Thursday, May 26, 2005

DEPARTMENT OF PEACE COVERAGE ON CNN -- With Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich and author Marianne Williamson [April 14, 2005] -- Watch the video at the following link ...

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

MESSAGE FROM TRUEMAJORITY -- The Message Below Must Be Shared With Those Who Have Children or Grandchildren Around 18 to 25

Memorial Day is here again and America still occupies Iraq. U.S. Army generals last week admitted that the occupation is going badly, with no end in sight. Many of us are angry and frustrated at our inability to end the quagmire. And every week brings new reports about Pentagon recruiters lying to our nations children to get them to join. Here are three things you can do:

1. FORWARD THE SONG ... Art opens a path to people's hearts. Five-time Grammy Award --winner Robert Cray has just released a powerful song called "Twenty," about a young man who joins the Army after 9/11 to protect his country. But he's sent to Iraq and discovers what the occupation is really about before he's killed in action. Robert is giving the song to TrueMajority for us to share with our members. If the song moves you, share it with friends who need to hear this message too. Use one of the links in the box to the right to play the song, or RIGHT-click here to download it:{808DA652-D32D-4CDD-88F4-A3D3DB7866ED}/TWENTY_2MEG.MP3

2. PROTECT YOUR KIDS FROM PENTAGON RECRUITERS ... The so-called No Child Left Behind Act has a little-known provision that mandates schools to provide our children's personal information to the Pentagon so they can be recruited into the armed forces. The law also allows parents and guardians to stop their kids' schools from providing this information to the Pentagon, but few know what is going on or how to stop it. Our friends at Working Assets have built an online tool to make it easy. Just click on the link below to keep the military's hands off your kids:

3. MAKE THE PENTAGON ASK PERMISSION ... If you don't have children who are vulnerable to Pentagon recruiters, you can still help those of us who do. A bill in Congress would change this law and reverse the process, so parents would need to sign their kids up before their kids' information could be turned over to the Pentagon. It's an opt-in process, rather than the burden of opting out. To urge your congressperson to support this family protection bill, go to:

And forward this to others so they too can help protect all our kids. The war in Iraq will last longer unless more people demand its end. These tools provide easy ways for you to take action and to let friends and family know what they can do.

If You Live In The NYC Area - Then Join NOT IN OUR NAME and the NYC War Resisters League in protesting FLEET WEEK On Saturday, May 28th
Assemble at Bryant Park, Sixth Ave. and 42nd Street, between 11:30 am and 12:00 pm. Walk in the silent procession from Bryant Park to the Intrepid War Museum at 12:00 pm. Vigil and leaflet across from the Intrepid War Museum, 12th Ave. and 46th Street, until 2:00 pm. NYC Not In Our Name, 212-760-1722

"Progressive Democrats of America" -- Political Report

Monday, May 23rd
Recent Washington D.C. Trip
PDA's most recent trip to the nation's capital bore great fruit as PDA National Director Tim Carpenter, Policy Director Alysia Fischer, and Political Advisor Steve Cobble, were able to solidify relationships with influential members of the Progressive Congressional Caucus and leaders of key peace and justice organizations. Topics discussed included the U.S. occupation of Iraq, opposition to CAFTA, and growing the progressive movement. Click here for details:

National Call-In/Write-In Week from May 31-June 3. PDA is pledged to ask our membership to lobby Democratic members of the House to co-sponsor H. Con. Res. 35. ClickÝhere for details:

PDA's work on CAFTA -- TheCentral American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is another pressing issue requiring progressive mobilization and action. While in DC, PDA met with Larry Weiss and Susan Ruether of the anti-CAFTA Citizen Trade Campaign. Click here for details:

What is a Progressive to do about Gasoline? We have been asked by our members what a Progressive can do about the current gasoline situation. In response, we have a few steps from our PDA friends. Click here for details:

On Sunday, JUNE 12 at 1:00 PM
In Reidy Friendship Hall
Unitarian Church of All Souls
80th & Lexington Avenue
(Screening of a documentary film by Heidi Dehncke-Fisher and Gordon T. Skinner, running time 80 minutes)

Introduction by CONGRESSMAN JERROLD NADLER "STRATEGIC OMISSIONS" investigates impact of 9/11 on the health of rescue workers and lower Manhattan residents and unearths the political cover-up of the findings of the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]. The collapse of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center released 2,358 toxins into the air. These toxins are known to cause asthma and upper respiratory allergies and those exposed to them are at heightened risk for numerous cancers. "Strategic Omissions" gives a voice to those heroes of 9/11 who are now sick, due to their exposure to harmful chemicals during the rescue efforts. It looks for the truth behind the National Security Council's manipulation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports, as pressured to do so by the Bush Administration. The White House, seemingly worried about the economic impact of a delay in reopening Wall Street, pressured the EPA to mislead the public by issuing a statement that the air was safe in the downtown area, giving a false sense of security to rescue workers and those living and working there. Panelists include the filmmakers, health professionals, environmental experts, rescue workers and journalists.

Suggested contribution $10, $5 for seniors and students (no one will be turned away). All proceeds will go towards supporting the final editing and production of this important film for its anticipated entry into the IFP Film Festival & Market in September, 2005. (This event is a collaboration of the Peace Task Force, the NION [Not In Our Name] Education Committee and Action for Justice of Community Church).

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

POLITICAL ALERTS FROM CARE2 - Urge Congress to Enact Strong Identity TheftProtection for Consumers!
As identity theft scandals mount, it seems as if it's only a matter of time before virtually everyone will fall victim to this insidious form of fraud. That's not as far-fetched as it sounds. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that 9.9 million Americans are victimized by identity theft every year. That's 19 new ID theft victims every minute! Nearly every week we hear about new security breaches at companies like ChoicePoint, Lexis-Nexis, Bank of America and numerous universities, which have put millions of Americans' personal information at risk. Fortunately, Congress is finally recognizing the urgency of this issue. Pending legislation would require tighter security for information brokers, mandate that companies notify you when your personal data is compromised, and limit the use of Social Security numbers that puts your identity at risk. Urge your Congressional Representatives to enact strong identity theft protection legislation ...

[Duchess with a Yonkers Shelter Ferret - March 2003]


House Members Want Answers About Secret War Pact
May 12, 2005

Did Politics Play A Role In Closings?
May 14, 2005
Stephen Koff
Plain Dealer Bureau Chief

They Shoot Cats Don’t They
May 14, 2005
by Mary Pitt
We await the emergence of a "boss cat", a leader, one who is honestly fearless and truly dedicated to the cause of the people and immune to the siren song of the power brokers. A word of caution; these "leftists" are not all the same "breed of cat" and the "Republican-Lite" people like Clinton, Lieberman, and Kerry need not apply. Cats do not compromise! This herd is more likely to fall in behind someone with the thinking of Dennis Kucinich or Howard Dean during the 2004 campaign. Many "cats" decided to withhold their votes because they did not feel that they were presented with a sufficiently clear choice.

Strickland May Be Too Liberal To Run
May 15, 2005
Term-limited Republican Gov. Bob Taft has a dismal approval rating, and residents are disgruntled with how the Republican-dominated Legislature has performed. Yet Strickland easily could lose his gubernatorial bid because he's too liberal. The political action group Irregular Times supports Ted Strickland (D). Strickland has acted to support zero percent of what the group's propaganda calls "a slate of conservative policies in the 109th Congress.'' Just how liberal is this Strickland supporter? Irregular Times offers, among other things, a Dennis Kucinich 2008 presidential button.

AFTER THE FALL: George W Bush In Trouble
May 16, 2005
by Todd Gitlin
The debate about policies is predictable and still inconclusive. Should Democrats speak in the language of the faithful? (The balance of opinion, I would guess, is no, though the point is heatedly contested.) Should they trim back their opposition to curbs on abortion in favor of programmes that would make it “safe, legal, and rare,” in Bill Clinton’s phrase? (The balance of opinion is yes, though again, many devils scamper amid the details.) As retroactive support for the Iraq war dwindles below 50%, what should the Democrats say about the occupation and about foreign policy generally? (Not much says the going consensus. An isolated, left-wing fringe continues to press for rapid withdrawal.) Meanwhile, a small but hardy band of activists continues to pursue the theory that voting machines were rigged for Bush, thus accounting for the fact that the tabulated results were systematically more pro-Bush than the usually reliable exit polls. There remain tantalizing questions – casually dismissed by the media – about how such a pattern might have been possible, though to claim a conspiracy of multi-state fraud involving several different vote-tallying devices without any evidence is, to say the least, premature. More consensual is infrastructural work to make the Democrats a continuing, working party rather than merely an intermittent fund-raising machine. Howard Dean, the anti-war darling of 2004, is one who steers clear of withdrawal talk – and is criticized for this by the anti-war stalwart (and candidate for the Democratic nomination), Representative Dennis Kucinich.

Berkeley to Discuss Department of Peace Resolution
I presented a resolution for the City of Berkeley to support a US Department of Peace to their Peace & Justice Commission on Monday, April 4th. It was agenda item # 9 for their May 2nd meeting. We had 6 supporters at that meeting. The response was a bit shocking. I served on the commission for three year's when I first moved to Berkeley, so I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Commissioner Jonathan Wornick said we don't need a Department of Peace because we already have one and it’s the State Department. Another said, "What is peace?" and yet another said if we have one Bush will use it to promote his agenda and appoint someone like Boulton to it. Another interesting comment was a suggestion from Commissioner Rita Moran, president of the Bay Area United Nations Association, that we remove all references to the United Nations and Culture of Peace if we wanted to get this to pass.

One additional idea on working w/ the P&J commission. Stephanie Thomas attended the Global Exchange Human Rights Awards dinner and bought Media Benjamin's new book.” Stop the Next war now". The second chapter is called “From a culture of violence to a culture of peace" (each chapter is an anthology of various forward thinking writers). This would be a good reference to offer Rita Moran who didn't think we should refer to a culture of peace because she thought that use of any language referring to UN would be counterproductive. The resolution was tabled until the June 6th meeting.

**Please contact the Berkeley City Council to support the work of the Peace and Justice Commission and to support the Department of Peace Resolution.

**Make plans to support our DOP Resolution at the next P&J Commission meeting.

I just got the following email from Commissioner PhoeBe Sorgen that the entire commission system is under attack. What is happening in Berkeley?

Peace, Alan Moore

Alan belongs to Earth Proclamation & Magna Carta of the Rainbow Warriors of the 21st Century. This group’s mission is to overthrow the machinery of war and the undeclared war against nature by polluters of the environment; all engines of greed and inhumanity to man.

Kucinich On US Space Weapons, Control Of the World
May 19, 2005
"The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 states that it is "the policy of the United States that activities in space should be devoted to peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind." Space was envisioned as a place of cooperation, of confirming human unity, a place where we could aspire to build a new platform of peace, fulfilling the prophecy of the poet Browning who wrote: "but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?"

Media Expert Expounds Myths of News Coverage
May 20, 2005
By Meghann Cuniff, Oregon Daily Emerald

Sweet Victory: Congressional Progressive Caucus Gets in Gear
May 20, 2005
By Katrina Vanden Heuvel
If you don't know much about the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), you should. With 50-plus members, it's the single largest caucus in the House, and according to a study by Chris Bowers of MyDD, by far the most loyal to core Democratic values. At a time in which too many Dems have lost their way (read: spine), CPC members--from co-chairs Barbara Lee (CA) and Lynn Woolsey (CA) to outspoken figures like founder (and Senate hopeful) Bernie Sanders (VT), Dennis Kucinich (OH), Jan Schakowsky (IL), John Conyers (MI), Maurice Hinchey (NY) and Barney Frank (MA)--continue to fight for working Americans, stand against the war, and discuss honorable ways out of Iraq. This week, Lee and Woolsey took a significant step towards strengthening the CPC, hiring grassroots organizer, former AFL-CIO staffer, and Capitol Hill veteran Bill Goold as its first full-time staffer. "There are a growing number of people who are getting involved with politics because they are drawn to the basic principles of fairness and justice that the Progressive Caucus has long represented in Congress," said Lee. "Adding a staff member of Bill's experience will allow the Progressive Caucus to more effectively continue our commitment to these principles."

Monday, May 23, 2005

Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich Speaking from the Floor of the House
May 18, 2005

"Mr. Speaker, the administration is considering putting weapons in outerspace to give the United States the power to control the world. This astronomical arrogance pushes not simply aggression to new heights but may well preclude our Nation from spending money for anything other than weapons which will cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

"The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 states that it is 'the policy of the United States that activities in space should be devoted to peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind.' Space was envisioned as a place of cooperation, of confirming human unity, a place where we could aspire to build a new platform of peace, fulfilling the prophecy of the poet Browning, who wrote: 'But a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?'

"What has happened to our country? Why are we projecting fear and paranoia to such heights? Have we so lost our way and our faith that we are prepared to transform the heavens into hell? If the kingdom and the will of God is to be done on Earth as it is in heaven, what is to happen when the United States takes nuclear fire up to the gates of heaven? Such an offense against humanity could bring the wrath of God upon this Nation."

[Ohio Congressman Kucinich with the ladies of the Event Planning Committee on April 29th ... [l to r] Sally, Christel, DJK, Ellen & Duchess]

They Say political, Economic Costs Would Be Too Much
The Associated Press
May 19, 2005

UNITED NATIONS - A scientists’ group on Thursday warned the United States against weaponizing space, saying the move would be prohibitively expensive and could set off a new arms race. The Union of Concerned Scientists, a watchdog group that opposes weapons in space, said the United Nations should consider drafting a treaty that would prohibit interfering with unarmed satellites, taking away any justification for putting weapons in space to protect them. “The United States has a huge lead in the space field — it can afford to try out the multilateral approach,” said Jonathan Dean, a former U.S. ambassador and an adviser on global security issues. The Union’s demand comes as the administration of President Bush is reviewing the U.S. space policy doctrine. Some scientists worry that the review will set out a more aggressive policy that could lead to the greater militarization of space.

Policy aimed at protecting satellites … On Wednesday, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters that the policy review was not considering the weaponization of space. But he said new threats to U.S. satellites have emerged in the years since the U.S. space doctrine was last reviewed in 1996, and those satellites must be protected. “There are changes that have occurred over the last eight or nine years and there are countries that have taken an interest in space, McClellan said. “And they have looked at things that could — or technologies that could — threaten our space systems. And so you obviously need to take that into account when you’re updating the policy.”

The Bush administration has also included some money in the budget for space-based weapons programs to defend satellites, strike ground targets and defend against missile attacks, said Laura Grego, a scientist with the union. Any complete weapons system in space would be very expensive, running into the many billions of dollars. Developing a shield to defend against a single missile attack would require deploying 1,000 space-based interceptors and cost anywhere between $20 billion and $100 billion, said David Wright, co-author of a recent report on the feasibility of space weapons.

Is the plan practical? … And such a system would require a huge expansion of U.S. launching capability. The United States currently launches between 10 and 12 large rockets a year, while with space interceptors, it would need to launch many times more that each year. Wright argued that space-based ground attack systems were not yet practical either. One, dubbed “Rods from God” — which would fire rods of tungsten from space — would cost 50 to 100 times as much as a similar attack from the ground.

“The fact that it’s still being considered I think suggests that there’s some sort of emotional attachment to it for putting weapons in space rather than a hard-nosed analysis,” Wright said.
Any such move would also likely draw swift international condemnation. In 2002, after the United States withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, China and Russia submitted a proposal for a new international treaty to ban weapons in outer space. But the United States has said it sees no need for any new space arms control agreements. It is party to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which prohibits stationing weapons of mass destruction in space.

Traci Hukill, Dragonfly Media
Aqeela Sherrills has spent much of his adult life fostering peace between rival gangs. Now the activist wants to launch a movement of the heart.

David Morris, AlterNet
Science teachers can teach intelligent design as an alternative to evolution -- and teach meddling school board members a lesson at the same time.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

It's hard to imagine Pearl Jam — who have sold more than 35 million albums in the U.S. alone — playing an in-store for 200 people. But that's exaactly what the group did on April 29th at Seattle's Easy Street Records. Playing the quick gig provided the hoops-loving lads a brief respite from the recording studio. Bassist Jeff Ament says the band's eighth studio album, which frontman Eddie Vedder hasn't gotten around to naming yet, is about halfway finished and could see release this fall "if we can finish [it] in June."

[Photo of Jeff Ament in Albany, NY 2003]

Ament says they've been working on the material — the first new batch of Pearl Jam songs since 2002's Riot Act — in "three separate three-week chunks" since February with producer Adam Kasper (Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters). The long recording lull hasn't hurt Pearl Jam, Ament said, because playing with the band is "kind of like riding a bike at this point." In fact, for the first time since the sessions for 1993's Vs., the always-behatted bassist said Pearl Jam have been collaborating on the material, rather than coming into the process with the songs already written. "We came together kind of with the idea of not bringing any complete songs initially, and just coming in with riffs and trying to write a bunch of stuff together," Ament explained.

"We probably ended up writing 10 things as a band, like full-on collaborations with everybody in the room. It feels great. The collaborated songs somehow, to me, feel better — I think just because everybody had a little say, and everybody kind of got a little piece of their personality in it. It makes us feel like a band." Which, Ament admits, had become something of a problem for Pearl Jam. But, like any relationship, the situation has improved as the band members —Ament, Vedder, drummer Matt Cameron and guitarrists Stone Gossard and Mike McCready — have worked at iimproving it. "In the last few years, we've learned how to communicate with each other better. And in the process, we've learned to trust one another and become friends," Ament said.

"It's a great thing to be able to just go into a room with four other guys and be able to make music easily. It's typically easier to make music with one or two other people, or if you're playing in a situation where there's a real bandleader or single songwriter who's coming in with all the ideas and you just play. But I think in making a real band work, it feels like we kind of got through that rough patch, and it's that tired analogy of getting married and having the honeymoon and then going through the rough patch, and then going to therapy and coming out of it feeling you know each other better than ever. And the sex is better than ever! It feels a little like that." It's the classic thing: learning how to speak so that the other person or people listen, and on the other end of that, learning how to listen. It's pretty powerful stuff when you break through," he continued.

"It's like you can't believe you've been missing that part of that person for that long when you finally understand the language that they're speaking. And then it makes it easier. You can be there when the person needs you, and you start to understand the way people react to things, and it makes it a lot easier to be in a band and run a business. Consequently, it makes it easier to be friends." So far, the band's written a total of 25 songs, but the final track listing will have around a dozen songs — and the decision about which tracks make the final cut largely rests with Ed, because he's writing 95 percent of the lyrics," Ament said. But the bassist did reveal some potential song names: "Marker," "Crapshoot Rapture," "Worldwide Suicide," "Cold Concession," "2X4" and "Severed Hand.

Ament singled out two other tracks as his current favorites. "One is called 'Of the Earth,' that's a song Ed wrote that is kind of a cross between early Peter Gabriel/Genesis and Sleater-Kinney with, like, the Who's Live at Leeds or something. There's also a song that Stone brought in that Ed wrote some great lyrics to [a song] called 'Parachutes.' That's probably one of my favorite pieces of music that Stone has written in a long time. It's got a beautiful melody." As for the focus of Vedder's lyrical direction, or whether the album would convey any specific themes, Ament wasn't so sure. "There's some imagery that makes me think that he's talking about the state of the union, but he's so good with words that sometimes I think it could actually end up being about a friend of his or a relationship that he's witnessed," he said.

"He's so sensitive to so many different things that he can pull things out of some pretty interesting places and combine them with politics or religion or whatever. I think there's a lot of nature involved in the stuff — that's the thing that I relate to the most, the imagery around nature and wanting to keep it intact." Ament says it's likely the band will launch a U.S. tour after the album is released through PJ's new home, J Records, in the fall. But at this stage, it's still too early to tell when Pearl Jam might turn this latest opus in. The band has lined up a 15-city Canadian tour, which is set to begin on September 2 in Vancouver, British Columbia, and run through September 24 in St. John's, Newfoundland. And there's also that little gig they'll be playing on September 28 in Pittsburgh, opening for the Rolling Stones. "It could be their last tour, and they treated us really great the last time we played with them," Ament said. "I think Mike and Stone are really huge fans, so it makes it especially fun to watch those guys when they're hanging out with Keith and Ronnie."

Duchess Commentary on the Romantic Comedy Film “KATE & LEOPOLD” [2001]

Personally, I like the idea and/or concept of “time travel” in book [ie: Regency romances] or movie form. Time travel aspect in “KATE & LEOPOLD” is abit weak and not fully explained which bothered me. But I do enjoy a good romantic fantasy and one finds themselves drawn into the plot, and this is largely due to the charismatic Hugh Jackman. He is the main reason I purchased [$2 from street vendor] the video and carries the film on his sturdy shoulders, so adept is he at being a "knight in shining armor". As for Meg Ryan [good lord, that hairdo is horrible], she’s portraying her usual Meg Ryan shtick. Which is a 2001 version of 1970s Goldie Hawn, although abit smarter. That doesn’t matter people, because Jackman totally steals every scene he's in. I hear Jackman took etiquette, dancing lessons and horse riding training for this film. He’s a quick study, because he pulled it off beautifully. Breckin Meyer is great as Kate's clownish brother who learns a few things from his 19th Century friend about manners and etiquette. Also, kudos to the actress who plays Darci [Kate’s secretary] and Philip Bosco as Leopold’s servant Otis. I highly recommended this romantic comedy, which owes much of its charm to the performance of Hugh Jackman. An actor of remarkable talent whose handsome, sexy presence dominates much of the movie.

Duchess Commentary on the Romance, Adventure film “SIX DAYS, SEVEN NIGHTS” [1998]

I have a feeling that the director and producers of this film wanted it to be a romance AND adventure. For me, I wasn’t feeling the romance between anyone. By the end of the film, when Anne Heche and Harrison Ford end up together, it wasn’t as exciting as when they’re dealing with being marooned on a deserted island. You may think I didn’t enjoy the movie, far from it; I liked it a great deal. Basically, I felt the film was fun, entertaining, but not fantastic. The cast is pretty good in the film. I’ve been a fan of Harrison Ford since “Star Wars”, and as always, he’s excellent and plays an interesting character. I’ve never been a big David Schwimmer fan, but in this film he’s pretty good. You almost wish he does end up with Angelica. Anne Heche did a good job with the role, portrayed with lots of spunk. And yet another actress with a horrible hairdo. Temuera Morrison (who would later go on to become Jango Fett in “Star Wars Attack of the Clones” and Harrison Ford played Han Solo in the original trilogy...kind of interesting) does a fine job in his role. All in all, this is a fun movie, with a lot of cool stuff in it, but nothing spectacular.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

GREEN PARTY ALERTS FROM CARE2 -- Sewage in your Drinking Water? Urge Congress to Act!
There are two phrases you never want to see in the same sentence: drinking water and "sewage blending." And yet, that's the Bush Administration's new plan for your water supply! Take action:

Incredibly, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is about to relax restrictions on dumping sewage into our water ways. Their plan would allow water treatment facilities to release sewage filled with human wastes, toxins, bacteria, viruses, parasites and other pollutants into our drinking water. Common sense tells you that the EPA's plan poses a serious threat to both our health and our environment. Sewage that has not been fully treated carries diseases such as cholera and hepatitis, and spoils our environment in numerous ways -- from frequent beach closings to higher water filtration costs and devastating fish kills. This proposal is so outrageous, we've got to get EVERYONE to take action to defeat it. Urge Congress to support the Save Our Waters from Sewage Act (H.R. 1126) to protect our families and communities from unsafe drinking water!

ON FRIDAY, MAY 20TH, IN TIMES SQUARE [As Well As Across The US] AT THE ARMED FORCES RECRUITMENT CENTER ON 43RD STREET, MEMBERS of Not In Our Name, Code Pink New York, Campus Anti-War Network, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, NYC Chapter Veterans For Peace and the International Socialist Organization STOOD UP AGAINST THE ARMY

Yesterday the U.S. Army Recruiting Command was conducting an Army Values Stand Down Day across the Country. This so-called stand down follows a rash of complaints that recruiters are resorting to unscrupulous tactics to enlist new soldiers. A case in point was the threat by a Houston Army recruiter to arrest a local young man if he didn't report that day to the Army recruiting station. This is only the most recent case. The Army has investigated 480 allegations of impropriety by recruiters since Oct. 1, 2004. Some of these cases are still open while 91 of the 480 allegations have thus far been considered founded. To date, eight recruiters have been relieved of duty and another 98 have been reprimanded by their commands. According to the US Army, a Stand Down is a time when Recruiting Command takes a pause from the important task of recruiting. Yesterday the Army Stood Down But "We The People" Stood Up!

Stand UP Against Predatory Recruiters
Stand UP for Money for College, not Combat
Stand UP against War Profiteers
Stand UP for Paredes and Benderman
Stand UP for our Troops in Iraq - Bring Them Home Now

Friday, May 20, 2005


Dorothy Woodend, AlterNet
George Lucas claims that his latest Star Wars film isn't for kids, yet the world is deluged in Darth mania. Amidst all the hype, one bit of information seems to be lacking: Darth Vader is evil.

Stephen Pizzo, News for Real
Herbert Hoover may have triggered the Great Depression, but he didn't invade another nation on false pretenses, authorize torture of prisoners, or try to stack the courts.

Daniel B. Wood, Christian Science Monitor
The high-profile election of charismatic Antonio Villaraigosa as mayor of Los Angeles builds on Hispanic gains in government over the past 25 years.

Danny Schechter,
In St. Louis last weekend citizens met to discuss ways to 'take back' a media beholden less to democracy than to the bottom line.

Cynthia L. Cooper, Women's eNews
A new museum reminds us that contraception devices are as old as sex itself.

