Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Michelle Goldberg, AlterNet
The largest and most powerful mass movement in the nation -- evangelical Christianity -- has set out to destroy secular society.
[DUCHESS NOTE - Not only the American "secular society" but the rest of the world too. These people are NOT compassionate nor caring of their fellow human beings. They have an agenda and its not pretty. From what I gather they really don't follow the loving, liberal teachings of Jesus. Far from it! If they do take over our beloved country, I am so moving to Canada or Europe. I want to be were I have a right to freedom of expression, universal healthcare and not be forced to follow one religion. Have no desire to live in a society that is based on military, police state, dictatorship and Orwellian. Its getting darn close to that under this Bush Regime. Why aren't more Americans fed up and taking to the streets.?!? Are most of you so complacent that it doesn't matter?!? Throw off the shackles of your lethargic mood and take back your country from these evil buggers. If we don't take to the streets to protest, these buggers will trample us into dust. Demand Peace, Truth & Justice!]

Robert Parry, Consortium News
Contrary to the official story, the Bush administration did whatever it could to help Enron as the company began to go under.

Krista Walton, LA CityBeat
The author of 'The Omnivore's Dilemma' discusses how we demonize food, eat too much corn, and read too much 'grocery lit.'

Don Hazen on Montana's insurgent Dem, Jon Tester, taking off in Senate primary

Deanna Zandt on citizens filing requests for their phone records to bereleased -- and being unceremoniously denied

KUCINICH: At A Time When Iran Reaches Out To US; US Participates In Phony Diplomacy Setting The Course For War
Kucinich: US Should Listen To IAEA Head El Baradei Who Says Iran Not An Immediate Nuclear Threat

Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), Ranking Member of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, issued the following statement today on Iran:

“The US must not participate in phony diplomacy and diplomatic head fakes in order to force our nation, and the world, into war with Iran. Iran has reached out to the United States seeking negotiations to end the current stand-off peacefully. The United States should enter into direct, high-level, negotiations with Iran to peacefully end this stand off. This is exactly what over 70 Members of Congress stated last week when they signed onto a letter, I authored, to President Bush. Setting conditions on such talks appears to be an effort to ensure their failure and will only put this nation on the fast track to another unnecessary war. The US and the world community would be well served to listen to the words of the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mohamed El Baradei who stated yesterday that Iran is not an immediate nuclear threat.”

“This Administration, once again assisted by a gullible media, seems determined to repeat the very mistakes that led this nation into, and keeps us in, the ill-advised war in Iraq. A peaceful solution to the stand-off with Iran must be the top domestic priority of our nation. The US must begin direct negotiations with Iran, at the highest level, and without predetermined conditions set to ensure failure. War with Iran can, and must be, avoided.”

Last week, Kucinich authored a letter, also signed by over 70 Members of Congress, urging President Bush to begin direct negotiations with Iran to end the current stand off.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Just a few updates from the Tasini campaign. First, we are delighted to announce that Jonathan has been endorsed by the Downtown Independent Democrats, a very active club in lower Manhattan. This is one more in a steady stream of endorsements by progressive Democratic clubs in NYC and all around the state. Check out our blog for the latest announcements:

Jonathan is at the moment cycling toward Rochester on his way to Buffalo for the State Democratic Convention. As you know, he is carrying a petition calling for an end to the war in Iraq. If you haven't already, please go the website and sign the petition, and forward the link along to your friends. We'd like to present thousands of signatures at the convention and let them know that this resolution really deserves a debate on the floor.

Interview with Desmond Tutu
by Mark Tompkins
For the Peace Alliance
At the Quest for Global Healing Conference
May, 2006, Bali, Indonesia

What are your thoughts on the movement to establish Ministries and Departments of Peace in governments worldwide?

DESMOND TUTU: It’s an extraordinary idea and, it fills one with a great deal of excitement and exhilaration, and it sounds crazy, but then I think it was crazy when Gandhi said we’re going to work so that eventually India is free. It must have been crazy when Martin Luther King Jr. also said we’re going to make civil rights a real issue in the United States, and maybe when Nelson Mandela and others said one day apartheid will be no more, that we need those like yourselves who dream dreams and say, "It is possible. It is possible for people to know that war is not natural."

People have been able to live peacefully together, but if they live peacefully together after war, why should they have war first before they can realize that it is a great deal better. War is not nice to children, it’s not nice to people, it’s not nice to the environment. And so I say go for it. This is marvelous. Go for it and really be crazy and say, one day we’ll ask, "Why were we so stupid for so long because of something so obvious?" Saying let us put our massive investment that we are putting right now in instruments of death and destruction, let us put them into something that is creative, that is life-enhancing teaching kids that there are ways of resolving differences that don’t need to be violent. You can sit down and ultimately say, "You know, actually, an enemy is a friend waiting to be made."

TIME Magazine
Letter to the Editor
The Following letter was published in TIME magazine recently, in response to an article about Senator Mark Dayton. Thanks to all in the Dept of Peace campaign who wrote in to the magazine and congratulations to Matt Rotella in Pennsylvania.

"The resolution to create a Federal Department of Peace and Nonviolence that Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton introduced was portrayed as an impractical liberal endeavor. In fact, that idea is neither impractical nor liberal. It is commonsense. The proposed legislation strives to establish a framework for resolving conflicts without military aggression. Will it prevent all future conflict? No. Will it reduce the amount of violence? The answer is yes. Is it worth a try? Yes! I tip my hat to Senator Dayton for standing his ground on what he believes, something that seems to be rare on Capitol Hill these days."
West Chester, Pa.

LIVING WITH WAR - The occupation of Iraq Helps Three Established Musicians Create Some of the Best Work of Their Careers
By Brian Smith, Daily Vanguard
May 26, 2006

It's been a little over three years since the United States of America invaded Iraq. Public opinion on the issue was divided before the invasion began and hasn't calmed down since. And as body counts and the price of everything from freedom to gasoline has risen, President Bush's approval rating has continued to slide downward. For many in the U.S.A., though, the day-to-day onslaught in Iraq remains a distant topic - something briefly seen and noted in the news, then just as quickly discarded. Yet for rock artists Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam, the United States' occupation of Iraq is still a burning issue. All three have recently released LPs that directly comment on the situation in Iraq. Coincidentally, all three albums are high-watermarks in each artist's career.

While Pearl Jam has openly discussed politics since the band began in 1991, Young's Living With War and Springsteen's We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions are in many ways the first time the artists have used their commercial artistic medium to loudly and vividly sing what can best be described as "protest songs." Granted, Springsteen has always been topical. Born to Run and Born in the U.S.A. were filled with images of a worn-out, downtrodden American working class. Creating a wondrous world of lost lovers and all-or-nothing laborers who constantly battled the cold realities of America and lost, Springsteen was a champion of and for the common person. In the 2004 presidential election, he was a co-headliner (along with Pearl Jam) on the Vote for Change tour. And Springsteen spoke and performed during the final days of John Kerry's presidential campaign, warming up the crowd prior to Kerry's on-stage appearances.

Young has dipped his toes in politics before as well. He made passionate guest appearances on the Vote for Change tour. He wrote "Let's Roll" following the downing of Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001. His "Ohio" is perhaps the finest protest song ever written by anyone who isn't Bob Dylan. And LPs such as Mirrorball, On the Beach and Hawks and Doves were all filled with stark portraits of an America at a loss as to how to define itself. But as the United States' occupation of Iraq has changed the world as of late, Young, Springsteen and Pearl Jam have found a common ground in their reaction and outrage to the new world order. Moreover, there is a striking similarity in the tone, demeanor and outlook of the songs that each artist has recently recorded.

"What does it mean when a war has taken over?" sings a defiant Ed Vedder in "World Wide Suicide," the blistering first single from Pearl Jam. "All foreign wars I do proclaim, live on blood and a mother's pain," Springsteen improvs in the Irish folk tune "Mrs. McGrath". "I'd rather have my son as he used to be, than the king of America and his whole Navy." Young is even more vitriolic. "And as the dawn breaks I see my fellow man," Young sings in his customary shaky tone. "And on the flat-screen we kill and we're killed again." As each artist's lyrics converge and meet on the same battlefield, so does the music that serves as their background.

