Thursday, July 30, 2009

Live from PYM Annual Sessions

Here I am at Annual Sessions, being held at De Sales University in the beautiful rolling hills of Penn's Woods...

Scilla Wahrhaftig and I just held our interest group discussion session on torture. Bob Greene from Princeton Friends and Harry (can't remember his last name) from Crosswick Friends attended. Hey, that's 2 more people than showed up last year!!

After viewing NYYM's video minute on torture and spending some time in worship, the conversation quickly moved from Guantánamo to much bigger questions of poor schools and poverty in the inner cities in general and how to build the "political will" to do something about it. It was great to meet Bob Greene finally. I'm going to keep in touch with him and see what sorts of outreach they are doing in the Princeton area.

It's been lovely chatting with Scilla. Came all by myself last year and didn't talk to anyone at all, besides the fact that no one attended my workshop :-(

This building is very modern and amazing. I'm blogging on my laptop using the wireless, but there are 6 public PCs available, four of which have been commandeered by some very young campers who are playing video games. The cafeteria is new and shiny, and I made myself a yummy salad for lunch ... there was even ice cream! Really looking forward to dinner.

Couldn't resist making a couple of purchases at Quaker Books.

A great kickoff to vacation!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

URGENT - Call your senator: GITMO could remain open indefinitely!

Correct me if I'm wrong. Didn't President Obama issue an executive order on his first day in office mandating that Gitmo be CLOSED within the year?

What is Senator James Inhofe's (R-OK) problem? Has he bothered to read the reports of the Combat Status Review Tribunals? Or the testimony of Lieut. Col. Stephen Abraham before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in May 2008? ("The Mistakes of Guantánamo and the Decline of America's Image")

Of the more than 700 individuals who have passed through that fortress of shame known as Guantánamo Bay Prison, only a handful actually have credible accusations against them. Which hasn't kept 200 of them from being incarcerated for over 7 years...or tortured.

Or maybe the senator simply believes his own fear mongering...

When I was as kid, they used to tell us that only the commie pinkos rounded up people and threw them into prison without charge. How do we dare lecture other countries about human rights abuses with Gitmo still open? The Statue of Liberty does not stand for illegal detention and torture (no pun intended).

Please call your Senators and tell them to vote against S.A. 1559, which would PERMANENTLY prevent the President from transferring any detainee from Gitmo FOR ANY PURPOSE, whether to stand trial in a US court or to be housed at another facility. Remind them that the abuses that occurred in the prison in Guantanamo shamed our nation and you hope that they will not stand in the way of closing that prison. Voting against this amendment will make it possible to close Guantanamo.

If you live in Pennsylvania:
Sen Casey's Washington office: Phone: (202) 224-6324
or Toll Free: (866) 802-2833

Sen Specter's Washington office: 202-224-4254

Otherwise, check

Here are more details from NRCAT:

Dear Friends:

Senator Inhofe has offered an amendment, S.A. 1559, to the FY 2010 National Defense Authorization bill (S. 1390) that would PERMANENTLY prevent the President from transferring any detainee in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to a prison in the United States - whether for the purpose of trying that detainee in a court of law, or for the purpose of closing Guantanamo.

As you all know, Guantanamo is widely recognized as a symbol of our government's use of torture. Senator Inhofe's amendment would make it much more difficult for our country to close Guantanamo - preserving the symbol of torture and needlessly tarnishing our country's reputation.

Please call your Senators and tell them to vote against S.A. 1559. Remind them that the abuses that occurred in the prison in Guantanamo shamed our nation and you hope that they will not stand in the way of closing that prison. Voting against this amendment will make it possible to close Guantanamo.

You can reach your Senators by calling the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and asking to speak with one of your Senators. Then call back and ask to speak to your other Senator.

Thank you for all you have done to end U.S.-sponsored torture.


Linda Gustitus, President
Richard Killmer, Executive Director


Thanks for the free clip-art to the Just A Touch Art Studio of Jonesboro, Georgia;

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Warped Tour Experience

The Goodnight Anthem, featuring my son Tony on guitar and vocals, played at Warped Tour today....

at the Susquehanna Bank Center,

and I was there (as you can see, I found the Greenpeace tent). I got in for free, even got a VIP wristband, because I'm the lead singer's mom and the band's manager is a really nice guy...and it probably didn't hurt that I cooked dinner for them last night.

Took the PATCO high-speed line into New Jersey for the first time. Great mode of transportation! No reason at all to drive to Camden. Besides, parking at the Susquehanna Bank Center costs $20. Round trip from Philly to Camden on PATCO costs $2.50.

Here's The Goodnight Anthem's tent...

and their merch. That's short for merchandise. You can't have a band nowadays without an inventory of sweatshirts and other stuff. We taught this generation well...

I took a vacation day to be there, amid a mass of youthful humanity, with groupies walking about and carrying signs announcing the time and venue (there were 6 stages) of their band. I'd like to say that it brought back memories of band extravaganzas of my youth, but I wasn't into the rock scene too much. The Greenpeace and Warped Eco Initiative tents did remind me of vegetarian and other whole earth festivals I attended. Warped Eco is an outreach effort by Phillipe Cousteau's (grandson of Captain Jacques Coustean) Earth Eco International environmental organization. Made me a bit sad, too. Here we are, some 30 years later, our earth sicker, still trying to get people to change their ways. Clearly, my generation just didn't work hard enough. With "peace, love, and higher consciousness" on our lips, we unconsciously fell prey to the gospel of greed-is-good...

At t-minus 30 minutes until their performance (11:45 am), I made my way into the main amphitheater. TGA would be performing on the SmartPunk stage. While they were setting up on stage right, a ska band called Streetlight Manifesto was playing stage-left, designated as the stage. That's the system for getting so many bands through on a single day, one band sets up stage right while another performs stage left. Very efficient. The ska band had 2 horns, 2 saxes, and a trombone, besides other assorted instruments. The lead singer had his left arm in a sling -- must have tangled with a SmartAlec punk. I enjoyed their driving, brassy energy. I felt every decibel vibrate through my rib cage.

Tony has been dreaming of this day since he first picked up a guitar. I can still remember when he was about 12 trying to persuade us to let him skip summer day camp to go with friends to Warped Tour. I must have asked him to repeat the name of the thing several times. Mom's just don't get it.

Tony's big moment finally arrived. "Hi, how are you all today? We're The Goodnight Anthem!" Fans stood screaming at the foot of the stage, pulsing their hands in the air to the beat of the music. And "Thank you all so much!" and "Give it up for yourselves for being so awesome!" after each song, just like a real entertainer.

20 minutes of dreams come true.

"C'mon, get your hands up!"

From left to right, Joe, Tony, Max, Jimmy

The birth of The Goodnight Anthem (in our basement)