Saturday, December 31, 2011

Party on, folks

A Happy New Year gift from Barack Obama - he gives Americans and civil liberties the shaft by signing the NDAA just passed by our congress. (No surprise, it just codifies what he was doing anyway - indefinite detention of terrorist suspects.) However, with this signing, Americans can say good-bye to half the Bill of Rights. Amendments 4-9 have been nullified. If he had reservations, why the fuck did he sign it? .

Friday, December 30, 2011

Profit, war machines, cold war, what's not to love?

WASHINGTON POST (AKA stenographer for the Administration and the DoD):

‎"The Obama administration on Thursday hailed a new $30 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia as both a hedge against Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf and an economic windfall that could create thousands of U.S. jobs over the next decade."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

On This Day

The Flushing Remonstrance was signed on 27 December 1657 in Flushing, New Netherland (now Flushing, Queens). At the time, there as an established church, the Dutch Reformed Church (Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk) in the Netherlands and that expression of Christianity was the only one allowed in the Dutch colonies. A group of residents, none of them members of the Society of Friends, petioned Director-General of New Netherland Peter Stuyvesant to request an exemption to his ban on Quaker worship. This document paved the way for the Bill of Rights, many years later.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

From New Left Media: Occupy America, a short documentary

New Left Media's got a new video: #OccupyAmerica short doc with interviews from Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Oakland and Occupy Cincinnati. Please watch, spread the word and consider passing it forward.
All I can say is, welcome back, guys.

Have the Occupy Wall Street protests that sprung up across the country this fall already passed? Shot in NYC, Oakland, and Cincinnati, this short explores the state of the #OWS protests now that local governments have removed permanent encampments, and asks what the future will be for this still-young nationwide movement.

Produced and edited by Chase Whiteside (interviews), Erick Stoll (camera), and Liz Cambron.



Monday, December 19, 2011

On This Day

Édith Giovanna Gassion was born on December 19, 1915 in Belleville, Paris, France. She is, of course, better known as Édith Piaf. I love all of her songs, but this one is my particular favourite - if I'm in a singing mood in the shower, I have been known to belt out this one.

It's up to the activists now

A report about COP17 in Durban, South Africa.

More at The Real News

Saturday, December 17, 2011

R. I. P. Cesaria Evora

France24: Singer Cesaria Evora, nicknamed "the barefoot diva," died in her native Cape Verde on Saturday, three months after retiring due to ill health, the country's culture minister has announced.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Finally, the Dutch government apologises for Rawagede massacre

 Radio Netherlands Worldwide
The Dutch ambassador to Indonesia has formally apologised on behalf of the Netherlands’ government for the 1947 massacre in a village on Java island, in an emotional ceremony on the anniversary of the executions.

"In this context and on behalf of the Dutch government, I apologise for the tragedy that took place in Rawagede on the 9 December 1947," the Netherlands' ambassador to Indonesia, Tjeerd de Zwaan, said

He then repeated the apology in the Indonesian language, to the applause of hundreds of people attending the ceremony, some of whom broke down in tears as they listened in front of a marble monument commemorating the dead

The number of victims has always a point of dispute between the Dutch and the Indonesians. Dutch officials claim some 150 people were killed, but a support group and the local community allege the death toll was 431.

Men and boys executed
During Indonesia’s fight for independence between 1945 and 1949 - in what became known as the Indonesian National Revolution - Dutch troops swooped into the village of Rawagede and executed its men and boys as their families and neighbours looked on.

In a landmark ruling last September, a civil court in The Hague found the Dutch state responsible for the executions and ruled in favour of eight widows and a survivor of the massacre who lodged the case. Two of the widows have since died, and so has the survivor, Saih Bin Sakam, who passed away in May at the age of 88

The Netherlands agreed to pay 850,000 euros to the community before the court's decision, and will now pay an additional 180,000 euros in compensation to the plaintiffs or their families.

Although the Dutch government in the past expressed "deep regret" over the conduct of some of its troops in pre-independence Indonesia, it had never formally apologised for any excesses, including the massacre at Rawagede.

The Hague court rejected the Dutch argument that no claim could be lodged because of a five-year expiry in the statute of limitations, saying it was "unacceptable".

“We will never forget that day”
Some 60 schoolgirls in white Islamic headscarves opened the ceremony with the Indonesian national anthem. They then presented a spoken word performance describing the pain the community has felt since the killings.

"We will never forget that day in Rawagede," the lead performer screamed. "We will remember forever in an independent Indonesia."

Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa praised the Dutch government for making the apology.

Dutch embassy officials presented the widows with a wooden plaque with a windmill carved on the left and a palm tree on the right, with the words "Finally justice for the people of Rawagede" and the date of the court ruling inscribed on the plague.

See my previous posts about Rawagede.

Monday, December 5, 2011


A lovely poem by Christina Georgina Rossetti, who was born 5 December 1830 in London.  I've not read Victorian poetry since I was at university.  I still have my old textbook from the class;   maybe I can delve into it this winter!

REMEMBER me when I am gone away
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.


The headline this morning careens across the Yahoo! homepage, Fleet of Ferraris ruined in Japan sportscar pileup

What an example of the One Percenters' obsession with instant gratification and possessions and the sensationalism of consumerism news.  Shocker!  That the loss Italian sportscars worth a lot of dosh is the tragedy in this story.  Only in the seventh, next to the last, paragraph do we learn that no one died and people were "treated for bruises and cuts."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Judy Lewis & Me

As a sixteen year old on my way to meet my aunt after her gym class, Judy Lewis and I shared an elevator in a building on W 57 St, NYC. I knew her from The Secret Storm, a daytime soap, but only realised who she was after she got off - missing my chance for an autograph. I was too gawky and shy anyway - wouldn't have approached her for one if I had known. I just thought she was beautiful, though, and mentioned to my aunt later that I thought I'd just seen Judy Lewis. "Yes, she's in my class sometimes," my aunt told me. I had no idea then that her mother was Loretta Young and her father was Clark Gable. I just knew her from television. I learned of her Hollywood life and her successful career outside of theatre much later; But what a sad life she had as the daughter of Hollywood icons! Judy Lewis was seventy-six years old when she died on November 25 at her home in Pennsylvania.

UPDATED: I just found this video tribute by her brothers.

Judy Lewis's publicity shot above was taken around 1977 (courtesy of the New York Times, via Photofest).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

They did know!

A chilling report from Radio Netherlands Worldwide. The RC church hierarchy knew about the sexual abuse of children in the late 1950s by priests and workers in church run homes and institutions which continued into the 1960s and 70s - and failed to act. The excuse has been that they didn't know anything about it.   New evidence - a letter  in the church archives, written in 1958, reveals that they did know.  And church authorities did act - they took a conscious decision not to do anything to remove the offending priests and workers in the homes.  It was more about protecting the clergy rather than the children!

On This Day

Samuel Langhorne Clemens - better known as Mark Twain - was born 30 November 1835 in Florida, Missouri (though he grew up in Hannibal, Missouri).

Here's a quote on government by him:

" country can be well governed unless its citizens as a body keep religiously before their minds that they are the guardians of the law and that the law officers are only the machinery for its execution, nothing more." - The Gilded Age

More curmudgeonly Twain quotes on government here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Revival of Occupy Burlington: "The warmest love is a revolutionary love from solidarity and unity."

By Al Suarez, a fellow Occupier in Burlington, on November 18, 2011. This was posted on Facebook and shared around. I met Al this week and helped him remove the parts of the tee pee after BPD had ordered the dismantling of the Burlington Encampment, storing the branches of the tee pee in the back yard of another Occupier.
It is still very painful for me to delve into the tragedy at Occupy Burlington, I rather at this time focus on the positive, on the events that unfolded last night that were truly inspiring. Yesterday at about 5pm at City Park, several dozen of us set up a "free speech zone". A orange gate, we had encircled ourselves with, and led the march, followed by others with signs and what not, the homeless and with home alike, student and worker alike, all marching as equals, under the same banner of justice, of a just cause that cannot be silenced or wiped out, no matter how the city and the State come at us, our chants, from LA to New York, from Egypt to Spain, will be heard the world over.

We marched down Church St. to the surprise of many people, who have been hearing in the media our movement is dead, it is far from it. A man tried to break out free speech zone but we immediately reesembled it, and kept march, no one could stop us. Finally we reached the Post Office and sang solidarity with the union there against the cuts of the workers there. Then we headed down the road blocking traffick, to Edmonds Middle School, where Senator Palino, union leaders, students, and others were to meet together into the night.

Only 3 months ago in the Burlington where my sister worked and died, I spoke with her here about the new society I wanted, and we dreamed together of that new society, a better world for my niece. Off in the distance as I marched, suddenly I could see my sister's face, and I lit up, and could feel the energy of resurrection, of revival, all around us, and all the blisters in my feet, all the tiredness, went away, and all I could feel was energy, which is hard to explain, a revolutionary energy that charged us into our destiny, as we continued to defy the unjust system where the poor are left to die in the street. A wave of people came to reinforce us, old faces I could see, survivors of the storm, the storm troopers that stormed our camp in a most despicable manner, but we continue, unabatted, unintimidated, till final victory, so that no more Natashas may die from this unjust system, so that my sister may live in me...


Thursday, November 10, 2011

May Josh Rest In Peace

Earlier today - Thursday, November 10, 2011, one of the members of the Burlington encampment tragically died, apparently taking his own life.
This statement below has been approved by the Occupy Vermont General Assembly tonight:

Today, November 10th at 2pm, Josh, a valued member of Occupy Burlington and the houseless community, took his own life at the encampment. We want to take this moment to offer our thoughts and condolences to Josh's family, and to the members of the Occupy community who got to know Josh over the last two weeks.

The thoughts and prayers of everyone in the encampment are with his friends and family. We appreciate the support we have received from the Burlington community, the country, and the world. We ask for everyone’s continued support and solidarity as we deal with this tragedy.

From the first day of the encampment, we have welcomed all members of the community by providing anyone in need with food, shelter, and social support. Despite our best efforts to provide care and support to all members of the community, occupations are not equipped with the infrastructure and resources needed to care for the most vulnerable members of our community. The lack of resources to care for those in need was brought to the attention of Burlington city leaders. Unfortunately, our plea for assistance was not heeded in time to help Josh.

This tragedy draws attention to the gross inequalities within our system. We mourn the loss of a great friend tonight, while discovering an ever-deeper resolve to stand with our most vulnerable citizens. The failure to provide citizens with adequate and accessible physical and mental healthcare is one of the many issues this movement is fighting for.

Again, our thoughts and prayers are with everyone reeling from this loss and we deeply appreciate everyone who has offered support, compassion, and solidarity. It is our hope that this tragedy will serve as a rallying cry for occupations around the country to continue the fight for system change.

In Solidarity,
Occupy Burlington

There's help for people that are having a mental health crisis, but you won't find it in a tent at a protest. You'll find it at Fletcher Allen up the street, for free online at , or at 1-800-273-8255. The resources are there, in Vermont perhaps more than most states. 
For those that were with him or are affected by his loss, and may be interested in counseling, check out for more information and local resources.

There will be a memorial and candle light vigil at the north side of City Hall Park on Friday beginning at 5:00 p.m. to commemorate Josh, a veteran and committed member of the occupation.
May Josh rest in peace and rise in glory.
May God give comfort, consolation, and the peace that passes understanding to all who love Josh.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Haik Bedrosian interviews Bram Kranichfeld

Burlington's Democratic caucus will choose its 2012 mayoral candidate next Sunday, November 13. My choice is Bram Kranichfeld, and fellow Burlington blogger Haik Bedrosian has interviewed him.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


ThinkProgress has uploaded a video of Bishop Gene Robinson of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire speaking on how religious people might react to the Occupy Wall Street Movement.
"One-sixth of all the words that Jesus spoke and one-third of all the parables are about the dangers of wealth and possessions. It is something we hear in the prophets, particularly in the Old Testament... and of course, that's what Jesus himself was steeped in, those words were his scriptures... that any culture, but certainly one that claims to be godly, is to be judged on how well the most vulnerable are treated...
It's really about our sense of community, and indeed, do the wealthy have a responsibility to the larger community. Are we really going to live in an every man-woman-child for themselves world or are we going to be a community in which the greater good - the common good - is also a value that we hold.
You know the prophet Micah said we must "do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our god" and the 'do justice' part is figuring out what is wrong with the system that makes this happen, that causes people to be drowning almost literally, certainly drowning in debt, in the richest nation on earth.
And so, to be true to our tradition, we can't just provide food and clothing and even housing for those who have hit really hard times; we have to figure out what the system is that is causing that in the first place."

H/T to The Lead.

Richard Hooker, Priest and Theologian, 1600

The Episcopal church commemorates Richard Hooker, one of the great theologians of our tradition, today. Hooker's writings, in particular Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, stressed tolerance and inclusiveness and the middle way of Anglicanism between what he saw as the extremes of Catholicism and the Puritan movement.
And in recent years, I remember this day in 2007 when the presiding bishop preached about him at the Diocese of Vermont's convention Eucharist.
Hooker is a remarkable example of what wisdom in the flesh looks like—which is probably why he made it onto our list of saints. He wrote his most famous work in response to controversy with another wing of the church. And you don't have to look much beyond the first page to see the connections with current controversies in this church.
Richard Hooker was appointed Master, or Rector, of the Temple Church in London in the late 1500s. He had an assistant there, from the Puritan wing of the church, named Walter Travers. Hooker's duty was to preach in the morning. Travers followed him in the afternoon, and he took the opportunity one day to refute what the rector had said in the morning, when he preached about salvation and the possibility that all of us will be saved. The Puritan position, along with Calvin, believed that some may be damned even before they can do anything. Hooker insisted that that understanding took away the possibility of God's grace.
Hooker's focus on reason and tolerance and inclusion is foundational to that broad stream of Anglican thought. This isn't just academic theologizing. It has to do with the basic identity of our tradition—that we can be comprehensive and inclusive as we search for a larger truth. And that rather than being a cop-out, that focus on comprehension is a sign of the spirit at work.
That focus on comprehension lies underneath the challenging and uncomfortable place we are trying to stand in as a church today—affirming that gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Christians are deserving of the best ministry of this church, AND that there is a place for those who take a different theological position. We say that we are willing to live in that uncomfortable and unsettling place because we believe that only God has truth in its fullness.
Wisdom, and the search for it, is one of the gifts and vocations that the body of Christ always needs. None of us ever has it all, and it is only in the wisdom of the body gathered that we can even begin to think that we might have the mind of Christ.
Hooker's statue stands outside Exeter Cathedral.

Friday, October 28, 2011


ABC/Yahoo! News wants you to know that OWS is dividing family members - driving even (twin!) siblings apart. Is there another (hidden) message here, too? That the OWS is adversely effecting traditionally marginalised folk who have "made it" - succeeded within the system? The twins are African-American women, graduates of two elite colleges. They work in Manhattan, but in different elite jobs. Jill works for a financial company. Nicole "works for a television station" and in her free time organises general assemblies for the OWS in Liberty Plaza Park. ABC/Yahoo! didn't say what kind of work she does, but apparently Nicole's activism hasn't cost her her job, as happened to Lisa Simeone.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ice Cream and Cake

Barbara Cook was born 25 October 1927 in Atlanta, Georgia. I remember her silvery soprano voice in Candide -

but I think you will like this from She Loves Me. Happy Birthday Barbara! Have some "Vanilla Ice Cream" with your birthday cake!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


It encourages me to work for justice and peace and to respect the dignity of every living thing.
'Whether one is rich or poor, educated or illiterate, religious or nonbelieving, man or woman, black, white, or brown, we are all the same. Physically, emotionally, and mentally, we are all equal. We all share basic needs for food, shelter, safety, and love. We all aspire to happiness and we all shun suffering. Each of us has hopes, worries, fears, and dreams. Each of us wants the best for our family and loved ones. We all experience pain when we suffer loss and joy when we achieve what we seek. On this fundamental level, religion, ethnicity, culture, and language make no difference.' - Dalai Lama XIV

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


A member of the 99% - a returning Marine Corps veteran of Iraq - has some strong advice for the NYPD down by #OccupyWallStreet. Both the police and marines protect and serve the state, but I suspect when push comes to shove it's the so called armed services that will not take this shit. Sgt. Thomas is an example, but the cops try to shut him up and move the crowd he's attracted away from him.

Tuesday Topics

Rainy, cold weather has not deterred the #OccupyAmsterdam from abandoning its tents and encampment by the former stock exchange building. And the movement has expanded to the eastern city of Nijmegen, on the German border.

The Indignada movement members were in Brussels last week to make their demands to the EU. A woman had walked with them from Spain and was assaulted by a Belgian police officer & she was interviewed (English) on Belgian tv last evening. Well-spoken with such poise after being violently attacked twice!

Surprising op-ed in a paper that is published primarily for the DC 1% elite: What if working class Americans actually like Occupy Wall Street?
#OccupyWallStreet resonates with New Yorkers.

Max Blumenthal critiques the US coverage of the Shalit release

I recommend Max Blumenthal's latest story. Underreported in USA media (or crucial context about the Palestine occupation not even given) about the Shalit release.
'Reports on the exchange generally did not mention the identities of the Palestinian prisoners, and if they did, they tended to only name those who had committed violence against Israelis. It is of course newsworthy that perpetrators of le...thal violence against Israeli civilians are being freed, and that many Israelis are outraged about it, but the American media made no effort to contextualize the conflict propelling the violence -- the word "occupation" was not mentioned once in today's reports on the exchange. Nor was there been any description of disproportionate Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians, including by Shalit's tank unit, or Israel's routine kidnapping of Palestinians without charges. In reporting the first major Israel-Palestine news event since the Mavi Marmara massacre in 2010, the American media produced an entirely Shalit-centric barrage of coverage that even the Israeli Foreign Ministry could not have matched.'
But it wasn't just US media. Radio Netherlands Worldwide pretty much reported the same way as the Americans. No surprise there, either... as RNW is becoming a propaganda arm of the Dutch Foreign Ministry in the right-wing government (e.g. The Netherlands is 'Israel's best friend').

Saturday, October 15, 2011

OWS Solidarity Rallies Today in Vermont and AMSTERDAM!

It's becoming Occupy World Street, as thousands of rallies started up today around the Earth. RT takes a closer look. At 2 p.m. in Burlington several hundred (looked to me like 200 or so) gathered in City Hall Park. Sara Lee Guthrie (Woody's granddaughter) and her husband Johnny Irion led the crowd in a rendition of "This Land is Your Land." Thanks to Shay Totten for the video. Then they led us up Church Street up the hill to UVM's Waterman Hall. About a hundred or so marched across the UVMM Green to the Fleming Museum - just outside the property boundaries of Fletcher Allen Hospital, in solidarity with the nurses union which is in contract negotiations with the hospital management. In Amsterdam, nearly 2,000 participants were at the Beursplein, next to the Beurs van Berlage, the former home of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. The tram lines on the Damrak (Centraal Station is a major hub for most of the trams into the city centre) were closed. And the action doesn't seem to be ending as many have decided to spend (AT5's link is in Dutch) the night in the Beursplein. Frank Buis of AT5, the Amsterdam community television station has filmed a montage video of today's action.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Down Ampney

Ralph Vaughan Williams was born today - October 12, 1872 - in Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, England. Aaaaah, so his birthplace is the name of the tune for one of my favourite hymns, Come Down, O Love Divine, which we sang as the offertory on my mother's memorial service in 1992. Sadly, I never had the chance to visit the town when I lived in England in 1999, but I have heard frequently the Choir of King's College, Cambridge recordings of the hymn.

Come down, O Love divine

Latin text from the Golden Sequence (13th cent.); English text translated by R.F. Littledale from Bianco da Siena (d. 1434)

Come down, O Love divine,
Seek thou this soul of mine,
And visit it with thine own ardour glowing;
O Comforter, draw near,
Within my heart appear,
And kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn,
Till earthly passions turn
To dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
And let thy glorious light
Shine ever on my sight.
And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.
Let holy charity
Mine outward vesture be,
And lowliness become mine inner clothing;
True lowliness of heart,
Which takes the humbler part,
And o'er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong,
With which the soul will long,
Shall far outpass the power of human telling;

For none can guess its grace,
Till he become the place
Wherein the Holy Spirit makes his dwelling.

We've read this shit before or Why I don't trust the guv'mit and their stenographers.

It's too good to be true, which means that it smells fishy.

From Who is IOZ? blog
So the Iranians were going to use an American to hire a Mexican to assassinate a Saudi in Washington. Oh, ok. Let me just read from last night's NPR transcript for you. I have excerpted all you need to know:
SIEGEL: Now, the Iranians have called this a fabrication, someone called it a distraction to keep Americans from thinking about our domestic problems. How convincing is the evidence of Iran's involvement here?

GJELTEN: We really don't know.
Obviously this is going to turn into another case where the FBI tells some half-homeless loser that they're going to set him up with his own moon base and spacekreig Nazi saucer command; dude goes down to the public libarary, poops and shaves in the bathroom, gets online and tells facebook that he is going to launch an interstellar invasion of all the capitals of the planet earth; the Feds pinch the guy; and Eric Holder goes before the American People to cry Klatuu Barada Nikto until the terror cows come home. Robert Meuller says it sounds like a Hollywood script. Like the one that your waiter "accidentally" left at your table, maybe.
PBS devoted nearly all of its program last night to this. The network and our AG & SoS (who last night on the news were just mouthing what they're told to mouth) to be reminded of the Orlando Letelier case. The former Chilean Ambassador to the US (and later, activist) was assassinated by the Pinochet government secret police in Washington, D.C. I don't think we bombed Chile in retaliation;  no we wouldn't as we were friends with Pinochet thirty-five years ago.

Juan Cole thinks the whole tale is dodgy, too.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

UPDATED WITH VIDEOS! -Today in Burlington! Massive Rally in Support of the Occupation of Wall Street!

