an insult to the veterans who have fought and died in Iraq and other American wars. (Actually, he's a free-market capitalist and doesn't want BT tied to the city.)

I also reminded the committee that BT's Chris Burns should be reprimanded for pulling the plug on AJE without having let them know of his decision or even asking for their advice.

I'm no judge, but the small coterie of zionists who complain that AJE is a propaganda assault on Jews are projecting: this local group has a political agenda, too: Victimhood. (I have rarely seen Israelis talk about the Roma, gay, communist or slav experiences during the holocaust. I will add that Ha'aretz's opinion pages are critical of Israel policy - funny how these kinds of views never came up last night; all this is O/T and possibly the subject of another post on here.)

There was a media presence. Channel 17 will no doubt have the meeting on its website. In identical stories by Dave Gram in the Times Argus and the Boston Globe (he’s the AP stringer here) I read:
Mousa Ishaq, a Palestinian born in the West Bank who has lived in Essex Junction for 30 years, said after the meeting that Al-Jazeera is not just an Arab propaganda organ, and that those urging its removal from Burlington Telecom would find some allies in the Middle East.

"Al-Jazeera has been kicked out of every single Arab country," he said. "Arab governments do not like Al-Jazeera."
Of course they don't: many governments in the Middle East (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait) are not democratic and oppress their citizens. Al Jazeera's in-depth reports on some of these countries goes against their rule!

So I did a quick google search “why arab governments don't like al jazeera” and found several reasons. The results also showed why our American government doesn't like AJE.

The following article below is more current (May, 2008) and even mentions BT’s carrying AJE. Read all of it for more background --

This headline should become a mantra for pro-AJE forces in Burlington!

Al Jazeera English Could Change The Way You See The World--If You Ever Get to Watch It
Stebbins says the U.S. government embarked on a campaign to deligitimize Al Jazeera's journalism. "I think we still live with the legacy of that campaign," he says of the Al Jazeera English network. "They still successfully manage to associate us with radicalism."

But Al Jazeera isn't radical, he argues. Its motto, Stebbins says, is "the opinion and the other opinion," and it encourages charged and open debate. At times, that debate can become heated, especially when it comes to U.S. foreign policy. "An Al Jazeera colleague said to me, the difference is that the Western media covers the war from where the missiles were fired," Stebbins says. "Al Jazeera covered it from where the missiles landed."
These below are older stories, but noteworthy:

al Jazeera awakens the Arab world
Neslen sees the channel reporting multiple viewpoints, journalism virtually unimaginable in the Western media, "a willingness to take risks in showing controversial images of the horrors of war, reporting from ‘behind enemy lines’, critical coverage of Saddam Hussein and George Bush alike and an avoidance of the 'news pool'."

A sign of the increasing interest being generated by al-Jazeera is the release of the film Control Room. Telling the story of how the channel decided and made the news during the Iraq war, the film has already broken box-office records in the US. With senior Bush officials accusing the station of anti-Americanism, an increasing amount of Americans clearly want to make up their own minds. The Christian Science Monitor highlighted the main thrust of the film: nobody has a monopoly on truth.
Al Jazeera and the Net – free speech, but don't say that
Essentially Al Jazeera's 'Iraqi propaganda' activities are no greater (perhaps even rather less) than those of many liberal media outlets. In the UK many of these have also been criticised by the government, but they have not been the subject of major hacking attacks, nor have hosting and services companies declined to do business with them. We should also clarify something regarding the footage of the prisoners and the dead servicemen; military spokesmen to the contrary, reproducing such images is not a breach of the Geneva Convention. The Geneva Convention is directed at governments, and does not cover news organisations. Al Jazeera has arguably broadcast images of the Iraqi Government breaching the Geneva Convention, but that is not the same thing.

To get this into perspective, note that one of the most striking pictures from the Vietnam war was of a South Vietnamese officer shooting a prisoner - do we argue that this should not have been published? If Al Jazeera had footage of an Iraqi shooting a British prisoner, should that be broadcast? The other way around? Are our standards today different from those of the 60s, or do the criteria differ depending on the nationalities of the participants and/or the audience? The answers are not straightforward, nor should they be. In deciding whether or not to report a story and how to report it news organisations have to take into account the motivation of the people they're covering, standards of taste and decency and likely impact on people involved, such as friends and family.