Robert S. Rivkin, Pacific News Service
In the battle over the Senate filibuster, Democrats would do well to simplify their message to expose the president's real agenda.

Vicki Cormack, Pop and Politics
Pharmacists in over a dozen states have been refusing to dispense birth control and morning-after pills based on the 'conscience clause.'

Anmol Chaddha, ColorLinesWal-Mart is touting not just lower prices but racial equity in its push for expansion into poor, urban communities.

By Brian Hiatt
May 19, 2005

Before they join the Rolling Stones on stage September 28th in Pittsburgh, Pearl Jam plans to complete their eighth studio album. The Seattle rockers are now hoping for a fall release on J Records. "There's a sense that we've done something special," says guitarist Stone Gossard of the sessions. "Everyone's been writing and participating in it . . . Asking a guy in the band how good the record is problematic, but to me its freaking brilliant." Pearl Jam -- Gossard, singer Eddie Vedder, guitarist Mike McCready, bassist Jeff Ament and drummer Matt Cameron -- have twenty-five songs that they plan to cut down to about twelve. Potential tracks include "Severed Hand," "Worldwide Suicide," "2x4," "Marker" and "Cold Concession." According to Gossard, after almost fifteen years together, the band is closer than ever.

"You realize how important your relationship is with your band, and how much you've learned from each other," he says. "You just become humbled and thankful." The band returned to its humble roots on April 29th to perform for approximately 200 people at Easy Street Records in West Seattle. "Mike and I used to buy a lot of rock records from Easy Street back in the mid-Eighties," says Gossard of the show, which was part of a Coalition of Independent Music Stores convention. "We wanted to tip our hat to independent retailers: We're all aware of how important they are to the spirit of rock." The show included the punky new song “Crapshoot," Pearl Jam oldies such as "Even Flow" and Vedder dueting with X singer John Doe on his band's "The New World." "It's the biggest honor that my store has ever had," says Easy Street owner Matt Vaughan. "As ridiculous as it seems that Pearl Jam would do an in-store, given that we're their neighborhood store it's a natural fit.

Message From Don Hazen, Executive Editor, at
Please check out our new book, "Start Making Sense: Turning the Lessons of Election 2004 into Winning Progressive Politics."

Already in its second printing, "Start Making Sense" brings together some of the best-known progressive thinkers, writers and organizers to map out a realistic plan for building a progressive majority in America today. Right after the election, many of us came together and agreed that we had to change our behaviors. We couldn't keep doing the same things over and over. But now a few months later, is the election a distant memory? Are we doing enough? Buy the book directly from us for $10 and learn how to take some steps. We've also launched a companion Start Making Sense website to bring you the freshest ideas from progressive thinkers and activists.

The site will function as a starting point for you to plug into what's happening in the grassroots. We'll offer excerpts from the book, articles and audio/video recordings of the debates, plus a daily blog with up-to-date news from around the country. We'll also provide action-oriented resources, as well as information about our nationwide book tour. Most importantly, we want to hear from you -- we want to know how you've started making sense in your world. Tell us what you think of the book, what you've been doing in your area, your successes and triumphs, and where you need help. We'll be sharing your stories on the blog and in articles -- email us at and keep us in the loop. Thanks for your support and let's not forget ... November 2006 will be here before we know it.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

DEMOCRATIC PARTY ALERT / MESSAGE FROM CARE2 -- Urge Congress To Enact Strong Identity Theft Protection!

As identity theft scandals mount, it seems as if it's only a matter of time before virtually everyone will fall victim to this insidious form of fraud. That's not as far-fetched as it sounds. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that 9.9 million Americans are victimized by identity theft every year. That's 19 new ID theft victims every minute! Nearly every week we hear about new security breaches at companies like ChoicePoint, Lexis-Nexis, Bank of America and numerous universities, which have put millions of Americans' personal information at risk. Fortunately, Congress is finally recognizing the urgency of this issue. Pending legislation would require tighter security for information brokers, mandate that companies notify you when your personal data is compromised, and limit the use of Social Security numbers that puts your identity at risk. Urge your Congressional Representatives to enact strong identity theft protection legislation ...

FANS of a hit Sean Bean TV series have been treated to a weekend [May 14th & 15th] of swashbuckling action. The Firepower Royal Artillery Museum in Woolwich Arsenal [England] hosted the event devoted to SHARPE, the 1990s' ITV action series set during the Napoleonic Wars. The Sharpe Appreciation Society weekend gave fans the chance to dress up as their favourite characters and watch the reconstruction of scenes from the show. There was also a chance to meet Bernard Cornwell, who writes the original Sharpe books. Plus Jason Salkey, who starred in the TV adaptation as Harris, and Michael Meirs, who also starred in the adaptation as Cooper. Firepower Education Officer Bob Lindridge said: "The weekend proved just how popular the Sharpe novels and the TV series are."

ANNOUNCEMENT ... Seattle rock group, Pearl Jam, will be opening for the Rolling Stones on September 28th in Pittsburgh at PNC Park. This is not a first for the band, as they opened for the Stones four times in Oakland in 1997. [Tickets for this show go on sale Saturday, May 21st, in the AM.]

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

[Duchess Note … This Article was published on Tuesday, May 17, 2005 by Working for Change and was sent to me by a fellow NYC Kucitizen. Thank you so much for sharing Linda!]
Despite Sloppiness, Newsweek Didn't Fabricate Koran Story
by Molly Ivins

As Riley used to say on an ancient television sitcom, "This is a revoltin' development." There seems to be a bit of a campaign on the right to blame Newsweek for the anti-American riots in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other Islamic countries. Uh, people, I hate to tell you this, but the story about Americans abusing the Koran in order to enrage prisoners has been out there for quite some time. The first mention I found of it is March 17, 2004, when the Independent of London interviewed the first British citizen released from Guantanamo Bay. The prisoner said he had been physically beaten but did not consider that as bad as the psychological torture, which he described extensively. Jamal al-Harith, a computer programmer from Manchester, said 70 percent of the inmates had gone on a hunger strike after a guard kicked a copy of the Koran. The strike was ended by force-feeding.

Then came the report, widely covered in American media last December, by the International Red Cross concerning torture at Gitmo. I wrote at the time: "In the name of Jesus Christ Almighty, why are people representing our government, paid by us, writing filth on the Korans of helpless prisoners? Is this American? Is this Christian? What are our moral values? Where are the clergymen on this? Speak up, speak out." The reports kept coming: Dec. 30, 2004, "Released Moroccan Guantanamo Detainee Tells Islamist Paper of His Ordeal," reported the Financial Times. "They watched you each time you went to the toilet; the American soldiers used to tear up copies of Koran and throw them in the toilet...." said the released prisoner. On Jan. 9, 2005, Andrew Sullivan, writing in The Sunday Times of London, said: "We now know a great deal about what has gone on in U.S. detention facilities under the Bush administration.

Several government and Red Cross reports detail the way many detainees have been treated. We know for certain that the United States has tortured five inmates to death. We know that 23 others have died in U.S. custody under suspicious circumstances. We know that torture has been practiced by almost every branch of the U.S. military in sites all over the world -- from Abu Ghraib to Tikrit, Mosul, Basra, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. "We know that no incidents of abuse have been reported in regular internment facilities and that hundreds have occurred in prisons geared to getting intelligence. We know that thousands of men, women and children were grabbed almost at random from their homes in Baghdad, taken to Saddam's former torture palace and subjected to abuse, murder, beatings, semi-crucifixions and rape. "All of this is detailed in the official reports. What has been perpetrated in secret prisons to 'ghost detainees' hidden from Red Cross inspection, we do not know. We may never know.

"This is America? While White House lawyers were arguing about what separates torture from legitimate 'coercive interrogation techniques,' the following was taking place: Prisoners were hanged for hours or days from bars or doors in semi-crucifixions; they were repeatedly beaten unconscious, woken and then beaten again for days on end; they were sodomized; they were urinated on, kicked in the head, had their ribs broken, and were subjected to electric shocks. "Some Muslims had pork or alcohol forced down their throats; they had tape placed over their mouths for reciting the Koran; many Muslims were forced to be naked in front of each other, members of the opposite sex and sometimes their own families. It was routine for the abuses to be photographed in order to threaten the showing of the humiliating footage to family members." The New York Times reported on May 1 on the same investigation Newsweek was writing about and interviewed a released Kuwaiti, who spoke of three major hunger strikes, one of them touched off by "guards' handling copies of the Koran, which had been tossed into a pile and stomped on.

A senior officer delivered an apology over the camp's loudspeaker system, pledging that such abuses would stop. Interpreters, standing outside each prison block, translated the officer's apology. A former interrogator at Guantanamo, in an interview with the Times, confirmed the accounts of the hunger strikes, including the public expression of regret over the treatment of the Korans." So where does all this leave us? With a story that is not only true, but previously reported numerous times. So let's drop the "Lynch Newsweek" bull. Seventeen people have died in these riots. They didn't die because of anything Newsweek did -- the riots were caused by what OUR government has done. Get your minds around it. Our country is guilty of torture. To quote myself once more: "What are you going to do about this? It's your country, your money, your government. You own this country, you run it, and you are the board of directors. They are doing this in your name. The people we elected to public office do what you want them to. Perhaps you should get in touch with them."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means. Martin Luther King


David S. Bernstein, Boston Phoenix
The Office of Special Counsel exists to protect federal workers from job discrimination and whistle-blowing retaliation. Here's how Scott Bloch turned it into a haven for gay-bashing and partisan politics.

David Germain, Associated Press

J. Douglas Allen-Taylor, AlterNet
Some school districts are challenging the federal guidelines for No Child Left Behind's military recruitment provision, facing withdrawal of funding over privacy infringement.

Closing Address by Bill Moyers at National Conference on Media Reform
May 15, 2005

Diane Farsetta, PR Watch
Imitating Big Tobacco's fight against cigarette labeling, the PR industry launches a battle against regulation of government-funded "fake" news.

Commentary by Ivan Eland

Betsy Rothstein, The Hill
The talk show host discusses his support for medical marijuana, the psychic Sylvia Browne, and how to get a meeting on Capitol Hill.

Neil Abercrombie & Dennis Kucinich, USA Today

Pat Joseph, Grist Magazine
Revisiting the 1970s eco-cult classic that gripped a nation.

G. Jefferson Price III, Baltimore Sun

Norman Solomon, AlterNet
The merits of a Senate filibuster have everything to do with what kind of nation people want.

John Nichols, The Nation

NYC "NOT IN OUR NAME" RESISTANCE CINEMA PRESENTS -- A FRIDAY NIGHT SPECIAL DOUBLE PREMIERE! See two great new films and meet their producers, Alpa Patel and Brandon Jourdan

FALLUJAH (28 min, 2005) from Brandon Jourdan (Deep Dish TV, NYC Indymedia)and Jacque Soohen (Big Noise Films)

And THE WORLD TRIBUNAL ON IRAQ (58min, 2005) Alpa Patel producer & Editor, Deep Dish TV( also website of WTI:

WHERE: The Community Church of NYC, Gallery Room, 28 East 35th st. @ Park Avenue
WHEN: FRIDAY May 20th at 7:00 pm
REFRESHMENTS: wine & cheese

FALLUJAH, the latest film from Brandon Jourdan and Jacque Soohen, is an ambitious attempt to show the history of a city and its destruction. Information about what really happened at Fallujah is so difficult to find since the Pentagon all but prohibited any media from on site reporting. This important and unique film uses never-before seen footage of the violent US assault on the small Iraqi city during November. The footage used was shot almost entirely by the Iraqi people and shows a very different perspective of the attack than offered in US media.

THE WORLD TRIBUNAL ON IRAQ, which is the 13th and final in a series entitled Shocking And Awful, chronicles the first session of the World Tribunal On Iraq held May 8th, 2004 at Cooper Union in New York City. With a Court TV-esqe spin and a little DragNet spoof thrown in, producer & editor Alpa Patel creates an informative and engaging view of the World Tribunal. Inspired by the tribunal organized by Bertrand Russell and JeanPaul Sartre in the 1960s to indict the U.S. over the war in Vietnam, the WTI is a global citizens tribunal which has explored the legal case that can be made against the U.S. for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Apanel of experts presents testimony demonstrating the many U.S. violations of the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions, and various other treaties to which it is a signatory. The tribunal has since traveled around the world and is set to conclude its work in Istanbul in June.

Participants in the tribunal include: Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW; Roger Normand, the Center for Economic & Social Rights; Jennifer Ridha, an Iraqi-American attorney; Dr.Gert van Moorter, Medical Aid For The Third World; Mike Hoffman, Iraq Veterans Against the War; Eve Ensler, author of the Vagina Monologues; Dennis Brutus, anti-apartheid activist; Sinan Antoon, Iraqi-American poet, and many others.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Commentary by the Duchess

All of us, over the course of our lifetime, experience many different levels of friendship with individuals. Whether it’s with men or women. Throughout the years I've learned it’s important to remember there are different levels regarding friends, acquaintances and even lovers. One shouldn't confuse the whole lot, as that can lead to anger, suffering and disenchantment. Human nature being what it is ... we sometimes forget or get lost in the emotion. All those experiences and encounters [whether good, bad or indifferent] are an essential learning tool to ones developing maturity. [Not easily understood by teenagers and even in some adults.] As well as leading onward to new experiences, if you allow that to happen in a healthy manner.

Sometimes the breakup of a relationship or long-term friendship can result in a catalyst to new experiences, as well as friendships. [Closing the mind to that is damaging to the soul.] Two "long-term friendship" breakups that stand out in my mind happened 25 years apart from one another. And yet, both were major catalysts for me into new realms of thought, experiences and outlook on life. Sadly, the first incident [1977] was of my own doing and the second incident [2003] was not. The deeds and roles had been reversed. Funny how that happens, yah know. [And I don't mean funny ha-ha.] Of the first, it took me many years of reflection to come to grips with the situation. And ever since then I've tried to rectify it on numerous occasions. Unfortunately with no real success and I'm finally able to accept that. As to the other individual ... apparently she hasn't been able to move on and is still in the disenchantment phase.

Regarding the second and more recent situation [which was emotionally painful for me], I engaged in deep reflection in the months that followed. I also had some in-depth discussions with several friends, acquaintances and professionals. These conversations were a great source of enlightenment. In recent months, I've come to realize that I'm truly thankful for the vicious way this individual broke off a long friendship. Yes, I know, that sounds abit odd, but it’s true. I really am thankful. And if I ran into that person today, I'd say "thank you, I harbor neither grievances nor animosity". None what so ever. The situation was a catalyst for me and propelled me to were I am today. I am a vibrant productive being ... not some insignificant worthless being. We're all vibrant, special human beings. Don't let someone put you down, cause their just a bully with lots of insecurity issues. Rise above it all and take on new, happy, healthy experiences.

Peace ... Love ... Justice ... Solidarity ... Hope

Friday, May 13, 2005

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. Japanese Proverb

Amy Goodman / Democracy Now
Thursday, May 12th
In this broadcast from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign we hear an excerpt of a speech by Representative Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont. He spoke at the conference "Can Freedom of the Press Survive Media Consolidation?"

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Whatever happened to good corporate citizenship? In America today, a business you might know pays such poor wages its workers have to turn to taxpayers to pay for their health care. The same firm has made China, a totalitarian dictatorship that holds wages down by outlawing unions, its supplier of choice -- the source of 70 percent of its inventory. And the family that owns this company and has become wildly wealthy? They make sure to invest their money in the Republican Party -- where they know their investment will pay off with tax cuts for the richest few. What company is this? WAL-MART -- the largest, richest corporation in the world.

Major organizations we work with -- groups such as the Service Employees International Union, and the United Food and Commercial Workers -- believe America's largest corporation should do better. To make that happen, they've launched a massive campaign to show Americans the massive scale of Wal-Mart's irresponsibility. But those groups need allies. Should we join the fight? The choice is yours:

Some competitors of Wal-Mart know the value of doing well by doing good. They pay living wages. They offer good benefits. And they earn steady profits -- in part because they attract, and hold onto, high-quality workers. These companies have helped make America the wealthiest nation in the world and they sustain our prosperity. Wal-Mart takes a radically different approach. For it, every penny is profit -- it fights for every dollar, no matter how it gets it. The result? You pay to make Wal-Mart rich -- through tax benefits and infrastructure bestowed by state and local governments -- even if you never shop there. Take Georgia, a state where Wal-Mart ranks as the largest private employer. In 2002, state officials there figured out that Wal-Mart employees had some 10,000 children on the rolls of PeachCare, the state's child health care program. No other company's employees had even a thousand children on the rolls -- but Wal-Mart had no qualms about dumping its costs onto Georgia taxpayers.

Wal-Mart used to make a point of keeping jobs in the United States by buying American. Today, though, the company single-handedly accounts for nearly 10 percent of all Chinese goods sold in the United States. Wal-Mart keeps prices low by stocking as much as 70 percent of its products from Chinese suppliers -- suppliers who pay wages kept low by a dictatorial government. Those policies helped Wal-Mart's owners, the Walton family, build a fortune worth tens of billions. That money makes the company a major force in Washington. And the family uses its wealth to bankroll the radical right -- it spent millions last year to elect candidates devoted to eliminating the estate tax, which affects only the wealthiest of the wealthy. Wal-Mart wealth is also behind Progress for America -- a Republican front group the Waltons have financed to the tune of millions of dollars.

America needs better corporate citizens, and Wal-Mart --the largest company in the world -- has the resources to stand on its own instead of exploiting people overseas and piggybacking on American taxpayers and working families. But making it live up to its responsibilities poses a huge challenge -- because taking on Wal-Mart means going up against the biggest corporation on Earth. With an undertaking that massive, we need everyone on board. So you make the call:

We know that America works best when we honor those who work hard and play by the rules.
It's time to decide: shouldn't we teach Wal-Mart to do the same?


Laura Rozen,
While John Bolton's nomination is likely to be approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Democrats have succeeded in making a public display of the Bush administration's extremism.

Ted Rall,

Traci Hukill, AlterNet
A fledgling organization tries to ignite a movement in favor of peace -- taking its cues from an unlikely source.

THEY LIED TO US – Memo Proves Leadership Knew Saddam Was Not A Threat
Molly Ivins, Working For Change

Phyllis Eckhaus, In These Times
If race did not exist, the powers-that-be would have had to invent it. Three new books examine the divide between the Us and the Other.

Benjamin Dangl, AlterNet
Despite strong U.S. opposition, Hugo Chavez continues to gain support in Venezuela and is building stronger ties with other Latin American governments.

Walter Williams, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Jim Hightower, AlterNet
Professor George W.'s "60-day, 60-city, traveling medicine show" to sell the miracle cure of his Social Security privatization tonic to us gullible rubes--has been a bust.

[Duchess Note ... I recently finished yet another wonderful book by Bernard Cornwell on the SHARPE series. Cornwell is a grand storyteller, so he is [as Harper would say]. The characters in his books seem so real, plus situations and battle descriptions are quite vivid. Nothing like reading about a pile of arms and legs outside the surgeons tent to squelch the appetite. Next on my list is "Sharpes Devil" ... onward Chosen Men!]

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


On Sunday, May 1st, I headed up to southern CT to visit my good friend Katherine and take her out for a belated b-day lunch. Hopped aboard Metro North train at 9am and got off at New Canaan. Katherine picked me up and we drove over to Pound Ridge. This is our ole hometown and always interesting to check out now and then. [To purchase a house in this area you have to have a fat wallet, plus the taxes will give you a nasty nose bleed.] Weather was abit chilly with the sun trying to peep out from behind clouds. We found three "public" bulletin boards within Scotts Corners and posted flyers for Dept of Peace campaign.

Plus, we stopped by the Fire House and chatted with two volunteers. [My father used to be a volunteer for the PR Fire Department years ago, as well as Fire Chief.] Many of the volunteers, whom we used to know from childhood, have either retired or moved to Florida. We drove back to New Canaan to post flyers in main part of town. The only "public" bulletin board we could find was in a small grocery store near train station. New Canaan hasn't changed much over the years - it’s still a rich, sometimes charming and quite a snobby town. Whatever - from there we drove up the Merritt Parkway heading to Bridgeport. Checked out a Red Lobster for lunch - while noshing on some good seafood we caught up on news et al. We also did some clothes shopping at a Dress Barn before driving to her home in Shelton. Before you know it - time to take the train back to NYC.

On Tuesday, May 3rd, it started out with me at work and then changed quickly [around 10:30am]. Like on February 3rd and March 28th; I became ill with nausea, abdominal pains, sweating and vomiting. Then 3 to 4 hours later I'd be just fine, like nothing happened. My Administrative Manager at work on May 3rd, decided to send me home, via car service, to recuperate and then go to my gynecologist that afternoon at 4:30pm. I'd made the appointment to see my GYN a few weeks ago for yearly checkup and regarding this situation. After much discussion and tests my doctor strongly suggested I get a sonogram at eastside clinic. [On a positive note, I’m still not in the pre-menopausal stage & HIV test came back negative.] That evening, at home, I participated in the monthly National Dept of Peace conference call at 9pm. Discussion mostly centered on visiting Congresspersons and Senators near Mothers Day, in the "Peace of the Pie" campaign.

On Wednesday, May 4th, there was "training" for new timesheet/expense procedures at the office. [Abit of a yawn.] Later on that evening I attended the monthly Democracy for NYC meetup in Williamsburg [Brooklyn] at 7pm. Good turnout for the meetup with about 14+ from Williamsburg/Greenpoint/Bushwick neighborhoods. We were also honored with a guest speaker, Mark Peters, who's running for District Attorney in Brooklyn and he once worked for Elliott Spitzer. Mr Peters [] is running against Republican Joe Heinz and he supports gay marriage. One of the statements he made, was an unknown fact to me, and that is "Brooklyn is one of the largest areas in US which is predominately registered Democrats". Hell Yeah! Other items on the evening’s agenda were: endorsing a Public Advocate, adopt an Influential Voter campaign and rezoning. Gary showed up again and while walking back to Greenpoint we discussed health issues, therapy and rezoning issues.

On Thursday, May 5th, I had my sonogram appointment at lunch time. Took a taxi over and back, as that was quicker than relying on the bus and the subway doesn’t go to 1st Avenue. First of all, getting a sonogram is uncomfortable and causes cramps in the abdomen. I won’t go into “procedure details”, but the end result is that I have a Cyst on my left ovary. Which I later learned is benign [not cancerous]. Amen! When I talked to my GYN the next day, he said there is no need for alarm. Let things run its course over next two months and then go for another uncomfortable sonogram in early July. If the Cyst is still there they’ll use medication to eliminate it. My doctor does not want to do surgery and that’s only as a last resort. After work that Thursday evening, I joined my acquaintance BC [fellow NYC Kucitizen] for drinks, nosh on nibblers and catch up on news. The restaurant/bar is on Fifth Avenue near Madison Square Park. Actually, BC was the one who had the Martini's. I just had Ginger Ale, as I was still on penicillin for the tooth infection. On the way to the subway, we stopped by her office, which is a small company that publishes books.


Son of Gonzo
By Joshua Glenn
May 1, 2005
AlterNet and Rolling Stones
Journalist Matt Taibbi: Kucinich was the only candidate who defiantly refused to dumb his ideas down and make speeches full of mechanized platitudes. But there's a corrective instinct among the national press corps, which ends up subtly endorsing some candidates and picking on others – that's why Howard Dean was asked 30 times a day if he was too prickly or too leftist to be president. Also, I admire Kucinich for being an idealist, someone who questions our culture of violence and commercialism. But journalists painted him as a kook – because mature, sane people realize that force and commerce are the chief engines of social organization. That's why I came to see the primaries as a commercial for political consensus.

IDEAS: Are you suggesting the press has a conservative bias?

TAIBBI: It's not that simple. From the first moment I stepped onto Kerry's campaign plane; it was high school all over again. The popular kids, the reporters who covered the campaign like it was a rolling sports story, sat up front while the unpopular kids were relegated to the back. That's why the guys who win elections tend to be handsome, football-throwing types.

Random Lengths News to Host Book & Media Fair
Association of Alternative Newsweeklies
May 2, 2005
The Random Lengths News Book and Media Fair will feature author talks and book signings by Dr. Michio Kaku, the world acclaimed physicist and author of “Parallel Worlds"; John Ross, an international journalist and author of “Murdered by Capitalism: A Memoir of 150 Years of Life and Death on the American Left," published by Nation Books; and Dennis Kucinich, the 2004 Democratic Presidential candidate and author of “A Prayer for America."

Elders' Prescription
By John McCaslin
May 3, 2005
Nobody better than former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders to headline the Marijuana Policy Project's 10th anniversary fundraising gala on Capitol Hill this week. Others speaking out in support of medicinal-marijuana patients are 2004 presidential candidate Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, and fellow Democratic Reps. Linda T. Sanchez of California and Sam Farr of California. (The latter is to receive a legislative leadership award). Meanwhile, Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, is expected to begin a drive this week to prevent federal government "attacks" on medicinal-marijuana patients.

Kucinich in Maine
May 4, 2005
Dennis Kucinich, 2004 candidate for president under the Democratic ticket, will be appearing at several Maine events this weekend:

May 6, 2005 (Friday) -- MPA Rising Tide Dinner, Keynote Speaker Dennis Kucinich -- Portland, 6 p.m., Woodfords Congregational Church; 202 Woodford.
May 7, 2005 (Saturday) -- Breakfast with Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich -- Brunswick, 9:30 a.m., Thorne Hall, Daggett Lounge, Bowdoin College.
May 7, 2005 (Saturday) -- Former Presidential Candidate and current Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich -- Deer Isle, 7-8:30 p.m. Deer Isle Elementary Schools' Reach Performing Arts Center.
May 8, 2005 (Sunday) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich -- Bangor, 1 p.m., Unitarian Universalist Church, 120 Park Street.

