Monday, April 28, 2014

End The Fossil Fuel Age of Saturday's march in Washington D.C. with the Cowboy Indian AllianceThousands marched against the Keystone XL pipeline, the largest event of a 5 day "Reject and Protect" encampment.  The Obama administration has announced that decision on the pipeline is again delayed; the proposed route snakes through the Ogallala Aquifer, from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, entering six states.  Most of the oil would be shipped outside the U.S., most jobs would be temporary, and only 35 jobs would be permanent.

From the Wisconsin Gazette:
"Boots and moccasins showed President Obama an unlikely alliance has his back to reject Keystone XL to protect our land and water,” said Jane Kleeb, executive director of Bold Nebraska, one of the key organizers of Reject and Protect.

Reject and Protect protesters make the point in front of the Washington Monument:  "Standing in water could get me arrested.  TransCanada pollutes drinking water and nothing happens."

The day’s procession included the presentation of a hand-painted tipi to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian as a gift to Barack Obama.
The tipi represented the Cowboy and Indian Alliance’s hopes for protected land and clean water. The formal name of the tipi is “Awe Kooda Bilaxpak Kuuxshish” and “Oyate Wookiye,” two names given to Obama by the Lakota and the Crow Nations upon his visit to those Nations in 2008. The title translates from the Lakota and Crow languages, respectively, as "Man Who Helps the People" and “One Who Helps People throughout the Land."
“Keystone XL is a death warrant for our people,” said Oglala Sioux Tribal president Bryan Brewer, who helped lead the presentation of the tipi to the Smithsonian. “President Obama must reject this pipeline and protect our sacred land and water. The United States needs to respect our treaty rights and say no to Keystone XL."
Steven Tamayo of Sicangu Tribe painted the tipi over 3 days, with as many as 50 volunteers, including children as young as five years.  A description of images on the tipi here at Popular Resistance.

Some twitter pictures on the tipi:

In the video below, Amy Goodman speaks with actress and activist Daryl Hannah, arrested 3 times in protests against the Keystone XL;  also, from the Cowboy Indian Alliance, Nebraska farmer Art Tanderup and Reject and Protect organizer Gary Dorr of the Nez Perce Nation.

"This issue is important to me," said Mr. Dorr, "certainly for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the Great Sioux Nation, because it threatens the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides drinking water for 2.3 million people. It also threatens the Missouri River, which provides drinking water for probably a couple 'nother million. So we're talking about five million American citizens who are—who have their drinking water supply threatened. This water supply also provides crops, water for our crops, for irrigation. So now we’re talking about more and more millions and millions of people who could be affected. This could be an economic bust for the Midwest."

Mr. Tanderup, who is north of Neligh, Nebraska, and right on the pipeline route, as well as the 1870s Ponca Trail of Tears, describes the Ogallala Aquifer as the United States’ largest clean water and underground aquifer.

"It [the aquifer] starts," he says, "in South Dakota, covers most of Nebraska and on down into Kansas and parts of Oklahoma, as well. And it’s—you know, it’s not necessarily a big lake under the ground; it’s more of a huge sponge of—in gravel, sand, etc., that provides clean drinking water. It provides water for livestock, for wildlife, for human consumption, for irrigation. It’s the livelihood of the Heartland."

Neil Young was also in Washington D.C. for the demonstration;  he recently completed an Honour the Treaties tour crossing Canada to protest pipeline development in First Nations communities there.  

"We need to end the fossil fuel age and move into something better," he told the crowd.

More below:


Invoking Galileo

With the Indigo Girls


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

National Mall

ABC reports here on the Cowboy Indian Alliance in Washington D.C. on horseback Tuesday, and protesting the Keystone XL pipeline.  Events to are taking place over the next several days, culminating Saturday with a mass march on the White House.

Some coverage from twitter:

Some footage of the Indigo Girls playing two songs (Love Of Our Lives and Go) as one the teepees is put up (video via Robert Brune of DC Media Group; introduction by Winona La Duke):

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Medical Students For Single Payer

Medical students marched for single payer in Chicago, Illinois, denouncing the private insurance industry's destructive influence on health care delivery at the entrance to Blue Cross/Blue Shield's corporate headquarters.  Protesters had finished attending the 3rd Annual Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP) Summit held earlier that day at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.  Others at the protest included members of PNHP, the Illinois Single Payer Coalition, National Nurses United, and a group fighting to re-open a trauma center on Chicago’s South Side.  Univision covered the demonstration;  video here at PNHP with an English language transcript.  The film crew for the youtube below have made a soon-to-be-released documentary, The Good Doctor, about physician and single payer activist Quentin Young.

*Photo credit, top, via PNHP,  Med students rally for single payer outside Chicago-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield Illinois as part of the 3rd Annual SNaHP Summit.

Living Wage

Coverage and discussion of the fight for a living wage at what is regarded as one the world's leading hospitals, John Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland.  In the first of two videos below, we hear from long-time hospital workers on a three day strike describing the challenges of their jobs while trying to survive on meager pay.   

In the second video and radio show below, guests discuss, "Can John Hopkins afford to pay a living wage?" 

Well, a four year contract under the employees' proposal would cost the hospital 12 million dollars.  Carietta Hiers with the SEIU points out that, each year, the hospital makes 84 million dollars, so to pay people a sufficient wage would cost them the relatively small fraction of only 3 million per year - out of that 84 million - under the proposal.  

Also, Jeff Singer, founder and executive director of Health Care for the Homeless, and instructor with the University of Maryland School of Social Work, states that compensation for the CEO of Hopkins is more than the annual cost of bringing all the John Hopkins workers' salaries up to a liveable standard.  He cites a contrasting example with Larry Page, one of the Google founders, who takes a salary of a dollar per year because he wants to make sure that the company has a rich benefits package and pays their workers reasonably well.  Maybe that's an idea for other CEOs, Mr. Singer suggests.  

In addition, he says, John Hopkins assets were reported at 470 million dollars - "that's what they have, essentially, sitting around."  Mr. Singer states they could easily take one source of those assets, put it "in a lock box," and "keep that money for nothing but investing in their employees.  It wouldn't harm one current employee.  It wouldn't reduce the number of employees."  

He adds that they have 13 people on their payroll whose compensation is half a million dollars per year.  And yet, he queries, they can't afford to pay more than a non-living wage?  "They can't afford to bring salaries beyond the food stamps requirements?" 

Sunday, April 13, 2014


In the badlands of South Dakota, Che Christ shares an excerpt from Clouds of Thunder with Poetry Against Pipelines. He is standing one hour from where TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline threatens to cross the area.  Uploaded August 9th, 2014.  A march on the White House against the Keystone XL is scheduled for Saturday, April 26th.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


File:Eggplant Flower in Hong Kong.JPGroasted aubergine


Pan (tin foil, optional)
Cutting board
Large knife


1 or 2 standard grocery eggplants, as desired

olive oil - up to 1/4 cup


sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
basil (fresh or dried)


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Wash the eggplant, dry, then cut off the stem end, cut it in half (horizontal to that stem), then quarter each half.

3.  Douse your pan generously with olive oil.  Then, taking each quartered eggplant piece, roll in the oil on each side, adding more oil to the pan, as needed for the additional pieces, arranging them skin-side down and about in your baking utensil.

4.  Sprinkle with your seasoning, as desired (go easy on the salt), and bake for 50 minutes (give or take a bit, depending on your oven).

Et voilĂ  !  Serve as is, with a fork and serrated knife, by itself or any number of other dishes, from rice or potatoes, pasta, or various meats, including sausages.  These also keep nicely for the next day in the refrigerator to serve chilled with a salad, or to pack off with a lunch.

File:Eggplant display.JPG


If you've been faint hearted at the prospect of working with the tender aubergine, this basic recipe will get you through, with an outcome that is absolutely delicious.  I've found that the key, here, is oven timing; mine just perfect at 50 minutes.  If you overcook, the skin will become tough and brittle.  And you do want to eat the skin, which is delicious, and also loaded with fiber, as well as other nutrients.  Eggplant is a good meat substitute, as well, since it is high in protein.

If you can wait 50 minutes before eating, the recipe is indeed "fast food" because it is so easy and so quick to prepare.  There is no substitute for oven time with flavor, and with the microwave, here.  You have to roast this lovely vegetable in the traditional fashion.  (You can reheat, though, the next day;  still, I'd prefer it chilled and untouched by any microwave approach.)

Many eggplant varieties, so happy explorations (see yellow variety, for example, in the photo below)!  This recipe is with the standard sized purple eggplants found in many U.S. groceries.  (Of course, the smaller and longer Japanese eggplant, also found here, would have a different cooking time.)

More eggplant journeys here with my eggplant panini (and where I *did* use a microwave).  You can also recycle the roasted aubergine, the next day, and in that sandwich, rather than using the microwave version, which works in that case, as a time-saving preparation device.  

- o.s.r.

*Photo credits/top, via wikipedia, photographer: Earth100, "Eggplant, also know as the aubergine, is a member of the plant family Solanaceae, shown here flowering in full bloom as photographed by Earth100."  Second, via wikipedia, photographer:Phoebe, "Display of heirloom varieties of eggplants, taken at the Baker Creek Second Annual National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, California, USA."  Third, also via wiki, photographer:Iaminfo, Brinjal or Solanum melongena, yellow eggplants or "Brinjal" from India: "The green fruits turn yellow when ripe."

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Embedded image permalink 
Jury selection underway in the case of Occupy protester Cecily McMillan  who went into a seizure while witnesses reported on youtube (March, 2012) seeing her dragged and beaten by police at demonstrations against Wall Street corruption of the government and economy.


Two years later, police have not faced any charges.  Ms. McMillan, however, faces a felony that can lead up to seven years in prison after reflexively back-arming a police officer who aggressively grabbed her breast.  She has published photos taken of her bruises after her arrest.

Ms. McMillan is a labor organizer who was a nanny and graduate student at New School during the massive Occupy Wall Street protests that reached national and international proportions.  The New York Times reports that jurors are being questioned about their views of the protests, Wall Street, and the police.  

On the day in question, Ms. McMillan was not participating in the protests, but meeting a friend to go out and celebrate Saint Patrick's Day.  Her attorney, Martin Stolar, told the Guardian that she is well known in activist circles as a proponent of non-violence.

The officer in question, Grantley Bovell, has been accused in 4 previous incidents of violence.  In one, he is being sued by another Occupy protester, 33 year old Harvard graduate Austin Guest, 'who alleges that the officer dragged him down the aisle of a bus while "intentionally banging his head on each seat” while removing him and dozens of other protesters from the demonstration, which marked six months of the Occupy movement.' 

Guest is joined in his case by 8 other protesters who also say that Bovell, several other officers, NYPD, and the city violated their constitutional rights.

More about jury selection and the Cecily McMillan case at Alternet.

Below, a February 2014 interview with attorney Martin Stolar:


Jury selection resumes Friday, April 11th, with supporters invited to attend in the court room.  Supporters have shown up wearing a picture of a pink hand pinned to the breast.  

Protesters were reportedly instructed by the judge to remove the pink hands.

More information on courtroom etiquette and how to help at Justice For Cecily

*Photo credit, top, via Occupy Wall Street, photographer: Andrew Gombert/European Pressphoto Agency, Cecily McMillan; bottom, via theguardian, photographer: Andrew Gombert/EPA, "Cecily McMillan and attorney Martin R Stolar during a press conference at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York."

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cowboys and Indians

Reject and Protect Image 2 copy logod-01
The "Cowboy Indian Alliance" against the Keystone XL, and also known as Reject and Protecthas announced a change of date to Saturday, April 26th for the Washington D.C. National Mall action.

An unusual alliance - mostly South Dakota and Nebraskan farmers, ranchers, and Native American communities living along the proposed northern route for Keystone XL  - plan to ride into Washington D.C. on horseback April 22nd, set up tipis near the White House, and host events over several days publicizing the grave environmental and health issues associated with tar sands expansion.  Events also include a prayer ceremony in front of Vice President John Kerry's home.  (Vice President Kerry has reportedly been reviewing material on the pipeline.)

Actions will culminate in the Saturday, April 26th mass march to the White House to urge President Obama to reject the tar sands project at what is considered a critical decision-making juncture.   

Supporters are invited here at to participate.

You can also sign your support here.  

In the 2011 video below from filmmaker Ron Seifert, the Cowboy Indian Alliance is established as Oglala Lakota elder Alex White Plume shakes hands with rancher Paul Siemens in a show of solidarity against exploitation of Alberta's dirty tar sands.  Daryl Hannah & Sicangu Lakota Hereditary Chief John Spotted Tail look on.

Via Truthout, 
Many of those participating in the Cowboy Indian Alliance are fighting to defend land originally theirs under the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 and 1868; a legally binding agreement between the Lakota (Sioux) and the U.S. government that was to create the “Great Sioux Reservation.” The territory includes all of South Dakota west of the Missouri River, hunting grounds in Northern Nebraska (the location of the Ogallala Aquifer), North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. The treaty stated that “no white person or persons shall be permitted to settle upon or occupy any portion of the [territory]; or without the consent of the Indians, first had and obtained, to pass through the same.”
That was before gold was discovered in the Black Hills in 1871. The Black Hills are the most sacred piece of land to the Lakota. It is where they believe life came from. In a Wall Street endeavor, mining companies disregarded the 1868 treaty and flooded into the area under U.S. government protection of General George Armstrong Custer and the 7th cavalry. The U.S. officially seized the Black Hills and bloodily split up the “Great Sioux Reservation” into six smaller reservations in 1877, culminating with the Wounded Knee Massacre. One hundred and fifty to 300 Lakota men, women and children were slaughtered by the 7th Cavalry.

Northwestern Photo Company, 
Library of Congress Prints and Photos Division
 "Burial of the dead after the massacre of Wounded Knee. U.S. Soldiers putting Indians in common grave; some corpses are frozen in different positions. South Dakota."
Battle of Wounded Knee, 1890
Site of Wounded Knee massacre referenced in Truthout report
Map of Keystone XL Pipeline route

The Keystone route plows straight through treaty territory, and while it does not go directly into reservation land, it comes within a few feet, also threatening to pollute the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies drinking water to millions of people. (Also see map below in relation to Keystone XL map route; via wikipedia, U.S. Geological Survey, "The High Plains Aquifer underlies an area of approximately 174,000 square miles (451,000 km²) that extends through parts of eight states. The aquifer is the principle source of water in one of the major agricultural areas of the United States.")
The Rosebud Sioux of the Cowboy Indian Alliance are formally refusing to sign the federal government's imposed agreement that the government has met legally imposed consultation requirements.  10 tribal leaders walked out of a May 16th 2013 State Department meeting to clearly make the point that 'the gathering was not recognized as a valid consultation on a "nation to nation" level.'  Furthermore, they stated they would meet only with President Obama to discuss the pipeline.  

The following tribes were represented in the walk-out, and via the Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association:
Southern Ponca
Pawnee Nation
Nez Perce Nation

The following Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires People):
Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate
Ihanktonwan Dakota (Yankton Sioux)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe
Oglala Sioux Tribe
Standing Rock Tribe
Lower Brule Sioux Tribe
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
Crow Creek Sioux Tribe
The State Department received a million public comments mostly against the pipeline, and by an April 2013 deadline that coincidentally coincided with Earth Day.  The EPA weighed in against the March 2013 environmental draft report "saying more study was needed of greenhouse gas emissions, the potential effect of spills, and the route through ecologically sensitive territory."

The Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association is comprised of 16 tribal chairmen, presidents and chairpersons in North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska "who have joined to defend treaty rights." In January 2013, leadership from the association along with other tribes signed the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred Against the Tar Sands

The Rosebud Sioux are heading the "Shield the People" campaign - Oyate Wahacanka Woecun - and are setting up further encampments along the proposed route to protest the pipeline.

More on Shield the People below, "Can A Tipi Stop A Pipeline?"