Thursday, November 30, 2006


Carol Hillson [NYDoP Chair Person] Commentary - For those of you, who may or may not know, yesterday was an exceptional day for NYDoP and the Department of Peace Campaign. A resolution was introduced to the New York City Council by Council Member Rosie Mendez calling for a U.S. Department of Peace and Nonviolence. The press conference held this morning played at 6 pm on WFUV radio out of Fordham University. Local TV station, Channel 9, broadcast a 30 second segment during the 10 pm news as well. Both outlets represented the campaign favorably. This is exceptional!

My deepest appreciation to all who worked tirelessly on this with very short notice. I think there was all of 3 weeks to plan! Thanks to Kevin Fagan, our illustrious Legislative Coordinator, Karen Murphy for her extraordinary efforts helping organize the day and acting as MC, to Marianne Perez for her incredible media and stage managing skills, to Joe Allegro, Charlene Barker, Adriana, Susan Cushman and Marni Goldner for helping contact the press, to Eileen Ilardo in helping contact endorsers and to Norma Loeb for initiating the idea and as always alerting the NY Times reporters to this event.

And thanks to all who showed up to support the campaign and be ON TV! Liz Graydon is always willing to travel in from LI, Ellen Jaedicke ferried over from SI and Dawn came down from mid-town! We have a dedicated and amazing team and we are doing great work together. We are also grateful to Lindsey and Ken Neal who have been providing us with professional PR advice and counseling. It’s definitely working! We are so grateful that Dot Maver was in town and willing to stand with us and speak about the importance of this effort on behalf of New Yorkers as well as people all across this nation. Her words were stirring and so fitting.

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[Above Photo - In front, with many NYDoP members behind them, is Councilwoman Mendez and Councilman Jackson at City Hall yesterday. Yours truly is holding the NYDoP banner with Joe Allegro. I was "oh yeah!" in regards to a statement by Councilman Jackson.]

Kevin Fagan [NYDoP Co-Chair Person] Commentary - Today was indeed a wonderful and satisfying day for New Yorkers for a Department of Peace. Our press conference went very well. We had a few radio stations present as well coverage seen on My9 10 o’clock news (I just saw it and we looked great - video to come as soon as I am able to transfer it from VHS to digital)!

Our own Karen Murphy did a first rate job as emcee, as well as writing up most of the talking points. Councilwoman Rosie Mendez was first to speak after Karen’s intro. After Rosie was a surprise guest in Councilman Robert Jackson, who really helped fire everybody up and agreed to be another co-sponsor of the resolution. (That makes 6 at the moment>) Dot Maver spoke passionately and eloquently as always and Congressman Jose Serrano (a co-sponsor of the Congressional bill) was represented by his District Director Cheryl Simmons-Oliver. All in all a very promising day for peace!

Now is the time to make ourselves heard in City Council and the halls of Congress. New Yorkers please contact your City Council member persistently in the coming weeks and ask for their support of City Council Resolution 627. You can find there info here:

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to let your U.S. Representative and Senators hear from you as well. Ask for their support for HR3760 in the House and S1756 in the Senate.

Marianne Perez [NYDoP Media Coordinator] Commentary - Just a quick report to let you know that today the New York City Council introduced a resolution in support of the national Dep't of Peace legislation.

To mark the occasion, we held a press conference on the front steps of City Hall. Councilmember Rosie Mendez spoke about why she was presenting the resolution and Dot Maver gave an overview of what a DOP would do. My favorite part of the press conference was when NY-DOPer Karen Murphy was reading the list of Councilmember’s who had already committed to supporting the resolution. As she concluded, Councilmember Robert Jackson walked up and said "And you can count me in too!" This could not have been better staged.

So far, we've tracked that we got covered by WFUV (my favorite radio station, ever! with Dot's brilliant sound bite and Channel 9 News with Rosie's emphatic support and excellent DOP banner visuals. We are particularly thrilled that they got the story right and the entire facts straight and that the messaging was perfectly reflective of our mission. We expect more stories to come up today and in the coming days. The resolution has now been assigned to committee for hearings.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Message & Stats from America’s Second Harvest – The Nation’s Food Bank Network

[Duchess Note: Proud to be a volunteer with City Harvest and Food Bank for NYC. To find our more info or stats in your state, click on this link]

New York State Statistical Briefing
Food Insecurity Rate 10.0%
Population 18,976,457
Poverty Rate 14.2%
Child Poverty Rate 19.6%
Unemployment Rate 4.9%

New York City Statistical Briefing
Poverty Rate 19.1%
Homeless Rate 11%

575 Eighth Avenue
Fourth Floor
New York, NY 10018
Phone: 917-351-8700
Fax: 917-351-8720

Executive Director: Jilly Stephens
Web Site:
Media Contact: Pat Barrick
Title: Vice President, Marketing & Communications
Phone: 917-351-8700