Web site; Grassroots Organization Will Advocate for Media Deregulation
May 4, 2005
Legislation has once again been introduced to revive the Fairness Doctrine, sponsored by liberals including Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio).
Contact: Christopher Butler of Americans for Tax Reform, 202-785-0266

US Lawmakers Question Whether Merck Misled Doctors
May 5, 2005
By Susan Heavey, Reuters
Merck documents show company salespeople may have mislead doctors about heart problems linked to its once-popular painkiller Vioxx, U.S. lawmakers said on Thursday. “People are dying because of this,” said Dennis Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat. The documents, including misleading handouts and instructions not to discuss negative findings, raised questions about tactics the drug maker used in training its 3,000 sales representatives charged with promoting Vioxx, lawmakers said.

House Approves $82 Billion for Wars, Immigration Reform
May 6, 2005
The House easily approved $82 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan on Thursday, passing a measure that includes sweeping immigration reforms and boosts the total spent on fighting terrorism since 2001 to beyond $300 billion. Among Ohio members of the House, only Cleveland Democrats Dennis Kucinich and Stephanie Tubbs Jones voted against the bill. Democrat Sherrod Brown of Lorain did not vote - by Liz Sidoti

May 6, 2005
Dennis Kucinich became something of a fixture in Maine with repeated visits during last year's presidential campaign, and he gave a rousing speech at the state Democratic Convention in Portland. This weekend, the Ohio Congressman will be back in the state. Tonight, he speaks at a Maine People's Alliance Annual dinner in Portland at 6:00 p.m. He's due in Bangor on Sunday, where he'll talk about issues like Social Security reform at 1:00 p.m. That event is sponsored by Veterans for Peace, Penobscot County Democratic Committee, Maine Progressive Caucus and other organizations.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

FROM THE GOOD PEOPLE AT MOVEON.ORG --- "Bush in 30 Years" Flash Contest

In his nationally-televised prime time press conference, George W. Bush showed his cards -- embracing massive cuts in Social Security benefits as part and parcel of Social Security privatization. Today, we're announcing the winner of Bush in 30 Years -- a grassroots contest to find the best Macromedia Flash animation or game that explains the Republicans' Social Security scam. Lots of brilliant Flash animators worked long and hard, and they created hilarious, bold entries. More than 140,000 MoveOn members voted to decide the ten finalists. Our panel of celebrity judges – actor John Cusack, comedian and radio host Al Franken, columnist Arianna Huffington, filmmaker Richard Linklater, and animator Aaron McGruder -- chose a winner. And the winner is..."If it ain't broke, don't privatize it!" by Andy Menconi of San Francisco, California. Both the judges and MoveOn members picked "If it ain't broke" as their favorite -- a popular and critical smash hit! See the winning entry in our Bush in 30 Years contest at:

With subtle humor and clean visuals, "If it ain't broke" makes things clear: Bush's private accounts will do nothing to strengthen Social Security. Instead, they'll cut benefits and add trillions in new debt, all to gamble on Wall Street with your retirement savings. With your help, this animation could inspire tens of thousands of new people to join the fight to protect Social Security. Help get your friends, family, and co-workers involved by passing along this winning animation today. Watch the winner, then pass it along by clicking here:

Later this week, we'll advertise the winner on The New York Times website and, a popular youth website, reaching millions of people who are making up their minds about Social Security privatization. You can help run those ads by donating at the link above. The president has been campaigning hard to privatize Social Security since his State of the Union address in January. That's nearly four months of non-stop, election-style campaigning. Yet everywhere the president goes, the poll numbers show that the public widely disapproves of his proposal to cut benefits and privatize Social Security.

DFNYC Endorses Norman Siegel for Public Advocate
Democracy for NYC is proud to announce they have endorsed their first candidate, Norman Siegel for New York City Public Advocate. They will announce this to the press on Monday, May 9th. After an 8-day open voting period [of which the Duchess toke part in], DFNYC collected 110 ballots, some of which were cast in-person and some of which were mail-in absentee ballots. To receive a DFNYC endorsement a candidate must achieve 55% of the votes. Norman Siegel won with an astounding 86%. Complete Results:

Norman Siegel: 95 votes, 86%
Betsy Gotbaum: 8 votes, 7%
Andrew Rasiej: 6 votes, 6%
Michael Benjamin: 1 vote, 1%
Jay Golub: 0 votes

The overwhelming support for Norman Siegel has won him the honor of the first DFNYC endorsement. It’s up to us New Yorkers to make the endorsement meaningful. Please join with DFNYC to support his campaign. Visit to sign up or to learn more.

Event in Brooklyn on Tuesday evening, May 10th at 7pm, which Wayne Brooks and Chris Owens are hosting for Norman Siegel at the Brazen Head at 228 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. Please go to this website for more details.

One big way to help Norman is to petition to get him on the ballot. Petitioning, in NYC, begins on June 7. If you want to learn to petition or become a petitioning trainer, please contact Heather at DFNYC will be taking to the streets and enjoying a beautiful summer in the city as we help make the people’s advocate the Public Advocate.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Commentary from Laura Flanders [Air America]
Did Prime Minister Blair get reelected? Yes, and as you've heard, he's starting an historic third term. But what was also historic was the beating he took -- losing more than half of his majority in Parliament "down from around 160 seats to 66. It's especially stark, given the state of the British economy. Britain's booming, but the voters are mad, and they're mad about one thing: the war.

Harvey Wasserman, Columbia Free Press
The Bush Administration's lies about its rationales for attacking Iraq fit a pattern of deceit that has dragged America into at least three other unjust and catastrophic wars. The "smoking gun" documents that emerged in the recent British election confirm the administration had decided to go to war and then sought "intelligence" to sell it. But conscious, manipulative lies were also at the root of American attacks on Cuba in 1898, US intervention into World War I in 1917 and in Vietnam. These lies are as proven and irrefutable as the unconscionable deception that dragged the US into Iraq in 2003. In each case, these lies of war have caused horrific human slaughter, the destruction of human rights and liberties, and financial disaster.

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... When the doors of opportunity swing open, we must make sure that we are not too drunk or too indifferent to walk through. Jesse Jackson

RECENT COMMENTARY FROM "DAILY KOS" BLOG ... The Course is Set for Impeachment
Apian Sun, May 8th, 2005
Daily, in the UK, more hard evidence is mounting against Tony Blair for knowingly leading the country into an illegal war, and this is having serious repurcussions on the Bush administration. Congressman John Conyers has called on President Bush to account for this evidence of duplicity, and an investigation into what Conyers' considers grave breach of the Constitution. "These allegations strike at the heart of our democracy and present the most troubling constitutional questions. Did the Administration lie to the American people about its intentions with respect to Iraq? Did the Administration engineer a confrontation with Saddam Hussein to justify the war? Did the Administration deliberately manipulate intelligence to deceive the American people about the strength of its case for war?” (Press Release, Congressman John Conyers) There is a groundswell of support for the impeachment of George W. Bush. (see:

[Rock on Jude!]

KUCINICH JOINS PDA [Progressive Democrats of America] and Hayden Demands Iraq Withdrawal
Article on PDA Website

Friday, May 06, 2005

* Human Solidarity
* Separation from World Community
* Policies of the US Government
* Advocate Peace on Earth
* Conflicts in the Balkans during late 1990s
* Peter Berger [Social Construction of Society]
* References to John F. Kennedy
* Talked about a Culture of Peace
* Mentioned Eric Fromm
* We have the Ability to be Peacemakers
* References to 911 Tragedy
* Empowerment & Spiritual Awareness

Steve Perry, Minneapolis/St Paul News
Gore Vidal on war for oil, politics-free elections, and the late, great U.S. Constitution.

Nuclear weapons, a mind boggling issue? Doesn't need to be. Check out this quick loading 90-second movie we made to explain what's going on and what's at stake.

Its also an example of how the people at TrueMajority try to make important issues understandable. So if you like it, share it with your friends and family too.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


Yep, I'm late again in relating my latest "personal news". As some of my friends know, I can be fashionably late, which I think may be a New York thing. So strap yourselves in folks, because it’s going to be a long ride. Giddyup!

On Sunday, April 17th, I volunteered my time to help out at Cadman Plaza rest station during the annual MS Walk. I've been doing volunteer work for the NYC MS Society since 1993. At first I was participating in the actual walks et al and now it's strictly volunteering my time to help out at "rest stops" and their NYC office. Helping out at the “rest stops” is always a lot of fun. One gets to meet some cool people and sometimes walk away with freebees. The main thing is its all for a worthwhile cause. This year the weather was great, sunny, warm and a perfect spring day.

