Thursday, January 31, 2013

Treaty Signing

A January 25, 2013 international treaty signing to "Honor all Indigenous First Nations, Tribes, Allies, and the Enduring Unity of the Great Sioux Nation and to Commemorate the 150th Anniversary and to Reaffirm the Ihanktonwan Oyate of the Oceti Sakowin 1863 Peace Treaty between the Ihanktonwan, Ponca, Pawnee Nations, and witnessed by the United States Government."

Tar Sands Blockade reports the 1863 treaty one of the few not abrogated by the U.S. government;  several TSB members were present at the South Dakota ceremony hosted by the Ihanktonwan Treaty Council, the Pawnee Nation, the Brave Heart Society, and the Four Worlds International Institute.

More information through Protect The Sacred.

The treaty signing notifies President Obama and the U.S. government that Keystone XL pipeline approval gravely abrogates the 1863 treaty, among others, including a December 21st 2012 Resolution from the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council stating that they are “vehemently opposed to the construction of the TransCanada/Keystone XL Pipeline Project on any Aboriginal or Treaty lands”.

YaBasta5000 reports the ceremony supported by Yankton Sioux Tribe, The Black Hills Treaty Council, The Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association, Yinka Dene Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network, West Coast Environmental Law, Honor the Earth, Earth First, Tar Sands Blockade, Walking the Red Road,, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, National Resource Defense Council, Bold Nebraska, Public Citizen, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, United Religions Initiative North America, Forest Ethics, and Tanker Free BC.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Uploaded by Cbro10
An early popcorn machine in a street cart, 
invented in the 1880s by Charles Cretors in Chicago.

Old Fashioned Popcorn


Pot with lid
Large bowl
Optional - large spoon to toss finished popcorn


2-3 tablespoons of olive or canola oil
sea salt

Assorted toppings such as parmesan or romano cheese, brewer's yeast, various herbs or spices such as paprika, freshly ground black pepper, basil.
Courtesy of Wikipedia
Photographer:  Spedona 
 "Corn male flower AKA corn tassel. The stamens of the flower produce a light, fluffy pollen which is borne on the wind to the female flowers (silks) of other corn plants."


1.  Put your oil in a pan and add popcorn, at maximum, thinly covering the entire bottom of the pot, but not so much that the kernels lie on top of one another.

2.  Put the lid on and heat on low medium to medium.  Occasionally "shuffle" the pan back and forth over the heat, perhaps holding down the lid with one hand (while you hold the pot handle with the other - and using a towel or heat mitts of course), and so that you hear the kernels "shuffle" around, as well.

3.  As the kernels begin to pop, continue occasionally shuffling the pan until the popping slows down and almost completely stops.  Be careful not to heat too long, or the popped corn will burn.

Then, immediately turn off and remove the pot from further heating, and by dumping the corn into a large bowl.  Sprinkle with a bit more oil and sea salt, and toss with clean hands or a large spoon.

Add additional toppings, as preferred, or nothing else.

Serve and enjoy!  Great with a beer and movie.


Ancient reports recent discoveries indicating popcorn was popular in ancient Peru as far back as 4700 B.C. - about 1,000 years earlier than previously believed, and predating pottery use, showing that experimentation with corn was happening before the development of ceramics.   

Findings appeared January 17th in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  Evidence was unearthed over the past three years at Paredones and Huaca Prieta, two coastal sites that were once prehistoric settlements. The earliest versions of the snack were prepared by roasting the corn cobs directly over fire, without the pot, and with later inhabitants of Peru’s northern coast developing the world’s oldest known popper around 300 A.D. -- a shallow vessel with a handle and a hole on top.  Researchers determined how the corn cobs were used by studying their characteristics indicating inhabitants were grinding the corn into flour as well as popping, as we modernists enjoy.

Photo credit/courtesy of, photographer: Tom D. Dillehay, picture of ancient corn recently discovered, and predating earlier estimates for the first popcorn.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Action Art

Via Global Voices, three 2008 action art performances from Li Ning (李凝) the Body Art Guerrilla Group, Made-in-J Town (凌雲焰肢體游擊隊).  Based in China, where resistance through action art has become very popular, Oiwan Lan reports their work among some of the most interesting examples.

