Hanging Out With The Duchess
A PLACE WHERE I EXPRESS MY THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS ON MUSIC, LIFE, EVENTS, TRAVEL, LOTR, HP, TV, NEWS, PEACE MOVEMENT, POLITICS AND EVEN MOVIES
Monday, February 28, 2011
ANOTHER FASCINATING WEEK IN THE NEWS
Vision: 5 Reasons the Wisconsin Uprising Affects You – and How You Can Help
Blog for Our Future
Our Economic Pain is Coming from Big Industry CEOs, Not Public Employees’ Unions
Jon Schmitt, AlterNet
Wisconsin is a Battleground Against the Billionaire Kochs’ Plan to Break Labor’s Back
Adele M. Stan, AlterNet
The war on Wisconsin employees isn’t just about the budget or Wisconsin: Koch toady Gov Walker is just one soldier in the billionaire’s offensive to kill labor.
Democracy is Stirring in Wisconsin: The Media Isn’t Sharing Just How Momentous the Protests in Madison Really Are
Kristine Mattis, AlterNet
In their attempts to constantly be balanced, the news media seem to have lost all ability to be accurate.
How Unions Helped Bring Economic Justice to Black Workers
Daniel Denvir, AlterNet
Despite the fact that most black people are workers, the media continues to talk about the black issues and union issues separately.
The Media Isn’t Telling You That Wisconsin Public Workers Pay for 100% of Their Pensions and HealthCare
David Cay Johnston, Tax.com
Making them “pay more” for their benefits is just a pay-cut in disguise.
Protesters in Madison Target Koch Brothers Offices
Watch this amazing video from Democracy Now!, which shows that protesters in Madison have found another, highly-appropriate target: the local lobbying offices of the Koch Brothers.
Rupert Murdoch and David Koch Collude Against Wisconsin Workers
Adele M. Stan, AlterNet
Matt Taibbi: Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!
Rolling Stone’s Taibbi explains how the American people have been defrauded by Wall Street investors and how the financial crisis is tied to Wisconsin.
The Solution to Our Budget Problems is so Obvious: We Need to Raise Taxes on the Rich, ASAP
Robert Parry, Consortium News
The answer to many of our country’s domestic problems is obvious, the rich need to pay their fair share.
Friday, February 25, 2011
AND NOW … HERE IS THE NEWS
The Mendacity of Hope: Barack Obama and the Betrayal of American Liberalism
By Roger D. Hodge
Comparing the lofty rhetoric of Obama’s autobiography, The Audacity of Hope (2006), with the harsh reality of the Obama administration, Hodge, former editor of Harper’s Magazine, chronicles the growing disappointment in Obama’s failure to deliver on expectations for real change in Washington. Instead, Hodge cites example after example of how corporate interests have seen their investment in Obama’s campaign pay off while the aspirations of middle-class voters have been neglected. He details contributions by huge financial corporations—Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, and others—that have been rewarded through the financial system bailout. Hodge offers historical context for the long association between business and politics as candidates from both political parties have sought campaign support and made promises to corporate interests. He particularly laments that Obama’s eloquence has not matched his actions, engendering a disappointed fantasy that a single man can make changes rather than the need to reform the political system itself. --Vanessa Bush
Reviews of the Book
“The Mendacity of Hope should help wake up all those Obama-voters who’ve been napping while the wars escalate, the recession deepens, and the environment goes straight to hell.” (Barbara Ehrenreich)
“Hodge calls for revitalization of the founding tradition of civil virtue and republican values of liberty, a message that should be taken to heart if we are to reverse the drift towards an ugly future.” (Noam Chomsky)
“An eloquently sober indictment of the corruption which impels the self-aggrandizement of our executive branch, much to the bane of our Constitution. A frightening book whose conclusions ought to haunt every American.” (William T. Vollmann)
“Roger Hodge has written a desperately needed expose of how Barack Obama is not the messiah of liberalism but its designated gravedigger. . . . This is a blazing indictment of corporate collusion and a bracing injection of hard truths.” (Naomi Wolf)
“Ready to wake up from the Obama dream yet? If so, this thrillingly scathing and relentlessly truthful cri de coeur is your strong cup of coffee. ” (Naomi Klein)
“An excellent book. . . . US politics has ended up as a battle between the mostly corrupt and the entirely corrupt. . . . It’s long past time to put away your Obama t-shirt and take out your protest banner.” (Johann Hari, The Independent)
HR808 in 112th Congress - US Department of Peace
On February 18, 2011, Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced HR808 into the 112th Congress, calling for a US Department of Peace. Please consider posting, sending to your networks and, if you are so inclined, writing an Op-Ed or Letter to the Editor. As USIP (United States Institute of Peace) faces a serious budget cut, let's send a message that peacebuilding and making peace an organizing principle in society is a priority.
If you wish to call and thank Representative Kucinich: (202) 225-5871.
Committees are like "mini Congresses". Most bills begin by being considered by one or several congressional committees which may "report" the bill favorably or unfavorably to the Senate or House as a whole allowing it to receive consideration by the full body and move forward, or may fail to consider a bill at all preventing the bill from moving forward. Most bills never receive any committee consideration and are never reported out. House bills start in House committees and enter Senate committees only after being passed by the House and received by the Senate, and similarly for Senate bills.
Information on committee proceedings is notoriously opaque: committees vary in what information they make public and often do not provide basic public information such as the results of votes electronically or in an understandable format. Furthermore, if your Member of Congress does not sit on any committee relevant to this bill, you generally have no opportunity to voice your opinion on the bill while the bill is receiving its most important consideration.
The bill has been referred to the following committees:
House Oversight and Government Reform
House Foreign Affairs
House Education and the Workforce
Further, here is a great article regarding the USIP situation:
Finally, this just in from Michael Shank in Congressman Honda's office: Was just running the numbers: USIP cuts = 3 hours-worth of funding for our troops in Afghanistan.
Standing with you in loving cooperation,
Dorothy J. Maver, Ph.D., President
National Peace Academy
Workers’ Uprising: Two Dozen Protests Launched Across Wisconsin, TV Talk Show Blackout of Union Reps
Joshua Holland, AlterNet
Exposing the Republicans’ 3-Part Strategy to Tear the Middle Class Apart – Let’s Stop Them in Wisconsin
Robert Reich, RobertReich.org
Now Even Wisconsin’s Business Leaders Signal They’re Turning Against Gov Scott Walker
Mike Elk, Think Progress
‘This is What Democracy Looks Like’ in Wisconsin, as Largest Crowd Yet Opposes Union Busting
John Nichols, The Nation
Revolt Spreads: Indiana Dems Leave the State to Thwart GOP Union Busting
Chris Bowers, AlterNet
Sunday, February 20, 2011
THE LATEST IN NEWS
Link Confirmed Between Warming and Heavy Storms
Five Ways That The GOP Is Trying To Eradicate A Woman’s Right To Choose
The Republican Strategy
Robert Reich blog
The Republican strategy is to split the vast middle and working class – pitting unionized workers against non-unionized, public-sector workers against non-public, older workers within sight of Medicare and Social Security against younger workers who don’t believe these programs will be there for them, and the poor against the working middle class. By splitting working America along these lines, Republicans want Americans to believe that we can no longer afford to do what we need to do as a nation. They hope to deflect attention from the increasing share of total income and wealth going to the richest 1 percent while the jobs and wages of everyone else languish.
Obama and Geithner’s Insidious Plan to Hand the Entire Housing Industry Over to the Banks
Robert Scheer, Truthdig
Obama should be punishing the banks that sabotaged the American dream of home ownership. Instead he’s giving them the whole enchilada.
Critics: Goldman Should Give Back $2.9 Billion to Taxpayers
Top 4 Victories Handed to Corporate America by the Supreme Court, so far
Jim Hightower, Hightower Lowdown
Russ Feingold Launches 'Progressives United' To Combat Corporate Influences In Politics
Revolution or Coup in Egypt?
A Joyous Anniversary – Eight Years Since the Largest Demonstration in History
Kevin Martin, Peace Action Blog
[Duchess Note: Eight years ago was my first time in protesting at a political event, rally or protest. I joined THOUSANDS of others in NYC on that bitter cold February day in peaceful solidarity, as well as conveying our message to the Bush/Cheney Regime. We may not have stopped the war, but our presence in NYC and in cities around the world brought us several small victories. We must never give up and let “Big Brother” taken over. We must fight peacefully and take to the streets in HUGE numbers like on Feb 15, 2003. Just like the people in Cairo [Egypt] and Madison [Wisconsin] are doing. No matter who sits in the WH, we must always come together and be as one. Always!]
Congressman Dennis Kucinich: Trillions for War and Now ZERO for Peace!
Veterans For Peace Demands Apology From Secretary of State
Wisconsin is a Battleground Against the Billionaire Kochs’ Plan to Break Labor’s Back
Adele M. Stan, AlterNet
The war on Wisconsin employees isn’t just about the budget or Wisconsin: Koch toady Governor Walker is just one soldier in the billionaire’s offensive to kill labor.
As Protests Grow, Wisconsin Dems Boycott Budget Vote
Cables Illuminate US Relations with Bahrain, Potential for Unrest
12 Things You Need to Know About the Uprising in Wisconsin
Joshua Holland, AlterNet
'Everyone Is Coming': Wisconsin Revolts Against Tea Party
Are We Headed for Massive Oil Price Spikes? Leaked Cables Claim Saudi Oil Reserves Grossly Overstated
Jeremy Leggett, The Guardian
Obama's Trade Deals and Trickle Down Theory Recipe for Disaster
UK Forest Sell-Off: 'People Power' Forced U-Turn, say Campaigners
Ameica’s Food Sweatshops and the Workers of Color Who Feed Us
Yuonne Yen Liu, ColorLines
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
LOTS GOING ON THESE DAYS IN THE NEWS
President Obama, the Jobs Crisis and Corporate America’s Game Plan
As Budget Debates Begin, Republicans Put NPR, PBS on Chopping Block
Common Cause Questions Justice Thomas' Koch Connection
Defector Admits to WMD Lies That Helped Trigger Iraq War
Anonymous: US Security Firms 'Planned to Attack WikiLeaks'
Michael Schwartz: Why Mubarak Fell: The (Sometimes) Incredible Power of Nonviolent Protest
Laura Flanders: Outsourcing Potential, Forgetting Workers
Tea Party Patriots Investigated: ‘They Used You and Abuse You’
Stephanie Mencimer, MotherJones.com
Pricey political consultants and fame-seeking leaders: A grassroots group cozies up to the DC establishment and alienates the activits who put it on the map.
Victorian Sex Rebels and Atheists: How Brave Artists Shook Up Prudish Mores
Cole Riley, SeXis Magazine
Obama Budget Proposal: Cuts to Target Working Poor, Middle Class and Students
Sunday, February 13, 2011
THE LATEST NEWS – HERE AND AROUND THE WORLD
Noam Chomsky on Democracy Now – “This is the Most Remarkable Regional Uprising that I can Remember”
Obama very carefully didn’t say anything. Mubarak would agree that there should be an orderly transition, but to what? A new cabinet, some minor rearrangement of the constitutional order—it’s empty. So he’s doing what U.S. leaders regularly do. As I said, there is a playbook: whenever a favored dictator is in trouble, try to sustain him, hold on; if at some point it becomes impossible, switch sides. The U.S. has an overwhelmingly powerful role there. Egypt is the second-largest recipient over a long period of U.S. military and economic aid. Israel is first. Obama himself has been highly supportive of Mubarak. It’s worth remembering that on his way to that famous speech in Cairo, which was supposed to be a conciliatory speech towards the Arab world, he was asked by the press—I think it was the BBC—whether he was going to say anything about what they called Mubarak’s authoritarian government. And Obama said, no, he wouldn’t. He said, "I don’t like to use labels for folks. Mubarak is a good man. He has done good things. He has maintained stability. We will continue to support him. He is a friend." And so on. This is one of the most brutal dictators of the region, and how anyone could have taken Obama’s comments about human rights seriously after that is a bit of a mystery. But the support has been very powerful in diplomatic dimensions. Military—the planes flying over Tahrir Square are, of course, U.S. planes. The U.S. is the—has been the strongest, most solid, most important supporter of the regime. It’s not like Tunisia, where the main supporter was France. They’re the primary guilty party there. But in Egypt, it’s clearly the United States, and of course Israel. Israel is—of all the countries in the region, Israel, and I suppose Saudi Arabia, have been the most outspoken and supportive of the Mubarak regime. In fact, Israeli leaders were angry, at least expressed anger, that Obama hadn’t taken a stronger stand in support of their friend Mubarak.
Just Whose Economic Recovery is it, Anyway?
Pearl Korn, Huffington Post
The president offered a glowing report of an economy on the mend, for which he, of course, took credit. Offering up tax cuts for corporations and aid for their research and development programs so even more profits could be realized. I, personally, would have liked to have heard more about who those good souls are who would be on the receiving end of this support, and how giving them more of our blood and treasure will in turn aid the economy. "Competition" was mentioned no less than 9 times and "jobs" 32 times as the president announced our reentry into the global economy full-throttle. With corporate profits at an all time high, it would seem tax increases rather than tax cuts should have been put forth, at least as an option. As for those who can't find work, the conventional thinking in DC appears to be that it is because they lack the necessary educational skills, and so it is their fault. Americans will have to be better educated in order to compete with workers in India, China and South Korea who are paid pennies on the dollar in comparison. Yes, Mr. President, big business shipped all those jobs overseas because we're too stupid.
Damning New Report Shows US Strategy is Blocking Chance for Peace in Afghanistan
Derrick Crowe, Brave New Films
Quote of the Day … Think about one person who has changed your life. What if he or she didn't return your call, hire you, love you, teach you, guide you? What if they didn’t open that door for you? Today, open that door for someone else. – Yehuda Berg
On First Day of New Congress, Koch Operatives Met with GOP Chairman Planning to Gut the Clean Air Act
Vision: Everyday Brits are in Revolt Against Wealthy Tax Cheats – Can We Do That Here?
Johann Hari, The Nation
What if the financial crash of 2008 were followed by a Tea Party of a different kind, one that stood up to the wealthy criminals who caused the crisis.
Teaching Democrats ‘How to Fight’ – PCCC’s Adam Green and Stephanie Taylor
Adele M. Stan, AlterNet
10 Things Conservatives Don’t Want You to Know About Reagan
Alex Seitz-Wald, Think Progress
The image of Reagan as a conservative superhero is a myth, created to unite the various factions of the right behind a common leader.
Why Bradley Manning is a Patriot, Not a Criminal
Chase Madar, Tomdispatch.com
10 Historical ‘Facts’ Only a Right-Winger Could Believe
Roy Edroso, AlterNet
Duchess Note: Many thanks to Judith in sharing some of the above news articles.
Saturday, February 05, 2011
PERSONAL NEWS #192
On Monday, January 3rd, I joined other “NYC Friends of Tolkien” members at Entwine in Greenwich Village to celebrate Tolkien’s 119th birthday. The 12 of us pretty much took over the back room of this charming establishment, which I came across by accident back in December. There isn’t much of a menu, but the wine and liquor menus were quite impressive. Plus, on Monday’s, one can get a bottle of wine for ½ price. We all had a good time from 6pm to 10pm. Timdalf brought LotR items [photo below] to dress up the space, and even a few other Entwine patrons joined us at 9pm to toast the “professor”.
Tuesday, January 4th, I participated in the Peace Alliance monthly conference call.
On Wednesday, January 5th, Kevin and I chaired the NYdoPeace board member conference call, and the main topic of discussion was on NY City Council R14. We were pleased to announce during the call that there are 3 new co-sponsors of the resolution.
On Thursday evening, January 6th, I volunteered with WCW at a panel discussion, which was held at the Brecht Forum. Richie and I tabled for WCW at the panel discussion and the main topics of discussion were on WikiLeaks, US state secrets, Guantanamo and torture. The guest speakers at the Brecht Forum [located at 451 West Street] were Andy Worthington [The Guardian], Leili Kashani, Pardiss Kebriaei, and Katie Gallagher [Center for Constitutional Rights].
On Friday, January 7th, I wanted to attend a panel discussion at All Souls Church on upper Eastside of Manhattan, but unfortunately had to work OT. Damn! The Peace and Justice Task Force presented … BACK FROM AFGHANISTAN: Report From Just-Returned Peace Activists … “We will hear from two members of a group of American civilians who have visited with the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers in Kabul and Bamiyan, the youngsters' mountain village 100 miles NW of the capitol.” The speakers were Kathy Kelly [American peace activist] and Eric Stoner [NY based freelance journalist].
Saturday, January 8th, I purchased some DVDs at half price from my local rental place. I picked up “Angels & Demons”, “Eat Pray Love” and “Wolverine”.
Sunday afternoon, January 9th, I attended the WCW holiday party at their office in Manhattan, and Andy Worthington was guest speaker. Afterwards, I headed back to Brooklyn to see “The King’s Speech” at Cobble Hill cinema. Brilliant film, stellar cast and I highly recommend it.
Tuesday evening, January 11th, I attended a panel discussion with my friend Stephanie on the topic of torture and the effects on the mind. How the US is seriously involved in psychological torture, not only in the US, but abroad. Questions posed were “what is the impact of psychological torture”, and “how has the use of torture impacted the standing of the US in the international community”? This panel discussion was held at the All Souls Church on upper eastside of Manhattan. Those on the panel were Pardiss Kebriaei, Bruce Knotts, and Dr Katherine Porterfield. Another snowstorm hit NYC area and started around 7pm that evening.
Thursday, January 13th, I attended, and participated, in the Brooklyn for Peace “Peace Fair Committee” meeting at Charlotte’s home in Carroll Gardens.
Saturday evening, January 15th, I went out to dinner with my friend Jackie down near Union Square. During a leisurely meal at a diner we caught up on news. Afterwards we did some shopping at B&N, Forever 21 and Max Brenner chocolates. The latter is part restaurant and shop with a delicious variety of chocolate confections, as well as quite popular with the younger NYC generation and even some tourists.
On Sunday, January 16th, I went out to a delicious brunch [Enid’s decor below] with my good friend Gail in our neighborhood. We exchanged gifts, and did some shopping along the avenue.
Tuesday evening, January 18th, I volunteered with WCW at their national office, and assisted with assorted data entry.
Friday evening, January 21st, I joined other ladies at the weekly Friday Nite Knits group in Kensington.
Jan 24 to 25, stayed home from work on Monday and Tuesday, as I was feeling very unwell. Thought I may have had a low grade fever and bronchitis. While home I watched the whole LotR extended film trilogy on DVD, plus was on the internet a lot.
Jan 25 to 28, after seeing my lung specialist on Tuesday afternoon, and getting a chest X-ray, he informed me that I had Pneumonia and Bronchitis in both lungs. He sent me home in car service, so that I could pack a few things, and then had an ambulance pick me up to take me to NY Methodist hospital in Park Slope. Before the ambulance showed up; I made phone calls to my friend Gail, my parents and the office, plus left a message on FB. Midway ambulance showed up after 6pm. Darin and Brian took good care of me on way to hospital, plus I had to be put on oxygen, as my breathing wasn’t so good. We arrived at the hospital’s ER around 6:50pm. Was in ER for about 3 ½ hours; during that time I registered, had my vitals taken, gave them the X-rays, drank juice/water, talk with doctors, bathroom break, plus IV of meds was started. At this time I lost my voice and could only speak in a whisper. This continued for the remainder of my stay in the hospital.
At 10:30pm I was brought up to the 7th floor in the south wing of the hospital and my bed was next to the window. My view was of the intersection of 8th Avenue and 7th Street; as well as a school and two apartment buildings. I shared the room with an elderly woman who talked to herself, and snored loudly when she slept, which was a lot. Across the hall was an elderly Russian woman who talked to herself and imaginary people a lot. All of this very loudly. Plus, she always gave the RNs and other staff a hard time. Not sure what ailed her physically, but it was obvious she had issues mentally. Needless to say, with these two forces against me, and utilizing earplugs, I wasn’t going to get much sleep.
I begged my RN [Olga] to find me something to eat, as I was sooo hungry at this point, and hadn’t eaten since 1pm. She did find me some goodies, which I ate slowly, so as not to over tax my stomach. The RNs work in 12 hour shifts; usually 8pm to 8am, and then next shift from 8am to 8pm. Dang, that makes for a long day! The other issue was dietary and working with the nutritional rep on my needs. I clearly stated no meat, no salt and no dairy. Juggled with different takes on Vegetarian and Kosher, plus what I couldn’t eat, well, I just left it on the tray. When I was in the hospital back in August 2008, I remember the food being quite nice. Not this time around as I could tell right away that it wasn’t that good. The nutritional rep said due to the economy that the hospital had to downgrade to a less expensive service.
On Wednesday I watched the snowstorm develop throughout the day into the night. No doctor showed up, and I inquired about it, plus I was put on a Nebulizer 3 times that day, as well as some meds at night. I also put on my bathrobe and walked the halls for some exercise and see what else was happening on the 7th floor. South 7 was definitely jumpin with activity. Back at my room I would occupy my time with knitting, needlepoint, read my book or just look out the window while the storm raged on. Kathleen replaced Olga during the day shift and she was a terrific RN. That evening Meleka took over and she was another nice RN. I tried to sleep that night, I really did try, but with the snoring and whaling, well, at 1am I just gave up as my nerves were too frayed.
I took to wandering the halls and watching the snowstorm out of different windows. Around 3am I begged Meleka to please find me another room, and she got right on it as she saw how upset I was. Lack of sleep, nerves on edge, plus being unwell made me a weepy individual. Not good! By 8am Kathleen was back and she managed to find my doctor. He claimed he couldn’t find me in the hospital. Whatever! Was put on more meds and told around 1pm that another room was found for me. Hurray! Around 3pm I was moved to another room on the same floor. My bed was near the window looking down on 7th Street, and my roommate was a much quieter, nice older lady. Amen! The RN in this area wasn’t that good, seemed more into socializing then tending patients, and I was glad she went off duty at 8pm. Throughout Thursday I continued to do needlepoint, knitting or read to take my mind off things.
For the remainder of my stay in the hospital; my RNs were Beruka and Vilma. Both were very good RNs and attentive to their patients needs. I was able to sleep abit Thursday night into Friday morning. I was so thankful for that. The good news on Friday was that, my condition was stable and I wasn’t contagious anymore. As of Thursday morning I no longer needed to be on oxygen and my breathing was improving. Had two more discussions with the doctor, he called in my meds to my pharmacy [which Gail picked up on Saturday], and said I could go home that Friday evening. Hurray! He also called and made an appt with my lung specialist for Feb 1st and stated clearly no going back to work. The hospital arranged, and paid for, car service to take me home and I arrived at my humble abode around 8:15pm. I spent the rest of the weekend recovering, taking meds, eating my Vegan food, being on the Internet, etc, etc.
It Ain’t Just Mubarak – 7 of the Worst Dictators the US is Backing to the Hilt
Joshua Holland, AlterNet
From Saudi Arabia to Uzbekistan to Chad, the US keeps some very bad autocrats in power.
Why Full Employment Required to Sustain a That We’re Proud to Live In
Eileen Appelbaum, Boston Review
Quote of the Day … “Great relationships have conflict. Soul mates are supposed to sit on the points we need to correct, and show us our blind spots, in HD. This can be difficult if we don't have the big picture in mind, if we aren't moving in the direction of our potential, if we’re unaware of what we are here to become. Today, let tensions push your relationships to their potential. Not only will it enrich your own lives, but it will help the world as well.” – Yehuda Berg
Oprah’s Vegan Challenge
Blythe Copeland, Treehugger
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
LATEST NEWS TO ROCK YOUR WORLD
Get Angry: 10 of the Best Political Documentaries of the Last Year
Michael Atkinson, In These Times
Revolution in the Air, But US Sticks to Same Old Script
Fresh Protests Erupt in Egypt
Arctic Defrost Dumping Snow on U.S. and Europe
WikiLeaks Cables Show Close US Relationship With Egyptian President
Russell Mokhiber: Corporate Crime and No Punishment
Tom Andrews: State of the War in Afghanistan: The Good, The Bad and The Inaccurate
Hogwash, Mr President
Robert Scheer, TruthDig
Official List of Obama’s Broken Promises
Democracy Now!’s Sharif Abdel Kouddous Live from Egypt: The Rebellion Grows Stronger
Iraq a Long Way From Stability, Report Says
Gary Younge: US Troops Die Because of Their Country, Not For It
Chris Hedges: What Corruption and Force Have Wrought in Egypt