Friday, April 30, 2010


Giant Beatrix outside an Amsterdam café.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

UPDATED: Koninginnedag 2010/Beatrix 30


The Dutch Royal family and the families of the victims attended the unveiling of the memorial monument, at the crossroad Jachtlaan-Loolaan in Apeldoorn, made by Menno Jonker, commemorating the tragedy on Koninginnedag 2009. The very moving NOS (Dutch) broadcast is now online. Photos.

HM will celebrate Queen's Day tomorrow in the province of Zeeland, where I have my family roots.

Radio Netherlands: Queen Beatrix - still impeccable after 30 years
Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard van Oranje Nassau. Since 1980 she’s been the queen and symbol of the Netherlands. As head of state, Queen Beatrix is elevated above all other institutions. It is her task to unite all Dutch citizens. “In accepting this office I have vowed to propagate respect for the nation.”

It wasn’t easy at first. Both her marriage in 1966 to the German Prince Claus so soon after the end of the Second World War and her swearing in as queen exactly 30 years ago this month caused an uproar that echoed far beyond the country’s borders.
43 photos to commemorate the anniversary in this album.

Today, HM unveiled a monument in Apeldoorn to commemorate the victims of the killings that occurred on Koninginnedag 2009.

Photo: one of the official portraits taken this month at Huis ten Bosch by Vincent Mentzel. (Courtesy RVD)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Feeling the Hate in New York

"On April 25, over 1000 New York-area Jewish extremists gathered in midtown Manhattan to rally against the Barack Obama administration’s call for a freeze on construction in occupied East Jerusalem and to demand unlimited rights to colonize the West Bank. With Obama and top White House officials engaged in a charm offensive to repair their relationship with mainstream American Jewish organizations, speakers at the rally lashed out at the Jewish groups and Democratic politicians, warning that cozying up to Obama would endanger Israel and imperil their cherished settlement enterprise."- Max Blumenthal

Video: Lord of the Streets Episcopal Church in Houston

Lord of the Streets (LOTS) Episcopal Church began in 1990 as an outreach program of Trinity Episcopal Church to help serve the homeless population near downtown Houston. In 1993, the Episcopal Diocese of Texas made Lord of the Streets a Special Evangelical Mission. At this same time, a Bishop’s Committee was appointed to help with the governance of the mission. In 1994 the National Episcopal Church Executive Council named LOTS a Center for Jubilee Ministry, a designation for ministry affirming the biblical priorities of God—in partnership with the poor, the powerless and the vulnerable. Jubilee centers are charged with emphasizing four action ideas; these are empowerment, education, outreach and advocacy.
LOTS is one of the many ministries in Houston which offer service to people living downtown on the street. I was a member of another parish, but attended services there frequently when I lived in Houston.

Thanks to Episcopal Cafe.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happy Birthday to HRH The Prince of Orange

HRH celebrates his 43rd birthday today. Van harte gefiliciteerd! Happy Birthday!

Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand, Prince of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau and Jonkheer van Amsberg, was born in the University Hospital, Utrecht, on 27 April 1967, the first child of Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus.

Monday, April 26, 2010

"Worms are the Miracle Grow that Miracle-Gro® Isn't"

Episcopal Diocese of Vermont wins environmental award

Episcopal News Service reports:

Members of the Diocese of Vermont's Earth Stewards Committee accepted an Environmental Merit Award from the New England Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at a ceremony at Boston's Faneuil Hall on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22.

The annual EPA awards recognize "outstanding environmental advocates who have made significant contributions toward preserving and protecting our natural resources," according to a letter from Curtis Spaulding, director of the EPA's New England Office.

A 2007 diocesan convention resolution required congregations to conduct energy audits, develop implementation plans for addressing energy inefficiencies, and to report the results to the 2009 diocesan convention. Bishop Thomas Ely appointed an environment committee -- now the Earth Stewards Committee -- to assist congregations in meeting these requirements. The group uses its page on the diocesan website to share results of congregational efforts, as well as resources.

The diocese's church buildings are typically more than 50 years old and are either stone or wood frame with little to no insulation. Vermont Interfaith Power and Light estimated that energy consumption could be reduced by 15-20 percent in churches where opportunities identified in the energy audits are implemented.