Shandong: Olympic + Demolition (山東:奧運+拆遷), "criticizes the 2008 Olympics from a humanistic point of view":

Fee For Selecting School (擇校費), protests a fee imposed on parents for elementary schools.  The artist Li Ning wraps himself with red tape and ties an amplifier between his legs by his crotch, playing a protest slogan in front of a school. Police officers appear, "accusing him of moral corruption":

Currency At The Intersection Leading To The Underworld (冥幣路口) depicts the negative influence of money:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Paradise Or Oblivion

Anonymous released another announcement here, leading me to The Venus Project and the project's film, Paradise Or Oblivion, concerning futurist Jacques Cristo's work creating a resource-based, rather than currency-based, society.  I don't think this is the full version, but it's an insight-loaded 48:12, so grab your popcorn. The following feature presentation makes more sense than anything you'll hear discussed in Congress. 


Wednesday, January 23, 2013


From freespeechtv, Aaron Swartz' engaging keynote address, How We Stopped SOPA, at the 2012 Freedom To Connect Conference (F2C).

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." 

- Margaret Mead.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Working On A Dream

Pete Seeger in We Shall Overcome.


Aaron Swartz 1986-2013

Internet activist Aaron Swartz' public memorial was held Saturday at the visionary college Cooper Union in New York City, with around 900 people filling its historic Great Hall to standing capacity - site of civil rights and anti-slavery speeches in the past.  Democracy Now! carried a live stream virtually attended by many more viewers, with a recording viewable at this link, along with other shows hosting discussions about this extremely disturbing story and the human rights issues at stake.  You can also watch the memorial at the Remember Aaron Swartz Memorial Site. brief, Mr. Swartz (age twenty-six) was a highly gifted programmer and Reddit founder who believed deeply in the freedom of the internet.  A member of the Harvard University Center for Ethics, he started the online group Demand Progress, instrumental to the defeat of SOPA.

In January 2011, Mr. Swartz was arrested by federal authorities in connection with systematic downloading of academic journal articles from JSTOR that he intended to share with the public.  He used equipment on M.I.T. property.  While JSTOR dismissed the matter, M.I.T. did not, and the case was so aggressively pursued by the Massachusetts office of U.S. attorney Carmen Diaz that Mr. Swartz - who suffered from depression, and what he described on his blog as a mood disorder - committed suicide.  Apparently, the prosecutors' office knew that Mr. Swartz was a suicide risk as they went after him in a way friends, family, colleagues, and supporters described as vindictive and brutally unfair -- characteristic of a morally bankrupt, Kafkaesque, and deeply disfunctional criminal justice system -- whereby prosecutors, at one point, deemed a 6 month plea bargain sufficient - and in the next moment, leapt into hot pursuit of a 35 year prison sentence with one million dollars in fines -  and as more befitting the actions under their so-called scrutiny.  

A White House internet petition is circulating asking that Obama remove Carmen Ortiz for prosecutorial overreach.  At the time of this posting, it has close to 46,000 signatures.

More discussion here with attorney Alex Stamos about some of the legal and computer issues in the case.

New York Magazine reports M.I.T. currently investigating its own role in the Swartz case.  During the memorial, Yale professor and statistician Edward Tufte asked why the university wasn't celebrating making academic journals open to everyone;  and Aaron Swartz' partner, Taren Stinebrickner-Kaufmann said, "The U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts must be held accountable for its actions... M.I.T. must ensure that it’s never complicit in another event like this." 

David Segal, Executive Director of Demand Progress, stated at the memorial, "As amazingly, the whole planet now knows, Aaron was indeed a passionate activist for access to information and for a free and open internet.  He believed in these things for their own sakes, but moreover, as a means towards an even deeper end of building a world defined by social and economic justice."  

A video of Mr. Segal's full remarks:

The grandson of Pete Seeger read a message from his 93 year old grandfather;  the legendary American folk singer and activist wrote that it was "a tragedy for this brilliant young man to be so threatened that he hanged himself."

Venture Beat describes the two hour memorial as predominantly a call to political action.  Speakers also exchanged loving memories, recited poetry, listened to music, and recounted Aaron Swartz' numerous personal attributes and strengths. 

Photo credit/courtesy of wikipedia, photographer: Daniel J. Sieradski, Aaron Swartz in 2012 protesting against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). 