By Western standards Al Jazeera may have breached standards of taste and decency, and may not (again by Western standards) have sufficiently contextualised bin Laden and Iraqi exercises in propaganda. But by Middle Eastern standards Western media could similarly be accused of too readily parrotting propaganda in the other direction, and of too frequently operating a system of self-censorship. There's some merit to both points of view, the demise of Arnett being a good example of self-censorship, but there's no good reason for casting Al Jazeera into outer darkness - unless of course the problem is that its coverage has been increasingly reaching a Western audience.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


American churches can contribute enormously by seeing how pathologically dysfunctional war is rapidly becoming. Let them affirm the psalmist’s contention that “the war horse is a vain hope for victory, and by its great might it cannot save” (33:17). Churches have a special obligation to point out that “God’n’country” is not one word, and to summon America to a higher vision of its meaning and destiny.
Via Speaking to the Soul - From “Beyond War” in A Passion for the Possible: A Message to U.S. Churches by William Sloane Coffin (Westminster John Knox Press, 2004):

Churches all over the world must see to it that nonviolence becomes a strategy not only for individuals and groups, but one taught to governments. If arms reductions are to become more likely and wars less so, then new measures have to be devised for conflict resolution. . . . Mediation must become the order of the day. Every nation should abandon its claim to be a judge in its own cause. Nations must learn to listen to one another, to affirm the valid interests of adversaries, to cease judgmental propaganda, to heed international law. We must replace the concept of national security with that of common security, an understanding that the security of countries cannot be imagined separately, for none is really secure until all are secure.

(Flag graphic courtesy of


From Ken Picard/Seven Days about the "local matter" concerning censorship of news in Burlington:

AL JAZEERA will be covering today's Burlington Telecom Advisory Committee and the Citizen's Advisory Committee meeting today at the Contois Auditorium in Burlington's City Hall.

Be there at 4:00 p.m. to stand up for freedom, justice, and the American way. :-P

Monday, May 26, 2008


Don't expect Peter Welch, who's running unopposed (Vermont's media cover him with helpful stories), to listen to Mumia Abu-Jamal:
As America limps toward the November elections, fatigued by the exertions of war, numb to the lofty promises of politicians, in dread of the economic dragons growling on the horizon, the role of Congress could not be more irrelevant.

That's one of the reasons that GOP presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain (R. Ariz.) has called for a change in congressional tradition, to one which allows the President to answer questions before the body.

It reminded me of the March 25, 2008 vote in the British House of Commons, where members of Parliament debated whether to open an official inquiry into the reasons for starting the war. Not surprisingly, the vote lost, largely along Party lines, as the ruling Labour members voted to protect their party, which sponsored and spearheaded the Iraq War, and avoided a formal inquiry.

Most, but not all.

A dozen Labour backbenchers bolted party ranks to express their support for an inquiry, in terms rarely heard on this side of the Atlantic.

And even though the inquiry vote failed by some 50 votes, it marked a period of questioning of the sort that should actually precede wars, not follow them.
When should we expect such voices in the U.S. Congress? 2025?
Via Another Green World (thanks).


The first decoding of DNA in a female was done in the Netherlands, reports
A red-haired, 34-year-old Dutch woman has become the first woman in the world to have her compete DNA unraveled, genetic scientists at Leiden University Medical Centre announced on Monday.
[T]he sequencing data of a female provides more insight into the X chromosome. 'Because the X chromosome has to do all the work in one half of the population - the males - selection has been tougher during human evolution,' according to Van Ommen. 'This means the X chromosome is less variable.'

Male sequencing data has already been unraveled from Jim Watson, co-discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA, from researcher Craig Venter and from two Yoruba Africans. 'It was time to balance the genders a bit,' news agency AP reported Van Ommen as saying.

Decoding the DNA took six months, but the scientists point out they could only use the sequencing equipment when it was not being used for other projects.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


It's been happening all over the country, but this week I heard on local radio an advert from Willie Racine's, a Jeep dealership in South Burlington.

"Let's refuel America," screams the ad. If you purchase or lease a Jeep, you'll get a guarantee of $2.99 per gallon for the next 3 years. (There are restrictions - the limit for the vehicle is 36,000 miles for the three years, but that's not mentioned in the swindle.)

I'm not promoting this scheme; I think it's an abomination. Such a deal! NOT. It's more like "Let's rip off gullible consuming Americans," but Americans are gullible and selfish and spoiled, right? - so they'll fall for it, not realising that by buying a gas-guzzlin' Jeep, they're continuing the pollutin', cosumin' culture and environmental degradation. And you betcha, these new purchases will sport an Obama bumper sticker in November!


