Wednesday, October 31, 2007
In October I had a chance to walk around the Jersey City Artist Studio Tour and came across Helen Cantrell's work. To the left is one of her oil paintings titled, "Jersey City Snow". I love the painterly quality and "Bridgeport Yellow Sky" is one of my favorites.
Helen was born in Chicago, Illinois, March 1947 and has lived on East Coast for past 30 years. Besides printmaking and painting, she enjoys gardening, her two cats, and is a huge “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fan. She admires “abstract expressionist” painters like Willem de Kooning and more “realist” modern art like Richard Diebenkorn.
You can learn more about Helen here and here.
I just received this from New Jersey for Democracy. It is their slate of endorsed candidates in New Jersey this year. If you are interested you can volunteer, contribute or work the polls for these progressive candidates. The more progressives in any offices the better for progressive politics everywhere.
New Jersey for Democracy is proud to support this terrific slate of grassroots-fueled candidates this Election Day, Tuesday, November 6th. Please support these great progressives in the remaining days before the election by volunteering to help them win.
Thanks for all you do! -Jeff, Rosi, Robin, Mitch and Lewis
DFA National Endorsements in New Jersey
Senator Loretta Weinberg for State Senate, LD-37
Senator Weinberg is considered New Jersey's "Godmother of Progressive Politics. For more than 30 years, Loretta has stood up for social justice, human rights, the environment and the health, wealth and happiness of New Jersey's working families. That's why she's received the endorsement of nearly every leading environmental, labor, LGBT, health, consumer, progressive and women's organization in Bergen County and the state. The DFA members of Bergen Grassroots endorsed Loretta Weinberg unanimously, and the NJ4D Executive Board followed immediately with its unanimous support as well. Loretta's progressive values are strong and clear, and she has spent her life translating that into action and policy. DFA is proud to stand with Loretta Weinberg -- she's always stood with us!: Visit Loretta's website
Gina Genovese for State Senate, LD-21
Gina Genovese, running for State Senate from the 21st-- that's in Union, Essex, Morris and Somerset Counties-- was the first Democrat ever elected as Mayor of Long Hill, and became the highest-ranking openly gay official in the state. During her tenure, she opened the budget process to the public and signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Gina has opened doors for the LGBT and progressive communities in her town while working to build a sustainable future. Visit her website to help her get to Trenton!: Visit Gina's website
Ed Zipprich for Red Bank Bo rough Council
Ed Zipprich has been a Democracy For America activist for years; he's attended the DFA Training Academy and Night School. A leader of Monmouth for Democracy, and a member of the New Jersey Stonewall Democrats and Democracy for New Jersey, Ed has helped to build New Jersey's progressive community from the grassroots up. Let's show him our thanks by helping him win his race: Visit Ed's website
NJ4D Statewide Endorsements
Asw. Valerie Vainieri Huttle for Assembly, LD-37
Since her first day in office, Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle has been an outspoken voice for progressive issues, and a champion of c! lean gov ernment reforms. As part of the Real Bergen Democrats who shook the establishment this year, Valerie proved herself to be a rising star in the party. She has stood up against special interests, and is a legislator we can truly be proud of. Let's send her back to Trenton: Visit Valerie's website
Asm. Gordon Johnson for Assembly, LD-37
When DFA Chair Jim Dean came to Englewood to announce the endorsement of Senator Weinberg, he was met with a roomful of electrified supporters. Assemblyman Johnson was there, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Real Bergen Democrats Team that courageously stood up to machine politics, and altered the dynamics of this race, and the county Democratic party. He has earned our support: Visit Gordon's website
Melonie Marano for Somerset County Freeholder Melonie Marano is running an incredibly strong challenge in a county that has historically been very difficult for Democrats. But, she is changing minds and winning support. She was recently called "too good - and too needed - to ignore" by a conservative local newspaper. As the lone Democrat on Green Brook's committee, Melonie has already proven sh e knows how to lead in a bipartisan atmosphere. Yet, her pro! gressive values take a back seat to no one. A win for Melonie is a win for DFA and the 50-state strategy rolled in one: Visit Melonie's website
Ed Selby for State Senate, LD-24
Running for Senate in a traditionally Republican District used to mean fighting a hopelessly underfunded uphill battle. But, New Jersey's Clean Elections Program is helping level the playing field. And, with candidates like Ed Selby who tirelessly worked the District to reach the level of support needed to earn public financing of his campaign, all of a sudden, voters in the 24th District finally get to see a fair fight. As a well-respected progressive voice, Ed is just the kind of candidate who deserves this opportunity: Visit Ed's website
