Monday, July 17, 2006

[DUCHESS NOTE - It’s been awhile since I did a major update of news. So sit yourself down nice and comfy, because it’s a long dozy of a ride.]

On Saturday, June 17th, I headed up to Riverdale in the Bronx to help out Jessica Flagg’s campaign for congress. She’s running against Engel in NY States 17th district. Headed up to Spuyten Duyvil station, Dutch for "spitting devil", on the 11:20am Metro North train where Judith and her husband Stuart picked me up. I met Judith via Jessica and we’d been corresponding for awhile regarding the campaign and other topics. Nice to finally meet her and help out with the petitioning, but first we stopped at their apartment to use the bathroom. Then Stuart dropped us off in the “downtown” area of Riverdale, which is quite nice, to do a few hours of petitioning the locals. An acquaintance of Judith joined us to help out and her name is Patti. After a few hours and of acquiring many signatures, plus talking to locals about the issues et al, we went to an Italian restaurant across the way for a lite repast. I enjoyed their company very much and we discussed many topics. Wasn’t easy getting service, as the folk running the restaurant were more interested in watching the World Cup on telly. During commercial breaks we finally got service, as did a few others in the place. I had to catch a 4:30pm train back to Manhattan and Patti dropped me off at the station. We were blessed today with warm, sunny weather and a nice change from the overcast dreariness.
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Arrived into Manhattan and took the subway to Linda’s place in Brooklyn for movie night with Linda and Phyllis were sitting out in back finishing up Chinese food when I arrived shortly after 6pm. We sat outside drinking water or wine, nibbling on Italian cookies and talking. Well, Phyllis did most of the talking. She’s a very nice person, but abit of a chatterbox. We decided to watch Xmen 1 & 2 that evening. Both Linda and I like Hugh Jackman and Ian McKellen. Before we headed out to get the pre-rented DVDs, Phyllis said she wasn’t feeling well from her allergies and decided to go home. Linda and I settled down to watch the movies around 9pm and finished around 1am. [I really enjoyed both films and can’t wait to see the third.] We did take bathroom and snack breaks. Linda drove me home and I rolled into bed at about 2am.

Monday, June 19th, I had part one of my root canal done at dentist office. The infection was still nasty and my dentist continued me on the penicillin. Part two of the root canal would take place a week later. The whole process is most uncomfortable and painful. Could only nosh on soft foods or liquids for a few days after procedure was done.

On Thursday, June 22nd, did petitioning for the Tasini for NY state senatecampaign at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Arrived shortly after 6pm and was to meet up with another volunteer. [Tom didn’t show up until an hour later, as he got abit lost.] Outside the Delacourte Theater was a Tasini volunteer whose name escapes me, but he had that area covered. I stationed myself closer to the bike/jogging path, but within view of the theater. I did okay while stationed there … also encountered folk from out-of-state and foreigners who had a firm disgust of the Bush Regime. Then I spotted a couple strolling towards me and the lady was wearing a LOTRs evenstar necklace that Arwen/Aragorn wear in the films. I smiled in delight at seeing the necklace and engaged the couple in conversation. Had such a delightful chat with Peter and Theresa, plus shortly after we started to converse the Corporate Challenge 5K race went by us. We were literally boxed in on both sides for 15+ minutes. It was very amusing. Peter signed my Tasini petition; we exchanged email addys and just talked on about LOTRs. I really liked them and invited them to join our Tolkien/LOTRs Yahoo chat group. Once the race sort of cleared up they went on their way and I hooked up with Tom [ie: Tasini volunteer]. I got home around 9pm and showered, as it was such a humid day.

Did more petitioning for Tasini campaign on Saturday, June 24th, in Union Square at 12pm. I joined many other volunteers outside the Food Emporium and Jonathan Tasini was also there. We then broke up into groups and I headed over to the Farmers Market with others, including Tasini. We did brisk business before a nasty downpour forced us to take shelter under scaffolding next to Starbucks. I did get a few more signatures while waiting out the storm. Oh gosh, we were stuck there for 30 minutes. Mon dieu! As the rain let up, we decided to head back to the Food Emporium and make further plans of action. As the rain let up more we broke up into smaller groups. I joined Russell [nice young man] in posting ourselves outside a cinema south of Union Square. Responses were very negative and that’s when I noticed THE STRAND bookstore sign down the street. Had a feeling that many Liberals, Progressives and Democrats would frequent that store. [I was right!] I know it’s a fav place of mine. Russell and I did brisk business outside the bookstore. Around 3:30pm I had to take my leave of the petitioning and head home. Get things ready in my apartment for when Jackie and Becca come over to dine, plus watch LOTRs "The Two Towers" [extended version]. Jackie arrived at 6pm and Becca showed up just after 7pm. We always socialize first and catch up on news. Then I serve up the meal [ie: BBQ chicken, wine, salad & crackers], which we eat while watching the first part of the movie. Then it’s a quick break and yummy dessert while watching the second part of the film. Throughout it all we make comments or discuss aspects of the film. Around 12:30am I was getting tired and called car service to take the ladies to their respective homes. It was a fun evening and I enjoyed hanging out with fun friends.

Monday, June 26th, I had another visit with dentist for final work on root canal. This time wasn’t as bad as the first, so I guess the penicillin worked.

Tuesday evening, June 27th, I did more petitioning for the Tasini campaign at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Was there for almost two hours and the weather seemed to threaten rain. This time around I got signatures, but not as many as last time and mostly had interesting conversations with folk visiting from out of state. Even though many were from out-of-state, they were interested in a Progressive Democrat running against Hillary “Ms Republican Lite” Clinton. Several wished they could have signed the petition, as they expressed dislike for Clinton’s stance on the war/occupation of Iraq, amongst other grievances.

On Friday evening, June 30th, was invited to Gail and Rob's place for tea and dessert. They live up the street from my place. Gail has been working on a lovely little garden for years next to their apartment building. And that’s how we met, though conversing about gardening and travel. They too love Cape May as much as I do. Due to Rob’s health, he was not able to attend my “social gathering” back in October 2005, but Gail came to enjoy herself. They are liberal democrats like me. This was my first time visiting their apartment and it is nicely situated, plus they share it with their adorable little dog Sky. After admiring Gail’s lovely artwork, we sat down at the kitchen table to nosh on peach cobbler, tea and discuss diverse topics. They also signed the Tasini petition I brought with me and took a flyer. Called it an evening at 11:30pm and walked back to my apartment to pack quickly for my holiday weekend, and then fell into bed at 12:15am.

Visited the parents from July 1st through July 3rd in upstate NY. Purchased my ticket the day before, so I wouldn’t have to wait on a long line Saturday morning before my 11:15am bus left Manhattan. Sadly, our bus didn’t leave on time, about 15 minutes late and the traffic all the way up Interstate 87 was like a big parking lot. Had no way of contacting my parents to let them know I was going to be late. So I read my book and listened to my CD player. We finally arrived into Albany 1 ½ hours late. Our bus driver was clueless on driving around NY State and near Albany took a wrong turn. We ended up across the Hudson River! Not good! One of the passengers gave him directions back to Albany and bus terminal. Mon dieu! Mom and Dad were waiting for me. We then visited Duane and Michelle, plus enjoy some KFC takeout dinner. [I haven’t had KFC in 20 years.] The day turned out quite nice and sunny. My brother looks so odd with his buzz style haircut. Just doesn’t look like Duane and I’m used to him with longer hair. The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing, dining out, shopping, hairdresser, reading, watching some cable TV. On July 2nd there was a nasty 20 minute torrential downpour in the early afternoon. Made driving abit difficult, then Mom and I had to sit in the car and wait for it to pass before going into restaurant. It felt good to get away from the city for a few days. I headed back to the city on Monday afternoon, as I’m no fan of traveling on July 4th, or being around fireworks.

On Tuesday, July 4th, I went to see if the local Internet Café was open. Sadly, they were closed and I needed to utilize the Internet. [Surprisingly, several shops in the hood were open.] Called up Rob (Gail was out of town visiting family) and asked if I could borrow their up-to-date computer for an hour. I received a hearty “absolutely”. When I explained my ancient home computer situation he was abit horrified and offered to build a new computer hard drive for me. He later said “no one should be without a computer”. When I got to their apartment Rob explained about the computer and what it entailed. Being savvy and skilled in computers helps. I thanked him many times for his kindness and generosity. While Rob took a nap I worked on the Internet for over an hour and then afterwards further discussion regarding this somewhat new computer. The prospect of having something new and surfing the Net at home was exciting. As I hadn’t been able to with ancient Mac computer in over 3 years. Oh yeah!

Wednesday, July 5th, I did more petitioning for the Tasini campaign down at Madison Square Park and was joined by three other volunteers. We made the rounds of the park and did okay. We then staked out the entrances to get folk coming and going. I also handed out lots of Tasini flyers. And around 8pm a bluegrass music fest began and I listened for 15 minutes to it before heading home. [Hum, I actually enjoyed it. Wow!] I’ve walked by this small park in the past and never really paid it much mind. In some ways it reminds me of Bryant Park after further inspection. There is a food café near the southeast corner and I’m told serves up kick ass milkshakes and smoothies. Weather held up okay and no rain. Amen!

Early Thursday evening, July 6th, Rob stopped by to bring me the new constructed computer, mouse and keyboard. [Wow, that was quick, thank you sooo much Rob!] Took about 2 hours to take apart my ten year old Mac and install this new PC, plus adjust things after installation, like Earthlink. One of the perks with this new computer is I can watch Region 1 & 2 DVDs. OMG! That means I can watch my SHARPE TV series DVDs. This is a lovely bonus! Oh yeah! After Rob headed home, I jumped on the NYC-DoP conference call at 8:30pm. The one-hour call covered many goals we need to accomplish in regards to the upcoming “100 Years of Non Violence” event and campaign. [Which reminds me; I need to Google District 12 media info, and send to Marianne.] Those reading this Blog and wanting to learn more about this Gandhi/Sept 11th event, go to ... sharing this link and info with others. We want to take this throughout the US and even internationally. BTW … I recently collaborated with Jessica Flagg in writing a “letter to the editor” regarding Nadler/Engel AND it was published in the July 6th issue of The Riverdale Press. WooHoo!

On Saturday, July 8th, I caught the 8:48am Metro North to Mt Kisco to hangout with my friend Nancie, as well as attend our appointment with event/catering at the Holiday Inn. The train was a few minutes late, but Nancie was waiting for me in her van. She looks good and lost some weight. Ballroom dancing definitely agrees with her. We drove through Mt Kisco [ah, the memories from my youth] and stopped at the diner. [Gosh, it’s been like 26 years since I last plunked my butt in this diner. And it hasn’t changed all that much.] Over iced tea and lemonade we discussed what goals we need to accomplish in preparing for class reunion. Yep, our 30th anniversary from Fox Lane high school is next year. Good lord, where does the time go to?!? [Two teachers that greatly inspired me from my school days were Mr. Witherspoon & Dr Dickert.] From there we drove to Nancie’s parent’s home not far from Westchester County Hospital. It’s lovely seeing them again. Last time was at their granddaughters wedding in June 2005. [Sadly, that marriage didn’t work out and Joni is a divorced woman.] We socialized for awhile and then Joni showed up. By this time it was close to 12pm and we headed out to lunch. Before going to Coco Rumba’s [443 Lexington Avenue, Mt Kisco] for lunch, we stopped by Danielle's Chocolatier shop for Belgium chocolates. Nancie’s father, Conrad, treated us to many goodies that we’ll consume later for dessert. I absolutely LOVE Belgium chocolates. Lunch was delicious, service was good and we had a lovely time. Nancie’s parents and daughter Joni signed my Tasini petition. [Thank you so much in being liberal democrats!] Back at the homestead, Nancie and I relaxed abit before attending our meeting with Ms Brooks at Holiday Inn. That meeting went very well and much was resolved. [I worked as a chambermaid at Holiday Inn in 1977 and it was my first job.] The place was renovated back in the 1990s and looks vastly better than it did in the 70s and 80s. Back at the homestead we settled down to refreshment at the dining room table and discussions on a variety of topics. 20 minutes after Joni left, Nancie’s sister showed up with her two daughters and hubby. More socializing followed before Nancie took me back to the train station. I caught the 5:30pm back to NYC and then went to AMC Empire cinema to see “Xmen - The Last Stand”. Very much enjoyed the movie and there was even some scenes of a bare chested Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Yum! This film had a lot of action, new characters, but the plot seemed abit thin. Despite all that I did enjoy it.

Early Sunday evening, July 9th, I hooked up with Jackie around 5pm. Jackie had purchased the tix in advance, so we’d be able to see “Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man’s Chest” at AMC Empire cinema. This film is proving to be quite popular and it’s only the first weekend. We both enjoyed the film, though agreed it seemed a tad to long. Johnny Depp is fabulous in the role of Jack Sparrow. Many laughs, action and visual effects in this film are good. Personally, I enjoyed the first film abit more. Anyhow, the ending left many surprises and answers will come forth in third POTC. Not sure when that is due out … maybe next year. Afterwards we walked down 7th Avenue to have a drink at Mustang Harry’s and chat for awhile. Sort of like a nightcap to a long, good weekend.

Tuesday, July 11th, was the monthly National Dept of Peace conference call at 9pm. Lynn McMullen and Matthew Albrecht were the moderators. Some of the items discussed were on events, meetings with congress people, peace caucus, city councilmember’s, presentations, resolutions, bumper stickers, press coverage and so on. These calls are always inspiring and informative. Just amazes me how many peace folk and states are involved. It’s a beautiful thing. Peace truly is patriotic! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The following evening I spent some time at the Tasini campaign office down in Greenwich Village. Dropped off the last of my signed petitions and chatted with the other volunteers for awhile on next level of action. Tasini only needed 15,000 signatures to get on the NY primary ballot and he got 40,000. This is awesome news!


By Robert Scheer, The Nation
[December 2001]

[DUCHESS NOTE: In light of Ken Lay’s (Bush fondly called him “Kenny Boy”) recent death, it’s important to look back on the huge connection between the Bush Regime and Enron. As well as how it affected not only those at Enron, but across the whole United States. From the 1990s to today … it’s some serious stuff. Not only Enron, but the whole Bush Regime needs to be held accountable and put on trial. These crimes are huge!]

BY John Nichols, The Nation
Posted May 25, 2006 & Printed on July 9, 2006
The man who paid many of the biggest bills for George Bush's political ascent, Enron founder Kenneth Lay, has been found guilty of conspiracy and fraud almost five years after his dirty dealings created the greatest corporate scandal in what will be remembered as an era of corporate crime.


Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) gave the following floor speech today:
“Five years ago, today, on July 11, 2001, I introduced legislation to create a cabinet level Department of Peace and Nonviolence which would employ the principles taught by Christ, Gandhi, Dr. King, Mother Teresa and others to create a new hope for violence-free homes, schools, and communities through peace and character education; new hope that through peace education we can challenge the notion of the inevitability of war. Today, thanks to hundreds of community groups, led by the Peace Alliance, momentum is building. Fifteen cities have passed resolutions endorsing the Department of Peace and seventy-four members of the House have signed onto the bill. More and more, Americans want a compassionate, focused, organized approach to dealing with the violence in our communities; to dealing with domestic violence, spousal abuse, child abuse and other types of violence. The Department of Peace represents the end of fear and the beginning of hope for a new nation and a new world.”

Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) joined with the Ranking Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce, George Miller (D-CA), today on the House floor, in demanding that Congress immediate consider a bill to raise the minimum wage $2.10, from $5.15 to $7.25. “This is a moral issue, not just a fiscal issue,” stated Kucinich, who has joined with Congressional Democrats in opposing a Congressional pay raise until the House considers a bill to raise the minimum raise. “Millions of working men and women, and their families, can ill-afford to wait for Washington partisan politics. They have been waiting since 1997. It is far past time, that Congress steps ups and considers this urgent legislation.”

A minimum wage worker, working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year earns $10,700 a year, $5,000 below the poverty line for a family of three. It is estimated that over 7 million workers would receive an increase in their hourly wage if the minimum wage were raised to just $7.25 an hour. An additional 8.2 million workers earning up to a dollar above the new minimum wage would also benefit.

“Since 1997, the price of gas has gone up, the price of food has gone up, rent has gone up, mortgage costs have gone up, the cost of college has gone up, the only thing that has not gone up is the minimum wage,” continued Kucinich. “The reality is the minimum wage today is at lowest point in over 50 years. It is immoral for this Congress to allow citizens in the wealthiest nation in the world to work a full-time job and still live in poverty,” concluded Kucinich. “The hard working men and women who are the backbone of the American workforce have waited long enough. Congress must act.”


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