"Winning this award is very exciting for us, as it pays tribute to the teamwork of the Earth Stewards Committee that has been built on a 'green' foundation in the Diocese of Vermont," said the Rev. Anita Schell-Lambert, Earth Stewards Committee chair. "This foundation is seen in environmental resolutions over the past few years that underscore our commitment to live more simply and to decrease our carbon footprint one vital step at a time."

It's Official: No IRV in Burlington

Governor Douglas was in town on Saturday - not for a ribbon cutting ceremony - but to sign H.773 into law. A low-key affair - I got there just in the knick of time - about a dozen or so Burlington residents watched the Governor with approval. Absent were Burlington state reps Mark Larson and Jason Lorber, who had lead the effort to keep IRV in Burlington and were co-sponsors of H.773 to make the charter change official. Saturday's event was not reported by the major Vermont news organisations, but Shay Totten was there, covering for the local pro-IRV "Progressive" newspaper. As Lea Terhune, one of the movers and shakers to remove IRV in Burlington wrote today in Facebook,
"IRV is over in Burlington. Localvores, take note: IRV is like other fast food fads -- not healthy (for democracy), not real (fake, manufactured majority), promoted by corporate marketing (FairVote, TrueBallot), advertising financed by national groups (FairVote, VPIRG probably a pass-through donation from an individual or group that wanted to remain secret). Repeal IRV was a local, grassroots campaign, ideas put forth in debate were local, not canned FairVote marketing promos, and traditional run-off elections may take a little longer and cost a little more -- but they are like home-made meals, made from scratch using home-grown foods. Celebrate democracy, and if necessary take a little more time to vote thoughtfully in a real runoff election."

Hey! Watch Your Language!

"The Belgian government is on the brink of dissolution for the fifth time in three years. A bilingual electoral district, an old culprit, is to blame."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Yes, there are mountains in Holland

Letter: Slaughter in the Champlain Islands

Deb Loring writes in Seven Days (04/21/10):
Who regulates Vermont slaughterhouses? Some require both state and federal inspectors on the premises during “processing.” So what went wrong at Bushway Packing in Grand Isle, where Humane Society workers managed to shoot a video of seemingly routine animal abuse? Seven Days readers respond to Andy Bromage’s original March 24 story about the slaughterhouse, “Emails Suggest Vermont Meat Inspector Knew About Bushway Abuse,” and also a March 31 letter from state meat inspector Randy Quenneville.

Ever since Bushway Packing’s horrific animal abuse was exposed by the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS), the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) has denied knowledge and responsibility, and blamed everyone who did take action. They continue to blame HSUS, Dr. Wyatt and now Senator Giard (D-Addison), who are the only ones who did take action. How about blaming the abusers, and taking some responsibility for this?

Of course the state knew about the inhumane handling and food-safety violations that resulted in plant shutdowns in May, June and July 2009 when they occurred, because a state inspector was assigned as the inspector in charge at Bushway during those months.

It is incomprehensible that VAAFM took no action when they knew that the plant was shut down for the same, repeat violation in three successive months. VAAFM also knew that when Dr. Wyatt was no longer at the plant, the inhumane handling violations stopped being reported. Did they think that, all of a sudden, Bushway Packing saw the light? It took an HSUS undercover investigation to force VAAFM to act.

To risk Vermont’s food safety and allow animal abuse to continue in this manner is negligent. They need to stop making excuses and blaming others, admit their culpability in this fiasco, and come up with a corrective action plan that protects Vermont farmers, businesses, animals and consumers from the lasting damage that has been done to the reputation of our state, to the Vermont brand, and to our agricultural businesses.

Deborah Loring

Thursday, April 22, 2010


“I don’t feel sad,” she said. “I feel emotional, but not sad. I’ve been so lucky, and I’ve had such a ball doing it. And there comes a point when you think, to want to go on even longer is just greedy if you’ve been given such a good time. I’ve had the most wonderful colleagues, and the most wonderful managers and agents and accompanists, and most wonderful orchestra partners. I’ve just had a great time. There’s no blow there. The blow doesn’t need to be softened.”

I wish I were in NYC tonight! Frederica von Stade's farewell concert is at Carnegie Hall tonight. Here's snippet of an interview with Jason Victor Serinus in Playbill:

JVS: As a singer, what was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?

FVS: First of all, you have to put up with imperfection, and the number one imperfection is your very own voice. I think the times I’ve been happiest in my career are when I’ve forgiven my voice for all it can’t do and been grateful for all its miracles.

JVS: Which have been your favorite opera roles?