Each year, the Four Freedoms Awards are presented to people safeguarding the four essential human freedoms devised by former US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a speech in 1941: freedom from fear, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom from want.

Yesterday, in Middelburg, they were presented by Queen Beatrix and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands to the following recipients:

  • International Four Freedoms Award 2008 Dr. Richard Freiherr von Weizsäcker (Former President of Germany)
  • Freedom of Speech and Expression Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi (one of 'The Elders', the organization from which Princess Mabel is the director)
  • Freedom of Worship Dr. Karen Armstrong (British author and expert on religion who contributed to better understanding of Christianity, Islam and Judaism)
  • Freedom from Want Jan Egeland (Norwegian diplomat who played a key role in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, resulting in the Oslo-agreements)
  • Freedom from Fear Ms Willemijn Verloop (Co-founder, together with Princess Mabel, of War Child Netherlands, which invests in a peaceful future for children affected by war)


About time more mitres... erm, I mean feathers were ruffled!

Via Thinking Anglicans, is a report by Jonathan Wynne-Jones in the Sunday Telegraph that Church of England bishops have met recently and narrowly voted to proceed with the historic reforms and to resist pressure to create separate dioceses free of women clergy.

In 1944, Li Tim-Oi was the first woman ordained priest in the Anglican Communion. In 1974, came the Philadelphia Eleven in the Episcopal Church. Two years later, at the 65th General Convention, TEC voted to open all three orders of ordained ministry to women. And still, there are so-called "traditionalist" dioceses in our Church which receive "alternative oversight" by a male bishop; one diocese refuses to welcome a visit from our current presiding bishop. Even after the 1976 ordinations, I thought these kinds of compromises were hypocritical. Either you ordain women, or you don't. Don't do it half-assed! The CoE bishops' decision to do away with separate dioceses for males will be voted on by its General Synod in July. I wish only that the Episcopal Church would have the balls to do the same!


FOR YOUR SUNDAY MUSIC PLEASURE, Anne Sofie von Otter (Octavian) presents a silver rose to Barbara Bonney (Sophie) in 'Mir ist die Ehre widerfahren' from Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, Royal Opera House Covent Garden 1985:

Friday, May 23, 2008



This afternoon I ran into an elderly woman friend, a very hip 70something member of my parish, in the Recycle North parking lot on Pine Street. Her car was parked adjacent to mine. She was getting in as I greeted her:

ME: Hi! Good to see you.

SHE: Yeah, same here. I come to Recycle North for the books. I like to read.

ME: So do I. But I usually get my books at the library. What do you like to read?

SHE: I read everything.

ME: I have mysteries, if you'd like them.

SHE [repeating]: I read everything. Anything. [smiling & making her point, very audibly] Dysfunctional families...

ME: Bye. See you in church...


“Insist upon yourself. Be original.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Jesus statue project was primarily conceived by Helms, who asked Olivetti to help out. Helms, 18, says he was connecting to themes in the play, "The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail," which was on the AP course reading list. The play examines, among other things, the 19th century writer Henry David Thoreau's act of civil disobedience in refusing to pay taxes to the U.S. government while it waged what he viewed as an immoral war in Mexico.

Thoreau was trying to point out hypocrisy by the U.S. government, Helms said, and the student in turn wanted to point out what he views as hypocrisy at Mount Abraham with regard to the constitutional separation of church and state.

The school asks students to say the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, and has a permanent mural displaying Apollo, an ancient Greek God, Helms said. Yet it wouldn't allow him to display the Jesus statue. "My thesis was that the government and the administration of our school is often hypocritical in what they allow and what they do not allow."


I love Dutch design, and via 24 ORANGES, here's a utilitarian, quirky exmaple --
Business students of the Hogeschool Utrecht in Amersfoort came up with this in their first year to show off their business savvy.

“We talk a lot about sex,’’ says Jelle Okkerse (21). “The link with STDs was made very quickly since it is increasingly more of a problem with young people. We have so often not had a condom handy, which is why we came up with a trendy keychain, which can fit a condom.’’

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Ken Picard reports on the 05/21/08 edition of Seven Days that Burlington's mayor, Bob Kiss, has stated that BT will not be dropping Al Jazeera anytime soon. Without getting advice or even informing the BT citizens advisory committee, Chris Burns of BT decided unilaterally to drop AJE. The BTAC will meet, maybe even take public comment [shocker!] at 4 p.m. next Tuesday in Contois.

