Friday, August 20, 2010

Aug. 22: Don't let the terrorists win, fight Islamophobia

New Yorkers to Say “Welcome Cordoba House” at Sunday Gathering to Stop Islamophobia

Rally in support of Cordoba House

this Sunday, August 22, 10:00 am

Church & Warren Streets, Manhattan

As a national controversy is growing over the building of the proposed Cordoba House, New Yorkers will welcome Muslims to downtown Manhattan on Sunday August 22

The new NYC Coalition to Stop Islamophobia announced today that it will gather near the proposed site at the former Burlington Coat Factory location on Park Place Sunday to “counter racist messages and attacks against Muslims and Islam,” and to “welcome
Cordoba House.”

Opponents of Cordoba House say they will come to New York Sunday “to push back against those attempting to impose harsh Shariah Islam, stealth jihad or terror on our nation.”

“We want the world to know that most New Yorkers, including people who live near Ground Zero and suffered during the attack on the World Trade Center, reject the lies being spread about Cordoba House,” said Elaine Brower of the Coalition. ”We oppose attacks now, and in the future, on Muslims and mosques. We support religious freedom.”

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"The Home Run heard round the world" is silenced

One of the heroes of my youth died Monday (8/16) - Bobby Thomson, whose home run in 1951 was "heard around the world." I won't say how old I was, but I was in high school and listening to the game in the courtyard behind the school. I think we'll all remember the since famous words:
The Giants Win the Pennant, the Giants win he pennant, the Giants win the pennant, the Giants win the pennant.
And they were said on the radio, not TV, by Giant broadcaster Russ Hodges. If there has ever been a pennant race that was determined by the gods of baseball, it was in 1951. In mid-August the Dodgers had a 13 1/2 game lead. And the Giants were declared "dead" by Dodger manager Charlie Dressen. But slowly but surely the Giants crept up until on that fateful 3rd day in October they were tied with the Brooklyn Bums. But that wasn't the end of the "Miracle at Coogan's Bluff." In the 9th inning of the 3rd and last game of the playoff series the Dodgers were ahead 4-2. And then Thomson came up with two runners on base, and you know the rest. Oh, by the way, my friend Steve at Whole Foods reminded me that in his rookie season with the Giants, Willie Mays was on deck.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rooney Mara is Lisbeth Salander

Everybody who has read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or the other books or seen the first two films is waiting to know who is cast as Lisbeth Salander ("The Girl"). Well the secret is out: it's Rooney Mara. I know that her name will not resonate with film goers, but it certainly will with football fans. Her pedigree is amazing. One of her great grand fathers was Tim Mara, the founder of the New York football Giants, and her other GGF was Art Rooney, founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

She looks the part, I just hope she can hold her own with Daniel Craig, who plays journalist Mikael Blomquist and Robin Wright, Blomquist's editor and occasional lover. Should be fun.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Winter's Bone: A review

Last Saturday ( 8/14), due to Ann's persistence, we saw the absolutely wonderful Winter's Bone. If you haven't seen it (in Manhattan at the moment it's only @ The Angelika Film Center) go, it's truly amazing. For a while it seems unwaveringly depressing, but that's not where it ends up.

Winter's Bone is about an extended family in the Ozarks of Southwestern Missouri. In particular it focuses on Ree Dolly, a 17-year-old girl, whose father has been in prison and since his release has gone missing. That's important because he has put up the family house as collateral for his bond, so it will be confiscated if he doesn't show up for his upcoming court date. Ree is unwaveringly resolute in her pursuit of her father to get him to court to save their homestead. The rest of the Dolly clan is equally determined to prevent her from finding out what happened to her dad and cover up their criminal activities ( I guess cooking crystal meth has replaced moonshining in the Ozarks). Until the Dolly women join together to resolve the situation. Ree's mother is ill and completely dysfunctional and she has two younger- under 10 - siblings a brother and sister to care for. Ree is the absolute centerpiece of the film; everything functions around her. She is played by Jennifer Lawrence, who should be nominated for an Oscar, or all those people have their heads up their asses.

To give you an idea how special her performance is, here are two pictures of her: one from Winter's Bone:

and one of her in a recent Esquire Magazine:

She plays a similarly dressed down role in the new Jody Foster film in which she unfortunately co-stars with Mel Gibson, so it may never be released. After that she will be the new naked blue Mystique in the completely recast X-Men prequel (remember Rebecca Romijn).

The entire cast of Winter's Bone (most of whom I have never seen before) is wonderful. We believed everyone was who they said they were and not actors. This is, I think, so far the best film we've seen this year and that's saying a lot when last week we saw Inception and the week before The Girl who Played with Fire both of which are also very special films.

The simple story is go see Winter's Bone you won't regret it.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Aug. 10: Action - Fight Washington Corruption

Tuesday, August 10th, 12:00 PM

Fight Washington Corruption Action

Senator Schumer's office,
757 Third Avenue

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Is internet democracy about to be lost? What is the future of "Net Neutrality"?

From its inception the internet has been the most democratic form of communication in this society. That is about to change. Until now everyone has had the same access to the internet and messages have travelled at the same speed, no matter who sent them: whether it is my blog or ABC-TV we are equal in terms of the speed in which communication is sent on the internet. That is about to change. It's rumored that on Monday Google and Verizon are going to announce that what is called "Net Neutrality" will no longer be the case. The video of Sen. Al Franken (below) and the article by Josh Silver, president of Free Press, on the Huffington Post (also reproduced below) will tell you what we need to know about the threat to Net Neutrality and what we can do about it. The urgency of the defense of Net Neutrality came home to me when I listened to Josh Silver on Democracy Now on WBAI yesterday morning.

Josh Silver, Google-Verizon Deal: The End of the Internet as we Know it Huffington Post

Hiroshima/Nagasaki events this weekend

Saturday, August 7, 2010, 8:00 PM

NY Buddhist Church
331 Riverside Dr @ 105 St

I Have Been to Hiroshima Mon Amour
written by Chiori Miyagawa
directed by Jean Wagner

followed by
a discussion panel with
Hiroshima survivor, Koji Kobayashi

Sunday, August 8, 8:00 PM


The Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew
W 86 St @ West End Ave..

Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary
The Peaceniks with Barry Gruber & Moogy Klingman
Shinji Harada

10:02 PM
Bell Ringing Ceremony.
at the exact moment of Nagasaki bombing

Friday, August 06, 2010

Gay marriage on a roll: first California, now Mexico City

Hard on the heels of Federal Judge Vaughn Walker decision that California's homophobic anti-gay marriage Prop 8 is uncon- stitutional, Mexico's Supreme Court has upheld Mexico City's allowance of gay and lesbian marriage:
(Reuters) -Mexico's supreme court on Thursday upheld a landmark law that allows gay marriage in the capital city, bucking a challenge raised by the conservative government of President Felipe Calderon.
(for complete Reuters article)

People who are upset by these decisions to recognize the civil rights of lesbians and gay men tend to talk about disrespect "for people's moral sensibilities." As does The National Review's Rich Lowry in today's (Fri) New York Post. Much the same arguments were, of course, used in the 20th century in defense of "white racial sensibilities."

I have tried to make sense of the claim that the marriage of lesbians and gay men will somehow "hurt the institution of marriage." Not only does this argument seem to make no sense in its own right, but from all available evidence heterosexuals seem to be undermining marriage quite well without any help from lesbians and gay men. The statistics with regard to divorce and infidelity among heterosexuals indicates that marriage - which was once a sacred contract between two people - is now much more something to be tossed away at their convenience.

Which brings me to one last thought: Newt Gingrich. The former House Speaker seems to be the go-to-guy for the opposition to gay and lesbian marriage. Wednesday evening he released the following statement on his web site:
Judge Walker's ruling overturning Prop 8 is an outrageous disrespect for our Constitution and for the majority of people of the United States who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife. In every state of the union from California to Maine to Georgia, where the people have had a chance to vote they've affirmed that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Congress now has the responsibility to act immediately to reaffirm marriage as a union of one man and one woman as our national policy.

Today’s notorious decision also underscores the importance of the Senate vote tomorrow on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court because judges who oppose the American people are a growing threat to our society.
In addition to the fact that the Senate voted yesterday (Thursday) to confirm this "UnAmerican threat to our society" to the Supreme Court, it might be worth remembering why Gingrich is the former Speaker of the House.

This defender of "traditional " marriage mores, according to ABC News in 2007:
Setting the stage for his entry into the presidential race, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., gave a radio interview to be broadcast today with Focus on the Family's James Dobson, in which Gingrich for the first time publicly acknowledged cheating on his first and second wives.
All I can say to the defenders of exclusively heterosexual marriage, "with friends like Gingrich you really don't need any enemies."

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Prop 8 declared unconstitutional (video)

Today Federal Judge Vaughn Walker (a Bush daddy appointee) declared the California ban on gay marriage to be uncon- stitutional and a violation of gay and lesbian civil rights. Basically he said civil rights are not something we can vote on they are imbedded in the Constitution. Here's Judge walker's conclusion,
Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
Finally a modicum of sanity on gay marriage. It's very simple. In this society any fool can believe anything he or she wants to believe, but you can't enshrine your beliefs in law. That's unconstitutional. This is truly a major victory for civil rights and gay and lesbian rights.

Prop 8 declared unconstitutional (video)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

U.S. sends delegate to Hiroshima observance after only 65 years.

Sixty-five years after a mushroom cloud rose over Hiroshima [and murdered 140,000 Japanese], the US will for the first time send an envoy this Friday to commemorate the bombing that rang in the nuclear age. (
France and England will also send delegates for the first time. Ban Ke-Moon will be the first UN Secretary-General to attend the ceremony. It's only taken 65 ears.

Republicans run against their earlier incarnations

The Republicans have developed a simple strategy for beating the Democrats: No matter how strongly you supported a position last year (or even for many years), if Obama and the Democrats are for it, you are against it. It's an absolutely fascinating political strategy to watch in action. The real question is, will there be a political sucker born every minute who will buy this political hypocrisy (pace P.T. Barnum)? Here's the wonderful Rachel Maddow's take on this latest Republican "strategy."

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, August 02, 2010

65th Anniversary of Hiroshima/Nagasaki Bombings Commemoration

This week August 6 & 9 is the 65th anniversary of the worst terrorist acts in history - The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima (8/6) and Nagasaki (8/9) - The world must never forget. I think that we have a special responsibility for those actions and we must both both commemorate what happened 65 years ago and, perhaps even more importantly, pledge ourselves to never allow anything like it to happen again. Here are some commemorative actions:

1) August 7, 2010, 1-6 pm

Hiroshima/Nagasaki Day Exhibit

Tompkins Square Park

For more information, please email WRL-NYC at or
call 718-768-7306.

2)Sunday, August 8, 2010, 11:00 am

The Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Church of Staten Island and Peace Action of Staten Island will co-sponsor
a commemoration of the bombings
as part of the annual Arthur Foise Summer Forum.

Unitarian Church of Staten Island
312 Fillmore Street
Staten Island

The event will feature readings and poetry as well as music by Staten Island pianist David Jones and members of the musical ensemble WaFoo, which blends the traditions of Japanese music with American jazz.

In addition, PASI's American Conscience Theater will present a short theatrical piece by Georgina Ohene commemorating the Hiroshima & Nagasaki bombings. The 25 minute presentation is a semi-dramatic combination of live music by Robert Ross; dance, readings and interactive re-enactments based upon John Hersey's book, HIROSHIMA.

The commemoration will conclude with a peace procession with banners and the lighting of lanterns.

3)Sunday, August 8, 2010, 2:30-4:45pm

Casserly Hall below St. Joseph’s Greenwich Village Church,
Washington Place and Sixth Avenue, one block north of West 4th St.

Pax Christi Metro New York invites you to Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Oppose Nuclear Proliferation Today

~ View an exhibit of photos from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
~ Pray.
~ Participate in a discussion facilitated by Sr. Jean Fallon, MM. Sr. Jean served in parish ministry in the Kyoto Diocese for 23 years and later worked in Tokyo with the Japan National Catholic Council for Justice and Peace. She led many people on experiential visits to Hiroshima and Nagasaki which inspired her to become a “pilgrim for peace.”
~ Join in a solemn procession.

August 8th, 2010
Doors open at 2:30 PM
Light refreshments served
Opening Prayer, Speaker, and Discussion start at 2:45 PM: