Thursday, June 30, 2005

More than 120,000 United Airlines employees will suffer retirement benefit cuts if the company succeeds in unloading its pension plan on the federal government. Hundreds of thousands more of us will suffer if other companies facing bankruptcy follow United's example. But we can do something about it. Co-sponsored by more than 100 members of Congress--Democrats and Republicans--a new bill on Capitol Hill would place a six-month moratorium on companies in bankruptcy, including United, to keep them from dumping their pension plans on the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC). This bill, H.R. 2327, would give independent analysts time to sort out what's really going on with United's pension plans. And it would give United employees the chance to negotiate over their retirement benefits--we hope while Congress gets busy and passes pro-worker pension funding reform. Please take a moment now to urge your members of Congress to support this important protection for our retirement security. Click on the link below:

The United Airlines pension disgrace would cut United workers' promised retirement benefits by 25 percent to 50 percent. These workers are trapped in what would be the largest pension failure in U.S. history. But it won'tbe the last if United's pension dump goes unchallenged and leaves a road map for other employers that want to dodge their pension obligations. Please tell your members of Congress to support H.R. 2327 and protect our retirement security. Click on the link below:

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

[Duchess Note ... The "Collision" (in pre-production!) fundraiser promises to be quite a colorful soiree of intriguing guests! Nowhere else will you have the possibility of meeting in one room a producer from the Charlie Rose show, the mother of former Lance Cpl. Steven Eagle Funk--the first conscientious objector of the Iraq War, Tribeca Film Festival-screened producers and directors, national-level political activists, music journalists, Rockefellor University neurobiologists, a spiritual psychologist, a celebrity make-up artist, a congressional candidate, one of the pioneering designers in hip-hop/urban wear, a tea-drinking buddy of Yassar Arafat, internationally renowned artists and of course many talented filmmakers! Can you imagine the conversations?!? We'll see you tonight at the 11th Street Bar at 7pm! For those of you who can't make it, we'll miss you and hope to see you at our next "Collision" event!]

Bush on National TV: Lies and More Lies ... September 24 - Impeachment Call Comes to the White House [Message From ImpeachBush Group]

There's one thing you have to give George W. Bush credit for: the man can lie, and with a straight face. The problem he faces is that fewer and fewer people in the United States believe him. One day after Donald Rumsfeld stated that the U.S. troops should be prepared to confront the Iraqi insurgency for up to the next 12 years, Bush went on national television to try to convince the American people that they must support the continuation of his war policies. If the media had any guts, they would have ripped Bush's speech apart tonight. On five separate occasions he invoked the September 11 attacks as the pretext for the war and occupation. There wasn't a single, solitary reference to Iraq's so-called weapons of mass destruction. Before the war, this was the core of the Bush/Cheney propaganda.

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." - Vice President Dick Cheney, speech to VFW National Convention, August 26, 2002

Bush's motivation to justify his war policies on national television was not simply a desperate act to bolster sagging public opinion. Bush is actively trying to head off the growing movement for impeachment. His pre-war lies are being exposed by the Downing Street series of memos. Lying to Congress and the people is an impeachable offense. The fact is that more than 100,000 Iraqis and more than 1,700 U.S. soldiers have died as a consequence of these lies. Bush's illegal war of aggression is also a War Crime, a Crime Against Peace, and a Crime Against Humanity. Bush says: Give me your children. Bush also took on a new role as the pitchman for war: that of "Recruiter-in-Chief." Bush, who was a gung-ho supporter of the Vietnam War - but used his wealth and power to avoid personal participation - shamelessly appealed to young people to sign up to become soldiers for his Iraq war, claiming glory and honor would await them.

Bush has again tried to turn reality on its head, but let's use one of his banal generalities as a guide to action. Bush said tonight: "We know that if evil is not confronted it gains in strength and audacity." Exactly! Unless Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are impeached, the evil they represent will gain audacity and strength. Your help is needed Tonight Bush entered our living rooms to sell us his war. On September 24, 2005, more than 100,000 people are going to his doorstep to make it clear that we aren't buying it. Thousands of people across the country are organizing to bring the call for impeachment to Washington with a massive protest at the White House. Help make this demonstration happen. We are growing stronger because of the support of so many people around the country.


Last night, President Bush tried to rescue his failed Iraq policy in a nationally televised address by connecting the Iraq war to the war on terror. He is trying to change the subject from Iraq to terrorism and September 11—implying that Iraq attacked us in 2001. To keep Bush from changing the subject, we've started running a new TV ad about Iraq. But to keep the advertising on the air, we need to raise $250,000 today. Just $50 from 5,000 of us will make a big difference. Will you contribute to help stop Bush from changing the subject?

Even a small contribution will keep the ads running if we all chip in. And, if we raise $500,000, we can expand the advertising into the hometowns of Republican members of Congress who will have tough elections in 2006. That will help send a signal that Congress will pay a price at the ballot box because of the Iraq failures. The president's speech provided political cover to a lot of members of Congress—letting them get away with not supporting an exit strategy—but we can help neutralize that with the ad campaign. If you don't live in one of those congressional districts, this is your chance to make a huge difference by supporting this ad.

The ad, titled "Hagel," draws a sharp contrast between President Bush's claim that we're making progress in Iraq and the words of Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, who said, "The White House is completely disconnected from reality... It's like they're just making it up as they go along." Then, the ad calls for an exit strategy, saying, "It's time to come home. We went in the wrong way, let's come home the right way." An exit strategy with a timeline is supported by nearly 84% of MoveOn members according to the recent vote.

Supporting this ad will also show that we won't run away when the Republicans attack. Over the last couple of days, the Bush White House has begun openly attacking MoveOn by name—even accusing us of siding with the terrorists and wanting to make America less safe. It started with lies in a speech by Bush spin-master Karl Rove last week but quickly followed with attacks on "The Today Show" by White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett. Then, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld took a swipe at MoveOn on Sunday talk shows.

We can't let them get away with this. It's the Iraq war that's making America less safe—not the 3.3 million of us in MoveOn. Because we're out front on Iraq, we can expect more attacks. By standing up to them, we can demonstrate to Democrats that they need not cower when Republicans slander them. But we can't keep these ads on the air without your support. Please contribute at:

The advertising is just the first part of MoveOn's new Iraq campaign. Over the coming weeks and months, we'll be pushing for our leaders in elected office to insist that President Bush put together an exit strategy (a plan!) for Iraq. We'll ask you to get involved in lots of different ways, but right now we really need your help to keep the TV ad on the air.

P.S. Can't contribute for an ad? Write a letter to the editor about Bush's speech at:

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Charley Reese / The Orlando Sentinel
Contrary to the rhetoric of the Clinton administration and the Beltway Babblers, terrorism is not a criminal act in the ordinary sense. Terrorism is a political act, a response to U.S. foreign policy. It is an act of war waged by people too weak to have a conventional army or one large enough to take on the United States. Therefore, capturing an individual terrorist does not even address the problem. People who execute terrorist actions are expendable, replaceable soldiers. Catch one, kill one, and two will take his place. Because the terrorism is political, so, too, is the solution. One ends terrorism by ending the policies that create it.

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your honor. That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoemaking and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse. Mark Twain

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Hosted by S.Chen & C.Pascual
Location – 11th Street Bar at 510 East 11th Street, NYC
Date – Wednesday, June 29th, at 7pm
Visit the Blog –

Join us on June 29th for a fun progressive cocktail chat; raise a toast and some film funds for fellow NYC Kucitizen Sharyn Chen’s powerful short film called “Collision”. There will be a screening of Sharyn’s work and some indie-film power brokering. [BTW … the bar’s happy hour is from 7pm to 9pm.] This “Collision” event is free. Suggested donation is $10. All guests who attend and donate $15 will receive an exclusive VIP pass to Chen’s upcoming, high-profile event.

