Saturday, January 28, 2012

You're Beautiful

Introducing Mark Pierce, if you haven't heard him before.  His good friend, Ed Osbourne, on keyboard. 

Incidentally, being sorta backwoods, I didn't know what a phenomenon this James Blunt song was until I discovered scores of people singing it on youtube.  But I don't think I really heard it until I heard Mark Pierce sing it.

If you want to learn it yourself on guitar, here's a great teacher with an honest, heartfelt sound of her own.  And here's James Blunt on Sesame Street doing a parody of himself, with more finger-picking close-up.

Get Off The Fence

Tell these California State Senators to "get off the fence" on health care and support single payer legislation in California.  Even if you're not calling from California, it's not just about California, it's about the entire country!  This legislation could be a big step forward for everyone in the United States. 

As per Single Payer Now:
Contact 4 Senators today [published Jan. 26, 2012] who withheld vote on SB 810
The CA Senate voted on SB 810, The California Universal Healthcare Act earlier today. The 19 votes it received was 2 votes shy of the 21 necessary to pass it through to the Assembly. The following 4 Senators abstained from even casting a vote on this extremely important piece of legislation.
Senator Alex Padilla (Pacoima/LA area)
Phone: (916) 651‑4020
Senator Juan Vargas (San Diego area)
Phone: (916) 651‑4040
Senator Michael Rubio (Fresno/Bakersfield area)
Phone: (916) 651‑4016
Senator Rod Wright (Los Angeles area)
Phone: (916) 651‑4025

According to Single Payer Now, SB 810 can be brought up again under “Reconsideration” this Tuesday, January 31, 2012.  So please call or email (or both), and let these fence sitters know - they could be helping the entire nation take an important step forward towards health care for the 99%!  Tell them to get off the fence and vote for single payer.  Health care is a human right!

Here is a link to a the bill in question.

Here is an article by Common Dreams staff asking people to call.  The bill fell 2 votes short of passing, with these 4 Democrats sitting the vote out.

Single Payer Now is asking people who contact the senators to email Don or call (415) 695‑7891;  leave a message and let them know.  Please visit their site if you're in California - they have more information for you.

Courtesy of Common Dreams
Photographer:  Rich Petroncelli/AP

"Health care advocates gathered for a rally to call for a single payer health care plan at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Jan. 9, 2012. Hundreds of doctors, nurses, medical students , seniors and their supporters demonstrated in support of the passage of SB810 which would establish a Medicare for All / Single Payer health care system in California." 

More on health care for all here and here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Martin Luther King speaks to Occupy Wall Street - -

-- and a new community funded film project on what Dr. King and Mahatma Gandhi called "soul force" and what Martin Luther King called upon people to be, i.e. "maladjusted" --

In the second video, I was struck by the similarity between the Selma marchers as they walked across the bridge in the '60's, and the brave Brooklyn bridge marchers on October 1st.  And, of course, how appropriately Dr. King's words apply to all of the recent demonstrations across the country in the first video. 

I was captured, too, in the 2nd video, by the cinematographer's visual elucidation of the bronze Kelly Ingram Park statues (I've never seen in person), and that bring the Civil Rights confrontation John Lewis describes so dramatically to life again before our present-day eyes. 

Here is what Boston Globe reporter, Patricia Harris, wrote on July 23, 2008 about Montgomery, Alabama (and Boston, Massachusetts,) and regarding the erection of those statues:
A city with guts
It’s a very classy act for Birmingham, Ala., to rename its airport after the civil right leader, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, as reported in the Globe on July 17. But then, when I’ve visited my friend Verna, I’ve been impressed with her city’s willingness to confront its segregationist past rather than sweep it under the rug. In Kelly Ingram Park, a leafy space downtown on 16th Street North, there are several bronze statues commemorating the struggle for civil rights—including a powerful image of a Birmingham policeman and his dog face-to-face with a civil rights demonstrator. Images of the police and fire fighters attacking demonstrators with dogs and firehoses in May 1963 were broadcast across the nation. By the end of the year, Birmingham had wiped its segregation ordinances from the books. Moreover, some historians say, the national outrage helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Such historical markers show real civic courage. I wonder if Boston will ever erect a statue of Ted Landsmark being beaten with an American flag on City Hall Plaza?
More on Ted Landsmark here, along with an image of what that statue would look like in Boston.

