June 23, 2006 at 12:50 am | In Uncategorized | Comments Off on Well…

I bowled a 132. And then a 166.

But I still miss Derech (a bowling alley near OSRUI).

Go John

June 22, 2006 at 5:35 pm | In politics, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Go John

Run Edwards, run!

Fundación Nueva Esperanza opens new classrooms, library

June 21, 2006 at 10:18 pm | In human rights, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Fundación Nueva Esperanza opens new classrooms, library

If you only have a minute, please sign this petition, End Impunity – Support the Spanish Investigative Commission in Guatemala. If you’re confused, read to the end.

This is really exciting news. Over spring break I went to Fundación Nueva Esperanza, a school for the indigenous Maya Achi in Rabinal, Guatemala with Hillel and American Jewish World Service. Guillermo Chen Morales, who we interacted with a lot while we were there writes:

Dear friends,

We would like to share with you the success of the Foundation Nueva Esperanza and our secondary school which are: an opening of our new classrooms, our new scince lab and the library. This achievement is for all young indigenous people of Rabinal. Best wishes.

When we were there we stayed in two rooms that weren’t in use for anything else. I’m pretty sure one of them is now the library. We were also there when they were working on the new classrooms. We weren’t qualified to actually help with the construction, but we did clean up. You can see part of one of the new classrooms on the right in the back of this picture:


And here’s a picture from a newspaper clipping of it completed. Wow:

There’s a bunch more pictures from the newspaper article here.

AJWS, which is itself a wonderful organization, has more information about the vitally important work that the Fundación does for a people that has, at the hands of the Guatemalan government and paramilitaries, been at best neglected and at worst massacred. The founder of the organization, Jesús Tecú, is himself a survivor of the Rio Negro Massacre. Before founding the school and since, Jesús has worked for justice, testifying against paramilitaries in one court case and encouraging others to speak up.So now, if you haven’t already, please sign the petition: End Impunity – Support the Spanish Investigative Commission in Guatemala.

One more picture:

Investment, not Divestment

June 21, 2006 at 7:36 pm | In Israel and Palestine, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Investment, not Divestment


The Presbyterian Church (USA), which previously had called for divestment from companies profiting from the occupation of Palestine, adopted a different strategy of engagement in the Middle East today with a decision to back selective investment in companies committed to peace in the conflict between Israel and their Palestinian neighbors.

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is meeting this week in Alabama.

Last summer the United Church of Christ adopted a similar policy to the one adopted this week by the Presbyterians and just this month the UCC and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) released a new guide book for churches committed to peace in the region.

The United States of North America?

June 20, 2006 at 9:39 pm | In silly | 1 Comment

Look, I’m no fan of NAFTA, but what world do these people live in?

Author Jerome Corsi filed a Freedom of Information Act request yesterday asking for full disclosure of the activities of an office implementing a trilateral agreement with Mexico and Canada that apparently could lead to a North American union, despite having no authorization from Congress.

As WorldNetDaily reported, the White House has established working groups, under the North American Free Trade Agreement office in the Department of Commerce, to implement the Security and Prosperity Partnership, or SPP, signed by President Bush, Mexican President Vicente Fox and then-Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin in Waco, Texas, March 23, 2005.

Corsi specifically has requested the partnership’s membership lists, constitutive documents, meeting minutes, meeting agendas and meeting schedules as well as all findings, reports, presentations or memoranda.

Corsi believes President Bush effectively agreed to erase U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada when he signed the SPP.

“This is all being done by the executive branch below the radar,” Corsi told WND. “If President Bush had told the American people in the 2004 presidential campaign that his goal was to create a North American union, he would not have carried a single red state.”

The president, Corsi maintains, has charged the bureaucracy to form a North American union “through executive fiat … without ever disclosing his plans directly to the American people or to Congress.”

Attorney Robert A. McGuire, who filed the request on Corsi’s behalf and is preparing further requests, says if the president “is creating a new North American union government without the full and complete knowledge of the American people, we are facing a severe constitutional crisis.”

The purpose of the FOIA, he said, is to get the “full facts exposed in the light of day, available for the American people and for Congress to examine and decide.”

Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., is demanding the Bush administration fully disclose the activities of the SPP office.

Tancredo wants to know the membership of the SPP groups along with their various trilateral memoranda of understanding and other agreements reached with counterparts in Mexico and Canada.

Many SPP working groups appear to be working toward achieving specific objectives as defined by a May 2005 Council on Foreign Relations task force report, which presented a blueprint for expanding the SPP agreement into a North American union that would merge the U.S., Canada and Mexico into a new governmental form. Author Jerome Corsi filed a Freedom of Information Act request yesterday asking for full disclosure of the activities of an office implementing a trilateral agreement with Mexico and Canada that apparently could lead to a North American union, despite having no authorization from Congress.

More here: “Tancredo confronts ‘super-state’ effort: Demands full disclosure of White House work with Mexico, Canada”

Lions, hunters, and media consolidation

June 20, 2006 at 12:38 pm | In media | Comments Off on Lions, hunters, and media consolidation

“Until the lions can tell their own story, tales of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” — African proverb

Which is to say, media consolidation matters (excerpt from a United Church of Christ pamphlet For faith groups [PDF]):

They had had enough. No longer would an ecumenical group of ministers from Arizona be lumped together with preachers spouting venom in the name of Christianity. No longer would they allow Christianity to be hijacked by hate mongers.

So the Arizona ministers formed “No Longer Silent,” but found that their message of unconditional love was a harder sell than one of hate. “We tried to buy a billboard in a prominent, well-traveled area of Phoenix,” says the Rev. Eric Elnes, No Longer Silent member and pastor of Scottsdale (Ariz.) Congregational United Church of Christ.

Elnes says that more than 150 local pastors wanted to proclaim that God loves everyone, including gay and lesbian persons. But Clear Channel and Viacom, who owned the billboards, labeled the message “too controversial,” effectively telling the pastors to shut up.

No Longer Silent couldn’t overcome the censorship, but its energy was already created and, as the rules of science teach, energy can’t be destroyed: it only can be transformed.

So Elnes rallied help and formed Cross Walk America, a 2,500-mile pilgrimage from Phoenix to Washington, D.C., between Easter Sunday and Labor Day weekend 2006. The pilgrimage would include speaking at local churches and interviewing with local media along the way, and would conclude with the posting of 12 affirmations on a Washington landmark — affirmations of unconditional divine love, justice and respect for all God’s creation. The grassroots effort is “a voice from the heartland that can’t be ignored by the media,” says Elnes, “a voice of hope for those who are spiritually homeless.” Elnes says he hopes Cross Walk America continues as a catalyst within the Christian mainstream.

“We need to make sure that the average person knows that there is more than one thought out there,” he says, “that the public voice of Christianity isn’t only fundamentalist.”

I found this pamphlet through a new group that just launched called the StopBigMedia.com Coalition.


June 19, 2006 at 11:39 pm | In national security | Comments Off on truthout?

I just don’t know what to make of this chapter of Plamegate.

“Qassams, shmassams”

June 19, 2006 at 11:30 pm | In Uncategorized | Comments Off on “Qassams, shmassams”

Sderot shuts down in protest of Qassam attacks

Vice premier Shimon Peres (Kadima) on Monday voiced skepticism over the reaction of the government and the citizens of Israel to Qassam rockets.

“We have to stop the hysteria we are all rousing. Instead, we must say: ‘We will get through this, we won’t leave here.’ What happened? Qassams, shmassams! Kiryat Shmona was also fired upon for years.”

So wait, is that a translation from the Hebrew? Or if he was speaking in English, how would you translate that into Hebrew?

A SethInCA Project: Help engage Cynthia Rodriguez Matthews with the Netroots

June 19, 2006 at 8:49 pm | In CA-26, Cynthia Rodriguez Matthews, David Dreier | 2 Comments

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos, Calitics, and MyDD)

The short version: I’m going to go interview Cynthia Rodriguez Matthews, the Democratic candidate for Congress who’s challenging David Dreier in CA-26. I’d like to encourage her to become involved with the netroots, and as a start I want to reach out to her with your questions. Please post any questions you’d like me to ask her in the comments section.

The long version: Two weeks ago, Cynthia Rodriguez Matthews pulled a major upset and won the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 26th District of California. Her primary opponent and the assumed favorite of the race was Russ Warner, who had made a decent show of fundraising and received the endorsement of Gen. Wesley Clark. But Matthews, who was also the nominee in 2004, pulled an upset and won.

I’ve speculated (dirty tricks?) about the reasons for Warner’s disappointing defeat, but the bottom line is that Matthews is the nominee this year. And if ever there was a year for a turning of the tide in Congress, this is that year. Even if she can’t quite win in this Republican district (46% R to 35% D), she’s still fighting the good fight, not to mention forcing Dreier to spend money defending his seat. Or at least, that’s the hope. In 2004 she came closer than any other challenger in California in her race to unseat closeted Republican David Dreier (54-42). She and two radio hosts gave Dreier hell on immigration, and during the campaign she publicly “came out” and challenged Dreier to do the same. Print media ignored the story, but it got some play on the radio and the web.

I called her office on Friday (guess who answered the phone? Matthews!) to ask for an interview, and her staff agreed. Later this week I hope to head over to campaign headquarters to take some pictures and ask her some questions. My hope isn’t just to ask her some questions, but to try to get her more involved with the netroots. So far, her website is a disaster, but hey, Russ Warner’s spiffy website didn’t win him the nomination.

This is where you come in: please post questions you’d like me to ask her in the comments. (Maybe some advice for her too.) I’ll bring some questions of my own, and we’ll see what happens. Watch SethInCA for the results.

Prologue: Adventures in Santa Monica

June 19, 2006 at 7:26 pm | In do something, politics | 1 Comment

I’ve got a bunch of LA pictures to post later. Consider this a prologue.

I met this guy in Santa Monica but forgot to take his picture. Thanks to Google and Flickr, here’s someone else’s picture of Jerry Rubin, selling his peace stickers.

Photo Credit:

Jerry “Peace Activist” Rubin legally changed his name so it would show up that way on the ballot when he ran for some office (or maybe it was so he wouldn’t be confused with the other Jerry Rubin).

I was wearing Eric’s Harvard Dems shirt and he asked me about it; I expected him to yell at me for being a Democrat but instead he said “good for you” and then proceeded to launch into a tirade against Ralph Nader. Apparently Rubin launched a hunger strike in 2004 to protest Nader’s candidacy. In his mind, Nader should have been helping elect President Kerry — then giving him hell once he was in office. Sounds good to me.

Activist Goes on Anti-Nader Hunger Strike:

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — A peace activist who once fasted for 63 days to protest movie violence and war toys is launching another hunger strike to persuade Ralph Nader to abandon his presidential bid.

Jerry Rubin, 60, said he plans to consume only liquids from Saturday until Nov. 2 if Nader doesn’t take a meeting with him.

“I know Ralph Nader and I don’t think he’s doing the right thing,” Rubin said Saturday. He said the consumer advocate’s campaign is dividing the progressive political movement.

Many believe the votes Nader received in Florida in 2000 would have gone to Democratic candidate Al Gore (search) had Nader sat out the election. Gore lost the state — and the national election — to George W. Bush (search) by 537 votes.

Rubin is often confused with now-deceased “Chicago Seven” defendant Jerry Rubin. He legally changed his name to Jerry Peace Activist Rubin to avoid confusion with the 60s radical.

The peace activist is no stranger to hunger strikes: In 1988, he broke a two-month fast with a bite from a giant pizza topped with a pepperoni peace sign that he then left for “Rambo” star Sylvester Stallone.

He again fasted in 1997 to persuade movie production company Dreamworks SKG to abandon plans to relocate its headquarters to wetlands. He collapsed after 26 days, but Dreamworks abandoned the idea, saying it could not reach a satisfactory financial agreement.

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