On Living With War, the chameleon-like Young changes his sound once again. Stripping his arrangements back down (following the Grand Ole Opry big-band sound found on Prairie Wind), Young harkens back to his Rust Never Sleeps and Ragged Glory days. The guitar is thick and overtly distorted. Rhythmic chords charge while long, held notes shriek. A trumpet blares. Bass is simple and low. The drumming is tight and minimalistic. And a 100-person chorus backs Young as he delivers a sermon that would have President Bush in a confession box if he ever actually heard the songs. Springsteen matches Young's fire. Using only acoustic instruments, Springsteen re-opens graves and wounds via folk songs that have been sung (loudly) in barrooms and on stages for centuries. Horns, violins, a banjo, acoustic guitars, rolling drums and a rollicking backing chorus create an explosion of sound.

Sounding like an aged, impassioned general barking out orders to his troops, it's as if Springsteen has discovered the fountain of youth. But he's seen too much go down in the last three years to take a drink. Lastly, Pearl Jam can be read in a variety of ways. A 13-song testament to the perils of war, the insides of a soldier's head. A unified collection of characters, each of whom has been touched and left worse off by the policies of the Bush administration. Or, simply, a fiery, straight forward, propulsive rock record that has the band sounding better than The Who in their prime. Take your pick. However one sees it, though, it cannot be ignored that, lyrically, the LP takes the same reigns that Young and Springsteen hold on their albums. In their own way, each artist is making a declaration ... enough.

Vedder, a disciple of Young and Springsteen, is fond of Mike Watt's statement that "all of this manure will make for good fertilizer." Watt is right. It's taken three years of war and chaos, but Young, Springsteen and Pearl Jam have each released some of the best work of their long, storied careers. And people are listening. Each album has debuted in the top five of Billboard's sales charts. So, the question instantly arises: just what are the listeners going to do with the new sounds?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Every time you make a purchase on from the “New Yorkers for a Department of Peace” (NY-DoP) website:

A portion of the revenue goes to NY-DoP. And the best part of it is that it does not cost you anything extra! NY-DoP and Amazon have an agreement in which any time there is a click-through from the NY-DoP page; Amazon will give a revenue share back to NY-DoP. This system works for all items available on Amazon, not just the ones listed on the NY-DoP page. So start shopping.
[Duchess Note – Those of you who are regular readers of my blog, please feel free in sharing the above info with friends and family. Peace & Truth!]


Mischa Gaus, In These Times
From college loans to soaring health costs and mortgage payments, twenty-something’s face a life of staring into a deep financial hole.

Joshua Holland, AlterNet
David Sirota discusses how Big Business is feeding the American public a pack of lies -- and why you should be good and angry about it.

Pass the Bread
by Bill Moyers

Why I Spoke Up
by Jean Roh

Jim Hightower, Hightower Lowdown
While claiming that they must 'secure' America for a post-9/11 world, the BushCheney zealots are taking us back to a pre-1776 world.

Elizabeth Spiro Clark,
In his unwillingness to negotiate with Iranian leaders, Bush is allowing the situation to escalate into a stand-off -- and probable war.
[DUCHESS NOTE - The evil bastards within the corrupt Bush Regime will never negotiate with anyone on anything. They have their own horrendous agenda and will not stop until they attain their goals. They'll keep using our soldiers for cannon fodder in other parts of the world without batting an eyelash. These people have no souls, no compassion, just pure arrogance and evil. They are the top terrorists in the world today. What can Americans do? We must ALL unite together under one banner and take them out in a nonviolent manner. Just like Gandhi. Become empowered and leave fear behind. We The People shall prevail!]

Talk-Show Joe
by Paul Krugman

Can Things Get Any Worse?
by Molly Ivins

Amanda Griscom Little, Grist Magazine
Gore is launching a book, a movie, and a new environmental group with one mission: convincing Americans that climate change is real.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, AlterNet
Bush knows that the Senate's English-only amendments are empty symbolism, at best.

Annalee Newitz, AlterNet
Why do so few American citizens care that our own government is spying on us?

Tasini campaign has landed the endorsement of Susan Sarandon; add that to the endorsement of six chapters of Progressive Democrats of America (we just got the Erie County chapter endorsement May 21st!), the Rochester Democracy for America (May 21st!), Village Independent Democrats (the Villager newspaper called the endorsement the "biggest upset of the night"), and Brooklyn Democrats for Change (and toss in a position of "no endorsement" from two other clubs which is a victory for us because a majority of people voted against the incumbent). Sarandon's endorsement was widely reported from the Drudge Report to the Huffington Post to WNBC and other media outlets.

Jonathan Tasini's bike Ride for Peace is garnering attention nationwide. Halfway through the Ride, we have met with large numbers of people and hundreds have signed the petition calling for the end to the Iraq War. Press attention on the campaign has grown dramatically (you can find all this on the website at from widespread coverage on the major television stations in Albany to Mike Malloy's Air America show to the influential Capitol Hill newspaper, Roll Call.

[Duchess Note - Okay people, time to vote the incumbent out and put Tasini in the NY Senate seat! So he can do actual work for us in NY and will not ignore our concerns. Hillary is all for roping in corporate funds, keeping our troops in the Middle East and screwing us over again and again. I SAY ENOUGH! Let’s vote out Ms Republican Lite!]

PRESS RELEASE From The Coalition to Ban Depleted Uranium
For Immediate Release:
May 21, 2006

The Coalition to Ban Depleted Uranium (CBDU), a Bronx - Westchester based advocacy group, will present a forum at the Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture on Monday, June 12 from 7 - 9 PM. The forum, entitled "Depleted Uranium: Destroying Veterans Lives/Polluting the Global Environment", is designed to raise awareness of a critical issue affecting the health and lives of veterans of the first Gulf War, the Balkans, Afghanistan, as well as troops currently serving in or just returning from Iraq, and how this material will pose a continuing environmental and health hazard for centuries to come. The forum will also serve to help CBDU forge alliances with groups, such as the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW), whose purpose is to stop the manufacture, sale and use of DU weapons worldwide.

Depleted Uranium (DU) is the residue resulting from the enrichment of Uranium for use in nuclear weapons and power plants. It is both radioactive and a toxic metal. In a recent study, it was shown that DU binds with DNA which can result in mutations that can cause severe birth defects. Tens of thousands of soldiers have been exposed to DU's damaging effects since the first Gulf War. The military, VA and U.S. government will not admit that DU poses a problem.

Participating in the forum will be Frida Berrigan, writer and Senior Research Associate at the Arms Trade Resource Center of the World Policy Institute in New York, and daughter of famed activists Elizabeth McAlister and the late Philip Berrigan; Rev. Lucius Walker, Executive Director of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) and founder of Pastors for Peace, who recently visited Iraq; and retired SSgt. Raymond Ramos of the New York National Guard, who has tested positive for DU exposure as a result of his tour of duty in Iraq, and is one of 12 soldiers currently suing the U.S. government to have their conditions acknowledged and treated.

The Society for Ethical Culture is located at 4450 Fieldston Road Bronx, NY, 10471. For more information, call 718-594-1601 or visit the website

After passing a $70 billion tax giveaway that goes mostly to the wealthiest Americans, Congress is already at it again. While that $70 billion boondoggle will cost working families in cuts to student loans, child care, job training, services for the elderly and many health programs, Congress is set to give another big break to the richest of the rich. Congress is debating repealing the estate tax, which affects just the richest one-quarter of one percent of the population. And while only the very wealthiest would benefit from a repeal of the estate tax, the cost to working families would be enormous: $1 trillion in the first 10 years, according to government figures. Tell your senators to stop giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and work for working families for a change. Click the link below to take action:

Supporters repealing the estate tax--a few wealthy families financing a huge propaganda campaign--have tried to paint it as a "death tax" that eats up inheritances as low as $1,000. But only those whose estates are worth more than $2 million (or $4 million for couples) are affected under the current law, meaning only the very richest Americans--just 0.27 percent of families--pay the tax. The Bush administration and its allies in Congress have made their priorities clear. More tax breaks for the wealthy and cuts to the programs working families rely on. Contact your senators today and tell them these priorities aren't your priorities.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Posted by NativeTexan News

Participated in the Tuesday, May 2nd, National Dept of Peace conference call at 9pm. [Had to miss an episode of HOUSE on the telly, but anything for DoP is worth it.] Really good call this evening with Matthew and Lynn as the moderators, plus Mary Jane LaVigne as guest speaker. Main topic of conversation and discussion was the upcoming Mothers Day "Peace of the Pie" campaign to many congressional offices. Mention of a recent Zobsby survey said that ... "82% agree that lack of job training and education cause more crime". One of our short and long term goals, via this call, is to learn how to talk/field questions for eventually speaking on "Talk Radio" regarding Dept of Peace campaign. The different chapters will implement workshops on how to do 10-minute talks, tailor it to radio audiences and how to plan a speech. Our NYC chapter will commence working on this sometime in June. Overall it was a good call and always inspiring to hear others dedicated to this worthy cause.

On Wednesday, May 3rd, I attended the monthly DFNYC meetup in East Village [11th Street] of Manhattan. There were four of us at the meetup and managed to cover all of the agenda. If interested in learning more about DFNYC go to ... ... One of the topics of discussion was the soon to be released Al Gore/Davis Guggenheim documentary called "An Inconvenient Truth". Opening up in cinema's on May 24th and is about global warming. The Bush Regime is trying to convince us there is no such thing and as always they are lying through their teeth. It’s real, very real. Other topics of discussion were Brooklyn Candidate Forum, AIDS Walk, Discharge Petition on Iraq and Freedom of Choice Act. This latter legislation is already in House [HR5151] and Senate [S2593]. As concerned Americans, we must always bring up these topics to our representatives. Send those emails, faxes, snail mail or call them. If we don't they'll think we don't care. I know we care; we have to for the sake of America's children.

On Tuesday, May 9th, I attended a NYC DoP special planning meeting. Those of us [ie: Karen, Carol, Rob, Liz, Priscilla and I] who attended worked on our first fundraiser letter and mailing. [I so enjoy working with this terrific group of individuals. I find renewed hope, inspiration and faith from the warmth of us all.] This was mailed out that evening and hope the "returns" are favorable. [May the spirits of Gandhi, Mother Teresa & Martin Luther King smile down on us. As well as other DoP chapters throughout the US.] Several of our NYC DoP "core team" members, including me, contributed names/addresses for this mailing list database. We also discussed the latest in our scheduled plans for "Gandhi 100" and the progress on that is moving slowly, but favorably. I got home in time to watch the last 5 minutes of GILMORE GIRLS season finale, and watch a whole episode of HOUSE. I was not at all thrilled with the tiny bit I saw of "Gilmore Girls". And now the wait until September brings a new season ... damn you Lorelei & Luke!

Pearl Jam Concert
Review by Duchess
Albany, NY
May 12, 2006
Took the day off from work on Friday, May 12th, so I could prepare and then head up to Albany to see my fav band live. Left NYC on Trailways bus from Port Authority around 12:30pm and arrived into Albany at 3:10pm. Tried to do some reading of my new book "Sharpe's Tiger". Ended up listening to my walkman to drown out three people on bus snoring while they napped. Frustrating as all hell. Anyhow, I checked into Red Carpet Inn after departing the bus terminal. They did not give me room selection I originally requested via phone. I wanted a room AWAY from the thruway, so the damn noise wouldn't bother me while sleeping. So I got them to change it to near the courtyard and much quieter. I left word at the front desk that when Josee and Mark showed up that they could come right to the room. We were sharing the accommodations. They showed up about 30 minutes after I arrived. Josee and I greeted each other with a hug and hearty exclamation of MF! Have I mentioned that MFs rule?!? [Hard to explain and only a few other MFs would understand.] Josee was traveling with another PJ fan acquaintance [Mark] to cut down on travel expenses, plus get good tix. I hadn't seen Josee since I visited Canada in late summer 2004. Don't know about anyone else, but I enjoyed my visit to Canada.

We hung out abit at the hotel, talked about the Toronto gigs and then headed up to the Pepsi Arena. It was a miserable weather day ... rain and cool. I already had my ticket via Ticketmaster. Mark picked up their Ten Club tickets from the box office, while Josee and I checked out PJ t-shirts. Vendors were selling out the variety of t-shirts, hats, stickers to excited fans. I purchased a pretty blue t-shirt with new album cover pix on front and tour dates on back. While this was going on we could hear the band doing a sound check inside the arena. Oh yeah! Mark also briefly hooked up with some friends to give them their tix. Then the three of us headed off to find a place to nosh on food. We found a place just up Pearl Street from the venue. Wasn't the greatest place and the waitress service sucked. Josee and Mark noshed on food, while I had a coffee flavor milkshake. Through all this Josee and I were catching up on news and gossip. We headed back to the hotel to utilize the bathroom and take care of last minute stuff before going to the venue.

Arrived at the Pepsi Arena and waited on a long line to go through security check. No trouble at all. Security guard basically just looked inside the fanny pack at my waistline. Did a bathroom break before heading to our seats down in the "floor" area of the arena. My seat wasn't great, but it wasn't bad either, due to the venue not being on a large scale. Josee and Mark were lucky. Their seats were 7th row right in front of where Jeff Ament would be on stage. Lucky folk! We didn't have to wait too long for the warm-up band to come out. Some group from Kentucky called "My Morning Jacket" and their music is okay. I utilized my earplugs to keep my hearing fresh for when Pearl Jam hit the stage. After the warm-up band finished a 40+ minute set Josee and I did another bathroom break. Oh gosh, the waiting for Pearl Jam to come on stage was building to a crescendo. Just before 9pm Ed and Boom came out to start with "Wasted Reprise". . . .

I have faced it
A life wasted
I am never going back again
I escaped it
A life wasted
I am never going back again
Having tasted
A life wasted
I am never going back again

I had listened to this on the new CD several times, but hearing Ed sing it live made me think of it differently. Listening to it now, I thought how my life is slowly evolving for the better since February 15, 2003 [ie: peace rally against possible invasion Iraq]. Then the rest of the band came onstage on started rocking thru several tunes ... Life Wasted, Worldwide Suicide, Severed Hand [ie: awesome light show during this number] and Do The Evolution. Throughout all this I'm standing at my seat dancing my butt off. One could instantly tell that the band would be on fire this evening and the crowd is lovin it all. Buckle your seat belts kiddies’ cause we're in for a ride. WooHoo! Next they did "Elderly Woman" and then one of my fav songs ... "Given to Fly". Lets be honest here, I'm basically watching the left side of the stage. My fav band members are Jeff [bass] and Mike [lead guitar]. Jeff is looking soooo good, as always, and the only things colorful on him are his assortment of bass guitars. Man needs a new wardrobe other than basic black, but I still adore him. Mike is sporting glasses, which look so adorable on him, and multi-dyed hair. And Ed is back to the long hair and beard semi-Jesus look.

Next on the set list was "Red Mosquito". Oh yeah! Happy to hear this song live, as it’s a fav of mine. Next they kicked into "Even Flow" with Mike going full tilt in the guitar solo. He was all over the stage! Ed talked abit before the next song about Bush Regime giving $70 billion tax break for the rich. Audience booed references to the Bush Regime. As for me, I screamed out "f--k the rich" and "death to the rich" with my fist raised in passionate protestation. Those standing near me slowly inched away in alarm. Oh yeah, I'm such a rebel at times, but also a peacemaker too. [Smiling] Ed dedicated "Army Reserve" to those military families who are suffering throughout this illegal occupation in Iraq. This brought huge cheers from the crowd. After that they play "Daughter" with a Pink Floyd tag, "Off He Goes" and "Gone". The next song is another fav of mine ... Grievance. I sang along with gusto to this song and must of alarmed folk again standing around me. [LOL] Especially when I passionately sang ... "pledge my grievance to the flag, you don't give blood and take it back again". They then played "Jeremy", which puts Jeff into the spotlight and I so loved that. OMG! I couldn't believe they were playing one of my fav songs from the new CD ... Marker In The Sand. WooHoo! They finished first part of the set with "Comatose" and "Why Go".