FVS: Probably Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro)—that kind of optimistic, almost annoyingly joyful person. The other would be Mélisande (Pelléas et Mélisande), the other side of my soul. She’s the personification of innocent sadness—the pure sadness children get that they can’t explain.

JVS: That’s one of the extraordinary things about your voice and about you as an artist: On the one hand, you’re filled with such joy, yet your ability to evoke grief and sadness is extraordinary.

FVS: Life is the agony and the ecstasy. Where I think we get into trouble as humans is that we expect all ecstasy, and we think there’s something wrong if we’re not happy.

JVS: This will be your farewell at Carnegie Hall. What do you want to say to people?

FVS: The biggest thought, energy, inspiration behind this particular evening is thank you. It’s been a fabulous time.

Frederica von Stade photo by Robert Miller.

History: Earth Day and Fluoride

PhillyBurbs. com:-
The Donora Smog that killed residents of a Pennsylvania town in 1948 was the first in a series of environmental disasters that led to today's environmental consciousness.

Cathy Milbourn, air quality spokeswoman for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said the "fluoride fog" was one of the key events that prompted a cry for pollution control legislation.

"That supposedly triggered the first Clean Air Act," she said. "It's been said that if the smog lasted another day, it would have killed 1,000 instead of 20."

It was 40 years ago today...that the Earth got its Day

"Our work’s not done." - Senator Gaylor Nelson, in a 2004 interview, the year before his death at age 89

Earth Day, which was first celebrated 40 years ago, was largely created by Gaylord Nelson, a Democratic senator from Wisconsin who fought hard for environmental laws. From an essay in High Country News,
He then presented 11 measures he hoped would create what he called a national "ecological ethic." Citing the powerlessness of the era’s citizens to combat pollution, he proposed a constitutional amendment that would guarantee the right to a clean environment. He called for environmental curricula at every level of public education, and he urged a ban on the worst pesticides, the protection of wetlands, investment in mass transit and laws to protect and promote clean air.

As Nelson pressed his agenda, the Earth Day movement grew, and on April 22, 1970, over 20 million Americans -- fully 10 percent of the population -- participated in demonstrations and teaching events. Rallies occurred in scores of cities, over 12,000 schools held events and Congress recessed in honor of the day. The whole thing was as American as apple pie.
... MORE
In the above April 22, 1970, AP file photo “Earth Day” demonstrators trying to dramatize environmental pollution conclude their rally at the Interior Department in Washington, leaving spilled oil in their wake. The oil was used to protest pollution by off-shore oil drilling.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Over and Under in Europe

From Radio Netherlands, How to weave round a volcanic cloud:

Europe's airspace has been divided in to three zones: a no-go zone, a safe zone and a zone where extra caution is required. The borders between the zones are continually monitored and, if necessary, adjusted by Eurocontrol, the European flight control authority.

In any case, passenger planes will now be taking off with a cloud of volcanic ash still hanging above Europe. Special security measures and procedures have been introduced. The chairman of the Dutch Civil Pilots Association, Evert van Zwol, explains how you go about flying with ash in the air.

"Partly matter of sight. You have to realise that there is, thankfully, only a relatively small amount of ash in our vicinity. It is concentrated in layers which you can see quite easily. There are areas where there is a kind of grey veil and other areas which are much clearer."

That means it's a question of evasion: flying around or over or under the ash. And because you can normally spot a ribbon or a layer in the air well in advance, the passengers needn't be subjected to a roller coaster ride. There is time to take gentle evasive action.

"So you start to turn the aircraft. There's a great deal of 'banking' involved in take-off procedures any way. When you're taking off in a westward direction, but actually heading east, you'll need to negotiate a number of turns. In that sense, there's no real difference."

The lamp still shines

I'd read Cecil Woodham Smith's classic biography of Florence Nightingale years ago. Last year I read Mark Bostridge's book, Florence Nightingale : the making of an icon, so this article in the Guardian interested me:
"But when the Florence Nightingale museum in London reopens after a £1.4m rebuild on her birthday next month, an installation by artist Susan Stockwell will remind visitors that the pioneering nurse actually lived on for another half century until 1910 – and spent most of that time in her bed.

"For the sculpture, funded by the Guy's and St Thomas's hospital charity as a gift to the museum, Stockwell has taken a Victorian brass bed and made a ghostly mattress pressed down by the weight of an invisible figure out of thousands of furled pages from books.