Saturday, January 19, 2013

40th Anniversary

While Monday marks the MLK holiday and the inauguration - Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of Roe V Wade, also announced the same day as Lyndon Johnson's death.  Rachel Maddow has video (one segment below) -- how the right to choose *on paper* is not necessarily the right to choose in actuality.  Mississippi, for example, may soon become the first state to completely ban abortion - in spite of the Constitutional protections guaranteed to women on that date - and by closing the last clinic that provides this service -  generally to low income women - and by depriving physicians of their hospital access if they assist women undergoing abortion procedures.  

In the far reaches of Mississippi and states where these services are especially under fire -- dedicated women's rights advocates work under continuous siege.  Health care providers go to work in disguise, they are personally harassed on a daily basis by unknown individuals who familiarly address them by name, one physician's children were targeted at school, and he describes looking around every day before leaving his home.  The news piece includes a similar situation in North and South Dakota where some health care providers feel compelled to carry concealed firearms for protection.  

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

More blogging here on Mississippi;  in May 2012, Rachel Maddow spoke with Dr. Carl Maddix, an OB-GYN who was removed and blocked from serving on the Mississippi Board of Health because he served as hospital access for clinic patients in the event of complications developing during an abortion procedure.

Photographer: Eva Russo
Women's rights demonstrators outside the Virginia State Capitol in March 2012, with over 30 arrested that day.

Back in March 2012, thirty-three women's rights demonstrators were arrested in Virginia objecting to a controversial wave of laws in Virginia, Georgia, and New Hampshire being argued and passed by mostly male lawmakers.  In Georgia, 8 of the 9 women legislators walked out as their male colleagues advanced curbs on contraception and abortion coverage, and considered a bill to ban abortion at 20 weeks.  

In May, the Georgia governor, Nathan Deal (R), signed this stringent 20 week ban, and with no exceptions for rape or incest.  Think Progress reported in early January that it was scheduled to go into effect with the new year, but the ACLU filed a suit on behalf of 3 obstetricians;  then, right before Christmas, Georgia Judge Doris Downs issued a temporary injunction, to rule later on the merits of the challenge.  Georgia's constitution has especially strong privacy provisions and AJC reports the ACLU advancing the case on that basis.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Jimmy Cliff in The Lion Sleeps TonightAccording to wiki, the song was composed in the 1920's by Solomon Popoli Linda (a.k.a. Solomon Ntsele), a South African songwriter, who titled the piece Mbube, meaning "Lion" in Zulu, including in the chorus, Uyimbube - or "You are a lion."

Medicaid Expansion

Missouri Medicaid Coalition kicks off its Medicaid Expansion Campaign in Jeff City.  Missouri can expand Medicaid to about 26,000 dollars for a family of three, with federal funding for the first three years.  Expansion is expected to cover 255,000 Missourians next year, cutting the number of uninsured in the state by 1/3rd, and creating hundreds of jobs.  The expansion, however, still needs to clear the state legislature;  if the legislature doesn't approve, hospitals are projected to close, while the state will lose even more money.  (And of course, more people, as a result of the hospital closures, will die, whether they're covered or not -- since insurance isn't enough to save a life if there's no hospital nearby.)


Missourians in Kansas City explain how important this expansion is to individuals and families who cannot afford health insurance.


A local news brief from KMOV, covering action in Kirkwood, MO:


Health care for all!


Tar Sands Blockade starts in Oklahoma with the first action.  On January 10th, concerned Oklahomans, along with community and environmental activists walked onto an easement where pipe for the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline was being laid.  The Tar Sands Blockade website announces the action in solidarity with Idle No More, the Unis’tot’en Camp, and "communities impacted by dangerous and extreme extraction efforts around the world."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Coast To Coast

Photographer:  Adrian Wyld
Drummers in front of Parliament in downtown Ottawa on Friday, January 11, 2013 as Idle No More demonstrations took place coast to coast.  Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper met in Ottawa with some First Nations leaders while others refused to attend as the Harper government had excluded the Governor General, whose attendance is part of original treaty relationships.

The scene outside the parliament building:


From the Ottawa march:


From the march in Montreal,


 Vancouver B.C.,  


An example of smaller places such as Kitchener, Ontario,

or London, Ontario on January 10th,


the last song sung in Montreal,


More here from around Canada from the Global Edmonton.  January 11th protesters also blocked highways and rail lines.

