Sunday, July 29, 2007

Personal BlogHer Debriefing


I want to begin my personal debriefing per the BlogHer Conference. I’m sitting at the bar at Uno’s in Chicago. I tried to get a Spanish meal down the street at Emilios Tapas but the server obviously did not want to serve (per his non-attentiveness) a single female who wasn’t going to drink alcohol. So back to the familiar. Was really looking forward to some pan con tomat and some calamari. Sigh. I’m sure my dissing it isn’t going to impact their Zagat’s rating, but I feel better for having vented.


Today was wonderful. Informal. Made connections. Learned a bunch. And I made some connections which is the element I felt was missing from my conference connection.

I participated in a focus group for Revolution Health that allowed me the opportunity to vent about some holes in the health care system that I’d noticed these past few months that they may be able to address and fill. This meant that I missed part of the first session and part of the second, but I came in on the second session and stayed there for the rest of the day.

Blogging with accessibility, wikis, and embedding wikis within in web pages are all topics I wouldn’t have sought out had it not been presented in a small non-hierarchical manner. I’m so glad I attended. Codepink AZ now has a wiki! This is going to allow all the groups and individuals to coordinate actions, plans, information of all types. Of course public sites are attractive to trolls, but there are ways to circumvent folks who are maliciously motivated. I really, really want to go home to Tucson. Anyway, back to the conference.


Elizabeth Edwards interview and open answers to whole large group questions was a highlight, but the entire day of political speak was quite interesting. Edwards and Clinton were the only Pres. camps who chose to be present at the conference.

Pizza arrived. More later. Will add links too.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Elizabeth Edwards

Notes from Elizabeth Edwards questions.

Listening to Elizabeth Edwards talk about the magic of the medium and how we don't sep. ourselves in this medium as we do in RL.

She has dealt with all the issues of blogging while not having her own blog. She writes her own diary entries on the Edwards size.

"He's come a long way since his days on a Southern Baptist pew.

She believes in actually answering questions.

Feels John is more supportive of "women's issues" than Hillary Clinton.

Universal healthcare is a key issue , childcare also.

Birth to death education is another significant education.

Youth need to feel their voice is heard in order to want to participate. One Corps per local level. Larger issues at national Iraq. Global warming. Darfur. Operation engage (young people who do not go to college.)

Iraq as a woman's issue. Women serving in Iraq - 10%. Fiancee.

Didn't mention the civilian casualties. Although she did mention that if mother's were in charge, there would be no war.

Also talked about the class divide in the military.

Medium consolidation and Telecom Act of 1996 - John doesn't want Rupert Murdoch to be the gatekeeper of information. She recognizes the uniformity.

Net neutrality is important. (See Laura Scott on Blogher Ads.)

No one person should be the sieve through whom all information flows.

Trails of following from one blog to another.

35 Google alerts.

Eldercare/sandwich -- coverage of chronic care and long-term care. Need to increase number of people who can navigate the eldercare issue. Who watches out for elders who have no children. We are at capacity for training nurses. We need nurse educators.

People dye their hair purple in order to stand out in a very crowded world.

Howard Dean is right.... we need a campaign in all 50 states.

From audience member: "?" Religious liberal. Reclaiming the F word. F is for faith.

Doesn't believe in an intervening God he (or she) does not think her prayers for intervention about cancer will have any effect.

Renewing their vows on Monday. Service was a part of their vows.

No one edits her posts, sees her posts.....

Will continue to answer questions (with Blogher) from Blogher 07.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bush's Executive Order 13438 serious threat to activism

Just received this from a CODEPINK friend in D.C.

You're receiving this because time is short to try to stop Bush's Executive Order 13438 from becoming law on August 19. The Executive Order, titled "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq," is unconstitutional but once it becomes law it would likely take years and huge chaos and loss to activists before being revoked. As you know, Congress will recess for August. The Order was entered into the Federal Register on July 19. It becomes law automatically on August 19. Today is July 27. Will Pelosi and Reid call them back to stop this? Yesterday at the Senate subway to the Capitol, I spoke to about 10 Senators about this. After my brief, on-the-run question-description of the Order, they all said they had never heard of the Order (!) but that they would look into it. Your help is greatly needed to quickly study the order and then move Congress to stop it using your broad contacts to mobilize. I will set up a yahoo group site, called "Stop Executive Order of July 17, 2007" to help move communication forward.

Calls and faxes to Congress are urgent! See the contact lists at These lists, by the way, can be moved to a spreadsheet.

White House web site for the Executive Order: order

I've highlighted the most problematic element below:

(i) to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of:...

Holy Mother of the World, we have to stop him!

I'm here!

I'm at BlogHer 07. Arrived last night quite late and have been busy every moment since then. Amazing women per media, politics, technology, business.... The over-layer of corporate gloss conceals a significant network of progressive women.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Monday at Evan's Office

What an amazing day!. Zanne just left "the farm" and headed for South Bend.

We hit the street by the Federal Bldg. in Fort Wayne by 8 a.m. this morning. Zanne and I were the first to arrive, followed shortly by Betty, then Dave, then Phyllis, Bruce, Bonnie and 5 or six others wonderful folks for a Peace Vigil in front of the Federal Building where Evan Bayh's office is located. The specific target of this gathering was awareness of Bayh's vote for war funding in May. Zanne is doing her best to visit the office of every Democratic Senator who voted in May to fund the war. By 8:30 we were organizing to go up to Senator Bayh's office.

No cameras or cell phones allowed in the building. Have to have ID with photo. Once we made it through security two very large burly men stepped up to block our way and ask us what we intended to do. He referred to us as protestors. I didn’t intend to argue with him but I would have loved to have had the time to discuss his labeling of us. “We’ve had trouble with protestors before,” he said. “Laying down in the halls and such.” Was he referring to the three men who were arrested as they prayed in the Federal Building in April? Anyway I didn’t appreciate the physical blocking of our entry, so I politely said, is it okay if we go through (meaning between these two federal marshals.)” Four people had decided to go up, but it soon became clear that only three of us were on the same page with the purpose of this planned visit. But that was good too as it provided a few “educational moments.”

When we arrived upstairs, no one was in Bayh’s office so we stopped by Mark Souder’s office to give his staff some feedback to pass on to him. That was that we watch what all senators and Reps do and we like to give positive feedback where it is appropriate. While Congressman Souder has a long way to go, we have noticed that he has moved toward opposing the war and bringing our troops home.

After we left Congressman Souders office we stood in the hall debating whether we should wait there for Senator Bayh’s office to open. That was when “one of our own” started unloading on us about how she thought Bayh was doing a good job and that we should support him. We tried to calmly reply that Bayh voted to fund the war in May. The viewpoint that this woman espoused was that we have to support any Democrat in Indiana no matter what. My take is that any Democratic Senator in Indiana needs to support the will of the people. We need him to lead, we need him or her to have the courage to do what is right, not mouth the Republican framing of an issue. Even here in the conservative Bible Belt the majority of the people want our troops home NOW.

I pay taxes here in Indiana and have lived well over half my life here in this state. All the branches of my family have been Hoosiers for going on two centuries (not to mention the Indian ancestors who met those folks as they arrived.) We do not want war. We do not want to send our children to fight the wars that benefit the rich families and their corporate manifestations.

Sometimes it is difficult to tell the supporter from the provocateur – this is just my opinion, but I believe some of the internal divisive behavior we experienced this morning is “cornered prey” behavior. In extremely conservative Republican strongholds it can be fairly easy to develop a mindset that works almost totally from dichotomy of us them and to live and work from a mindset of fear that demands fight or flight responses rather than reasoned calm assessments of areas of mutual agreement.

We all come from different places and perspectives. We must look for areas of overlap, areas of agreement, areas where we can cooperate, and we must not sabotage each other. We must support each other and all grow through learning from each other.

I sometimes allow myself to engage in magical thinking and I’m allowing myself that luxury per my thoughts about this morning. Had it not been for the presence of a woman who wants peace but does not feel it is appropriate to “disrespect” Senator Bayh (and who cannot hear me when I say that I don’t feel it is appropriate for Senator Bayh to disrespect the people) we might not have still been on the floor when Brent Wake, the regional Director for Senator Evan Bayh, opened up the office.

Mr. Wake is a well-spoken man. He asked us in, attempted to get us all chairs, and listened intently and politely as we asked him to please make sure the Senator gets the message that the people of Indiana do not believe that his vote for war spending in May was justified and that we expect him to vote to cut off war funding in September. Mr. Wake attempted to explain to us that the Senator didn’t want to abandon the troops in Iraq without money to support their return. We discussed several of the fallacies inherent in that essentially Republican framed argument. We attempted to explain that we need our Democratic Senators to be courageous and to lead without concern about whether that will a prudent political career move for them.

I mentioned my pink sister of the peace struggle being arrested and prosecuted in Hammond, Indiana for reading the names of the American Service men and women who have died in Iraq . She was arrested in front of building that houses Senator Bayh’s office. Why was she ordered away before she had finished reading the names of those who have given their lives to defend our country even though the entire situation we were supposedly defending our country from was a crock of warm spittle? Why does Senator Bayh refuse to meet with the peace community of Indiana? The bright side is that Mr Wake did say he would attempt to arrange a meeting between the Senator and the Ft. Wayne Peace Community. Betty is the contact that Mr. Wake will notify per the meeting. She will contact the rest of the peace community as best she can after she receives the call.

It was so good to talk to people on the street. One gentleman, Jebbar, who has recently completed his military service actually drove past us and then parked and came over to thank us and to let us know that a large, large segment of the men and women of the military wants us out of Iraq. He was articulate, informed and radiated the peaceful confidence of a just man. There is hope for us if he in any way represents our young adult population.

We also talked to a woman with a wonderful presence, Jackie, who said she wanted to mention us on her blog and how she supported the peace work that we are trying to do. She had spotted Zanne’s truck outside and knew we were around somewhere. I’m glad she found us.

A young woman at the FW Food Coop asked for literature and said she would take info about the September actions to her church.

All in all an amazing day.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Fort Wayne for Peace

Came back from the Fort Wayne, IN UU church showing of No More Victims and discussion among the 9 folks who came out to watch the film to find this great film forward from Liz in D.C.

I'm so proud to know these women. The courage and stamina they show inspire me.

9 may not sound like a whole bunch but it was pretty good considering that every body and her sister were headed out to watch the fireworks at the end of the 3 Rivers Festival. As I said in my last post.... the Heartland really is heating up for Peace.

Zanne Joi pulled into the driveway of the old family farm today with that beautiful pinkly emblazoned truck of hers. She will certainly add a degree or two to the heat. Bless her for having the ovaries to travel the U.S. from coast to coast helping motivate local peace groups, stirring the pot, and raising the temperature a bit.

Anyway, hope there are at least that many folks (9) at the vigil in front of the Federal Bldg. in FW tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. We will then take a message up to to Sen. Bayh's office. He votes to fund the war though the majority of the people (even here in the heartland) want us out of Iraq and our troops home now. He won't meet with CODEPINK Indiana (consistently scheduling with CPI and then canceling-- several times over the last few months). His "boys" saw fit to arrest Sue E. for reading the names of the dead U.S. soldiers in front of the Bldg that contains his office in Hammond. Sorta like the three arrested in Fort Wayne for praying for peace in front of Lugar's office in April. (I guess those in charge want prayer in schools but not in government buildings.)

Evan, we want the troops home now! Even Hillary had the balls to finally say no to the war funding. What happened to yours? Can't stand up to the power brokers in D.C.?

By the way, Hillary does deserve kudos and perhaps a pink badge of courage for finally realizing the war must end.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Heartland Heats Up For Peace

I am pleased to see that some "mainstream" media coverage of CODEPINK's vigilance on Capitol Hill even if it is in the form of an ABC blog.

Things and thinks are rapidly changing here in the heartland. I'm beginning to stick my head out into the community after the time spent with my mother during the last few months before her passing and the following weeks of closing up a very full house.

Sentiment on the streets is decidedly pro-peace... a first ever Peace Float was cheered on in the Three Rivers Festival Parade in Fort Wayne, Indiana last weekend. This weekend there are Peace Church meetings and on Monday CODEPINK's own Mz. Zanne will be at an action at Evan Bayh's office in Fort Wayne. She will also be stopping in South Bend and Hammond.

I'm tempted to leave early and not attend the BlogHer Conference in Chicago so I can caravan with Zanne, but I really want to attend that conference and meet all those wonderful "be the media" women. And truth be told I still have a couple weeks of stuff to get done here.

Anyway the float shown below is evidence of some very good news. Do check out The Fort Wayne Agitator for up to the minute (it seems) info on peace happenings in NE Indiana.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Writing with wisdom.

I have been on such a roller coaster ride these past few months. My ninety-two year old mother passed away one week ago. I'd cared for her for the past three and a half months at her home in the Midwest.

I am only now beginning to be able to write about some of the experience. Caring for an elderly parent gave me the opportunity to develop a new perspective from which to appreciate many aspects of life. In order to be able to give my mother what she needed I had to achieve and maintain a sort of Zen calm, not necessarily a detachment, an acceptance of all things in the moment. The focused inattention to the moment necessary to think and write was in direct opposition to successfully attending to the most important task before me -- caring for my mother. So I did not think too deeply or write. That begins now. I was observing. I was focused. Only now will my thoughts come to the surface of consciousness so that I can process and arrange them in a way that makes sense to me. I am sure that these writings will relate to building peace. Perhaps not directly to war and peace, but definitely to how to build peace within one's self and in one's surroundings. And that is how world peace begins... in daily life and how we choose to live it.

While this has been a largely political blog there will be a shift to include personal perspective on a variety of issues. The personal is political.