Sunday, October 31, 2010

PERSONAL NEWS #189

Friday, October 1st, I had an appt with a new lung specialist at my neighborhood clinic. Learned that my previous lung specialist has retired, and he spends his time in Florida for 6 months and India for another 6 months each year. Anyhow, the new lung specialist’s brother is my chiropractor, who has his practice in my neighborhood. Small world isn’t it. Went through a bunch of tests and discussed were I’m at with regards to my lungs. Need to get X-rays and CATSCAN done soon, as the last time I had those was back in August 2008 when I was in the hospital. Dr Abbott also put me on the inhaler called Symbicort to use at least once a day or when needed.

On Saturday, October 2nd, I joined other “Brooklyn for Peace” activists in taking a bus down to Washington DC for the “One Nation Working Together” march and rally at the Mall. We activists had to be at the meeting spot next to the Brooklyn public library in Grand Army Plaza by or before 6am. Ouch! We all paid $50 each for the bus, and left around 6:20am, as we had to wait for two individuals. The ride down was uneventful with one pitstop on the turnpike, and I chatted with Eloise, who sat next to me. I also chatted with Joanne, whom I had hung out with back in early May at the “Nuclear Free” march in midtown Manhattan. Our group leader, Matt, handed out Metro cards to everyone, and we each paid $5 for our individual cards. Arrived at our destination next to RFK Stadium, and as a group walked to the Metro station for the ride Federal Triangle stop. Once there we walked several blocks to the Mall and the rally itself. We couldn’t have asked for better weather that day. It was gorgeous, not a cloud in the sky and picture perfect. Along the way I took photos with my camera, picked up flyers, and took in the whole amazing scene of many Americans gathering for the “One Nation Working Together” rally. It was an awesome sight and even more so as we got closer to the Lincoln Memorial around 12:15pm.
At times our group got separated, but knew that we had to be back to the bus by 4pm. There was so much to take in, listen to and observe, plus photograph along the way. After awhile many members of “Brooklyn for Peace”, including me, camped out next to the “reflecting pool” about a ¼ of the way down from Lincoln Memorial. Video screens and loudspeakers were positioned all over, so that everyone could see and hear the speakers, singers, etc. For me, the best and most powerful speaker was Harry Belafonte. Radio personality, Ed Schultz, was the rally MC and did a fine job of it. Around 3pm our group headed back to the Federal Triangle Metro stop for the ride to our bus. The crowds of humanity were intense and sometimes “things” were not working at the Metro stations. Frustrating, to say the least, plus we didn’t get to leave Washington DC area at 4pm, but closer to 5pm. Chatted with Eloise on the ride back, and got out for a good stretch at our one pitstop on the turnpike. Also spoke with Ed about becoming a member of “Brooklyn for Peace” and joining the Peace Fair committee. After attending rallies like this one, I have the strong urge to be even more pro-active than I already am. We arrived back to Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn around 9:30pm, and with Eloise’s assistance got car service to take me home. Whew, it was a long day, but a terrific one at that.

On Sunday, October 3rd, around 12pm I joined Timdalf at the entrance to Ft Tryon Park and we strolled through the gates to the 26th annual medieval festival. For the most part, it was a nice day, until it got cloudy and cooler towards 5pm. Also, for the first time since 2005, I was not volunteering at the fair, as my friend Eileen was no longer the artistic production manager. She got booted out several months before by upper management. Bloody buggers! Around 1:15pm I bid Timdalf adieu and hung out the rest of the afternoon with Margaret, Denise and John. It was quite the experience hanging out with Timdalf for an hour, as he was dressed in full Gandalf the Grey costume, and it seemed everyone wanted their picture with him. The day in the life of a wizard is never dull. It was fun hanging out with Margaret, Denise and John. We checked out vendors and several “events” at the tournament field and pageant wagon. Along the way we stopped to watch my ex-beau TJ tell a wonderful medieval story, and he was assisted by his daughter Aislin. At one point TJ spotted me in the crowd, winked, and we both bowed slightly to each other and he continued on with his tale. As it got closer to 5pm, we decided to call it quits and go our separate ways. The weather was chilly and we didn’t want to fight the crowds to see the joust. Also, throughout the festival, I ran into members of TGTSNBN. Many of them were attired in wonderful costumes and getting into the spirit of it all. Overall it was a great day that capped off a terrific weekend.

Monday, October 4th, I had lunch with Julia [ie: BSC EA] at work to discuss a stained glass mirror project she’ll be creating for my apt. I’ve chosen the colors and general design.

Tuesday, October 5th, I listened in on the Peace Alliance conference call.

Thursday evening, October 7th, I attended a dinner party in honor of Howard Shore and Doug Adams. Mr. Shore scored the music for all three LOTR films by Peter Jackson, and Doug Adams wrote the wonderfully detailed book called “The Music of LotR Films”. This dinner party, which was organized by Timdalf, was also to celebrate Howard Shore’s birthday. Nice turnout for the dinner party and Timdalf had a bakery in NJ create Bilbo Baggin’s birthday cake. The one that shows up briefly in the FotR film and it was lovely to see.

Those of us from “New York Friends of Tolkien” were Timdalf, Mary, Kathy, Carole, Dennis and I. Got to meet and socialize with party attendees, as well as sit across from Mr. Shore and occasionally engage in brief conversations. I especially enjoyed talking with an English language teacher [Sam] from Long Island, who was also quite pleasing to the eye. Overall a most enjoyable evening, and a delicious meal with wine.

Friday evening, October 8th, I volunteered with City Harvest at the Union Square farmers market.

On Saturday, October 9th, I went to NY Methodist hospital’s radiology department for chest x-rays, which will be sent to my doctors regarding my lungs. Afterwards, I went home briefly to change, and then headed up to the Westside of Manhattan to meet with my friend Dennis to check out the 70th birthday celebrations for John Lennon at Strawberry Fields in Central Park.


With the weather being such a perfect, warm, sunny autumn day, well, it naturally brought many out to this area of Central Park. It was crowded with everyone taking pix and singing Beatle songs. Many had on Beatle or Lennon t-shirts, and I purchased an “Imagine Peace” button from a vendor. Afterwards, Dennis and I strolled through the park and viewed many cool sites. One of which was a blocked off area with funky music and folk grooving on roller skates. I love living in NYC and experiencing cool, free things like this. Days like today make NYC so very special and precious. We even walked past the ole Plaza Hotel and onto 6th Avenue near RCMH to join many of our “New York Friends of Tolkien” fan/friends at Heartland Brewery for dinner. We enjoyed a quick, fun, delicious meal with many good laughs. Then it was off to RCMH to experience the LotR TTT concert/movie event. Dennis, Timdalf and I sat in the front row of the second mezzanine and our view of everything was perfect. The whole event was awesome and at times emotional. Afterwards, I strolled down to 42nd Street with Carole, before going our separate ways on the subways.

Tuesday, October 12th, I was joined by fellow NYDoP member, Howard, in giving a presentation on Dept of Peace and Resolution 14 to the “Housing & Homeless Committee”. This committee is part of Community Board Manhattan #6 and they had invited us to make this presentation. It went very well and Howard did a great job, especially in fielding questions from the committee members.

On Wednesday, October 13th, I took a vacation day from work, as I had much on my plate to accomplish. First of which was heading up to CT to visit my friend Katherine, and while there I renewed my driver’s license for another six years. Had lunch at a Chinese buffet, and spent abit of time at her home. Back in NYC I raced home to do some laundry and then hopped on the subway for Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn. I was attending my first “Brooklyn for Peace” Peace Fair committee meeting at Charlotte’s home. Interesting and productive meeting, plus Mukti provided us with a delicious vegan Indian meal. She also gives lessons on how to cook Indian food. Hum, may just take her up on that. Afterwards, on way to the subway, Veronica and I engaged in diverse conversation on many political topics.

Thursday, October 14th, I volunteered at the WCW national office and assisted with phone calls to supporters for donations.

Early on Saturday, October 16th, I joined other members of TGTSNBN up in the Sleepy Hallow region for an Autumnal CosPlay. I rode up on the 8:07am MetroNorth train with Deanna, Dyanne, Beth, Lisa and Saribel. I was wearing my costume and long grey woolen cloak with scarf I had crocheted. I went as a Hogwarts teacher, Hufflepuff house, and this was my first time wearing a full, complete costume. As well as including a choice of not one, but three wands that I now own. The Phillipes Manor train station is perfect for our first photo shoot with Ashley. Many of us, including me, were wishing for nicer weather; as it was cool, very windy and cloudy with some sunshine. While at the train station Christine and Cassie assisted me with fine tuning my costume. Tweak it more in certain places with pins and such. After the train station, we all popped into cars of fellow TGTSNBN members and drove the short distance to Sleepy Hallow cemetery for another photo shoot. At one point, we looked like a convoy driving through the cemetery trying to find the POTTER tombstone. So, naturally, cemetery security stops us for questioning and ascertains the situation, and then assists us. Many thanks go out to Ashley and Christine’s smooth talking the situation. Throughout the day Ashley also had the task of taking “solo” pix of our 25+ group, and it did take ALL day to do this. Mon dieu!

The Sleepy Hallow cemetery is really quite nicely situated, and we even noticed two “walking tours” of folk learning its history. Throughout it all, I am wearing new boots I had purchased the day before at Payless, so in a sense, I was breaking them in that day. Ouch! Sigh! I also borrowed black leather gloves from Jennifer to keep my hands warm, and so glad I brought my Hufflepuff scarf. Amen! There were many in our group who came prepared with several costume changes, so they could “act” in “Deathly Hallows” vignettes that Ashley photographed. Several costumes stand out in my mind as being truly amazing and inspiring. Christine’s “Lily Potter” in white ghostly wedding gown holding a bouquet of silk Lilies was one, and then Margaret in her many costumes as Molly Weasley was another. Bess always does a bang up number as Bellatrix, and Cassie was terrific as Lucius Malfoy. Jennifer has many costumes and wigs to portray Tonks, and Ariel did a version of steampunk Hermione that was adorable. Also, about a dozen members donned black attire and masks to portray “death eaters”. After the cemetery, we piled into cars once again, and drove through Tarrytown towards Lyndhurst Manor. This was the final destination and photo shoot of the day before we lost what remained of the sun. Plus it was getting cooler out, and everyone was a wee bit tired at this point. We also made a point of having a late lunch with food and drink we’d brought, as many of us were very hungry.

At this location I finally got my chance for a “solo shoot” with Ashley that went okay, and I just wish I’d freshened up my makeup. Oh well, it’s a done deal. At least I got better “solo” pix with my camera early on at the train station. The manor, greenhouse, field full of scarecrows, and landscape property was really quite nice. Sadly, we missed the last tour of the manor, which had started at 4:30pm. As the sun finally set around 6:30pm we slowly made our way back to where the cars were parked, and decided on next course of action. About six of us, including me, decided to head back to the train station and head to NYC. We didn’t feel like going out to a diner for dinner and getting home around 11pm. Jennifer and Clay drove us to the Tarrytown train station, so that we could hop on board the 7:15pm to NYC. Dyanne, Beth, Michelle, Alex, Lisa and I rode back to NYC in a tired but chatty frame of mind. Despite little hiccups here and there it was a terrific day.

On Sunday afternoon, October 17th, I celebrated my 52nd birthday and joined friends [ie: Mary and Dennis] at a musical parody called “Fellowship!” on Westside of Manhattan. Before going into the small theater, I was given birthday gifties from Mary and Dennis, plus later on they treated me to our late lunch. [Many thanks to you both for the cards and gifties.] The musical parody was fun, very entertaining, a lot of laughs and the chap who played Aragorn was quite a hottie. Afterwards we had a leisurely, tasty late lunch, along with delightful conversation, at Empanada Mama on 9th Avenue. Really good food and I highly recommend this establishment. Then it was time to part company, and before heading home I stopped by Westerly’s for some Vegan goodies. Yum!

Tuesday, October 19th, I attended a panel discussion on international law, detainees, terrorism and war crimes at the Brooklyn Law School in Brooklyn Heights. This was the second of a three-part panel discussion, and the final one is being held in November.

Wednesday, October 20th, I volunteered with eight other E&Y folk to assist City Harvest at the Union Square farmers market. This volunteer project is part of the EY Connect initiative. This is also the one-year anniversary of my going Vegan. WooHoo!!

On Thursday after work, October 21st, Chris Archer and I attended the “Quality of Life Committee” meeting with CB Manhattan #1. NYDoP CCR team had been invited by CB M1 to give a presentation on Dept of Peace and R14 for this particular committee. Chris gave a good presentation, answered questions and I handed out brochures and flyers.

On Friday evening, October 22nd, I utilized the gym at the Y in my hood for a good one hour cardio workout.

On Saturday, October 23rd, after Dana finished cleaning my apartment in the AM, I took the subway up to Riverside Park to watch TGTSNBN play Quidditch. Two games were played and each team won a game. I was on the sidelines keeping score for Marcy, as Jonathan was at this game. Had my new boots on [third time since purchasing them] and still working on breaking them in. It gets easier every time. Afterwards, a group of us headed to TOAST on Broadway for a tasty, leisurely fun brunch. Then I headed down to Madison Square Park to the MAC store to purchase some eye shadow and get a makeover by Sean.

Tuesday evening, October 26th, I attended a “free intro” at the Kabbalah Centre on East 48th Street. (Back on October 12th, after giving a presentation on Dept of Peace, at the CB Manhattan #6, Howard and I sat down to nosh on Subway sandwiches and he told me about the Kabbalah classes he is taking. Howard also mentioned the book below [The Power of Kabbalah], and I really liked the sound of it all. He mentioned how Kabbalah really, for him, dovetails into spiritualism and non-violent action, which we practice with the Dept of Peace campaign. Definitely want to get this book and take classes to learn more about Kabbalah. This is very exciting. Thank you Howard for your enthusiasm, thoughtfulness and explaining it in such a down to earth manner.) The “free intro” was fascinating, and the gent telling me and 3 others about Kabbalah, was very thorough and took time to answer questions. It seemed to me that I was the only one of the four “newbies” who “got it”, as the others expressed skeptism etc. Down in the Kabbalah Centre’s book store I purchased two books, one of which is by Michael Berg called “The Way – Using the Wisdom of Kabbalah for Spiritual Transformation and Fulfillment”. Definitely plan on taking classes in Kabbalah, but will have to wait until January or February 2011, as I have other important things that require immediate assistance.

Wednesday, October 27th, participated in a CCR Team conference call with Joe and Kevin.

Friday, October 29th, I had my second appt with my new lung specialist, followed by a much needed manicure.

On Saturday morning, October 30th, the National Grid serviceman came by to turn on my new gas meter, and fix my gas stove. Afterwards, I completed many errands, plus grocery shopping and laundry, then headed down to Park Slope and Grand Army Plaza area to volunteer with City Harvest at the farmers market. Usually I do volunteering at Union Square, but City Harvest needed volunteers at this location, so I said “why not”. Back at home I rented a few Horatio Hornblower TV series DVDs and noshed on a slice of Vegan chocolate cake. Both were very enjoyable.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN TO ALL



The many views of the Halloween
spirit along Park Slope's
Prospect Park West
between 5-7pm on
October 30th


ABIT OF NEWS TO ROUND OFF THE WEEKEND

Despite the Power of Money – Reflections on the Vapid Obama Commentary of Professor Angela Davis
Paul Street, BAR
http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content%2F%E2%80%9Cdespite-power-money%E2%80%9D-reflections-vapid-obama-commentary-professor-angela-davis

And clearly a large number of Wall Street and K Street insiders thought early on that Obama could possibly prevail. They invested heavily in his campaign after vetting him and finding out that “a figure like Barack Obama” was completely safe and inordinately useful for existing dominant domestic and imperial hierarchies and doctrines. Professor Davis is free to think that college kids on the Internet pushed Obama into the White House but the real story has far more to do with more mundane, traditional and timeworn factors: Wall Street backing, establishment approval, corporate media love, and a bad economy that worked against the incumbent party.

Of course serious progressive change is about pressuring major party state capitalist office-holders from the bottom up. Naturally we should not look to politicians and officeholders to fix contemporary messes; we’ve got to do it ourselves as citizens. Yes, the struggle continues. As Howard Zinn used to say, “it’s not about who’s sitting in the White House; it’s about who’s sitting in.” Fine. But it’s sad to see Davis ignore the elementary facts that (i) the corporate-imperial Obama campaign worked expertly and overtime to seduce “progressive” voters (and every other kind of voter they could attract with Brand Obama) to “project [their] own potential power” on to Obamessiah; (ii) the business-friendly and militaristic Obama presidency has worked consistently to undermine, deflect, and intimidate serious progressive protest of its corporate and imperial agenda, using threats, mockery, denial of access, surveillance, and raids to those ends.

The Obama campaign was not a grassroots social movement created by ordinary people struggling for progressive change from the bottom up any more than a fish is a cat or than war is peace. It was a top-down, candidate-centered operation in which “rank and file” activists got their marching orders from distant campaign elites, themselves equipped with the latest technologies and marketing techniques that record-setting corporate and other big money campaign contributions could provide.

Obama raised $750 million in 2008, nearly doubling the Bush record. OpenSecrets.org says that 1/3 was in small donation (less than $200). But that leaves $500 million in 'big' donations. More than the totals Bush raised in either 2000 or 2004.

[Duchess Note: Many thanks to Judith in sharing the above article, which conveys a lot of truth on the Obomba Regine. Many other so called “progressives” speak BS and/or fear to speak the truth.]

Ralph Nader Wants You to Vote for Howie Hawkins, the Green Party Candidate for Governor
Mark Dunlea, Green Party

Ralph Nader urges you to vote for Howie Hawkins (http://www.howiehawkins.org/), the Green Party candidate for Governor in NY. Ralph has done several campaign appearances with Howie in Buffalo and Albany. Howie will be on Row F this Tuesday, November 2. Please spread the word.

A key issue is to get New York State to stop rebating to Wall Street speculators the $16 billion it collects annually from the stock sales tax.

Ralph believes the stock transfer tax rebates is the most important fiscal issue for NY gubernatorial candidates to address. “The budget deficit in New York State is about eight billion, so there is no more ready and justifiable source of revenue than a tax that is already assessed,” Nader says. “It would make up the deficit and provide for critical needs like health insurance. It would prevent job loss. It could build or renovate some public works, upgrade mass transit, provide for clinics, schools, public building and court rooms that are often in a state of disrepair. (Read more: http://blogs.artvoice.com/avdaily/2010/10/29/howie-hawkins-green-new-deal/#ixzz13tfctXl8)

2010 has already been a pivotal year for the Green Party worldwide. Greens in Britain, Australia and Colombia have all achieved historic milestones. With climate change accelerating and the world's economy in the worst collapse in 70 years, voters are turning to the Green program of ecology, grassroots democracy, nonviolence and social and economic justice.

Hawkins was a founding member of the Green Party in the US and has been an environmental, labor and justice organizer for nearly 40 years.

Howie, a Teamster, is the only union member running for statewide office. He has been warmly received by the many parts of the labor movement as well as the environmental movement where the Greens have traditionally received support. A labor committee has been established for Howie, and many union members, especially teachers, have been organizing for him.

Howie has received a lot of support as the only gubernatorial candidate calling for a permanent ban on the dangerous practice of hydrofracking for natural gas. His call to cut the military budget and bring our troops home, including NY's National Guard, has won him the endorsement of Broome County Peace Action.

Given the anti-incumbent mood, a tea party millionaire Republican candidate, and Cuomo running as a “New Democrat” with an Old Republican platform on labor, the economy, and the environment, we have an opportunity in this election to change New York's politics permanently by establishing the Green Party as a viable alternative to the two-party system of corporate rule.

50,000 votes for Governor restores the Green's official status as a party in NYS. This will make it much easier for Greens to run for, and win, local, state and national office to offer an alternative vision for our future than the one promoted by the two corporate parties.

But our more important goal is to change New York politics by winning a lot more than 50,000 votes. A large vote total will enable the Greens to define the terms of the debate and build public support for a rapid transition to clean energy to avert catastrophic climate change, living wage jobs for all, expanded and improved Medicare for All, bringing our troops home and cutting the military budget. You can check out Howie's platform, media releases and video statements at http://www.howiehawkins.org/.

The time is right for the Green Party to surge. A Gallup poll released September 17 finds that 58% of Americans, including 61% of liberals and 74% of independents, want a “third major political party.” We want to win. Voters want new leadership. The Greens are ready to govern.

What It’s Like to Work in Walmart Hell
John Olympic, AlterNet
http://www.alternet.org/story/148640/what_it%27s_like_to_work_in_walmart_hell

See, like millions of Americans, I'm underemployed. The government doesn't count people like me in its official unemployment numbers. And those numbers are pretty grim; the national unemployment rate is at 9.6 percent, with 15 million Americans looking for work. I guess working at Walmart is better than nothing.

But working for low pay is about as rewarding as stabbing out your own eyeballs with a stale baguette. $14 billion in profits last year bumped Walmart back on top of the Fortune 500 list, and the company keeps up those profits partly by paying associates as little as (legally) possible. Walmart wages are not only well below living wage, we're paid significantly less than comparable jobs at other retailers.

As diverse as Walmart associates are, we have at least one thing in common: When it comes to our jobs, we have no voice. Walmart is America's largest private employer, yet the 1 million workers who put on that red, white and blue nametag each week have zero collective bargaining power when it comes to our pay, benefits or working conditions.

Walmart is America: underpaid workers cleaning up after malnourished customers purchasing Chinese sweatshop goods.

Dean Baker: Why Growth Still Feels Like Recession
http://act.commondreams.org/go/2922?akid=240.19616.3VD_nC&t=25

Tom Engelhardt: A Democracy of Bags Stuffed with Cash
http://act.commondreams.org/go/2923?akid=240.19616.3VD_nC&t=27

Robert Reich: Halliburton and the Upcoming Election
http://act.commondreams.org/go/2924?akid=240.19616.3VD_nC&t=29

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

ABIT MORE NEWS TO ROCK YOUR WORLD

Bagram: America’s Best Kept Afghan Secret
http://rt.com/Top_News/2010-10-27/bagram-americas-secret-afghan.html


How Obama Lost the Narrative
David Corn, Mother Jones
http://webmail.earthlink.net/wam/msg.jsp?msgid=47729&folder=INBOX&isSeen=false&x=-65387841

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

MORE OF THE REAL NEWS

The Chocolate You Eat is Likely Made by Enslaved Children
Andrew Korfhage, AlterNet
On Halloween much of the chocolate Americans will hand out to trick-or-treaters will be tainted by the labor of enslaved children.
http://www.alternet.org/story/148532/modern_day_slavery%3A_the_chocolate_you%27re_eating_was_likely_made_by_enslaved_children

Butchery Classes and Parties: How Much do You Want to Know About How Your Meat Gets to Your Plate?
Anneli Rufus, AlterNet
http://www.alternet.org/story/148586/butchery_classes_and_parties%3A_how_much_do_you_want_to_know_about_how_your_meat_gets_to_your_plate

Fascist America: Is This Election the Next Turn?
Sara Robinson, AlterNet
http://www.alternet.org/story/148588/fascist_america%3A_is_this_election_the_next_turn_

Glenn Greenwald: The Real Danger from NPR's Firing of Juan Williams
http://act.commondreams.org/go/2839?akid=236.19616.DLXHe8&t=30

Laura Flanders: Who Profits from Silly Campaign Season?
http://act.commondreams.org/go/2840?akid=236.19616.DLXHe8&t=32

Chuck Kelly: Estate Taxes Aren't a Levy on the Dead
http://act.commondreams.org/go/2842?akid=236.19616.DLXHe8&t=36

Monday, October 25, 2010


TGTSNBN
CosPlay
Event
[October 16th]










CosPlay held on a windy, cool Saturday at Phillipe Manor Station, Sleepy Hallow Cemetery and Lyndhurst Manor in Westchester County

[<>







Sunday, October 24, 2010

Some members of "New York Friends
of Tolkien" attend the October 7th dinner
party in Manhattan, and the honored guests
of the evening were Doug Adams and
Howard Shore. The latter is composer
of the LOTR music for the movie trilogy.

[L to R - Dennis, Duchess, Timdalf, Carole & Mary]



[L to R - Doug Adams and Howard Shore
admire a lovely, handmade clock with
Timdalf looking on. The clock was one of
many gifties to Mr Shore celebrating his
birthday.]

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT – REAL NEWS

Food in Uncertain Times: How to Grow and Store the Five Crops You Need to Survive
Makenna Goodman, AlterNet
http://www.alternet.org/story/148562/food_in_uncertain_times%3A_how_to_grow_and_store_the_5_crops_you_need_to_survive

Obama Prepares to Triangulate Himself
Glen Ford / Black Agenda Report
http://blackagendareport.com/?q=print/content/obama-prepares-triangulate-himself

The Perfect storm That Threatens American Democracy
Robert Reich’s Blog
The top one-tenth of one percent of Americans now earn as much as the bottom 120 million of us.
http://www.alternet.org/story/148558/the_perfect_storm_that_threatens_american_democracy

PBS Just as Corporate, White, Male and Republican as Commercial TV
Lauren Kelley, AlterNet
http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/10/20/pbs-just-as-corporate-white-male-and-republican-as-commercial-tv/

Missing Bill Moyers: Exposé Reveals a Diminished PBS
http://act.commondreams.org/go/2762?akid=232.19616.ex4bH3&t=2

US Funds in Central Asia Feed War, Not Democracy
http://act.commondreams.org/go/2763?akid=232.19616.ex4bH3&t=4

Activists 'Agree': Big Oil Should Clean Up Their Messes
http://act.commondreams.org/go/2764?akid=232.19616.ex4bH3&t=6

Amy Goodman When Banks Are the Robbers
http://act.commondreams.org/go/2795?akid=233.19616.NE_dCr&t=22

Danny Schechter Can There Be a Rescue of US Workers Facing Foreclosure and Unemployment?
http://act.commondreams.org/go/2752?akid=231.19616.QqiqVP&t=16

Chris Hedges Heroes for the Beaten, Foreclosed on, Imprisoned Masses
http://act.commondreams.org/go/2755?akid=231.19616.QqiqVP&t=22

Leaker of Pentagon Papers Stresses Importance of Telling the Truth to Student Audience
http://act.commondreams.org/go/2809?akid=235.19616.aaF8E9&t=10

Robert Naiman Britain's Budget Cuts - Will the Bell Toll for Us?
http://act.commondreams.org/go/2818?akid=235.19616.aaF8E9&t=28

Nick Turse Digging in for the Long Haul in Afghanistan
http://act.commondreams.org/go/2819?akid=235.19616.aaF8E9&t=30

Friday, October 22, 2010

HANGING OUT IN NYC ON OCTOBER 9TH





Views of the Dakota on
Central Park West were
John Lennon lived before
being murdered in 1981.


Visited Strawberry Fields
in Center Park on October
9th, which would of marked
Lennon's 70th birthday.
100s gathered to celebrate,
and sing Beatle songs.



Later that evening, I dined
with other LOTR and
Tolkien fan/friends before
heading to RCMH to see
"The Two Towers"
performed on stage.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

ATTENDED THE 26TH ANNUAL FT TRYON PARK
MEDIEVAL FESTIVAL ON OCTOBER 3RD

Deanna and Jenna
share the spotlight
with Timdalf










Timdalf & Duchess




ATTENDED THE "ONE NATION WORKING
TOGETHER" MARCH AND RALLY IN
WASHINGTON DC ON A

LOVELY, SUNNY DAY ON
OCTOBER 2ND WITH
"BROOKLYN FOR PEACE"











Tuesday, October 12, 2010

PERSONAL NEWS #188

Monday, Sept 20th, I volunteered at the “World Can’t Wait” main headquarters on West 27th Street location. For now it is mostly handling phone calls, organizing, and computer database on Monday or Thursday evenings after work. I’ll mostly be working with, and reporting to, Sharon and Bob.

Tuesday, Sept 21st, I had an appt with my foot doctor for therapy and progress report.

Friday, Sept 24th, I volunteered with City Harvest at the Union Square farmers market.

Sunday, Sept 26th, I joined the YMCA in my neighborhood, as its gym facilities are co-ed. They have terrific facilities for cardio, free weights, classes, machines, sauna, plus a swimming pool, and all for the wonderful monthly fee of $52.

Monday, Sept 27th, I volunteered at the WCW national office and assisted with making phone calls for donations. Afterwards I went to the Y for an intense 35 minute cardio workout.

Tuesday, Sept 28th, I attended a panel discussion at Brooklyn Law School on “US Crimes against International Law”. WCW and Brooklyn for Peace were two of the sponsors.

Wednesday afternoon, Sept 29th, I spoke with my dear cousin Edmund, whom I hadn’t seen or spoken too in 10+ years. Wonderful conversation! He lives in Maine with his current wife and they run a successful wedding cake business called “Sticky Fingers”. Check it out at www.stickyfingerscakes.com

Thursday, Sept 30th, I attended a Green Party event after work. I was invited to this event by Chris Archer, who is a member of NYDoP and the Green Party. Afterwards, I got home in time to chair the NYDoP CCR Team conference call at 8:30pm.

Monday, October 11, 2010

PERSONAL NEWS #187

Wednesday, Sept 1st, I joined Jade and Marianne at the Community Board Manhattan #10 monthly meeting up on West 125th Street. I brought Dept of Peace and Resolution 14 materials to hand out, and Marianne was our speaker. Large turnout at the CB M#10 meeting and many wanted to “speak”, Marianne’s 3-minute segment got shot down to 2-minutes. At this meeting we learned that original Resolution 627 co-sponsor Thomas White Jr passed away in August. This explains why he hasn’t become a co-sponsor of Resolution 14. Marianne and I didn’t stay for the whole meeting, but Jade did as she lives in the CB M#10 district. On my out I called Kevin to discuss the developments of the meeting, etc.

Thursday, Sept 2nd, I attended TGTSNBN meetup at Kennedy’s on West 57th Street. Main topic of discussion was the upcoming Cosplay set for October 16th. Great evening, lots of fun, and good to catch up with many friends.

From Sept 3rd to 6th I visited the family in upstate NY for the holiday weekend. Felt good to get away for a few days away from the craziness of work. I caught up on reading, drawing, painting, knitting, laptop stuff, yard work, apple picking, cable TV, shopping, hair salon, etc.

Tuesday evening, Sept 7th, I had dinner with Nancie and Sam at Siggy’s in Brooklyn Heights. Nancie was helping her son move into his new apartment in Brooklyn. It was lovely seeing them and catching up on news.

Wednesday, Sept 8th, I had lunch with Stephanie and we talked about my doing some volunteer work at the “World Can’t Wait” office on West 27th Street.

Thursday, Sept 9th, I chaired the NYdoPeace CCR committee conference call regarding Resolution 14.

Friday – Sunday, Sept 10-12 – I headed down to my beloved Cape May for 5 to 6 days. We had great weather the whole time, except for Sept 12th, which was overcast, cool and rainy. Started out at the Chalfonte hotel where I was registered for Marge Chavooshain’s watercolor workshop. I’d never taken a workshop before and felt this would assist me with drawing and especially painting. In the past, I’d seen Marge conducting her workshops at the Chalfonte. Last year I spoke with Marge, gave her my contact info and the rest is history.


Regarding the Chalfonte hotel … the room I occupied was sparsely furnished, bathroom across the hall, no air conditioning, thin walls and no central heating. I have to admit the beds are very comfy, plus the staff is nice, friendly and helpful. Truth be told, I so prefer staying at the Macomber. I only stayed two nights at the Chalfonte and that was enough for me. Several kids [under age 10] running around yelling and screaming on the Friday night, and with no parental supervision. Crazy! Then Saturday night having to deal with the couple next door having loud sex until 11:30pm. One heard everything, which was punctuated with the headboard of their bed banging on the wall.

Enough of that, back to the workshop, which was wonderful. Marge is delightful, charming and one helluva talented lady in her 80s. She’s been teaching watercolor and drawing for 50+ years and imparts such enthusiasm in her students. There were about 11 to 12 of us taking the workshop. Some had been taking her workshops for many years. Friday evening was the registration, orientation and the hotel provided wine with assorted nibblers. Mostly hung out with Leslie, who is also my age, plus got into diverse conversation with two gents in their mid to late 60s [ie: Eric & Lin]. I found myself attracted to the latter; who was good looking, interesting, but very much married. What a shame, he had such a twinkle in his eyes and a nice smile. After the orientation, I changed into sporty togs and did a brisk power walk up at the promenade before calling it an evening.

Next day we meet on the veranda at 9:30am, and Marge plotted our course of action for the day. We car pooled to Sunset Beach with our “art things” for a painting session on the beach. [Note: I came prepared with hat, sunscreen and long sleeved shirt to keep the bright sun from burning me.] Marge would give a lecture and then a detailed demo on the scene we were to paint. Then it was our turn to paint, and while we painted Marge would walk around to observe our efforts, give advice or answer questions. I really liked her method of teaching. We had a brief lunch break and back to more painting. Between 2pm and 2:30pm we packed up and drove to an area near the Cape May lighthouse to paint a different scene. Again Marge would lecture, and then a detailed demo, and then we’d go paint. Before we packed up around 4pm she’d look over everyone’s efforts of the day and impart her thoughts, plus give suggestions. On my second painting, Marge said she liked it and felt it was a “clean painting”. That evening Marge, Leslie, Carol, Amanda and I headed out for dinner over to A Ca Mia, which is part of the Washington Street Mall. Good meal, but the service was so-so.

Next day we met up again in the shelter of the veranda, as it was gloomy and raining. This didn’t discourage Marge, and I don’t think much does. She picked a spot on the veranda, gave a lecture on drawing architecture, and then the demo followed. As the day progressed the rain stopped, so some ventured off the veranda to paint other “scenes”. I stayed on the veranda and attempted my first architecture piece. It didn’t turn out well and I was very disappointed. During the “review” segment, Marge didn’t “down” my piece, but admired my courage in taking on a tough piece, then made suggestions. During the reviews I noticed four from our group whose pieces were always outstanding. Their styles were different, unique and stunning. I hope to one day be as good as those four.

Throughout the 2 ½ days I enjoyed many diverse conversations with everyone in our group, but especially with Lin. His friend Eric was such fun, and always made everyone laugh. Yes, I know, Lin’s married, but we both enjoyed each other’s company and decided to meet Sunday evening for drinks at Jackson Mountain Café. It was strictly platonic and he behaved like a gent. I so enjoyed those two hours, over drinks with Lin, and interesting conversation. It was like the icing on the cake, and I’ll never see him again, but during those 2 ½ days he made me feel special in many “little” ways.

I checked out of the Chalfonte on Sunday around 5pm and walked a short distance down the street to the Macomber for the remainder of my stay in Cape May. I always stay in the same room, which I love, and it’s so comfy with a nice view of the beach.


Monday – Wednesday, Sept 13-15, I continued my vacation in Cape May, NJ and also hung out with my friend Dennis. [I’ve known Dennis, via the NY Tolkien Society, since 2006 and he’s a very nice chap, plus he’s married with children.] This is the first time, since 1998, that I’ve hung out with a friend in Cape May. Over the course of three days we rented a touring bike, visited the shops in the Washington Street Mall and elsewhere, dined at some nice places [ie: Mad Batter & Lobster House], watched two stunning sunsets, strolled the streets taking pix, enjoyed a trolley/estate tour, went on a dolphin watch boat ride out in the ocean, or just sat around leisurely drinking smoothies and watching humanity stroll by. The weather, during those three days, was sunny and not a cloud in the sky. Absolutely perfect! I did my power walks on the promenade, visited with my friend Joe at the bike rental place and towards the end realized I was getting abit ill with a mild bronchial infection. But I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying myself to the fullest. I pushed myself to the limit, and by the time we were driving back to NYC late Wednesday afternoon, I was not feeling well. Overall, this was one of my more enjoyable visits to Cape May. I always feel sad when leaving Cape May … I so love this charming, seaside resort town.

Thursday – Sunday, Sept 16-19, I spent rest of my vacation at home working on recovering from allergies and a bronchial infection I must have gotten while in Cape May. Did several errands when I felt well enough; but mostly stayed indoors working on my vacation pix, checking emails, Facebook, surfing the net, phone calls, chores around the apt, laundry, etc, etc.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT – THE NEWS!

The Real Democratic Whiners
David Sirota, Oregon Live
http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2010/10/the_real_democratic_whiners.html

The Two Americas
Nicole Colson, Socialist Worker
http://socialistworker.org/2010/10/01/the-two-americas

Telling the Truth vs the Election Game
Debra Sweet, World Can't Wait
http://debra.worldcantwait.net/2010/10/telling-the-truth-vs-the-election-game/

Barack Obama Accused of Exaggerating Terror Threat for Political Gain
Simon Tisdall & Richard Norton-Taylor
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/07/barack-obama-terror-threat-claims/print

Progressive Dissent Is in the FBI’s Crosshairs
Lydia Howell, AlterNet
http://www.alternet.org/story/148428/progressive_dissent_is_in_the_fbi%27s_crosshairs

Corporate Hijacking of Our Elections is Well Under Way, with Foreign Companies Chipping in to Destroy Our Democracy
Joshua Holland, AlterNet
http://www.alternet.org/story/148427/corporate_hijacking_of_our_elections_is_well_under_way%2C_with_foreign_companies_chipping_in_to_destroy_our_democracy

Inside Job - Documentary about the cause and effects of the 2008 recession. At the Angelika and Lincoln Plaza

Director Charles Ferguson, working from a deep reservoir of anger at how the Washington/Wall Street nexus of greed and corruption brought on the current global recession, comes at his gripping movie like Michael Moore without shtick. Ferguson doesn't aim to entertain; he wants answers, and talks to many of the enabling weasels — pasty-faced economists in the pocket of big corporations, two-faced former members of the Federal Reserve, lobbyists who are bald-faced liars — and confronts them with facts before looking at how their actions have turned average Americans' lives into nightmares. A gripping tour through our country's broken system of ethics.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/2010/10/08/2010-10-08_short_reviews_inside_job_tamara_dreweas_good_as_dead_nowhere_boy.html#ixzz11n3Pbcy6

Duchess Note: Many thanks to Judith in sharing many of these terrific, thought-provoking articles. Please, feel free in sharing with others.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

WONDERFUL AND INSPIRING SPEECH BY HARRY BELAFONTE AT THE "ONE NATION WORKING TOGETHER" RALLY ON OCTOBER 2ND IN WASHINGTON DC
In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on the steps of this memorial and declared that this nation should come together and embrace its greater ideals. He said that we should rally together and overcome injustice and racism, and that all citizens should not only have the right to vote, but that we should exercise that right and make America whole.

That is part of why we are today. But we’re also here to tend other grievances. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his “I Have a Dream” speech forty-seven years ago, said that America would soon come to realize that the war that we were in at that time that this nation waged in Vietnam was not only unconscionable, but unwinnable. Fifty-eight thousand Americans died in that cruel adventure, and over two million Vietnamese and Cambodians perished. Now today, almost a half-a-century later, as we gather at this place where Dr. King prayed for the soul of this great nation, tens of thousands of citizens from all walks of life have come here today to rekindle his dream and once again hope that all America will soon come to the realization that the wars that we wage today in far away lands are immoral, unconscionable and unwinnable.
The Central Intelligence Agency, in its official report, tells us that the enemy we pursue in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, the al-Qaeda, they number less than fifty—I say fifty—people. Do we really think that sending 100,000 young American men and women to kill innocent civilians, woman and children, and antagonizing the tens of millions of people in the whole region somehow makes us secure? Does this make any sense?
The President’s decision to escalate the war in that region alone costs the nation $33 billion. That sum of money could not only create 600,000 jobs here in America, but would even leave us a few billion to start rebuilding our schools, our roads, our hospitals and affordable housing. It could also help to rebuild the lives of the thousands of our returning wounded veterans.
Dr. King loved this nation. He saw, as all of us here today see, that this great nation should not be allowed to perish. Martin’s vision was also the vision of Abraham Lincoln, who understood the evil of slavery and, in abolishing that evil, saved America. Although slavery may have been abolished, the crippling poison of racism still persists, and the struggle still continues. We have the largest prison population in the world. And as we industrialize these prison systems, we rob hundreds of thousands of workers of the jobs that they need and the wages that are rightfully theirs.
The plight of women bear no better. Their oppression refuses to yield, as rape and domestic violence and sex slaves and teenage pregnancy abounds.
But perhaps the greatest threat of all is the undermining of our Constitution and the systematic attack against the inalienable rights of the citizens of this nation, rights that are guaranteed by our Constitution. At the vanguard of this insidious attack is the tea party. This band of misguided citizens is moving perilously close to achieving villainous ends.
This gathering here today is America’s wake-up call. The giant called democracy is at last stirring again. Citizens are coming together to say freedom does not sleep. It may have been fueled and lulled for the moment into a lethargy, but it’s fully awake now. And we the people are its engine. We must awaken the apathetic, the cynical, the many angry doubters, who see their future as the perpetual hopelessness, and show them that our greatest weapon is the vote. And it is the answer to much that nags in us.
On November 2nd, in the millions, we must overburden our voting booths by voting against those who would see the nation become a totalitarian state. Americans know that Dr. King’s dream is not dead. Let us vote on November 2nd for jobs, for jobs, for jobs, for peace, for justice, for human rights, for our children and the future of America. And let us put an end to war. Peace is necessary. For justice, it is necessary. For hope, it is necessary, for our future. I love you all, and God bless America.