Chief Theresa Spence gave a press conference (video below) reaffirming the decision by a number of chiefs not to attend the meeting with the Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper because the Governor General was not present as required by treaty relationships.  She expressed objections to what she described as the Harper government's use of personal attacks on her through the media, as well as the ongoing environmental and economic issues faced by First Nations people and ignored by the Canadian government.  She said that First Nations deserve better housing, health care, and revenue sharing, and that the government has been raping the earth and abusing First Nations peoples.  Chief Spence is continuing her fast (started December 11th) while maintaining her insistence on a meeting with both political heads of state, and while subsisting on a diet of fish broth and water.

In a play on Shakespeare, Canadian Interim liberal leader Bob Rae called the Harper government's relations with First Nations a "tragedy of errors" in that indigenous leaders are unable to arrange something even as simple as a meeting with both the Prime Minister and the Governor General.  

Chief Perry Belegarde, who also refused to attend the meeting in solidarity with Chief Spence, spoke about the importance of unity and the importance of standing together to rise out of poverty.

Further Idle No More actions are planned for Monday, January 28th, 2013 in a World Day Of Actions.

Photo credit/Global Edmonton/Idle No More protester lies down on track to block CN Rail, illegally crossing First Nations property on the way to chemical and refinery plants.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Okanagan Nation

Okananagan Nation women sing traditional songs for Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence and the Idle No More movement.  Chief Spence has been on a hunger strike since December 11, 2012 to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper about the government's relations with First Nations and treaties. 

Idle No More has announced a Global Day of Action for Friday, January 11, 2013, the same day Stephen Harper is scheduled to meet with a First Nations delegation.  Further information at the Facebook page here.  

More here at the J11 website with events for your area.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

No Billionaires Campaign

Taking All the ToysThom Hartmann continues to discuss a 100% tax on income and assets over a billion dollars (video below), and as posted earlier here, the "No Billionaires Campaign" (it has a title and a website too).  He earlier compared our economic system to one where children go into a classroom and almost all the toys are given to only one or two children while the rest must make do among themselves with (maybe one busted up slinky and a barbi without an arm).  Via Bengunty, "Does it seem fair?", citing an article by Nicholas Kristof, who also cites the kindergarten analogy, though he shies from ultimately declaring (like a parent who knows how to set limits that), yes, we're serious, and you can't have all the toys to yourself.  (That would be the scary idea of re-re-re-distribution for the parent.  While we know the parent needs to take this bull by the horns.)

Mr. Kristof lays out some grim statistics in that article - the conversation clearly going on for a while already (hey, we've had Occupy too), though Fox is just starting to catch wind (and which only flatters Mr. Hartmann, to his credit).  More in an article by Rob Kall who states that the existence of billionaires is "an anomaly, an economic wrong-turn that not only the U.S., but the world needs to correct."  

Rob Kall says that Chrystia Freeland, author of the book, Plutocrats, characterizes this new breed, so to speak, as "the most international" - Mr. Kall even saying that, "They are not loyal Americans" (since) "They are loyal to money" (and) "take it where they can keep the most," (and) "even though they used the strengths and resources of the US to make their money."  
I like to think of the dinosaurs-- how the big, top of the food chain carnivores died out and were replaced by much smaller, less powerful mammals-- evolution happened. And then there's the history of the human race-- a million years or more of humans and their close predecessors living in tribes and bands where everyone was bottom up equal, no dynasties, no passing on of wealth from generation to generation. Any person who tried to own 400 or 4000 times more than anyone else would have been considered insane and either straightened out or thrown out.
Another way of putting it, via Urban Dictionary, *reality check*, people.  

Photo credit/courtesy of Bengunty/Taking All The Toys - "does it seem fair?"

Monday, January 7, 2013

Idle No More

An indigenous rights and environmental justice movement called Idle No More sweeps Canada, also crossing the border this past weekend with indigenous solidarity actions on both sides of U.S.-Canadian crossings, and actions as far flung as New Zealand, Texas, and Hawaii.  In the Pacific Northwest, demonstrations took place at Peace Arch monument, the major west coast border crossing between Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, B.C.  The movement has already seen numerous "flash mob" scenes at shopping malls throughout Canada and, increasingly, the U.S.