Whereupon I found myself wondering what a serious statue of Occupy would look like.  Maybe one day in the future when we have fully crossed the bridge. 

Would it be a statue of the Brooklyn Bridge confrontation on October 1st?  Demonstrators carrying away the wounded Scott Olsen?  The Berkeley students resolutely standing together as they were beaten by police officers?  The UC groupThe Occupy Atlanta foreclosure?  The small group of NY women being penned in and pepper sprayed at close range?  A resonating announcement early on?  A ghost of Walt Whitman standing stubbornly with his?  A photographer being shot out of a tree in Denver?  Would it be a statue suggesting the tens of thousands of people who finished that march - that was interrupted on that October 1st -- over a month and a half later in the approach of winter?

And whatever type of statue - what accomplishment/s would it mark - besides the physical crossing of a bridge?

Would this statue ring as true for people as the statues in Kelly Ingram Park?  Or would it feel like listening to the empty words of politicians who opposed Martin Luther King during his time, and would oppose him today (although they sing him praises on the national holiday)?

Would the statue be a representation of a real accomplishment?  Or would the statue be an emblem of the hollowing out London activist George Bardat discussed - poaching and cooptation?  A take-over of Occupy Wall Street by Wall Street and the slick spin of its multi-media advertising conglomerates?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Baguette and Sausage

boulangerie (1)
photographer: fredpallu/flicker
baguettes at a boulangerie

baguette and sausage, with mixed pepper and boiler onion


cutting board
long cutting knife for bread
baking pan (optional: tin foil)
frying pan
large spoon or spatula for frying pan


1 natural italian sausage
1/2 small boiler onion, chopped
1/2 handful of frozen mixed peppers
about one tablespoon olive oil

(adjust quantities per sausages prepared)

additional condiments/honey mustard and ketchup


1.  preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

3.  put your sausage(s) in the baking pan, and put in the oven.  turn over after about 10-15 minutes - the sausage will stick a bit to the bottom of the pan - so pry it gently with the fork and spoon together (or two spoons).  it should be nicely browned on that side.  return to oven for about another 10-15 minutes.  note that these times are very rough as sausages vary in their cooking requirements.  so check with your butcher or sausage company as to how long your sausage must cook, and how you discern sausage "readiness" for consumption.

3.  while your sausage is cooking, put olive oil in the frying pan at a low-medium heat, and add your chopped onion.  stir frequently for about 2-3 minutes.  then add your frozen peppers (i wouldn't put them in together at the beginning because frozen products have water which will intefere with the browning of the other vegetable).  keep stirring until they're slightly browned and softened, then turn off your flame.

4.  slice your baguette into the appropriate number of pieces for receiving a sausage.  don't cut the baguette all the way open.  leave it closed at one end so you have a way of catching all the messy ingredients.

5.  when sausage is ready, put it in the baguette, add any condiments like honey mustard and ketchup, and smother with your onion and peppers.

enjoy!  serve up with a nice glass of red wine or an ice cold beer in a chilled mug.  light some candles and set your table elegantly!

courtesy of wikipedia
photographer: Kaihsu Tai
sausages seen in covered market, Oxford

additional thoughts

this is such an easy, enjoyable meal to prepare, if you have a 1/2 hour of time (or more if your sausages require more cooking time - again, check with your butcher or sausage company). the idea in this recipe cuts the usual cooking oil even lower - and the cleaning up afterwards - while giving you a grill effect with your meat.  for even more clean-up freedom, use a piece of tin foil. 

sausages have come a long way over time and there are some lovely natural meat varieties on the market - with natural casings, as this recipe obviously calls for.  i do not like to use sausages with nitrites because studies have shown that nitrates cause cancer in lab animals.

courtesy of wikipedia
photographer: JayMGoldberg
a recently blossomed flower
on a Quadrato d'Asti Giallo bell pepper plant
this recipe is great with fresh peppers, but i mean to share yet another convenience of having frozen, mixed varieties on hand to add a little economical, nutritious, and last-minute extra zest to your creations without having to run to the store. 

if you do use fresh peppers, chop and put them into the frying pan with the onion from the beginning.

you can use any sort of yellow or white onion.  i chose boilers because I just happened to find a nice bunch at the local market.  the best buy on onions that day, and they worked out well on baguette and natural italian sausage.   

Monday, January 23, 2012


Today is the 100th Day Anniversary of the London-based Occupy movement, the longest running in the world since Mayor Bloomberg had NYC protesters evicted from Liberty Square in that surreal scenario reminiscent of Ray Bradbury.  Other metropolitan mayors followed suit, with some OWS factions since reclaiming portions of the park during (perceptible) daylight, for one, the steel gritted librarians of the Occupy Wall Street Library.

In the OccupyTVNY video below, George Bardat - a British activist with Occupy the London Stock Exchange (a.k.a. LSX - the formal name for the London Occupy Movement) - and a member of the encampment since October 15th - raps about POACH, an acronym for the Principal Of Anticipated Co-optation and Hollowing out. 

This is what television comedian Steve Colbert spoofed and also (sort of) discussed with OWS activists Ketchup and Justin Wedes (with part 2 here).  Ketchup is the individual Chris Hedges symbolically immortalized in his analysis as to why the elites are in so much trouble.  With co-optation a concern for the occupation since its inception, the Big Q - how does a grassroots global movement anticipate and address poaching. 

In London, TNT reports:
The protesters marked the [100th Anniversary] occasion by taking over Roman House in the Barbican in the early hours of Saturday morning, but left soon afterwards when those working as building contractors on the empty building were threatened with the sack.
The group offered a statement about the occupation on their website "Occupy London was contacted by individual workers employed by Berkeley Homes who were concerned for their job security as it transpired they were recently employed to help renovate the building.
"In light of these discussions, yesterday evening it was decided to leave the building. We trust that Berkeley Homes will ensure that their redevelopment of the site will make adequate provision for affordable housing."
Berkley Homes, who own the Barbican-based site said "It is not safe for public use, there are holes in the floors and we are in the early stages of asbestos removal"
According to BBC, Roman House was the fifth property LSX had confiscated, previously planning to open the building to the public today.  Events coincided with City of London Corporation's "legal success" in obtaining a court decision to have occupiers evicted from Saint Paul's Cathedral churchyard.  From the Guardian:

Appeal since dropped, crows Bloomberg Business Week, with the January 25th eviction scheduled to proceed, andno update yet at the LSX site on these developments.

A teach-out is announced for today in London on the City's secret finances and lobbying activities.  LSX states at its website:
In the past 24 hours, the occupation of Roman House in the Barbican in the City of London focused attention, once again, on the refusal of the City ofLondonCorporation to open its accounts to full public scrutiny, a basic duty accepted by every other public authority in the country.
Response from local residents was tremendous with some coming up to occupiers to wish them support and find out more.
As such, we have decided to hold our promised teach out at 11am on Monday in the open areas of the Barbican centre itself, reinvigorating that public space and enabling residents – who are outvoted by corporations in their own local council – to join in the debate about how they are governed.
The City of London Corporation maintains that its City Cash account is private so we aren’t entitled to know much about it. This assertion sits oddly with the Corporation’s public duties as as local authority – not to mention the explicit wishes of some of those who bequested some of those funds to City in the first place. [3]
This part public, part private nature of the City of London Corporation is not a harmless anachronism. It is symptomatic of a fundamental conflict of interest combined with a lack of democratic accountability.
We look forwards to exploring these, and related, issues on Monday at 11am. We will be announcing our teach-out panel shortly.
Courtesy of theguardian
Photographer: Sang Tan/AP
Occupy London tents outside
Saint Paul's Cathdral, November 2, 2011

More on developments in London, prior to the reported decision not to appeal, here at the guardian.

Friday, January 20, 2012


American poet CA Conrad from Philadelphia in a powerful reading of his poem, It's Too Late For Careful, at the 38th annual Poetry Project Marathon, Saint Marks on the Bowery, New York City, January 1, 2012 

It's Too Late For Careful is in the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology - still accepting submissions last I read - and he is also featured at the OWS Library website

More information about CA Conrad here too at wiki.

Yarn Bombing

At least one of these 106 photographs from Street Art Utopia will turn your lips upward.  Just one example below:

Or check out this tree from their series on yarn bombing a.k.a. guerilla crochet:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Old Shoes

Tom Waits in Old Shoes.

Medical Tent Proposal

Remember the simple, inconspicuous medical tent that Liberty Square demonstrators stopped N.Y.P.D. from taking down in the middle of the night?  When Reverend Jesse Jackson came by in the wee hours to link arms with that heroic group standing up for medical care for all?

Courtesy of Animal
Photographer:  Becky Turco
Occupy Wall Street stops N.Y.P.D.
from removing the medical tent.

Courtesy of Animal
Photographer: Bucky Turco
The Reverend Jesse Jackson links arms
with OWS demonstrators
to stop the removal of the medical tent

That was around October 19th-20th.

Here's a peek at what was typically going on inside that medical tent, from a Common Dreams article by Mary O'Brien, M.D.on why we need a single payer health care system in the United States.

Courtesy of Common Dreams
Photographer:  John Minchello/AP
Medical workers in Liberty Square
medical tent give people free flu shots.

As shown as one example in the photo above, medical workers gave out free flu shots, an activity the article's author participated in. 

I found myself thinking:  what a shining example of how simple it should be in a modern, industrialized society for people to get something as sane and public health minded as flu shots.  Need a flu shot?  Just walk over and get one.  How about if you're a senior without the money for a shingles innoculation?  What if your child needs something?

How much money did Occupy Wall Street save the U.S. that day - and simply by preventing untold cases of the common flu?

Even if you don't want to look at this problem from the plain moral point of view, that is.  Just social practicality - the photo reportedly taken only days before Mayor Bloomberg had the entire camp evicted in yet another Kafkaesque (sadly, increasingly American) police state power display (we are hearing about more frequently - the sailing banner saluted and waved in the breeze by our nation's mayors upon chummy conference call).

I'd guess many of you reading know the facts reported, yet again, by another reality-please pleading article.  How a Harvard study shows that 45,000 Americans die every year because they lack adequate access to health care;  how "unchecked corporate greed" trumps and tramples human need, or, as Mary O'Brien, M.D. inquires:  "Need I recite the billions in profits these companies make each year, or the outlandish salaries of their CEOs, based on skyrocketing premiums and denials of care?"

Even people with insurance face formidable barriers to care like rising co-pays and deductibles. As a result, they are putting off care, getting sicker and ending up in our emergency rooms with serious complications – often facing crushing medical bills later.
This increased “cost sharing” by patients helps explain this week’s report by U.S. Health and Human Services showing the use of medical services has slowed. People can't afford it. 
But lack of care invites serious illness or worse. That’s part of the reason why I and scores of other doctors, nurses, medical students and social workers came down to Zuccotti Park and volunteered our time to give out free flu shots.

But I confess that my desire to help went beyond the Samaritan impulse of preventing illness and aiding the sick, an impulse that, remarkably, still persists among our nation’s health professionals despite the toxic atmosphere of our for-profit health system.
I and many others were impelled to take action because the Occupy movement struck a chord with us. We’re angry that our health economy – like the overall economy – has more than sufficient resources to take care of all of us, but the resources are siphoned off by profit-driven corporations in the interest of “the 1 percent.”

Every advanced, civilized nation on the planet - except the United States - provides universal health care.  So here is my proposal for where OWS goes next:  even if people aren't going to put sleeping tents back in the public square, let's put the medical tents back up or up for the first time if your city or town didn't, and join arms in a 24/7 circle around those tents while people go in and out for free medical care unimpeded by any inteference sent by the 1%.

I'll volunteer my time to do watch shifts.  Now that's community service!

More information here and here and here on opening up an improved Medicare for the entire country. 

As Dr. Martin Luther King stated, "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and most inhumane."  So for Dr. King's birthday this year, let's reoccupy Wall Street across the nation by putting medical tents back up 24/7 in the public square.  And let's pass a sane and humane national health care bill like H.R. 676.

More o.s.r. blogging here on the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations for single payer.  Occupy health care.  Health care is a human right.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Is this the America you want to live in? 

In a disturbing new video released by OccupyTVNY, Occupy Wall Street participants are arrested at Grand Central Station when non-violently Mic Checking on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

With a large group of protesters, one of the people proclaims with a People's Mic:

"The National Defense Authorization Act criminalizes our voices.  This new law criminalizes fighting for a better life - "

The rest becomes inaudible as N.Y.P.D. moves in to arrest her while she is speaking.  The crowd chants, "Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!"  As she is then dragged off by the officers, she shouts out that she tried to speak with them first but they pushed her away.  As they carry her down a hallway in the building and other security personnel stop the camera person from following, another man states to a responding crowd:

"Mic check!  Mic check!  Is this the America you want to live in?  You express your First Amendment and they throw you out the door!"

At that point, they arrest that individual, too, while he is non-violently asserting his First Amendment right to free speech about the First Amendment.  Still, he continues with the crowd's response:

Protester:  "I'm getting arrested -"

Crowd:  "I'm getting arrested - "

At that point, he also becomes inaudible as police can be seen arm-locking him about the throat, and thereby, even physically silencing his voice at its bodily source, as they drag him away.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tangy Omelette

courtesy of uptake
photographer: IFindKarma
classic american diner serving omelettes

simple tangy omelette


mixing bowl
non-stick frying pan


2 eggs
about 2 shots of milk
1 teaspoon olive or canola oil

2-3 tablespoons pico de gallo, drained
shredded medium to sharp cheddar cheese


sea salt, freshly ground black pepper


1. beat eggs and milk with fork until well mixed.

2. heat pan with added oil on a low medium heat.

3. add egg, then quickly distribute pico de gallo throughout omelette, topping with shredded cheese.

4. add salt and pepper.

5. as omelette cooks, move the tip of the spatula along the edges of the omelette, and tilt the pan so that any uncooked egg runs off the edge to the bottom. 

6. when omelette seems ready, and you have sufficiently loosened it from the bottom of the pan, turn about 1/3rd of it over towards the center of the pan

7.  then fold it again towards the end of the pan, and then flip fully, allowing it to cook another 20-30 seconds or so, longer - then serve.

top with a dash of non-fat yogurt, an olive, freshly ground black pepper, and a sprig of cilantro or italian parsley.  a slice of avocado is a possibility, too.

courtesy of wikipedia
the ancient near east,

additional thoughts

food of antiquity, omelette is an all-time american favorite, tasty with a wide range of vegetable and cheese combinations.  other ideas include fried zucchini, baked tomatoe with basil, mixed sweet peppers, fresh or frozen spinach, mushrooms, eggplant, and of course, onion.  your imagination is the limit! 

(these vegetable combinations can be sautéed or baked with seasonings before you add the eggs and cheese.)

omelette can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and is pleasant as a light supper with a glass of well chilled white wine.

serve with oven fries, in wraps or sandwiches, crusty breador accompanied by rice dishes and salads.

courtesy of wikimedia commons
photographer: Free Flower
Jane Street Vegetable Market, Toronto
Omelettes are tasty
with many vegetables.

- o.s.r.