"The pages convey the fact that though Nightingale was in bed, she was not inactive. She wrote more than 200 books, pamphlets and articles, including pioneering work on hospital planning, and her 1860 Notes on Nursing, regarded as the foundation of modern nursing."[...]

"There is a final joke hidden in the bed which may not have amused Nightingale, a woman of sharp wit but apparently without a frivolous bone in her body. Stockwell had hoped to make the mattress from old copies of Nightingale's books, but the idea proved too expensive. Instead, while the outer layers are from Notes on Nursing and Cecil Woodham Smith's classic biography, the core is made from 700 copies of Mills & Boon romances Stockwell bought on eBay, including hospital romances in which fragile nurses are eventually crushed against the manly chests of handsome doctors – as Nightingale certainly never was."

McVeigh then and McVeigh now

Timothy McVeigh's one-time defense lawyer, Jeralyn E. Merritt of Talk Left writes,
"Liberals are shooting themselves in the foot if they think they can may hay with connecting McVeigh to current times. What they will get is more anti-terror laws that we don't need, more government surveillance and less freedom -- and it won't make the country one bit safer.

"Our civil liberties must be assiduously protected. Once they start to slip, they go quickly. Once we remove them for one group, it becomes easier to do it for the next group. Once we begin making exceptions for catastrophic events, the exceptions will become the rule."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

An 'epic' list of Obama's shortcomings...

Read it here.


Amazing panorama photo of the gala performance (April 15) in celebration of the 70th birthday of Danish Queen Margrethe II... Zoom up, zoom down, zoom in, zoom out. Zoom!. I love the technology linked with this celebration.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A nice music groove...

An Extraordinary Situation

"Tens of thousands of passengers have been left stranded across northern Europe as a cloud of volcanic ash led authorities to ground planes."

I feel for the people in Iceland who were evacuated because of the volcano-eruption and I am very well aware that all the poor people on airports all over Europe who are uncertain about when they will be able to arrive at their destination.

A joke from an Icelandic man in Aftenposten... "....You pay our debt...we stop the ashes."

There's always the train!

Oh right, the newsworthy Tiger Woods

[Confession: I'm no golfer and only knew about Mr Woods' trials and tribs because Yahoo "trended" him... Ha!]

But here's an interesting follow up to that "breaking," important News - but was really tabloid stuff - about the golfer on NPR, CNN and the other corpress. It's more a cultural observation:
"By His Wounds We Have Already Been Entertained: Tiger Woods, The Masters, and the Ritual of Celebrity Disgrace"
Evidently, however, the Chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club is not attuned to the rhythms of this Great Ritual, for he chose the eve of the Masters to issue a public condemnation of Tiger—for his “egregious” actions that let “our kids and grandkids” down.

Did the Chairman not know that, according to the Great Ritual, the days of righteous anger over Tiger’s immoral ways are now far behind us?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Of course not, Nero

"Vatican spokesman says he doesn't feel under siege"

Trouble with a Capital "T" right there in Vatican City

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold writes about Pope Benny:

"If he had any decency he would resign himself, because he is providing cover for others not resigning. Their fingers can point at him. He won't, so presumably he will limp on as Pope until the Vatican sees the need for a thoroughgoing internal reformation. He cannot do it. The period of John Paul II's charismatic conservatism, and this pope's rational conservatism seems to have run its course into contradiction, in that this pope's smaller and purer Church is now bankrupt, in that it is instead smaller and self-serving."

VERMONT ACTION ITEM! Stop Agribusiness Power Grab

To my Vermont friends - check this out then call your Senators (it's really easy - they expect your calls)! The state's response to animal abuse is to appoint a board full of industry tradespeople and pass laws about the board, instead of just prosecuting the fuckers who've committed crimes of animal cruelty in factory farms. So please call!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Selma Engel-Wijnberg, Holocaust survivor, finally receives an apology from the Dutch government

Today is Shoah day in Israel and also the 65th anniversary of the liberation by Canadian troops of Westerbork, the Nazi transit camp in the east of the Netherlands. As Radio Netherlands reports, one of the survivors of the death camps has finally been recognised by the Dutch government,
As part of the commemorations, Selma Engel-Wijnberg was made a Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau. Presenting the royal award, Dutch Health Minister Ab Klink praised her continuing determination to tell her story for the benefit of future generations. He also offered a formal apology on behalf of the Dutch government for the way she was treated after the war.

Now 87, Selma Engel-Wijnberg was one of the few Dutch survivors of Sobibor extermination camp in Poland and the only one still alive. On her return to the Netherlands, she had problems with the Dutch authorities. Because she had married a Polish man, Chaim Engel, they no longer regarded her as a Dutch citizen and attempted to deport her. The couple later emigrated to Israel and then to the United States.
For more on Mrs Engel-Wijnberg's story - with an astounding video description of her arrival at Sobibor, click here.
"...When they opened the doors, these big doors that we had to go out, they start screaming and hitting with the whips, and, uh, we had to go out and out, and, all, all the people, and there was a little trolley, a little wagon what, uh, the coal miners use that goes, you can, uh, uh, rip it open that people can easy go out, so all the people that couldn't walk, they throwed them in there, and also children what got lost from their parents, they had to go in the trolley, and this trolley went straight to the gas chamber."
More on Sobibor, click here. On the right above is a photograph of the Himmelfahrtstrasse, or road to heaven, which led to the gas chambers in Sobibor. (Photo Jacques Lahitte)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Appreciation: Corin Redgrave, 1939-2010

John Bird, found of The Big Issue, remembers Corin Redgrave in the Guardian,
He wasn't one of those fair-weather revolutionaries who did it for a while and then said: "Sod it, I've got my four or five chapters in my autobiography. I've got a lot to talk about at dinner parties for the next 50 years." He got in and got dirty and he probably would've made a bigger mark in the theatre or the movies if he hadn't done that. But he chose a bigger stage than the West End stage and, in my opinion, a much more important one.
You can read all of Bird's appreciation here and further Guardian coverage about the life of Corin Redgrave here.

First time I saw Corin Redgrave was in A Man for All Seasons, one of the best films ever.

In 1999, living in London, I saw him in a revival of Noel Coward's A Song At Twilight co-starring his sister Vanessa Redgrave and his second wife Kika Markham. Wow, watching three of my favourite actors perform on stage!

Photo: Brother and sister performing in Song at Twilight in London. Courtesy: Haydn West/Rex Features

R.I.P. Dixie Carter

Here she is as Julia Sugarbaker on Designing Women:

Justice John Paul Stevens is no "liberal"

Justice Stevens was never as liberal as the lamestream corporate press (and a lot of progressive bloggists) would have you believe. He was and has always been a moderate, even as the SCOTUS has moved (not tilted...)... moved extremely to the right. Paul Campos:
During the 35 years that John Paul Stevens has served on the Supreme Court, the liberal federal judge has become something of an endangered species. Nothing illustrates this better than the absurd idea that Stevens has been a “liberal” justice. That a moderate justice like Stevens is now considered the leader of the court’s “liberal” wing really just goes to show that the Roberts court doesn’t have a liberal wing at all. [...]

What has changed, of course, is the rest of the court. In 2010, a life-long moderate Republican, appointed to the bench by Richard Nixon and to the court by Gerald Ford, is a “liberal” in much the same sense that, in a nation where Tea Party rallies draw large crowds, Barack Obama is a “socialist.” Since Stevens joined the court, every single new justice has been more conservative than the justices who were more liberal than Stevens at the time of his appointment. Over the past 34 years, Stevens stayed put while the entire court moved to his right. (One ironic consequence of this is that speculation regarding whether Obama will nominate someone who will “excite the left” to replace Stevens often ends up focusing on candidates who, on many important issues, aren’t actually to the left of Dick Cheney.)
... MORE

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jacques Brel - Ne Me Quitte Pas

Belgian-born singer Jacques Romain Georges Brel would have been 81 years old today.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

DUTCH NEWS BRIEFS: Dogs and Cooking

RADIO NETHERLANDS: Canicross racing in Holland - "More than 40 highly enthusiastic teams took part in the first canicross race in Hilversum this past weekend. Canicross is the sport of running with your dog in harness. Everyone, young and old, can take part." ... MORE


"Eet smakelijk" | Enjoy your meal | "Bon appétit!"

24oranges: - An extremely rare 17th century Dutch cookbook, entitled ‘Het Koock-boeck oft Familieren Keuken-boeck’ (Cook Book or Family Kitchen Book) is now part of the Special Collections institute of the University of Amsterdam Library. According to Radio Netherlands, it is the oldest known cookery book in the Dutch language. ... MORE.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bennis on Tavis Smiley: Afghanistan 9 Years Later

From PRI/Tavis Smiley: Mid-East expert
Phyllis Bennis breaks down the war in Afghanistan & assesses where
America stands 9 years later.

Murdered photographer’s brother denounces US military crimes


WikiLeaks, a website that publishes anonymously-sourced confidential documents, has published a previously unseen footage showing a US helicopter firing at civilians in Iraq, killing a dozen of them.

Among the dead were two journalists, Namir Nour El Deen, a photographer, and Saeed Chmagh, a driver, both employees of the Reuters news agency.

Namir’s brother, Nabil Nour El Deen, tells Al Jazeera after watching the footage that it is clearly a crime committed by the US military. (Apr 6, 2010)

How many Iraqis have died?

Left I on the News:
A few days ago it was the story of the coverup of the murder by U.S. forces of civilians in Afghanistan, today it's the story of a 2007 massacre in which U.S. helicopter gunships fired on civilians in Iraq. WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange and blogger Glenn Greenwald were on Democracy Now! this morning, drawing the (hopefully obvious long ago) conclusion that you can't trust a word the U.S. military says, and also the conclusion that these type of events are absolutely daily occurrences, with only the tip of the iceberg of them being exposed to the public.

All true. But I'd like to point readers to an additional conclusion. Over the years I've written a great deal about the number of people killed in Iraq, and one of the points I have made repeatedly is that when you look at various statistics, some of them (e.g., Iraq Body Count) want to count only "civilians", while others (the statistical surveys) count all the dead (and some count only "violent" deaths, while others count all deaths, e.g., deaths from lack of medical care or poor public health conditions caused by the invasion).

And so one point that can't be emphasized enough is that, whether you agree with me or not that all the deaths, be they of members of the Iraqi armed forces, members of the Iraqi resistance, or "innocent civilians" are equally reprehensible, and all the result of the U.S. invasion, is that the numbers for "civilian" deaths are completely and utterly skewed and rendered meaningless by the kind of false reporting represented by these two incidents. I'm not going to look up this specific incident in IBC, but it's an absolute certainty that a huge number of deaths were excluded from that count because they were reported (first by the U.S. military, and then by the U.S. press stenographic pool) as "insurgents" or perhaps "terrorists" (or maybe "suspected terrorists"). Which is just one more reason why the numbers to focus on are the total number of Iraqis killed, not the bogus and almost completely arbitrary "civilian" totals.

Notice I'm not dwelling on the actual numbers in this post. I've been over that ground before, and for the purposes of this discussion the actual numbers really don't matter. Needless to say they do matter to the actual people involved, those no longer living and those still mourning (and suffering from in very real ways) their loss.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Greetings!

Collect for the Feast of the Resurrection:

Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Triduum

Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary's Cathedral, Glasgow, writing about the challenges of the Triduum,
The Stripping of the Altar was particularly brutal this year. Furniture dragged around, lots of noise and lots of unease. Many servers and clergy involved and a choir ready to pitch in and shift the altar and platform as well as their own stalls. The inadequate lighting which we currently have (to be fixed next week) simply added to what was happening.

I was struck when it was all going on that such a rabbling is in our DNA as a congregtation. More than once, a mob descended on the Episcopalians and ripped up their meeting house and ran them out of town.

One of the ways I often think about Holy Week is to think it through in terms of the fickle mob. That mob seemed very real as everything lovely was taken from the altar of the Lord.

There was much to think about as we gathered in a lovely garden of repose at the end to keep watch until late into the night.

Thus it was that we gathered in a bare, stark space today for what worship we could muster. God is gone. The font is closed. There will be no sacraments now.

This morning, we venerated the cross. A touch, a kiss, a look.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ian Tomlinson's Murder - Still No Charges a Year Later!

Seriously, this is not an April Fools Day post!

Please read RickB|Ten Percent: Makes Fools Of Us All

It has now been one year since the tragic death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests in the City of London on 1 April. While we appreciate a fair and thorough investigation takes time, Ian's grieving family has been left in limbo for a year waiting for a full explanation about the circumstances of his death. There is now very real concern as to whether the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) proposes to charge anyone in respect of the assault and death of Ian.

The CPS has been in possession of the provisional Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation findings since August 2009. We understand that these findings, at least in part, will provide the basis for a decision on whether to prosecute anyone for Ian's death. We also note that the director of public prosecutions said in a Guardian interview (21 September 2009) that he hoped the CPS would reach a decision "within a few months".

Delays in the investigation and charging decisions increase the suffering for families of victims leaving them unable to gain closure and move on with their lives. Families are greatly concerned not to prejudice the process and are therefore effectively silenced from expressing their views publicly about the death of their loved one. They are desperate to ensure any potential future legal proceedings are not undermined nor an excuse found to abandon any cases that might be brought. The Tomlinson family has endured a year of public scrutiny unable to respond to questions about Ian's death, with little they can do but wait for the outcome of a decision. The delay however is now intolerable.

The policing of the G20 protest caused widespread public concern around use of excessive force by police officers. Proceedings against many protestors arrested on the day, as well as a number of reviews and investigations into the events of the day, have all been concluded. In the case of Ian Tomlinson, there is a heightened need for the statutory investigating body to be seen to be carrying out justice in a robust, transparent and timely manner to address public confidence. One year later the public, like the Tomlinson family, are still left with unanswered questions about how and why Ian died at the G20.

In the absence of any updates from the CPS, we have growing concerns about the investigation into Ian's death. There has been a complete lack of communication and transparency about the delay into concluding the investigation into Ian's death that calls the CPS's credibility into question.

As we have already set out, we do not wish to prejudice any investigation or potential proceedings but believe that either a decision or public explanation is due. We call on the CPS to fulfill its public duty regarding the investigation into the death of Ian Tomlinson.

Julia Tomlinson, Ian Tomlinson Family Campaign

Estelle du Boulay, Newham Monitoring Project

John McDonnell MP

Dr Caroline Lucas MEP

Jean Lambert MEP

Bob Crowe, RMT

Mark Serwotka, Public and Commercial Services Union

Shami Chakrabarti, Liberty

Deborah Coles, Inquest

Vivian Figueiredo, on behalf of the family of Jean Charles de Menezes

Samantha Rigg-David, on behalf of the family of Sean Rigg

Penny Green, professor of law and criminology, King's College London

Samantha Patterson, sister of Jason Mcpherson

Terry Stewart, The Friends of Blair Peach

Jenny Jones, Green party Metropolitan Police Authority member

Peter Herbert, Society of Black Lawyers

Cllr Duwayne Brooks, Liberal Democrat for Downham Ward

Pete Firmin and Andrew Fisher, Labour Representation Committee

Darren Johnson, Member of London Assembly

Frances Wright, Camp for Climate Action

Val Swain and Emily Apple, Fit watch

Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters

Sukhwant Dhaliwal, Women Against Fundamentalism.

Christine Shawcroft, Labour Briefing

David Rosenberg, Jewish Socialists' Group

Patrick Ward, United Campaign Against Police Violence

Estella Schmid, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities

Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya, sociology and public policy, Aston University

Councillor Romayne Phoenix, London Green party campaigns co-ordinator

Joseph Healy, Green party regional councillor for London

Andy Hewitt, co-chair of the Green party trade union group

Teresa Delaney, co-chair of the Green party trade union group

Frances Webber, human rights lawyer

Harriet Wistrich, solicitor at Birnberg Peirce

Ronan Toal, barrister, Garden Court Chambers

Hossein Zahir, barrister, Garden Court Chambers

David Watkinson, Garden Court Chambers

Anya Lewis, Garden Court Chambers

Richard J Harvey, Garden Court Chambers

David Emanuel, Garden Court Chambers

Yasin Patel, 25 Bedford Row Chambers

Rajiv Menon, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers

Professor Mick Ryan, former chair of Inquest

Zoe Mercer, When No One is Watching Campaign

Dr Emma Williamson, Research Fellow, Centre for Gender and Violence Research, University of Bristol

Professor Phil Scraton, Queen's University, Belfast

Dr Sacha Darke, senior lecturer in socio-legal studies and criminology, Department of Social and Historical Studies, University of Westminster

Mohan Ambikaipaker, University of Texas

Yasmin Khan, War on Want

Camilla Graham Wood

Alastair Morgan

Doctor Sheila Preston

Nick Moseley

Zareena Mustafa

Jill Phillips

Guy Williams

Simon Mercer

Lochlinn Parker

Sally Stanton

Jack Gordon Harris

Rachael Horner

Chris Heatley

David Mery

Sam Walton

Fiona Harrington

Bruce Benjamin

Quote of the Day

"So are Catholics who criticize the church over pedophilia and want Vatican officials prosecuted being called "self-hating" too?" — maxblumenthal