Monday, November 28, 2011

Still Occupied !

Courtesy of Philly.com
Photographer:  April Saul
Occupy Philly activist greets
another day in Dilworth Plaza.


Occupy Los Angeles and Occupy Philadelphia are still occupying.  Through long but fruitful evenings in both cities, simultaneously live broadcasted by global revolution, and via streams fed by media activists in different parts of the nation, both demonstrators and police gathered in growing numbers - with scheduled evictions expected by both the Los Angeles and Philadelphia respective mayoral administrations of Antonio Villaraigosa and Michael Nutter.  The evictions did not take place.



Courtesy of LA Times
Photographer: Arkasha Stevenson
General assembly outside City Hall in Los Angeles
in the hours before the scheduled eviction.


Courtesy of LA Times
Photographer:  Mark Boster
Riot police gather prior to an expected eviction.

In Los Angeles, the crowd swelled to at least about 1,200, as riot police lined up, erected barricades, and a helicopter flew overhead.  One group marched down to the police department and read to the police from the Constitution.  Back at City Hall, numerous individuals stood to speak passionately about peaceful assembly, corporate greed, financial inequity, and a growing sense of degradation in America, by the 99%, and at hands of the 1%.  "This is what humanity looks like!" chanted the crowd, following addresses by teachers who spoke, at one point, about the diminished status of students and children in the United States.  "There comes a time when one can no longer be silent!"  proclaimed one educator.  "We want to live with respect!"  Around 10:30 P.M., during a scheduled non-violent activism teach-in, another series of speakers rose to emphasize the need for peaceful behavior in the face of police action, in the words of one, that people should "stick together, stay peaceful, and stay safe." 


Courtesy of LA Times
Photographer:  Gina Ferrazi
Occupy LA activist creates a shadow projection sign
for the 99% on the walls of City Hall.

Speakers were notably eloquent in Los Angeles, with the livestream host for OccupyFreedomLA describing how she had witnessed the growth of so many people through their participation in the direct democracy activities of the Occupy Movement.  Around mid-evening, activists reported LAPD Commander Smith informing protesters that the police would be going in.  Demonstrators prepared themselves for the possibility of arrest, announcing a telephone number for the National Lawyers Guild ready to come to their aide, bail donation requests circulated, and a speaker from nearby Occupy Irvine announcing that their camp was prepared to receive them if they were thrown out.  Midnight arrived and passed, however, with the police announcing, instead, that demonstrators needed to clear the streets, but not the park where they were camping. 


Courtesy of LA Times
Photographer:  Gina Ferrazi
LAPD walk through "a sea of tents" just a few hours before The Witching. 

Both mayors assert that they will stop the demonstrators eventually, with each elected official claiming non-specified sanitation issues, and Michael Nutter of Philadelphia also referencing the scheduled renovation of the Plaza for an ice skating rink, grass, cafe, and stage for the Christmas season.


Philly.com reports the renovation, "Christmas Village in Love Park," as a planned open-air market modeled after clusters of outdoor shops in large German cities at the holidays.  Below is an example (I guess) of one in the U.K.:


Courtesy of Free City Guides
'Edinburgh Christmas "German Market" In The Snow'
Tis the Season to Be Loving, Giving, and Jolly


Philly.com spoke to a number of demonstrators:
Lauren Keiser, 26, a student from Audubon, said she was willing to get arrested because she believed homeless people, who are a constant presence on the plaza, deserve more help. She thinks the money that will transform Dilworth could be better spent on housing, addiction programs, and other services.
"It's disgusting that a $50 million skating rink is going to be put here," she said.
City officials across the country have also been sharply criticized for spending millions just to evict peaceful demonstrators while shutting down shelters and passing laws to prohibit the homeless from sleeping overnight in public.  And all while homelessness is on a sharp rise, with HUD reporting a 30% increase in foreclosures pushing families onto the street in 2009 only.


Huffpost describes the shelter as the largest in the Northeast, with the largest U.S.A. gap between rich and poor in Atlanta.  Occupy Atlanta activist Tim Franzen reports that the shelter actually houses up to 1,000 people per night (vs the ABA Journal's already large estimate of 500-700). 

Courtesy of LA Times
Photographer:  Rick Loomis
Still Occupied Tree At Occupy LA


The Daily News reports Philadelphia demonstrators planning to meet Monday to discuss possible next steps in their city, including a new site, taking over an abandoned building, or staging sudden "flash" occupations.

