Sunday, June 04, 2006

After a fun evening at Pearl Jam gig in Albany ... Josee, Mark and I checked out of our hotel and headed to breakfast at 10am on May 13th. From hotel staff suggestion, we checked out a diner near interstate for some good affordable food. Took awhile to find the place, but find it we did. Hurray! Then Josee and Mark dropped me off at the bus depot for my 11:30am transport back to NYC. It was great seeing Josee [MF's Rock the House!] again and meeting Mark. They are heading onto Hartford to see Pearl Jam gig that same evening. Lucky folk! The ride back to NYC was uneventful and I listened to CDs, plus did some reading. Arrived at my humble abode at 3pm, made some phone calls, baked brownies and got things ready for another evening of LOTRs. I invited Jackie, Becca and Linda to view extended version of "The Two Towers" while enjoying Chinese takeout. Sadly, both Becca and Linda cancelled due to urgent issues that cropped up. Jackie showed up just after 5pm. We gabbed for some time, ordered Chinese takeout and learned of her "connection" with NYC punk rock group "The Ramones". Once the food arrived we sat down with glasses of wine to nosh and re-watch LOTRs "Fellowship of the Ring". We love all three of the LOTR films, but for some reason FOTR is our favorite. As always, throughout the film, we made comments or analyzed bits here and there. Around 11:30pm Jackie took car service home, because the NYC subway system isn't always reliable during weekends.

The next day, May 14th, I was invited to brunch with a friend and fellow Kucitizen. Cielito's "loft" sitting for friends of hers who'd gone out of town for a month or so. They live in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan and that area has come a long way since I first saw it 25 years ago. It’s a pricey area to live in, but really cool in so many ways. Lots of cafes, boutiques, restaurants, stores and its close to the WTC. The people Cielito are loft sitting for have two adorable ferrets, whom I met for the first time. I believe their names are Lancaster and Leetzy, plus they are allowed to "free roam" the loft. Got to play with them abit while Cielito put together brunch. We also caught up on news and gossip. The loft itself is large with eclectic decor. I learned the lady has been living there for 30+ years. [Her rent is less than mine.] We noshed on pear juice and a delightful concoction that consisted of fruit, soy yogurt, almond slivers, etc. Very tasty! Afterwards we jumped on the subway to Christopher Street, where Cielito had her car parked and then drove into Brooklyn. She dropped me off in Park Slope at the B&N. While there I picked up two books ... A Peoples History of the United States by Howard Zinn and JRR Tolkien - Architect of Middle Earth by Daniel Grotta. From there I was going to head home, but the subways were so messed up that I went back into Manhattan and briefly stopped by my office. And then home on the more reliable E subway line.

Tuesday evening, May 16th, I joined Paul and a friend of his in attending a monthly meeting of the "Coalition to Ban DU". [DU = Depleted Uranium & is similar to Agent Orange which causes serious health issues in our soldiers, plus mutation in unborn babies] The meeting was located at Florence Gold's apartment in Riverdale, which is in western part of the Bronx. Such a lovely area and you wouldn't know your in the Bronx. Feels more like being in parts of Westchester County. Back in November 2005 I attended a forum in Riverdale on this topic. Since then I've been keeping up-to-date on this coalition via Paul, whom I've known since our Kucitizen days. Always a pleasure seeing and chatting with Paul. This is my first "monthly" meeting with the group. I joined others within the coalition discussing strategy in getting word out on next forum, set for June 12th, and being held at the Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture. To learn more, go to the following website ... I volunteered to help send out press releases and invites to those I know online, as well as certain blogs. Sadly, I couldn't volunteer too much of my time, as I'm committed to several other campaigns/committees. There has been a bill [H.R. 5122] submitted to the House of Representatives by McDermott and Shays. This is wonderful news, what is not wonderful was the comment content made by McDermott. He said that 20 nations are using DU already. Absolutely disgusting! These countries should be ashamed of themselves. Loathsome pigs! Most likely these countries have purchased DU from the USA or in connection with and it’s widely known the US is leading supplier in the world of "weapons of mass destruction". The Bush Regime shouldn't be screaming at others about all this since they are leaders in weapons, terror, torture and mass destruction.

On Thursday, May 18th, I attended the monthly meeting for "New Yorkers for a Dept of Peace". We held our meeting abit earlier this time, as some in our group wanted to get home in time to see final episode of "Will & Grace". [As for this gal, I'm more into CSI Las Vegas on Thursday evenings.] Those that attended our meeting were ... Joe, Charlene, Dawn, Kevin, Liz, Carol, Karen, Eileen, Chris [via conference call] and Marianne. Always a pleasure seeing the folk involved in this campaign. Love, support and encouragement are freely given. Most of the meeting was devoted to planning and strategizing our big September event called "100 Years of Non-Violence". To learn more, go to our website at ... and spread the word. To drive away fear and become more empowered, plus involved ... as our advert says ... Prepare to be Inspired! It was a really good, productive meeting and much got accomplished. Also, if anyone would like to join NYC Dept of Peace campaign in marching at the Gay Pride Parade on June 24th, please contact us via our website at ... We are also looking for volunteers to help hand out flyers on DoP and the September event.

On Friday evening, May 19th, I joined my friend Linda in going to see the new film "The DaVinci Code". I had read the book a year ago and enjoyed it, plus found aspects of it totally fascinating. Good thing Linda purchased the tix in advance online, because many of the cinemas were sold out opening day of the film. We met up around 6:30pm for the 7:10pm showing and there were about 10 older religious fanatics outside the AMC25 on 42nd Street. [The Duchess is a history fanatic.] They were praying on rosary beads and holding signs saying blasphemy et al. Gosh darn, if these folk only knew half the terrible stuff committed by the Catholic Church over 1600+ years, well, it would make them cringe in horror and possibly think differently. Within my heart I am spiritual, and personally don't care for organized religion. With someone saying I have to think or do things in a certain way. Or that the only way to pray to God is in a church or via a priest. BS ... NO WAY! Jesus knew and told his followers that God was within us all. [Just like in the film "Star Wars", when Obi-Wan says "may the force be with you, always".] I could go on and on, but more about the movie, which was very good. Ian McKellan was brilliant as Leigh Teabling, as was Jurgen Prochnow as Vernet. I also admire Jean Reno. Linda and I both enjoyed the film. One could tell that a majority of the audience did too. As with all books to film endeavors, some things are changed, but overall it didn't hurt the film and made it more fascinating. Like the historical flashbacks. Brilliant! Yes, I do recommend this film to others, and to go with an open-mind and heart. Afterwards, outside the cinema, Linda was busy taking pix of the religious fanatics with a cell phone. I got into a brief, interesting conversation with a young man about religion and the film.

QUOTE OF THE DAYA journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Lau-Tzu

by Rafer Guzman, NY Newsday,0,6558463.story

CODEPINK Women for Peace
June 1, 2006
The intrepid Molly Ivins recently wrote that she was fed up with "every calculating, equivocating, triangulating, straddling, hair-splitting son of a bitch" in Washington DC. "This is not a time for a candidate who will offend no one," Molly proclaimed. "It is time for a candidate who takes clear stands and kicks ass." This stand was cogently articulated in an editorial in The Nation calling for an end to the war in Iraq. It noted that the war has become the single greatest threat to our national security; that it’s human and economic costs are spiraling out of control; and that the majority of Americans want to see an end to the war. But since the war continues to receive bipartisan support, The Nation took the following stand:

"We will not support any candidate for national office who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq a major issue of his or her campaign. We urge all voters to join us in adopting this position."

Well, now you can. Thanks to a coalition of groups determined to make peace a major issue in the November 2006 and 2008 races, you can join other outraged voters by signing the Voters for Peace Pledge:

"I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future war of aggression, a public position in his or her campaign."

Please sign now: and encourage at least 10 of your friends, relatives, coworkers and neighbors to join. Our goal is to get millions of voters on board so that peace becomes a powerful political demand that politicians cannot continue to ignore. Here's to taking a clear stand against war and kicking ass (peacefully) ... the ladies at CODEPINK ... Allison, Dana, Farida, Gael, Jodie, Katie, Medea, Nancy, Rae, Samantha and Tiffany

The petition drive begins Monday, June 6th, all across the US. We at the Jonathan Tasini for NY Senate will be collecting 15,000 signatures to get Jonathan's name on the primary ballot. We need your help! If you’re a registered Democrat and you haven't signed up yet to carry petitions for us, please call the office and we'll get you started: 646-415-8361. If you have already signed up to help with petitioning, please enroll in a training session. Tasini campaign has scheduled training sessions in NYC today, Monday and Tuesday. Please call our new Volunteer Coordinator, Russell Squire (Welcome Russell!), and here at the office, 646.415.8361 OR email him at and let us know which session you'd like to
[DUCHESS NOTE - The Duchess is a firm supporter of the Tasini for NY Senate campaign, as well as Jessica Flagg for U.S. Congress. I DO NOT support candidates who are pro-war, anti-peace, anti-constitution, anti-environment and pro-torture.)

Republicans prevented more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.

We can change Congress! We can and must make this year's elections a referendum on war and peace! Cut and paste the following link into your browser to support peace candidates now.

This Tuesday, June 6th, is the California primary. Some progressive candidates like peace and disarmament champion Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA) and Jerry McNerney (D-CA) are in important races with centrist democrats. Lynn was the first in Congress to introduce legislation against the Iraq war, and she will be the keynote speaker at the Peace Action National Congress this July. She needs to have a decisive victory to send a signal that her courage and leadership belongs in congress. Peace leader Bob Filner (D-CA), who is on our top ten list of Representatives who vote for peace and human rights, has a challenger in the primary as well. We can make a difference in helping Filner win with a strong majority.

Jerry McNerney is a progressive democrat who has a good chance of beating the very conservative Richard Pombo (R-CA) in the general election. He came close to doing so in 2004 as a write-in candidate! He is running against a centrist democrat in the primary and he needs our help to get past this hurdle and into the general election, where he can win! Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the founder of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is running for Senate. His opponent, a multi-millionaire, has spent more than $2,000,000 of his own money. If Sanders is elected to the Senate, he will easily be the most progressive member of that body and will continue to be a champion for Peace Actions issues.

In less than six months, Americans will go to the polls to elect the entire House of Representatives and a third of the Senate. We can elect more Members of Congress who work tirelessly for the issues we are passionate about: foreign policy based on human rights, a world free of nuclear weapons and cutting pentagon bloat to fund human needs. Peace Action is already helping Filner, McNerney, Woolsey and Sanders and you can help us help them even more. Cut and paste the following link into your browser to contribute today.


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