|Progressive Calendar 02.04.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2007 03:27:41 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 02.04.07 1. Persian dance 2.04 3pm 2. KFAI Indian 2.04 4pm 3. Marriage equality 2.05 12noon 4. Ford site 2.05 5:30pm 5. Bolivia/water war 2.05 7pm 6. Iraq/boots/shoes 2.05 7. CCHT housing 2.06 4:30pm 8. Water rights 2.06 5:30pm 9. Peace/liberation 2.06 6pm 10. Water/Bolivia 2.06 7pm 11. uhcan-mn health 2.06 7pm 12. IRV training 2.06 7:30pm 13. Mitchel Cohen - Some inconvenient truths about Al Gore 14. Jeffrey StClair - The withering of the American environmental movement 15. Chris Ketcham - Die, TV! 16. Internet X - Bushcronium: new element in periodic table ---------1 of 16-------- From: leilipritschet [at] comcast.net Subject: Persian dance class 2.04 3pm As the temperature drops, the best way to stay warm is DANCE up a sweat. Feel the heat & learn PERSIAN DANCE a sizzling, sensual & graceful romp with famed Iranian artist Leili T. Pritschet! Mark your calendar & join us! Every Sunday from 3:00 - 4:30 PM 2007. At the Ritz Theater Dance Studio, located at 343 13th Avenue North East Minneapolis, MN 55409 The Ritz Theater Dance Studio entrance is around the corner, in the alley. **FREE trial class on the Sunday of your choice! Cost: $14.00 per class, or 10 classes for $12.00 per class. Refunds CANNOT be made after the first week. Sorry, no exceptions. What is this class about? This is a fun and non-intimidating dance experience for all ages and levels of skill. Leili's technique emphasizes the pleasure of moving, and healing with simple movements. What can I learn from this class? These classes will improve your flexibility, strength and tone. Class begins with a gentle warm up and then you'll learn posture, basic dance techniques, rhythms, arms, hands, and finger styling, as well as visual expression. YouÒll learn about Persian culture and language as you take a trip to one of the world's oldest and unique civilizations through the timeless dances of Middle East. Who is this class for? Everyone is welcome and we encourage you to bring your friends and explore this beautiful art form. You'll receive individualized instruction and you can learn at your own pace. New students will learn set choreographies with music from the beginning, and experienced students can apply more challenging details to the dances. You may even have the opportunity to polish your performance and appear onstage! What do I need to bring to class? Wear loose, comfortable clothing or dancewear. Please bring a veil or pieces of fabric approximately 2 ½ to 3 yards long and approximately 36-45 inches wide. Who teaches this class? Leili is an Award-winning artist whose productions have been presented off and on Broadway in New York, at Sadler's Wells Theatre in London, International Festivals of Antalya and Izmir in Turkey, Karachi in Pakistan, Munich, Bonn, Koln, and Hamburg in Germany, Cairo in Egypt, Mexico, and the National Opera House of Iran. Education: -Royal Academy of Dancing and Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing - London -BA in Educational Dance - London College of Dance and Drama -MA in Education - Michigan State University -MFA in Theater Management- Columbia University- New York For more information, e-mail to: leilipritschet [at] comcast.net --------2 of 16-------- From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at] spottedeagle.org> Subject: KFAI Indian 2.04 4pm KFAI's Indian Uprising for February 4, 2007 #199 Congressional hearings by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee were held this week regarding allegations that the White House interfered with disseminating scientist's findings and reports about climate change and global warming. Witness's testimony said that the Bush Administration altered, suppressed, censored and manipulated information to mislead the public. See attached. Here's a replay of Jan. 21st Indian Uprising program on global warming - WORLD GONE CRAZY, song by Shelley MorningSong (Northern Cheyenne), Silver Ware Records, www.shelleymorningson.com NATIVE ENERGY HELPS AL GORE TRAVEL EMISSION-FREE, Indian Country Today, Jan 3, 2007 2007 COULD BE WORLD'S WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD, Mpls Star Tribune, Jan 5, 2007 PAUL DOUGLAS, SENIOR METEOROLOGIST, WCCO-TV SKIT, "WEATHER 2035" NEW WARNINGS ON CLIMATE CHANGE, The New York Times, Jan. 20, 2007 GLOBAL WARMING ALREADY TAKING A TOLL ON PARKS, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sept/Oct. 2006 AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, Indian Country Today, Jan. 3, 2007 * * * * Indian Uprising a one-half hour Public & Cultural Affairs program is for and by Indigenous people broadcast each Sunday at 4:00 p.m. over KFAI 90.3 FM Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul. Producer and host is volunteer Chris Spotted Eagle. KFAI Fresh Air Radio, www.kfai.org, is located at 1808 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis MN 55454, 612-341-3144. --------3 of 16-------- From: Douglas Benson <dugby3 [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Marriage equality 2.05 12noon Join me in demanding marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples in Minnesota, Monday, February 5 at the Capitol at noon in front of the House chamber. The protest will last for just 30 minutes. Signs will be on hand or you can bring your own. No sticks allowed because it is inside the Capitol. This is an ongoing protest that carries a marriage equality demand to Minnesota legislators at the Capitol. Upcoming protests are announced on my blog, http://shower-curtain-chronicles.blogspot.com and it contains same-day reports on Capitol protests. Doug Benson Gay Activist Network 763-232-6639 dugby3 [at] yahoo.com http://shower-curtain-chronicles.blogspot.com "latex on vinyl activism" --------4 of 16-------- From: Andy Hamerlinck <iamandy [at] riseup.net> Subject: Ford site 2.05 5:30pm Ford Site Planning Task Force Meeting Kick-off Monday, February 5th 5:30-7:30 PM UAW Local 879 Hall 2191 Ford Parkway, Saint Paul Parking - along the street, or in the upper left half of the lot, across the street at the Ford Training Center. Agenda: Welcome A few words from: Mayor Coleman, Councilmember Harris & others Introduction of Ford Site Planning Task Force Members Planning Process Overview & Schedule Background Information --------5 of 16-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Bolivia/water war 2.05 7pm Monday, 2/5, 7 pm, Oscar Olivera, leader of "water wars" in Cochabamba, Bolivia, speaks on developments there, Jane Addams School for Democracy, Humboldt Senior High, 30 E Baker St, St Paul. www.americas.org/item_15709 --------6 of 16-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Iraq/boots/shoes 2.05 2/5 and 2/6, Eyes Wide Open Minnesota exhibit of boots from MN members of US military killed in Iraq and shoes from civilians, St John's Univ, Collegeville. 320-363-5221. --------7 of 16-------- From: Philip Schaffner <PSchaffner [at] ccht.org> Subject: CCHT housing 2.06 4:30pm Learn how Central Community Housing Trust is responding to the affordable housing shortage in the Twin Cities. Please join us for a 1-hour Building Dreams presentation. Minneapolis Sessions: Feb 6 at 4:30p; Feb 22 at 7:30a St. Paul Sessions: Feb 28 at 4:30p We are also happy to present Building Dreams at your organization, place of worship, or business. Space is limited, please register online at: www.ccht.org/bd or call Philip Schaffner at 612-341-3148 x237 Central Community Housing Trust 1625 Park Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55404 (612) 341-3148 www.ccht.org --------8 of 16-------- From: Lisa Ledwidge <lisa.l [at] mindspring.com> Subject: Water rights 2.06 5:30pm Is water a fundamental human right, or a privilege afforded only to those who can pay? Right now, 1/6 of the world lives without clean water, and that number is only expected to grow in coming decades. Meanwhile, corporations are turning the growing water crisis into profit, bottling up this precious resource and selling it back to us at sometimes thousands of times its regular cost. What does this mean for environmental, economic, and social justice? What can we do here in the Twin Cities to protect water access as a human right, both here and abroad? Corporate Accountability International's Think Outside the Bottle Campaign was launched to address just these urgent questions. Join us as we kick off our campaign, along with fellow community leaders, advocates, and activists, mobilizing here the Twin Cities to challenge corporate control of water! Planning sessions, action workshops, food, and great people! All are welcome; bring your family and friends. Carnegie Hall, Room 404 Macalester College, St. Paul, MN Tuesday, February 6th, 2007 5:30pm- refreshments and social 6pm- Community Water Action Kick-off! 7pm- adjourn next door for lecture from Oscar Olivera, leader of Bolivian water democracy movement- "Agua! Globalization and the Power of the People!" Sponsored by International Studies Department at Macalester. For more information, please contact Annie Weinberg, Minnesota Organizer, cell-703-350-3778, or office-612-379-5745, annie [at] greencorps.org; www.stopcorporateabuse.org. --------9 of 16-------- From: PRO826 [at] aol.com Subject: Peace/liberation 2.06 6pm Two non-credited, free courses taught by Ray Tricomo will be available at Macalester College for the winter semester. Below is a brief description of the courses, more info is available by calling Ray directly at 651-714-0288. The Great Law of Peace - Past, Present and Future Includes the role of indigenous people in inventing a new nation on this continent. Tuesday nights starting January 30th from 6-8pm and Black Folk: Culture Defeats Holocaust The liberation of the black people and the rest of us Wednesday nights from 6-8pm --------10 of 16-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Water/Bolivia 2.06 7pm Tuesday, 2/6, 7 pm, Oscar Olivera speaks on "Agua! Globalization and the Power of the People," Macalester College, Kagin Commons Ballroom, 1600 Grand Ave, St Paul. www.americas.org/item_15709 --------11 of 16-------- From: joel michael albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org> Subject: uhcan-mn health 2.06 7pm UHCAN-MN meeting Tuesday February 6, 2007, 7PM, Walker Church basement, 3104 16th ave s (in Mpls, near Lake st. and Bloomington ave). Agenda items so far: 1.Welcome, intros, background, updates 2. Press Release; and Possible Press Conference ? Minnesota Medicine Journal to publish Joel Albers and U of MN rschers MN physician survey, available free online Feb. 8. at MN Medicine. Results: nearly 2/3s favor Single-Payer health care. 3. Support Janitors Local 26 has authorized a strike to obtain HC benefits. The Targets,Wells Fargo Bldg Mgrs pay so little for their employees (janitors) HC that, nearly all of the 4200 janitors are priced out of HC benefits. Support daily actions, organize a forum ? 4. Outreach/Networking Last month we talked about a phone script for calling organizations to build the Single-Payer network and movement. 5. MN Legislative session update John Schwarz 6. Update: Twin Cities HC Fund, Good first step toward Single-Payer. People need help, can't depend on legislature, Governor, insurers who have worsened the crisis in MN. --------12 of 16-------- From: Troy Trooien <ttrooien [at] AeroSysEngr.com> Subject: IRV training 2.06 7:30pm The Instant Run-off Voting training TUESDAY, FEB. 6 at 7:30 pm at the RONDO COMMUNITY LIBRARY (University Ave & Dale St). For those not at the last meeting, we have recognized that we all need to learn much much more about IRV, how it works, and how it will affect elections in St. Paul. Based on this need to TRAIN OUR SUPPORTERS or at least those interested in the concept, it is this reason that we are having this training. Again, please feel free to pass this invitation on to others. The location of the training (the new Rondo Library) will have wi-fi capabilities AND a projector with a large screen so we can show many demos online and walk people through how IRV works. We encourage you all to come if you can so you can better speak to others about IRV and get all your own questions answered. Also, to let you know, the Leadership Committee has decided on the name "Saint Paul Better Ballot Campaign" as our official name. This is for various reasons: - a well thought-out debate has previously taken place that led to this name - the domain name and 'identity' has already been established - the name is much more descriptive of the campaign than "IRV" - the name "Better Ballot" creates a great slogan in "Better Representation. Better Participation. Better Choices. Better Voting." (etc.) If anyone has strong opinions about this either in favor of or against, please let us know. With as fast as we need to organize our efforts, we felt this decision did not warrant excessive time spent on the issue. Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns. And as always, if you would like to be removed from this list, please let me know. Kathleen Murphy 612-709-6350 Ward 4 St Paul --------13 of 16-------- Some Inconvenient Truths About the Politics of Environmental Crisis Listen Gore By MITCHEL COHEN CounterPunch February 2, 2007 Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth," raises the issue of global warming in a way that scares the bejeezus out of viewers, as it should since the consequences of global climate change are truly earth-shaking. The former Vice-President does a good job of presenting the graphic evidence, exquisite and terrifying pictures that document the melting of the polar ice caps and the effects on other species, new diseases, and rising ocean levels. But, typically, the solutions Gore offers are standard Democratic Party fare. You'd never know by watching this film that Gore and Clinton ran this country for 8 years and that their policies - as much as those of the Bush regime - helped pave the way for the crisis we face today. Gore never critiques the system causing the global ecological crisis. At one point, he even mourns the negative impact of global warming on U.S. oil pipelines. Oh, the horror! What it all comes down to, for Gore and the Democrats, is that we need to shift away from reliance on fossil fuels and tweak existing consumption patterns. Even there, Gore and Clinton did nothing to improve fuel efficiency in the U.S. - a topic which Gore talks about in the movie without any hint that he'd once actually been in a position to do something about it. The question Gore poses is, Who can best manage the relatively minor solutions he recommends, the Democrats or Republicans? For Gore, it's sort of "trust US, not THEM, to deal with this situation because they are liars and we're not." Well, should we trust him? As Joshua Frank writes, during the campaign for president in 1992 Gore promised a group of supporters that the Clinton-Gore EPA would never approve a hazardous waste incinerator located near an elementary school in Liverpool, Ohio, which was operated by WTI. "Only three months into Clinton's tenure," Frank writes, "the EPA issued an operating permit for the toxic burner. Gore raised no qualms. Not surprisingly, most of the money behind WTI came from the bulging pockets of Jackson Stephens, who just happened to be one of the Clinton-Gore's top campaign contributors."(1) But failing to shut down toxic incinerators is just the tip of their great betrayal. In the film, Gore references the Kyoto Accords and states that he personally went to Kyoto during the negotiations, giving the impression that he was a key figure in fighting to reduce air pollution emissions that destroy the ozone layer. What he omits is that his mission in going to Kyoto was to scuttle the Accords, to block them from moving forward. And he succeeded. The Clinton-Gore years were anything but environment-friendly. Under Clinton-Gore, more old growth forests were cut down than under any other recent U.S. administration. "Wise Use" committees - set up by the lumber industry - were permitted to clearcut whole mountain ranges, while Clinton-Gore helped to "greenwash" their activities for public consumption. Under Clinton-Gore, the biotech industry was given carte blanche to write the US government's regulations (paltry as they are) on genetic engineering of agriculture, and to move full speed ahead with implementing the private patenting of genetic sequences with nary a qualm passing Gore's lips. You'd think watching this film that Gore is just some concerned professor who never had access to power or held hundreds of thousands of dollars of stock in Occidental Petroleum (driving the U'wa off their lands in Colombia), let alone was the Number Two man actually running the U.S. government! "Gore, like Clinton who quipped that 'the invisible hand has a green thumb,' extolled a free-market attitude toward environmental issues," writes Frank, who goes on to quote Jeffrey St. Clair: "Since the mid-1980s Gore has argued with increasing stridency that the bracing forces of market capitalism are potent curatives for the ecological entropy now bearing down on the global environment. He is a passionate disciple of the gospel of efficiency, suffused with an inchoate technophilia."(2) Before Kyoto, before the Clinton-Gore massive depleted uranium bombings of Yugoslavia and Iraq, before their missile "deconstruction" of the only existing pharmaceutical production facility in northern Africa in the Sudan (which exacerbated the very serious problems there, as we're seeing in Darfur today), there was NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. The task of Clinton-Gore was to push through this legislation which not even strong Republican administrations under Reagan or Bush Sr. had been able to do. Since its inception, NAFTA has undermined U.S. environmental laws, chased production facilities out of the U.S. and across the borders, vastly increased pollution from Maquilladoras (enterprise zones) along the U.S./Mexico border and helped to undermine the indigenous sustainable agrarian-based communities in southern Mexico - as predicted by leftists in both countries, leading to the Zapatista uprising from those communities on January 1, 1994, the day NAFTA went into effect. Clinton-Gore also approved the destructive deal with the sugar barons of South Florida arranged by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, which doomed the Everglades. (In fact, Clinton was on the phone with Alfonso Fanjul, Jr., the chief of the sugar barons, while Monica Lewinsky was busy doing her thing in her famous blue dress under Clinton's desk.) Early in Clinton-Gore's first administration, they pledged they would stop the plunder of the Northwest forests, writes former Village Voice columnist James Ridgeway. "They then double-crossed their environmental backers. Under Bush Sr., the courts had enjoined logging in the Northwest habitats of the spotted owl. Clinton-Gore persuaded environmentalists to join them in axing the injunction. The Clinton administration went before a Reagan-appointed judge who had a record as a stalwart environmentalist and with the eco toadies in tow, got him to remove the injunction, and with it the moratorium on existing timber sales."(3) Then Gore and Clinton "capitulated to the demands of Western Democrats and yanked from its initial budget proposals a call to reform grazing, mining, and timber practices on federal lands. When Clinton convened a timber summit in Portland, Oregon, in April 1994, the conference was, as one might expect, dominated by logging interests. Predictably, the summit gave way to a plan to restart clear-cutting in the ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest for the first time in three years, giving the timber industry its get rich wish."(4) Gore and Clinton sent to Congress the infamous Salvage Rider, known to radical environmentalists as the "Logging without Laws" bill, "perhaps the most gruesome legislation ever enacted under the pretext of preserving ecosystem health." Like Bush's "Healthy Forests" plan, the Clinton-Gore act "was chock full of deception and special interest pandering. 'When [the Salvage Rider] bill was given to me, I was told that the timber industry was circulating this language among the Northwest Congressional delegation and others to try to get it attached as a rider to the fiscal year Interior Spending Bill,' environmental lawyer Kevin Kirchner says. 'There is no question that representatives of the timber industry had a role in promoting this rider. That is no secret.'"(5) What the Salvage Rider did was to "temporarily exempt ... salvage timber sales on federal forest lands from environmental and wildlife laws, administrative appeals, and judicial review," according to the Wilderness Society - long enough for multinational lumber and paper corporations to clear-cut all but a sliver of the U.S.'s remaining old growth forests. "Thousands of acres of healthy forestland across the West were rampaged. Washington's Colville National Forest saw the clear cutting of over 4,000 acres. Thousands more in Montana's Yak River Basin, hundreds of acres of pristine forest land in Idaho, while the endangered Mexican Spotted Owl habitat in Arizona fell victim to corporate interests. Old growth trees in Washington's majestic Olympic Peninsula - home to wild Steelhead, endangered Sockeye salmon, and threatened Marbled Murrieta - were chopped with unremitting provocation by the US Forest Service."(6) The assault on nature continued with Gore's blessing. Around the same time, Clinton-Gore appointee Carol Browner, head of the EPA, was quoted in the NY Times as having said that the administration would be "relaxing" the Delaney Clause (named after its author, Congressman James Delaney, D-NY). Congress had inserted this clause into section 409 of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act in 1958. It prohibited FDA approval of any food additive found to cause cancer in humans or animals. Alone among all food-related directives, this legislation put the onus on the manufacturers to demonstrate that their products were safe before they were allowed to become commercially available. (7) A federal appeals court in July 1992 expanded the jurisdiction of the Delaney Clause, ruling that it was applicable to cancer-causing pesticides in processed food. Browner retracted her comment, claiming she'd never said it, but the proof was in the pudding. The ban on cancer-causing additives (the "Precautionary Principle") that had held through the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush, Sr. administrations was finally removed, not by the Republicans but by the Clinton-Gore administration. Instead of expanding the Delaney clause to protect produce and other unprocessed foods, the new Food Quality Protection Act legislation permitted "safe" amounts of carcinogenic chemicals (as designated by the Environmental Protection Agency) to be added to all food. (According to Peter Montague, editor of Rachel's Weekly, "no one knows how 'safe amounts' of carcinogens can be established, especially when several carcinogens and other poisons are added simultaneously to the food of tens of millions of people.) Nevertheless, the Clinton-Gore administration spun this as "progress." The Clinton administration, with guidance from Gore's office, also cut numerous deals over the pesticide Methyl Bromide despite its reported effects of contributing to Ozone depletion and its devastating health consequences on farm workers picking strawberries. Much is being made these days about the need to save the Arctic Wildlife Refuge. But Clinton-Gore opened the National Petroleum Reserve " 24 million untouched acres adjacent to the refuge, home to a large caribou herd and numerous arctic species " to oil drilling. The chief beneficiaary of this was Arco, a major ($1.4 million) contributor to the Democratic Party. At the same time, writes James Ridgeway, "Clinton dropped the ban on selling Alaskan oil abroad. This also benefits Arco, which is opening refineries in China. So although the oil companies won the right to exploit Alaskan oil on grounds that to do so would benefit national development, Clinton-Gore unilaterally changed the agreement so that it benefits China's industrial growth."(8) Not once in the entire film does Gore criticize this awful environmental record or raise the critical questions we need to answer if we are to effectively reverse global warming: Is it really the case that the vast destruction of our environment that went on under his watch and, continuing today, is simply a result of poor consumer choices and ineffective government policies? Is the global environmental devastation we are facing today rectifiable with some simple tuning-up, as Gore proposes? Neither he - as point man for the Clinton administration on environmental issues - nor Clinton-Gore's Energy Secretary Bill Richardson (with major ties to Occidental Petroleum), nor the Democratic Party in general offer anything more than putting a tiny Band-Aid on the earth's gaping wounds, which they themselves helped to gash open. Clearly, the vast destruction of the global ecology is a consequence not just of poor governmental policies but of the capitalist system's fundamental drive towards Growth and what passes for Development - Grow or Die. Environmental activists won't find in Gore the kind of systemic analysis that is needed to stop global warming. Instead, we need to look elsewhere for that sort of deep systemic critique. Mitchel Cohen is co-editor of "G", the newspaper of the NY State Greens. He can be reached at: mitchelcohen [at] mindspring.com NOTES 1. Joshua Frank, Counterpunch, May 31, 2006, Frank is the author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, and edits www.BrickBurner.org 2. Jeffrey St. Clair, Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: The Politics of Nature, Common Courage Press, 2004. 3. James Ridgeway, "Eco Spaniel Kennedy: Nipping at Nader's Heels," Village Voice, Aug. 16-22, 2000. 4,5,6 Joshua Frank. 7. The battle over the Delaney Clause has been ably documented by Rachel's Weekly, at www.rachel.org 8. Ridgeway, op cit. [Let us hear no more about how Dems are going to save America, when they have been key to its trashing. This leaves us without a major party to turn to - which is why so many live in denial as they turn to the Dems. -ed] --------14 of 16-------- The Withering of the American Environmental Movement The Thrill is Gone By JEFFREY ST. CLAIR CounterPunch February 3 / 4, 2007 "The Dark Ages. They haven't ended yet." Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. A kind of political narcolepsy has settled over the American environmental movement. Call it eco-ennui. You may know the feeling: restlessness, lack of direction, evaporating budgets, diminished expectations, a simmering discontent. The affliction appears acute, possibly systemic. Unfortunately, the antidote isn't as simple as merely filing a new lawsuit in the morning or skipping that PowerPoint presentation to join a road blockade for the day. No, something much deeper may be called for: a rebellion of the heart. Just like in the good old days, not that long ago. What is it, precisely, that's going on? Was the environmental movement bewitched by eight years of Bruce Babbitt and Al Gore? Did it suffer an allergic reaction to the New Order of Things? Are we simply adrift in a brief lacuna in the evolution of the conservation movement, one of those Gouldian (Stephen Jay) pauses before a new creative eruption? Perhaps, the movement, such as it was, experienced an institutional uneasiness with the rules of engagement during the long cold war in Clinton time. A war (War? Did someone say war?) where hostilities, such as they were, remained buried beneath graceful gestures at meaningful discourse-where the raw passions for rare places are, at the insistence of lawyers and lobbyists, politically sublimated or suppressed altogether. Environmentalism has never thrived on an adherence to etiquette or quiet entreaties. Yet, that became the mode of operation during Clinton and it has continued through the rougher years of Bush and Cheney. Direct confrontation of governmental authority and corporate villainy was once our operation metier. No longer. None aggression pacts have been signed, an unofficial dtente declared. Was it sealed in the spring of 1993 on the lawn of Blair House, perhaps, while the cherry blossoms where in bloom? Did the late Jay Hair, CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, forge a deal in the fall of that year to green light the logging of the last ancient forests in the Pacific Northwest? (What was the late Vince Foster's role in all of this? He had one, you know, but that's another story.) Cold wars, naturally, engender such paranoid perambulations. More than a decade later, this much is clear: the vigor of the environmental movement has been dissipated, drained by the enforced congeniality displayed in our disputes with Clinton and Bush, the Democrats in congress, and the grim, green-suited legions of the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Despite the rampages of the Bush administration, the big green groups can't even rouse themselves into much more than the most reflexive kind of hysteria, fundraising letters printed in bold type. Like so many vacant-eyed victims of Stockholm Syndrome, most professional environmentalists find themselves conscripts to the conference room and the consensus table, situations about as satisfying as computerized chess or phone sex. (I'll sign up for one jolt of Electro-shock over four years of group therapy any day.) Accusations of elitism, hurled at us like political creampies, from the property right jihadis, hit their targets more often than not these days. Once highly regarded (and deeply reviled) as fierce advocates of the "public interest," environmentalists now are largely dismissed in the living rooms of America as merely another "special interest" group (weaker than most), peddling its meager influence on the Hill, angling for access to the anterooms (never the control room) of power, or, at least, a line item in the federal budget. What's worse, our best efforts these days hardly seem to even raise a hackle on the hierophants of industry. After okaying the logging of ancient forests, signing off on anti-wilderness legislation in Oregon, Idaho and Montana, pampering the whims of Bruce Babbitt (and Dick Cheney), endorsing NAFTA and GATT, the failure to stand up for high level whistleblowers like former BLM head Jim Baca, the mainstream environmental groups don't scare anyone anymore. Except maybe their own members. Yes, they may scare them a great deal, indeed. Something Happened The surest sign of decadence in a social/political movement is its engagement in the suppression of internal dissent: such decadence now erodes the moral core of the environmental movement. Stray beyond the margins of permitted discourse, publicly critique the prevailing "strategy," strike out in an authorized new direction and the overlords of the environmental movement crack down. They enfilade the insurgents with legalistic maledictions, gag orders, and accusations of sedition. Witness the Sierra Club's threats to sue renegade chapters that publicly opposed anti-wilderness bills proposed by the Club's political favorites in Montana. Or its attacks on anti-war protesters in the Club's ranks in Utah. Or NRDC's attempt to squelch the filing of endangered species petitions, for on-the-run critters such as the Queen Charlotte's goshawk. Or the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund's arm-twisting of its own clients in the spotted owl cases. Or the Environmental Defense Fund's betrayal of at-risk communities across America when it endorsed Dow Chemical's proposed "revamping" of the Superfund Act. (Col. Fred Krupp, EDF's CEO, was once overheard telling Carol Browner, Clinton's head of the EPA, "You are our general. We are your troops. We await your orders.") Or the sado-masochistic pleasure that NRDC (yes, them again) displayed while boasting about "breaking the back of the environmental opposition to NAFTA." You don't have to be versed in the works of Hannah Arendt or Michel Foucault (although Madness and Civilization ought to be required reading for all activists and other "eccentrics") to understand the dynamics of power and repression at work here. Activists are now aliens on the political landscape; their relationship to the lawyers, lobbyists, economists, marketing agents, PR flaks and CEOs that management the environmental movement parallels that of welfare mothers to the welfare bureaucrats: abusive indifference. To quote Jospeh Heller: Something happened. Somewhere along the line, the environmental movement disconnected with the people, rejected its political roots, pulled the plug on its vibrant and militant tradition. It packed its bags, starched its shirts and jetted to DC, where it became what it once despised: a risk-aversive, depersonalized, hyper-analytical, humorless, access-driven, intolerant, centralized, technocratic, dealmaking, passionless, direct-mailing, lawyer-laden monolith to mediocrity. A monolith with feet of clay. The environmental movement didn't so much go awry as it simply flatlined, cruise-controlled right into an entropic cooldown-the ultimate thermodynamic fate of all closed systems. The Group of Ten (aka: Gang Green) now manifest all the intensity of an insurance cartel; their executives and administrative underlings are much more likely to own dog-eared copies of Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal or (god forbid) Kissinger's Diplomacy, than Donald Worster's Rivers of Empire, Jack Turner's The Abstract Wild, Bill Kittridge's Hole in the Sky or Doug Peacock's Grizzly Years. Forget the eyes, a person's bookshelf is the real window to their soul. National environmental policies are now engineered by an Axis of Acronyms: EDF, NRDC, WWF: groups without voting memberships and little responsibility to the wider environmental movement. They are the undisputed mandarins of technotalk and lobbyist logic, who gave us the ecological oxymorons of our time: "pollution credits," "re-created wetlands," "sustainable development." In their relativistic milieu, everything can be traded off or dealt away. For them, the tag-end remains of the native ecosystems on our public lands are endlessly divisible and every loss can be recast as a hard-won victory in the advertising copy of their fundraising propaganda. Settle and move on, is their unapologetic mantra. And don't expect them stick around to live with the consequences of their deals and trade-offs. Into this political vacuum rough beasts have already been loosed and others are bound to follow. The decline of a militant environmental movement has been countered by the rise of a militant anti-environmental movement, unrestrained, and all to often encouraged by, the agents of federal and state governments. The new anti-environmental movement, a strange hybrid of Aryan Nationists, gun-fetishists and the loonier incarnations of the Wise-Use crowd, have used arson, muggings and deaths to intimidate local environmental activists across the West. The ranks of this malicious melange continue to expand up and down the spine of the Rockies and across the Great Basin. Like deranged Deadheads on tour, these neo-militians follow roving weapons bazaars (some of which were reportedly backed by arms merchant and Iran/contra star Richard Secord) across the rural backwaters of the American West, from Libby, Montana to Tonopah, Nevada. At these moveable conclaves of righteousness, the blonde, blue-eyed penitents can purchase enough firepower to call forth the Second Coming-a state goal of some attendees. Here's the Defense Dividend we've all been waiting for, where the Pentagon largesse of the Cold War is offered for sale on the homefront at discount prices: tanks, armor-piercing bullets, APCs, night-vision gunsights, Humvees. It's all there for the bidding. Living embodiments of the quaint cultural traditions of the West memorialized at places like Wounded Knee and Sand Creek, these characters are preparing to defend what's theirs and what they think ought to be theirs. By force if necessary-perhaps preferably. What do they want? Simply unfettered rights to grazing, mining and logging on public lands, the federal lands themselves revested to the states or private corporations and, to quote one Arly Gruder, a rancher from somewhere near Salmon, Idaho, arguably America's most inhospitable town: "To run all the damn feds, Jews, Spics and homo-enviros the hell out of here." Run them back across the 100th Meridian, no doubt. But how far? Back to Brooklyn? Back to Juarez? Back to Buchenwald? Listen to Hugh McKeen, a rancher and former commissioner in Catron County, New Mexico, who told reporter Tony Davis that his neighbors and friends are arming themselves, preparing for a new range war, against greens and their sidekicks, the illegal immigrants: "The people have fought for this land in the past. There have been killings over water. It runs in the genes. You have very independent people here. They want to be left alone. But the government oppresses them. And the environmentalists come in here and want to oppress their life." Apparently, the West is theirs to waste by virtue of the Doctrine of Manifest Genetics. The absence of a forceful opposition from progressive greens and the appearance/reality of collaboration with the federal government by Beltway groups, only strengthens the cause of the extreme right. As the left migrates toward the center, the right repels further to the right-and the government follows suit. This a recipe for a future in which things, to crib from Thomas Pynchon, will not be quite so amusing. Toward a Resolute Clarity of Place Still there's no reason to beginning strumming a threnody just yet. Beneath the six-figure salaries, limo-driven executives, and glossy magazines clotted with ads for SUVs, there's a flickering pulse to the grassroots environmental movement, in the hinterlands and barrios, in the secret gardens of the Bronx and amid the toxic detritus of New Orleans. Foucault and Tom Paine sang the same refrain: the more pervasive the repression, the more profound the rebellion to come. Well, the rebellion has started. In the southwest, a small outfit called Living Rivers is campaigning to decommission Glen Canyon Dam and restore the Colorado River. In Montana, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies remains the grizzly bear's most unflinching ally and advocate. In the Pacific Northwest, the Western Land Exchange Project is nearly alone in challenging the disposal of public lands to private concerns and the Center for Environmental Equity is chasing the big gold mining companies out of Oregon.. In the Midwest, Heartwood is defending the incredibly diverse hardwood forests of the Ohio Valley and waging an intense campaign against the proliferation of noxious and inhumane confined animal feeding operations or CAFOs. In the heart of cancer alley, the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (aka LEAN) is taking on chemical and oil companies, as well as the toxic sludge left behind by Katrina. In South Dakota, the Lakota Student Alliance is waging a courageous battle to have the Black Hills and other sacred lands returned to the Sioux Nation. Deep in Appalachia, Save Our Cumberland Mountains is fighting the most destructive form of mining ever devised by man or satan: mountain top removal. Like snowpeaks sprouting from a far horizon, these scattered pockets of resistance can help us triangulate our way back home, entrench with a resolute clarity of place. And that move, as Terry Tempest Williams suggests in her shimmering book The Unspoken Hunger, may be the most radical act of all. Environmentalism was once a people's cause, unaligned with any political party and independent from the demands of the shadowy syndicate of mega-foundations (Pew, Rockefeller, Ford) that now hold the mortgage on the movement-those high priests of what Foucault called "condescending philanthropy." Environmentalism was once driven by a desire for social justice and an unremitting passion for the wild. We need to tap back into those populist currents. Let the vision attract the money and don't allow it to be refracted through the ideological prism of neoliberal foundations. The power of the environmental movement derives from its essential and shared imagery, its sensual tangibilities. Simply put: the destruction of the wild sparks militancy in the heart. At least it does for me. Wild places communicate their own passion and power, sensations that are the antithesis of political abstractions. It's all about the singular sense of openness on the Snake River plains. The way light plays across ancient petroglyphs on the canyon walls of Navajo sandstone outside Moab. The smell of sagebrush in the high desert on the north slope of the Ruby Mountains. A cool rush of wind unleashed by distant storms hammering the Gallatin Range. The bluegray fogbanks that sleeve up the North Santiam River canyon on an August morning in Oregon. The crisp shock of being busted out of a raft by a rapid on the Selway River. The carcass of a grizzly-clean salmon annealed by the Alaskan sun to a granite boulder along the MacNeil River. The surrealistic explosion of October color from dense forest of oaks, poplars and maples on Nebo Ridge in southern Indiana. The cry of a lone coyote trembling across the sepia sky in the predawn badlands of South Dakota. These are the threatened images that haunt my nights, the green fires that burn in my soul. You have your own. Nearly everyone does. Everyone with a heartbeat. The power of the people can still overwhelm the influence of big money. Look at Chiapas. Read Edward Abbey. Listen to Mandela and Evo Morales. Anything is possible. Find your place, take a stand. People will join you. Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature and Grand Theft Pentagon. --------15 of 16-------- Notes from a Super Bowl Sunday with the TV B-Gone Die, TV! By CHRISTOPHER KETCHAM CounterPunch February 1, 2007 The TV-B-Gone, which fits in the palm of the hand, is a universal remote whose sole purpose and power is to shut down televisions. During last year's Super Bowl Sunday, it resulted in at least one thrown bottle, two near fist-fights, twenty-seven (by my count) disappeared Hail Marys, touchdowns, and tackles, one half-time show half-seen (or seen, rather, in a kind of slow motion shutter effect--I with TV-B-Gone closing the screen, the bartender mashing finger into the on-button like a man poking out eyes), and one near-hammering-into-pulp of a writer waving a TV-B-Gone. I deployed across Brooklyn that fateful Super Bowl 2006 with a single unit for a test run, assaulting mostly sports bars and taverns and also one restaurant (where no one in the crowd, not even the staff, noticed the quieting of the television--for me, a key indicator). I have since been terrorizing televisions almost daily. I go nowhere without the TV-B-Gone. I have killed televisions in Charles de Gaulle Airport, in Heathrow, on the streets of Paris, in the restaurants of small Utah towns, in a Virgin Megastore on Manhattan island, and in countless Brooklyn bars. Mitch Altman, the 50-year-old inventor of the TV-B-Gone, tells me that when he feels depressed he arms himself and heads into the streets. "It's almost a compulsion for me. When I see a TV going in a public place, I go out of my way to turn it off," he says. "Imagine a room where there's an uptight person wearing really bright clothing and jumping up and down and yelling. It's hard to be relaxed when that person is present. When a TV goes off, I notice people's shoulders and arms relax - the body language changes completely. When I'm feeling blue, I turn off a television or two and life just seems a whole lot better." Altman is a California technophile, a computer whiz, a self-described "geek." He pioneered virtual reality technologies in the 1980s and early versions of voice-recognition software. He built disk drives that were always smaller and faster, and eventually co-founded a company called 3Ware, which perfects disk drive "controllers." He was also a television addict. "I used to collect TVs off the street," he says. "I had 50 TVs in my mom's basement. She was very patient with me. I watched TV every waking moment of my life. But even as a little kid, I remember watching TV and telling myself, 'I don't like this, why am I watching this?' I was five years old when I asked that question. But I kept watching. The one show that I really hated was Gilligan's Island. But it delivered just enough to keep me coming back for more. That is the process of addiction." Then, in 1980, Altman was watching TV as always, and the question came up that had been dogging him since he was five years old, and suddenly TV was over for him. "I was watching Gilligan's Island--nothing against Bob Denver, but I just couldn't handle it anymore. I went cold turkey. And I've never had a TV since." It wasn't just Gilligan's Island. It was the physical and psychological awfulness of the experience of watching television. It was the fact that Altman one day sat down in a restaurant with old friends he hadn't seen in years, "but there was a television playing nearby and we found ourselves watching the TV--unable not to watch the television--instead of talking to each other, being with each other." TV is unique in the EEG activity it summons in the human brain, and unique as well in that it drastically reduces the metabolic rate of the human organism. When you sleep, you use more energy than when you watch TV. When you stare at a painting or read a book or knit or fart in bed, you use more energy. EEG activity during television-watching is marked by alpha waves, those dreamy, spacey waves that also exist between sleeping and waking--a passive state in which sustained intense critical thought is pretty much impossible. Alpha waves are also associated with coma. The technology that Altman devised to counteract this horror was simple. The TV-B-Gone consists of a computer chip programmed with a database of all the power codes of televisions in existence that Altman could track down from the public domain. The diode eye uses infrared light, which makes it felicitous to zap through clothing or across window panes or from a distance. "The chip speaks 214 power codes that work on thousands of different television sets," Altman says. "The power code for a Panasonic is the same as for a RCA. The TV industry made it so easy on me! I'd love to have a Cell-Phone-B-Gone, a Bush-B-Gone. But those things aren't so easy to get rid of." I suggested a unit that expands and clarifies the purpose, a unit that permanently disables the offending television. "There's no remote control code for 'blow up the tv,'" Altman tells me. "You can always buy a brick. Certainly a bomb is a technology that's been around for a while." One possible avenue is the use of a concentrated electromagnetic pulse that would burn out the circuits. "But how," Altman asks, "do you make it directional enough that it wouldn't harm the button-pusher? That's the question." Researchers should get to work. Since Oct. 19, 2004, when Altman launched his product, more than 112,000 units have been sold in every state and territory of the US, and worldwide in over 80 countries. In 2005, Altman traveled on a TV-B-Gone tour across Europe, appearing on BBC TV sixteen times in two days--ironic enough. "My main reason for going to Europe," he says, "was for field-testing on European TVs." In January, a host on New York's WBAI talk radio, which was giving away TV-B-Gones for its winter fundraiser, noted that enthusiasts are now suggesting ingenious modifications. For example, one might mount the tv-killing diode eye in a hat, with the clicker device linked by cable in one's pocket. Or you might build an amplification unit with multiple flood-eyes that literally, as Altman put it, "turn off televisions any direction you look." Super Bowl 2006 was effectively my own field test. Why go after the Super Bowl? The Super Bowl by its attraction of those scores of millions of human eyes brings to bear what is arguably the most expensive and sophisticated marketing and propaganda apparatus in history, and therefore it represents television's awfulness par excellence. Also, there is the issue of the essential but unspoken pathologic weirdness of men who never exercise gathering to peer at other grown men who run around on a screen in a plastic box chasing a piece of leather and smack each other on the ass when they catch the leather (at which sight the men watching the ants on the screen in the plastic box clap and jump up and down and touch each other as well). When employing the TV-B-Gone among lunatics such as this, immense care must be taken. Here are suggested rules for terrorizing the upcoming event on February 4. First off, when the TV goes out, the TV-B-Goner should scream the loudest in protest to deflect suspicion. This makes strategic comrades of strangers who otherwise will want to smash your TV-B-Gone to bits. Second, order your drink before you strike; otherwise, the bartender will be too busy fending off the apes protesting the darkness at noon on the screen. Third, be drunk, even if you're not; everyone else is. Fourth, frequently throw up your hands in cheers; you can also, to look normal, produce a steady black-pantherish fist to celebrate "your team" (pick one); this allows innumerable angles to grab the eye of the target TV. Fifth, and most importantly, do not stand up in the midst of the horror of the evening to announce, after too many drinks, that you and the TV-B-Gone are the source of the trouble and that the TV-B-Gone is just wonderful and you can buy it anytime at www.tvbgone.com. Christopher Ketcham is a freelance journalist who has written for Harpers', Penthouse and Salon.com. He can be reached through his website: christopherketcham.com [A wonderful device. What so noxious as the blaring big screens that invade the private spaces in your head? Now if only there were a similar device to turn off loud acid rock in coffeehouses. Another that would cause freeway billboards to spontaneously combust... -ed] --------16 of 16-------- Bushcronium: New Element in Periodic Table Internet X A major research institution has just announced the discovery of the densest element yet known to science. The new element has been named "Bushcronium." Bushcronium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 311. These particles are held together by dark forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. The symbol for Bushcronium is "W." Bushcronium's mass actually increases over time, as morons randomly interact with various elements in the atmosphere and become assistant deputy neutrons in a Bushcronium molecule, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron-promotion leads somescientists to believe that Bushcronium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as "Critical Morass." When catalyzed with money, Bushcronium activates Foxnewsium, an element that radiates orders of magnitude, more energy, albeit as incoherent noise, since it has 1/2 as many peons but twice as many morons. [Reports are that Bush is "tickled pink" at being so honored. "Gosh - I've gone nukular!" -ed] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments
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