After a break of 5 minutes or so, Ed came out with guitar and harmonica to sing "Hide Your Love Away". Then the rest of the band came out and they launched into "Satan’s Bed". Wow, this is a song one doesn't hear live all that often. Yeah, it’s a rarity. I was hoping I'd get thru at least one Pearl Jam gig without hearing the next song ... Wishlist ... sorry folk but it’s not a fav of mine. In fact, I find it boring and annoying. Then Ed talked about Albany's sport teams and especially the River Rats. I'm soooo hoping that one of my fav songs from an earlier album would be played. Oh gosh, it’s only been played twice in 12 years. I damn near pee'd my jeans when they kicked into RATS. Yes! Yes! Yes! They rounded out the first encore with a long version and jam session of "Porch". After a short break they came back on to play to the back of the arena. Mike was standing on top of some amps and they kicked into "Last Kiss".

The last four songs of this second encore were GREAT ... "Come Back", "Sad", "Crazy Mary" [love it!] and an amazing rendition of ALIVE. Audience was soooo into this last song. What a terrific evening and 2 1/2 hours of great music. Just before the band was to head off stage, Jeff put on a Bush face mask to cavort around the stage and grab his crotch. It was so funny. Then the band members [ie: Mike, Ed, Jeff, Matt, Stone and Boom] waved to the crowd and left the stage. I waited not far from my seat for Josee and Mark. Josee got lucky and scored guitar picks from Mike and Ed. We hung out for abit outside the venue under protection, as it was raining, and Mark chatted with acquaintances of his. Whom he introduced Josee and I too. By the time we walked back to the hotel it was going on 12:30am and I was in bed by 1am. My only regret is I forgot to bring my camera, so that I could get a pix of Josee and me in our awesome PJ t-shirts.

Pearl Jam Stay True To Rock
By Dean Gordon-Smith
May 19 2006
Why not name their new one after themselves? Pearl Jam had an album called Vs., and the band could've called this Jr. Pearl Jam is a great example of when rock is used as a launching pad for the release of frustration and anger at the state of one's society and government, and as a vehicle of expression for some balls-to-the wall rocking and the communion of spirit, song and audience. From the opening Stooges-like chordal volley of Life Wasted with Eddie Vedder's virile vocal bark, to the modern day '06 soul music that is Come Back, Pearl Jam gels and projects in the classic sense of the true unit that great bands can be.

Pearl Jam is the only classic rock band now making music that is still provocative, both live and in the studio. Strangely, although they are probably the only fully-functioning group to come out of and survive the grunge era, they were never really a grunge band. They are more musically akin to their heroes, especially Neil Young and The Who, than any flannel-wearing power-chording stoners. They may have sported a bit o' the flannel, but then who in Canada especially can say they've never done so? Not me, anyway. Without wading too deeply into music and politics, there are some hard-hitting examples on this recording. Army Reserve may be one of the most appealing, grooving anti-war songs that have been recorded since the 1960s.

Again, Pearl Jam are the inheritors of this troubling and exhilarating musical stance. This song doesn't directly focus on the U.S. government like others they have done, but addresses the broken lives and families; the too-often unseen victims:

"An empty chair where dad sits. But it's becoming a lie she tells herself and everyone, Father is risking his life for our freedoms."

Also, the channeling of uncertainty and fear can't fail to move when one hears Unemployable's stirring cascading notes and Vedder's brief, blunt chronicling of another newly desperate individual so haunted by worry that "he can't sleep, how will he ever dream?" But wait, lest you think that Pearl Jam is all about staring down the barrel, there are raucous bold blasts like Big Wave, and that song's exclamation: "I used to be a crustacean, In an underwater nation, and I surf in celebration!" Yes, passion, commitment, integrity and soul. That's what is great about real rock and roll, and true rock bands. You can't fake that, and Pearl Jam put all that out there on this record.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


[Duchess Note - The opponent they are referring to is Jonathan Tasini, a progressive Democrat who is anti-war and wants to get our troops home NOW. Where as with Hillary "Ms Republican Lite" Clinton is very much a war hawk. She didn't get my vote four years ago and its not happening this time either. I'm a proud supporter of Tasini!]

Molly Ivins, AlterNet
Insane immigration policies, a new $70 billion tax cut for the rich and increasing ineptitude in Iraq all indicate that this administration has lost its marbles.

In a parallel universe, Al Gore has been President for the past six years. What's the state of the union? Watch this video clip from 'Saturday Night Live' and find out.

Big Corporate Tax Breaks Upheld

Global Warming Turns Pristine Coral into Rubble

Chavez Ridicules Washington's Weapons Ban

QUOTE OF THE DAYLife is what you make it, always has been, always will be. Grandma Moses

Shelly R. Fredman, Tikkun
'People think there must be some magical tactic, beyond the traditional ones -- protests, demonstrations, vigils, civil disobedience -- but there is no magical panacea, only persistence.'

Amy M. Traub,
Just what will the National Guard be doing on the border? It was impossible to tell from the President's speech Monday night.

George Bush: "We cannot build a unified country by inciting people to anger or playing on anyone's fears." Jon Stewart: "That's what terrorism and gay people are for."

Fox's Sean Hannity and his CATO cohort go on the attack against Al Gore's new environmental documentary.

[Duchess Note: Ah yes, the lies and insane rants of itty bitty Hannity, who’s balls are permanently chained to the neocon, warmongering arrogant Bush Regime. He's pledged his miserable soul to the devil. Who is really Dick "devil president" Cheney.]

G. Pascal Zachary, AlterNet
Jared Bernstein explains how Republicans are dividing the spoils among themselves and leaving the rest of us to fend for ourselves -- and how we can change the trend.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Pacific News Service
Bush latched onto the troops-on-the-border issue in part to show that he can get a policy initiative through Congress, but mainly to appease conservatives.

"There They Go Again, but Where Do We Go?"
Message From Ohio Congressman & Democrat Dennis Kucinich
As you may have read in a previous letter from me, prior to the May 2 Ohio Primary Election, the Cleveland Plain Dealer printed an editorial in which a Republican candidate for Congress described me as having "communist values" and in the same editorial the Plain Dealer went on to praise the same candidate, saying his "forthrightness was admirable." Amazingly unaware of the implications of context, the Plain Dealer has reprinted the same red-baiting smear this past Sunday in an article which described me variously as "far left" ... "One of the House's most liberal members" ... "by far the most liberal member of Ohio's Congressional delegation."

Your support has never been more important than it is now. Ohio's largest daily newspaper, which has strongly supported President Bush and the war in Iraq, continues its outrageous campaign to smear me, to distort my record, and to try to defeat me for reelection. Let's work to create a politics of higher meaning, which rises above character assassination and bumper-sticker ideology. We need a politics of hope, which rises above fear and political manipulation. We need a politics of courage, where all individuals of conscience are always prepared to stand up and speak out, no matter the odds faced, the power or the institution encountered. In this case, it becomes not a question of whom or what is the Plain Dealer and who or what do they represent -- but who are we? What do we represent? What direction are we ready to go in?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Lisa Earle McLeod, The Buffalo News
It's time we asked for something that truly honors the work we do on this planet. It's time we asked the world to keep our babies safe. Peace is as patriotic as mom's apple pie. To demonstrate that, mothers across America are delivering "peace pies" to their legislators the day after Mother's Day, asking that peace and nonviolence be given a piece of the federal government budget "pie."