COLLISION … a sponsored project of IFP/NY, [] is a 30 minute fiction film that illustrates the seemingly random coincidences, or synchronicities, in life that connect strangers through the chance encounters of three troubled characters who live on the streets. COLLISION follows three characters in the course of a chaotic summer day in NYC, which ends in death, redemption and self-awareness.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Thank you for signing the Downing Street Minutes letter to the president. I personally delivered your letter to the White House last Thursday. Your participation in this issue has made a difference. The mainstream media has been very slow to report on this British Intelligence document claiming that evidence was being "fixed" to support the lead up to war against Iraq. Yet, neither the media nor President Bush could ignore the massive groundswell of interest demonstrated by the more than 560,000 individuals who joined you in signing this letter. On Thursday, I led a hearing about the Downing Street Minutes to receive testimony from former Ambassador Joe Wilson, 27-year CIA veteran Ray McGovern, constitutional lawyer John Bonifaz, and Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son in Iraq.

Despite desperate attempts by Republicans to disrupt the proceedings, 32 Members of Congress attended this hearing. We were forced to use a cramped room in the basement of the Capitol little bigger than a closet, even though plenty of larger hearing rooms were available. The Republican Leadership also scheduled votes for nearly two straight hours in an unprecedented attempt to limit the ability of Democratic Members of Congress to participate in this hearing.

Thanks to your help, and the more than 560,000 individuals who signed this letter, the mainstream media felt compelled to cover this event. The room was packed with television cameras and there was significant coverage in national newspapers and radio networks. After the hearing I hand delivered the list of signatures along with a letter to the president signed by 122 Members of Congress demanding answers, and led a rally outside the White House. We still have much more to do to make President Bush answer the questions raised by the Downing Street Minutes. Much work remains for us to bring this issue to the attention of all Americans.

Visit my website at find out what additional steps we are taking and how you can help on this issue of vital constitutional importance.

J.S. Decker /

Monica Mehta / AlterNet
A PBS documentary depicts the transformation of a Texas teenager, Shelby Knox, from conservative Christian to champion of sex education.
[Duchess Note ... Last Friday on PBS NOW program, this same teenager was interviewed by David Brancaccio. Let me tell you I was very impressed by her focus, intelligence, compassion and the articulate way she presented herself. Her journey from sheltered teen to becoming an activist just blows me away. Bravo Shelby Bravo!]

Miami Herald Editorial
Shame on Gov. Jeb Bush for reopening an investigation into the death of Terri Schiavo. The governor's request is intrusive and unnecessary. His continued personal involvement in this case is stunningly arrogant. It is a waste of state resources in a fully settled case that, thanks to the governor and like-minded politicians in Tallahassee and Washington, makes a mockery of state law and continues political intrusion into a private family matter.

Monday, June 20, 2005

I spent five nice, long days visiting the family in upstate New York over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Weather didn't always cooperate, but for the most part it was decent. Always feels good in abandoning NYC for a brief spell. Breathe in the clean air and the scent of nature. On a lunch and shopping visit to Saratoga Springs, Mom and I spent some time in a Barnes & Noble to avoid a brief nasty thunderstorm. [Well, it was on our list of stops, so we took advantage of it.] While there I spotted the special illustrated edition of "The Da Vinci Code", which I promptly purchased.

Haven't read this bestseller yet, but was advised by a co-worker that the illustrated version makes it a far more exciting read. Started it on Sunday and finished it on Wednesday. Damn, it was a good story, lots of fascinating facts, terrific illustrations and the ending caught me off guard. Halfway thru the book my gut instincts enlightened me regarding "teacher" and I was right when I got to the end of the book. Hell yeah! Also at Barnes & Noble I picked up another SHARPE book by Bernard Cornwell. Must satisfy my Sharpe fix.

Throughout the rest of the holiday weekend I did yard work, cooking, baked a Vegan Chocolate Cake, power walks, watched a Poirot marathon on the telly, tag sales, visit hairdresser, etc, etc.

The monthly NYC DoP meetup at Viva Natural on June 2nd was a washout. I waited 15 minutes, ate a slice of whole wheat crust pizza and no one showed up. Sigh!

On Friday, June 3rd, I met up with a Fox Lane classmate of mine for dinner. Hadn't seen Eileen for many years and we know each other thru other classmate connections. One of whom I don't socialize with anymore. [That's another story and would take to long to relate for now.] Anyhow, we'll be heading down to the DC/VA area end of this month to attend a wedding. A good friend of ours [Nancie] invited us to her daughters wedding. [Review & photos will be in next "Personal News” regarding the wedding weekend.] Back to Friday evening - we met up at a Starbucks on upper Westside of Manhattan. Socialized for abit before heading down Broadway to do abit of grocery shopping at Fairway, and then ended up at a very nice Mediterranean restaurant for dinner. Wish I could remember the name of the place - I think it was on Broadway around 75th Street. While catching up on ALL topics of news/gossip, we partook of yummy garlic bread with melted Gorgonzola Cheese on top. And for main entrée, I had grilled crab cakes with veggies. It was a fun evening, which was marred abit by the delays and cancellations of the NYC subway system. Five subways later I arrived home at 1am and was naturally exhausted.

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... Absolute power corrupts even when exercised for humane purposes. The benevolent depot who sees himself as a shepherd of the people still demands from others the submissiveness of sheep. Eric Hoffer

On Sunday, June 5th, I went to two outdoor art & craft shows in Manhattan. The first one is a favorite of mine, which I attend every year in June and September. The annual Lincoln Center Art & Craft Show is must-see. So many lovely items by many different, talented artisans. I didn't purchase anything, but found inspiration for some artsy projects I'm currently working on. From there I traveled by subway down to University Place, near Washington Square Park, for the 75th Annual "Art In The Village" show. [The shows concept was originated by painter Jackson Pollack and fellow Village artist Willem DeKooning.] Again I didn't purchase anything, sadly my pockets were empty, but I derived much pleasure from viewing brilliant artwork. The weather turned out great with sunshine and some clouds.

On Tuesday, June 7th, I listened in on the monthly National DoP conference call at 9pm EST. Matthew Albracht [ie: Peace Alliance] was hosting the call and guest speaker that evening was Lisa Earle McLeod. Lisa wrote a great op-ed back in March and it can be found at

Ms McLeod is a newspaper columnist who met and interviewed Marianne Williamson, plus read her book called "The Gift of Change". She's been an activist for a short time and mostly communicates with "mothers" about peace. [Lisa had many suggestions on how we can promote the DoP campaign. The folk that phone in on these monthly calls are from ALL over the US. It’s an honor, plus enlightening and informative, to listen to what others have say and as well as participate. Another "speaker" was Judy Kimmel [ie: Peace Alliance] who spoke about possible ideas for upcoming holiday events and promoting peace. Such as inviting friends and family to a "picnic for peace" OR participate in ones local July 4th parade. It was a great conference call and two other NYC DoP members [ie: Liz & Kevin] were on besides me.

Thursday, June 9th, was a busy day for this lady. First of all, work was bubbling along at a nice pace, even though most of my department was out. Took an extended lunch hour to attend a 1pm press conference down on City Hall steps for the Peace Tax Fund.

Recently, NYC Chapter Dept of Peace board members held a vote and decided to endorse the PTF group. The weather was sunny, warm and quite humid that day. Before the conference I handed out DoP flyers and chatted with a number of folk. One of which was a nice, young female NYC cop, who was very receptive to the idea of a peaceful world for all, especially children. Thomas showed up and always a pleasure seeing him again. He gives terrific hugs and has such wonderful eyes. Two other NYC DoP board members [ie: Ellen & Dawn] showed up and we sported our DoP buttons. I'd never been that close to City Hall, let alone on the steps for a press conference. One has to go thru security, which is quick and painless. The press conference was attended by 20 to 30 people, but sadly, very little media. [Corporate mainstream media ... definitely not true journalism and their reporters are pathetic, feeble morons. Bought by the rich and corrupt to do their bidding.]

After work I was able to join in for an hour with a Support Group, which is run and hosted by a NYC DoP board member. Business isn't discussed and there is space for meditation, exchanging thoughts/ideas, and voicing inner emotions/conflicts. Sort of like going to a shrink, but its free and you’re surrounded by supportive, likeminded individuals.

Wish I could have stayed for remainder of session, but I had to race home for a 9pm NY State DoP District Team Leader conference call. [Damn subways, was 10 minutes late for call.] Hosted once again by Kevin and those who participated in the call were David, Jordan, Pricilla, Dave [8th district] and myself. Kevin started off the call with a quote by Einstein. Much discussion about the July 23rd congressional lobbying training to be held here in NYC and hosted by my DoP chapter. [Kevin mentioned that Walter Cronkite is definitely onboard for the Washington DC Peace Conference in September. WooHoo!] I brought up the suggestion that NYC DoP members could "house" those visiting for the July 23rd weekend. This suggestion was warmly received by all. Jordan talked about tax dollars, how it’s spent and how it should be spent. Plus he had some great ideas, which he emailed to Kevin, on fundraising and donations. David mentioned author Steve Primer and his book "Of Practical Persuasion & Influence". Which I intended to look for next time I hit B&N. Kevin ended the call with a wonderful quote by Mother Teresa.


Oh! Snatch'd away in beauty's bloom,
On thee shall press no ponderous tomb;
But on thy turf shall roses rear
Their leaves, the earliest of the year;
And the wild cypress wave in tender gloom:

And oft by yon blue gushing stream
Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head,
And feed deep thought with many a dream,
And lingering pause and lightly tread;
Fond wretch! as if her step disturb'd the dead!

Away! we know that tears are vain,
That death nor heeds nor hears distress:
Will this unteach us to complain?
Or make one mourner weep the less?
And thou - who tell'st me to forget,
Thy looks are wan, thine eyes are wet.

On Sunday, June 12th, I went to see the following . . . STRATEGIC OMISSIONS: The Truth Behind The Health Effects After 9/11 (90 min, 2005) A documentary film by Heidi Dehncke-Fisher and Gordon Skinner. There was a post screening discussion introduced by Congressman JERROLD NADLER (NYC District 8]. It was held at the Unitarian Church of All Souls on upper eastside of Manhattan. Brief summary of the film [which we're told was still a work-in-progress] - 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 investigates the 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]. Brilliant film and sadly I couldn't stay for the Q&A afterwards.

Please contact your Congress member regarding H. J. Res. 55, the HOMEWARD BOUND ACT. When you click on the link right and below it will lead you to the US House webpage. Click on Bill Summery and Status and fill in H.(space)J.(space)Res.(space)55. There you can read all about the bill and its co-sponsors (we have gained more since its introduction last week!). When you go back to the homepage on the right side is a window saying CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSMEMBER. There you can find out who your Congress member is and how to contact him/her. Let’s help to BRING OUR TROOPS HOME at last. Be a part of it. Remember: we, the people have a lot of power. The politicians have to follow our call even if they don't like what we want. After all WE ELECT THEM ... lets use our power here. Let’s END THIS WAR!

LAST WEEK, ON JUNE 15TH, OHIO CONGRESSMAN DENNIS KUCINICH WAS INTERVIEWED ON FOX NEWSClick on the URL to read the transcript and see what DJK has to say,2933,159752,00.html

New disclosures show that CIA information in 2000 about two Al Qaeda operatives in San Diego was squelched before reaching the FBI.
Josh Meyer / NY Times,0,1243278.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Commentary by Thom Hartmann
[Duchess Note - Those of you who still believe the lies of the Bushie Regime, are like Ostriches with their heads in the sand. In total denial of the truth and reality. Even when the "facts" are so crystal clear. Bush is still lying to you! Wake up and smell the coffee people! Saudis and Egyptians hijacked those planes on 9/11 ... not the Iraqi. Geez! Why are some folk so darn dense?!? And why do they continually vote against their interests, concerns and values?!? It boggles the mind regarding the stupidity of some folk.]

THE PEOPLES EMAIL NETWORK MEDIA ACTION ALERT - Tell the Media and Congress to Investigate Downing Street Minutes
It's not just individual members of Congress who need to hear from us demanding an investigation of the Downing Street minutes, it is also the so-called journalists who themselves been stonewalling this grave constitutional scandal. The White House wasn't even going to send out anyone to accept the Conyers petition until the presence of the progressive media shamed them into in. And where there has been other coverage it has been typified by contemptuous spin pieces resembling negative campaign commercials for war as usual. The only thing that is going to precipitate a REAL INVESTIGATION of all the deliberate lies that mislead us to the Iraq disaster is DIRECT pressure now on not just Congress, but also on the mainstream media to do their duty. We have added functions to our action page on the Downing Street minutes to send your personal message not just to both your senators and your house member, but also at the same time with one click to the key broadcast and print news outlets. Even if you have already submitted something else, we MUST follow up with this as well.

We're hitting the ombudsmen for the Washington Post and New York Times, together with all the biggest national alphabet news networks. You saw how Conyers had to fight for a basement closet of a hearing room last Thursday, and how they scheduled a dozen votes in a desperate attempt to disrupt the proceedings. Tell your members of Congress there is zero chance of them getting re-elected unless they confront this crisis. Tell these news outlets that if you can't get the REAL news from them you are finding other sources for your news.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Anthony Wade / OpEdNews

THE SIEGEL ADVOCATE: Newsletter for Norman Siegel's Campaign for Public Advocate of New York City or Visit Norm Siegels Website at

Congressman Major Owens Endorses Norman Siegel!
One of New York Citys most respected legislators has backed Norman Siegel for Public Advocate! On Monday, June 6th, Congressman Major Owens endorsed Normans campaign, specifically citing the Campaign for Fiscal Equity's attempt to secure equal funding for NYC's public schools. "We have no leadership in this city that will mobilize the people in this city to make the legislators and the governor obey the law," Owens said. "This is a task thats tailor-made for the Public Advocate, but right now we have a weak and inadequate Public Advocate." By contrast, Owens said, Normans record "speaks for itself." He called Norman "a fighter who never retreats from a worthy cause." Joining Congressman Owens in showing grassroots support for Norman were former Assemblyman Frank Barbaro, Zenobia McNally, candidate for City Council in Crown Heights, and 2006 congressional candidate Chris Owens.

Frank Barbaro Endorses Norman Siegel for Public Advocate
Citing a shared vision of bringing accountability and progressive politics to New York City, former Assemblyman Frank Barbaro has formally endorsed Norman Siegel to be New York Citys next Public Advocate! Barbaro views Siegel as someone who can turn the Public Advocates office into a position as meaningful and powerful in New York City as Eliot Spitzer has made the Attorney Generals office in New York State. "The people of the city of New York definitely need an advocate to protect them from the misconduct and greed of business and city government," Barbaro said. "Norman has shown that he is willing to take up these fights where injustice is being imposed on people. This is the mission of the office of the Public Advocate. Betsy Gotbaum has given it up and Norman will restore it." Barbaro also cited Siegels dedication to building support from New Yorks real grassroots community. "Norman has shown he has the commitment and know-how to build this movement," Barbaro said.

Norman Wows 'Em in Staten Island
While Betsy Gotbaum hangs out with the city's elite at the Regency, Norman is bringing his message to the Muddy Cup in Staten Island. Speaking there last week, he called Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum "ineffective" and charged that she has "under utilized" the office since being elected in 2001. The Staten Island Advance provides great coverage of Norman's campaign stop.

Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn Say YES on Norman
Norman Siegel's grassroots campaign for Public Advocate won another important endorsement on Monday, from the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn. L.I.D. is Brooklyn's oldest and largest lesbian and gay organization, with over 300 members and 5000 friends. "L.I.D. honors and respects Norman Siegel's years of outstanding civil rights activism," said L.I.D. President Gary Parker. "Our endorsement is a testament to Norman's reputation as a fierce and fair critic of city systems and of discrimination against the LGBT community."

Volunteer for Norman's Campaign for Public Advocate!
We've set up a new section of the website for volunteer opportunities and grassroots participation in Norman's campaign for Public Advocate. At, you can browse volunteer opportunities and even set up your own volunteer event. If you would like to find out more about volunteering, call us at 718-857-4580 or 212-686-3911.