UPDATED The number of participants today surely exceeded the 150 last week. I reckon close to 400, but - get this: WPTZ Channel 5 reported 'Close to 1,000 March On Church Street'. Gotta be the largest demonstration I've seen in my 11 years back in Vermont. Here are two videos of this afternoon which capture well the spirit and the struggles. Stories the 1% can no longer ignore: ___________________________ From the organisers of the Burlington OWS solidarity actions:
For the past two Sundays, concerned Vermonters have met and marched to demonstrate our solidarity with the Wall Street occupiers and to object to the increasingly brutal tactics being used by the police. We have decided to continue to meet and rally each Sunday until the occupation ends, and we invite you to join us.

We will convene in City Hall Park at 12:30pm and hold a General Assembly to provide updates about the situation ...on the ground in NYC, discuss effective ways of providing support, and plan actions to demonstrate our support locally.

Please make and bring signs that show your support for the occupation and your opposition to the use of police violence to repress it, and spread this event widely!

See the live stream from NYC here:

*Update - Tentative agenda for the General Assembly, which will be run along the same moderated consensus lines as the GA in Liberty Plaza*

-Updates from those who have spent time in Liberty Plaza.
-Testimonials from those who have been personally affected by the current crisis.
-Reports back from working groups.
-Announcements of the formation of new working groups and projects (out of respect for each other's time, please be concise and limit your announcement to two minutes).

Saturday, October 8, 2011

"... the power that comes from the trust and love of other people, doesn’t emerge from a list of policy demands."

"At the forum, two fairly simple decisions were made. One, a nurse’s union endorsed #OccupyWallStreet, and pledged some food and offered nurses to train some of the protesters on first aid. The group accepted this endorsement. Two, some queens endorsed the protest, and offered food. They also said they would perform the next day. The group accepted this endorsement. That was it. These groups figured out ways they wanted to help, and did so. The groups that offered the help gained power based on what they did to build the space. A few days earlier, someone had offered to do a newspaper for #OccupyWallStreet and asked for volunteers. The group gave its approval. And now there’s an “Occupied Wall Street Journal”. There are people who offer to build the space, and then don’t deliver. But they don’t gain power. And that’s the way #OccupyWallStreet has structured its decision-making. Find ways to build the public space, and then gain the trust of the public that occupies the space you’ve helped build. The nurses helped deliver health care. The drag queens made the carnival more fun. This kind of power, the power that comes from the trust and love of other people, doesn’t emerge from a list of policy demands. It comes from the formation of a public, through the appreciation and sharing of a public space. It takes work, but the result is… #OccupyWallStreet."
Matt Stoller: "The Anti-Politics of #OccupyWallStreet" - Read it all here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

UPDATED: Burlington Solidarity with OWS Grows

SEE BELOW FOR IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR ALL VERMONTERS Big story: Front page, above the fold in today's Burlington Free Press. Matthew Cropp and Jonathan Leavitt are interviewed about Vermonters' support for the OWS actions in NYC. Waaaay to go, Burlington and Vermont.
‎'Cropp said he believes the demonstrations are as much about finding sustainable economic options, as they are against the excesses of Wall Street. He favors locally managed credit unions over banks that received stimulus bailouts and that... dole out huge bonuses. “The occupation,” he said, “is less of a protest, and more of a process. It’s bringing people together into these spaces to start working on what needs to be done. “So, instead of saying, ‘we’re going to stay here until you do X, Y and Z,’ it’s coming together to determine what X, Y and Z really need to be,” Cropp said.'
Jonny Leavitt:
“There are a lot of calls to action that put people’s needs first. Having one percent of America making decisions for the remaining 99 percent is a big one — and we’re finally finding our voice.”
In the first photo above, Matt Cropp speaks at the October 2nd rally on the steps of Citizens Bank, College Street, Burlington. In the second, Jonathan Leavitt is interviewed by a local television station after the rally. (Photos were taken by me.) Please come out on Sunday October 9th at 12:30 for another massive solidarity rally in City Hall Park, Burlington, VT! 150 came last Sunday; let's double that number! As Burlington's involvement grows, other cities are joining in. This poster was on Wounded Bird's blog. She's in Louisiana and there's a rally in NOLA today.
UPDATE The Vermont Workers' Center is organizing rallies across the state as well as a trip to New York City. As part of our Put People First campaign we are standing together with people around the country. Join us in:

Burlington Sunday, October 9, 12:30 pm, Burlington City Hall Park Saturday, October 15, 2 pm, Burlington City Hall Park contact:

Brattleboro Saturday, October 15th, 2pm, Wells Fountain Park contact:

Montpelier Saturday, October 15h, 3:30pm, City Hall Steps contact:

Rutland Saturday, October 15th, Time and Location TBA contact:

New York City Contact Heather Pipino if you are interested in traveling to NYC at (802) 595-1671

Friday, September 30, 2011


On Sunday, October 2, over 150 Vermonters will stand in solidarity with those who have been tirelessly occupying Wall St. to protest corporate greed. Please join!
Design: Liza Cowan/CowanDesign and owner of small equals. Illustration from Leslie’s Illustrated Magazine, 1874 depicting the Tompkins Square Riot.

Friday, September 16, 2011

On This Day

I knew of the tradition of male homoerotic art (Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol, Hoyningen-Heune, Jean Cocteau, Keith Haring, Tom of Findland, Horst P. Horst), but, incredibly, I didn't know of Baron Wilhelm Von Gloeden, photographer of male nudes, who was born 16 September 1856 near Wismar, Germany. He was a handsome man and has a fascinating biography. Like Thomas Mann, he was from the very northern part of Germany, but was attracted to the south (Italy), moving to Sicily for health reasons. He settled in Taormina, and died there in 1931. After his death the fascists destroyed three-quarters of the negatives of his photos because they thought they were pornographic.


Maurice Gilliams was born in Antwerp in 1900, the son of a Flemish printer and a French-speaking mother. Though he grew up bilingual in French and Dutch, he chose Dutch as the primary language of his poetry. He wrote only sixty-eight poems. He died in 1982. I have not read any of Gilliams' poems until a friend posted "Herfst" on his Facebook page today.
Het is een land van grijsaards na de zomer,
hier geeuwt de heide in haar gal van zonde;
het bruin der eiken heeft de geur van honden,
het dorp gloeit in zijn klokken van oktober.

De honing druipt vermoeid in aarden potten
waaraan de handen zich getroost verenen;
en eenzaam duurt ’t gemaal der molenstenen,
’t kasteel staat in zijn grachten te verrotten.

Sterfbedden blinken van het goud der vaderen,
’t is avond en de zonen zien het wonder:
’t geboortehuis dompelt in nevel onder
en jeugd en lief en ’t ál zijn niet te naderen.

© 1936, Vita Brevis Foundation From: Verzamelde gedichten Publisher: Meulenhoff, Amsterdam, 1993
After the summer it is an old men’s land,
here yawns the heath in its vicious gall;
the brown of oaks smells of dogs,
the village glows in its October bells.

The honey drips wearily in earthenware pots
at which hands unite for consolation;
and lonely last the millstones’ revolutions,
the castle stands in its moat and rots.

Deathbeds gleam with the gold of the fathers,
it’s evening and the sons see the wonder:
their birthplace submerged in mist, and yonder,
youth and love and everything still farther.

© Translation: 2006, Marian de Vooght & Green Integer From: The Bottle at Sea: Complete poems and Journal Fragments Publisher: Green Integer, Los Angeles, 2006 ISBN: 1892295385
Generally, Gilliams’ mode is simple — even when grand and archaic, precise, and solemn. The early poems in particular are influenced by Expressionist painting in their colourful images that project a feeling of being torn between vitality and nostalgia. Many of Gilliams’ poems are determined by what was lost, was never had, or came too late: youth, parents, love, a child, a dream of perfection. The background often recalls the Flemish countryside which in the poet’s imagination becomes a barren wasteland, a site of melancholy and desertedness. In other poems, the urban environment of Antwerp is present as a location of death and decay. The later poems highlight the theme of fruitlessness — in life and in poetry. Yet there is an existentialist kind of acceptance, a toughness when facing an inescapable fate.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Post Irene in Vermont: Mobile home parks destruction

Today it is a strange and somber ghost town, except for small beehives of activity where construction crews — actually deconstruction crews — are working to tear down and clear out mobile homes whose owners have decided they’re never coming back.
Once 80 families lived here. Now, along the U-shaped drive that they called home, blue and ochre and yellow mobile homes sit vacant, still displaying the gaily striped awnings or porches, American flags and flower boxes that marked stability and a sense of place. Amidst a sea of very green grass and soft mud, some homes have windows knocked out or tilted slightly askew, others appear hardly untouched, only the wrinkled siding or a dim mud line part way up the walls hinting at the fetid devastation that awaits inside.
Not surprising. Mobile home parks are usually not in the most "desirable" neighborhoods; people choose the location because it's affordable. This type of devastation is common whereever hurricanes land - flood zones in Florida, Lousiana, Texas, the Carolinas; where the rivers rise in the spring and summer (e.g. Mississippi); and also in the tornado alleys in the south and midwest.

Glad that Digger story corrects the stereotype that mobile home residents are trailer park trash.


Rawagede is one of the most notorious events in the history of Indonesian struggle for independence against the Dutch. Witness accounts from survivors (Dutch-Indonesian-Sundanese) say that some young males of 11-12 years old were among those massacred!
"I never thought they would kill us because we were just ordinary people," says Saih. "I only realised [what they were going to do] when they began the countdown... Een, twee, drie." Three soldiers started shooting the men in the back.
On 9 December 1947, Dutch troops attacked the village of Rawagede and, according to the villagers, killed all the men - 431 in total. A 1969 investigation by the Dutch government into war crimes in Indonesia says 150 were killed in Rawagede. A suit was brought before the Dutch by survivors of the massacre, asking for compensation. In 2009, the Dutch attorney general rejected that civil claim put forward in September, 2008 because the case was too old.

 I wrote about the massacre in Java here, here, and here.

Now there's a been a change with a ruling on Wednesday by the district court in The Hague.
Seven widows, one daughter and a survivor of the massacre of hundreds of men from the village of Rawagede have taken the Dutch state to court, calling for compensation and official recognition of the actions of Dutch soldiers. The claim was rejected by the attorney general in 2008 because it was too old. But The Hague court said the state cannot use that as a defence because the case is about people who were direct victims of Dutch army war crimes. [...] The Netherlands has never paid compensation to the victims' families or officially apologised for the killings.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


A super majority of 10-4 was needed to override Mayor Kiss's veto of the community standards resolution on climate change partnerships. That didn't happen; the vote was 8-6. Disappointing and not unexpected. Republicans and conservative Democrats don't seem to want advisory ethical standards. In 72 hours No Lockheed organisers were able to bring citizens to the meeting to speak out in favor of the override. Not as many as the 100+ that spoke in favor of community standards when council approved the resolution on August 8. The BFP quoted me: '"Without guidelines, you're going into (collaborations) blindfolded."' . Last night there were eloquent words citizens and some city councilors. Councilor Bram Kranichfeld... stressing that the resolution was advisory and not binding (as I did in my remarks). He refers to an unnamed councilor [it's my Ward 5, conservative Dem councilor Shannon] and the mayor who were misrepresenting the resolution. Councilor Emma Mulvaney-Stanak

Monday, August 22, 2011


Jonathan Leavitt's excellent Truthout article on the last eight months of civic activism against the partnership between Burlington, VT and Lockheed Martin appeared this past weekend. Well worth the read as it shows what a small group of organisers can do to rally citizens to voice their concerns to city councilors in passing community standards about private/public partnerships about climate change.
Speaking from her "background of global economic systems, international business and sustainable business practices," Anna Guyton outlined the need to set a precedent to keep climate solution in the public and not the private sphere by passing the resolution:
"Why is it that some corporations manage to get away with fraud, misconduct, toxic pollution, child labor and human trafficking? Why is it that time after time, crime after crime, these corporations continue to do damage to people and places? The answer lies in concentrated power without checks and balances. Sure, these corporations are prosecuted, fined and made to pay for clean-up efforts (sometimes) - but does this serve as a check? No - again and again we see them commit more crimes. Does it prevent contractors from getting more contracts? No - the corruption is so deep and so broad, that their power is completely unbalanced. These are the types of corporations that we don't want to see Burlington tied to in partnership." Guyton continued, "We simply can't take that risk with an issue as important as climate change. Instead, what is needed for a city and a world without corruption is a de-concentration of that power, a decentralization of that power. The only way to do that is to build our own power and empower those who have a proven track record of sustainable business practices, like many of our Vermont companies and organizations do. And you must acknowledge the voice of the people - all these people here tonight (and many more who couldn't make it) care about community standards. Honor our voice, honor Burlington's democratic values and please pass this resolution as a first step toward ensuring good business partners for the city of Burlington."
Jonny's article is also online at the NoLockheed blog, which I recommend you bookmark it and get involved!

Take Action!
Call and email Mayor Kiss expressing your concerns about Burlington partnering with the world's largest war profiteer.
802-865-7272 (office)

#2). Write a Letter to the Editor:

#3 Call or Email your City Council
Their contact info can be found here:

Tar Sands Action

The Keystone XL pipeline is a project would pump over one million barrels of “tar sands” oil from the Alberta Tar Sands, Canada, to Texas every day. The oil in the Keystone pipeline could poison drinking water, threaten the communities it runs through, and wreck the climate.

350 Vermont is helping to coordinate a 4-day expedition from August 28th to the 31st to be a part of this historic action. Local coverage in Seven Days,  the Burlington Free PressSenator Sanders Youtube video. For those that care, there is a Facebook group.


The New York Times came out today with an editorial against the Keystone XL pipeline.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

On This Day

Roberta Worrick, my Senior year English teacher at The Mountain School, wrote novels and short stories set in Africa under the name of Maria Thomas; she was a Peace Corps Writer, having volunteered in Ethiopia in 1971-73. Roberta, her husband Jeff, U.S. Congressman Mickey Leland (D-TX; he represented my congressional district in Houston) and 11 others died in a plane crash in Ethiopia on August 7, 1989. May they rest in peace.

Right now - in the middle of 2011, parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are facing one of the worst droughts in 60 years, and nearly 12 million people are desperately in need of food, clean water and basic sanitation. The flight which Roberta, Jeff and Mickey and the others were on was to bring food aid, too, to the Horn of Africa.

Robert came to TMS after having just graduated from Mount Holyoke. She was slim and short and looked younger than the teen agers she taught. Roberta introduced me to the poet, Denise Levertov.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Big Showdown: The People of Burlington vs. Lockheed Martin

Community Standards For Corporate Partners - The Solution is LOCAL.

Monday night - WE NEED YOU to help us pack another City Council meeting!

Monday, August 8 · 7:00 PM
Burlington City Hall
Contois Auditorium, 2nd Floor
149 Church Street
Burlington, Vermont
If you can, please show up in support. You can RSVP here, if you’re on Facebook.

On February 7th of this year over 100 Burlingtonians spoke out in City Council against Lockheed and won a resolution calling for community standards regarding Burlington and corporations like Lockheed. On June 28th that resolution passed out of committee, setting up The Big Showdown on August 8th.

Lockheed helped block the 2009 Federal Climate legislation and just four weeks ago was instrumental in stopping six states in the Supreme Court from regulating climate change.

Do we want small, local, responsible partners? Or do we want huge, transnational, fraudulent partners?

Do we want to work from the ground up, building power at the citizen level? Or do we want more top-down, concentration of power and money in the hands of the few?

Please come to show your support for transparent city partnerships with sustainable and responsible corporations that are not guilty of:

* racial, gender and age discrimination
* violating anti-trust laws, unfair competition or fraud
* contractor misconduct
* building internationally illegal weapons
* earning the majority of their profits from weapons and warfare
* incurring over $100,000 in fines for environmental damage
* engaging in or supporting child labor or human trafficking

We must protect and nurture our local businesses and organizations. Let's not risk the security and progress of our city by placing it in the hands of mega-corporations that violate these standards in the name of profit.

Please come to show your support for transparent city partnerships with sustainable and responsible corporations that are not guilty of:

What you can do to help set the stage for the Big Showdown:

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Way We Live Now

"We live now with dishonest politics, disinformed and disinforming media, disconnected cultures, disjointed economics, dysfunctional communities and disrespected citizens. To attempt to repair such conditions without a morally conscious politics makes as much sense as trying to revive a body without a heart. This is not romanticism, idealism or naivete, just basic political anatomy. That we have come to accept a politics that offers no choice save between our acquisition of abusive power or our submission to it speaks only to the depths of our delusion; it says nothing about that which is possible." - A Pocket Paradigm of Sam Smith

Thursday, July 28, 2011

God Will Be Mocked

Since the tragic murders last Friday in Norway, there've been a lot of blame and accusations thrown about. Loads of speculation about what/who made Breivik do what he did. Was it from the left or right?; Is he Christian or not. Is he a terrorist or some deranged whacko? I don't always like Jon Stewart's humor, especially after what happened in Norway, his schtick on his show can be taken as bit crass and insensitive, but even Stewart made some important observations regarding Breivik's Christian zeal and how the right-wing pundits have tried to disconnect his faith from his massacre.

The above title is from an addendum to a post by Doug at his blog, Counterlight's Peculiars.
God Will Be Mocked.

The people who truly mock God are not the people who don't conform to whatever template we make for them. The people who mock God are those who kill and harm, or who advocate harm in any form, to those created in His image. People like Anders Breivik and people who have similar sympathies spit in God's face just as surely as did the soldiers on that first Good Friday.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

French Exceptionalism...


A high-level diplomatic spat has broken out between France and Germany, but this time it is not about saving the euro or European integration. Instead, it is foie gras that is causing the fallout.

Angry missives have flown between Paris and Berlin after the decision by organisers of a leading German food fair to ban the French delicacy, which is made from the liver of fattened geese or ducks.

Foie gras producers are incensed after being told their liver pâté will be not welcome at the biennial Anuga food fair in Cologne in October.
About 37 million ducks and 700,000 geese are slaughtered each year to make French foie gras. The force-feeding practice is said to date to 2,500BC, though it is unlikely the ancient Egyptians took to fattening their fowl on the industrial scale found in France, where foie gras and its controversial production method is enshrined in law as part of the country's so-called cultural exception. Article L654 of the 2006 rural code states: "Foie gras is part of the protected cultural and gastronomic heritage of France. By 'foie gras' is meant the liver of a duck or a goose specifically fattened by force-feeding."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Our Cowardly President

To dump Elizabeth Warren, the most qualified, most motivated and most articulate candidate for the directorship of the Consumer Financial Regulatory Bureau is an act of political cowardliness by President Obama and a boon to anti-consumer Republicans and their corporate paymasters in Wall Street.

Elizabeth Warren apparently is just too good, too smart, and too able to arouse the just concerns of millions of American families about the need to put the law-and-order wood to the corporate criminals, defrauders and reckless speculators with the savings and pensions of millions of Americans.

President Obama should realize that his back-of-the-hand attitude to his liberal and progressive supporters – who sent him to the White House – can have consequences. He believes they have no where to go. But they do. They can stay home in 2012, as so many did in 2010 to the detriment of the Democrats and many Congressional races.
[Nader - "Dumping Elizabeth Warren" - CounterPunch]

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Who would shoot a pet horse?


"Police are investigating the shooting of a pet horse in East Montpelier. And the family who owned the horse is left wondering why it happened."

HSUS is offering a $2500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the responsible party.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Haves need to get a grip

Four on line stories, one from the Daily Mail, one from a California radio station, and two from Guardian, reinforce the class divisions. This is just a sample.

In sunny California, paying for access with celebrity royals as citizens protest cuts. Most people will ignore the struggles, compartmentalize them as they prefer the diversion of polo and Pimm's; even if they don't (or cannot afford) to participate, they'll live it vicariously by reading about it.

Daily Mail:
The billion pound brand of William and Kate Inc
Next month’s US trip has already made millions for charity. The royal couple's potential earning power for Britain is immense, says Gordon Rayner

KALW News:
16 arrested in Downtown Oakland “anti-austerity” protest

Crazy insanity of consumerism and crazy desperation to survive and obtain the good life: About 15 years ago my partner and I went to Las Vegas and had lunch at the Debby Reynolds casino and hotel (now defunct). There was a museum attached and I swear we saw the Monroe dress among the "antiquities."

Migrants run Mexican gauntlet to make leap of faith to US
And placed just under this story is
Marilyn Monroe dress sells for $4.6m

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tomorrow Protest Lockheed Creep! - 3:00 P.M. -  Burlington International Airport

"‎It's starting to feel as though the Green Mountain State itself is a wholly-run subsidiary of the world's largest defense contractor."
When will Burlington.... and now Vermont... wake up!?

Mayor Ki$$ has made his intentions clear about the Lockheed Martin deal. He's stopped listening to the citizens of Burlington.

Tomorrow Lockheed, Raytheon and other war profiteers will be meeting with a representative from Senator Leahy's office, the Vermont Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Brian Dubie and local business leaders to discuss how to develop Vermont's economy. Clearly this is an attempt to militarize Vermont's economy that could have far reaching impact. This is a sharp slap in the face to six months of inspired community organizing against Lockheed's incursion into Burlington and now... to determine Vermont's future.

Protest Lockheed's Meeting with Vermont Chamber of Commerce
Location: Burlington International Airport

Heritage Aviation, Aviation Drive (at airport)

Time: Wednesday, 15 June 2011 3:00 P.M.

Feel encourage to use costumes and large props, music and more to express your disgust at.

The event is billed as open to the public.

Poster photo courtesy of Lisa Cowan, Small Equals, Burlington, Vermont. 

Friday, June 10, 2011


Factory farmed chickens are fed arsenic to make them grow faster. The FDA says that traces of the toxin are detectable in the meat. Tom Laskawy, writing in Grist:
It boggles my mind that the industry is so willing to risk consumer panic over this issue and wait for the media or government officials to force its hand. Instead of making smart business decisions and ending dangerous practices that might give consumers cause to avoid their product, they instead try to hold back the tide. One drug gets withdrawn while others remain. The FDA tests 100 chickens (as they did in this latest test), while millions are produced and sold every year.
It's no wonder that the so-called "ag-gag" bills remain popular among industrial farmers and their political lackeys. They can't seem to let go of consumer ignorance as a key business strategy. With arsenic in chicken, the FDA, the USDA, and the chicken industry seem to care far more about the perception of having acted rather than the reality of ensuring all chicken sold in the U.S. is free from this toxic substance.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

UPDATED: Bob Kiss to City Council: Fuck Off!


Mayor Bob Kiss is going ahead with the Lockheed Martin agreement with the city anyway.

At the Burlington Community Development and Neighborhood Revitalization Committee Meeting on Tuesday (6/7/11), the head of Burlington's Economic Development Office showed clearly that the mayor is in violation of City Council's February resolution about municipal public-private partnerships and the Lockheed Martin agreement.

The Lockheed discussion begins at the 9:20 mark in the video below. At 41:35, CEDO Director Larry Kupferman refers to Burlington being in a "partnership" with Lockheed.

Burlington Community Development and Neighborhood Revitalization Committee Meeting 6-7-11 from Arthur Hynes on Vimeo.

In response, Councilor Mulvaney-Stanak, at the 53:20 mark, is just too, too nice.
"Given the attention on this issue I'd hoped things would be a little more public, or at least the Council would be informed about discussions that were still happening with Lockheed in any sort ...of public way. [...] I think given the interest the public has shown on this it would have been nice if the Mayor had, and nice is not even the appropriate word, it would have been I think more appropriate for the Mayor to mention it in the public comments or have something that go out, so people have a chance to weigh in. Knowing that this process [drafting community standards] is still going on."
UPDATE (1:00 P.M. Friday, June 10):

The video from Tuesday is up on Vermont's two biggest political blogs. - Green Mountain Daily &

Keep those calls coming! Phone lines at Mayor Kiss' office are open until 4:30 M-F (802)-865-7272.

The New Scramble for Africa

Colonialism is alive and well among US academic institutions. Helpful Humanitarian intervention? No way, Zaid! Africa needs another revolutionary like Basil Davidson to blast this western hypocrisy to smithereens.
"No one should believe that these investors are there to feed starving Africans, create jobs or improve food security," said Obang Metho of Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia. "These agreements – many of which could be in place for 99 years – do not mean progress for local people and will not lead to food in their stomachs. These deals lead only to dollars in the pockets of corrupt leaders and foreign investors."

"The scale of the land deals being struck is shocking", said Mittal. "The conversion of African small farms and forests into a natural-asset-based, high-return investment strategy can drive up food prices and increase the risks of climate change.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fairbanks (AK) City Council votes 5-1 to end fluoridation

Congratulations Fairbanks, Alaska and

If only the Burlington (VT) city council would have the balls to decide yea or nay (and show some responsibility as elected city officers). Two councilor-appointed city commissions have recommended the removal of fluoride in the city's water supply (Board of Health and Public Works commission), and the council takes no action! It's been more than 5 years that the council have been kicking this around. Get with it, already!

And not surprisingly, Ralph Nader has called for a national debate on mandatory water fluoridation.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

‎61 cents an hour was too much

Two years ago, Haiti unanimously passed a law sharply raising its minimum wage to 61 cents an hour. That doesn’t sound like much (and it isn’t), but it was two and a half times the then-minimum of 24 cents an hour.

This infuriated American corporations like Hanes and Levi Strauss that pay Haitians slave wages to sew their clothes. They said they would only fork over a seven-cent-an-hour increase, and they got the State Department involved. The U.S. ambassador put pressure on Haiti’s president, who duly carved out a $3 a day minimum wage for textile companies (the U.S. minimum wage, which itself is very low, works out to $58 a day).
It's called humanitarian intervention and the US State Department is an expert, right?

Blogger Problem solved

In mid-May there was a surprise on my blog. I found it immediately redirected to another website, an annoying spam sales site. Not being a geeky person, I was stymied - first thinking it was a problem with my computer. But others told me that it was happening to them when they clicked my blog url. So I checked Blogger help - others were having the same problem, and after some trial and error clicks, I found it was a gadget or a widget that causing it. So I removed it. Bingo! I swear that either Blogger was hacked or, more likely, they cause the problem themselves. Because I certainly didn't put the widget in my blog. I may move to WordPress, as some of my friend bloggers are using that program.

Friday, May 13, 2011


In case anyone missed it. It was the lead story in Thursday’s National section of the New York Times.
Ms. [Anna] Guyton and Jonathan Leavitt, a community organizer, have sought to rally opposition with leafleting, forums at local colleges and a blog. They are also circulating a petition for a ballot question that would urge the mayor “not to enter into agreements with corporate war profiteers like Lockheed Martin.”
Meanwhile, Liza Cowan, a local artist, is circulating an eye-catching series of “No Lockheed” prints to draw attention to the issue. She said she was especially unhappy that the letter of cooperation mentioned “possible support” for Burlington’s public schools. Six years ago, she fought the sponsorship of a reading program by General Dynamics, a military contractor that had a branch here at the time, which distributed pencils and books stamped with its corporate logo at local schools. “It just seems like this was going to be the same thing but on a bigger scale,” she said.
Ms. Cowan also raised another common theory: that the partnership was an attempt by Lockheed to win local support for basing its F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport. The Vermont Air Guard already flies F-16s here, and the Air Force has said Burlington is one of two possible bases for the F-35s.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


A Burlington citizen activist group NO LOCKHEED and Bill McKibben have issued a challenge to Lockheed Martin as its influence seeps into the City of Burlington (Vermont, Planet Earth):

Dear Lockheed Martin,
As a concerned citizen of Burlington, VT I feel obligated to let you know that the overwhelming majority of residents here seem strongly opposed to the proposed partnership between Lockheed Martin and the city of Burlington to address the impeding threat of climate change. Surprisingly, many people aren't opposed to the idea solely because you happen to be one of the world's largest arms manufacturers, but mainly because you don't seem to have much of a proven track record when it comes to addressing climate change. You see, here in Burlington we really pride ourselves on the notable efforts we've already made to reduce carbon emissions and develop sustainable communities, and we're rather reluctant to invite anyone into our town who doesn't already have a wealth of experience doing the same, regardless of their net worth. Otherwise what's the point, right?

Perhaps you've heard of climate change expert Bill McKibben. In a recent Burlington Free Press article McKibben says of Lockheed, "The fear that they could be just greenwashing is real -- for instance, these guys belong to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has opposed every single good idea on energy and climate for decades; to me, that's a sign they're willing to make money on climate, but still work in Washington to prevent meaningful progress." This is your big chance to prove otherwise.

McKibben's NGO It's an international non-profit dedicated to stopping climate change. 350 just launched a new campaign 'The U.S. Chamber Doesn't Speak For Me' to "show that when it comes to climate and energy, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of big polluters, not everyday American business." According to a recent New York Times article, ("Justices Offer Receptive Ear to Business Interests" 12/18/10),"[The Chamber of Commerce] board includes executives from some of the nation's biggest companies, including Lockheed Martin." The Chamber of Commerce filed a brief in a Supreme Court case stating, a suit by eight states against power companies over carbon dioxide emissions, 'has potentially disastrous implications for the U.S. business community."

The New York Times article links to the Supreme Court brief (American Electric Power Company Inc., et al. v. State of Connecticut, et al.) which shows the lengths the Chamber of Commerce and its corporate partners, including Lockheed, will go to block carbon reductions.The brief implies that the states’ efforts to regulate C02 emissions are “ill-conceived policies and measures which could damage the economic security of the United States.” It belittles the states’ earnest litigation to address the climate crisis as an example of “nuisance suits,” which are “an especially ill-conceived and constitutionally illegitimate response." Like Mom always said, "you'll be judged by the company you keep." Right?

So we have thought of a great way you could prove your commitment to addressing climate change to the citizens of Burlington so someone other than Mayor Kiss might be a little more supportive of this proposed partnership. Would you be willing quit the US Chamber of Commerce and prove to us you really are committed to addressing the climate crisis? You see, like McKibben says, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has maintained a hard-line opposition to any legislation addressing the climate issue, so it's very hard to take anyone seriously who says that they want to address this issue while maintaining their involvement with them. You wouldn't be the first corporation do to so either! Apple, Nike, and Johnson & Johnson have all quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for this very reason! Even utility companies such as Exelon, Pacific Gas & Electric, and PNM Resources resigned from the Chamber over its environmental policy. Won't you be the next brave corporation to show your commitment to addressing climate change by quitting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce? It sure would help the citizens of Burlington take your proposal a little more seriously...

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Anna Guyton, Peace & Justice Center Program Manager

Joe Solomon,

Jenna Whitson,

David Stember,

Page Atcheson

Jonathan Leavitt, Journalist and Community Organizer

Will Bennington, Farmer and Community Organizer

Laurie Essig Phd.

Liza Cowan, Director, Pine Street Art Works

Danielle Bombardier, Community Organizer

Bryan Parmelee

Arthur Hynes

Peggy Luhrs

Juliet Buck

James Vos

Jen Berger

Patrick Wood

Lewis Holmes

Alan Taplow

Colleen Deignan

Michelle Marion

Tristan Pulley

Paul Schanbel

Jennifer Martin

Skye Ellicock

Laurie Larson

Sunday, May 8, 2011


GUARDIAN: Robert Johnson: fans mark the centenary of the great bluesman's birth


One of Germany’s most well-known and influential artists, Anselm Kiefer, was invited by the Rijksmuseum to create a work of art inspired by The Night Watch. The result, the spectacular La berceuse (for Van Gogh), for which he was given complete free rein, will be on display in the Rijksmuseum’s Night Watch Gallery in the Philips Wing from 7 May.
Sorry I am missing this. A few years ago there was an Anselm Kiefer exhibition at Montreal's Contemporary Art Museum; I was blown away. Anselm Kiefer is a dark artist, heavily influenced by Germany during WWII. He is one of my favourite artists. Also Anton Corbijn (another favourite) will have an exhibit of his photographs of Kiefer.

Anselm Kiefer, La berceuse, 2010 (detail). Photo Myra May.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I wasn't taken with all the hoopla surrounding the 'royal wedding' last week, but as I love food (especially desserts)...

'Let Them Eat Cake'... -

An exhibition in London of recreated royal wedding cakes was at the Wellington Arch in London prior to the wedding of Catharine Middleton with Prince William. It's already closed, so you'll have to imagine all the scrumptious delights!

Click here and scroll down to Julie Walsh's replica of Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon and Prince Albert's wedding cake. Chef Julie taught me patisserie when I was a student at Le Cordon Bleu, London.

There are more photos of cake replicas and two of Julie's design at The Independent.



Source: JUST WORLD NEWS with Helena Cobban

'I am still thinking hard about the U.S. decision-making during the time of the raid on Bin Laden's compound in Abbotabad. Was there really a firefight, or resistance? Though the compound had high walls as defenses, it did not seem to have many internal armaments, such as would be required in any serious "firefight" against a presumably very well-armed U.S. attack force. Bin Laden's concealment strategy seemed to be centered overwhelmingly around the approach of "hiding in plain sight" near a large Pakistani military cantonment; and that strategy would depend for its success on not attracting attention by hauling large amounts of weapons into the compound.

'Did the U.S. assailants indeed have a meaningful plan for "capture" and subsequent trial of their target? I hope so. But given the eagerness of the U.S. military to undertake extra-judicial executions against figures of far less renown and far less apparent culpability-- in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere-- I have many serious doubts that they did.

'I hate the serious undermining of not only the letter of international law that EJE's represent, but also the undermining of the whole idea of the rule of law that they represent. Anonymous bureaucrats sitting in offices 10,000 miles away get to consider a compilation of "evidence" against a suspect that is ever tested in an open court and that may consist of large amounts of hearsay, malice from jealous opponents, and/or mistaken identity; and they get to say "Kill this one; don't kill that one; kill that one... "

'What kind of a system, what kind of a world is that?'

UPDATE at 12:45 PM
Was it Bin Laden's double who was killed? The particulars about the death over the weekend keep changing.

The announcement by Obama is the third or fourth time we've learned of Bin Laden's death. I think he has been dead for years and the US just took him out of the icebox before the elections start to heat up.

If it's all true this time about the death of Bin Laden, Dennis Perrin's reaction is spot on.
For a Global Terrorist Mastermind, Osama bin Laden seemed fairly unproductive and quiet for the better part of a decade. If he was indeed the brains behind the 9/11 attacks, then he got in one lucky deadly shot at the infidels. Attacks like that are rare simply because they're nearly impossible to succeed. Calling bin Laden a Mastermind is hyperbole. It gives him too much credit. Of course, it does help keep powerless consumers afraid and prepped for vengeance. For this, large, inflated monsters are necessary.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


I'm one of the producers of The Devil's Snuff. Watch it!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


On the day after Earth Day, Stephen Pizzo, in today's Chimp: "A billion Chinese and another billion Indians are now in the same line as the US and Europe demanding their share of the earth's finite resources; oil, copper, tin, rare earth minerals, food and clean drinking water. The earth simply cannot support 7 billion humans demanding even the most modest modern lifestyle."

Tell that to the US Chamber of Commerce, which doesn't speak for us. For Lockheed Martin - US Chamber member and partner with the city of Burlington to combat climate change - sustainability means profits for its own benefit and not the earth's and future generations' of the planet's inhabitants (e.g. profits before people).

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Marta Eggerth: "Never retire."

I would not have known about Marta Eggerth's birthday had I not listened to a tribute to her on our local public radio station's Saturday Afternoon at the Opera. The host played a number of Merry Widow songs sung by her (in at least 4 languages!). He quoted Marta Eggerth's advice for a long life: "Never retire." She and her son have their own YouTube channel.

Marta Eggerth - 99 years old today - is one of the last of the great European operetta stars. Max Reinhardt directed her in Die Fledermaus.
In 1927. Franz Lehar wrote shows for her.

In 2004 when Queen Juliana died, a Dutch television history program called Andere Tijden (in English, Other Times) featured a segment about Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard's 1937 wedding and marriage. Part of it was spent at the Hotel Patria in the Polish ski resort of Krynica (on the Czech border). The hotel was owned by Jan Kiepura, the singer, who had recently married Marta Eggerth. There is a fascinating clip featuring Marta Eggerth - starting at 11:58 to about 25:00 - reminiscing about meeting and spending time with the royal couple at the hotel. She also sings in the clip - definitely she has not lost her theatrical and operatic allure. The program is in Dutch and Polish but Ms Eggerth speaks in English. I cannot embed it, so click here for the clip.

Last year when she was 98, one of her films was shown at MoMA in NYC.