Thursday, June 28, 2007

Fun and More in the 404

Betty's time in Atlanta has been fun and overwhelming! 10,000 people are here for the U.S. Social Forum and anything is possible, including another U.S.

Yesterday was the opening march from the Georgia State Capitol through the streets of downtown. Along with her friends from the Miami Worker's Center and FUREE, Betty got sweaty in the streets! She felt the heat of the politcal moment, too, and hoped the feeling was widespread. Onlookers looked stunned at the outpouring of people power.

To cap off the day, Betty and friends from Miami attended an Atlanta Braves game at the beautiful and intimate Turner Field. We marvelled at the cuteness of the baseball-rapt Southern boys and the over-made-up but still palpable robust beauty of the women. Barranquilla-born and Portland-bred Braves' star Edgar Rentaria had three hits before we left in the seventh inning, and the Braves beat the pathetic Washington Nationals, 13-0.

Today has been a little more relaxed, with meetings and workshops to attend on immigrant rights and gentrification as critical national issues. Tonight Betty will work the registration table at the plenary session on Gulf Coast recovery and its many sides.

Also, Betty has purchased the new Ryan Adams album, "Easy Tiger", and loves it! He's in fine form, and superb voice. The first three songs in particular are stand out. And it was recorded really loud!

Let those voices be heard!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Betty's Delta plane touched down safely at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport late last night. She breathed in the balmy summer air and waited awhile for some slow moving rental car service - no culture shock for this one.

As she drove easily to her hotel (the highways are as important here as in L.A.), she saw many signs for chain stores, and many tall, creeping chain stores themselves. She then realized that her hotel is in the Perimeter Mall, overlooking a Barnes & Noble, a Bed Bath and Beyond, a Linens N Things, and a big pit of dirt where some more mall is being built.

Still, the misty air and the bold greens of the roadside kept her smitten. The accents are musical, whether from the U.S. or the global South. Many African and Latino immigrants make their homes here, and it just grows and grows. Atlanta is a city to be taken seriously.

She has just arrived at the big, big U.S. Social Forum ( - an historic gathering of grassroots leaders and community activists from around the country. Her new hotel room overlooks the CNN Headquarters and somebody's stadium from the 63rd floor. As she pulled into the small but pleasing downtown (are those buildings old or just ornate? Hard to tell.) she saw gaggles of greasy-haired movement-builders trudging their bags and butts off their buses and into the hotel, where they are now camped and happy.

More to come!

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Best Band

Betty and Bimbo saw Wilco last night at the beautiful Pines Theater in Florence, Massachusetts (not far from Northampton). The pine trees towered over a packed, powerful set by America's most brilliant and inventive rock n' roll artists. Check out this clip from the show below! Betty and Bimbo were standing right there! We think Jeff Tweedy even looked our way a couple of times!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mags recommends: Sicko

Hello, B and B! I've been away (i.e. off the blog) for a month now, and I think it's time for my return. So: I'm pleased to report that I had the change to see Sicko this week, at a sneak preview sponsored by Michael Moore (who, I'm sorry to say, looks even fatter in the live flesh) and the Center for Justice and Democracy (an anti-tort reform advocacy group).

Seeing Sicko in a room full of trial lawyers was a particularly wonderful experience; at one point in the film, an HMO tells a woman (incorrectly) that she doesn't have a tumor, to which she responds that she knows she has a lawyers--at which point the tort boys in the crowd started hooting and hollering. Unlike his other films, there is very little of Moore's antagonistic stunts: rarely (if ever) in this movie does he try to embarrass some health care shill or reactionary congressman. Instead, Mike sticks to his story, and eloquently tells the melancholy tale that is the state of our health care system. At one point, Moore shows us the now infamous clip of Kaiser Permanente officials dumping indigent patients onto skid row, and asks the only question a sane American could ask: "Who are we? What have we become?"

Funny, sweet, melancholy, horrifying: Sicko is both shrilly angry and, in some strange way, beyond anger. When giving an introductory speech to the crowd of trial lawyers, Moore begun by talking about how often people would accost him and ask if Sicko was about frivolous lawsuits. "At first," he said, "I would explain to them that that was all a myth fed to them by the right. But it seems almost impossible to convey these basic truths to people. And you know what," he said, with a grim smile, "I'm 53 years old, and I'm getting tired."

Monday, June 18, 2007

sorry to bother...

A funny thing happened on the way to the open-mine pit...Some days ago, an official report came out showing how 3 glaciers in the Andes have decreased their size with 70% since 1981. Our dear friend, (and responsible for the irreversible disaster) Barrick Gold Corporation said it's due to "global warming" (looking very Al Gore) despite the fact that 2 other glaciers (close to the mine) only decreased with 14%...(info, same report).

Now, why would this possible be important to more folks than the 70.000 peeps living downhill from the Pascua Lama mine? Well, thanks for asking, Chile has over 55% of all the glaciers in South America (the least contaminated source of water), but also more or less, the same amount of mining projects.

And if we just ponder the fact that over $25 billion left Chile (in mine profits) last year, we can easily see that somehow the mine business DO NOT like what's going on the "internets" when it comes down to their goody-economics activities.

So, just because it's so warm and hot and humid, and 'cause comp lit rocks, let's compare (using available cultural youtubic style) two different "approaches" to the subject (both in english and both funny in so many differet ways)...

This one is made by scary people (but with a lot of cash):

This other one by (we guess by the tone of their voice) handsome americanos (please pay attention to the facts and sarcasm):

And if you want more 'in-english' well produced facts and images, see here.

What 's Going On

Readers may have remarked on Betty and Bimbo's unusual silence on this blog during the month of June. It has been quite a busy month! While Bimbo toils away on the Green Jobs report that will reconceptualize the economic and environmental possibilities of New York City, Betty plays guitars and reads books and works like a demon in her cubbyhole, but also in Miami and Atlanta. Also, Betty's laptop got picked off in Providence last month, so there has been little possibility for blogging at home. Plus, there's the dog to play with.

Please accept our apologies for this quiet time, please keep blogging, and we'll do our best to keep up!

Below: Bimbo and Cocoa share a nuzzle.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Yesterday was a first for me: I quit a job. Not left a job for a better opportunity with cake and good wishes from colleagues, but quit in a messy little confrontation with the boss and was out the door. I didn't do it in a fit of anger--I had a better gig lined up--and the "job" I left was an unpaid internship, pretty much a volunteer position. Yet it was ugly nonetheless, no doubt because the guy running the show is a petty man with a Napolean complex. Has anyone here ever quit a job? What was it like?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Cute Animal Alert

Since this blog is partially about cute animals, I decided I would show off my cat, Tuna. I got her about two months ago but I just got a camera, so I am kind of showing that off too. These images portray her participating in her favorite activities: Rolling around on the floor, and peering into the toilet (preferably if the water is swirling).

Monday, June 04, 2007

5 years are nothing...

Canadian detainee Omar Khadr, who was 15 when he was captured after a deadly firefight in Afghanistan and who is now 20, saw his case thrown out by the judge, Army Col. Peter Brownback, because he had been classified as an "enemy combatant" by a military panel years earlier — and not as an "alien unlawful enemy combatant."

The Military Commissions Act, signed by Bush last year, says only those classified as "unlawful" enemy combatants can face war trials here, Brownback noted during the arraignment in a hilltop courtroom. "The charges are dismissed without prejudice," Brownback pronounced as he adjourned the proceeding.

Later today, a lawyer representing the only other detainee charged with war crimes at GITMO (!), Salim Ahmed Hamdan, asked another military judge to throw out that case, based on the Khadr ruling. The judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, called a recess before the prosecutor could make a statement.

Khadr will remain at the remote U.S. military base along with some 380 other men. Nobody knows how many there are, since "nobody" knows...Sadly, the press reported that Khadr seemed oblivious to the ruling. He calmly watched the judge throw out the case — looking not at Brownback but at a computer screen at the defense table that showed a live TV broadcast of the proceedings. Khadr could see himself on the screen...

Meanwhile, in an act of serious heroism, Miss Condi (prez Putin's new BFF) fresh from picking a fight with Spain, held court amongst several latino men at the more than boring General Assembly of the Org of Am States in Panama. She made one of her typical surreal and contradicting statements, pointing out (to the world's surprise) that
"We, the members of the OAS, must defend freedom where it is under siege in our hemisphere, and we must support freedom whenever and wherever it is denied. In that regard, a process of change is taking place in Cuba". Call the press! Castro is dead!

Between so much reference to the classical 'freedom' and 'liberty' that we have grown fond of, she nevertheless managed to say something important for all of you accused -by the WH- of being 'unpatriotic'
. Please read and then smile, condescendingly.
"Freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of conscience are not a thorn in the side of government. They are the beginning of justice in every society. The unfettered public discussion of ideas is the greatest guarantee for the rule of law and the surest protection against the whims of rulers. Disagreeing with your government is not unpatriotic and it most certainly should not be a crime in any country, especially in a democracy. Open dialogue and debate is not only a fundamental principle of democracy, it is a practical necessity for good decision-making, for transparent oversight, and for effective policy implementation. This is the only way that democratic governments can hope to make economic development and social justice real for their people."
Well, Venezuela's sec of state got really angry at her when she said, in that soft womanly tone of voice, that a commission should be sent to Caracas to 'check out the democracy'. Venezuela -of course- brought up the GITMO and Fence/Wall issue. They challenged Condi to show the world (letting the 'free press' into GITMO) just HOW much the Bush administration cared and care about democracy. Further, they called for a destruction of the Wall/Fence.

Condi, now slightly enfuriated (must be some tough times at the office...Putin didn't call?) replied that "ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN" were enough to "secure" a free democracy in the US (we kid you not). Then, to everybody's dismay, she stood up, and briskly walked out of the General Assembly.

Five years are really nothing...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Music Video

For all of those interested, a friend and I recently made a music video of a song written by Cape Elizabeth's own Thomas White. It is pretty rad; check it out at