More photos here at the LA Times on LA. Also, Occupy LA releases its first issue of Occupied Los Angeles.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Making and Taking Stock

Courtesy of Keeping Chickens
Sonoma CA musician Nick Rupiper
shows locals how to raise their own chickens


Simple Stock Recipe


appliances

1 large pot
1 large spoon
1 large collander
1 large bowl (or another large pot)

any number of storage containers such as recycled tomato sauce jars or tupperware, either with well sealing lids.


ingredients

1 fowl carcass, such as chicken or turkey, left over from Thanksgiving or any other time you have roasted a bird.

water

optional - any number of flavorful vegetable additions such as leftover celery, carrots, onions, potatoes, and seasonings such as rosemary, thyme, basil, and garlic.

procedure

1.  Put the bird carcass into a large pot, fill with water, cover and bring to a boil on a high heat.

2.  Lower heat and allow the bird to simmer for 3-4 hours, or until the meat has fallen off all the bone and the water has become a nice, rich broth.

3.  Keep covered, and allow it to cool at room temperature.

4.  Drain broth through a collander into a large bowl (or another large pot).  Separate meat from bones, storing meat in a sealed container in the refrigerator. You can also separate and store any added vegetables at this point.

5.  Pour your stock into your other containers, seal well, and store in refrigerator.

6.  In another day or two, open each container and skim off the fat that has settled on the top surface.  Discard in the garbage (not down your pipes - unless you know how to make a nice hand cream for dry skin).



Courtesy of Wikipedia
Photographer: Blue Lotus
Simple stock recipe simmering on stove

Well sealed, you can use this stock over the next week or so to make easy soups, stews, sauces, and rice or grain dishes.  Or enjoy a fast, simple hot cup of broth on a cold, wintry night.  Serve up rapidly any added vegetables, as these spoil more quickly, creating simple soup or grain dishes.  Add the meat to any of those dishes, or in traditional after-Thanksgiving sandwiches, an imaginative burrito, or even cabbage wraps


Courtesy of Wikipedia
American long grain rice plant
Rice is tasty and even more nutricious cooked in stock,
often a key ingredient to burrito and wrap preparation.  Brown rice has higher nutritional content than white rice.


additional thoughts

Post Thanksgiving stock is a good time to "take stock" of how much food we throw away in America while people go hungry unnecessarily, not having easy, affordable access to needed nutrition and sustenance, and free of human degradation.

Consider that, during a holiday that honors our nation's survival due to Native Americans teaching settlers skills needed to survive their first cold winters, we now waste animals and crops indigenous peoples honored, by throwing away so much, rather than using what we have and sharing equally with our neighbors.




Courtesy of Huffington Post
United States - loads of perfectly good food
in the garbage.

Huffpost reports that, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization,  
nearly one third of food produced for human consumption globally is lost or wasted every year. That translates to 1.3 billion tons of food – the weight of 3,400 Golden Gate Bridges – going to waste each year. And with that comes all the wasted energy, water, chemicals, and labor that go into producing, transporting, and storing the ill-fated food.
[...]
In North America and Europe, we annually waste 209-253 pounds of food (95-115 kg) per capita.
And while in developing countries, a large portion of this waste happens in the early and middle stages of the food supply chain – due to things like limited harvesting technologies, storage capacity, and cooling infrastructure – the story takes a turn here at home.
In wealthy countries, this food waste is much more likely to be due to us, the consumers. While loss takes place along the entire food supply chain, the FAO explains that consumers contribute to waste “due to quality standards, which reject food items not in perfect shape or appearance… Insufficient purchase planning and expiring ‘best-before-dates’ also cause large amounts of waste, in combination with the careless attitude of those consumers who can afford to waste food.”
These statistics seem all the more disturbing when we consider how many Americans are currently making unavoidable choices between food and rent, gasoline, or health insurance payments.  In other words, they can't get to this food. 

Or when we consider a recent court case, whereby a Mississippi judge savagely sentenced the mother of 2 teenagers to 3 years in prison because she lied on a Food Program application - and not about her finances - she needed the food - but by hiding a "criminal record" as a drug user.  In other words, if you are hungry but use drugs illegally (vs through your chain store pharmacy), you and your children are not allowed to get food.  Which is extremely irrational and cruel, and a very serious human rights abuse by our government upon three of its citizens. 

This also means her teenagers (if they are in school or stay in school) are no longer on the School Lunch Program, at a time in life, developmentally, children eat more than ever.  The "burdened" taxpayer will now provide *instead* over $100,000 per year housing a non-violent drug user in the prison system, while sending her children off to live in foster care, unless other family members step in, or the youths simply go off to live on their own.  There are also the future costs to the taxpayer considering the psychological impact on youths when the government takes away your mom, and the statistically higher likelihood that the children will impact the social service system as adults with more bills, as a result of that happening.