Friday, June 17, 2005


A BuzzFlash Interview
Bernie Sanders was the only member of the House to vote against the original Patriot Act. Now he's the favorite bet to become the next Senator from Vermont.

Democrat wants information in wake of British memos saying Iraq invasion was president’s goal.
The Associated Press/MSNBC

Ellen Chesler, Ms. Magazine
Estelle Griswold and Margaret Sanger helped women gain access to birth control and abortion – but just one Supreme Court justice could take it away.

The Boston Globe

QUOTE OF THE DAYA lot has been said about politics; some of it complimentary, but most of it accurate. Eric Idle

Robert Greenwald, AlterNet
Can a documentary force Wal-Mart to change its wicked ways? Only with your help, says filmmaker Robert Greenwald.

Lawrence O’Rourke / McClatchy Newspapers

[l to r - Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Cindy Sheehan, founder of Gold Star Families for American Peace, Ray McGovern, former CIA agent and John Bonifaz, co-founder, After Downing are sworn in before the start of a forum on the Downing Street Minutes on Capital Hill in Washington DC on June 16th. The document, created in 2002 for British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that United States President G.W.Bush was intent on invading Iraq and that intelligence was being manipulated to support Bushes interests. Photo by Chris Kleponis]

Amy DePaul, AlterNet
The Republicans' new set of welfare reforms emphasize fatherhood in the context of marriage -- at the expense of economic issues.

Bush political operative says he’ll erase bias at PBS, by inserting bias
Molly Ivins / Working for Change

Jan Frel, AlterNet
Jerome Armstrong of the political blog MyDD discusses how the Internet has changed -- and how it's changing Democratic politics.

Reggie Rivers / Denver Post

Thursday, June 16, 2005

By Rick Klein, Globe Staff
WASHINGTON -- House Republican leaders are blocking a measure that would require the Bush administration to swiftly produce an exit plan for the war in Iraq, as critics in Congress from both parties step up the pressure on the administration to identify a way for the United States to extricate itself from the conflict. Today, a small, bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by a Republican who supported the war, plans to introduce a resolution calling for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq beginning in October 2006. The effort follows a bid by Democrats to require the Bush administration to draw up, within 30 days, an exit plan. The Democrats' bill was swept aside in committee and is unlikely to reach the House floor for a vote.

Progressive Democrats of America, along with Congressman John Conyers and a massive coalition of more than 120 activist organizations and news providers, will be holding a rally today, June 16th, in Lafayette Park at the gates of the White House. The rally will begin at 5:00pm EST. It will focus on the demand for answers after the revelation of the Downing Street Minutes, and subsequent documentation, which has exposed the Bush administration’s willful manipulation of the American people and the world in their desire for war in Iraq at any cost. Our last call for donations to help make the hearing and rally a reality garnered an enormous and generous response from you, and we are deeply grateful for your help. We are putting this together on very short notice, and a great deal of time and effort must be expended to pull together all the groups, information, people and press that will mark Thursday as a day when everything, finally, changed.

This is the moment. After more than two years, after all the lies and the manipulation, after the deaths of more than 1,700 American soldiers and untold thousands of Iraqi civilians, after all the wounded, after all the fear, after watching hundreds of billions of our tax dollars funneled into the pockets of profiteers with umbilical links to the Bush administration, after the discovery of exactly no weapons of mass destruction, no anthrax, no VX nerve agent, no uranium from Niger, after all this and all the rest, the time is now. We march on Washington DC this today and we shall nail the truth to the White House door.

Speakers at the rally include:
Rep. John Conyers
Ray McGovern
John Bonifaz
Cindy Sheehan
Medea Benjamin
Stephen Cleghorn
Reverend Lennox Yearwood
And more. . . .

At the conclusion of the event, Rep. Conyers will take his letter demanding answers regarding the Downing Street Minutes – a letter which now holds the signatures of more than 540,000 Americans and over 100 Democratic Representatives – and personally deliver it to the White House. Also, today, Rep. Conyers will chair a hearing into the Downing Street Minutes. We can and will make history TODAY, we can and will expose the lies of the Bush administration that led us to war, we can and will change the course of history that has for too long now run a bloody and violent path over the innocent. We can and we will, with your help. Please give what you can, and please come to Washington.

PMG [Pollack Media Group] Announces Involvement with Live 8

Pollack Media Group is pleased to announce that Jeff Pollack and Tommy Hadges, along with Tommy Nast of AEG LIVE, have been named Worldwide Radio Producers of the upcoming Live 8 concerts on July 2nd. These free concerts, set to take place in Philadelphia, London, Paris, Rome and Berlin, will feature some of the biggest talent in the music business from around the world. The effort, spearheaded by Bob Geldof, the force behind the original Live Aid concerts, is designed to help raise awareness of the effort to forgive third world debt. Jeff & Tommy, who also served as Coordinating Producers of the original Live Aid shows, look forward to providing the world with terrestrial radio coverage of this year’s concerts events. Also, as part of our participation in this historic event, we will have access to all the latest news and information on the lineup of artists for each of the 5 shows.

As of June 1st, here is a list of the confirmed acts participating at each location:

Dave Matthews Band
Sarah McLaughlin
Maroon 5
Rob Thomas
Bon Jovi
Keith Urban
Stevie Wonder
Eddie Vedder
Will Smith
P. Diddy
Stevie Wonder
50 Cent
Kaiser Chiefs

Joss Stone
Sir Paul McCartney
Sir Elton John
Snow Patrol
Robbie Williams
Annie Lennox
The Killers
Mariah Carey
Scissor Sisters
Velvet Revolver
The Cure
Bob Geldolf

Tim McGraw
Faith Hill
Duran Duran
Irene Grandi
Laura Pausini
Vasco Rossi

Craig David
Youssou N’Dour
Andrea Bocelli
Calo Gero
Axelle Red
Johnny Hallidya
Manu Chao

Crosby, Stills & Nash
Brian Wilson
Lauryn Hill
Die Toten Hosen
Peter Maffay


Monica Mehta, AlterNet
The barrage of nauseating particulars by day, coupled with the merciless jokes by night, served to desensitize Americans to the seriousness of the allegations in the Michael Jackson case.

Letha Dawson Scanzoni, AlterNet
Before dismissing the religious right, progressives may find it helpful to learn more about them -- particularly that group the media lump together as 'the evangelicals.'

Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!
Today on Capitol Hill, John Conyers will host an urgent and long-awaited public hearing about the implications of the Downing Street Memo.

Lakshmi Chaudhry, George Lakoff, Van Jones, Adam Werbach, Wes Boyd, AlterNet
Is liberalism dead? What will it take for us to bring about a rebirth of inspiration, hope and optimism for a new American future?


Kucinich in Alaska touts New Health Care System on Alaska Tour
June 6, 2005
MARK QUINER / Peninsula Clarion

Teach-In on War Turns to Demand for Truth
June 6, 2005
David Swanson / AMERICAN CHRONICLE (worked on Kucinich for President Campaign)

NASA's Congressional Interactions This Week
June 6, 2005
Keith Cowing
NASA Administrator Mike Griffin will also be meeting with a number of politicians this week regarding the VSE. On Wednesday, 8 June, Griffin meets with Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH).

Ohio Lawmaker Talks of Peace Legislation
June 06, 2005
Kimberly Melton / Oregonian News
Ex-presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich visits Portland in a push to create a Department of Peace.

After Downing Street
Steve Cobble / The Nation
June 6, 2005
2 years ago a coalition of men and women in the military, parents and members of Congress including Congressman Kucinich challenged the Bush administration in Court over the constitutionality of the war in Iraq. AFTER DOWNING STREET is a coalition of veteran’s groups, peace groups and political activist groups which launched on May 26, 2005, a campaign to urge the U.S. Congress to begin a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war.

Fundraiser in Massachusetts for DOP
June 9, 2005
This historic legislation was proposed by Congressman Dennis Kucinich

President Franti - Just A Thought
June 9, 2005
Michelle Wilson Nordhoff / Anchorage Letters
Thanks and praises to Michael Franti and Spearhead for gracing Alaska last Thursday and Friday. His personal photos of Iraqi children and families were riveting and deeply touching. I also loved all the folks he brought up on stage. Congressman Dennis Kucinich, sponsor of the U.S. Department of Peace legislation, onstage Friday, shined more light on Franti's integrity and his sincere efforts for peace and justice. Both reassured me there are still some respectable male leaders in our country.

House Rejects Measure to Withdraw From WTO
June 9, 2005
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat, said WTO membership was "driving down the quality of life in this country" because of pressure on wages caused by increased imports from China and other foreign suppliers.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Ari Berman, The Nation
[Duchess Note - At the end of this short, terrific article is a link to sign a petition ("Howard Dean Speaks for Me"). If you feel strongly that Dean is on the right track, then please sign the petition. I did!]

Molly Ivins, AlterNet
Sometimes you look at the people the Bush administration appoints to high public office and the only possible response is, "What were they thinking?"

British officials believed the U.S. favored military force a year before the war, documents show.
John Daniszewski, Los Angeles Times

Matthew Clark, Christian Science Monitor
A growing rift between the State and Defense Departments over Uzbekistan reveals serious contradictions in the Bush Administration's foreign policy.

Derrick Z. Jackson, The Boston Globe

Julene Bair, Prairie Writers Circle
Ending irrigation may be the only way to preserve life on the High Plains, even if it destroys the crops that farmers and ranchers depend on.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Monica Mehta, AlterNet
In the wake of newly uncovered British documents showing there was no postwar plan for Iraq, critics are launching a renewed offensive against the Bush administration and its justification for war.

Gore Vidal, The Nation
The disturbing truths about the last election in Ohio have been largely ignored by the press and the Congress.

The Progress Report
The gap is growing between those who have access to information technology, and those who don't. Now the battle to close the digital divide has spilled onto another front -- the fight for free municipal broadband services.

John Stauber, PR Watch
Last week, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture announced that an American cow tested positive for mad cow disease. Without major changes in the beef industry, it may be just the first of many.

Jim Rice, Sojourners
The chorus is right; Guantanamo should be closed. But closing ithe base is just the first step in getting the U.S. to practice what it preaches about human rights.

Monday, June 13, 2005

[Received the below tidbit from a fellow Kucitizen & member of PDA. Thanks Peter!]

Bush is my shepherd; I dwell in want.
He maketh logs to be cut down in national forests.
He leadeth trucks into the still wilderness.
He restoreth my fears.
He leadeth me in the paths of international disgrace for his ego's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of pollution and war, I will find no exit, for thou art in office.
Thy tax cuts for the rich and thy media control, they discount me.
Thou preparest an agenda of deception in the presence of thy religion.
Thou anointest my head with foreign oil.
My health insurance runneth out.
Surely megalomania and false patriotism shall follow me all the days of thy term,
And my jobless child shall dwell in my basement forever.


Ron Kovic, AlterNet
The author shares the inspiration behind his classic antiwar memoir: 'I wanted people to know what it really meant to be in a war--to be shot and wounded, to be fighting for my life on the intensive care ward--not the myth we had grown up believing.'

Doug Ireland, LA Weekly
The Christian right has launched a series of boycotts and pressure campaigns aimed at corporate America -- and at its sponsorship of entertainment, programs and activities they don't like.

Molly Ivins, AlterNet
Under the Bush tax plan, by 2015, those making between $80,000 and $400,000 will be paying as much as 14 percent more of their incomes than those who are hyper-rich.

Paul Rieckhoff,
Military recruiting numbers are deep into the Porta-Potty. The all-volunteer military has been run into the ground -- and now it's broken.

Laura Barcella, AlterNet
Why is Wal-Mart wicked? AlterNet counted the ways in a June 1 article -- and lots of ever-opinionated readers weighed in.

Heather Gray, AlterNet
Forty years after the Civil Rights Bill became law, race relations in Mississippi and throughout the South remain warily tense.

Originally Published on Monday, May 16, 2005
Buy Your Gas at Citgo: Join the BUY-cott!
by Jeff Cohen

Looking for an easy way to protest Bush foreign policy week after week? And an easy way to help alleviate global poverty? Buy your gasoline at Citgo stations. And tell your friends. Of the top oil producing countries in the world, only one is a democracy with a president who was elected on a platform of using his nation's oil revenue to benefit the poor. The country is Venezuela. The President is Hugo Chavez. Call him "the Anti-Bush." Citgo is a U.S. refining and marketing firm that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company. Money you pay to Citgo goes primarily to Venezuela -- not Saudi Arabia or the Middle East. There are 14,000 Citgo gas stations in the US.

Click here: to find one near you.

By buying your gasoline at Citgo, you are contributing to the billions of dollars that Venezuela's democratic government is using to provide health care, literacy and education, and subsidized food for the majority of Venezuelans. Instead of using government to help the rich and the corporate, as Bush does, Chavez is using the resources and oil revenue of his government to help the poor in Venezuela. A country with so much oil wealth shouldn't have 60 percent of its people living in poverty, earning less than $2 per day. With a mass movement behind him, Chavez is confronting poverty in Venezuela. That's why large majorities have consistently backed him in democratic elections. And why the Bush administration supported an attempted military coup in 2002 that sought to overthrow Chavez. So this is the opposite of a boycott. Call it a BUYcott. Spread the word. Of course, if you can take mass transit or bike or walk to your job, you should do so. And we should all work for political changes that move our country toward a cleaner environment based on renewable energy. The BUYcott is for those of us who don't have a practical alternative to filling up our cars. So get your gas at Citgo. And help fuel a democratic revolution in Venezuela.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


On Wednesday, May 18th, I had quite a busy evening with not one, but two conference calls. [In-between the calls I was able eat dinner and do a load of laundry. Laundromat is just around the corner from my apartment.] And yes, both were related to Dept of Peace. I got home from work just in time to make the first call [NYC DoP Strategy] at 6pm. Karen wasn't able to attend the call; so it was just Coco, Liz, Carol and I. Very productive, shared some laughs, accomplished alot and the call lasted an hour. I wish I was at liberty to go into detail, but can only relate some topics et al.

1] Keeping our eye on the ball & our goals focused
2] Get as many congress people to sign the bill
3] Improve relationships with congress people to become more than just signers, but true advocates.
4] Discuss upcoming events related to peace

The second call that evening [NYC DoP Monthly] was at 9pm. It lasted about 40 minutes and those in attendance were Joe [District 7], David, his wife Carolyn [District 21] and I [District 12]. We didn't have an agenda to go by so we just talked about different topics relating to peace, shared some laughs, the Humanities Team, current US government faux pax, etc.

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it. Thomas Jefferson

On Thursday, May 19th, the NYC Chapter Dept of Peace [DoP] held its monthly board meeting at 6:30pm. We started about 10 minutes late, but that’s okay, we hadn't seen each other in awhile so we shared hugs and small talk. Joe brought yummy Italian cookies for all to partake. And Kevin showed up briefly to drop off some DoP related items before heading out again. [He was abit beat from busy work day and out late night before to see U2 in concert. Lucky guy!] Those in attendance that evening were Joe, Dawn, Vlad, Coco, Liz, Carol, Ellen, Karen and I. [Maria was on vacation. Lucky gal!]

We always start off our meetings with a 2 to 5 minute meditative silence. As I wrote earlier, I'm not at liberty to go into great detail about these meetings. Why? Well, we're still not incorporated yet [non-profit organization] and that will be taking place by mid-July. There will be much celebrating and popping of the champagne corks when that happens. Oh yeah! What I can tell you is that the meeting progressed at a steady pace, as we had to be out of Karen's office by 8:30pm. The committee chairs gave their reports and since I'm board secretary, I was responsible for the meeting minutes. We also took a vote on whether to endorse the "Peace Tax Fund" [learn more at:] or not. [BTW ... Did you all know that HALF of your tax dollars goes to the military?] The vote was a strong, favorable YEA and only one NAY. I was able to get home to watch the last 37 minutes of CSI Las Vegas. I think it was the season’s last episode and it was intense. Love this show!

More training at work, May 20th, this time for the new telephone system [CISCO]. Yes, I know, can't you feel the excitement mounting? Yawn!

by Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley [1792 - 1822]

Month after month the gathered rains descend
Drenching you secret Ethiopian dells;
And from the desert's ice-girt pinnacles,
Where Frost and Heat in strange embraces blend
On Atlas, fields of moist snow half depend;
Girt there with blasts and meteors, Tempest dwells
By Nile's aerial urn, with rapid spells
Urging those waters to their mighty end.
Over Egypt’s land of Memory floods are level,
And they are thine, O Nile! And well thou knowest
That soul-sustaining airs and blasts of evil,
And fruits and poisons, spring where'er thou flowest.
Beware, O Man! For knowledge must to thee
Like the great flood to Egypt ever by.

On Sunday, May 22nd, I attended a slideshow and lecture regarding the Western world's perception of the Arabs and Middle East. This was held at 1pm at Unitarian All Souls church on upper eastside of Manhattan. The informative lecture was presented by Nissam Watson. Wish I had more info on Nissam Watson, but I don't. My sincere apologies for that. As to the lecture, he stated it’s still a "work in progress", but what we were privy to was fascinating. How "white" Westerns treat other people, nations and cultures over the centuries just sickens me. Thinking their superior and more civilized to everyone else. Far from it! The way many have treated others is cruel, inhumane and even barbaric. And definitely not within the true teachings of Jesus. Okay, mini rant is over, and I'll get off my soapbox.

On Wednesday, May 25th, I attended my very first baseball game at Yankee Stadium. The $5 tickets were courtesy of fellow NYC DoP member. [Karen is a huge Derek Jeter fan.] First of all, you wouldn't know it was the end of May. Good lord, the weather was chilly, windy and abit damp. Definitely not balmy springtime weather. Hell no! Despite the inclements, I had a great time hanging out with Karen, her sister and their friends. Before I left the office I changed into warm, comfy clothes and then headed up to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx via subway. The Lexington Avenue subway stops right outside the stadium, so one doesn't have far to go. I arrived at 6:30pm, purchased a hot chocolate with Cracker Jacks, found my seat up in the nose bleed section and waited for the others to arrive. What an amazing view from up there. Wow!

Yankees were playing against Detroit Tigers that evening and they won the game [4 to 2]. As to the game itself, it lasted about 3 hours and the 5th inning thru 7th was most exciting. At one point I went to buy a t-shirt at the concession stand, plus another hot chocolate. Went into the bathroom to put it over my turtleneck and hooded sweatshirt over that. Yeah baby, it was chilly! Layering is were it’s at, oh yeah, plus I had gloves on to! Also, alot is going on at the stadium that one doesn't see on the telly. Overall experience was totally fascinating, though I silently objected to the "over the top" nationalism on display. Many of you readers will know what I mean ... I'll leave it at that. [More "personal news" coming soon ... stay tuned.]

Gene Stout /

David Swanson / Progressive Newswire

Saturday, June 11, 2005

William Rivers Pitt / Truthout Editorial

Ex-presidential candidate Representative Dennis Kucinich visits Portland in a push to create a Department of Peace.
Kimberly Melton / The Oregonian

NEWS ALERT FROM "ONE" CAMPAIGN -- Real Progress on Fighting Global Poverty
This past week has been an important one, and we have promising news to report back to you. On Tuesday afternoon, President Bush announced progress towards an agreement with the UK on 100% debt cancellation for the world's poorest countries and promised to do more for Africa. The President went so far as to say: "And so when I say we're going to do more, I think you can take that to the bank." And now the U.S. and UK are poised to announce a bold debt cancellation proposal that will erase over $56 billion in debt and quite literally save millions of lives, once the rest of the world's wealthy nations agree. Thank you for adding your name to our letter to President Bush, urging him to do more for those with less. President Bush acted this week because Americans like you care deeply about fighting AIDS and extreme poverty. More than 160,000 people have signed the letter, and the White House is responding. Please take a minute to ask three friends and family members to sign on to the ONE letter to President Bush Even now, crucial meetings and negotiations continue.

Yesterday, seven of the G8 finance ministers meet in London to finish a debt cancellation agreement and discuss what could be a historic plan to make poverty history at the July 6th G8 Summit. On the table is committing to more and better international assistance, debt cancellation and trade reform. Even only a few years ago, it would have been almost impossible to influence these meetings. Today, we can learn about the issues at stake and use every opportunity to make our voices heard as ONE. On Tuesday night, Brad Pitt appeared on ABC's Primetime Live, speaking with America about the emergency in Ethiopia and all of Africa, reminding us that for the cost of only ONE CD, we could send a child to school for ONE year. Whether it is a TV program seen by millions, keeping watch as finance ministers huddle around a table, or a conversation you have with ONE friend or neighbor-- together as ONE, we can win the fight against global AIDS and poverty.

John Cory / Truthout Editorial

Friday, June 10, 2005

Message From Congressman Conyers – Regarding "Downing Street Memo"
Dated June 9th
I wanted to give you a brief update about the DSM activism we have been working on together, and to let you know that I am calling hearings on this issue. When we began, it was just a few of us talking to each other about the troubling information in the DSM. The media is now covering the minutes, not in the sustained and thorough way that is needed, but it is a start. Thanks to you, many Americans who had no idea what we were talking about at the beginning of May have now heard about the DSM. The significance of the President of the United States and Prime Minister of Great Britain being asked about this matter in a joint press conference cannot be overstated. It is a testament to your perseverance.

As some of you may have heard, many, many new organizations have joined us in our efforts or are about to join us in our efforts. Prominently, is collecting signatures for the letter. We have now topped a combined 300,000. At the end of May that number was zero. From zero to 300,000 in less than two weeks. Just think about that. A question often asked on DailyKos (yes, I read the comments) goes something like this: why am I signing this letter? The question is a legitimate one, as you are often asked to sign petitions or letters, and then there is no follow up.

Here is the answer: on Thursday, a week from today, I will be holding a hearing with my Democratic colleagues to begin to hear evidence about the DSM. We will have a number of witnesses, including Joe Wilson, who frequent readers here already know is a WMD expert and former Ambassador; Ray McGovern, a 27-year CIA analyst; Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq; and John Bonifaz, a renowned Constitutional attorney. At the conclusion of the hearing, we will go to Lafayette Park and I will personally deliver your signatures to the White House. This hearing is just one step in an investigation that I am commencing that will literally span the Atlantic. I am in touch with British officials and former U.S. intelligence officials and I am determined to get to the truth.

At the hearing, I will disclose information found to date, which includes the public release of newly discovered documents. While none of these documents are as damning as the DSM, they nonetheless bolster the accuracy of it. There is another point that has been missed of late. An article I read a week ago, I can't remember where, quoted a right wing blogger as proclaiming this a dead issue and further stating that this was a test of the progressive netroots. Implicit was his contention that we were failing that test. A week later, the President was forced to respond (inadequately) to a question about it. We have passed the test. Thanks again for your help and support. This is just the beginning.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

[DUCHESS NOTE -- Yesterday afternoon, via email correspondence, got to chatting with a good friend of mine in Canada about books. [We're both avid readers.] Josee's been reading some really good stuff lately. She'd been searching on the Internet for "greatest novels" lists, then visit her local library, borrow and read them. [I used to do that years ago or borrow from friends. Now I purchase them at bookstores, flea markets, and yard sales.] So I did some Googling and came across two fascinating websites with lists. First one is at Guardian Unlimited[,6903,1061037,00.html] and the second is located at John Fowles Books []. I printed out the Guardians "100 Greatest Novels" list and found out of the 100 listed, I've read about 32. Not bad odds. Likewise, I printed out the "Greatest Novels of the 20th Century" list at John Fowles. Out of their 100 books I'd read only 21. Big sigh! I have alot of catching up to do. Anyhow, on the way home via subway, I got to thinking about the "novels" I have in my apartment bookcases. Its not a big list, as my other reading interests include biographies, mysteries, romance, travel, auto-biographies, royalty, theater, movies and history. So, without further ado, here is my humble list.]