Meanwhile, in a small teppee on Victoria Island, Ottawa, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence remains on a hunger strike since before Christmas, and in an effort to have a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper about the government's relations with First Nations and treaties.  Mr. Harper, to date, has been unresponsive, in essence, though he will reportedly meet with a First Nations delegation on Friday, January 11th.

Chief Spence's hunger strike initially coincided with opposition to new legislation and a CN rail blockade in southwestern Ontario where trains run illegally through Aamjiwnaang Reserve, as the company has not obtained a permit in order to cross First Nations property on the way to chemical and refinery plants.  The 13 day blockade disrupted millions of dollars in revenue, coming to an end January 3rd, following a contempt of court order issued against the protesters.

Below, a Real News Network video speaking with Chief Spence about a week ago, and looking at local community issues sparking the blockade which, in turn, has ignited the Idle No More international movement.

As mentioned, one popular use of protest that has spread since the initial blockade and beginning of Chief Spence's hunger strike includes the appearance of "flash mobs" in shopping malls throughout Canada, and now, in the U.S. too.  Some flash mob scenes have been quite large, for example, in the major Canadian urban centers, while numerous others have appeared, including more remote locations.

Below, an example of a flash mob in the far reaches of Bemidji, Minnesota on December 26th.  According to wiki, Bemidjii is the hub of the Red Lake Indian Reservation, White Earth Indian Reservation and the Leech Lake Indian Reservation.  Some people credit the name of the town to Chief Bemidji, an Ojibwe or Anishinaabe chief.


Also, a Tar Sands solidarity dance viewable here; news analysis here with Pamela Palmater, chair in indigenous governance at Ryerson University and Idle No More spokesperson.  Ms. Palmater describes some of the decried legislation and also discusses the movement's relationship to the Tar Sands Blockade, as well as the Harper government response to Chief Spence's hunger strike.

Visit the Idle No More website here.

Photo credit/courtesy of Idle No More/"Idle No More began on November 10, 2012 at Stations 20 West, Saskatoon, SK. The early stages of the movement consisted of 5 rallies before our National Day of Action on December 10th." 

Editor's Update 1/8/2013. Idle No More is announcing a Global Day of Action for Friday, January 11, 2013, the same day Stephen Harper is scheduled to meet with the First Nations delegation.  Further information at the Facebook page here.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Let's Get Serious

Isn't a billion a year enough to live on?  Thom Hartmann discusses a 100% tax on all income and assets over a billion dollars, and how such a measure would lift tens of millions of Americans out of poverty.  Besides, the rich aren't creating jobs, are they?  Rather, they're creating joblessness and poverty wages.

Friday, January 4, 2013

113th Congress

Analysis of the 113th Congress by political writer John Nichols in a video interview at Democracy Now! The most diverse Congress in American history, Juan González reports,
The House now has 81 women, 61 of them Democrats, while the new Senate includes 20 women. There will be 44 African Americans in the House and one in the Senate. The Congress also includes nine new Latino members, making it the largest Latino class in history with 28 House seats and three Senate seats, two of whom are Republican. The new Congress also includes the first openly gay senator, Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, and the first open bisexual representative, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, as well as more religious diversity with two Buddhists, a Hindu and several Muslims. For the first time, white men will be a minority among House Democrats. "We have to be very, very cautious about presuming that simply having a more diverse Congress means that we’re going to get better results," notes Nichols, who stresses the importance of filibuster reform, which lawmakers are expected to address in the coming weeks.

Photo credit/above, courtesy of Policymic/uploaded by Alexandra Zimmerman, Women demonstrate for more women in Congress, "Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren Win: Record Number of Women Running in Election 2012."

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Update from Captain Paul Watson on Operation Zero ToleranceAs blogged earlier, the ships will converge and head together to intercept the whalers before they even get to the whale sanctuary.  The whalers have never left this late in their entire history.  Good news "for the whales and for us."


The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society also has this video at their website introducing the newest vessel in their fleet -- in an interesting turn of events, a former Japanese whaling ship -- The San Simon -- discussed by Captain Locky MacLean of France and Canada.  Altogether, the four vessels are now carrying 120 people from 24 nations.