On the 18th, I had lunch with a few co-workers [Jean & Gloria]. We worked together back when I was at E&Ys Wall Street area office. We gossiped about some of the quirky, annoying people we work with in our respective departments and from there on to relationships, weddings, etc. Yah know chick stuff.

On Wednesday, April 20th, was the NYC DoP conference call and no one showed up. I waited 15 minutes, but it was just little ole me. Total bummer. . .

The following evening was the monthly NYC Chapter Dept of Peace [DoP] board meeting. It was held at a Board Members office in midtown Manhattan. This time I brought two different kinds of homemade cookies for all to enjoy. They disappeared rather quickly. [Smiling] Those in attendance were Ellen, Kevin, Carol, Karen, Vlad, Coco, Joe, Maria and I. It was great seeing Coco and Vlad, as it’s been several months. We had an excellent, fun, productive meeting and as Board Secretary I took the minutes. If you live in the NYC area and would like to join our monthly NYC Dept of Peace conference calls, the next one is on May 18th at 9pm. Visit our website [] for dial-in information. Or check out for a DoP meeting in your area. There are lots of them throughout the US.

On Friday, April 22nd, Ellen and I had a good long conference call with Cate at Congressman Kucinich's DC office. This call was to go over loose ends regarding his upcoming speaking event on Long Island.

Was supposed to participate in the annual "March of Dimes Walk" on April 24th with other E&Y employees. Woke up that AM not feeling well and the thought of walking 3.5 miles in cool, windy rainy weather wasn't appealing.

April 27th was Administrative Professionals Day and one of my bosses [Debra] took me out to lunch at Lattanzi on Restaurant Row in theater district. We had a most enjoyable lunch, talked about ALL sorts of topics, one of which was her announcement of being preggers. And that she's due in November, two months after her first wedding anniversary. The food at Lattanzi's is wonderful. I had grilled salmon, tender veggies, polenta and a slice of tiramisu.

On Thursday, April 28th, attended a mandatory Administrative Assistant meeting in the afternoon, which was about technology and HR. [It was okay, though at times abit of a yawn.] That evening I checked out a Public Advocate Forum, which was being held downtown, and organized by "Democracy for America". One of the candidates you've heard me talk about lately is Norm Siegel. He was the last one to speak and it wasn't surprising that the incumbent [Betsy Gotbaum] was a no show. The other candidates in the race for Public Advocate are … Jay Golub, Michael Benjamin and Andrew Rasiej. Afterwards ballots were passed around to vote on whom we thought was most qualified for the position. On May 6th DFA will tally up the votes from forums and meetups to see whom DFA will endorse for the Public Advocate race this year. I’ll post DFAs announcement next week, here on the Duchess Blog. Stay tuned………

After a few months of prep work, conference calls, discussions and many emails -- Congressman Kucinich spoke at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation church in Manhasset [Long Island]. Took Friday [April 29th] off from work, so that I'd be prepared and ready. Met up with Ellen [NYC Friends of Kucinich co-chair] at 3pm in Times Square subway. We went to Astoria on subway and then transferred to a bus bound for LGA. All the while discussing the agenda and latest updates. Got to LGA at 4:30pm and in plenty of time before the congressman’s flight was due, which was supposed to be at 5:10pm. Was the flight on time? Hell no, it was over 10 minutes late. To kill time we had refreshment at a food court, I went over my notes and Ellen double checked the vegan food she brought for Kucinich. After much waiting in "baggage claim" area we spotted Kucinich, waved and smiled at him. He did likewise and gave each of us hugs. Yep, we got hugs. Is this man cool or what? Staten Island friends of Ellen provided car service and we drove through rush hour traffic to the church in Long Island. The drive took about 25 minutes. Ellen, Sally and I sat in the back gabbing about Olympics/World Fairs. David was driving and DJK was in passenger seat talking on his cell phone most of the time.

The grounds of the church are rather extensive and all the dogwood trees were in gorgeous bloom. [Stupid me forgot to take pix of the grounds. Duh!] The event organizer, Christel, joined the five of us and more introductions. Before going inside David took a group shot of us using the congressman’s camera, as well as mine and Sally's.

[L to R -- Sally, Christel, DJK, Ellen & Duchess]

I was dressed in a dark blue pinstriped suit, with a shawl draped over one shoulder. We settled the congressman in a cozy room called the "Brides Room", gave him water, tea and an assortment of vegan edibles. By this time it was 6:45pm and some people were already showing up. Myself and two others [ie: Joe & Kenny] would be taking care of media people and writing down info. Since the congressman only confirmed the engagement 2 1/2 weeks prior, we couldn't get enough media to attend. Just three were there and they were all from Public Broadcast or Access stations.

We tried to interest WBAI, but they were either not interested or failed to send out a representative. [It was their loss.] They are a progressive radio station here in NYC, who seem more interested in black and latino topics. Though they claim otherwise. I'm not being racist, but 65% of their format is geared a certain way. That’s a known fact. Actually, one of their best programs is called "Democracy Now" and usually features Amy Goodman. We almost had Air America, but they backed down at last minute. Sigh!

At one point, while Ellen was microwaving the food, I had a conversation with DJK. He asked me what I did for work, since I mentioned I'd taken a vacation day from the office. Was curious on how he'd react if I mentioned I had been Office Manager of our small downtown office near the World Trade Center. You know, at the time of 911. This really peaked his interest and he asked what the "mood" was like in NYC since that tragic day. During his speech, later on, he brought up the topic of 911 and I could tell he was incorporating some of our conversation. Which I thought was really cool.

After 7:10pm I was mostly out in the reception area dealing with the media folk and greeting many of my friends/acquaintances [ie: Cielito, Thomas, Paul, Joe, Liz, Rob, Kenny, Penn, Kolya, Jessica] who'd shown up. One older dude made a comment about me giving people hugs. I replied I only give hugs to handsome men. The congressman’s speech was to begin at 7:30pm, but due to people arriving late at event, he wasn't able to go on until 7:45pm. We had a full house of over 500 in attendance. Hell yeah! WooHoo! DJK spoke for about 25 minutes and it was brilliant. He doesn't prepare a speech, but just wings it. [You know George W could never do that with his pea brain.] What followed was a fantastic, energized, diverse 60 minute Q&A segment. Great questions by folk in the audience from an 88 year old man to a 15 year old school girl. The congressman was brilliant and refused to stand behind the podium. With a wireless mike he walked around and really connected with the crowd.

The reception followed, but DJK decided to sit it out in the "Brides Room", as he was really tired from alot of traveling. Ellen stayed with him alot, as she was also his escort, but I also checked in and he asked me to be his diplomat/messenger. So back out to reception I went conveying that the congressman was abit tired from much travel, doing some meditation and also conducting business via cell phone. No one seemed to mind and the general buzz I was overhearing was very good. Yep, the evening was a success. Amen! Ellen knew I had to leave around 10:20pm, or I would lose my ride home with friends. I briefly chatted with her and the congressman, who was pleased to meet me and thankful for all I'd done. I got home around 11pm. Sadly the congressman couldn't stay on Saturday for the DoP luncheon at 1pm, but had to take an early flight back to Cleveland due to business matters.

The next day, April 30th, saw many of us NYC DoP members at a luncheon [Red Bamboo Soul Cafe in Greenwich Village] to talk with Dot Maver and Congressman Kucinich. Due to pressing business back in Cleveland, the Congressman had to take an early flight that morning. [That damn right-wing Democrat, Carolyn Maloney, was invited to the luncheon. Now grant you she is one of the co-sponsors of the DoP bill, which is great, but I still don't like the woman after the crap she pulled against the Jereski campaign last year. Grrrrrrrrrr] Anyhow ... I didn't have to sit near or converse with her. Which suited me just fine, thank you very much. The cafe service was great and the food was fabulous. Their vegan "death by chocolate cake" is absolutely amazing! I highly recommend getting it and sharing with a friend, lover or spouse. Many topics were discussed and everyone had a good time.

More "personal news" sometime next week. . . . . .stay tuned.

We see more and more of them: great candidates committed to fiscal responsibility and grassroots democracy. Outside the Washington Beltway --working in state government, city halls, and local offices -- a fresh generation of leaders is taking shape. They set examples that Washington should watch and follow. We just added three of these new faces to theDFA-List, and they're worth getting to know. Meet them today:

Shirley Franklin for Mayor
Atlanta, Georgia

Colleen Condon for County Council
Charleston, South Carolina

R.T. Rybak for Mayor
Minneapolis, Minnesota

We support real leaders and celebrate their accomplishments. That's why we have the DFA-List. But the support is only as good as you make it. Visit these candidates' websites, and help in any way you can. You can read about other candidates on the DFA-List here: