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This is the archive for April 2009

Thursday, April 30, 2009

White-throated sparrow
White-throated sparrow

This species is considered "abundant but declining." The ones who visit here in April and May are probably on their way far to the north in Canada.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I guess the place isn't just one big bottomless tank of oil.
Nawar Alsaadi (Iraqi expat oil expert): Iraq's oil ministry has a goal of producing 6 million barrels/day of oil over the medium term. However, six years after the fall of Baghdad, the country is nowhere close to producing 6 million barrels a day. As a matter of fact, the country is still not producing at the same level it did before the war (2.2m bpd vs 2.5m bpd before the war). It is worth noting that the pre-war level was achieved despite years of war and crippling economic sanctions. Yet despite current access to capital and technology, the country could not yield better results than oil production under the Saddam regime in the midst of war and sanctions.
Now they're worrying production will go under 2 million barrels per day, "What is more worrisome after several years of miss-management is that Iraqi oil production is on the verge of witnessing a sharp decline in production to possibly under 2 million barrels a day, as indicated from recent news reports."

Of course, this story is not new. The Houston Chronicle carried THIS story in February 2004: "Ex-oil minister warns Iraq fields being ruined." I'd blogged it at the time. It really says a lot that the Cheney-led U.S.-invasion-sponsored oil program and its local quislings have screwed things up even more than what happened under Saddam.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mulch for the front beds
Mulch

Lilac bud
Lilac

Everything is getting the news that the season is changing.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Maine Owl is now running Nucleus 3.41 (up from 3.32). One thing that has happened is the extra instructions for posting comments are not there now. Basically these said you can post anonymous comments if you give some name of two or more characters, your email address might post in public as a mailto: link (only if you don't also give a website), and html tags do not work in comments. However, the parser does render a link starting "http://..." as hot. Please report any other issues you find as comments under this post. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Click below for exciting information about the upcoming HOPE Festival in poster form, including download links for the flyer and poster in pdf format! This will open in a new window:

Saturday, April 25th ? 11 A.M.-4 P.M.
Student Recreation and Fitness Center, University of Maine, Orono

Please print and distribute the posters and flyers as you see fit.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

If Iran did not exist, the U.S. nuclear terror state would have to invent it.

Senator Susan Collins (along with Senators Levin of Michigan and Nelson of Florida) are back from a missile defense selling mission to Russia, Poland, and the Czech Republic--but the Russians will be a tough sale. Here is a 14-second quote that is pretty close to the sum total of how her trip has been reported locally:


SENATOR COLLINS: "I don't know that we've convinced them, but I think we've advanced the dialogue. And my hope is that the Russians will cooperate with our efforts against this growing threat from Iran."

I've been through several careful reads of the quite important speech on nuclear weapons that President Obama delivered in Prague on April 5. (See HERE and HERE for previous posts citing this speech.)

Sadly, President Obama now has decided to own the Bush missile defense Euro-deployment scheme for himself. Apropos of what Senator Collins has been peddling is this statement from the Obama speech:
PRESIDENT OBAMA (April 5): So let me be clear: Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile activity poses a real threat, not just to the United States, but to Iran's neighbors and our allies. The Czech Republic and Poland have been courageous in agreeing to host a defense against these missiles. As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven. If the Iranian threat is eliminated, we will have a stronger basis for security, and the driving force for missile defense construction in Europe will be removed.
Despite the loftily stated desire for a "world without nuclear weapons" and sustained hatred of the proposal on the part of the Russians, it looks like business as usual straight from the Bush playbook. Obama seems to want to continue taunting the Russians and proceed apace with the Czech/Polish missile interceptors.

What standard the president will use to determine that these systems, deployed far away from any extremely speculative Iranian missile sites, is "cost-effective and proven" is a total mystery. An examination of the technical issues is HERE. But my simple bottom line is that no sane person believes these missile interceptors would be of any use in dealing with Iran--ever--even if Iranian intercontinental missiles emerge from the Pentagon's Rumsfeldian dream state and are pointed at Europe on some date far in the future.

So how'd the Collins/Levin/Nelson sales pitch go?

"Books not bombs"

[video below the fold]
Ch. 2 coverage

This is quite an excellent report.
Reporter: The Maine Peace Action Committee is calling for a change in spending...

Student: Investing in education, particularly higher education, is much more constructive for society, and obviously doesn't result in such violence.

Reporter: They want the federal government to cut defense spending, and use that money for education.
Right on. Spending for wars continues apace while despite a few proposed cuts the Pentagon budget is going to grow under Obama. Meanwhile the heart of the University is being torn out.

Channel 7 had a decent item too, HERE. Channel 5 couldn't be bothered, even though they did manage to carry an item on a charity nerf-gun event in between their ad-valanches.
Abolish the national security terror state now!


Anti-nuclear activist John Dear arrested in Nevada while protesting drone aircraft

Amy Goodman was in New Mexico yesterday where she interviewed an anti-nuclear activist and Jesuit priest who coordinates an annual Hiroshima day peace vigil at Los Alamos, Father John Dear. See the video above.

I wrote HERE about the drone aircraft, subject of the recent protest. And also HERE about nuclear weapons and the recent statement by President Obama while in the Czech Republic.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: So today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. I'm not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly ?- perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, "Yes, we can."

Now, let me describe to you the trajectory we need to be on. First, the United States will take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons. To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the same. Make no mistake: As long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee that defense to our allies ?- including the Czech Republic. But we will begin the work of reducing our arsenal.

To reduce our warheads and stockpiles, we will negotiate a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the Russians this year...
In the interview, John Dear questioned Obama's commitment to abolish nuclear terror when he qualifies it with "not in my lifetime." Despite all of the other good quotes and potentially good moves described in the April 5 speech, has President Obama nullified them all by admitting the nuclear terror state is too big and powerful effectively to challenge in any reasonable time?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

All seen in the yard today

Chickadee at feeder
Chickadee

Cedar waxwings
Cedar waxwings

Song sparrow
Song sparrow

Only the waxwings were unusual. The others have been around constantly. But a big bunch of the cedar waxwings hung around for about an hour or so. Then they were gone.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Penobscot River take-off, just above Veazie Dam

Mallards taking off
Mallards

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Abuse of power

But with respect to the refusal of President Obama to hold anyone accountable, I think Keith Olbermann was correct in tonight's Special Comment: "Half the distance is worse than standing still."

Of course it's easy to see why Obama is uninterested in prosecution or even investigation, which is clear from a part of the president's official statement today that Olbermann did not quote:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution. The men and women of our intelligence community serve courageously on the front lines of a dangerous world. Their accomplishments are unsung and their names unknown, but because of their sacrifices, every single American is safer. We must protect their identities as vigilantly as they protect our security, and we must provide them with the confidence that they can do their jobs.

Going forward, it is my strong belief that the United States has a solemn duty to vigorously maintain the classified nature of certain activities and information related to national security. This is an extraordinarily important responsibility of the presidency, and it is one that I will carry out assertively irrespective of any political concern.
And he prefaced this by saying the techniques used (carefully not said to be torture techniques) have "already been widely reported." So he's not telling us anything we shouldn't already know.

Of course, the actions of other countries now go up a notch in importance. Last week in the New Yorker, Jane Mayer described recent steps taken in Spain,
A Spanish court took the first steps toward starting a criminal investigation of the same six former Bush Administration officials he had named, weighing charges that they had enabled and abetted torture by justifying the abuse of terrorism suspects. Among those whom the court singled out was Feith, the former Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy, along with former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; John Yoo, a former Justice Department lawyer; and David Addington, the chief of staff and the principal legal adviser to Vice-President Dick Cheney.
This isn't over. The president and the administration seem almost to be daring Spain and perhaps others to issue indictments.
A number of great audio podcasts are available at peacecast.us. Here is a list. They all are available for free listening off the web or free downloading to your iPod or other device that can play mp3 audio files (iTunes and rss feeds are available).

Cheri Honkala: Economic Human Rights
Cheri Honkala of the Poor People?s Economic Human Rights Campaign spoke on the University of Maine campus Thursday April 2. The podcast is her 61-minute program and extensive question and answer session. Honkala just left Maine after an extensive tour.

"Organizing in the Obama Era" Teach-In (was on WERU)
This is the podcast for the WERU Weekend Voices/peacecast.us Special featuring our Active Community Teach-in on New Strategies for Organizing in the Obama Era. This program broadcast Saturday April 4, 2009 on Community Radio WERU. The event was held Saturday March 21, 2009 in Bangor at the Unitarian Universalist Church.

David Roediger: Writing Socialist History
A long-time scholar-activist, his books include The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class and How Race Survived U.S. History: From Settlement and Slavery to the Obama Phenomenon. Professor Roediger's main focus is the life and work of his late friend and colleague, the labor activist and historian for the Industrial Workers of the World, Fred Thompson. Thompson died in 1987.

Doug Allen: Gandhi in Times of Terror
Just after returning from India, Doug gave a talk "Recent Reflections from India: the November 26, 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai and Gandhi in times of terror." An article related to this topic appears in the new Spring 2009 issue of the Maine Peace Action Committee Newsletter. (The newsletter is print only and not on line. If you'd like to contact me to receive a copy, please log in--first use Create Account if you don't have one--then use the Contact Form to send a message.)

Sarah Bigney: The Two Fair Trade Movements
This podcast features a talk University of Maine graduate Sarah Bigney gave at the U Maine campus last fall, "The Two Fair Trade Movements: Bridging the Divide Between Buying Coffee and Repealing NAFTA." She is organizer at the Maine Fair Trade Campaign, a statewide coalition of 50 organizations for building a just, sustainable, and democratic economy. Check out their site for information on current campaigns, including the one to oppose the Panama Free Trade Agreement.

Do they hate us for our freedoms?
This is a great presentation from this Spring's Thursday Controvery Series at the University of Maine. It features professor of philosophy Shane Ralston on "Do They Hate Us for Our Freedoms? A Deweyan Analysis of the Bush Doctrine." The audio podcast runs about 56 minutes. Professor Doug Allen of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Maine introduces the program.
H/T Atrios: "How many here make less than $250,000 a year?"


Pensacola Tea Party

That's a beautiful job done by Sinfonian right in the belly of the beast.

Goes to show though that lots of Americans have short memories, and little grasp of details or sense of proportion. Therefore many are extremely vulnerable to these astroturf campaigns designed to co-opt their justifiable anger. The Republicans sense the opening and are willing to drive through it hard, no matter the cost to our country.

Maybe we could ask the teabaggers to come to their senses and shine their bright lights upon the cast of characters from the last decade who have bled us all dry with their cut-and-spend policies, wars, and war taxes.

Protesting Cheney
Protest against economy of the rich and their war taxes at the Federal Building in Bangor

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

NPR just loves 'em

Update: In
THIS story from last week, according to figures provided by Rabia Ali, spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, "546,000 have registered as internally displaced people" in Pakistan due to drone attacks and army activity. Sheesh! That certainly is beginning to look like the U.S. Iraq playbook being run by President Bush Obama!

With appropriate sarcasm, NPR Check posted Monday on a...
... Pakistani News report that -- according to Pakistani authorities -- US drone attacks since January 2006 have killed 14 al-Qaeda leaders and 687 civilians. Dang! 687 to 14. Last time I did my maths that came to 49 civilians killed for every al-Qaeda operative killed.
The post mentions previous pieces describing the NPR reporting as "gooey" and "weak-kneed."

Yes. And I've been deeply concerned myself (see HERE and HERE) about the way these diabolical machines are celebrated. Sadly, I have had very little community response to the messages I have sent regarding these extremely important issues. I have written to NPR and Mike Michaud. The result is zilch. Reapers evidently are great. This is how President Obama evidently also feels, while he escalates the Afghan-Pakistan war. No way I can campaign on this all alone.

Perhaps THIS report on Democracy Now! yesterday provides news of an effort worthy of support.

Peace Activists Arrested After Protesting US Drones in Nevada
AMY GOODMAN: ... last week a group of peace activists staged the first major act of civil disobedience against the drone attacks in the United States. On Thursday, fourteen people were arrested outside the Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, where the Air Force tests the unmanned drones used in Pakistan. The activists were arrested after holding a ten-day vigil dubbed "Ground the Drones."
Interviewed is Father Louis Vitale. A lot is said in the segment about how the drones work, how they're flown by remote control thousands of miles from their targets (as I've written in the earlier posts). But here's a stunning aspect of the drone program--the effect on some of those who fly them. Wouldn't you think that as NPR's Mary Louise Kelly has reported, members of the Air Force all would see the "distinct advantage to flying by remote control, instead of long tours of duty overseas," including "dinner with your wife" after a day at the office.

Not so fast, according to Father Vitale, "You don't get rid of PTSD":

Monday, April 13, 2009

From Etopia News Now out of Los Angeles (!) comes an interview with legislator, historian, and my old neighbor from Portland, Herb Adams


Herb Adams, Maine State Representative (D-119th), talks about feed-in tariff bill LD 1450 (HP 1006). "An Act To Establish the Renewable Energy Resources Program," now pending in the Maine Legislature, recorded from Augusta, Maine, on April 10, 2009.

Another old friend, recently laid off from National Semiconductor in South Portland, is a strong proponent of this bill from a very personal point of view, "This may be the single biggest thing that you can do to help me get a job in renewable energy. I really appreciate your help," he writes.

Now this is important: My friend writes,
The legislation ... will go before the Maine joint standing committee on Utility and Energy on TUESDAY, APRIL 14. The legislation is HP1006, LD 1450.

PLEASE WRITE AN EMAIL TO ONE OR MORE MEMBERS OF THE UTILITY AND ENERGY COMMITTEE ASAP! AFTER TUESDAY IT MAY BE TOO LATE. ...

Here is a listing of the members...
He recommends reading more about it HERE (also where I found the Herb Adams audio).

Midcoast Green Collaborative
The MAINE RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES ACT: a feed-in law for Maine
WHAT IT IS
The Maine Renewable Energy Resources Program (LD 1450) is designed to encourage the development of distributed, renewable energy-based power generation, jobs creation and economic development.

LD 1450 is a market based alternative to tax-financed incentives. At its core, it consists of market-rate payments per kilowatt-hour for electricity generated by a renewable resource, enshrined in long term contracts between grid operators and qualified generators. It has a built-in efficiency-incentive because, unlike with grants and tax credits, its beneficiaries are paid only for the power they actually deliver to the grid.

With LD 1450 in force,
  • utilities pay a set price for renewably generated power, regardless of the amount of power they generate
  • the price is locked in by long term contract
  • the price is reduced with each new starting year providing an incentive to act sooner rather than later
  • the price is set independently from the retail rate, on the basis of what power from a typical renewably powered generator would cost: (cost of system/probable output)
  • to turn a profit, the citizen-producer only has to make sure the system performs well

WHAT IT DOES
LD 1450
  • introduces a market-based incentive which will phase out when no longer needed
  • does not depend on tax dollars
  • creates a large number of non-exportable jobs
  • offers a predictable rate of return on investment, making possible bank financing for virtually anyone with sufficient equity in a house
  • increases the share of distributed power generation
  • provides a strong incentive for performance and efficiency
  • will be evaluated and adjusted every two years
I've really gotta hand it to my old friend (to Herb too) for agitating on this and I thank him for bringing it to my attention. He's using his new-found time very wisely. I'm with him 100%. If we had this kind of financing mechanism, I'd go whole hog here at the offices of Maine Owl, plus I'd probably be able to find a decent technical job myself so that we can continue to afford to live in this great place. It's about time that the thousands of empty rooftops I see everyday begin to blossom with the panels of beauty that could greatly help our energy/economic situation.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

"City of Walls" (H/T Free Iraq)


Not a pretty picture

This is a clip from the Al Jazeera English program, "Witness." It brings us what most Americans do not have any sense of at all--what the U.S. invasion has wrought--countless dead, two or three million internal refugees now living in deplorable conditions out of sight behind U.S.-built barriers.

From the YouTube description:
Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, a Baghdad-born award-winning photographer and journalist, returns to the streets of a Baghdad now divided by security walls separating Sunni and Shia. Ghaith's ability to move around the city despite the dangers, gives us a unique insight into this Baghdad and to a story so far untold.
I wonder if keyboard warriors like Jeff Jacoby at the Boston Globe ever have noticed the type of wreckage upon wreckage that the U.S. has brought since 2003. Jacoby after all used to write things like the "US-led war in Iraq was a great blessing."

I couldn't find a good quote quickly, but I seem to recall that people like former Vice President Cheney often remarked about how bad Saddam left conditions in Iraq. Hard to argue they're better now even after a lull in overt violence.

There are a total of four Witness- Baghdad City of Walls segments referenced HERE.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Haven't seen this before

Crocus 4-11-2009
Crocus tommasinianus var. pictus?

There are more Crocus tommasinianus (the violet ones, see HERE) out in the front yard than I seem to remember from previous years. And this color is making its first appearance this year. I think they're a variant of the same thing.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Find 'em at peacecast.us

Cheri Honkala: Economic Human Rights
Cheri Honkala of the Poor People?s Economic Human Rights Campaign spoke in Orono, Maine on the University of Maine campus on Thursday April 2. At the link is the podcast of her 61-minute program and extensive question and answer session. Honkala just left Maine after an extensive tour.

March 21 Teach-In on WERU
This is the podcast for the WERU Weekend Voices/peacecast.us Special featuring our Active Community Teach-in on New Strategies for Organizing in the Obama Era that broadcast on Saturday April 4, 2009 at 3 pm. The event was held Saturday March 21, 2009 in Bangor at the Unitarian Universalist Church.

David Roediger: Writing Socialist History
Professor Roediger's main focus is the life and work of his late friend and colleague, the labor activist and historian for the Industrial Workers of the World, Fred Thompson. Thompson died in 1987. I found the discussion of Thompson?s years as a professor at Work People?s College in Duluth, Minnesota personally quite interesting. This was a labor school founded by radical Finns and operated for about fifty years from the 1920s to 1970.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

I have made a change in the structure of the site urls. They should include the date and the item title at the end instead of item/[number]. However, all the old references should still work. Please let me know if you experience a problem. Thanks!
Recommended blog: Duck of Minerva

I've read with profit Professor of Political Science Rodger Payne from the University of Louisville for many years. I appreciated his kind remarks when I shut down Deep Blade Journal a couple of years ago. And this post in his blog, too, after I had challenged a conservative professor from Wisconsin. I rather miss those days of blogging. It doesn't seem the same to me now.

Anyway, Rodger is part of quite a lively group blog, Duck of Minerva. One of the authors there, Dan Nexon has up a splendid post called "All conventional wisom is not created equal." In it he takes on (via a recent Slate piece) some conventional wisdom about what constitutes faulty conventional wisdom. Just go there and read it.

I liked his last item actually carrying farther a particular point in the Slate piece by Jacob Weisberg: "Nuclear proliferation might be stabilizing!"

There is something that's sure to be seen as crazy in many quarters. The public drumbeat on Iran relations, for example, is that proliferation is a grave threat. Thus the prospect of an Iranian nuke--even if every bit of real public information says they aren't building one--generates unrestrained hyperbolic fear within America and its allies.

Not saying there are no dangers. However, Nexon has a very different angle about the less-public reaction to proliferation of policy makers within powerful nuclear states. Nexon writes, "States that actively oppose nuclear proliferation do so precisely because they worry" that they will be subjected to the "deterrent effects of nuclear weapons."
Nexon: Such states would, shockingly enough, rather not be deterred from engaging in force projection and various other forms of compellence.
I suppose I very much appreciate that we're no longer in the Bush years. Today there is a story out about how Vice President Biden will be "in charge of the administration's nuclear nonproliferation agenda, including President Obama's goal of securing vulnerable nuclear material around the world over the next four years, and efforts to convince Congress to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which would ban new nuclear explosions."

That agenda has been almost unthinkable, maybe since 1993 (when it turned out to be vaporous). Certainly I'm all for it being as real as President Obama says it is:
President Obama: I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.
He's "not naive," though. In may not happen "in my lifetime," he says.

Indeed, the U.S. national security state--that desires an unfettered nuclear field in which to play--is a tough nut to crack.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Food AND Medicine held Symposium on the Employee Free Choice Act Monday April 6 at the University of Maine


Author Barbara Ehrenreich (answering audience questions fielded by Judd Esty-Kendall) is critical of how the Obama Administration is handling the economy and the bailouts: "The emergency they're looking at is not the emergency I'm looking at."

The Bangor Daily News carried a good interview with Barbara Ehrenreich in the paper today.

Journalist Ehrenreich speaks at UM ...
By Abigail Curtis | BDN Staff
ORONO, Maine ? When journalist Barbara Ehrenreich did the research for "Nickel and Dimed," her scathing indictment of blue-collar work in America, she spent a month cleaning houses in southern Maine.

She thought that perhaps in one of America's whitest states, people would treat each other better than in places with high immigration rates and more racial diversity. But, she said, she was wrong.

"Maine was very heartbreaking," she said in a phone interview this weekend. "These were women who maybe in another generation would have worked for mills. And now they were in this disgusting, $6-an-hour cleaning job, being just ground down."
A radio program from the Orono event will broadcast locally at a future date.

One major note that emerged from the program is that it is time to clearly and in large numbers let Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins know that the workers of Maine want the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) to pass in order to level the playing field for workers.

Keep checking here and at foodandmedicine.org for more information on the Ehernreich broadcast and many other upcoming events related to the campaign for the EFCA.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Crocus 4-6-2009
Maine Owl Monitoring Program

Giving a hoot about owls
Unity College, MIT partner in monitoring project
By Sharon Kiley Mack | BDN Staff | Monday April 6, 2009
...The citizen-science project ? a marriage of engineering and biology ? is in its seventh year and provides vital data such as owl numbers, owl health and population trends to the Maine Audubon Society and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

MIT uses the project to refine communication technology, according to professor Dale Joachim.

"Counting owls is politically and business-oriented, and there is a lot of money involved," Joachim said. In states with large logging industries, such as Maine, California and Oregon, loggers must monitor and count owls since some of them are protected species. "They are paying biologists to go into the woods and count," Joachim said. "MIT is refining the technology that can call the owls, record their answers and extrapolate the data from those recordings."

Projects such as Unity's this weekend will allow MIT to "build a tapestry that can be studied over a period of time."

...

Central Maine has a larger than average owl population ? 12 varieties of owls live in Maine ? and that is why the study is centered there.
The story also quotes my sometimes colleague David Potter at Unity College (I work there part-time occasionally). I should probably say the Maine Owl Monitoring Program has no relationship with this blog.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Update: The program has aired. The podcast and additional information is at peacecast.us.

This post is a copy of Maine Owl Newsletter No. 12, sent to the regular mailing list this afternoon

Hello Friends of Maine Owl & peacecast.us,

At 3pm THIS AFTERNOON (in 1 hour!), a WERU Weekend Voices/peacecast.us Special will air featuring our Active Community Teach-in on New Strategies for Organizing in the Obama Era. This was the event held Saturday March 21, 2009 in Bangor at the Unitarian Universalist Church.

There is more information HERE and there are download/rss/iTunes links at peacecast.us. The podcast of the full-length keynote is posted in those places, as will be this WERU broadcast after it airs.

The first half of the broadcast is part of the keynote given by Joseph Gerson of AFSC in New England. He is introduced first by Ilze Pertersons of the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine, then by Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.

Four additional speakers from the event then address a wide range of local activism on war & peace, environmental, labor, and foreign policy issues. They include:
  • Mary Beth Sullivan of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space who discusses economic conversion of Bath Iron Works
  • John Banks, Natural Resources Dir. of the Penobscot Nation on local environmental issues
  • Steve Husson of Food AND Medicine in Brewer discussing Labor and the Employee Free Choice Act
  • Professor Doug Allen of the University of Maine, who ties everything together.

Please also visit the marvelous audio archive site at WERU where you also will be able to listen to the show later in case you miss it over the air (or live outside the WERU signal range).

Two additional links that may be of interest are Bruce Gagnon's excellent blog, Organizing Notes, and the Peace and Economic Security Program for the American Friends Service Committee in New England.

HOPE Festival APRIL 25
Click below for exciting information about the upcoming HOPE Festival in poster form, including download links for the flyer and poster in pdf format!

Saturday, April 25th • 11 A.M.-4 P.M.
Student Recreation and Fitness Center, University of Maine, Orono


We'd really like to hear from you, even if it's only just to say you listened to the WERU program. Please use the "comment" link below. Thanks!
No one could have seen this coming

Banks with taxpayer money could buy toxic assets
Fri Apr 3, 2009 7:12pm BST
By Jonathan Stempel and Karey Wutkowski - Analysis
NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Banks that received billions of dollars of taxpayer money to bolster their capital could place bets on the same toxic assets that got them into trouble in the first place -- and with government support.

It is unclear whether U.S. regulators will prevent banks receiving government aid from participating as buyers in the $1 trillion Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP)...
Treasury Secretary Geithner explained a couple of weeks ago about how in the government plan "banks will have the ability to sell pools of loans to dedicated funds" to "private-sector participants" while "investors will compete to have the ability to participate in those funds and take advantage of the financing provided by the government."

Let me get this straight. Geithner's "investors" turn out to be the same banks that can't on their own get rid of their toxic assets. But they think dealing them between themselves is just peachy when staked to a load of taxpayer money.

Uff.

H/T Whiskey Fire.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Red River at Grand Forks, ND 4-1-2009
Red River at Grand Forks, ND yesterday
Interesting photo series

The photos come from a camera at "Grand Forks Gage." The page referenced (click the image) at the USGS North Dakota Water Science Center site contains links to a great deal of additional current and historical information about flooding along the Red River on the Minnesota-North Dakota border. Included is a time series of photos showing the river coming up over the last couple of weeks. Amazing.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A new article is out and Hersh has been making the rounds:
Seymour Hersh (Democracy Now 3/31): Cheney was deeply involved with the Israelis in the planning for Gaza, resupplying them with weapons and also providing intelligence through our?the offices we have in Egypt, our intelligence offices there. So we were deeply involved in helping the Israelis do the attack on Gaza, with intelligence, etc., and weaponry.
Goddamn, Cheney is a jackass. No foolin'.