Linda Mastellone for Flemington Borough Council
Linda Mastellone is another great home-grown DFA candidate. She has been a member of Hunterdon DFA since 2004. Linda's campaign is grassroots-driven; her platform centers around zero-based budgeting, revitalizing "Main Street", and working with the tenant community. She's currently the Associate Director of Events for the Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce. Linda's victory would give Democrats a majority on the Flemington Council. Let's show what the grassroots of New Jersey can do by helping her get elected: Visit Linda's website
Pat Walsh for Assembly, LD-24
Pat Walsh is part of the Clean Elections Team breaking new ground in the 24th District with an exciting grassroots campaign focusing on person-to-person contacts and voter outreach. This back-to-basics approach is in keeping with the message of his campaign - to preserve northwest New Jersey as a "precious jewel" that remains a great place to live, work and raise a family. Tough to argue with that: Visit Pat's website
Toni Zimmer for Assembly for Assembly, LD-24
The third member of the 24th District Clean Candidates Team, Toni Zimmer is an experienced business owner, who combines her commitment to fiscal responsibility with her progressive values. She is strongly opposed to the influence of special interest money in politics, and is working to prove that ideas should matter more than money. She deserves our support.:
Visit Toni's website
Elizabeth Kaplan for Sussex County Clerk
When the Sussex County Dems failed to put up a candidate for County Clerk during this year's primary season, Elizabeth Kaplan had enough. As a leader of the Sussex County DFA group, Elizabeth believed in the power of challenging in every race, everywhere, even traditionally "red" areas. So, she waged a write-in campaign, got herself on the ballot, and hasn't stopped campaigning since. We applaud her efforts!:
Visit Elizabeth's website
Though, I think it is clear Hillary Clinton is powerfully intelligent and knows how to debate better than all of them, maybe with the exception of Edwards. Edwards and Obama attempted to go after her. At the beginning Obama did not do well, his attack strategy seemed more like a conversation, but I thought he did score points throughout the debate. John Edwards seemed to do Obama's bidding for him as he is surely trying to get back into this race. The polls are showing that his candidacy is beginning to wane. If I would pick a winner it would be Edwards. He was articulate, strong, showed clear differences between what he and Obama claim from Clinton and also admits what many have said here, that he is not above purity in contributions, but he is honest about it, which is more than we can say for most of these guys and gals.
But, Hillary is strong and extremely gifted at debate, more than I ever thought possible. I think she is wrong on policy, but she knows how to defend her positions. Although, she seriously faltered at the end of the debate and if you wish to watch, here it is:
I think the entire debate strategy is completely ridiculous and flawed, however. Asking Dennis Kucinich if he saw a UFO was preposterous. I wish he told them to go stick it. They barely asked him any questions and when they do they ask him about UFO's? And above at the top here look at the talk clock on Dodd's website. They asked Hillary, Obama and Edwards all of the questions with a few to Biden, Dodd or Richardson and Kucinich was way behind. Biden is last because he answers very quickly and does not go on long like the others.
The only time I clapped out loud was for Kucinich and the only time I felt inspired was by what Edwards said about changing the course of our nation and turning the country back over to the people.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
and here's what the FDA says about amalgam safety. i'm not convinced, are you?
finally check out this cool site about all things mercury.
A comment at YouTube says that Portman hates the video, but her parents always show it to her friends.
Recycle It, Renew It...If we can reuse it, Why should we lose it...Show you care....
John Edwards gave a stirring speech yesterday called "The Moral Test of Our Generation." He attacked corporate greed and all those politicians who engage in it. He hits Hillary hard, but more than that he makes the case for what our country can look like without the corruption that is commonplace. Read the speech, it is remarkable.
I waited yesterday for Obama's repudiation. This is what we got this morning: “It’s true we had a controversy…a gospel singer was singing at a gospel concert on our behalf, he was one of many, and he had some views that were anti-gay,” the Illinois Democrat said during an MTV/MySpace forum. “I am disturbed by those views and I have said publicly that I have disagreed with them.” Ok, not bad, what else ya got? Obama then defended his campaign's affiliation with McClurkin, saying, "I have also said we have to reach out to those who have a different attitude on these issues to try to teach."
That's it, Mr. Obama? We have to reach out to homophobia? Ok, you are not a bigot, but you want to reach out to people who are and try to teach what? To try and teach us? Or to try and teach them? Who is teaching who?
This is another way to have it both ways. I know Obama is a good man and know he feels in his heart that we are all equal - that to me is obvious. But, this is pandering at the expense of people's rights. At the expense of subjugating populations of people and I am ashamed for him. Of course you cannot help who supports you? But, you can clearly repudiate someone's beliefs withouth offending anyone or if you offend someone, who cares? God delivering someone from homosexuality is offensive - pure and simple. McClurkin may even truly believe this, but that does not mean a Presidential candidate should give it any credence.
Unless Mr. Obama is subtly telling us something and I am ignoring it? I am not seriously not excited about any of these candidates except of course for Dennis Kucinich who stands not a shot in hell. I guess my vote will again be wasted and I will be marginalized and said to be on the fringe left.
If he doesn't repudiate this further he is the leading candidate for assclown of the week.
Monday, October 29, 2007
On the Republican side (who really cares?), Mitt Romney is way in front with 36%, followed by Rudy Giuliani at 13%, Mike Huckabee at 13%, Fred Thompson at 11% and Sen. John McCain way back at 6%. Who said Mitt Romney could not be the Rethuglican nominee?
On the Democratic side it is interesting that Hillary has not pulled away in Iowa as she has nationally. Edwards also seems to be losing steam there. It was a dead heat for the big three not too long ago, but he has faltered. He seems to be faltering nationally as well.
However, a surprising poll at Brad blog (courtesy of CBS) indicates that if Al Gore were to enter the race he would change the entire landscape of the race: Although he has not declared his candidacy, this poll indicates that were he to enter the race, Al Gore could be a serious contender. Near the end of this questionnaire, his name was added to a short list of candidates vying for the nomination. He came in second among Democratic primary voters at 32% – just five points behind Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama trailed behind them in third place with 16% percent.
In other news Barack Obama's campaign is reeling from a blow last night. A controversial minister said at a concert he promoted "God delivered me from homosexuality." This was known that this person was attending, but it was not known he would issue such a statement. No statement from Obama has been released as of yet.
see his getaway in this video clip.
Watch Chris Dodd and his speech on why the rule of law is important.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
N.J. after 3 at the Garret Mountain Equestrian Center: VIDEO, LESLIE BARBARO
click here for the video clip.
Let the horseplay begin. And so it did for kids from School 28 in Paterson.
About one year ago, Kristen Norgrove, a teacher at the school, wanted to teach her urban students about horses and riding. The dialogue started because she had recently purchased a horse.
It took a year of fundraising and planning but earlier this month, six third-grade students found themselves grooming and riding horses as part of the afterschool study and recreational program run by the YMCA at the Garret Mountain Equestrian Center in West Paterson. The center is located in the wooded, 569-acre Garret Mountain Reservation. The bucolic setting is in stark contrast to the school's congested neighborhood.
School 28 is on the city's densely populated north side, at 200 Presidential Blvd., across the street from Riverview Towers, a high-rise public housing development. Yet only a mile away there is plenty of open space and trails for riding and hiking. The reservation is patrolled by the mounted police of the Passaic County Sheriff's Department, which keeps its horses at the equestrian center.
A riding instructor recently taught Tyanna Wilson and Melody Vazquez, both 8, how to brush and groom Dusty, a fleabitten, gray quarter horse.
"I like to brush Dusty and get the dust and hair off his body. Now he's nice and shiny," says Tyanna. Curry combing is done first followed by a medium brushing and then a finishing brush to smooth the coat and bring up the shine.
Riding instructor Sarah Martinez explains that the brushing feels good to the horses and helps the children bond with them.
Dusty is one of four gentle training horses used for instruction at the stable. The other three are Reeses, a chestnut pony; Rocky, a chestnut quarter horse with a white blaze; and Peanut Butter, a chestnut dun with a white stripe. All are cross-tied with leads attached to the wood paneled aisle walls while the kids comb and brush them.
"Brush them gently; the horse can be a little nervous," says barn manager Krista Blomberg of Glen Rock.
She shows the students how to lift the hooves and use a pick to clean mud from around the horseshoe, avoiding the soft tissue at the center.
"If he edges over towards the stall just give him a gentle push with both hands. Do not grab the tail. Give him a pat on the hindquarters and then grab the tail all at once and pull it to the side," says Blomberg.
The instructors wear black polo shirts with a white equestrian logo. Many of the children wear School 28 T-shirts with jeans.
After learning about grooming, the kids help saddle the horses and fit them with bridles. They also learn how to use shovels and buckets to clean up after them. That's no fun but mandatory.
Now for the good part. The youngsters don helmets and take a slow walk around the ring. The facility has outdoor and indoor rings and hay-filled stalls. The kids use a step and are boosted into the saddle.
"Some were a little nervous, but they all had a good time," says Blomberg. The students hold the reins while handlers lead the horses with lines attached to the halter under the bridle.
"This is better than staying in school," says Rikayva Palmer, 8.
Jalea Gillespie, 8, adds, "I think Peanut Butter is fun."
Katrina Lewis, who works for the YMCA, says an attempt to obtain grant money for the program failed in 2006. That meant the students had to raise money through a bake sale and private donations.
Lewis, who also works for the school district, says six youngsters at a time will take part in a four-week program. A new group of six students will start Wednesday. Fundraising is ongoing to keep the program going for the remainder of the school year.
Frank Battipaglia, who operates the equestrian center on a lease basis from the county, says he greatly reduced the fees to give Paterson students the chance to learn how to ride. The regular half-hour instruction fee is $35. The YMCA is paying $15 per child for 90 minutes of instruction.
Raymond J. Wright Jr., director of the county parks department, says the stable was established in 1983 with Green Acres funds. For most of its history it has been run by a vendor under contract with the county.
It offers private and group riding lessons, and a camp program in the summer. Some privately owned horses are also boarded there.
Reach Diane Haines at 973-569-7046 or email@example.com
Thousands march against the war in Philadelphia, San Francisco, New York and other cities. Why do we march? No one listens, no one seems to care, the streets of NYC are still as bustling as ever - up Madison and Fifth - to shop. Are we at war? You could avoid this war easier than avoiding the World Series. Strategies need to change. We need to stop looking toward our elected leaders and to marching in the streets as a strategy for change. We need confrontation and we need it now.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
can you clean & stay green? i stopped buying those crazy-smelling, eye-burning toxic cleaning products and started to look for alternatives in my local health food, organic store. but what will really clean the grime in the tub and on the counter tops?
the green guide offers this handy list on what to buy that's an all-purpose cleaner but gentle for the environment.
also check out this handy product, simple green (i first discovered it while living in san francisco in the 90s).
- Simple Green is qualified under EPA and OSHA guidelines as nontoxic and biodegradable; rescue workers have even used it to clean animals after oil spills.
- Simple Green has donated 1 mil gal of its products to disaster and humanitarian relief projects.
- Except for a few ready-to-use products, the formulas are concentrated, so you can use less of them than other cleaners - it also means there's less packaging waste and energy use for shipping.
- Its EGBAR Foundation funds community cleanups and environmental education programs, which more than 1.5 mil kids have participated in.
- Uses easily recyclable, PVC-free packaging.
But, Senator Chris Dodd (fast becoming popular among the left) put a hold on the bill. Any Senator is allowed to do such a thing and it is usually allowed to stand. But, Reid said: "We need to get things done on this bill." Evidently, as Jane Hamscher points out in her piece one of those things Reid does not feel he needs to get done is pass the Emmet Till cold case bill, which called for more money for unsolved civil rights crimes. Tom Coburn put a hold on the bill -- and Reid just let that one go. The bill died.
Friday, October 26, 2007
In 1986, New York artist Keith Haring opened the Pop Shop in downtown Manhattan. Haring saw the Pop Shop as an extension of his work, a fun boutique where his art could be accessible to everyone. For nearly twenty years, the shop continued to be a downtown attraction with floor-to-ceiling murals and affordable clothing and gift items all featuring Keith Haring’s unique icons. In September, 2005, the Pop Shop finally closed its doors to the public. Keith Haring's work continues to be displayed around the world at galleries and museums and in public spaces (view exhibitions and public projects).
Though Chuck Hagel, the independent Senator from Nebraska says the new unilateral sanctions escalate the danger of military confrontation.
If this happens the Democratic party will have no where to look, but in the mirror or of course in the eyes of Hillary Clinton.
I spent some time in the Little Rock and I remember asking mostly white folks about Little Rock Central. They said "oh you don't want to go there." We were astounded at why would we not want to see a national monument. Finally, we made it there and it was evident why these white social workers did not want us to go there. The area around Central highschool has become a typical inner city highschool full of the problems that exist, homicides, gang related problems and low performance by the African-American students.
Yet, Central still remains diverse and many whites attend because of the incredible opportunities there. It makes for an astounding documentary, one where you will learn about the Little Rock 9 and how the work that was done has eroded to a point that is disheartening to say the least.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
9) Muslim Student Association
7) American Civil Liberties Union, National
6) Family Research Council
5) Center for American Progress
4) League of the South
2) Universities and Colleges
1) Media Matters for America
courageous one show me the way
His name is Rajendra Pachauri and he is the Chairman of the
IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control). He
just won the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Al Gore, and
everyone else at IPCC.
Last week, Estado de São Paulo, interviewed him about Brazil, the Amazon, Global Warming, and Ethanol. His comments were remarkable. I have taken some of that interview and translated it for anyone who cares. Here goes.
Q: The Brazilian government is having problems in monitoring the Amazon Rainforest. What can be done?
A: The Amazon is one of the greatest natural resources that the world depends on in the fight against climate change. But the Brazilian government's decisions, moreover those of the Brazilian people, need to be sovereign in the region. The Amazon is in Brazilian territory and no one can change that or question that reality.
Q: The environment, however, does not put into question that Brazilian sovereignty over the Amazon?
A: In no way. The international community needs to understand this and evaluate how to collaborate so that Brazil can maintain its coverage of the Amazon.
Q: How should the international community be involved with the Amazon in order to ensure its protection?
A: There are some options. One of them would be to negotiate an agreement for the protection of forests across the world. In this case, a type of value would be worked out for the conservation of the forest, and this value would provide for the resources needed to keep the wilderness intact, including the creation of alternative economies for the population of the region. And the richest countries could contribute financially to guarantee that the Amazon not be destroyed. obviously this is something that the governments need to negotiate and I cannot predict how this would occur. Certainly, it wouldn't be an easy compromise.
Q: You stated last week, upon being awarded the Nobel Prize, that the developing countries mustn't repeat , in their growth, the same mistakes that were made by the richest countries in the past. How then should we develop?
A: The development model needs to be completely remodeled. We know that the paradigm used by the developed countries in the last decades did not function in environmental terms and we will be feeling the effects of this for decades to come. What I said was that Brazil, India, and China can't repeat this model and find technologies and standards that ensure sustainable development. It would be in the interest of these developing countries to follow this new model. What is needed is a new world lifestyle, including diet. If I could give a recommendation, I would ask that the consumption of meat diminish. But questions like the use of water for irrigation and other aspects of life need to change.
Q: But the Brazilian government alleges that the cost is too high and now is not the time to put limits on the growth of the country.
A: The costs of mitigating the problems are not as much as they say. Beside this, we have the technical capacity to implement the changes. It is a fallacy to say that millions will lose their jobs if environmental requirements are put into place. We came to a conclusion that showed that the world would need to spend 0.6% of its collective GNP yearly to attack the crisis. In all, less than 3% would be needed...If not, we all suffer. In Latin America, the production of grains could fall 30% by 2080 if nothing is done. In Africa, the decrease could be 50% by 2020. The rationing of water, which now affects 12 million Latin-Americans, could reach 81 million by 2020.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
it's cold and rainy. i'm trying to wean off my caffeine intake lately. i usually drink one eli special a day (banana mocha or cappuccino, locally roasted beans) but after reading about some espresso places in the city, i am jonesing for something new: cafe grumpy. check out their 2 locations in chelsea & greenpoint. besides the very cool name, i like their business goals:
above, grumpkin the pumpkin.
Coffee beans with roast dates not expiration dates.
Stop by for espresso that will make you happy.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
by Dave Zirin
Twenty-one wins in twenty-two games. An improbable run to the World Series. One of the hottest streaks to end a season in the history of the game. And not two pitchers the average fan could even name. Ladies and gents, your Colorado Rockies: a team performing what even an atheist could call a baseball miracle. And "miracle" is an appropriate term for a team that riled the baseball world last year by claiming that filling the dugout with Christian players would grease the skids to greatness.
Last year the Rockies went public with the news that the organization was looking for players with "character." And according to team management, "character" means players who have chosen Jesus as their personal Lord and manager. "We're nervous, to be honest with you," Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said at the time. "It's the first time we ever talked about these issues publicly. The last thing we want to do is offend anyone because of our beliefs."
Rockies chairman and CEO Charlie Monfort took it further, saying, "I think character-wise we're stronger than anyone in baseball. Christians, and what they've endured, are some of the strongest people in baseball. I believe God sends signs, and we're seeing those." The team took some heat for its statements, especially when former players spoke of having their lockers searched for dirty magazines and feeling pressure that you had to be down with the God Squad to feel part of the team. It also raised the question of whether the team was discriminating against non-Christian players--would Jewish icon Shawn Green be welcome? What about just straight-up heathens?
But as the team makes its miracle run to the series against the Boston Red Sox this year, the Rockies are playing down their holier-than-thou image.
"Do we like players with character? There is absolutely no doubt about that," O'Dowd said in the New York Times today. "If people want to interpret character as a religious-based issue because it appears many times in the Bible, that's their decision. I believe that character is an innate part of developing an organization, and to me, it is nothing more than doing the right thing at the right time when nobody's looking. Nothing more complicated than that. You don't have to be a Christian to make that decision." "There are guys who are religious,sure, but they don't impress it upon anybody," Jewish pitcher Jason Hirsh also stepped forward to say. "It's not like they hung a cross in my locker or anything. They've accepted me for who I am and what I believe in." (That could be a great pitch for recruiting free agents: "They won't hang a cross in your locker!")
Have the Rockies really turned over a tolerant new leaf--as the Times report suggested--or is this merely the sin of spin? Relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt said, "When you have as many people who believe in God as we do, it creates a humbleness about what we do. I don't see arrogance here, I see confidence. We're all very humbled about where this franchise has been and where it is now, and we know that what's happening now is a very special thing.
"Humility and confidence are fine--indeed, novel--traits in an athlete. But the troubling part of that statement is the assumption that Christianity by definition brings character to the table. Maybe it's because I live in Washington, DC, a town full of politicians who blithely invade other countries with other people's children and deny healthcare to millions of kids and say they are guided by God. Maybe it's because I find a team using a publicly funded stadium as a platform for an event originally dubbed "Christian Family Day" exclusionary and a gross misuse of tax dollars. (Later, the events were renamed "Faith Day" to sound more inclusive.)
But for those of us who believe that freedom of religion also should mean freedom from religion at the ballpark, it doesn't matter if you call it Buddha-Jesus-Jewish-Vishnu-Islamic-Wicca Awareness Day. We just want to go to the ballpark without feeling like we're covertly funding Focus on the Family's gay-retraining programs. Religion and sports: it's a marriage in desperate need of a divorce.
That's why it was hard not to feel a tiny taste of supernatural satisfaction upon learning Tuesday that the team website crashed following what Rockies officials called "an external, malicious attack." The team's efforts to sell all its World Series tickets online was unprecedented and seen by many diehard Rockies fans as a way to sell tickets to out-of-town corporate entities and shut out the locals waiting in line for days to buy them in person. Unless your lord is Michael Milken, gouging home-town supporters doesn't seem very Christian at all.
So who could be the perpetrator of this "external and malicious" attack on the Rockies website? Was it God, punishing the team for squeezing the common fan? The Devil, trying to derail their grace-driven run? Some Red Sox Nation hacker getting his jollies? Whatever, it was hard not to smile at the biblical significance for one of baseball's most sanctimonious teams. They could throw the money-changers out of our sporting temples, but that would leave the owner's boxes empty. And we can't have that.
Courting Disaster: An awakening to racism
Sunday, October 21, 2007 By TIM NORRIS
Nicole Mandarano says she felt different, not like the others in her high school and college graduating classes, not like anybody she knew.
Her sense of difference, at first, didn't involve race. With a master's degree in French from NYU, she wanted to make a difference, she says, in the world and back home in urban New Jersey. She started to volunteer at the Paterson YMCA in 1996 and signed on for the AmeriCorps VISTA program at the New Jersey Community Development Corp. in the city. That led to law school at the City University of New York, all the while working part-time for the Paterson Y as a grant writer and program developer.
"CUNY fosters the feeling that you can make the world a better place," she says, "so I became more idealistic about being a public-interest lawyer. I was ready to change the world."
Mandarano came back to Paterson as a law clerk, in 2005, for Judge Miguel de la Carrera in Passaic County Family Court. What she found there and in the criminal court next door, she says, changed the way she saw herself and everyone else. Some of the experiences weren't happy.
While she admired de la Carrera's knowledge and fairness and appreciated his counsel, and while she valued her co-workers, she came in naﶥ, she admits, about the inner workings of law enforcement and the court system. She saw in the parade of defendants a subtler variety of the racial and ethnic intolerance her own forebears had faced.
When her grandparents found their way from Bari, Italy, to Queens, she says, Italians often were still called "dagos" and "wops," slurs tossed as casually and as often as "kike" and "spic" and "nigger." "My parents' parents got the racial slurs," Mandarano says. "They were seen as, like, the bottom of the barrel. Now racism is more disguised, but for most ethnic groups, some version of that experience isn't far away."
While its mechanisms for law enforcement and justice bring in a majority of defendants of color, she says, racism is embedded elsewhere, in the wider American society and the assumptions that underlie it.
She admits that she had never felt the sting of race prejudice herself.
"I went to a public high school, Indian Hills in Oakland," she says. "It wasn't very diverse. It's crazy to me. We live so close to New York City, and we're in this almost completely white suburb. We're not even that far from Paterson. It's so easy to stay isolated, to be too comfortable."
New York presented a cultural rainbow. "Everybody came from diverse backgrounds," she says. "Everybody gave each other room." While Paterson shows similar diversity, racial and ethnic lines, she says, seem more sharply drawn. In Passaic County Court, she says, "it felt like I had stepped back in time or something.
"We're all aware of it, all aware that it's mostly people of color, people who are poor, who are in court. I couldn't help thinking, 'Kids in the suburbs are doing the same drugs, right? Dealing. Where are they? Prosecutors and juries look like this, defendants look like that.'
"Here I am watching person after person come in who doesn't really have a shot. What kind of schooling are they getting? What kinds of jobs are they getting? What kind of bias is out there already? Why would these kids want to trust ME if I were their lawyer? Can I, as a female who's white and grew up suburban, connect to them? I couldn't see what was going to change the system."
She needed a way, she says, to learn, to connect, to be honest.
At age 38, Mandarano works, now, for the Paterson YMCA, in a double – and doubly crucial – role: teacher and grant writer. Though she does much of her grant writing from home in Hoboken, she teaches classes every summer in the main building on Ward Street in downtown Paterson. She finds the Y, she says, a place of diversity and positive purpose, sheltering enough to invite honest exchanges.
"In the Y, like with the staff in the courthouse, my relationships seem different. Richer. People help me get through things, explain things, issues about inequity, race, class. A lot of people I work with come from Paterson, from all different backgrounds, and we don't rush to judge each other. We take time to get to know each other, talk about our dreams, find things in common. It feels great. Why wouldn't everyone want to do that?"
The reality of street life, though, also challenged some of Mandarano's idealism. Her most compelling revelations have come teaching teenagers about their constitutional rights and responsibilities in a summer class called Street Law.
"I've realized that I don't have a lot of answers," she says. "I feel embarrassed sometimes."
A key lesson involved an elusive force that can bind both individuals and groups: trust.
The standard definition mentions "confidence in and reliance on good qualities, especially fairness, truth, honor or ability." For Mandarano, establishing it meant listening more than talking, and facing herself honestly. "I had to start by saying, 'I DON'T know what's going on with you,'" she says. "My approach was, 'You tell me. Make me understand. Nothing will offend me.'
"How do you respond when kids say, 'Why bother? They're going to screw me anyway.' I keep telling them the constitutional rights they have, we all have, and they say, 'Yeah, try saying that to a cop. Try saying that to a teacher.' There's a double standard, and I don't know what to say to that. If a cop stops me, I can say, 'Officer, why am I being detained?' and he or she won't beat the s--- out of me, or I'm not going to be stopped in the first place. I guess it made me kind of sick, hearing story after story. They're just profiled. A kid wears a certain kind of clothing or looks a certain way, and they're being stopped, being harassed, being frisked, or in school they're being talked-down-to and ignored. How would that make anyone feel?"
Doing the right thing
She hates the thought of being labeled another do-gooder from the suburbs. "I'm nobody's savior," she says. "I just try to do right by everybody. It's important to do something you care about ... but maybe I'm not being courageous enough. Maybe I need to talk more with my peers. Some of my peers I can have the discussion with, some I can't. They look at me like I'm being preachy, being holier-than-thou. I'm not saying that. I'm saying put our talents and skills where they matter. Don't just interact with the same people, upper middle class, intellectual elite. You're missing out. So much of our activity seems like avoidance: turn on the TV, turn on the computer. We hide from each other.
"It seems so simple to me. We're ALL immigrants. We forget that. In Paterson, you can experience that NOW, and it can be incredibly interesting and enriching. When I started working in Paterson, none of my friends were doing that. They were all college grads, you know. In '91 they were already working in insurance companies, getting married and having kids. By '97 they were corporate America, upper management. They were already into their careers, and here I was volunteering in Paterson and working with all different kinds of people and, you know, nervous and excited about it. And they were, like, 'You're WHERE?' Working in the courthouse, most of the law clerks were younger, and they'd say, "Paterson ... uh-uh! They didn't know the city. I said, 'Doesn't anybody want to try something new? Go to the city and everything's there. New ways of speaking and dressing and acting. New art, new music, new foods. I just want to know, want to learn."
She is still, she says, conflicted about race. "Am I being honest with myself?" she says. "Am I really wrestling with this? Am I getting better? You know at the start that you're biased. It can be so ingrained in you. When I walk down the street in Hoboken and see a lot of preppy-looking whites, I feel a bias there. I have to start by admitting what I feel and think, and work at thinking through what it must be like to be black or Latino, to be a man or a woman, to be rich or poor.
"Being here in Paterson, though, feels great. I think that as much as I have these internal struggles, I feel really optimistic. I'm in a place where I get past the surface, past superficial differences. I feel more open, more tolerant. I get to meet people and I get to share a lot of great moments and talk about real needs. To me, that's exciting."
Reach Tim Norris at 973-569-7132 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Chris Dodd seems as pissed off as we are. Sign on with your support for Chris Dodd's FISA Hold. Senator Reid, the leader of the Democrats says he will ignore Dodd's concern. And Obama and H. Clinton waffle on the sidelines.
(barista boy's accompanying poem to this project. see the video for an expanded and new version.)
And tell me what you see
Or is it better
What are you avoiding,
While looking away?
Sometimes it is better,
When in doubt,
To stop and look away
Clear the brain from the obvious
In order to find
A better path.
Sometimes it is another
Way to run away,
Ignoring the obvious
And living in a
Cablevision in Hoboken does not currently carry the channel but many other providers do!
Tell Optimum/Cablevision to add Current TV to their channel lineup through their online suggestion box here: http://www.optimum.com/support/suggestion_box.jsp
Did you hear that the Hoboken based, handprint wallpaper company Studio Printworks has recently announced a design call for a contest named, "Unrolled Art." Your wallpaper design must be Hoboken themed and can involve anything related to the local scene.
The design selected will be featured as Hoboken's very own wallpaper, displayed in local institutions and included in the Fall '08 collection! Submissions are due December 5, 2007 so get going! Contest details here>>
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Our mission was to make sure that the bad guys, basically, did not get nuclear weapons," Plame told 60 Minutes. Plame also indicated that her outing in 2003 had caused grave damage to CIA operations, saying, "All the intelligence services in the world were running my name through their databases" to see where she had gone and who she had met with.
Raw story first reported on the story back in 2006. The article said in relevant part: "According to current and former intelligence officials, Plame Wilson, who worked on the clandestine side of the CIA in the Directorate of Operations as a non-official cover (NOC) officer, was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran."
This has now been confirmed by CBS who is conducted an interview with Plame on 60 Minutes. Unbelievable. We are going to go an attack Iran right? This seems to be the policy of the United States and the reasons are to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Remember King George's WW III comments. We have agents (Valerie Plame) working to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, yet it was so important to cover up the Iraq war lies that these enemies of democracy (I am referring to Bush and co. here in case I am vague) outed her -sabotaging their own policy that in theory is a much bigger threat than Iraq.
This reveals this administration's hypocrisy, lies and criminal misdeeds more than anything else. I don't believe Iran is a threat just as I don't believe Iraq was a threat to the United States. These wars have nothing to do with terrorism or security, but energy. You can take that to the bank.
This President Should Be Impeached Now. Go to Raw Story to see a clip of the interview with Plame.
I found the video on youtube. See here: