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24 hours of Climate Reality: dirty weather

November 11, 2012 by pegjohnston

24 Hours of Reality: The Dirty Weather Report on November 14-15th has exciting, essential programming you won't want to miss.

Let's face it: The weather is different than it used to be. Record heat waves make it a chore to go outside. Floods and rainstorms damage our homes and cities. Crops wilt under severe droughts. Hot, dry weather feeds widespread fires.

This is the extreme weather you see almost every day on the news - or out your window. And because of man-made climate change, we can expect it to happen a lot more often. This is Dirty Weather

We're polluting our atmosphere with Dirty Energy like coal, oil, and gas. The result? The planet heats up. And we expose ourselves to Dirty Weather: Floods, droughts, heat waves, and wildfires.

We'll always have bad weather. But we don't have to live with Dirty Weather. We can make the switch from dirty to clean energy ... and together, we can stop the pollution that's disrupting our climate.

Help us change the world. Watch 24 Hours of Reality: The Dirty Weather Report, a live online broadcast with former Vice President Al Gore, beginning on November 14 at 8 p.m. EST and concluding on November 15 at 8 p.m. EST.

The origins of Independent Media

November 8, 2012 by pegjohnston

From Rochester Independent Media Center:

"We can have a cynical attitude in the face of the media to say nothing can be done about the dollar power that creates itself in images, words, digital communication, and computer systems that invades not just with an invasion of power, but with a way of seeing that world, of how they think the world should look. We could say, well, 'that's the way it is' and do nothing. Or we can simply assume incredulity: we can say that any communication by the media monopolies is a total lie. We
can ignore it and go about our lives. But there is a third option that is neither conformity, nor skepticism, nor distrust: that is to construct a different way—to show the world what is really happening—to have a critical world view and to become interested in the truth if what happens to people who inhabit every corner of this world."

The above words were read aloud in a statement by Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico. And it is with those words that the independent media center movement began to germinate, eventually springing from the ground in Seattle of 1999 during the World Trade Organization summit. The Rochester Indymedia collective, just past our 10th year of operation, felt inspired to critically reflect on what we've produced, how we've produced it, and what we hope the next 10 years will bring. With that spirit of critical engagement, we invite you, our communities, our readership, and the public, to join us for Building Our Media: a critical discussion series on independent media.

Tonight, we will discuss Howard Zinn's Essay: The Use and Abuse of History. (download pdf of article at: Zinn's piece explains his approach to history and why the concept of objectivity in history writing and journalism is problematic.

November 8th, 7-9PM
Flying Squirrel Community Space
285 Clarissa St.
Rochester, NY

The Series:

First Week (Nov. 1):
give out booklets / watch video clips / have discussion

Second week (Nov. 8):
(Howard Zinn) The use and abuse of history

Third Week (Nov. 15):
What is Free Culture? / Free Culture Manifesto / Know Your Meme

Fourth Week (Nov. 29):
(Kyle Harris) Beyond Authenticity: Aesthetic Strategies and Anarchist Media

Fifth Week (Dec. 6):
(Carlos Fernandez) Movements & Militant Media: Communication Technology and Latin American Grassroots Politics

Sixth Week (Dec. 13):
(Jared Ball) Mixtape Manifesto: emancipatory journalism

Seventh Week (Dec. 20):
What's next? / general discussion and/or discussion from participant chosen article

Code Pink in Pakistan: Report from Judy Bello

November 7, 2012 by Amy Fleming



Press release. Please distribute. 11-7-12 Jim Clune 773-0246

Judy Bello of Rochester, a peace and human rights activist with Upstate Drone Action, will be speaking at Binghamton University in Lecture Hall 2 at 6:30 PM on Friday, November 9th. She will be reporting on the unprecedented trip of an American Peace activist delegation led by Code Pink to Pakistan in early October. Judy is one of the resisters who who have been campaigning at Hancock Field in Syracuse, risking, and accepting, arrest repeatedly. Her presentation is cosponsored by Broome County Peace Action, the Muslim Student Association, Veterans for Peace, and St James Peace and Justice Committee.

The event is free and all are invited.
For more information, contact Jim Clune at 607-773-0246.

Judy's short written report follows.

Jim Clune
89 Pine St, Binghamton, NY, 13901
607-773-0246(my cell), 607-752-2802(Ann's cell)
Blog site:

"Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it"
Howard Zinn (1922-2010)


I have just returned from a fascinating 2 week stay in Pakistan with the CodePink Peace Delegation. This groundbreaking delegation was made possible by Medea Benjamin and her staff. I also have much gratitude for Joe Lombardo an Sara Flounders of the United National Antiwar Coalition for organizing our contacts and activities in Karachi and Lahore. It was an incredibly powerful experience, and I hope that in the future there will be more of these delegations to Pakistan and other countries that have fallen prey to the War on Terrorism.

While there, I met with an amazing documentary film maker who works with women's issues in Pakistan; visited the Society that aids victims of Acid Attacks; met with members of the Pakistani Chapter of WILPF; sat in panel discussions with 2 different think thanks, the Institute for Strategic Policy an the Institute of Policy Study; gave a presentations for students of International Relations at the University of Karachi and one for Law students at the National Defense University in Islamabad; met Imran Khan and spent time with the women's auxiliary of his party, the Justice Party of Pakistan; met with the families of victims of drone attacks; met with the families of young men rendered to Bagram without charge - yes, most are still there; traveled to Tank, a town on the border of Waziristan and spent the night in a compound on a large farm which is the residence of 3 brothers and their families; heard the voices of hundreds of men chanting "We want peace! We want peace! . . . ."; spent the day with Aafia Siddiqui's sister Fowzia and her family in Karachi; spent a day with socialist party members in Lahore; met some ordinary Pakistani businessmen in Lahore and some very rich Pakistani businessmen in Karachi; demonstrated against drones. Judy Bello


Press release. Please distribute. 11-7-12 Jim Clune 773-0246

Judy Bello of Rochester, a peace and human rights activist with Upstate Drone Action, will be speaking at Binghamton University in Lecture Hall 2 at 6:30 PM on Friday, November 9th. She will be reporting on the unprecedented trip of an American Peace activist delegation led by Code Pink to Pakistan in early October. Judy is one of the resisters who who have been campaigning at Hancock Field in Syracuse, risking, and accepting, arrest repeatedly. Her presentation is cosponsored by Broome County Peace Action, the Muslim Student Association, Veterans for Peace, and St James Peace and Justice Committee.

Politics, Religion and the Common Good

November 7, 2012 by Amy Fleming

by Amy Fleming

Editor's Note: this article was submitted before the election but due to technical difficulties on this site, we couldn't post til now. Still worth a read!

As Americans, we are faced with critical choices during this upcoming election.

Interestingly we have two Catholics running for Vice-President that have different views of the same Catholic Social Doctrine. These teachings encourage us to ask questions through that lens. Who has the power? How will this affect people who are poor? Who is making the decision? Who can participate? Does it give more advantage to some than others/does it include all? Does this enhance or diminish human dignity, life, and rights? Does it enhance the common good? Does it create divisions?

Two of the tenets from the Catholic teaching of Economic Justice are “The economy exists for the person not the person for the economy” and “A fundamental moral measure of any economy is how the poor and vulnerable are faring.”

What is Wrong with this Picture?

November 1, 2012 by tim wolcott

By Tim Wolcott
“Help us stomp out domestic violence – join Waverly Cares.”
The President of STANYS (Science Teachers Association of New York State), my professional association, rallies us to implement Common Cores (national teaching standards) and SLO’s (Student Learning Objectives), address STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math teaching objectives), adhere to RTTT (Race To The Top) standardized testing priorities and prepare for APPR (50+ page teacher evaluations) and the adoption of NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards).
What is wrong with this picture? Answer - nothing on the surface – a lot below.


October 30, 2012 by sudhama

Is it possible for us to all have the same physical features? Has it ever been possible for us all to have the same color skin? Has it ever been possible for us to have the same upbringing? Has it ever been possible for us to have the same color, texture or thickness of hair? Is it possible for us all to have the same tastes in art, clothing, architecture or food? Is it possible for us all to have the same views on how we should live our lives, religion, morals and ethical codes or politics? Can we really all be the same and fit into exactly the same boxes?

Picking the Best Smile to Give Away Our Money (That Simply Isn't True)

October 19, 2012 by sudhama

Where do they come from? Have you ever seen those fervent groups of people angry and charged up about their view it's not fair that the rich get charged the same tax rate as the rest of us? Ever notice large groups of people riled up about unions and how they are a bad thing for Americans? Ever see giant groups of people pushing for greater defense spending than we already have? Ever seen large groups of people applauding and cheering about how spending on political campaigns should not be capped?


October 15, 2012 by activ60

Do you remember the Party that co-opted family values and made you wonder how you ever made those peanut butter cookies or changed a diaper? The same ones who blame you for taking God out of the country. Has someone really taken your spiritual belief out of your heart and mind? As Jon Stewart said, “Christians have taken this idea of no establishment of religion as persecution, because they feel entitled, not to equal status but to greater status.” They sit in judgment of you.

Now they have hijacked patriotism, protection, security, your doctor and caring. Does that sound like one nation “under God” and e pluribus unum, one out of many? Now they say they are listening to you and have an open door.

The saddest thing about local political campaigns is that female executives of both parties chose to demonize those on public assistance just to get votes. Certainly not a Christian value. Somehow we forget that there are not enough jobs, nor jobs that will support a living wage and unemployment is high. We conveniently forget that there is a five year welfare benefits cutoff also. While the majority of people served by Medicaid are children and families, most Medicaid spending – two of every three dollars – goes to care for elderly enrollees and people with disabilities. Again, who would begrudge this care of the vulnerable? But there is talk of cutting the county nursing home and bus service. As Sister Mary Ellen Lacy stated from, Matthew 6:21New International Version (NIV),21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
In May the GOP-led House of Representatives voted to end the American Community Survey, or ACS, the Census Bureau’s annual study of U.S. socioeconomic conditions. The largely party-line vote defied the advice of conservative think tank experts, the interests of the business community, and, most critically, common sense. A recent report of the ACSurvey reported that in upstate NY cities over 50% of children live in poverty. It is 69% in Binghamton said Superintendent Peggy Wozniak during a recent Board of Education meeting. In 2011 the poverty level averaged $11,484 for single individual and $17,916 for three-person households.
County legislators are in cohoots with these anti-human service policies by chanting no more taxes. The majority turns a blind eye to the many real cuts in service. Broome County Mental Health Clinic has cut clinical staff in the last three years. At least thirteen people were cut; of 18 clinical social workers there are now 6.5 after two more retire in Dec. Since the legislators want to privatize services so they do not have to pay benefits, then the legislators should not be getting health insurance or pension credit either. The worse part is that they do not consult with workers, insist that they cannot strike to protect the clients, or just give courtesy lip service. The legislators are ignorant since the state is promoting mental health service but not funding it. Instead the state mandates criminal justice/jail services. Those line items are just ‘unfunded’ not abolished as at mental health.

So what was the purpose of having government? Is it just to keep repaving the roads? These days it seems just to cater to the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber nationally is spending $43M and in 2010 spent $150M for its anti-government lobbying. The Chamber has a long history of fronting for the extreme conservative Koch Brothers funded Cato Institute, the Concord Coalition and the stealth COMPASS (Coalition for the Modernization and Protection of America’s Social Security) in 2002 which included the National Federation of Independent Business that Romney touts. Privatization of Social Security was the real purpose of COMPASS. Former President Bush and Karl Rove designated all of the Wall St. brokers who were bailed out as the administrators of such a private run social security system. In a related issue Wall Street and insurance groups are organizing an effort to overturn a New York ethics regulation requiring trade associations that lobby state government to publicly disclose their sources of funding.


Join the Raging Grannies

October 14, 2012 by Wanda Mead Campbell

Are you interested in doing justice and having fun or having fun while doing justice? We are organizing a regional "Raging Grannies" group in Binghamton and all are welcome to join us. Singing talent is optional and a bonus. Enthusiasm is essential. If you believe "In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun" come join us. To see other groups in action visit

For the local group, e-mail Amy Fleming at or call 754-3621

If You Plan To Survive, Make a List

October 10, 2012 by sudhama

There are few social situations harder to deal with than being the target of harassment. It leaves the person targeted for harassment with very few options and the constancy of having to make very stark choices. The goal of harassment quite often is to extract a person from a situation. The harassers want either to see the person break, or more often to see them leave the situation, and harassment is the vehicle chosen to accomplish their intended goal. It may seem like there must be some way to reason with the people doing the harassing, and given the harassers it could work. Unfortunately, that is not always the case and many times the people doing the harassment either don't see what they are doing for what it is, or don't care.

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