There are a whole slew of letters on the BT/AJE deal in 7D (05/21/08), too.

And Haik Bedrosian on his blog continues to offer excellent comment and wise advice.
Democrats should not attack the mayor for stepping in. He's doing the right thing. A fledgling city department is veering off course and the mayor is responsible . So is the city council.

The Republicans may not philosophically agree with the city owning a telecom utility, but at least they understand it for what it is. Burlington Telecom is a political entity. There's no getting around that. I think that's great. Some people don't and believe all telecom utilities should be commercial or private. That's a debate we can have. But if the Dems try to accuse the mayor of politicizing what the Progs and the Republicans already know is political anyway, they run the risk of appearing out of touch and/or disingenuous. I hope they don't go there.

The fact is, this is a city department. There are oversight committees and there are processes. Burns cancelled the channel unilaterally without telling the oversight committees. That's un-democratic. This is a democracy, and Burlington Telecom is a public utility. If you want to infringe on someone's first amendment rights, you at least have to go through due process.
If y'all have time and the interest --
Open Forum: Open Government Committee

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

2nd Floor, Firehouse Gallery/City Arts

7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
If the BTAC meeting on Tuesday has not room for public comment, you'll have a chance to have your say on Wednesday. After all, BT is a city department whose focus is communication! Let's hope Channel 17, that Burlington bastion of free speech records these meetings and carries them live-stream on its nifty website!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


With pressure, even the most unenthusiatic and slow-moving bureaucrats can change their tune.

A gay man who faces the death penalty in Iran has won asylum in the UK after protests prompted the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, to reconsider his case.

Family and supporters of Mehdi Kazemi, now 20, welcomed the decision yesterday not to send him back to Iran where his boyfriend was arrested by the state police and executed for sodomy.
Mr Kazemi came to London to study in 2005, but in April 2006 discovered his gay partner had been arrested and named him as his boyfriend before his execution. Fearing he might suffer the same fate if he returned, Mr Kazemi decided to seek asylum in Britain. His claim was refused and he fled to the Netherlands where he also failed to win asylum before returning to Britain last month.
In an open letter to the British Government, Mr Kazemi told the Home Secretary: "I wish to inform the Secretary of State that I did not come to the UK to claim asylum. I came here to study and return to my country. But in the past few months my situation back home has changed. The Iranian authorities have found out that I am a homosexual and they are looking for me."

Yesterday, the UK Border Agency said it had decided to allow him asylum, granting him leave to remain for five years.

More background here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Haik as a brilliant post up about the continuing Burlington Telecom fracas... I couldn't agree more. It's a big deal, dear readers. Contact the BT oversight committee members and tell them to bring back Al Jazeera.

The Death of Burlington Telecom

Take away the soul and the philosophy and what have you got? A subscriber base of 2100 people who can't get their remotes to work. Your'e a cork in a tempest tossed ocean of Comcasts and Adelphias and Dish TVs. Nobody cares about you, little network. The only thing you had going was your commitment to free speech. The providence and the promise of opening up more and more channels of communication. The limitless possibilities.

Including Burlington Telecom, there are only two telecom providers in the United States broadcasting Al Jazeera English. Are we supposed to believe Al Jazeera wants to lose half its carriers in the United States? The choice is Burlington Telecom's to make.

There are 100 million people out there watching the Al Jazeera network. But here in America, with our so-called "freedom of speech" we don't have a choice. Virtually no one gets to see it. We should know what the rest of the world is learning. We should not be afraid of words and ideas. This isn't the middle ages.

Throughout time, whenever somebody has wanted to shut someone else up the thing to do is accuse the speaker of inciting civil unrest. I don't care if it's Galileo, Salmon Rushdie or Ozzy Ozbourne, the same dumb arguments get used. But let's examine the logical fallacy inherent in censorship, shall we? In order to know something deserves censorship, you have to watch it. If you watch it, then tell others not to, you're a hypocrite. If you don't watch it, and tell others not to either, you're an ignoramus.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


This is one of the biggest scandals in recent Dutch history. One could call Fred Spijkers the Dutch Don Quixote in his long and bitter fight against the apparent injustice done toward him by the State.

Whistle-blower finds support in royal circles

Pieter van Vollenhoven, husband of one of Queen Beatrix's sisters [Princess Margriet, shown in the photograph with Van Vollenhoven], wants to act as a mediator in the case of the whistle-blower Fred Spijkers. He says Mr Spijkers is a courageous man, who he gladly wants to help.

Almost twenty-five years ago, Mr Spijkers prevented a Ministry of Defence cover-up after the deaths of eight soldiers. The eight were killed by landmines with fatal design error in the detonating mechanism. At the time, Fred Spijkers, who was a social worker for the Ministry of Defence, refused to tell the widow of one of the soldiers that his death was caused by his own carelessness. As a result of his action, Mr Spijkers still faces problems with his income, pension and tax assessments today. Several parliamentary parties [Labour, Socialists, GreenLeft, Christian Union , the progressive liberals (D66) and MP Verdonk] have called for these problems to be resolved before the summer.

The Ministry of Defence was aware of the faulty detonating mechanism as early as 1970. But it was only admitted by Defence Minister Joris Voorhoeve in 1997.
Pieter van Vollenhoven analyzes problems rationally. And sometimes he meets criticism with a touch of humour and self-knowledge. He has a really independent mind and isn't afraid to put blame where it belongs. In the letter the state-secretary for Defence was urged to request Professor mr Pieter van Vollenhoven to act as mediator; the Dutch government still has to approve his offer to help Mr Spijkers.


Found on YouTube: Steve Rice, an Episcopal priest at St Michael's Episcopal Church in Waynesboro, Georgia gives a very brief, but delightfully spot on, historical overview of the current imbroglio surrounding LBGT people, women and power struggles in the Anglican Communion.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


I missed the Channel 17 5:25 call-in program yesterday regarding the BT/Al Jazeera commotion, so I don't really know what transpired. I did know that the regular group that has that Friday spot was unable to produce their show; some people, then, would say it was meant to be that Chan. 17 ran it. Good on Channel 17!

Thanks to BurlilngtonPol and others for keeping us up to speed: Haik has more disturbing news. We shouldn't let this story slide away. Today I did a cursory glance at the still user unfriendly new Free Press website for a report on this story: Bupkis

(Relatedly, Channel 17 features local activist Sandy Baird's commentary on the 60th anniversary of State Israel and the Palestinian exodus, the Naqba.)


Today marks the 58th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.
During the decades after Brown v. Board of Education there was terrific progress. Tens of thousands of public schools were integrated racially. During that time the gap between black and white achievement narrowed. But since 1990 when the Rehnquist court started ripping apart the legacy of Brown, the court has taken the teeth out of Brown. During these years our schools have rapidly segregated and the gap in skills between minorities and whites has increased again. I just visited 60 public schools in 11 different states; if you took a photo of the classes I’m visiting, they would look exactly like a photograph of a school in Mississippi 50 years ago. -- Jonathan Kozol, Educator and Writer
The struggle continues!

Friday, May 16, 2008


Ladies and gentlemen, more than 7500 people die every day because they lack adequate access to clean drinking water and safe sanitation. Only 62% of Africans have access to safe water and only 43% have access to adequate sanitation. Clean water and sanitation are not only about hygiene and disease. Sanitation is about health, dignity and development. If we invest in clean water and sanitation we invest in people and their social and economic development.


Al Jazeera pulled from Burlington Telecom


Who decides what Burlington Telecom cable subscribers watch and how is that decision arrived at? If you are concerned about Burlington Telecom's proposed pulling of Al Jazeera network from its line-up, come to Ch. 17 studios this Friday at 5:00pm to be part of a public conversation, there will be an opportunity for public comment and questions. Greg Eppler-Wood, Chairman of the Cable Advisory Committee and the Burlington Telecommunications Advisory Committee along with free speech advocate Sandy Baird, will talk about the process and the challenges of free speech within a municipally-owned cable provider.

When - May 16, 2008, Live at 5:25 - studio guests please plan to arrive by 5:00pm.
Where - 294 North Winooski Avenue, Burlington
More Info - Sam Mayfield, 862.3966 ext. 19

Thursday, May 15, 2008


In order to maximize the number of subscribers, the cable operator usually selects channels that are likely to appeal to a broad spectrum of viewers.
Burlington Telecom offers 135 TV channels in its most expensive bundle. That's not as many channels as other cable services offer, but it's still a wide array of "choices" for viewers. There's so much schlock and pap on there, most aren't worth watching -- Fox may be popular, but it certainly ain't news, right?

The AJR wrote in September, 2007 that Burlington was the first city in the US to offer cable access to Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera's arrival also can be attributed to the fiercely independent and free-thinking spirit of the state and to the left-leaning sentiments of its citizens. At last count, about 40 communities in Vermont had passed resolutions demanding President Bush's impeachment. The Vermont State Senate also approved a resolution asking Congress to initiate impeachment hearings against the president and vice president — the only state legislative body to have done so.

Such politics are coupled with a deep resentment among many Vermonters toward global media giants perceived as unchecked behemoths. Sanders, now an Independent U.S. senator, has organized two town-hall meetings focusing on media consolidation and cross-ownership. These gatherings are often standing-room-only affairs in which people lament media monopolies and their adverse effects on journalism and democracy.

Perhaps it is not surprising, then, that Al Jazeera's arrival on BT's cable lineup generated little controversy.

Apparently a small group of local Zionist malcontents have commplained about Al Jazeera's being on the line-up. Via BurlingtonPol, who got it from a blog I'm unfamiliar with, FlameApe, BT is dropping Al Jazeera. Haik calls BT a bunch of cowards, and they are. I've been watching Al Jazeera regularly on line for quite a while and they report much more than the US MSM does.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Discovered this on YouTube, part of a Cavett interview with Bette Davis. (Yeah, you can tell I'm gay?) She talks especially about Gladys Cooper, who was in one of my most favourite movies, Separate Tables.

"Oh boy! Good!" - Bette Davis

Sunday, May 11, 2008

O blessèd spring

Hyacinths in the bollenstreek/bulb region near Hillegom, South Holland

O blessèd spring, where Word and sign
embrace us into Christ the Vine:
here Christ enjoins each one to be
a branch of this life-giving Tree.

Through summer heat of youthful years,
uncertain faith, rebellious tears,
sustained by Christ's infusing rain,
the boughs will shout for joyful gain.

When autumn cools and youth is cold,
when limbs their heavy harvest hold,
then through us, warm, the Christ will move
with gifts of beauty, wisdom, love.

As winter comes, as winters must,
we breath our last, return to dust,
still held in Christ, our souls take wing
and trust the promise of the spring.

Christ, holy Vine, Christ, living Tree,
be praised for this blest mystery:
that Word and water thus revive
and join us to your Tree of Life.

O blessèd spring © 1993 Susan Palo Cherwien
The photo was taken on my trip to Holland in April.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Wise words from Chris Duggan in a Face to faith column in the Guardian about our ecological sins. --
Easter, observed just after the first full moon following the equinox, is - like spring itself - a blaze of light bursting in on darkness. The light of Christ is an invitation to the dance - come closer, go to arm's length, be pulled back. In our era we are better at learning this in relation to each other than in relation to the earth itself. We pull further and further away, crucifying not only other species, but our own fullness as part of an ecosystem. Even most models of environmentalism paint us as caretakers of a separate "natural world". Paul's cosmic Christ calls us to more than this - rediscovering ourselves as cells in the body of God's universe.


Next meeting is tomorrow, 11 May, 2:00PM at the Fletcher Free Library.
We will be meeting in the community room to discuss city issues and what the GDA foresees for the future. This meeting is open to the public.

Friday, May 9, 2008


Here are De Stroopwafels, a funky, hilarious duo from the Netherlands...promoting green stuff:

Monday, May 5, 2008


Two males (early twenties) are needed for lead roles in a short horror film. Shooting will be in August and September. Actors will need to be available for night shoots.

PAY is $200.00 and free meals. More info here.

Open Call Wednesday, May 21st 6:30-8:30PM. Burlington Fletcher Free Library downstairs in the community room. Try out for one of the lead roles!!

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Dodenherdenking 4 mei/Remembrance 4 May

Today, or rather, this evening at 8 p.m. in The Netherlands - May 4th - the Dutch commemorate all those who gave their lives during WWII.

At 20.00 hrs. (8 p.m.) all observe 2 minutes silence.

H.M. Queen Beatrix, accompanied by her son and daughter-in-law, the PM and members of the Government, will all attend the annual ceremony at the National Monument on Dam Square in Amsterdam.

A much more impressive ceremony takes place in the dunes near The Hague (Waalsdorpervlakte) where many were brutally executed by the German occupiers. The first wreaths there are always from representatives and relatives of the Dutch Resistance.