Sunday, July 31, 2005
Sunday Bird Blogging
For today's version of Sunday Bird Blogging we have a family portrait of the mama parakeet and her young brood of sons and/or daughters:
Above, from left, that's Hambone (eldest), Whitey (albino mama), Peanut (youngest) and Jumbo (middle sibling), all hatched during the week of May 9th, each a couple of days apart. That makes the oldest chick (Hambone) about 12 weeks old. We won't know their sexes, usually indicated by the "ceres" above their beaks, for some months.
In this one we have, from left, Jumbo (middle sibling), Whitey (mom), Peanut (runt) and Hambone (first-hatched). We think Jumbo is jumbo because he/she got alot of the food meant for Peanut the runt. Hambone is named that because she/he was so eager to get out of the nest box and get some attention. He/she has more yellow in his/her feathers than the other two.
The runt, Peanut, is the most aggressive and assertive of the brood. Jumbo, the middle kid, is very mellow. Hambone is very playful and inquisitive. Whitey, the mom, is regal, dignified and generally very patient with the energetic antics of her offspring. Peanut likes to groom mom's head.
All three take after their beautiful green dad, Queenie, who has been moved in with our other parakeets, Ginger and Georgie, in a separate cage so he and Whitey don't mate again. Experts recommend that parakeets (proper name: budgerigars) breed only once per year so we're taking no chances. This despite the fact that it is fairly unusual for pet parakeets to successfully breed.
(Click on photos for larger versions. Click for the Sunday Bird Blogging archive.)
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Sirota Nails It (Again)
David Sirota has been hitting the nail on the head for awhile now, with his many blog posts and articles dissecting how the DLC is running on empty. Of course it's a very well-funded empty due to all the multinational-corporate ring kissing they've been doing. With so many so-called Democrats voting for things like the misguided Iraq War, CAFTA, the bankruptcy bill, an onerous energy bill and more, Sirota is calling on labor unions, working people, liberals and other mainstream Dems to demand a return to core Democratic principles, particularly economic ones.
In the face of continuing failures caused by the DLC branch of the Party, isn't it time to stop rewarding Republican-lite and all its sickly denominations? The grassroots movement is growing in numbers and strength and we're terribly tired of being stuck with corporate-apologists for candidates. In my mind, now's the time to stop supporting those who run as Democrats despite their backing so much of the Republican anti-middle class, anti-labor, anti-economic justice agenda.
If you only read a handful of articles this month, be sure to include this one by Sirota, "The Democrats 2008 Choice: Sell out & Lose, Or Stand UP & Win," and take the time to click through to the additional material linked within it.
Particularly educational for those unfamiliar with the roots of the DLC and who funds it, the link to Robert Dreyfuss's article from 2001, "How the DLC Does It," is particularly enlightening. Excerpt:
For $5,000, 180 companies, lobbying firms, and individuals found themselves on the DLC's board of advisers, including British Petroleum, Boeing, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Coca-Cola, Dell, Eli Lilly, Federal Express, Glaxo Wellcome, Intel, Motorola, U.S. Tobacco, Union Carbide, and Xerox, along with trade associations ranging from the American Association of Health Plans to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. For $10,000, another 85 corporations signed on as the DLC's policy roundtable, including AOL, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Citigroup, Dow, GE, IBM, Oracle, UBS PacifiCare, PaineWebber, Pfizer, Pharmacia and Upjohn, and TRW.
Ah yes, the people's party -- once upon a time. Can we move it in that direction yet again?
Friday, July 29, 2005
You're Invited: Duke City Shootout Events Friday & Saturday
The Duke City Shootout, Albuquerque's thriving digital film fest, ends this Saturday with a premier of the films produced over the past week, award presentations to the winners and general partying. The gala event will be held at 7:00 PM at the Kiva Auditorium in the Albuquerque Convention Center.
Also, there'll be a "Keeping The Torch Lit" Award Ceremony Honoring the legendary Tom Waits (below) at 7:00 tonight, Friday, July 29, at the Bank of America Theater at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (4th Street SW and Avenida César Chávez/Bridge Blvd.) Christopher Coppola will discuss the creative process with Mr. Waits.
Many of you may know Tony DellaFlora (below), one of the festival's creators, from various political events or his years of reporting on the arts at the Albuquerque Journal and other places.
Visit the festival website for tickets and more information: http://www.dukecityshootout.com/
Welcome Vets for Peace 8/1
From Albuquerque Veterans for Peace:
Please join the Albuquerque Veterans for Peace in welcoming the Veterans for Peace caravan from California on its way to the national convention in Texas - Monday, August 1, 6 PM, at the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice.
Music, friends, fun. (Remember last year? These guys are a ball!) Please bring a potluck dish to share and help give the California vets a warm NM welcome. For info call 268-5073 or 268-9557.
More on Effort to Preserve NEPA: Rio Rancho Hearing 8/1
From Patricia Lee (following up on our original post on preserving NEPA -- the National Environmental Policy Act):
I received a postcard from The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance with further contact information for those wanting to attend the August 1st hearing on NEPA (at 10AM at Rio Rancho High School at 301 Loma Colorado) in Rio Rancho or to submit written comments. Here it is:
In northern New Mexico contact Bryan (505)988-9126 X 157 or Jim (505) 758-3874 for more information. In Albuquerque contact Sarah (505) 243-7767.
For written testimony which is due no later than August 10 you can send it via e-mail to:
Be sure to indicate that you want your testimony entered into the record for the hearing on the Role of NEPA in NM, CO, UT, WY. See information below for suggestions on comments.
For background information go to: www.sierraclub.org/lookbeforeyouleap
P.S. More important info on the hearing as well as key points from the NMAC posting are listed below.
The following notice is very important. If you cannot attend the hearing, then please send in written comments. Word on the street is that the previous three hearings only had "invited witnesses" from the anti-NEPA contingent -- we can expect the same at this one. Written comments are important, because if they don't receive them, they can say that the public doesn't think NEPA matters. If you are not that concerned about NEPA, then consider the subsequent potential effects to NHPA and ESA. Gutting NEPA would be a precedent-setting action that this administration would love to follow for other environmental laws.
NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT (NEPA) UNDER ATTACK?
URGENT - NEPA Task Force Hearing: YOUR PRESENCE AND TESTIMONY IS NEEDED!
The fourth of six hearings on NEPA will be held in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
Time: 10 AM, Monday August 1, 2005
Place: Rio Rancho High School located at 301 Loma Colorado, Rio Rancho, NM
* Only invited witnesses will be allowed to testify and no questions or comments from the public will be taken. Witnesses who will be testifying have not been announced to the public. Community members are allowed to watch and are encouraged to attend to show support for this bedrock environmental law.
Transportation will be available to bring you and your family and friends to the hearing and lunch will be provided! Call Forest Guardians @ (505) 988-9126 for information.
WRITTEN TESTIMONY AND COMMENTS ARE ALSO NEEDED:
Deadline is Tuesday August 11th.
Make sure your voice is heard by submitting comments into the record for the Southwest NEPA hearing. It is critical that the Taskforce hears from a broad range of local leaders, citizens, and organizations about the importance of NEPA to our health, our communities, and our environment. You are encouraged to submit comments and circulate this alert to other organizations that you are involved with (civic, religious, wildlife, recreation, etc.) and elected officials and urge them to send comments in support of NEPA.
* Key points to include in comments are below.
We have an opportunity to submit written testimony into the Congressional record for the Rio Rancho hearing through Monday, August 10th. Testimony is limited to 12 pages. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to submit written testimony. Be sure to indicate that you want your testimony to be entered into the record for the hearing on the Role of NEPA in the States of NM, CO, UT, WY.
If you want your comments in the official hearing record, you should submit them via email to firstname.lastname@example.org (or fax to 202-225-5929). Please also copy Congressman Tom Udall at fax # 505-986-5047
If you can’t submit written comments by August 10th, the NEPA Task Force will accept comments throughout all 6 hearings. Send your comments to email@example.com and send a copy your comments to your Congressional Representative. Go to www.congress.org to look up your Members of Congress.
To find the e-mail address or fax number for your Member of Congress, go to www.house.gov to find Member websites.
Format for official comments:
TITLE (if you have one)
ORGANIZATION (if you have an organization affiliation)
To the Committee on Resources
United States House of Representatives
The Role of NEPA in the States of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming
Background on NEPA – DEMOCRACY IN ACTION
NEPA, one of America's bedrock environmental laws signed into law by President Nixon 35 years ago, is considered the Magna Carta of environmental protection. NEPA is the foundation on which all other environmental laws are built. NEPA requires federal agencies to study and disclose the environmental effects of major projects on the surrounding community and include the public in the decision-making process for federally funded projects.
To read about the NEPA Task Force, and to read written testimony from hearing witnesses go to: http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/nepataskforce/schedule.htm Written testimony is currently available from the Northwest hearing held in Spokane on April 23rd. Testimony from the Southwest hearing will be on the website following the hearing on August 1st.
More information on NEPA can be found at: http://www.sierraclub.org/lookbeforeyouleap/
Key Points for Comments
• NEPA is the guarantee that Americans affected by a federal action will get the best information about its impacts, a choice of good alternatives, and the right to have their voice heard before the government makes a final decision.
• NEPA ensures balance, common sense and openness in federal decision-making, it is an effective tool to keep ‘Big Government’ in check.
• At the heart of NEPA is its requirement that alternatives must be considered – including those that will minimize possible damage to our health, environment or quality of life. NEPA also lets Americans have a say before the government makes its final decision about a project.
• By making sure that the public is informed and that alternatives are considered, NEPA has stopped some damaging projects or made them better.
• Cutting corners can have disastrous consequences, especially when it comes to spending taxpayer money on projects that might harm citizens or their environment.
• There is no need to improve NEPA because it works.
Limiting public involvement and weakening environmental review won’t avoid controversy or improve projects.
NEPA saves time and money in the long run by reducing controversy, building consensus, and ensuring that a project is done right the first time.
NEPA’s promise of project review and public involvement must be safeguarded, not sacrificed in the name of speed.
• Explain why NEPA is important to you. You are encouraged to include specific examples of how public participation in the NEPA process provided critical input to protect human health, the quality of life of your community, and the environment, and how the choice of alternatives led to informed decision making and improved projects.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Pelosi: Formal Sanctions Against CAFTA Gang of 15?
Now this I'd like to see:
From Roll Call:
Pelosi Calls Steering Meeting to Review Defectors' Votes for CAFTA
July 28, 2005, By Erin P. Billings, Roll Call Staff
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), angry that some of her own betrayed the party on a key trade vote, called a last-minute, Members-only meeting tonight to review the early-morning balloting and the reasoning behind defectors' votes.
Pelosi called for the special session of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee at a private whip meeting this morning, during which she said she "had a sleepless night" over the Central American Free Trade Agreement vote that narrowly passed early in the morning. Sources in the room said Pelosi was furious at the outcome and the votes of some of the 15 Democrats -- notably some in safe districts -- who joined the Republicans to pass the bill.
"I've never seen her like that," described one Democratic aide ...
More at Daily Kos.
Historian to Tell "How Peace Activists Saved the World"
From the Los Alamos Study Group:
Albuquerque, NM – On Saturday, July 30, at 4:30 PM, Dr. Lawrence Wittner will speak on “How Peace Activists Saved the World” at the UNM School of Law, Room 2405. His lecture will detail the worldwide history of the popular movement against nuclear weapons and tell how activists and intellectuals played a key role in preventing nuclear Armageddon.
This lecture will be open to the general public at no charge.
This event is part of three-day authoritative seminar on the legal status of nuclear weapons and the history of U.S. nuclear weapons policy, as well as a review of the civil society response over the past 60 years. For more information: http://www.lasg.org/current/press/2005-07-26-Remembering.htm
Dr. Lawrence Wittner attended Columbia College, the University of Wisconsin, and Columbia University, where he received his Ph.D. in History in 1967. Since then he has taught at Hampton Institute, at Vassar College, at Japanese universities (under the Fulbright program), and at the State University of New York/Albany, where he is currently Professor of History. A former president of the Council on Peace Research in History (now the Peace History Society), he has written extensively on the history of peace movements and on the history of United States foreign policy.
His books include Rebels Against War (1969, rev. ed. 1984), Cold War America (1974, rev. ed. 1978), and American Intervention in Greece (1982). His most extensive project has been a scholarly trilogy entitled The Struggle Against the Bomb, a history of the world nuclear disarmament movement. He has also edited three other books and written more than 130 articles and book reviews.
A longtime participant in the peace, civil rights, and labor movements, Lawrence Wittner also performs (instrumentally and vocally) with the Solidarity Singers at peace and social justice gatherings.
Contact: Greg Mello or Claire Long, 505-265-1200
Another Vote Bites the Dust
Local blog m-pyre has the scoop on the Democratic House and Senate defectors who voted for CAFTA. Need I say more?
Oxfam explains why the lastest "free" trade treaty will be as bad, if not worse, than NAFTA. It was some spectacle as the House voted, with BushCo operatives threatening members of Congress with pork cuts and offering generous pork helpings to those who consented to have their arms (and souls) twisted to vote aye. Two votes made the difference.
Perhaps most amazing was Bush's hard sell of the treaty on the basis of -- get this -- homeland security! Uh huh. It was explained that the treaty will result in such prosperity in Central America that the "terrorist" citizens there won't even think about crossing our border legally or illegally. Funny how it hasn't worked that way with NAFTA and Mexico, isn't it? Facts just have an inconvenient tendency for getting in the way of lies that way.
Cheering the loudest? Big Pharmaceuticals! CAFTA forces their expensive pills on the Central American populace in place of the cheap generics produced elsewhere. Followed closely by the cheers of Big Agricultural companies who benefit from big U.S. gov'mint subsidies. They'll get to dump rice and genetically modified foods and seeds on Central American nations while putting small farmers out of business lickety-split.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Continued Sound Off: More on DLC Delusions
More pointed commentary on the dreary DLC meeting in Ohio this week. For a sampling, take your pick of Digby, Sirota or Kos in response to Will Marshall's piece, Hillary's capitulation to DLC mongering and other highlights of the recent meeting of anti-progressives. Today, the Washington Post weighs in on the battles and Arianna Huffington challenges the DLC to a rumble.
Why are we losing elections? The DLC seems to believe it's because we aren't more behind the "patriotic war" in Iraq and militarism as a solution to our problems! Oh, we're so caught up in the 60s that we can't see the merits of supporting wars backed by lies against enemies that weren't involved in 9-11! But wait, didn't the majority of prominent Dems vote FOR the Iraq War? Didn't our presidential candidate, deemed Mr. Electability because of his military credentials, vote FOR the Iraq War as well? Didn't Kerry even show up at the convention with a Reporting for Duty salute and an array of his fellow Viet Nam vets? All we needed was a medley of Sousa marches for added emphasis.
The DLC argues we must adopt a more "authentic" patriotism than the Repubs. Marshall dubs it "progressive patriotism" of all things. Hey these folks seem alot like Rovian Repubs in their penchant for hijacking the terminology of their opposition and distorting it, don't they? As far as I can tell, the DLC isn't progressive in anything except kowtowing to big donors and falling over one another trying to show how willing they are to use military power. Shame on those decrepit peace activists and elitist liberals who gave millions of dollars in small donations and millions of hours of volunteer help on behalf of Kerry, even if they had to hold their noses while doing so. Any minute now I expect to read that DLC bigwigs like Al From and Bruce Reed have instructed the Democratic Wing of the Party to do the right thing about America -- Love It Or Leave It.
The left's unease with patriotism is rooted in a 1960s narrative of American arrogance and abuse of power. For many liberals who came of age during the protests against the Vietnam War, writes leftish commentator Todd Gitlin, "the most powerful public emotion of our lives was rejecting patriotism." As he and other honest liberals have acknowledged, the excesses of protest politics still haunt liberalism today and complicate Democratic efforts to develop a coherent stance toward American power and the use of force.
Well I was there and it wasn't about "rejecting patriotism" any more than the civil rights movement was about hating America. It was about using the unique tools of American democracy to try and pull the country's leaders back from military madness -- a madness very similar to the one we are seeing today.
Love my country? Yes. Spend time and money and energy participating actively in the American democracy I love within the Party and without? Yes. Blindly support military solutions to nonmilitary problems and an invasion of a sovereign nation based on lies and distortions at the highest levels? Sorry, no. If that makes me unpatriotic in the eyes of DLC Dems who seem to believe they own the Democratic Party, so be it. How about you? --Barb
Nobel Peace Prize Nominee: Taos Activist Lois Abraham's Project for Women's Health in East Timor
From 1000 Peace Women:
Millions of women are engaged daily in working for a better future. Without regard for their own safety, they are active on behalf of the community's well-being. They call for reconciliation, demand justice, and rebuild what has been destroyed. They transform conflicts. They fight against poverty and for human rights. They create alternative sources of income, and they strive for access to land and clean water. They educate and heal. They reintegrate HIV patients. They find solutions to a great many forms of violence and they condemn the genital mutilation of girls.
The project 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005 defined as its objective the nominating of 1000 women to represent collectively the millions above-mentioned. The life stories, the visions, methods, strategies and networks of these 1000 women will be publicized. With this recognition they should receive both encouragement and gratitude for their commitment.
After almost three years' work, we are happy to introduce these 1000 women to you here. Their short biographies were compiled by local journalists and authors, as well as by academics and by members of organizations. These biographies give us insight into the life and work of each of the 1000 women. They also reflect the cultural differences involved in evaluating personal data. To satisfy any curiosity for further information, a book on the 1000 women will appear in autumn 2005.
The 10 peace women in Uzbekistan are seriously endangered if their names are made public at the moment. Therefore we have decided not to disclose their names at this stage of the project.
In the coming months this website will be continually updated and enlarged, until all 1000 women have been portrayed in as much detail as possible.
Lois Abraham at home in Taos, New Mexico.
Photo: Alvaro Serrano
Two of the 1000 Women: Lois Abraham and Jane Roberts
"Lois and Jane demonstrated that citizens in the US understand that family planning, safe motherhood, and HIV/AIDS prevention are essential." Thoraya Obaid
34 Million Friends of UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund)
34 Million Friends of UNFPA got its start in July 2002 with the coincidental, almost simultaneous, inspiration of two women, Jane Roberts and Lois Abraham. Both were outraged by the US decision to withhold from the United Nations Population Fund $34 million in congressionally appropriated funds, and each was determined to do something about it. 34 Million Friends has become a grassroots movement supported by 100,000 individuals who have contributed more than $2 million and demonstrated widespread commitment to UNFPA's work to improve the health and well-being of people around the world.
See: Media Information: http://www.1000peacewomen.org/eng/html/medien.php
Taos New Mexico resident, Lois Abraham's project in East Timor: http://www.unfpa.org/support/friends/timor.htm
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Seminar Offered by Los Alamos Study Group on Nuclear Weapons Law, Policy & Public Intervention
Albuquerque, NM - On July 29-31, the Los Alamos Study Group will provide an authoritative short course on the legal status of nuclear weapons and the history of U.S. nuclear weapons policy, as well as a review of the civil society response over the past 60 years.
The course will be held in Room 2405 at the UNM Law School. It begins Friday evening at 7:00 PM with a précis of the course from all four lecturers. The course resumes Saturday morning at 8:00 AM with a 4-hour review of international legal status of nuclear weapons. The Saturday afternoon session, beginning at 1:30 PM, is to be devoted to nuclear weapons technology and effects and to the historical development of U.S. nuclear weapons policy.
At 4:30 pm Saturday, Dr. Lawrence Wittner will speak on “How Peace Activists Saved the World,” a lecture open to the general public at no charge.
On Saturday night, the history of resistance by civil society will again be the theme.
On Sunday at 9:00 AM, the last session of the course will begin with a review of current issues in nuclear weapons policy and will conclude with a discussion of the contradictions and challenges inherent in nuclear weapons policy and law overall.
This information-intense seminar is aimed a broad audience, including citizens interested in active participation in nuclear policy decisions; journalists looking for background often missing in the daily news context; attorneys interested in international law or in nuclear issues; and weapons complex personnel looking for an outside perspective.
Study Group Director Mello: “The very strong legal norms against nuclear weapons have been enacted, often against strong state opposition, because of humanity’s moral convictions against mass slaughter and needless suffering. These norms deserve our careful attention. In the long run if not the short, nuclear weapons must give way to law, or law itself will fall to nuclear weapons.”
Lecturers include: Dr. John Burroughs, Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy, a specialist on treaty regimes and international law relating to nuclear and other non-conventional weapons; Jacqueline Cabasso, Executive Director of Western States Legal Foundation, a leading voice for nuclear weapons abolition in the U.S. and worldwide; Greg Mello, Executive Director of the Study Group, an expert on U.S. nuclear weapons policy and the U.S. nuclear weapons complex; and Dr. Lawrence Wittner, a SUNY Albany professor and former president of the Council on Peace Research in History (now the Peace History Society), author of the acclaimed three volume history, The Struggle Against the Bomb.
The course is accredited for 8.4 general units of continuing legal education (CLE) credit. Full tuition is $50 for non-attorneys and $150 for attorneys seeking CLE credit. For those who cannot attend the entire weekend, single “blocks” of time (Friday evening; Saturday morning, afternoon, and evening; and Sunday morning) cost $10, except for the 4:30 pm lecture by Dr. Wittner, which is free.
Pre-registration is required; contact Claire Long at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-265-1200.
(Click image above for larger version.)
Next Ecumenical Voices for Democracy Forum Set for 7/31
Citizens take action to prevent misuse of religion in politics: Forum Panelists to discuss Civic Virtue, Civil Rights, and Individual Liberties: How can conflicts be resolved?
Ecumenical Voices for Democracy, a group of New Mexico citizens, organized to combat the misuse of religion in politics, is announcing its second forum on Religion and Politics. The event will take place on Sunday, July 31, at 2 PM, at the TVI Main Campus, Smith Brasher Hall Auditorium, Coal and University in Albuquerque. Get street map or see map of TVI campus.
The forum will utilize a panel composed of religious, political and academic leaders. The panel discussion will be moderated by Reese Fullerton, a recognized expert in conflict resolution whose experience includes defusing conflicts in Beirut, Macedonia, and Northern Ireland.
Panel members for the forum include:
- Rev. Charles Becknell, Minister of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Rio Rancho.
- Prof. Rob Schwartz of UNM Law School and former Director of UNM ACLU
- Imam Isam Rajab, Imam, the Islamic Center and School of Albuquerque
- Dede Feldman, (D) NM State Senator, District 13
- Mark Boitano (R) NM State Senator District 18
Panel members were chosen for their ability to present diverse opinions, and their knowledge of issues to be discussed.
In addition to the upcoming Forum, two additional forums are planned in 2005. They will deal with topics of The Sanctity of Life, and Poverty Issues.
Information on Ecumenical Voices for Democracy and upcoming events can be found at www.Evoices.org or by calling organizers Tom Solomon (505)856-1244, or Eric Elison (505)271-0271.
Editor's Note: If you attended this group's first forum in May, as I did, you know what an excellent job they do in coordinating a lively, informative event with top-notch panelists. Be sure to check out their second forum on July 31st if you possibly can!