Sunday, December 31, 2006

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDY SUMMERS!
[Brilliant guitarist from the early 1980s rock band THE POLICE. Author of several books; such as THROB and ONE TRAIN LATER. Both are great, especially the latter one with stories of what it was really like being in a highly successful band. As well as stories regarding the UK and US music scene from 1960s through 1970s. I love Andy's solo music since the demise of The Police and one of my fav tracks is called "A Piece of Time". Its beautiful, brilliant and tingles the senses. Check out Andy's website at http://andysummers.com/
]

Friday, December 29, 2006

PERSONAL NEWS #111
On Sunday, November 19th, I utilized car service to Park Slope and attend my first Peace Circle gathering. A fellow NYDoP member told me and other core team members about this peace/meditation circle. I was very much looking forward to experiencing it for myself. It was held at Mary’s home in a lovely brownstone and her apartment was on 1st floor. Besides Mary and I, there were three others who attended [ie: Gilli, Will & Sharon]. Bagels, tea, juice and water were provided before we sat down to a 20 minute meditation. This was followed, eyes still closed, with reflections or envisioning what we’d like to see in the world. Always visions of peace, harmony, brotherhood, community, spirituality and other heartfelt wishes and then the last part of “circle” were sharing our thoughts on issues or conflicts. Each person was allowed “floor space” and the others listened in respectful silence & togetherness. As this was the Sunday before Thanksgiving, we all had thoughts/reflections on dealing with the “issues” surrounding it. After Mary closed the circle for the day she asked me to briefly speak about NYDoP and the upcoming City Council press conference. Overall, I found the circle experience to be a good form of centering for me, even for that time frame. [These things so take time and one cannot expect major transformation overnight. It’s a long work in progress.] With more peace/meditation circles I hope to feel calmer, focused and centered.

Tuesday, November 21st, participated in another NYDoP [New Yorkers for a Dept of Peace - http://www.nyc-dop.com/] conference call in the evening, regarding the upcoming City Hall press conference, which is set for November 29th. I’ll be faxing more press releases to media [ie: newspapers, radio & TV.

JOHN EDWARDS RUNS AGAIN FOR THE PRESIDENCY
Former Senator who ran in 2004 is bidding for Democratic Nomination
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16377918/

Find me on MySpace and be my friend!

SEAN BEAN DISCUSSES "THE HITCHER"
Rebecca Murry, About Movies
http://movies.about.com/od/thehitcher/a/hitchersb122606.htm

On November 23rd, Thanksgiving Day, via City Harvest I volunteered at Cluster House, a women’s shelter in Manhattan. [Back in October I joined and went for volunteer orientation.] Day before I spoke with Kristina at City Harvest for time/location/contact details, and also Project Manager at Cluster House. I arrived shortly before 1pm and made my way down to the dining room. Some of the “residents” kindly showed me the way. Met some of the other volunteers and we started by setting up the tables for Turkey dinner. Then we had a 30 minute break, were we talked about topics, offered to help the two cooks in kitchen and met with 2 other volunteers. Jerry and his daughter had been helping out at Cluster House every Thanksgiving for last seven years. Jerry filled us other gals on the “procedure”. Basically, we’re the waitresses to the residents. Shortly before 2pm the women who reside at the shelter slowly came down for dinner. [Some were dressed in nice clothing and others had on sweats. They all behaved nicely; chatty and so happy we volunteers were there.] We took their requests, which were circled on Xerox paper, and brought to the kitchen. We brought the women fruit punch, green salad and potato salad. When Jerry finished preparing the requests, we’d serve turkey dinner to the residents. This was followed by eggnog and dessert. More residents showed up and the place filled up quickly. I enjoyed being their waitress, engaged in conversation and poured on the charm, which they loved. By the time the last resident left the dining hall and we’d cleaned up, it was going on 3:15pm. Whenever I’ve done volunteer work in the past it feels good to help others. A heartfelt thank you and warm, sincere smile is a wonderful gift. I was honored and blessed in being a recipient of this gift. Doing this type of volunteering year after year, I know, will bring deep meaning and fulfillment.

Afterwards, I headed for the subway and made my way back to Brooklyn near Crown Heights. My friend BC had called me the day before and wondered if I was free on Turkey Day. Absolutely! After 3pm I can join her family and she said great. Arrived around 4:15pm and a few minutes before BC’s family sat down to turkey dinner. Actually, I wasn’t the last to arrive, that honor was bestowed on BC’s oldest son Harry. Those in attendance were BC, Andrew [fabulous meal mate], Harry, Amelia, Josh, little 9 month old Alexander [photo below], myself and BC’s Mom Jean.

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Their dog Molly joined us in the dining room. The food was absolutely wonderful, vegetarian stuffing with roasted chestnuts, tender juicy turkey, wine and lethal pies for dessert with homemade whipped cream. Huge sigh! [I suffered the next day with intestinal troubles. Just like the beginning of the month. Pass the Pepto Bismal!] Conversation was on numerous topics and occasionally briefly touching on politics. After BC’s mother left for another commitment and little Alexander was put down for his nap, we played Star Wars Trivial Pursuit for several hours. The kids did very well and I was abit embarrassed on how little I remembered the original three films. [Maybe my thought process was a wee bit befuddled by good food & wine. Or maybe I just need to rewatch those three films.] Despite all that, we all had a fun time and many laughs. Shortly after 9pm, Andrew helped me get car service to take me home. Not easy, as the weather had turned cold and wet. Overall, I must say, this Thanksgiving Day was one of the best in a long time.

Early next morning, November 24th, I boarded the Trailways bus for upstate NY to visit my parents during remainder of Thanksgiving weekend. Traffic wasn’t too bad and Dad was waiting for me at the bus terminal. After the cold, wet Turkey Day the rest of the weekend was nice and sunny. Caught up on relaxing, holiday shopping, reading, watching Cable TV, hair salon, helped my parents decorate the house for Xmas and shopping at “Over the Moon” bead store.

On Monday, November 27th, I participated in a final conference call [12noon] with NYDoP members regarding the City Hall press conference. The final prep stages and all are going well. That evening [5:30pm -9pm], along with others [ie: 20+] from the peace activist community; I attended a fascinating, inspiring, educational lecture and discussion on worldwide peace building by Kai Brand-Jacobsen. Sadly, I didn’t take notes, as I was so engrossed in Kai’s discussion and interaction with participants. Sometime in 2007 I hope to take his 3-day seminar/training on peace building.

QUOTE OF THE DAYNo one can make you feel inferior, without your permission. Eleanor Roosevelt

Tell Congress: Stop Funding War - Start Investigations
The peace movement has been right since before the war began, and should be listened to now about how to end this war and prevent future ones. The peace movement includes the majority of Americans, who have told pollsters they oppose the war and who voted accordingly on Nov. 7, 2006. We have two main requests, and we have majority opinion and a grassroots movement behind them:

1. No More Funding for the Iraq War
2. Investigate the Case Made for This War and the Way it Has Been Conducted

Email your Congress Member and Senators Now!http://www.democrats.com/peoplesemailnetwork/90

Wednesday, November 29th, I took a vacation day from work so as to concentrate on “New Yorkers for a Dept of Peace” and the City Council press conference at City Hall. I arrived at City Hall at 10:45am, went through security check and hooked up with other members of our group. Weather cooperated that day with mild temps, though overcast, and we were thankful. I was happy to see that we had press representatives from WBAI, WFUV and Channel 9 News. WooHoo! Warmly greeted NYDoP members who were able to attend and listen to Dot Maver give a last minute prep talk. [Dot Maver, The Peace Alliance, was in town for a few days.] Joe and I positioned ourselves on the steps holding our NYDoP banner. So it would be a backdrop for the speakers during the press conference. As soon as City Councilmember Mendez arrived with her secretary the press conference started at 11am. The highlight for me was when City Councilmember Jackson arrived unexpectedly and announced in a strong, clear tone that “Peace is in; violence is out. If you’re talking about peace, count me in”. We all cheered and applauded … even more so after Jackson’s impromptu speech.

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[Press releases on the event can be found at http://www.nyc-dop.com/. At the forefront in photo above is City Councilmember’s Mendez & Jackson.]

After the speeches were completed was the Q&A segment by the press. Most of the questions came from press representative at WBAI to Dot Maver on DoP budgeting. Overall we felt the press conference a success and far better than our first one in Sept 2005. Afterwards, several of us [ie: Ellen, Karen, Liz, Kevin, Joe, Marianne, Carol and I] walked over to Starbucks for refreshment, discuss the press conference and work on new press release. While there Kevin received a call on his cell phone from METRO newspaper. This caused much excitement amongst us, as this free periodical is widely read by many New Yorkers. From there we split up into groups … I joined Ellen and Kevin in observing a City Council session in City Hall from 1pm to 4pm. This was my first time inside City Hall and it’s like some buildings in DC, but on a smaller scale. We eventually found our way to the upper gallery, so as to observe the proceedings below us. We conversed amongst ourselves on numerous topics until the City Council session started at 2:30pm. The city council meeting agenda proceeded as follows … roll call, invocation, adoption of minutes, petitions, reports, DoP Resolution 0627-2006 on agenda and remainder of session was heated discussion on the recent Sean Bell shooting/murder in Queens. Afterwards Ellen and I left Kevin to find a good health food store to purchase items, as we were both very hungry. Then we jumped on the subway and headed uptown to Carol’s apartment to help with final phase of holiday fundraiser mailing. Marianne was also at Carol’s place and working on a follow-up press release. We were listening to WFUV radio and at 5:35pm they broadcast a report on our press conference. We were ecstatic and jumping for joy over the well done 1 minute segment. Ellen left around 6pm and I stayed on to finish the mailing. Headed home around 7pm and that evening, on Channel 9 News around 10:16pm, our press conference was given a 30 second time slot. Another ecstatic moment! I was even more thrilled as Joe and I were shown twice holding the DoP banner. WooHoo! Fabulous exciting day!

RECENT MESSAGE FROM KEVIN MARTIN AT “PEACE ACTION”
"Peace on Earth" is a wonderful saying often heard this time of year, one I wish was expressed (and acted upon) year-round. I love hearing it, because peace is one of the highest ideals for humanity, and it is of course the guiding bedrock principle of our work at Peace Action. Yet nearly every time I hear it my joy is mixed with frustration, as I wonder if the contradiction between that simple, genuine sentiment and the foreign policies of our government angers others as much as it does me. For those who work for peace, like you, I know it can be hard to avoid such conflicting feelings at this time of year.

I have been a peace activist for over 20 years now, and my work is of course mostly focused on changing our government’s policies to be more peaceful, less violent, more cooperative, and more just, more in keeping with human rights and our highest human ideals. Those are the themes and goals you will hear us come back to again and again in 2007 as we work to end the war in Iraq, to bring peace to the Middle East, or to prevent our government’s attempts to build new nuclear weapons.

But I also try hard to challenge myself, every single day, to become ever more peaceful, non-violent, loving, kind, patient (especially with my children!) and understanding. It is perhaps best embodied in the line from an old religious song "Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me." The opportunity for peace exists within each of us, in every moment. So, even with the challenges we must confront in the world today, please accept my best wishes that you and your loved ones will enjoy a loving, peaceful holiday season whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, New Year’s or just the opportunity to give thanks for your blessings.

KUCINICH RUNS AGAIN, ON ONE BIG ISSUE: BRING THE TROOPS HOME
Daniel Sturm, Athens News Contributor [OH]
http://www.athensnews.com/issue/article.php3?story_id=26930

Kucinich Says Kerry Should Have Listened To Him In 2004
James Pindell, Boston Globe
http://www.boston.com/news/local/politics/primarysource/2006/12/kucinich_says_k_1.html

BUMPER STICKER QUOTE ... Bush Doesn't Care About White People, Either

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

CELEBRATING THE HOLIDAYS WITH CO-WORKERS, FRIENDS, FAMILY AND ENJOYING THE DECORATIONS WHERE EVER ONE GOES

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[Duchess Note – Sharing good times with fellow co-workers at E&Y holiday party, which was held at Tavern On The Green in Manhattan]

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[Duchess Note – Celebrating the holidays in the comfortable, coziness of my home]

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[Duchess Note – Sharing festive cheer, food, wine and wonderful companionship with members of New Yorkers for a Dept of Peace]

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[Duchess Note – Visiting the “Victorian Miniature Village” just south of Hoosick Falls in NY State. The display is much bigger than what one sees in this photo. It’s impressive, amazing and oh so beautiful. Mom and I learned that there are over 400 houses, plus it took the elderly couple four months to set up. A work of love and dedication.]

Stop Funding War - Start Investigations – Take Action! [Message from Progressive Democrats of America]
A Majority of Americans Want the U.S. Out of Iraq and Officials Held Accountable for Their Actions

The peace movement has been right since before the war began, and should be listened to now about how to end this war and prevent future ones. The peace movement includes the majority of Americans, who have told pollsters they oppose the war and who voted accordingly on Nov. 7, 2006. We have two main requests, and we have majority opinion and an active movement behind them:

* No More Funding for This War
* Investigate the Case Made for This War and the Way It's Been Conducted

We urge every member of the House and Senate to pursue these investigations in order to restore the rule of law and a system of checks and balances to our government. We believe we will best be able to move forward and avoid the same mistakes in the future if we complete a thorough public review of the conduct of the executive branch during the course of this war and the lead-up to it. Adopting an inside/outside strategy, activists should meet with their Congressional Representatives while others should rally outside their offices. Visit this link for more info: http://www.democrats.com/peoplesemailnetwork/88

THE DAILY GOTHAM
Grassroots News & Politics for New Yorkers
http://dailygotham.com/

Richest 2 Percent Own Half the World's Wealth
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/1222-04.htm

Place Your Bets: Pro Occupation, or Pro Iraq?
Posted by Raed Jarrar
The Bush administration is not just beating a dead horse in Iraq -- it's betting all our tax money on it.
http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/45871/

BUMPER STICKER QUOTE ... Let's Fix Democracy in This Country First

Selective Service to Test Military Draft Machinery
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/1222-01.htm

Jimmy Carter Speaks A Simple Truth About Palestinian Apartheid
By Chris Hedges, The Nation
There's nothing outrageous or bigoted about Jimmy Carter's book arguing that Palestinians are victims of apartheid, as critics are claiming. If anything, Carter mutes his case.
http://www.alternet.org/stories/45811/

Air America Station to Stay in Madison
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/1222-06.htm

A Parable For Our Times
Bill Moyers
http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1222-24.htm

MESSAGE FROM “PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY”
The pendulum of power swung in the U.S. Congress. Eliot Spitzer and Andrew Cuomo were elected by wide margins. Is the time for progressive change finally here? Come find out what's on PFAW's agenda for 2007 and find out how you can get more involved at our Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, January 9. People For the American Way staff will discuss our priorities for the new year and our plan to ensure newly elected officials keep to their word and enact the progressive change they've promised-we'll need your help! Light food and refreshments will be served. Space is limited so please RSVP to Andrew Meade at 212-420-0440 x20

What: A Town Hall Meeting to discuss PFAW's priorities for the New Year
When: January 9, 2007 at 6:30 pm.
Where: People For the American Way, Northeast Regional Office, 149 5th Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10010
Contact: Andrew Meade 212-420-0440 x20

Thursday, December 21, 2006

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[DUCHESS NOTE - In the photo above I am reading the names of co-workers who'll make up Blue & Red Team for the October Paintball outting.]

A SPRINKLING OF LIBERAL SEASONS GREETINGS

Christmas Has Not Been Stolen
Mary Shaw, AlterNet
It only takes one look at tinseled-out storefronts to see that Christmas is alive and thriving.
http://www.alternet.org/stories/45536/

Neo-Cons Wanted Israel to Attack Syria
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/1219-04.htm

Walk for Change: January 3rd and 4th in Washington DC
Walk the halls of Congress with Gold Star Families for Peace, led by Cindy Sheehan. Let's tell the members of the 110th congress what is expected of them from Day 1: an immediate exit strategy from Iraq. We will insist that all funding for the war stop immediately and money in the pipeline be spent to rebuild Iraq. We will insist that hearings begin immediately into BushCo's crimes against humanity and the lies he told to the American people. We will demand IMPEACHMENT. Learn more, sign up, find a ride, find a room: http://tinyurl.com/y6zh5l

Wake Up, Employers: Working Moms Are Giving Up
Courtney Martin, AlterNet
http://www.alternet.org/stories/45557/

Blair Failed to Influence Bush, Caught in Iraq 'Mistake': Think-Tank
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/1219-01.htm

Iraq: More Hellish Now Than Under Saddam
Anthony Arnove, AlterNet
Each day the occupation continues, life gets worse for most Iraqis. Yet the U.S. still won't admit to failure.
http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/45699/

On Receiving the 2006 Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award
Sean Penn
http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1219-25.htm

Vermont Woman Is an Unlikely Peace Activist
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/1218-02.htm

Contraception Saves Money and Marriages
Cristina Page, TomPaine.com
Family planning has led to seismic change in our society, but not the kind of change the religious right would have you believe.
http://www.alternet.org/sex/45725/

With Democrats in Control, Yucca Project May Be Doomed
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/1218-04.htm

Military Escalation: Bush Can't Kick The Habit
Robert Scheer, Truthdig
The Bush Administration is hooked on the drug of military might, with Gates calling for sending more troops to a war we can't win.
http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/45764/

Government Abuses Hurricane Victims
Ann McFeatters
http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1220-32.htm

Monday, December 18, 2006

PERSONAL NEWS #110
November 3rd through 5th I visited my friends Nancie and Tim down in VA. I took November 3rd off from work so I could extend the weekend and utilize a less expensive Amtrak to DC. Met up with Nancie at Union Station in DC and we drove back to her home in VA. Tim was still at the house and finishing up his packing for a weekend retreat with his church. After a nice, chatty lunch Tim took off for retreat; Nancie and I headed back into DC for an event at NPR radio station. Nancie is a graduate of University of MA and they had an event for alumni at NPR. Neither of us had ever visited NPR and along with others, was given a tour of the DC radio station. This, I might add, was really fascinating. There was socializing, refreshments, speeches and the event wrapped up with a one hour entertainment by folk singer Catie Curtis. She did songs from her new CD called “Long Night Moon” and it was pretty good. Afterwards Nancie and I had dinner at a nice restaurant back in VA, and then back at the house we utilized the Jacuzzi hot tub. Felt good, as the weather had turned abit chilly. Next day we did errands in the morning. After a lite lunch we went to get one hour body massages that turned into 1 ½ hours for same fee. Nancie knew the establishment, so we got a good deal. More shopping afterwards at places like Cosco and Target, then a delicious meal of pumpkin pancakes at IHOP. Headed back to Nancie’s home to change into comfy fun clothes and went to a dance social nearby. Was introduced to Nancie’s dance class friends [ie: Meg, Ann & Adam] from the Arthur Murray studios. Adam is their dance instructor and I enjoyed dancing the Rumba with him after the one hour dance class. Such a nice, charming, good looking young man and very popular with the ladies. [I like dancing and wouldn’t mind taking classes one day as a monthly thing. Good exercise, music & nice people.] During the course of the evening I danced with several other gents, one of which was Larry, a congenial dance instructor. Nancie and I utilized the hot tub again then off to bed by 12:30am. On Sunday we slept late before heading to our lunch/afternoon tea reservation at the British Pantry Café. This was my second visit to this charming establishment and their food/service is terrific. Next to the café they have a gift shop with all sorts of British goodies. I love this place. Afterwards we drove west to Middleburg and looked around the many shops. Such a charming town, though the shops are abit overpriced. We had lunch here 2 years ago at the Red Fox Inn, which I just loved. Then it was back in the car and driving east towards DC. Where I caught the 5:20pm Amtrak back to NYC.

[DUCHESS NOTE - Just an FYI, every few weeks or so I update the links in column to the left. These reflect old and new interests online and in real time. Check them out today. . . .]

November 7th was Election Day in the US and I placed my votes in the morning before going to the office. That evening I participated in the monthly National DoP conference call. Lynn McMullen hosted again and the topics of discussion were on … city councils, Barack Obama, student peace alliance groups, recent Peace Summit in Georgetown, media and election. Guest speaker that evening was Marshall Thompson, who is a military journalist and lives in Utah. These conference calls are always fascinating and inspiring.

Friday, November 10th, participated in a NYDoP conference call regarding the upcoming press conference with City Councilmember Mendez for DoP resolution. The call was informative and productive. My assignment was to fax the “save the date announcement” to a large media list.

Find me on MySpace and be my friend!

On Sunday, November 12th, attended Reflection Day with other NYDoP core team members. It was held at the Hope Martin studios in Manhattan. I brought my usual homemade goodies of brownies and chocolate chip cookies. Others brought so many different types of yummy goodies to nosh on over the four hour span. Upon entering the studio Kevin’s adorable daughter Evie came over to give me a hug. She is a delightful child with many smiles and enthusiasm. Lots of meeting, greetings, hugs and setting up before the “reflection” segment started, which was beautifully moderated by Dian Killian. [I spoke with Dian briefly about my need for anger management, nonviolent communicating skills and some counseling. I want to work on making me a better person and over last 3 years been striving in that direction. It’s not easy. Dian totally understood and suggested options etc.] New person to the team is a friend of Carol’s who’s name is Howard. Very nice man who sat next to me and Priscilla was on the other side. Several others and I originally misunderstood the concept of “Reflection Day”, but basically it was to discuss our September Gandhi event and how we feel about DoP, plus peace movement in general. Marni showed up with her 3 month old son Brandon and he is so adorable, plus behaved very well. Marni looked great and one wouldn’t know she’d been preggers. The last hour or so of the “Reflection Day” was abit tense with some issues brought up by a few core team members. I totally understood were Norma was coming from and had many similar concerns. Dian handled the situation beautifully and we all agreed to work on this situation with concerns at a later date. Possibly some time in January, as it’s an important hurdle to clear before we move on with our NYDoP organization. Overall it was a most interesting afternoon.

Wednesday, November 15th, I went out to lunch with Lisa Watkeys from our E&Y office in Baltimore, MD. She was up in NYC for the week working on training, meetings, etc. Lisa and I had worked together since my days at the E&Y office down on Broad Street. We’d never met; but kept up conversations [ie: work & other] via phone, email and the office Sametime system. It was great to finally meet and engage in news/gossip over a tasty lunch at Appleby’s on 42nd Street. She’s doing pretty good and sounds like she has a wonderful relationship with her boyfriend. I’m very happy for her, though a wee bit envious.

Thursday, November 16th, I participated in the monthly NYDoP core team meeting. Those in attendance for this meeting were … Joe, Charlene, Dawn, Kevin, Liz, Carol, Marianne and Eileen. [Karen joined us after the meeting to discuss the recent “situation” from Reflection Day and Priscilla was down the hall at Dian’s NVC training.] After greetings, hugs, and noshing on some goodies, we observed a few minutes of meditative silence. Kevin introducing Linda Ruocco as a visiting guest from Brooklyn Peace circles and everyone welcomed her warmly. Before heading into our monthly meeting; we took time to quickly assemble the year-end, holiday fundraiser cards. On the outside of the card is a replica of a beautiful angelic oil painting done by Carol and inside is full of all the wonderful works accomplished by DoP/NYDoP. The meeting itself was productive and interesting. Afterwards, only the board members stayed and spent an hour discussing the “reflection day” situation. We made some progress, but knew it would overall take time to resolve. Another “reflection day” would be needed in January, with Dian’s help and all core team members, to give voice to the issues and fully resolve concerns.

On November 17th I participated in another NYDoP conference call regarding the upcoming press conference [Nov 29th] with City Councilmember Mendez for DoP resolution. The call was informative and productive. My assignment was to fax the “press release” to a large media list.

BUMPER STICKER QUOTE … Lets Fix Democracy in This Country First

Saturday, November 18th, I headed up to Yonkers to do volunteer work at the ferret shelter. It had been a few months since my last visit to Yonkers and it was great seeing Joanne again. She had quite a few ferrets this time around and I groomed at least 20 furry wee ones. I had brought up an old, smelly pair of sneakers [without the laces] for the furkids to play. Not all of the ferrets found the sneakers of interest, but those that did tried to tunnel into them. It was quite amusing to observe with their furry tails and butts poking out. Joanne had purchased some new treats for the wee ones, so I made the rounds of all the cages with nibblers. Most of the ferrets just loved them. The happy, expectant look on their cute little faces was so sweet. They get so excited and bounce around the floor or cages when they hear me shake the treat box. It is so adorable.

Letter of the day: Forget Obama -- Kucinich is the man
http://www.startribune.com/563/v-print/story/879123.html
The day after Dennis Kucinich, the foremost peace politician in this country, announced his candidacy for the presidency, the Star Tribune gave a half page spread to Barack Obama ("Is America Ready for Barack Obama?" Dec. 13). Obama, who has little experience, voted to continue funding for George W. Bush's chaos in Iraq and to allow the president to ignore international law and torture human beings. Didn't the last election turn on Iraq and on disenchantment with Bush? I'd rather the Star Tribune do serious journalism and ask: "Is America Ready for Dennis Kucinich?" Kucinich, above all others, has stood up to President Bush and his mad policies every time, even when he was standing nearly alone. I believe America finally is ready for this prophetic leader who has been proven to be right on every issue America and the world face.
PAUL ROZYCKI, MINNEAPOLIS
©2006 Star Tribune. All rights reserved

Press Release: Kucinich Warns Against Escalation
December 16, 2006
http://www.kucinich.us/node/1032

Kucinich Tries Again
John Nichols, The Nation
http://www.thenation.com/docprint.mhtml?i=20070101&s=nichols

[DUCHESS NOTE - Many thanks to Linda Z and Ellen J in sharing all these terrific articles on DJK and his 2008 presidential campaign. Rock the house DJK!]

BEAN'S DREAM PITCH DELIGHT
Graham Walker, Sheffield Today
http://www.sheffieldtoday.net/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=58&ArticleID=1936310

Vermont Woman Is An Unlikely Peace Activist
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/1218-02.htm

Friday, December 15, 2006

THE CHARGE OF THE MUNY LIGHT BRIGADE
Joshua Scheer, Truthdig
http://www.truthdig.com/interview/item/20061214_battle_muny_light/

[DUCHESS NOTE: Terrific interview with Congressman Kucinich. His intelligence, dedication, compassion, clarity and integrity come through clearly. He's shown that he cares deeply for his constituents in Ohio. This is the kind of man I'd want to see in the White House. GWB can't even come close. He's nothing but a spoiled rich brat and bully. Make the right choice America for a terrific Democrat candidate in 2008. Go with Kucinich ... fear ends, hope begins.]

BUMPER STICKER QUOTE - Peace Is Patriotic!

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... We must be the change we wish to see in the world
Gandhi

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Democrat Kucinich Launches Second White House Run
CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, an unsuccessful presidential candidate in 2004, launched another long-shot White House run on Tuesday with a call for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Kucinich, one of the most liberal members of Congress and an outspoken war critic, attacked Democratic leaders for supporting funding for the war even after they won control of Congress last month on a wave of anti-war voter sentiment.

"You cannot support funding for the war and claim you are against the war. It's not credible," Kucinich said during a formal announcement of his 2008 presidential candidacy at Cleveland's City Hall. "We must end this march of folly," Kucinich added. "I will do everything I can to end this war and get these kids home as soon as possible." Kucinich, a former Cleveland mayor elected last month to a sixth term in Congress, has consistently voted against funding the Iraq war and led anti-war efforts in Congress.

He once proposed a Cabinet-level Department of Peace and joined five other House Democrats in filing an unsuccessful lawsuit trying to block President George W. Bush from invading Iraq without a formal declaration of war. "Everything I said then has proven to be true," Kucinich said. He said he decided to run for president last week after Democratic leaders in Congress indicated they would support a funding bill for the war next year. "I am not going to stand by and watch thousands more of our brave young men and women killed in Iraq," he said.

Kucinich won fewer than 70 Democratic delegates and no primaries during the 2004 campaign, when he also emphasized his anti-war stance. He stayed in the race long after Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry clinched the nomination and other candidates dropped out. Kucinich is the second Democrat to formally enter the 2008 race along with Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana has formed an exploratory committee, and several other Democrats led by Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois will announce their plans early next year.

Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of California also has jumped in the 2008 race. Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Sam Brownback of Kansas, along with former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, have formed exploratory committees. Kucinich said this campaign would be different from 2004, in part because public opposition to the war is broader now. "I fully expect to win," he said. Kucinich, who raised $13 million for his 2004 campaign, has started a Web site and said he expected much of his money to come from small donors on the Internet. "I don't think I'm going to have any trouble raising the money I need," he said.

[DUCHESS NOTE – Not just once, but three times has the legislation for a Dept of Peace been introduced into Congress. In 2005 it was introduced into the Senate. Support around the country is growing for this amazing, worthy legislation. To learn more, go to www.thepeacealliance.org I’ll definitely be volunteering on DJKs 2008 presidential campaign, just like I did back in 2003/2004. Rock the House DJK!]

Monday, December 11, 2006

Enlightenment, Spiritual, Peace, Truth & Progressive Book Forum
The list below was compiled by Carol Hillson [NYDoP] from the Dept of Peace State Coordinators List Serve

* 1776 by David McCullough
* American Assassination: The Death of Paul Wellstone - Four Arrows by James H., Ph.D. Fetzer
* American Nonviolence: The History of an Idea by Ira Chernus
* Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. - Martin Luther King Jr. by Clayborne Carson
* Coming Back to Life by Joanna Macy
* Cultures of Peace by Elise Boulding
* Doing Democracy: Dimensions of Social Movements by Bill Moyer
* Don’t Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff
* Eyes on the Prize – Video/DVD (a history of the civil rights movement)
* Gandhi’s Way by Mark Juergensmeyer
* Getting to Peace by William Ury
* Good to Great and the Social Sectors by Jim Collins
* Healing the Soul of America by Marianne Williamson
* Is There No Other Way: Search for a Nonviolent Future by Michael Nagler
* Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin - John D'emilio (the man who proceeded MKL and introduced him to nonviolence)
* Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg
* One From Many by Dee Hock
* Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hahn
* Politics of Hope by Donna Zajong* Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered by E.F. Schumacher
* Soul of a Citizen by Paul Loeb
* Spirit Matters by Michael Lerner
* Spiritual Economics by Eric Butterworth
* Spiritual Politics by Corrine McLaughlin and Gordon Davidson
* The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler
* The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason by Sam Harris
* The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz
* The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy by Allan Johnson
* The Impossible Will Take Some Time by Paul Loeb
* The Powers that Be by Walter Wink
* The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist
* The Trance of Scarcity by Victoria Castle
* Toward a New Psychology of Women by Jean Badur Miller
* Unconquerable World by Jonathon Schell
* United States of Wal-Mart by John Dicker

BUMPER STICKER QUOTE ... Books Not Bombs

OHIO REPRESENTATIVE KUCINICH TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT
Connie Mabin, Associated Press Writer
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061211/ap_on_el_pr/kucinich2008

[DUCHESS NOTE - This gal will definitely be doing volunteer work on his 2008 campaign. Just like I did back in 2003/2004. Hurray for DJK!!]

BORN ON THIS DAY in 1781, Sir David Brewster from Scotland, a physicist and inventor of the kaleidoscope

IS 9/11 PARANOIA BAD FOR THE COUNTRY?
Christopher Hayes, The Nation
http://www.alternet.org/stories/45340/

[DUCHESS NOTE – This past weekend I received the below tidbit from Linda in TX. In April 1968, Coretta Scott King delivered the address her late husband was to make. The passage below is from that address.]

Ten Commandments on Vietnam
Thou shalt not believe in a military victory. (applause)
Number two: thou shalt not believe in a political victory. (applause)
Number three: thou shalt not believe that they, the Vietnamese, love us. (applause)
Number four: thou shalt not believe that the Saigon government has the support of the people. (applause)
Number five: thou shalt not believe that the majority of the South Vietnamese look upon the Vietcong as terrorists. (applause)
Number six: thou shalt not believe the figures of killed enemies are killed Americans. (applause)
Number seven: thou shalt not believe that the generals know best. (applause)
Number eight: thou shalt not believe that the enemy's victory means communism. (applause)
Number nine: thou shalt not believe that the world supports the United States. (applause)
Number ten: thou shalt not kill. (long applause)

[DUCHESS NOTE – These “Ten Commandments” from the King address can very much be applied today, just change Vietnam for Iraq.]

McKinney Introduces Bill to Impeach Bush
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/120806Z.shtml
In what was likely her final legislative act in Congress, outgoing Georgia representative Cynthia McKinney announced a bill Friday to impeach President Bush.

Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney Introduces Articles of Impeachment, Faces Vicious Attacks by Media
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/cynthia
Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has introduced articles of impeachment http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/downloads/mckinneyarticles.pdf against George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Condoleezza Rice. In doing so, she alone has spoken for the 51 percent of Americans who Newsweek says want Bush impeached. Read McKinney's remarks. http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/16230

[DUCHESS NOTE – I’m sending a hearty BRAVO to Congresswoman McKinney in showing courage and doing the right thing. Naturally the heavily controlled right wing media will viciously attack her for pursuing truth and justice. They are sick buggers! I suggest we ALL call or fax the congresswoman’s office, and even your own representatives, to give her support.]

Dennis Kucinich’s Showdown with the Democratic Leadership
http://www.truthdig.com/interview/item/20061206_dennis_kucinichs_showdown/
By Joshua Scheer

STAR SIGNS FOR BLADES
David Doyle, Hillingdon Times [UK]
http://www.hillingdontimes.co.uk/display.var.1065303.0.star_signs_for_blades.php

Thursday, December 07, 2006

CONGRESSMAN CALLS FOR CUTOFF OF IRAQ FUNDS
Mike Sheehan, The Raw Story
http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Congressman_calls_for_cutoff_of_Iraq_1115.html

EDITORIALS ON THE IRAQ STUDY GROUP REPORT
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/newssentinel/news/editorial/16186146.htm

OUT OF IRAQ OR MORE TROOPS? A DEBATE ON WITHDRAWAL WITH FORMER SENATOR GEORGE McGOVERN, CONGRESSMAN DENNIS KUCINICH & AEI’S JOSHUA MURAVCHIK
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/11/15/1459243

[DUCHESS NOTE - Many thanks to fellow Kucitizen, Linda Z, in TX for sharing these fascinating articles on the current US occupation of Iraq]

BORN ON THIS DAY in 1928, Noam Chomsky, noted linguist & political activist

BUMPER STICKER QUOTE ... WalMart, Your Source For Cheap Plastic Crap

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

THE PROFIT IN PEACE
A Beautiful Poem by Joe Allegro
[Board Member of “New Yorkers for a Dept of Peace”]

In pursuit of peace, my time I do spend,
Phone calls and meetings and faxes to send.
Seeking education to prepare myself for,
Seminars, panels, events and more.

Concerns of my clarity, will I speak well?
At times sadly peace, is such a hard sell.
In the creation of weapons, many are employed,
For short term gains, many are destroyed.

The long term produces global violence and fear,
No place for our children, of this I am clear.
Let us join together, and help them to cope.
Proclaim a new world, through the audacity of hope.

Every child is yours, it matters not which one,
All have the same dreams, be they daughter or son.
To love and be loved, create and give rise,
Humanity’s full potential, is far beyond the skies.

Let us plant the seeds of a world such as this,
With hope and conviction, we surely can’t miss.
Let us cause in our world, violence and fear to cease,
Such is the profit, the profit in peace.


Find me on MySpace and be my friend!

Hearings on Bush Crimes Will Unite Nation
David Swanson Commentary
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0612/S00034.htm

QUOTE OF THE WEEK ... "The simple truth is that the remnants of cluster bombs become de facto land mines. They kill, maim, and wound civilians every day, even long after conflict has ended. In fact, 98 percent of cluster bomb victims are civilians. I believe use of these weapons in or near civilian areas runs counter to our values and counter to the international laws of war." Senator Diane Feinstein [CA] in The Washington Times

NEVER MIND HOLLYWOOD, GIVE ME BRAMALL LANE
Chris Bond, Yorkshire Post
http://www.yorkshiretoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=105&ArticleID=1915085

CHANGES GIVE KUCINICH MORE POWER IN HOUSE
Ken Prendergast, Sun News
http://www.sunnews.com/news/2006/part2/1109/ACDENNIS.htm

BORN ON THIS DAY in 1839 was General George Armstrong Custer, a cavalry officer

Monday, December 04, 2006

HEAR YE! HEAR YE! BRINGING YOU THE LATEST IN NEWS

PEOPLE PARTY VS. MONEY PARTY: WHO’S WHO AMONG THE DEMOCRATS
David Sirota, AlterNet
http://www.alternet.org/story/45066/

[DUCHESS NOTE: One of the comments made at end of this article said … “It is very clear which direction Hilary Clinton "leans" - she is big money and entrenched power all the way. This woman's loyalty is to herself and no one else. She definitely belongs on the other side.” I so agree with this person’s point of view. Clinton is also pro-war and more Americans are becoming pro-peace. She really doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell in winning the presidential nomination nor election in 2008. I’m hoping that John Edwards runs again for president. He’s got my vote!]

QUOTE OF THE DAYKeep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great Mark Twain

[DUCHESS NOTE: I have some relatives who Mark Twain would definitely consider “small people”]

KEITH OLBERMANN PROVES THAT DISSENT HAS AN AUDIENCE
Daphne Evitar, The Nation
http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/45007/

INDEPENDENT WOMEN CAN CHOOSE TO “DATE DOWN”
Molly Faulkner-Bond, Sirens Magazine
http://www.alternet.org/stories/44775/

BRITS: ABSTINENCE IS A MYTH
London Telegraph
http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/45000/

Friday, December 01, 2006

PERSONAL NEWS #109
On Wednesday, October 18th, I took a vacation day to recuperate from the evening before at the Continental Arena and seeing the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I took care of errands around my neighborhood before heading back into Manhattan to meet my ride to the arena. Yep, back out to Continental Arena to do more tabling for DoP and see the RHCPs. Met up with Joe, Rob and Liz to drive out to NJ and met up with Kevin at the arena. This evening we have three tables and more volunteers to help out. We engaged several young volunteers who’ll “connect” with fans who come to the show. [Adrianna and her husband were leaving abit early and they offered me a ride home.] At 6:30pm the doors opened and the fans poured in. I engaged in numerous talks with individuals, got signatures and gave out info. [The warm up band still hadn’t improved & Joe sat there utilizing earplugs.] At one point a nice young man, who was blind, stopped by our table seeking the RHCP merchandise. As Liz and Rob watched out DoP table I took the young man over to the merchandise. We talked about the band and I then explained in detail all the items for sale. He was interested in t-shirts, prices, etc. We finally narrowed it down to a nice, funky black RHCP design t-shirt, which he paid for with a credit card. From there I guided him back to his seat in the handicap section. Only got to hear and view an hour of the RHCP show, but what I did hear was great. Liz told me next day that after I left with Adrianna the band played “Under the Bridge”. Damn! I really like that song. Would love to find some CD bootlegs of the show and especially of the first night, but in the meantime, I’ve been watching some videos via Utube.

Thursday, October 19th, was the FSO Insurance Tax outing up in northern Westchester County to play paintball. [Well, others played paintball; I joined 5 of my co-workers in being observers. Much safer that way and no pain involved. It was an overcast, cool day.] Met up with Dee [car] at a spot in the Bronx off the #2 subway line and it took us an hour to drive to the location on Rt 22. We arrived close to 9:40am and saw several of our colleagues already there drinking coffee, juice and noshing on bagels. After everyone arrived and it was designated who’d participated, then they had to sign waivers and read the rules. Then they geared up in camouflage jumpsuits, put on helmets with visors and loaded up their paintball weapons. And finally the Red and Blue teams were chosen. Angela was captain of the Red Team and me in charge of the Blue Team [seen below].
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I thought for sure I had the winning team, but in the long run they lost all but one game. Over the course of 4 hours or so they engaged in 7 to 8 games in several fenced in areas. Those who observed, like me, couldn’t really see them “in action’, but we sure could hear them. Lots of laughing, yelling, raised voices and even some confusion. You could also hear when they were all firing their paintball weapons at once. What a racket! Around 12:30pm or so, we all took a 30 minute break for a pizza lunch and then several more games. Wrapped up the day around 2:45pm and called it quits. Dee and I drove really fast back to the Bronx and I was on the #2 train before 4pm.

I headed down to the E&Y office for an hour before walking over to the monthly two hour NYDoP core team meeting. Those in attendance were Joe, Dawn, Kevin, Liz, Carol, Marianne and Eileen. We covered many topics under reports and old/new business. I even brought up some topics under “new business”, such as creating new items with DoP logo to sell at events/tabling. This idea was warmly received and to be seriously considered, plus brainstorm in early 2007. I also suggested we post on the DoP forum and list serve a “peace related & spiritual reading” section. Even though the suggestion was temporarily shelved, I’ll still go ahead with it and post items on forum/listserve. Carol has already sent suggestions and I have a few of my own. I’ll also post them here for Duchess Blog viewers to view. Any suggestions on peace or spiritual reading material please send me an email. Many thanks!

Sunday, October 22nd, I traveled to Long Island University in central Brooklyn in my friend Cielito’s car and to participate in the 4th annual Brooklyn Peace Fair. Cielito is connected with Share International [as is my friend Linda] and I’m connected with the Dept of Peace campaign. Carol and Liz [plus Rob & their two sons] got there early and found us a primo spot near the doorway. This new location is vastly different from the old location. [The indoor architecture was fascinating and very much 1920s style.] First of all, the people tabling and vendors were in one building and the lectures, music, speakers and other items were across the street in another building. I never did get over there. Hopefully BPFP [Brooklyn Parents for Peace] will iron out the bugs and things will improve for next year. Anyhow, we finished setting up the table and I brought along many of my bead style earrings to sell. [End of day I only sold 7 and made $70, half of which goes to NYDoP.] Checked out the many folks tabling, bought some items, had several fascinating conversations [one chap looked just like late British actor Jeremy Brett] and even had a brief conversation with Congressman Major Owens. Marianne also joined us at the fair. At one point both Marianne and Carol were being interviewed by students from the university. I also ran into some acquaintances that I knew via the Kucinich 2004 campaign and other activism/protest projects. Sort of like being at a mini reunion, but for peace, not ones graduating class.

PEACE QUOTE OF THE DAY ... Human Beings, indeed all sentient beings, have the right to pursue happiness and live in peace and freedom The XIVth Dalai Lama

On Tuesday, October 24th, I took a two hour class at work on how to manage ones personal finances. It was fascinating, informative and hopefully will be useful for my budgeting.

COLORADO COUPLE WIN BATTLE TO KEEP HOLIDAY PEACE WREATH ON HOME
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now on WBAI
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/12/01/1456208