Population served - Number of counties served: 5
Total pounds of food distributed annually: 20,529,777

Types and number of services/agencies distributing food
Emergency: 203
Soup Kitchen: 53
Shelter: 54
Day Care: 5
Multi-service: 22
Senior: 26
Youth Programs: 147
Other Programs: 16

Main Office: 90 John Street
Warehouse: 355 Food Center Dr.
New York, NY 10038
Phone: 718-991-4300
Fax: 718-893-3442

Executive Director: Lucy Cabrera, PH.D.
Web Site:
Media Contact: Carol Schneider
Phone: (212) 566-7855 ext 2231

Population served - Number of counties served: 5
Total pounds of food distributed annually: 54,184,071

Types and number of services/agencies distributing food
Emergency: 610
Soup Kitchen: 238
Shelter: 40
Day Care: 21
Multi-service: 63
Senior: 38
Rehabilitation: 24

Robert Weller, AP Writer

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[Duchess Note - I can't see why people would get their darn nickers in a twist over such a pretty wreath. A peace sign symbolizes love, harmony, goodwill and its pro-peace. How can anyone be against peace! There are some uptight, narrow minded people out there who are not happy unless they are hurting or abusing others. Its such unchristian behavior. I think more people should put peace signs all over the place. Promote love and enlightenment, not fear and war.]

BUMPER STICKER QUOTE - Peace Also Takes Courage

WATCH THE LATEST VIDEO By Elle Empire (ie: Cielito, Jordan and Jelani) called Crazed: The Belly Dance, which is now airing online at Current TV. In just a short time the video is now #2! Your vote can help Elle Empire & Belly Dancing Craze get to the next step....airing on the Current TV television network.

Please take a few minutes to register by clicking on the comments button on the lower left of the video screen (just a user name and password). Then return to the video page and press the greenlight button. Voila! You’re a power broker! Thanks much, hope you like Crazed: The Belly Dance, and feel free in sending this link to your database ...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

BIG NEWS FROM "NEW YORKERS FOR A DEPT OF PEACE" - New York City Council exciting news everyone!

New York City is poised to join eighteen other cities, including, Chicago, Detroit, & Atlanta in endorsing federal legislation to establish a cabinet level Department of Peace and Nonviolence. Please join me, along with New York City Councilmember Rosie Mendez; Executive Director of the Peace Alliance, Dot Maver; and others, on the steps of City Hall, Wednesday, November 29th , at 11am for a press conference to introduce this historic City Council Resolution. Programs initiated by the Department of Peace will greatly reduce violence in our schools, streets and homes and help make our city a safer more desirable place to live.


Please contact your City Council Member and Congressperson to inform them of this important event, and ask for their support. You can locate your Council Member here and your Congresspersons here, is scheduled to join Councilmember Mendez, as well as other speakers to be named. NYDoP ( is a citizen organization working to establish a cabinet-level, federally-funded, United States Department of Peace that would promote nonviolent conflict resolution including: prevention, education and training both domestically and internationally.

BORN ON THIS DAY in 1694 Voltaire [Francois-Marie Arouet] was born in France and a noted author/philosopher ... "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities"
Congratulations to all of the Department of Peace activists in Chicago who worked so hard to help make Chicago the eighteenth city to pass a resolution. Being the third largest city in the nation, Chicago's unanimous resolution passage is a particularly exciting victory! Fairmont, MN City Council also recently passed a resolution in support of the Dept of Peace. Congratulations to everyone there who helped make it possible. Seventeen city councils, from Detroit, MI to Atlanta, GA, have passed measures endorsing the legislation. Some of the largest cities in the nation are endorsing, representing populations totaling over 6.5 million people. Check out the entire list of cities with resolutions:

Atlanta, GA
Berkeley, CA
Cambridge, MA
Chicago, IL
Cleveland, OH
Detroit, MI
Everett, MA
Hamtramck, MI
Kuai (County), HI
Lincoln City, OR
Minneapolis, MN
Oakland, CA
Palo Alto, CA
San Jose, CA
Santa Cruz, CA
Sebastopol, CA
Silver City, NM

and find out how you can work with your city council to help pass a resolution in support of the Department of Peace. Jeannette Kravitz, who, along with Scott Roos, heads the Chicago City Council Resolution ACTION Committee, writes about the process their group went through on the way to a successful resolution:

"...on September 11th Alderman Shirley Coleman and Walter Burnett, Jr. gave us a gift. They presented our Resolution at City Council. November 9th, the City Council hearing was held in Council room 201-A. Alderman Billy Ocasio, Chairman of Human Relations and Alderman Coleman led the hearing. The City Council passed the Resolution with 100% support on Wednesday November 14th. That day folks from our committee sat for over 5 hours as we waited to be acknowledged on the City Council Floor. We went into action. Next step, we organized and hosted a World Peace Day November 17th in just a couple of days...." read full article here at

[DUCHESS NOTE - If you live in the NYC area, please note that "New Yorkers for a Dept of Peace", along with City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, will be presenting a press conference on City Hall steps on November 29th at 11am to introduce the DoP resolution. Join us that day in making peace the word in NYC. Please, call your senator, congressperson and city councilmembers to urge them to be part of this worthy resolution towards peace in our great city. To learn more about the Dept of Peace campaign, go to]


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[Duchess Note - Talented British actor, Sean Bean, portrays Richard Sharpe from the Bernard Cornwell series called "Sharpe". These TV movies were filmed and originally shown on PBS back in the 1990s. There a terrific series and the action takes place during the Napoleonic Wars from 1809 to 1815. I've read all 21 books in the series and I highly recommended them.]

Saturday, November 18, 2006

News Blaze

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[DUCHESS NOTE - Have recently updated and edited the numerous links in the left-hand column of the Duchess Blog. In regards to the holiday section ... many of those stores/websites are not just for holiday shopping. They sell wonderful items throughout the year. Check it out today. Peace on Earth!]

BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1787 was Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre, the inventor of the daguerreotype process. . . .

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... Your silence will not protect you Audre Lorde

DUCHESS NOTE - One of the wonderful people I work with at "New Yorkers for a Dept Peace" campaign is Reverend Joe Allegro. He has a website called "Cosmos Connection", which is truly inspiring and I warmly suggest others check it out. Go to ...

Marianne Williamson, Peace Alliance

BUMPER STICKER QUOTE - Hey Bush! Where's Bin Laden?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Jury Duty" calls? Read This Before You Answer!
This new and frightening scam has been confirmed by multiple sources. Most of us take a summons for jury duty seriously, but enough people skip out on their civic duty that this new scam has surfaced. In this con, someone calls pretending to be a court official who threateningly says a warrant has been issued for your arrest because you didn't show up for jury duty. The caller claims to be a jury coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth so he or she can "verify" the information and cancel the arrest warrant. Give out ANY information and you've just helped a scam artist steal your identity.

The scam has been reported so far in many states and it is particularly insidious because they try to bully people into giving information by pretending they're with the court system. The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their web sites, warning consumers about the fraud. You can visit the FBI website via this link to get additional information ...

ACTION ALERT FROM "CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS" - Call on the German Federal Prosecutor to Investigate Rumsfeld & Other U.S. Officials for War Crimes at Abu Ghraib

[Duchess Note - I just went to this website and signed the petition/letter. Its time we all took action and make these war criminals pay for their horrendous crimes. Demand justice now ... enough is enough!]


Keith Olbermann Taps a Well of Discontent as the Anti-O'Reilly
C.W. Nevius

A Renewed Effort Towards Peace - Message from Ohio Democrat Congressman Kucinich On November 11th
Thank you for helping me to be re-elected by such a wide margin. And thank you for being part of this long-standing effort that we've had towards peace. All across this country, the voices of the American people have called out for peace. All across this country, the American people's votes have registered a strong vote of confidence in a process that will take us out of Iraq. We have to now harness this energy. Let's continue to work together to take steps towards organizing this powerful peace movement in this country so that, not only do we get out of Iraq, but we stop the wars of the future. It is absolutely imperative that this election become the beginning of a renewed effort to create the world that we know is possible. I'm dedicated to working with you, and I also believe that, through our combined efforts, we can not only reshape the direction of Congress but we can reshape the direction of the American government with respect to its relationship in the world. Thank you. Thank you for caring, thank you for helping me to remain in the Congress, and thank you for the willingness that you have to continue to work together in pursuit of a higher cause, a cuase that ennobles our lives, that lifts us up, that enables us to truly change the world.

... In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act George Orwell

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Hindered at the Polls? Groups Seek to Aid Voters

What Republican Revolution?
Laurence M. Vance

Bush’s Election-Eve Message: Lies & Nonsense
Robert Parry, Consortium News

Hundreds of US Soldiers Call for Iraq Withdrawal in Petition

QUOTE OF THE DAYThe price of freedom is eternal vigilance Thomas Jefferson

Nationwide Candidates Win by Fighting for New Trade Policies, Opposing NAFTA Model;
No Fair Trader Loses, 32 “Free” Trade Seats Flip

Trade Helped Put Democrats Over Top, Emerges as National Electoral Issue with 25
Paid Ads and 100 Races Using Trade as Differentiator, Public Citizen Analysis Shows;
Exit Polls Show Voters - Economic Anxiety a Top Concern

WASHINGTON, D.C. - From Florida to Hawaii and parts in between, pro-fair trade challengers
Tuesday beat anti-fair trade incumbents, according to an analysis of the 2006 midterm
results conducted by Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch division. Incumbents who
had voted for the U.S. trade status quo of NAFTA, WTO and Fast Track were replaced
by those rejecting these failed policies and advocating improvement with at least
six Senate and 27 House seats being won by proponents of fair trade, and perhaps
as high as seven Senate and 40 House seats. To read the entire press release visit:

Angry Voters Punish Bush, GOP for Scandals, Iraq

South Dakota Votes To Preserve Women's Rights - They Voted NO On The Abortion Ban!
Deanna Zandt & Ann Friedman

US Must Get out of Iraq — Now
Rory Stewart

Campaign '06: Goodbye & Good Riddance
Molly Ivins, Alternet
Congress stands before us so hopelessly corrupt that the stench has washed all over the country

Internet Freedom Fighters to Take Command in Congress
Timothy Karr


Bush Replaces Rumsfeld With ... Another Rumsfeld
Joshua Holland, Alternet

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

DEMOCRATS TURN TABLES IN WASHINGTON - Two Senate Races All That Stand between Them & Control Of Congress
Alex Johnson & Sheldon Gawiser / MSNBC & NBC

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... A patriot must be ready to defend his country against his government Edward Abbey

[Duchess Note - Many Americans are fed up with the Republicans and showed that at the polls yesterday. We want a change in this country and to go in a more positive direction. A direction that brings in peace, truth, justice and equality for all. No more war and bring our troops home now!]

Bob Gates, He's Back
Larry Johnson


[Duchess Note - I am so happy that the Democrats have taken the majority of the House and Senate. Oh yeah! Their first month or so in office will be a big test. Will they pull through for the American people or slack off? Stay tuned................]

[Update - Duchess "personal news" will be updated soon and many pix too]

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

[Duchess Note - Just learned that Lieberman was voted Senator again in CT. Good heavens! Ugh! Apparently those that voted for him are pro-war, pro-corporation, pro-rich and anti-peace and justice. Lieberman is one of the worst senators, not only in CT history, but in the US senate. Was so hoping that CT people would come to their senses and vote for Lamont. I'm also annoyed that NY state voted Slick Hil back into the senate. She is another pro-war, pro-corporation, pro-rich and anti-peace candidate. First there was FL in 2000, then OH in 2004 and now its VA in 2006. Most American citizens want honest, trust worthy voting machines et al. We want democracy, not fascism nor tyranny. Glad to hear there was a good turnout for voting today.]

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... The most violent element in society is ignorance Emma Goldman
WHETHER YOUR 18 OR 65, IT'S IMPORTANT FOR ALL AMERICAN CITIZENS TO GET OUT THERE TODAY AND VOTE -- The future of our country hinges on keeping the vote intact, truth, peace, justice and bringing back democracy

Go vote; bring your friends to vote; and call you relatives to make sure they are voting. Wherever you live, there is an important race going on. It might be for the Senate, or the House of Representatives, or for Governor, or mayor. One constant remains: Democrats stand for changing the course and Republicans want to keep things the same both in Iraq and here at home. So if somebody asks you today why it's important to vote Democrat you tell them, Democrats have a detailed plan for a new direction. It begins with six in '06:

1. Real Security including the redeployment of US Forces in Iraq
2. Raising the minimum wage
3. College access for all
4. Energy Independence
5. Affordable Healthcare
6. Retirement Security

You can check out for updates and video throughout the day. We can win. We just need to keep working through the final stretch and not give an inch. It's time for a new direction.

[Duchess Note - In regards to #1, I'm not for redeployment, but totally support candidates who say bring ALL OUR TROOPS HOME NOW. Some may agree with me and some may not. Thats okay ... totally cool with that.]

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[Above Photo - Students from Long Island University interview Marianne and Carol at the "New Yorkers for a Dept of Peace" table]
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[Photo Above - There were many peace related groups tabling at the Peace Fair. Here is a view of some of them.]

Monday, November 06, 2006

THE FOLLOWING “100 BEST WORKS OF FICTION” LIST WAS PUBLISHED IN SPRING OF 2002 IN ENGLAND’S “THE GUARDIAN” NEWSPAPER – THIS LIST WAS DETERMINED BY 100 NOTED WRITERS FROM 54 COUNTRIES [Listed by book title, author and birth/death year AND the double ** indicates the books I’ve read]

Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe, Nigeria (b. 1930)
Fairy Tales and Stories - Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark (1805-1875)
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen, England (1775-1817) **
Old Goriot - Honore de Balzac, France (1799-1850)
Trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable - Samuel Beckett, Ireland (1906-1989)
Decameron - Giovanni Boccaccio, Italy (1313-1375) **
Collected Fictions - Jorge Luis Borges, Argentina (1899-1986)
Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë, England (1818-1848) **
The Stranger - Albert Camus, France (1913-1960)
Selected Poems and Prose - Paul Celan, Romania/France (1920-1970)
Journey to the End of the Night - Louis-Ferdinand Celine, France (1894-1961)
Don Quixote de la Mancha - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Spain (1547-1616) **
Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer, England (1340-1400) **
Selected Stories - Anton P. Chekhov, Russia (1860-1904)
Nostromo - Joseph Conrad, England (1857-1924)
The Divine Comedy - Dante Alighieri, Italy (1265-1321)
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens, England (1812-1870) **
Jacques the Fatalist and His Master - Denis Diderot, France (1713-1784)
Berlin Alexanderplatz - Alfred Döblin, Germany (1878-1957)
Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Possessed, The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky, Russia (1821-1881)
Middlemarch - George Eliot, England (1819-1880)
Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison, United States (1914-1994)
Medea - Euripides, Greece (circa 480-406 B.C.)
Absalom Absalom, The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner, United States (1897-1962)
Madame Bovary, A Sentimental Education Gustave Flaubert, France (1821-1880) **
Gypsy Ballads - Federico Garcia Lorca, Spain (1898-1936)
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombia (b. 1928)
The Epic of Gilgamesh - Mesopotamia (circa 1800 B.C.)
Faust - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany (1749-1832)
Dead Souls - Nikolai Gogol, Russia (1809-1852)
The Tin Drum - Gunter Grass, Germany (b. 1927)
The Devil to Pay in the Backlands - Joao Guimaraes Rosa, Brazil (1880-1967)
Hunger - Knut Hamsun, Norway (1859-1952)
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway, United States (1899-1961) **
The Iliad, The Odyssey - Homer, Greece (circa 700 B.C.) **
A Doll's House - Henrik Ibsen, Norway (1828-1906)
The Book of Job - Israel (600-400 B.C.)
Ulysses - James Joyce, Ireland (1882-1941)
The Complete Stories, The Trial, The Castle - Franz Kafka, Bohemia (1883-1924)
The Recognition of Sakuntala - Kalidasa, India (circa 400)
The Sound of the Mountain - Yasunari Kawabata, Japan (1899-1972)
Zorba the Greek - Nikos Kazantzakis, Greece (1883-1957)
Sons and Lovers - D.H. Lawrence, England (1885-1930)
Independent People - Halldor K. Laxness, Iceland (1902-1998)
Complete Poems - Giacomo Leopardi, Italy (1798-1837)
The Golden Notebook - Doris Lessing, England (b. 1919)
The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking - Astrid Lindgren, Sweden (1907-2002) **
Diary of a Madman and Other Stories - Lu Xun, China (1881-1936)
Mahabharata - India (circa 500 B.C.)
Children of Gebelawi - Naguib Mahfouz, Egypt (b. 1911)
Buddenbrook, The Magic Mountain - Thomas Mann, Germany (1875-1955)
Moby Dick - Herman Melville, United States (1819-1891) **
Essays - Michel de Montaigne, France (1533-1592)
History - Elsa Morante, Italy (1918-1985)
Beloved - Toni Morrison, United States (b. 1931)
The Tale of Genji - Murasaki Shikibu, Japan (973-1025?)
The Man Without Qualities - Robert Musil, Austria (1880-1942)
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov, Russia/United States (1899-1977)**
Njaal's Saga - Iceland (circa 1300)
1984 - George Orwell, England (1903-1950) **
Metamorphoses - Ovid, Italy (circa 43 B.C.)
The Book of Disquiet - Fernando Pessoa, Portugal (1888-1935)
The Complete Tales - Edgar Allan Poe, United States (1809-1849) **
Remembrance of Things Past - Marcel Proust, France (1871-1922) **
Gargantua and Pantagruel - Francois Rabelais, France (1495-1553)
Pedro Paramo - Juan Rulfo, Mexico (1918-1986)
Mathnawi - Jalal ad-din Rumi, Afghanistan (1207-1273)
Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie, India/Britain (b. 1947)
The Orchard - Sheikh Musharrif ud-din Sadi, Iran (circa 1200-1292)
Season of Migration to the North - Tayeb Salih, Sudan (b. 1929)
Blindness - Jose Saramago, Portugal (b. 1922)
Hamlet, King Lear, Othello - William Shakespeare, England (1564-1616) **
Oedipus the King - Sophocles, Greece (496-406 B.C.)
The Red and the Black - Stendhal, France (1783-1842) **
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy - Laurence Sterne, Ireland (1713-1768)
Confessions of Zeno - Italo Svevo, Italy (1861-1928)
Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift, Ireland (1667-1745) **
War and Peace, Anna Karenina, The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories - Leo Tolstoy, Russia (1828-1910) **
Tales from a Thousand and One Nights - India/Iran/Iraq/Egypt (700-1500)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain, United States (1835-1910) **
Ramayana - Valmiki, India (circa 300 B.C.)
The Aeneid - Virgil, Italy (70-19 B.C.)
Leaves of Grass - Walt Whitman, United States (1819-1892)
Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf, England (1882-1941)
Memoirs of Hadrian - Marguerite Yourcenar, France (1903-1987)

MESSAGE FROM JONATHAN TASINI IN NEW YORK STATE - A Different Course of Action This Election Day
Over the past few weeks, a number of people have told me that they simply have no desire to vote for the available candidates listed on the ballot for U.S. Senate in New York. They asked me: "Can we just write you in?" I didn't particularly focus on this idea until I received a letter from a senior citizen supporter who, in shaky handwriting, asked my permission to write in my name for the Senate race. Her letter was touching and passionate. So, while I will not make a big effort to push this idea, if you want to write in my name or, frankly, anyone else but the incumbent, please feel free to do so. The truth is that no one should have to vote for an incumbent who has supported a war that has killed more than 2,800 American men and women and 650,000 Iraqis, wounded hundreds of thousands more, destroyed a country and will end up costing our country as much as 2 trillion dollars.

Here is how you do that ... Locate the button over the column of numbered slots on the left of the voting machine and ... Depress the button and, while holding it in, open the slot opposite the office for which you wish to write in a candidate's name. Write the name of your preferred candidate in the slot. A pencil is provided. Cast your vote for other offices in the usual manner.
When you finish making your selection, leave the levers down and pull the large red handle all the way to the left. The write-in slot will close, the levers will return to their original position and your vote is recorded. If you need help, you can demand that the poll workers assist you.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

DOESN’T SHOW THE COURAGE OF HIS CONVICTIONS … AGAIN [Commentary From My Friend Judith In Riverdale, NY]

What is wrong with John Kerry? His apology for his "joke", saying he meant to insult President Bush, absurd. The original joke told the truth and what the US has; (of course with MANY, MANY exceptions) is a "poverty draft". Most (NOT all, of course) of those who, in recent years (right before & since the Iraq war), go into the National Guard and the Army, do so for THE MONEY. (I know several examples of this myself … former students, some in their families; a friend's relative) These are poor people. Some go in to get money for college, others because they are HS graduates and can't get a civilian job, or have civilian jobs that don't pay enough to support their families as they would want. The army recruiters don't go into rich white neighborhoods and high schools, or rarely do. They concentrate on the poor black neighborhoods, on ghetto schools, on poor whites, too, in the south and Midwest. This is (the students are told) their way out of poverty, their way out of the streets, the way to get opportunities. (They don't say, "If you don't get seriously injured or disabled, physically or mentally, or killed".) Not being in college, not having a high paying career, or being in the process of studying for one, is the reason MOST (again, NOT ALL) are those "on the firing line" in Iraq. This is the reality. And Kerry meant this, and didn't (again) show the guts to say it, once confronted. The same pathetic showing Kerry had in his Presidential campaign. He is always afraid to show the courage of his convictions and tell the truth.

[Duchess Note – I so agree with Judith and many thanks in sharing your views. I’m still pissed at Kerry for this latest weakness. Dude, get some backbone! His comments were correct and he spoke the truth. There is no need to apologize AND the other Democrats should of supported him 100%. I’m disgusted with many Democrats right now and will be voting for some Green Party and Working Families candidates on November 7th.]

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

On Thursday, September 21st, I attended the monthly NYDoP core team meeting and it was also International Peace Day. The turnout for the meeting wasn’t that large, but what made it so special was welcoming two new attendees [ie: Adrianna & Susan]. This was our first meeting since the Gandhi/Sept 11th event two weeks earlier and we all greeting each other warmly. Those attending the meeting were Kevin, Liz, Carol, Karen, Priscilla, Eileen, Marianne, MaryJo and I. I brought along baked goodies for all to nosh on while we discussed NVC principals, UN International Peace Day, upcoming NYDoP events and of course feedback on the Gandhi event. As to the latter, our germinating vision over 5 month span reached out to many groups across the US and in several countries around the world. We were overjoyed upon hearing the news from Carol and Marianne. Plus, we were looking forward to celebrating on September 23rd and 30th.

The week of Sept 25th through 29th I was on a much needed vacation from a busy work environment and other activities. On the morning of the 26th I took an early bus down to my beloved Cape May, NJ for a few days of R&R. A week or so before, I contacted Regina at Twin Gables B&B about staying there for 3 nights. They still have had no luck in buyers for the inn and told me the real estate market isn’t so hot. Harry and Regina filled me in on other local “goings on” during my visit. Great seeing the Golden Retriever Brandy again … he is such a lovable, nicely behaved doggie. My stay in Cape May was blessed with warm, sunny weather the first few days before it turned cool and windy on evening of 28th. I rented a bike shortly after arriving Tuesday afternoon and returned it Thursday before tea time at the B&B. I so enjoy biking and walking all over the Cape May area. And even more so when the weather is gorgeous and perfect outside. Visited many of my favorite haunts in the area; which included the library, Washington Street Mall shops, Sunset Beach, lighthouse, Emlen Physick Estate/Museum, promenade at the beach, Depot Café, Seaside Sweets, Winterwood and viewing all the lovely Victorian style homes/inns.

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[Note: View inside the top of Cape May Lighthouse]

Sitting on the Twin Gables veranda with a glass of wine and reading a book is delightful, and Regina’s breakfasts are out of this world. Total yummers! I was the only guest at the B&B until tea time on Thursday, when two very nice ladies from Alabama showed up. They were in town for a niece’s graduation from Coast Guard. Overall I had a lovely time and decided my 2007 vacation will be another trek to Canada. [BTW … if you ever visit Cape May … go to Seaside Sweets and purchase their yummy chocolate covered potato chips. They are sooooo good!]

On Saturday, Sept 30th, I joined several of my NYDoP core team members and acquaintances in going on a two hour Sail-a-bration in NYC Harbor. [We were celebrating our work and efforts regarding Gandhi event.] The weather wasn’t that great, but that didn’t stop us or the other passengers who boarded the schooner [“Adirondack”] at Chelsea Piers. The sky was overcast and did fling a few drops of rain before we set sail. Our own Reverend Joe blessed us and the boat with a worthy prayer to appease sky and water gods. [I brought a tin of my homemade cookies to share with our group.] I’ve never been on a schooner before and I very much enjoyed the experience. Didn’t feel seasick at all, in fact, I was in high spirits. I mostly sat towards the center of the schooner with Kevin, his daughter Evie and Joe. [I didn’t mind helping Kevin out with watching Evie periodically, as she is a delightful child.] The others … Carol, Marianne, Gary, Dian and Marie … sat at the back in more comfy seats. Fascinating to watch the workings of the schooner as the crew of two gals handled all beautifully. [The captain was a congenial older man with a winning smile.] We sailed down to the harbor, viewed the Statue of Liberty and on the way back up Hudson River we saw two large cruise ships heading out to the Atlantic. Utilizing the small bathroom in the schooner is quite an experience on balance and leg strength. Afterwards we [except for Kevin & Evie] went to the local restaurant at the pier to have a delicious, light dinner to warm up the body. We also engaged in conversation on several topics, one being inspiring thought provoking films. I told them about the 2005 German film “Sophie Scholl”. Overall I had a wonderful, terrific day.

QUOTE OF THE DAYWhatever you do may seem insignificant but it is most important that you do it Gandhi

Monday, October 2nd, I joined my friend Linda [NYC Kucitizen] in attending an evening event hosted by “World Can’t Wait” at Cooper Union in Manhattan. This event was a lead up to the big march and rally scheduled at noontime on October 5th. Quite a large turnout and several people I knew were tabling at the event. MaryJo was there at the “Impeach Bush” table and Ann, along with her very sweet Iranian hubby, were at the “We Will Not Be Silent” table selling t-shirts with sayings on them in several languages. [That saying or statement is by the student resistance movement in 1930s Nazi Germany called “The White Rose”. Sophie Scholl and her brother were part of that movement.] These acquaintances, along with Linda, are dedicated and inspiring folk who strive for truth, justice and democracy. These values are very much lacking under Bush & Company. Those speaking at the event were Malachy McCourt, Reno, Mark Ruffalo, Debra Sweet, Olympia Dukakis, Bill Goodman and Craig Murray. The latter seemed like a mild-manner former British Ambassador [ie: to Uzbekistan]. Once he got into his story of how he risked his life and forfeited his career to blow the whistle on US sponsored torture, his passion and character roused the audience to a standing ovation. Bravo Mr. Murray! As did film actress Olympia Dukakis, whom I also found to be quite inspiring and well informed. It was a great evening and I even picked up some new buttons. One of which reads “Habeas Corpus R.I.P. 1215-2006” So many more Americans need to come together under one banner and stop the numerous crimes/outrages of Bush & Company. It must be done … our country and lives are in jeopardy.

On Sunday, October 8th, I volunteered to help out during the annual NYC Renaissance Faire up at Fort Tryon Park. My high school friend Eileen was production director and like last year, I helped out with small “jobs” around the faire. Also, like last year, we were blessed with a warm, sunny day around 70 degrees. The sun was so bright on my bare head that I purchased a $5 paper Chinese parasol as protection. I wasn’t the only one with that idea and I saw many ladies with parasols. Mostly hung out with Becca, who was going solo this year, as Bonnie was at her son’s football game and we had a fun time. Becca was helping out Eileen’s hubby Seth with some filming of the days events. We were mostly situated at the Tournament Field, Site of the Web and the opening procession parade. [Becca & Saul (photo below) at the Ren Faire ... Saul was such an interesting man. We were on the verge of exchanging “info” when interrupted by an acquaintance of his.]

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Starting at 5:15pm to 6:30pm the faire wrapped up, packed up everything and closed for another successful year. Larger crowds turned out this year than last. Finally, after some time, a group of us [including Eileen & Seth] headed to a restaurant nicely situated in Fort Tryon Park. Seth treated us to a delicious meal and after gave me some buckos for taxi ride home.

Tuesday, October 10th, I attended the City Harvest orientation/training at 6pm. Want to help out and do volunteering with this amazing food rescue organization. [Thank you Reverend Joe for the info!] City Harvest provides food to senior centers, homeless, soup kitchens, food pantries, churches, etc. I learned that 19.1% of New Yorkers are at poverty level and that 11% are homeless. Good heavens! After the orientation we fill out forms and through this will be informed via email on future volunteering assignments. Some opportunities I cannot participate in, as it’s during my work day, but others I can help out during weekends or evenings. I also signed up with Food Bank of NYC. Later that evening I jumped on a NYDoP conference call regarding “peace tabling” at an upcoming Red Hot Chili Peppers gig at Continental Arena in NJ. [RHCP bass player Flea has come out & endorsing the DoP legislation/campaign. Now if we can only get Pearl Jam to support or endorse the DoP. That would be so cool!] Personally, I think it awesome to combine peace activism with rock music. I’ve never seen the RHCPs live, so this will be a thrill for me.

Monday, October 16th, I participated in the third NYDoP conference call regarding further prep talk on “peace tabling” at the RHCP gigs. We are ready to rock and roll with peace and nonviolence.

BUMPER STICKER QUOTE OF THE DAYGay marriage doesn’t scare me, hatred & inequality do!

Next day, October 17th, was my b-day and I received some long stem yellow roses from a few co-workers. As well as several email b-day greetings friends and good wishes from co-workers. Hard to believe, but in two more years I’ll be celebrating the big 5-0. And this lady will be throwing a cool, funky party to celebrate the occasion. Hell yeah! Around 4:30pm I headed over to Port Authority to meet up with fellow NYDoP member, David, and we purchased our one-way bus tix for Continental Arena. We had no troubles entering the arena and picking up our passes, then heading up the escalator to find rest of our group. Liz, Rob, Marianne, Chris and other volunteers had shown up earlier and already had the tables mostly set up. I brought along copies of DoP paperwork and homemade fudge brownies for our group to nibble on. Received last minute instructions, checked out the turf and positioned myself at one of our tables near Gate A. Behind our tabling area were one of the “handicap” sections and a nice left side view of the stage. Since the weather was crappy outside, many “fans” came inside as soon as the doors opened at 6:30pm.

Several in our group had signup sheets on clipboards and worked the crowd until the RHCPs came on stage at 9pm. I was doing my thing at the table and talking to many attendees on peace, current issues and Flea’s endorsement of DoP. It was all quite interesting, exciting and we did very well that first night. I’ve never heard of the warmup band before [ie: Mars Volta] and to be honest, well, they did nothing for me. Others in our group felt the same way. When the Red Hot Chili Peppers hit the stage … OMG … it was so exciting. Similar feeling I get at a Pearl Jam concert. We all took turns throughout the concert in working the table and watching RHCPs. What a terrific b-day gift … seeing the RHCPs live and for free. Now if we can only get Pearl Jam to endorse Dept of Peace campaign. Oh gosh, that would be sweet. About 3/4s of the way through the gig, Flea made a short speech on peace et al. It was great and the fans just ate it up. After the gig fans were grabbing DoP postcards as they left the arena. We packed and cleaned up the two table areas quickly. David and I got a ride to our respective homes from Rob and Liz in their minivan. It was a great evening and I love their song called SNOW. RHCPs rocked the house that night.

Janet Maslin, NY Times