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... Nature never repeats herself, and the possibilities of one human soul will never be found in another. Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Majority of Americans Against Phone Record Collection

America the Titanic
By James Carroll

Danny Schechter, AlterNet
The attempt by Big Telco to control the internet makes the spy scandal a mere misdemeanor.

Mark Clayton, Christian Science Monitor
A 'dataveillance' program within the Department of Homeland Security is sifting through millions of online records to note user patterns and possible links to terrorism.

Jane Smiley,
Temper tantrums, blaming others, revenge-seeking, destruction of property, deceitfulness and stealing – it all adds up to a grim diagnosis.

Bush & Blair: They Did it Their Way - So They Have No One To Blame But Themselves
By Gary Younge

Sacrifice Liberty For Security? Not Without a Fight
By Jay Bookman

Monday, May 15, 2006

On Sunday, April 23rd, I met up with Lilit, Jackie and Lefty at Café La Fortuna at 6pm for a dinner get together and discuss Tolkien, amongst other topics. [BTW, does anyone know the ancient Greeks philosophy on Time? Please let me know. Thx!] I arrived at Cafe La Fortuna at 6pm and Lilit showed up 15 minutes later. [We ordered some tea and wait for the others before ordering food.] Both Lilit and I brought Tolkien/LOTRs related books to discuss and show the others. Mine was "The World of Tolkien - Mythological Sources of LOTRs" by David Day. 20 minutes later Jackie showed up and then Lefty. Placed our dinner orders and then commenced to discussing Tolkien, movies, concepts of time, womens pregnancy risks after age 40, ex-lovers and life in general. After awhile Lefty took off abruptly and seemed perturbed by three ladies sane, logical discussion on "certain" topics. He's abit of an odd chap. With Lefty gone the three of us spoke more "freely" on topics and eventually left the cafe around 10:30pm. It was a fun, interesting and at times quirky evening. Very much enjoyed Jackie and Lilits company.

On Tuesday, April 25th, I attended the "New Yorkers for a Dept of Peace" event/planning meeting at 6pm. Those who attended the meeting were Kevin, Carol, Marianne, Priscilla, Liz, Rob, Barbara, Karen and I. We really got alot accomplished that evening regarding "Gandhi 100". Setting up a decisive plan and goals. As the evening progressed I found it abit difficult to concentrate. Wasn't feeling swift and my throat was bothering me abit. Next morning I awoke with Laryngitis. [Those who've been reading my Blog know that my health has been up & down since early 2005.] Liz is such a darling and lent me her book on the transformation in Gandhi's life. The man is revered not only in India and throughout the world by pro-peace folk, groups and organizations. [Peace is the way!] We so admire Gandhi and NEVER the likes of those in the evil, corrupt Bush Regime.

April 26th was Administrative Professionals Day and from E&Y we admins received nice sweatshirts with the company logo, plus a $25 gift certificate. As to the latter, I utilized it at Barnes & Noble. I purchased two cards, plus two books [ie: Sharpe's Tiger by Bernard Cornwell & JRR Tolkien - Architect of Middle Earth by Daniel Grotta]. Marc & Angela will take me out to lunch [restaurant of my choice] next week when the Laryngitis is [hopefully] gone. My other boss, Debra, gave me a lovely box of Godiva chocolates. Yum!

Since Tuesday evening I've been dealing with Laryngitis and my doctor strongly advised to stay home from work on April 27th. It was important to give my voice box, plus body, a quiet rest. As well as drink fluids and throat lozengers. Antibiotics won't help in curing Laryngitis. Overall I feel okay, tho a wee bit tired and for three days could only communicate briefly in whispered tones. Most frustrating. . . .

On Saturday, April 29th, Jackie and Becca came over to my place for dinner and watch extended DVD version of LOTRs "Fellowship of the Ring". [Linda couldn't attend, as she was doing volunteer work at Tribeca Film Festival.] I had warned them, via email, that my voice was slowly recovering from Laryngitis. And that my speaking voice sounded like gravel on sandpaper. They were both okay with that and we enjoyed a fun, relaxing time. The gals enjoyed my meal of stuffed chicken breasts, green salad, wine and chocolate chip cookies. While watching the LOTRs films we get a kick out of making amusing comments (ie: "Gondor has no shampoo Gondor needs no shampoo" ... "no man, you take that damn ring into Mt Doom"). The evening ended around midnight. I had originally planned to do volunteer work earlier that day at Yonkers Ferret Shelter. Joanne felt it wise to cancel due to my health. Even tho I felt relatively fine one doesn't like to take chances around sensitive ferrets. I haven't seen the shelter furkids since beginning of January and I miss them soooo much. Also on this date there were HUGE "marches" thoughout the USA in peaceful protestation against occupation in Iraq and a possible invasion in Iran. [I passionately loath the Bush Regime & I think you all know that.] Several members from our New Yorkers for a Dept of Peace campaign participated here in NYC. I later learned the groups endeavors were successful and DoP members handed out lots of flyers. Hurray! WooHoo! Spreading the word of peace!

P.S. Stay tuned for more "personal news" and a review on the Pearl Jam concert in Albany.

As additional important endorsements roll in, Jonathan has completed two legs of the Ride For Peace: from New York City to New Rochelle and now across the Hudson to Nyack. We also picked up important endorsements last night. Last night, the Village Independent Democrats endorsed Jonathan, along with Elliot Spitzer for Governor and Andrew Cuomo for Attorney General.

"I am honored to receive the endorsement of a club that dates back to the campaign of Adlai Stevenson and has such a storied history," Jonathan says. "I believe the VID endorsement sends a signal to Democrats throughout the state that we need a different kind of Senator, a senator who will not vote for immoral wars, who will not embrace Rupert Murdoch, who will oppose corporate power, fight for fair trade agreements and stand up for civil liberties."

"The Village Independent Democrats is proud to endorse Jonathan Tasini as a candidate for the senate. Progressives will not be taken for granted," said William Strickland, the president of the VID. "I am proud to be a member of a political club that is progressive, intelligent and has the courage to support a candidate who is against the war in Iraq," said Yayoi Tsuchitani of VID's Executive Committee. "The VID is located in the area most affected by 9/11. Jonathan Tasini understands the effect this war has had on NY state, the loss of lives, the lack of funding to our schools, under funding of health care, lost jobs to outsourcing, etc. Jonathan Tasini has all the qualities of a winner, he supports labor, woman's rights and health care for all. I encourage New Yorkers to support for Jonathan Tasini."

In addition, Brooklyn Democrats For Change, endorsed Tasini. "His anti-war message resonated with people. Our members felt they had to take a stand and support him," said Jeannie May, president of the club. As well, earlier this week, Tasini garnered the endorsement of the Progressive Democrats of America chapter located in the 11th Congressional District. The district currently represented by Rep. Major Owens. The endorsement is Tasini's fourth endorsement by a PDA chapter in New York State (previous chapter endorsements came from Ithaca, Albany and the 14th Congressional District). As you can see, Jonathan's campaign is gaining momentum. would help our overall effort if you make a donation now to help support the campaign and the Ride For Peace at

[Duchess Note - It would be really fabulous if the PDA chapter in 12th Congressional District also endorsed Tasini. Would be wonderful if my district would support a candidate who is anti-war and pro-peace. (He already has my support!) District 12 support needs to be for a progressive Democrat and NOT a Republican lite war hawk like Hillary Clinton. We the People must decide this and vote for change.]


Maine Verizon Customers File Complaint over NSA Surveillance
[Duchess Note - Glad to hear some folk in this country are speaking out on the invasion into this serious matter AND demanding answers from a corrupt regime. Right-on good people of Maine.]

Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
by Steve Almond

RNC Attack on John Conyers Demands Action from Democrats
by David Swanson

The Lessons of War That Few Have Learned
by John Grant

The Gift of Peace for Mother's Day
by Medea Benjamin

Kucinich: Economy Works For Wall Street Not Main Street
Washington, May 11th
Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) gave the following speech today on the House floor about the state of the US economy … “The Dow Jones will hit a record and the nation's economists will be doing their hosannas, but who profits when factories and businesses are closed in the United States and cheap goods made by no rights, no benefits low wage Chinese workers flood our markets? We have an $804 billion dollar trade deficit. Hello! Since 1982 $4.5 trillion dollars in assets have been transferred from American to foreign owners. Hello! Wall Street thumps their golden tub for the Wal-Marts and the cigarette-peddling Altrias while record numbers of Americans are laid off, file bankruptcies, lose their homes, their health care and retirement benefits, their savings, and in some cases, their families. Why do we celebrate Wall Street when Wall Street don't celebrate Main Street? Wall Street makes a killing when gas prices soar, health care costs skyrocket and food prices increase. We need a new way to measure our economy, as in how! many people are working at good paying jobs and have job security? How many have health and retirement benefits? Let's create economic progress for all in America, not just for a privileged few.”

Sunday, May 14, 2006

David Malachowski, Times Union

[Duchess Note - I attended this fantastic, awesome gig with my friend Josee on Friday night and Pearl Jam soooo rocked the house. Mr Malachowski's review was favorable to the band and the gig. Personally, I find it annoying when reviewers focus ONLY on Eddie Vedder and seem to forget about the other band members. The WHOLE band was on fire Friday night, not just Mr Vedder. I'll be writing up my own "review" of the gig and posting it in "personal news" section very soon. Let me leave you all with MY highlight songs of the evening ... Life Wasted, Severed Hand, Given to Fly, RED MOSQUITO, Daughter, Gone, GRIEVANCE, Marker in the Sand, RATS, Porch, Come Back, Crazy Mary & Alive. Photo at left was taken at Toronto show - l to r - Jeff, Mike & Ed]

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... My friends have made the story of my life. Helen Keller

Pearl Jam and User-Generated Content
by Cory Treffiletti, Wednesday, May 10, 2006
FRIDAY NIGHT ROCKED! Friday night I was one of the very few people in NewYork afforded the unique opportunity to see Pearl Jam play a little club called Irving Plaza. There were no more than 500 people in attendance (if that many) and the setting provided for a wild, yet intimate experience with my favorite band. "Why is he writing about Pearl Jam in a column dedicated to digital advertising?" you might ask. Because, besides the fact that I've seen them more than 30 times in concert (and I want every one of you to go see them if you're given the chance), they also provide an interesting insight into one of my favorite topics of the moment--user-generated content.

User-generated content is based on the fundamental concept of brand democratization, the idea that your brand is truly owned by your consumers,who are the ones in control. If you give them control, they'll typically run with it and generate all sorts of interesting content around your brand. Entertainment has certainly come to understand this concept and embraced it in full. From the upcoming movie "Snakes on a Plane" to industry veterans like Pearl Jam, brand have empowered and encourage dconsumers to spread the word. Pearl Jam has recognized this concept better than any other band. Now that they've partnered with a label called JRecords, the home of Clive Davis and one of the most well-respected names in music, they are reaping the benefits.

Over the years Pearl Jam has run an Internet fan club that routinely asks for input and artwork from its members, many of which have been used in T-shirt designs or published for others to see. They've run a Web site chock full of reviews and set lists written by fans. They post images and pictures in a gallery full of fan art. When they tour, they sometimes take requests from the fans, and in many cases they tease them with songs they haven't played in years (this tour it's "Leash," for those of you truly playing attention). They offer fans an incentive to be this engaged by giving them first stab at tickets and special opportunities, like the show at Irving Plaza. Over the years they've discovered a way to make their band a brand and make that brand representative of a lifestyle. As a result, they continue to sell records and now that they've re-emerged into the mainstream consciousness with a little corporate backing, they've mobilized an army of fans who will guarantee success!

The way we see user-generated content being used by brands outside of entertainment is actually a bit of a cop-out. They are asking consumers to create ads or fill in the blanks for a MasterCard commercial, all of which represent the first, and easiest, wave of how this model can be applied. These are the simple ways to apply the model to advertising and though I love to see it taking hold, it represents only the tip of the iceberg. Once you've asked the consumer for input or content, then what? Great job; now you've got some new ads, what are you going to do to really motivate the mand get them engaged? How do you make your brand into a lifestyle, and how do you mesh that lifestyle into the lives of your target audience? The problem with what we are seeing now is these are only one step in a choreographed dance. They are the first step, and it's an important one, but we need to see the steps that follow. We need to provide consumers within put and ways to shape the brand outside of the advertising. P&G has done this in the past with their Connect and Develop program, where consumers actually helped develop new products like Crest Whitestrips and the SwifferWet Jet, but even these are only single steps. No-one has yet packaged these various steps together and created the full choreography of user-generated marketing.

It will likely take a few years for our industry to understand the choreography necessary for a true user-generated marketing effort, but take a look around you and identify how your favorite lifestyle brands manage to get you involved. A little of what you see in each place can be repackaged and reworked, and you might come up with the right model. For me, I'm going to go see a few more Pearl Jam concerts this month and continue my "research" into this topic. Rock on!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Recent commentary by Congressman Kucinich said: “We’re in a war we didn’t have to be in. There needs to be accountability about the use of executive power. People need the truth.” He said he would use his new power to “piece the veil of the illusion” of Bush administration policy in Iraq. He hopes his investigations would help build support for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. Ralph Waldo Emerson

by Dave Williams, Gwinnett Daily Post

[DUCHESS NOTE – New commentary has been posted in FOFF (Friends of Friday Forum ) website. The link is also available in left-hand column of blog.]

May 10, 2006
By Leah Schnurr, Reuters

TORONTO - Rock band Pearl Jam is focusing on politics and charity in its 2006 summer tour, railing against the Iraq war and promising a dollar to a local charity from every ticket sold. Pearl Jam has long been known as a band to speak its mind, and the newest offering from the Seattle-based group is politically charged, with many references to the war and to U.S. social issues such as unemployment and immigration reform. "It's not just a giant rail against (U.S. President) Bush," bass player Jeff Ament said in an interview. "(Singer Eddie Vedder) has created characters we can all relate to. I feel like I'm still getting to know them six months latter."

The tour opens in Toronto this week with two sold-out shows promoting the band's new album, called simply "Pearl Jam". It is their eighth studio album since the group sprouted out of the Seattle grunge scene in 1991 with fellow bands Nirvana and Soundgarden. The album has received good reviews, with critics calling it a return to the sound that made Pearl Jam one of the most influential bands of the 1990s after their ground-breaking debut album "Ten". The first single "World Wide Suicide", has also resonated with fans, topping the Modern Rock Billboard chart.

Ament said he feels there is a resurgence of bands speaking out in the political arena, citing Green Day's "American Idiot" and Neil Young's "Living With War" as recent examples. "It's pretty hard to be in the U.S. and not be affected by it," Ament said. "It's a struggle to step outside of it because it's so messed up." But he said he is optimistic for change, pegging his hopes on the Democrats winning more seats in this year's congressional elections. "It's a pretty exciting time," said Ament. "There will be change no matter what because the public demands it." Despite selling millions of albums and achieving international success, Pearl Jam has often shunned the spotlight, preferring to portray itself as a band for the fans.

In 1994, the band took Ticketmaster to the U.S. Justice Department, arguing that the ticket provider was unfairly pressuring promoters to charge high prices for admission. Justice eventually ruled against the band. Tuesday night's show in Toronto featured many tracks from the new album as well as crowd-pleasing classics such as "Alive" and "Daughter", and a cover of Young's "Rockin in the Free World." Proceeds from the shows in Toronto will go to the White Ribbon Campaign, a group that works to end violence against women, and Sketch, an organization involved with street youth. The tour continues across North America and Europe, ending in Greece September 30.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

As you've probably heard, Jonathan is about to ride his bicycle from NYC to Buffalo on the Ride for Peace. Details are below, and at the website:

To launch the ride, Jonathan will be holding a press conference this Thursday 5/11 at 2:00 at the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in lower Manhattan. The Memorial Park is just east of the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, on the waterfront. Please join us to send him off! We'd love to have a big crowd of friends and supporters at the press conference. Please arrive by 1:45 - directions are below. And try to let me know it you're coming so we know how many to expect. Contact Stephanie at 646-415-8361 (office)

May 8, 2006
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate Jonathan Tasini will launch his statewide Ride For Peace tour at the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Manhattan at 2:00 PM on Thursday, May 11, 2006. The Ride For Peace will cover 600 miles from New York City to Buffalo, and make stops in 16 cities during its three-week journey. In each location Tasini will highlight the human and economic cost of the Iraq war for that community. Tasini will be asking people to sign a petition that mirrors legislation proposed by Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts to end the war in Iraq. The petition urges the State Democratic Party to adopt as part of their platform a resolution that calls on the U.S. Congress to cut off all funding for the purposes of continuing to deploy the U.S. Armed Forces or establishing permanent bases in Iraq.

The tour culminates in Buffalo on May 30-31 where Jonathan will present the delegates at the State Democratic Convention with the signed petitions. "It is time for this immoral war to end and for our troops to come home immediately," Tasini said. "The people of New York, and our entire nation, have paid a heavy price for the war, as have the Iraqi people. Where is the soul of our party if it does not stand in opposition to the war?" For more information on the tour please visit: Jonathan is available for phone interviews before or during the ride.

Time: 2:00
Location: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza

The New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial is located in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza at 55 Water Street in New York City. We advise taking public transportation into this busy area of the City. If taking the SUBWAY, the closest stops are:

by William Rivers Pitt, TruthOut
George W. Bush and his pals used September 11th against the American people, used perhaps the most horrific day in our collective history, deliberately and with intent, to foster a war of choice that has killed untold tens of thousands of human beings and basically bankrupted our country. They lied about the threat posed by Iraq. They destroyed the career of a CIA agent who was tasked to keep an eye on Iran's nuclear ambitions, and did so to exact petty political revenge against a critic. They tortured people, and spied on American civilians.

Ray McGovern,

World Wide Suicide
Lyrics & Music by Vedder

I felt the earth on Monday
It moved beneath my feet
In the form of a morning paper
Laid out for me to see

It's a shame to awake in a world of pain
What does it mean when a war has taken over
It's the same everyday in hell manmade
What can be saved and who will be left to hold her?

The whole world, world over
It's a worldwide suicide

Medals on a wooden mantle
Next to a handsome face
That the president took for granted
Writing checks that others pay

And in all the madness
Thought becomes numb and naive
So much to talk about there's nothing for to say
It's the same everyday and the wave won't break
Tell you to pray, while the devil's on their shoulder

Laying claim to the take our soldiers save
Does not equate
And the truths already out there

The whole world, world over
It's a worldwide suicide

Looking in the eyes of the fallen
You got to know there's another, another, another way
It's a shame to awake in a world of pain
What does it mean when a war has taken over

It's the same everyday and the wave won't break
Tell you to pray
While the devils on their shoulder

The whole world, world over
Yeh, it's a worldwide suicide

By Sherri Wood, Toronto Sun
Veteran Seattle rockers are launching a world tour tonight at the Air Canada Centre because Toronto is their kind of town.

Today, The New York Times columnist Bob Herbert has penned a column about Jonathan's campaign. It is aptly titled "Clarity vs. Celebrity": Jonathan's clarity about his opposition to the war versus his opponent's use of celebrity to avoid accountability for her immoral support for the war. In the column, Jonathan asks, "What makes us different from Republicans? Where is the soul of the Democratic Party if we do not stand against immoral, illegal wars? Pre-emptive wars." Speaking of Jonathan's opponent, Herbert says, "But in terms of overall policy, she seems to be right there with Bush, Cheney, Condi et al. She does not regret her vote to authorize the invasion, and still believes the war can be won." We need a U.S. Senator who will vote against illegal wars. Herbert has nailed the issue (see the rest of his column below).

Now, we need your help. If you want there to be a debate about the war, if you want to have a voice speaking for the 2,400 American men and women who have been killed in this immoral war, if you want pro-war Democrats to be held accountable for the death and destruction in Iraq, consider making a generous contribution to our campaign right now at

And please circulate this message to your entire list and post the column widely in cyberspace!
May 8, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist
Clarity vs. Celebrity

Few people have ever heard of Jonathan Tasini. He's a low-key labor organizer and writer from Upper Manhattan who is trying to piece together a primary challenge to the re-election bid of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, primarily because of her stance on the Iraq war. Mr. Tasini is against the war and wants American troops pulled out of Iraq forthwith. Senator Clinton's position is — well, that's a problem. It's not at all clear what Senator Clinton's position is. And for a Democratic Party that has suffered a succession of brutal defeats with excessively cautious candidates, Mrs. Clinton's indecisiveness on the war may be a hint of yet another disaster in the making. Mr. Tasini is not so deluded that he thinks he can hijack the Democratic Senate nomination from Mrs. Clinton. He said, "People often ask me, 'Don't you think this race is impossible?' My answer is, 'Of course! You're dealing with someone who has enormous name recognition and celebrity.'" But celebrity, he said, is no substitute for an honest and vigorous debate on a matter as fundamentally important as war.

Mr. Tasini favors a withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq as quickly as possible, within several months at most. What is more important than whether his timetable is feasible is his insistence that the Democratic Party needs to come to grips with this war. "What makes us different from Republicans?" he asked. "Where is the soul of the Democratic Party if we do not stand against immoral, illegal wars? Pre-emptive wars."

After more than three years of fighting and more than 2,400 American deaths, you still need a magnifying glass to locate the differences between Mrs. Clinton and the Bush administration on the war. It's true, as the senator argues that she has been a frequent and sometimes harsh critic of the way the war has been conducted. In a letter to constituents last fall she wrote, "I have continually raised doubts about the president's claims, lack of planning and execution of the war, while standing firmly in support of our troops." But in terms of overall policy, she seems to be right there with Bush, Cheney, and Condi et al. She does not regret her vote to authorize the invasion, and still believes the war can be won. Her view of the ultimate goal in Iraq, as her staffers reiterated last week, is the establishment of a viable government capable of handling its own security, thus enabling the U.S. to reduce its military presence and eventually leave.

That sounds pretty much the same as President Bush's mantra: "Our strategy in Iraq is that as the Iraqis stand up, we'll stand down." What that means is that there is no end to the war in sight. Other prominent Democrats have belatedly changed their tune on Iraq. Senator John Kerry has called for a complete withdrawal of American combat troops by the end of the year. His running mate in the 2004 presidential election, former Senator John Edwards, declared last fall that "it was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002." But as yet there is no full-throated public debate, much less anything approaching a consensus, within the party on Iraq. Democrats are still paranoid about being perceived as soft on national security.

With superhawk Republicans like John McCain and Rudy Giuliani making their way toward the starting gate for the 2008 White House run, the terminally timid Democrats continue to obsess about what they ought to be saying, neurotically analyzing every syllable they hesitantly utter, as opposed to simply saying what they really believe. Aides who are close to Mrs. Clinton suggested last week that she might be holding her fire, waiting until a new Iraqi government is established before speaking more openly and candidly about the war. That remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the dying continues. As I was wrapping up the last of the interviews for this column on Friday, word came in that three more American soldiers had been killed in Iraq. As a member of the Armed Services Committee and the early front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, Mrs. Clinton has a special obligation to Democratic voters. They deserve much better leadership than they've been getting from their party on President Bush's mindless trillion-dollar tragedy in Iraq.

Monday, May 08, 2006

On Friday evening, April 21st, I finally got to meet and talk with Jonathan Tasini. [His official website is at] He's the progressive Democrat who is running for NY Senate against Hillary [Ms Republican Lite] Clinton. After work I headed down to the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan and the London Terraces huge block long, unique looking apartment building. One of those older NYC buildings with lovely outer architectural style that I just adore. Took awhile before I found the correct entrance and with help from the buildings many "doormen". Didn't even realize I was in the same elevator, riding up to 8th floor, as Tasini. He was on his cell phone and introduced himself with a pleasing smile at door to his friend’s apartment. It’s also his temporary campaign headquarters. He's quite personable, charming and outgoing. During the 2 1/2 hours I was there I did get to briefly speak with him, though sadly not on important issues of the day. Like Norm Siegel, there was an ease about Tasini, and I felt comfortable talking with him. I was there to do "phone banking" that evening and met with 7 other Tasini staff and volunteers. There was Adam, Stephanie, Marie, Al and four others whose names I cannot recall. I'm so sorry for this "senior moment".

I've been corresponding for a short time, via email, with Stephanie and it was great to finally meet her. I've met Adam Koch before, I just can't recall where and that'll bug me for awhile. After discussions on how to proceed with "phone banking"; we were handed "scripts" and lists of voting Democrats in NY State. Pizza was also ordered to feed and nourish us. I find it difficult to concentrate in a small room with others doing "cold calling", so I took over the bathroom as my "office". Everyone, even Tasini, found this very amusing in having the bathroom utilized as an office. I did vacate my "office" a few times when someone needed to utilize it for "other" purposes. I covered about 3/4 of the people on my list utilizing the cordless phone in the apartment, as I don't have a cell phone. Mostly got answering machines and left upbeat detailed messages. When I did reach individuals the responses were mixed. This didn't surprise me, or the others when dealing with folk on their lists. We made good progress and it felt good to help out. Left around 8:30pm and the weather outside had turned very chilly and windy.

Saturday, April 22nd, was movie night at Linda's place in Brooklyn. [That morning I finished reading "Memoirs of a Geisha", which I very much enjoyed and highly recommend to others. Fascinating story on Japan in 1930s & 1940s, plus what is involved in becoming a Geisha.] Linda picked me up around 6pm and we headed down to her place in Bay Ridge. Along the way we picked up her friend Phyllis. Also, Linda's friend from Queens, whose name I cannot recall, followed us in her car. Gosh darn these "senior moments". We picked up Italian food [plus wine] from a local place and sat down to watch "Kingdom of Heaven" with Orlando Bloom and Jeremy Irons. Well folks, we got about 1/2 way thru the film and decided we'd had enough. The story, which takes place during the Crusades and the fall of the Frankish Kingdom [1174-1188], is centered at the time of the Leper King. We four ladies made a democratic decision not to watch more of this graphically violent film. Too much for our sensibilities. Instead, we decided to watch a documentary on 9/11 called "Loose Change". I highly recommend watching documentaries regarding the tragedy of 9/11, as they are real eye-openers and food for thought. Alot of research goes into these films. Was al-Qaeda really involved in 9/11? [We know for a fact that Iraq had nothing to do with it.] Or could it of been an "inside job" by the Bush Regime to instill death and fear in the hearts of Americans. As well as further their corrupt greed for power, money and domination? Will they pull another "inside job" to further their plans against Iran? Overall it was a good evening and we also engaged in discussions on diverse topics. Linda drove me home as it was past midnight and I wasn't feeling too well. Getting a good night sleep will feel good.

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way. Native American Saying


Onnesha Roychoudhuri, AlterNet
An Oregon attorney may have the first concrete proof of Bush's domestic spying operation -- which means the illegal program's days might be numbered.

Lynne Varner,
As the conservative anti-abortion agenda skates dangerously close to anti-contraceptive, pharmacists say they shoudn't have to dispense Plan B.

Peter Dreier, John Atlas, AlterNet
The former vice-presidential candidate has resurrected his 'two Americas' platform for a possible bid for the White House in 2008.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Monday, April 10th, I attended two events, as well as being at work. The first event was at the Community Church [East 35th Street] from 12pm to 1:30pm for a Town Hall meeting. This event featured Congressional representatives Murtha [PA] and Maloney [NY]. I was able to catch 30 minutes of it out of the whole 90 minutes. Murtha mostly talked about getting the troops out of Iraq and answer questions from the "standing room only" audience. Ran into Rob Jereski and talked for about 5 minutes, plus met his new bride. After work I went to my first PDA [ie: Progressive Democrats of America] meeting at the SEIU Local on West 43rd Street. Saw some folk that I know from working on past political campaigns. That homeless insane jackass [Tom W] showed up briefly, caused a hostile scene and was verbally abusive to Jessica Flagg and me. Thankfully he was escorted from the building by security. Topics of discussion that evening were on ... voting issues, work to get progressive presidential candidate, setting up PDA chapters by district, impeaching Bush/Cheney, join Democrat Clubs, etc. Guest speakers were author Mark Crispin Miller and NY state senate campaign candidate Steve Greenfield. Had a discussion with Jessica Flagg, as I'm helping [volunteer] her out with her congressional campaign.

Headed upstate NY for the Easter weekend and left Friday morning. Visited my parents, as well as my brother and sister-in-law over the weekend. Felt good to get away from the city for a few days and relax. Went to "Over The Moon" bead/gift shop and restocked my supply of beads for future earrings. Also checked out Battenkill Books and had an appointment at hair salon. Mom and I did an exchange of books ... she wanted to read "In Cold Blood" and I wanted to read "Memoirs of a Geisha". On the bus ride up to Albany I finished reading a fascinating book by Hugh Kennedy called "When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World". The rise and fall of Islam's great dynasty [Abbasid] ruled from early 700 to 1031. Ending around the time of the first Crusade. Overall I had a nice weekend & the weather was gorgeous on Saturday.

On Thursday, April 20th, I attended the monthly "New Yorkers for Dept of Peace" core team meeting. We had happy news ... learned that one of our members is pregnant and due in about four months. Yep, a little peacemaker is on the way. As always our meetings are fun, productive, inspiring and interesting. [Main planning on a big event for early September & tie in with 9/11. As well as World Peace Day on Sept 21st.] We had a nice turnout of members, plus two newbie’s ... Kevin, Liz, Carol, Karen, Marni, Priscilla, Eileen, Norma, David, MaryJo, Barbara, Marianne and I. If anyone would like to join the Dept of Peace activist ListServe, go to ... Around this time I picked up a terrific book here in Manhattan called "The World of Tolkien" by David Day. Explains how LOTRs and Middle Earth came to be via Tolkiens interests in mythology, ancient languages, folklore and epic novels.


By Michael Metivier,

By Jon Pareles, NY Times

by Maureen Dowd
[Duchess Note - The conservative corporate mainstream media (who fawns ALL over the Bush Regime) will NOT print news of this nature. They adore Dictator Bush & Company. Sick buggers! But We The People, Liberals and Progressives will always bring you the TRUTH about totally corrupt, evil Republicans. Our precious tax dollars are paying for their filthy garbage. Not for security, education nor healthcare. Get the truth out Americans! Write your newspaper editors, Congressperson and/or Senator. Get the word out in a peaceful, non violent manner. Just like Gandhi and Martin Luther King.]

Friday, May 05, 2006

By Gene Stout, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

By Whitney Pastorek, Entertainment Weekly

[Pearl Jam - left to right in photo above are Gossard, Ament, Cameron, McCready and Vedder in the center. One week to go and I'll see their gig in Albany. WooHoo!]

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... Go placidly amidst the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. Desiderata


Joshua Holland, AlterNet
Antonia Juhasz, author of 'The Bush Agenda,' explains what Bush really means when he says he wants to spread freedom around the world.

Antonia Juhasz, AlterNet
Bush believes that 'free trade' and 'free markets' are synonymous with 'freedom' -- and he's willing to implement this theory with military force.

Cheap Oil, Cheap Labor, and Costly Habits
Patti Morrison

Ridicule and Contempt for President Bush
Sidney Blumenthal

Aimee Allison, AlterNet
In this excerpt from "10 Excellent Reasons Not to Join the Military," published by the New Press, the author conveys her shock at discovering the realities of life as a female minority in uniform.

The Mix -- Joshua Holland debunks the myths about why we must attack Iran, and how we can rise up to keep it from happening:

Will Durst, AlterNet
It's simple: Bush is an oilman, his father is an oilman, and all the people who gave him money that put him in the White House are oilmen.