Lost Horizon - James Hilton
Dracula - Bram Stoker
The Canterbury Tales - G.Chaucer
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
The Innocents Abroad - Mark Twain
Life on the Mississippi - Mark Twain
Howards End - E.M. Forester
A Room With A View - E.M. Forester
Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defore
All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque
Cyrano de Bergerac - Edmond Rostand
The Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
The Travels - Marco Polo
Kidnapped - Robert Louis Stevenson
The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo
Swiss Family Robinson - J.D. Wyss
Les Liaisons Dangereuses - Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
The Silmarillion - J.R.R. Tolkien
Little Women - Louisa Mary Alcott
The Scarlett Letter - Nathanial Hawthorne
The House of the Seven Gables - Nathanial Hawthorne
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith
The Scarlett Pimpernel - Baroness Orczy
War & Peace - Leo Tolstoy
All Hallows Eve - Charles Williams
Phantom of the Opera - Gaston Leroux
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Hound of the Baskervilles - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I, Claudius - Robert Graves
Emma - Jane Austen
Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen
Sense & Sensibility - Jane Austen
Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
Northhanger Abbey - Jane Austen
Persuasion - Jane Austen

[Marianne Williamson is Master of Ceremonies ... Also attending the conferece and lending their voice are ... Patch Adams, Walter Cronkite, Congressman Kucinich, Azim Khamisa and Tim Reynolds. The conference is sponsored by "The Peace Alliance". Register for the conference at:]

DEMOCRATIC PARTY ALERTS FROM CARE2 - No Whitewash for Tom Delay -Independent Investigation NOW!!
What happens when you get caught breaking the rules and don't want to be punished? If you're House Majority Leader Tom Delay you change them. The ethically challenged Tom DeLay has repeatedly abused his power, and done everything he can to protect himself. Now DeLay is accused of laundering money and campaign contribution violations, and he is working to sweep it all under the rug. Americans deserve to know the truth! Demand Independent Investigations at:

Known as "the Hammer" among congressional colleagues for his combative style, House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) has received more admonishments for ethical violations from the House ethics committee than any other sitting member of Congress. In fact, he received two scoldings from the committee in a single week in October 2004 ... one for offering his endorsement for the campaign of a congressman's son in exchange for a vote for the Medicare prescription drug bill, and another for appearing to be unduly influenced in legislative decisions - even beyond the norm - by corporate lobbyists willing to make substantial donations to his leadership PACs. Yet "the Hammer" continues to thrive in Washington, and is now at the center of more investigations of corruption and ethical abuses.

The Ethics Committee has the power to investigate illegal conduct like DeLay's - but it has been stacked with partisans who are flush with DeLay's campaign contributions and who are fearful of his retribution. It's easy to see the lesson in the DeLay saga ... sitting members of Congress are the very worst watchdogs for policing ethics in Congress. If we are ever to remove partisan politics from ethics and ensure that our representatives act honorably and according to the standards the American public demands, we need to establish an independent agency - free from partisan loyalties and from campaign money - to monitor and enforce ethics in Congress.

Americans deserve fair investigations - and Americans deserve to know thetruth. Join us in calling for fair and independent investigations bysigning our petition at:

HUMAN RIGHTS ALERTS - Help Amnesty International Build Momentum For Investigation
If you've seen the news over the last week, you know about the release of our partner Amnesty International's Annual Report and their criticisms of human rights abuses by the U.S. government in Guantanamo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other detention camps around the world. You may have heard Bill Schulz, their Executive Director, on NPR or seen him on CNN, NBC, or Hardball. Amnesty has exposed widespread abuses. Now we're asking you to help Amnesty build momentum for an independent commission and appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate fully what happened in these detention centers and hold anyone responsible accountable. Please click here:

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

"Congressman John Conyers Talks About Bush Lying America Into War and His Campaign to Hold Bush Accountable - The Downing Street Memo and More" ... A BuzzFlash Interview

Ask your Senator to speak out! The Downing Street Minutes and the conduct of the Bush Administration as they prepared for war in Iraq must be discussed at a national level and the American people should know about it! Please ask your Senator to speak out about the Downing Street Minutes. Also, go to Senator Kennedy's website to sign the petition and leave a message. Peace & Solidarity!


John Nichols, The Nation
At a time when the federal government is dominated by right-wing Republicans, and when liberal state governments are rare, cities are electing a new generation of progressives.

Arianna Huffington, AlterNet
During his 'Meet the Press' appearance, RNC chair Ken Mehlman was allowed to distort, twist, manipulate and obfuscate his way through every stop on the disinformation highway.
[Duchess Note ... It really boggles the mind how many Americans believe the lying crap that comes out of the corrupt, greedy, insensitive mouths of morons like Mehlman.]

Esther Cohen, Pacific News Service
In a recent survey, a vast majority of Americans reported wanting to write a book. But about 194,000 books were published last year, and nervous publishers hope the readers are out there.

Tim Wise, The Black Commentator
There are more than two million reported incidents of housing discrimination each year. Here's how the Right justifies housing inequality.

Charles Schwab is one of the few investment firms actively supporting President George W. Bush's plan to privatize Social Security, which would cut guaranteed retirement benefits drastically. But Schwab says it's not taking a position on privatization. That's double talk. Please take a minute to demand that Schwab's board of directors tell the truth about the firm's support for Social Security privatization. Click on the link be lowor keep reading:

CEO Chuck Schwab claims his firm doesn't take a position on Social Security privatization--but Schwab is STILL a member of the group that is leading the attack on Social Security. Schwab's board is responsible for management oversight. The board should act now to prevent Chuck Schwab's Social Security double talk from damaging the firm's credibility. At this year's shareholder meeting, a majority of investors voted for more board accountability by demanding annual election of all directors. It's time the board takes action. Tell the Schwab board to stop Chuck Schwab's Social Security double talk. While Schwab makes millions handling retirement savings for working people, it's working directly against our interests by supporting Social Security privatization--which would slash guaranteed benefits and sentence millions of retired workers to poverty. The more people learn about privatized Social Security accounts, the less they like the idea. When you cut through the double talk, here are the facts about Social Security privatization and Charles Schwab:

1] Privatizing Social Security would slash guaranteed benefits and explode the federal debt--but financial services firms like Schwab could make billions in fees and commissions for managing privatized accounts.

2] Schwab is a member of the Alliance for Worker Retirement Security, the leading business-backed lobbying group supporting Social Security privatization.

3] Schwab has funded the Cato Institute, a longtime backer of Social Security privatization.

4] Schwab Executive Vice President William Atwell is on the board of the Securities Industry Association--another big supporter of privatizing Social Security.

5] Schwab executives have been players in strategy sessions with White House officials.

6] Schwab's chief investment strategist, Liz Ann Sonders, endorsed private accounts, and Chuck Schwab--the CEO--said, "Me personally, I think private accounts clearly are one of the very important things to be considered for the long-term solution of Social Security." (San Francisco Chronicle, May1, 2005)

7] Schwab cites its 2003 and 2004 support for the New Democratic Network (NDN) as evidence it backs both sides--but NDN says Schwab's contributions back then had nothing to do with Social Security. In fact, at that time NDN's founders and its website had supported private accounts.

POLITICAL ALERTS FROM CARE2 - Tell Pharmacies to Dispense Medication, Not Morality!

Yesterday, June 7th, was the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that recognized married couples' right to use birth control. This came about when the Supreme Court struck down a Connecticut statute that prohibited the use of birth control in the decision Griswold v.Connecticut. While in 1965 the high court ruled that the Connecticut statute violated the Constitutional right to marital privacy, today we are dangerously close to losing these hard won privacy rights. Take action:

Women across the country now face an alarming trend of anti-choice pharmacists denying them their legally prescribed medications due to personal objections to birth control. Some pharmacists even go so far as to lecture women, humiliate them, or refuse to hand back the prescription after they refuse to fill it. Yet most women don't even know this is happening, much less what they can do about it. Let's make sure that pharmacies provide women - indeed all of us - with our doctor-prescribed medication without delay or inconvenience.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Wes Boyd, Adam Werbach, Van Jones, George Lakoff and Lakshmi Chaudhry
Those who dwell in the nation's progressive oases must learn to communicate and connect with a much broader swath of Americans. Our panel of progressive thinkers tackles the problem.


We urge you to lead an historic deal with other nations to help Africa and the poorest nations overcome global AIDS and extreme poverty. Together as ONE, we can make poverty history this July ...

Monday, June 06, 2005


Bill Moyers, AlterNetWashington is a divided city -- not between north and south as in Lincoln's time, but between those who can buy all the government they want and those who can't even afford a seat in the bleachers.

David Cay Johnston, NY Times

Dan Frosch, AlterNet
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is leading the charge to deny assistance to the families who need itthe most.

Commentary by Jason Leopold

Ann Farmer, Women's eNews
As the government shows more interest in seizing reproductive health histories, women are becoming more tight-lipped with doctors.

Tom Barry, International Relations Center

Erika Gies, Grist Magazine
Craigslist has been helping strangers connect online since 1995. Now the Web site's namesake foundation is developinga new environmental network.

In Reidy Friendship Hall, Unitarian Church of All Souls (80th & Lexington Avenue in NYC)
Screening of a documentary film by Heidi Dehncke-Fisher and Gordon T. Skinner
Running time is 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. 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 Education Committee and Action for Justice of Community Church).

Sunday, June 05, 2005


On Saturday, May 7th, headed up to Yonkers to do volunteer work at Joanne’s ferret shelter. I hadn't visited the shelter in 2 months, as both Joanne and I were busy with many commitments and of course, Easter holiday. The two hyper dogs met me at the door, along with Joanne. Once we got them calmed down we could discuss shelter updates and inform me to be careful with two furkids. As they were known to bite or nip now and then. The weather, though abit cool outside, was turning out to be a sunny day. Outside the shelter door, in Joanne’s garden, is a large lovely crab apple tree, which was in full bloom. So very pretty. Took care of all my duties, which includes grooming the furkids. It’s my second time in taking care of clipping their front paw nails. Always an interesting task, as one has to place a ferret on its back, deposit enough Ferrotone on its belly and once the fuzzy is busy licking that up you grab the paws and clip away. A few give me a hard time, but most of the fuzzies are relatively easy to work with.

Once that was taken care of a woman and her daughter from Brooklyn showed up with their DEW named Popcorn. They'd just lost a ferret to illness and were looking to find a new friend for Popcorn. After much discussion with Joanne, they left Popcorn at the shelter for a week to get acquainted with other furkids. If he formed a bond with a particular furkid, then that was the fuzzy they would adopt. During our "tea break" Joanne and I discussed our health situations, plus touched on some world event topics. After finishing up in the shelter I caught the train back to NYC. Another fun, productive and therapeutic visit to fuzziville. I love getting my fuzzy fix. :-)

Recently, at work, we've been having several mandatory training classes. On May 6th it was regarding TELR Submission Issues and the May 9th class concerned Self-Appraisal training. They always seem to have these training classes in the afternoon, when one starts feeling abit "tired" at 3pmish. Geez!

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... The worst government is the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression. H.L. Mencken

On Wednesday, May 11th, was the monthly NY Dept of Peace [DoP] District Team Leader conference call at 9pm. This was hosted by Kevin, who did a great job and it'll become a bi-monthly call. [Unfortunately I missed the next two DTL conference calls due to prior commitments.] As we District Team Leaders have much to do before the re-introduction of the DoP bill in mid-September. About 9 NY state District Team Leaders [ie: David, Linda, Carol, Kevin, Tim, Pricilla, Ellen, Joe and I] were able to connect to the call, which lasted over an hour and was very productive. [I live in District 12.] What was fascinating, to me, is that many Team Leaders learned about the DoP via Marianne Williamsons work and lectures. I learned about it while doing volunteer work on the Kucinich 2004 Presidential campaign. Through all walks of life we come together to support and promote peace. Yeah baby!

[Photo taken by the Duchess at the April 29, 2005 Kucinich event out at Shelter Rock in Long Island.]

On Saturday, May 14th, I had a one hour workout session with my personal trainer [Marie] at a Ballys Gym in Manhattan. It was a great workout ... just wish they'd circulate cooler air in that gym. Damn it gets warm and I went through a whole bottle of water in an hour. Mon dieu! Since 1995 I've worked with four personal trainers and Marie is my fourth. [Haven't a clue as to what happened to Jamie. Guess he went MIA.] Plus Marie is also married to a fellow NYC Chapter DoP member.

Keen, fitful gusts are whispering here and there
Among the bushes, half leafless and dry,
The stars look very cold about the sky,
And I have many miles on foot to fare.
Yet feel I little of the cool bleak air,
Or of the dead leaves rustling drearily,
Or of those silver lamps that burn on high,
Or of the distance from home's pleasant lair;
For I am brimful of the friendliness
That in a little cottage I have found;
Of fair-hair'd Milton's eloquent distress,
And all his love for gentle Lycid drown'd;
Of lovely Laura in her light green dress,
And faithful Petrarch gloriously crown'd.

Took a personal day from work on Monday, May 16th. Had a lengthy doctor's visit at my neighborhood clinic regarding a respiratory problem I've been experiencing for many months. When I mean lengthy ... it was mostly due to alot of waiting around [good thing I brought a book to read] in between many tests, X-rays and talking with the doctor or nurse. Was there from 11:30am to 3:30pm! [Damn, was I hungry when I left and made a beeline for the health food shop to purchase a vegetarian burrito. Which I wolfed down.] The outcome of it all is that I have a small infection in my right lung and cholesterol is 221. My doctor said no fried foods, butter nor eggs. I have to be re-tested again in 3 months for cholesterol. Must get it down past 200. As to the lung situation, they are awaiting the X-ray results and a urine test. [Oh joy!] An amusing incident occurred while I was waiting to get X-ray'd. In the waiting area outside X-ray room, I sat reading my book, when a cute young Polish man showed up and sat down. He tried to flirt and make small talk. All good and well ... but his English was very limited and I speak no Polish. Despite all that he was very charming. ;-)


On June 8, Dennis will introduce the Homeward Bound Act, the bill he and Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) have been preparing to set a date certain for ending the occupation of Iraq. Watch for details.

Dennis Kucinich and more than 90 other Members of Congress signed a letter to President Bush written by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Ranking Minority Member of the House Judiciary Committee, seeking answers to troubling questions raised by the leaked minutes of a U.S./U.K. meeting in 2002. According to the minutes of this meeting, published on May 1 by the London Times and now commonly known as the Downing Street Minutes (or, incorrectly, the Downing Street Memo), U.S. and U.K. officials met months before Congress was consulted about going to war and discussed creating a pretext for the invasion of Iraq. The minutes include the following quote about an earlier meeting between the head of British Military Intelligence and the Bush Administration:

"Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the
conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were
being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route,
and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record.
There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military

We are all being asked to sign a letter similar to the one the Members of Congress sent. Somewhere around 100,000 signatures [Duchess was one of those who signed] already have been collected and Rep. Conyers has announced an updated goal of 250,000. Read and sign the letter at

The United States National Health Insurance Act, H.R. 676, is the key legislation calling for single-payer universal health care - Medicare for All - introduced by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and co-sponsored by Dennis Kucinich. 39 other cosponsors have signed onto the bill as of June 2, many within the last two weeks. Please check to see if your Representative is a cosponsor and, if not, call or fax him or her and explain very briefly why this legislation is important to you. Find your Representative's contact information using the Zip Code search at the top of