By the way, how much did the mother and her 2 teenagers receive while the taxpayer is about to kick in so much to violate the human rights of their fellow Americans?  According to Think Progress, $4,367.00, all of which she already paid "back" (not that she should have owed this money, to begin with).  And, while the CEOs who devastated this economy are running off with more money than ever, without going to jail.

This kind of disturbing tale is supported by an oft bogusly quipped, self-righteous statement that, "There is no free lunch." 


Courtesy of Think Progress


Clearly, the ones who need to truly take stock of that tired phrase are the ones who like to say it the most, while they are not sitting in jail as they should, or paying their fair share of taxes, and while this mom should be immediately released, all of her money returned, with the 1% government - clearly not representing the People - held accountable for the grave injustice inflicted upon this family, and through reparations to the mom and children, and changes in illegal and unconstitutional application rules (not to mention unjust drug laws and lack of guaranteed access to quality medical care).

Otherwise, across the nation, Occupy Wall Street celebrated the real meaning of Thanksgiving by freely sharing food as neighbors should throughout the year, and protesting a system of mindless consumption at the growing expense, poverty, and violation of Americans' basic human and economic rights.

Courtesy of Daily Advance
Occupy Wall Street protesters share Thanksgiving

In personally taking stock, at this Thanksgiving time of year, I am glad Americans have some hope through the Occupy Wall Street movement standing up for what is right and just in this nation, and decrying what is unjust and wrong.

More here on roasting birds.  More here on the false notion of "luxury food."  More here on Winter in America.


- o.s.r.

Arrival


In case you missed the news, the Occupy Wall Street protesters who set out to walk all the way to Washington D.C. arrived on Tuesday.  Their estimated 240 mile march from Zuccotti Park timed to coincide with the Congressional deadline on whether to keep President Obama's extension of tax cuts under President Bush.  Setting out on Wednesday, November 9th, they lost some bodies along to the way to minor foot injuries, and one demonstrator's decision to return to defend Liberty Square, but otherwsie walked into Washington with more than twice the number of protesters they set out with.

Elizabeth Flock journeyed with the group providing this photo essay story.  In the picture below, school children cheer the demonstrators from Liberty Bell Center as they detoured through Philadelphia PA in order to march past Independence Hall, where both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were debated and adopted.

Courtesy of the Washington Post
Photographer:  Ricky Carioti
Philadelphia School Children Cheer Occupy Wall Street
Protesters From Liberty Center


Courtesy of Washington Post
Photographer:  Ricky Carioti
Occupy Wall Street marches past Independence Hall in Philadelphia
where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution
were debated and adopted.


Occupy Wall Street gave the marchers 3,000. dollars for the journey, but they barely used the funds, as so many people and organizations helped them along the way.  Motorists honked in support, stopped to give them food, hugs, invitations, and sometimes crying in gratitude - and individuals, community centers, and churches provided sleeping and shower facilities.

Lyudmila Tsubiks with Kansas City Infozine describes a group of 50 arriving in Washington to a warm and enthusiastic welcome after crossing parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.  Activists planned the route via internet, highway, major cities, and occupation camps.

Occupy DC activists met the group shortly before their arrival in Washington D.C. and marched with them into the city to McPherson Square, 2 blocks from the White House, and where their encampment is located.  Their arrival also closely coincided with the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO's 28th biannual convention on Saturday, approving a resolution that members treat Occupy encampments in the District and Baltimore as they would a formal picket line.

The resolution states the AFL-CIO will support any “unionized or non-unionized worker who refuses to break up, raid or confiscate the belongings of protesters.”
It also calls “on unions representing public workers and public safety workers to not participate in such activity as to deny the rights of occupiers.”
“Protest movements, like strike lines and organizing campaigns do not have curfews and are not 9 to 5 activities,” the resolution states. “And in doing so, we recognize and will work to protect the right for occupiers to protest 24 hours a day, on-site, with proper protection, including food, medical supplies, water and tents.”
The statement gets at the heart of the free speech issue and why the tents can stay up 24/7. 

Demonstraters said that 99 percent of the people they met along the way were supportive, and that they also viewed a great deal of homelessness and many empty, destroyed buildings.

The occupiers disagree with President Obama's decision to extend tax cuts through the end of this year, and say that the tax cuts only benefit the richest 1%.

Some of the marchers are continuing the journey by bicycle to Miami.

Courtesy of Washington Post
Photographer:  Elizabeth Flock
OWS Group Before Setting Out On 300 Mile trip to Washington D.C.
By the time they arrived, their group had lost a few, but doubled in size.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tomato Heirs

Toronto's Mayor Rob Ford, alternately known by internet posters as "Big Tomato Face," holds a press conference announcing that Occupy Toronto will not be allowed to peacefully demonstrate again in Toronto following an eviction from St. James Park supported by a Canadian court decision activists decry as violating the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

See below in youtube as the 1% press and Mayor's cohorts chuckle at their own "questions" and jokes about unions as Ford astonishingly declares people will no longer be allowed to peacefully demonstrate.



On the good ol' boys' union chuckle, Toronto union activists had presented a powerful voice opposing the eviction at the public park where activists had been camping out since Oct. 15th. 

Courtesy of National Post
Photographer:  Peter J. Thompson
Toronto union activists decry evictions at St. James Park

Librarians also chained themselves inside the Occupy Toronto Library yurt when they heard about the destruction of the Occupy Wall Street Library during Bloomberg's 11/15 police raid in the middle of the night.  Protesters then made a human chain removing the books one by one in order to prevent confiscation and destruction of literature by police.

Courtesy of National Post
Photographer:  Aaron Lynette
Toronto activists form human chain to save books.

Activist Kevin Konnyu is interviewed in the youtube below by mainstream Canadian news following the eviction.  ( And winning hands down against the Tomato Heir.)  Here, youtube poster JM Zimmerman speaks to some of the librarians chained inside the Library.  Here, a Toronto attorney answers a t.v. reporter's questions about some of the legal issues raised prior to the court's decision.





In a similar U.S. case, Atlanta Constitution Journal reports that Occupy Atlanta in the U.S. is appealing a judge's decision refusing to stop Kasim Reed's eviction of protesters from Troy Davis Park and while a lawsuit was pending.   Occupy Atlanta said in a Federal court filing Wednesday they would ask the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to consider the case.
Occupy Atlanta said in the lawsuit that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's decision to revoke his executive order allowing protesters to stay in the park was unconstitutional.
Police on Oct. 26 arrested more than 50 people who stayed in the park after Reed revoked the order. Reed has said the decision was a necessary response to mounting safety concerns.
On Reed's "mounting safety concerns":  the Atlanta Mayor evicted peaceful demonstrators in a major, inordinately expensive police operation on the premise that activists had failed to obtain a simple permit for a peaceful concert and small generator frequently used throughout the city during sports events.

Atlanta activists also announced circulating petitions for the mayor's recall.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Exhibit

Courtesy of Boing Boing
Mayor Bloomberg going up in his own smoke?


Occupy Wall Street librarians, attorneys, and activists held a press conference Wednesday, 11/23, to discuss the destruction of the Occupy Wall Street Library in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, 11/15th and to demand that the City replace the books destroyed, acknowledge what happened to the books was wrong, and provide a location for the library to continue operating. 

As blogged earlier, N.Y.P.D. tore apart the library in the middle of the night, arresting librarians, and destroying, damaging, and confiscating books, laptops, art, original works, and a costly tent donated by rock legend Patti Smith.  Included in the lost works are religious texts from every faith, classics from Shakespeare and Doestoevsky, poetry, and weirdly, according to Huffpost, even a copy of Bloomberg's autobiography.  At the press coverage, examples of damaged literature bearing the People's Library stamp were exhibited on a table.

Photographer:  David Caruso
Mangled, damaged books at OWS Library Press Conference

Occupy Wall Street Librarian Stephen Boyer managed to save the original poetry collection for the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology as he and University of Pittsburg English Professor William Scott poignantly tried to hold the fort through the night saving literature as Bloomberg's police department hailed fire, then rain.

Mr. Scott reports in The Nation:
During the raid, Stephen Boyer, a poet, friend and OWS librarian, read poems from the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology (see peopleslibrary.wordpress.com) aloud directly into the faces of riot police. As they pushed us away from the park with shields, fists, billy clubs and tear gas, I stood next to Stephen and watched while he yelled poetry at the top of his lungs into the oncoming army of riot police. Then, something incredible happened. Several of the police leaned in closer to hear the poetry. They lifted their helmet shields slightly to catch the words Stephen was shouting out to them, even while their fellow cops continued to stampede us. The next day, an officer who was guarding the entrance to Zuccotti Park told Stephen how touched he was by the poetry, how moved he was to see that we cared enough about words and books that we would risk violent treatment and arrest just to defend our love of books and the wisdom they contain.
Associated Press is presently reporting over 3,000 books destroyed out of a collection that had grown to over 5,000.  Librarians report 1,300 books recovered, with only 840 still in "useable" condition.  The remains of the library were hauled off randomly in anywhere of 26 trucks to a city sanitation garage.  OWS Librarian Michele Hardesty stated, "It is clear from what we saw at Sanitation that our books had been treated as trash."  AP reports on the exhibit table at least 2 bibles among "the filthy, mangled books."

Boing Boing says that, as recently as November 7, 2011, Mayor Bloomberg attended the New York Public Library's Library Lion Gala, considered one of NYC's top cultural and social events.  The event honors "distinguished individuals who have made significant cultural and educational achievements to increase our understanding of the world around us."


Courtesy of Boing Boing

There they lie.

More on the OWS Library Press Conference at the OWS Library website.

Thanks Giving

The real meaning of thanks with the late Mercedes Sosa and Joan Baez.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Poetry


Courtesy of Davids Camera Craft
Demonstrators march the Brooklyn Bridge, 10/1/2011

Taking Brooklyn Bridge

By, Stuart

I apologize Walt Whitman,
when I was young you spoke to me,
I would sit in the old church cemetery
surrounded by the tombstones of patriots
reading you out loud to the stray cats
and you came to me, you sang to me,
showed me myself in everyone and everything,
taught me a democracy of the soul, to live
in the rough and tumble world with dignity,
to grant that same dignity to the people around me.


I apologize Walt Whitman,
I let the song fade into the din
of everyday life, there are excuses
I could make, I will not make them,
I did not carry your song through the streets,
I worried about the strange looks and awkward postures
I might see in those who needed to hear it.
I got complacent, I was informed,
yes, informed, I read the papers, watched the news,
debated over dinners, knew full well since the days of Reagan
what was happening to the common people like me
that you taught me to love, watched as we were turned
from citizens to consumers to the dispossessed,
and I did not rise up, I did not take to the streets,
did not risk or struggle, did not sing your song
that you so generously gave me.

Over the years I saw the passage of events,
I began to wonder why I and so many others
did not pour into the streets when our votes
were laughed off and our presidency stolen by
fools and plunderers, I wondered why I and so many
others did not challenge the brigand government
when they led us into the unjust war, did not let them
know that the battle we would wage here at home
against that corporate sponsored, oil sopped war of lies
would be far more passionate and just,
I began to wonder why so many citizens did not see that
they were being sold out, duped with the frivolous,
hyped by the hollow, bankrupted by spurious ideologies.

And this unrest began to churn within me,
as I watched the fall of the people, watched
as the great common people were being baited
and cheated by robber barons who would
delight in rekindling the gilded age, to gloat from
their palaces at the miserable, and I wondered
how this could be, how I could be watching the country
I grew up in, the heirs of independence, the tough,
decent, imperfect, hardworking people I venerated
lose the freedom that so many before us fought and died for.

Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum
Artist:  Samuel Halpert (American, 1884-1930)
View On Brooklyn Bridge

There was a silent book on the shelf, your book,
Walt Whitman, I had kept the exact same copy
I discovered as a youth, inert on the shelf, the song
you taught me muted in the dark, and I was the same
as that book, a song stifled in the closed pages,
serving no one, a dusty decoration.

Then I saw the people who occupied Wall Street
on the news, heard their chants, read their signs,
was drawn by their passion and courage,
and I realized I had watched and wondered
for far too long, that I was perhaps even more guilty
than those who had perpetrated and even profited
from the disaster they now expect us to pay for
because I had done nothing.

My family and I came to stand with the occupiers, to be one with them,
to raise our voices and march with them, so, that, at the very least,
true freedom and real democracy would not be ground down
without a struggle, that we could look in the mirror and know
we fought for the just cause, not only for ourselves,
not only for America, but for all people,
now and one thousand years from now,
to tell humanity, to teach them, that freedom is not
purchased on a shopping spree, does not glow
on a TV screen, cannot be put on a credit card,
freedom is a responsibility that one must choose to bear
each and every day and no one can carry it for you,
that you must fight for the freedom of others
in order to have it yourself.

Over 30,000 protesters march the Brooklyn Bridge
11/17/2011

I came to atone for my apathy,
I came to teach the future vigilance,
better to be loud, be awkward, be dirty, be flawed,
you who are to come, make the people uncomfortable
because they are too timid to join you,
make the leaders uncomfortable
because they know you are unafraid,
I tell you that it is better to be one of the great democratic
people than it is to be a lord or a peasant.

We began to march from Liberty Square, a place
that now fully deserves its name, toward
the Brooklyn Bridge, and we chanted and sang
and called to those who watched to join us,
and there was a feeling in the air, a passion that
joined together every hearty soul, we all knew
we were on the side of the just, that we meant
no harm to any person, that we sought no more
than what was fair and sought it not only for ourselves,
and several times on the march my eyes welled with tears,
my emotions overwhelmed by the chaotic, brilliant
beauty of those marchers, of that which we marched for.

The long line of the protestors wound beneath
the towers of those who would squander the world,
devouring all that is good with their insatiable appetites,
making our way to the Brooklyn Bridge and when I saw
the towers of the bridge before me I started to laugh,
what better way to pay back Walt Whitman than to honor
his song at the crossing to Brooklyn, to march across the bridge
over the waters he crossed so many times, the bridge that poets
have embraced as a symbol, not only of ingenuity and progress,
not only of endeavor and perseverance, but as a symbol of democracy,
of the great crossing of humanity from tyranny to freedom.


Courtesy of Wikipedia
Engraving by Samuel Hollyer (1826-1919)
Walt Whitman, Age 37

They are here Walt and I am with them, the African father
pushing his daughter in a stroller, she holding a sign that proclaims
she too will fight for her future, the old man singing
‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ with wit and irony,
the veterans who know only too well of betrayal, the young girl
with bright fiery hair whose strong voice chants, “We got sold out,
banks got bailed out!” the unshaven college boy who has slept
in the park for two weeks seizing the future with determined hands,
the middle aged lady, vibrant and experienced, rallying us
to raise our voices, the mother and daughter holding a sign
that reads – America, Can you hear us now! All ages, all races,
all voices, songs and chants overlapping, strangers becoming comrades.

As the marchers cross the bridge on the pedestrian walk way
we see that a radical few have veered off onto the road,
blocking the traffic, arms linked, faces resolute,
an infectious spirit fills the air,
there is no way I can not join them,
my family and I climb the rail,
with many hands reaching out to help us,
we jump down and walk with them, this is not a day
to be a pedestrian, it is a day to agitate.

Many more come clambering down and you
can feel the tension rise, the police growing in number,
the people marching, earnest, a point has to be made,
the bridge has to be taken, and then we see the barricades
before us, the crowd jamming together as those behind us
keep coming forward, the police now closing in from both sides,
we are trapped not quite half way across the bridge,
and many are firm that they will not just leave,
some climb on dangerous girders to escape as others
call out to them to be careful, others sit and get ready
for their arrest, some are confused, not knowing that they
would come to this end, I see an older man, the first I think
to be arrested and there is both strength and weariness on his face
as he glares at the police with fearless eyes, and though as it turned out
we had been stopped there and would go no further,
our true momentum was not halted,
I knew we had triumphed, because we had taken action,
the people had risen, and with no violence or hatred,
we had shown our willingness to risk and struggle for our liberty,
and while it might seem a small thing to some,
an event to go largely unnoticed, not as bloody as a battle, or news
worthy as a riot,
I knew that we had come to the Brooklyn Bridge and given it the
meaning
poets had sought to give it in their words, we had brought
the rough, sacred spirit of democracy to the Brooklyn Bridge,
we had restored Whitman’s song to it’s very birthplace,
for he had called to us, the future, in his song, he sings to us now,
he knew that we would be here, he stands with us, chants with us,
and here I am on the Brooklyn Bridge on a day as important
as any day that has ever passed, watching Walt Whitman
above the bridge towers, sounding his barbaric yawp
above us, calling down the sign of democracy,
calling us to remember, not just one amazing day,
but the task to come - Sing on – Sing on – Sing on!
From the newly released Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology
- created by The People of Occupy Wall Street
- compiled by Stephen Boyer, Filip Marinovich, and The People of OWS

Courtesy of Reclaiming Myself
Protesters Close the Brooklyn Bridge

More here and here on the Occupy Wall Street Library, the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology (still accepting submissions), the weekly OWS Poetry Assembly.

More
here and here on the Occupy Wall Street Brooklyn Bridge demonstrations.

Quiz

Circle the correct answer with a number 2 pencil only.  Do not take time to think.

1.  Identify planet earth. 


(a)


(b)


 
2.  Who is the main character in the following scene afraid of?





(a)  She is afraid of the violent protesters.

(b)  She is afraid of the spaceman with the ray gun.

(c)  She is afraid of her escort.

(d)  She is not afraid.  She has an important dinner date and wants to get this over with.




Answers upside down in the back of the text.  If you get everything right, you too may be the chancellor of a university of higher education one day.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hot Cocoa

Courtesy of Wikipedia
A Mayan Chief forbids a person
to touch a jar of chocolate


decadent hot cocoa


appliances

a small pot
a tablespoon
cup and saucer

ingredients

2 tablespoons 100% dark cacao
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 cup of fat free milk
low-fat whipped cream in can

1 shotglass of whiskey (alternatively, 1 shotglass amaretto)

sprinkling of cinnamon
a touch of nutmeg (optional)
a few crushed pecans or pecan pieces (alternatively, walnut)

procedure

1.  put your cup of milk in the pan, and heat on a very low temperature, while stirring in cocoa and sugar.  continue stirring until liquid is steaming hot, but not boiling.

2.  add a shotglass of liquor to your serving cup on saucer.  add hot chocolate.

3.  decorate with a swirl of whipped cream, aiming your spray can at the outer rim of the cup and spiraling inward and up.  sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, and your nuts.

4.  serve immediately as alcohol content evaporates rapidly.


Savor and sleep well!  Nice with some quiet music in the background and candlelight.



Courtesy of Wikipedia
Cocoa Beans


additional thoughts

hot chocolate is a sacred drink with a long history.  Smithsonian reports anthropologists discovering cacao residue on pottery excavated in Honduras in 2007 possibly dating back as far as 1400 B.C.E.  Mayans and Aztecs believed the bean had divine properties for special events and rituals around birth, marriage, and death.

as thanksgiving rounds the corner, this is a beautiful evening indulgement, either leading up to the holiday, or at some point in the evening following a meal.  it is also a lovely drink cozying down during any cold or stormy night.

for children, of course, you leave the alcohol out entirely.

cocoa production is fraught with controversy, so choose your cocoa carefully, even if costs more, or don't buy it at all, as some companies employ child labor and slaves in order to harvest and produce.



Courtesy of Tree Hugger
Kuapa Kokoo Union farmer



more information on child labor and slavery in your chocolate here and here with a slave free chocolate list.

as a wise food philosopher once said, "what is divine can easily become demonic."  so make your hot cocoa truly a divine experience, don't support the evils of slavery, and buy slave-free chocolate.

- o.s.r.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Bridges

An aerial view of NYC demonstrators crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, with police estimates over 30,000



Some more aerial footage from BBC.

Occupy Wall Street demonstrators jammed the area in front of the Stock Exchange Thursday morning blockading all entry points, and with participants speaking out at each barrier locale, and via People's Mic, about personal experiences under an unfair economy.  Demonstrators also strategically occupied throughout the subway system, distributing leaflets.  Numbers swelled even more dramatically throughout the day. 


N17: Occupy Wall Street Stands Up
For the First Amendment

 
Around 240 people are reported arrested while peaceably assembling, including retired Philadelphia police captain, Ray Lewis.  "All the cops are just workers for the one percent, and they don't even realize they're being exploited," said Mr. Lewis. "As soon as I'm let out of jail, I'll be right back here and they'll have to arrest me again."

Law enforcement officers are increasingly visible as demonstrators themselves.  Democracy Now! interviewed retired Seattle police chief Norm Stamper who has also spoken out in support of Occupy Wall Street while criticizing police approaches reminiscent of failed policies and mistakes he remembers from the late nineties.  And, as blogged earlier, one law enforcement officer in the Atlanta area hosted occupation activists in his home in order resist eviction upon a bank foreclosure.  (The officer and his family of five were later evicted.)


Courtesy of KIMATV.com
Photographer:  Kevin P. Casey
N17: Seattle protesters march across the University Bridge


Many demonstrators marched on city bridges across the United States today in solidarity with the OWS Day of Action protesting financial inequities.  Locations included (just to name a few) Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Denver, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Houston, Miami, and Washington D.C. 

In Atlanta, a story followed by this blog, 8 activists were arrested at Georgia State University for blocking traffic while protesting tuition hikes and the cost of student loans.  Protesters also acted up inside a Wells Fargo branch making a statement via People's Mic.  Demonstrators later converged in front of the capitol addressing government corruption and financial equities caused by corporate greed.



Courtesy of MPR News
Photographer: Madeline Baran
N17 Occupy Minneapolis Protesters
On 10th Avenue Bridge: "Bridge the Gap"

 
MPI reports 11 people arrested in Minneapolis when demonstrators marched across the 10th Avenue Bridge, sat down, and refused to leave.   As police arrested protesters, they shouted, "You are the 99%!" 
"I have kids that I want to grow up and be able to have good jobs, and be able to achieve their American dream," said David Hoaglund, as he locked arms with other protesters and waited to be arrested. "This is important."          

In Chicago, police issued 46 Occupy Chicago protesters tickets for blocking the La Salle Street Bridge, when they sat down, linking arms in matching bright blue jackets with logos stating, "Jobs Not Cuts."

Courtesy of Chicago Tribune
Photographer:  Phil Velasquez
N17:  Occupy Chicago Blocks
the La Salle Street Bridge



Demonstrations in Chicago swelled to thousands.  Philip DeVon, a research manager at a trade publication, said he joined the Chicago march to show his support for the nationwide movement.  "It's a no-brainer today for me to be out here," he said.  "If everyone steps up and joins in, then the middle class and the 99 percent can be heard. Then, we're a force to be reckoned with."
 
More fabulous photos coming in out of New York from Davids Camera Craft.  A group of 17 photos from the New York Times.

N17 demonstrations were also held in cities throughout Canada, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, and Japan.  Blogger Italy Calling reports Turin students tried to occupy Italy's National Bank but were halted by violent charges by riot police.  Students subsequently occupied the landmark tower known as Mole Antonelliana holding a general assembly and demanding release of all students arrested that day.  In that one blog report by Italy Calling, simultaneous actions took place in a number of Italian cities and towns.

So the world is vast, but the bridges are many.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fire and Rain

Courtesy of Huffingpost Post
Occupy Wall Street Library prior to destruction by N.Y.P.D.
Tent was donated by rock legend Patti Smith and dubbed, "Fort Patti."

American Libraries reports a horrific scene in the wee hours of Tuesday morning when Bloomberg's police department descended upon Occupy Wall Street, and, the Occupy Wall Street Library

As blogged earlier, the library has been an important element of the Occupy Encampment, with a weekly poetry assembly widely considered one of the greatest open mic reading series NYC has ever fostered [video of poetry reading viewable at blog post].  Steven Boyer, a librarian at the Occupy Wall Street Library, had been collecting poetry for the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology.

Poet Reads With People's Mic
Friday Night Poetry Assembly at Occupy Wall Street

 
Christian Zabriskie, founder of Urban Libraries Unite, and writing for American Libraries, reports an sci-fi Bradbury-like scene beginning around 1 A.M. whereby the library was ripped apart and destroyed by the authorities in the middle of the night:
[...] its books, laptops, archives, and support materials [...] thrown into dumpsters by armed police and city sanitation workers. Numerous library staff were arrested, and, in one case, a librarian strapped the notebooks of original poetry from the library’s poetry readings to her body before lending aid to comrades who had been pepper-sprayed.

Prior to its destruction, the library had reached new levels of growth with laptops, a Wi-Fi hub, and a tent donated by author and rock legend Patti Smith and dubbed “Fort Patti.” The library also had thousands of circulating volumes. Library staff rightfully prided themselves on their collection, the entirety of which was donated by private citizens and corporations for the general public good. The collection included the holy books of every faith, books reflecting the entire political spectrum, and works for all ages on a huge range of topics. These were thrown into dumpsters amidst tents, tables, blankets, and anything else on the Zuccotti Park site.

Library staff were assured that they would be able to recover their materials from a city sanitation depot. Indeed, the firestorm of public hue and cry that followed the clearing of the park, the destruction of the library was the only aspect of the action to which the city directly responded. However, when library staff attempted to collect the library’s property on the morning of November 16, they found the laptops smashed, much of the collection missing, and many of the books that were recovered damaged beyond recovery. The damage to the library’s archives of zines, writings, art, and original works is devastating and irreparable.


Courtesy of Litmus Press
A portion of Occupy Wall Street Library
prior to its destruction by N.Y.P.D.

 Librarians tweeting through the havoc reported 5,554 books destroyed

Within 24 hours, the library was restarted with about 6 paperbacks.  Within 2 hours, they had over 100 books, and were fully functioning with cataloguing, lending, and reference services.  It started to rain, however, and tents and tarps were no longer permitted, so staff covered titles with a clear plastic trash bag.  Christian Zabriskie writes:
Within minutes a detail of about 10 police descended and demanded that the covering be removed because they deemed the garbage bag to be a tarp. There were a few tense minutes as staff tried to convince them otherwise, but ultimately it was removed—leaving the collection open to the elements. As the police withdrew, scores of people chanted “BOOKSBOOKSBOOKSBOOKS.”

Courtesy of The Millions
Photographer:  Bill Morris
Scores of people using the Occupy Wall Street Library
prior to its destruction in the middle of the night by N.Y.P.D.
The Occupy Wall Street Library website is located here.



Green Grass

Cibelle in an animated production of Tom Waits' Green Grass.