Tag Archive: activism

New Year, New Anthem

A friend sent us a link to Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem.” After several days and dozens of listens, I’ve come to think of it as the perfect song for the coming year:

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.

Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

Forty Districts and Twenty-One Counties

New Jersey politics is very concentrated.  There are 21 legislative districts that are completely Democratic.  There are five districts that are split (electing one Democratic Senator and seven Democratic Assembly members):  the 1st, 2nd, 7th, 12th and 14th.  This means that there are fourteen legislative districts that are all Republican.  If we want to continue to pin down the Republicans, then we need to have strong challenges in these districts.  Instead if Republicans are forced to defend themselves against strong challenges, then their resources are further stretched and there is a chance to score some upsets.  So, what I am suggesting is that we try to undertake a local version of Howard Dean’s 50-State Project.
(more to follow)

Straightening Out 101.5 (So To Speak)

I almost never listen to New Jersey 101.5, but when a friend called and told me that Dennis Malloy of “Dennis and Judy” was discussing Corzine’s signing of the transgender civil rights bill into law yesterday, I couldn’t resist tuning in.

After about five minutes of hearing this right-wing boob expound on how “Comrade Corzine” was preventing business owners from freely discriminating against anyone they don’t like, being the loudmouth transgender radio host I am, I just couldn’t stand it anymore and picked up the phone…

Click Through. Google will love you for it!

It’s the bomb!

–NJ-05: Scott Garrett

–AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl

–AZ-01: Rick Renzi

–AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth

–CA-04: John Doolittle

–CA-11: Richard Pombo

–CA-50: Brian Bilbray

–CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave

–CO-05: Doug Lamborn

–CO-07: Rick O’Donnell

–CT-04: Christopher Shays

–FL-13: Vernon Buchanan

–FL-16: Joe Negron
–FL-22: Clay Shaw
–ID-01: Bill Sali

–IL-06: Peter Roskam

–IL-10: Mark Kirk

–IL-14: Dennis Hastert

–IN-02: Chris Chocola

–IN-08: John Hostettler

–IA-01: Mike Whalen

–KS-02: Jim Ryun
–KY-03: Anne Northup

–KY-04: Geoff Davis

–MD-Sen: Michael Steele

–MN-01: Gil Gutknecht

–MN-06: Michele Bachmann

–MO-Sen: Jim Talent

–MT-Sen: Conrad Burns

–NV-03: Jon Porter

–NH-02: Charlie Bass

–NJ-07: Mike Ferguson

–NM-01: Heather Wilson

–NY-03: Peter King

–NY-20: John Sweeney

–NY-26: Tom Reynolds

–NY-29: Randy Kuhl

–NC-08: Robin Hayes

–NC-11: Charles Taylor

–OH-01: Steve Chabot

–OH-02: Jean Schmidt

–OH-15: Deborah Pryce

–OH-18: Joy Padgett

–PA-04: Melissa Hart

–PA-07: Curt Weldon

–PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick

–PA-10: Don Sherwood

–RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee
–TN-Sen: Bob Corker

–VA-Sen: George Allen

–VA-10: Frank Wolf

–WA-Sen: Mike McGavick
–WA-08: Dave Reichert

Political Art Exhibit Opens Tonight

“Presidential elections are important, but this year’s swing election is probably more critical. There are a lot of seats up — it allows a chance to vote Republicans out. It’s not about waiting every four years. You should have a venue to say that now.”

While that quote could easily have come from anyone on BlueJersey or any progressive activism in the country, it is actually an artist and curator of a new politically-charged show in Jersey City.

Recognizing the long history between art – accidental and created – and political activism, Mana Fine Arts is hosting the second installment of “What Have You Got To Say?” (WHYGTS). This group-curated show features 165 works from 75 artists, and it opens tonight, from 6-9 pm. Tomorrow night (Friday), there is a “Soapbox Declarations” program where people can get up and speak their mind (it will be videotaped and later put back into the exhibit).

City Belt viewed the art, and then spoke with the curators, one artist in the show, and one who claims the show is politically censoring him. You can read the full report, view a few more images, and get more details, here.

City Belt
Independent. Progressive. New Jersey.

DFA Training & Jim Dean Interview

Today was the DFA training session that took place at Raritan Valley Community College and below are some photos from the event. I’d estimate about 100 people came out for the training, which continues tomorrow as well. Also, our very own Jay Lassiter had a chance to interview DFA president (and Howard Dean’s brother) Jim Dean (not to be confused with the famous sausage entrepreneur). We’ll have a podcast of the entire interview hopefully by Monday, but for now, here’s a video clip of Jay asking Jim about the future of blogging.

Jim Dean speaks at DFA training The room at DFA training

Ms. Rogovin Goes to Washington

The deaths continue to mount in Iraq. Gas prices continue to climb. We drove out one of the biggest war supporters on “our side of the aisle” last week.

All over the country, progressives are wondering what comes next for the anti-war movement. To that end, City Belt spoke with Paula Rogovin, a Teaneck military mom and activist with Military Families Speak Out about the work she was doing in Washington this summer (before the Congressional break) to convince our fair state’s Senators to push for real legislation to end the war.

It’s an interesting dynamic, because while they are both against the war, they weren’t acting on it all that much in the Senate, partially because of our minority, but also I think because of the fear, that the mainstream press has somehow propagated, that you can’t be anti-war and win votes.

We think Paula’s comments show the importance of turning a few of NJ’s “R”s to “D”s this fall. As she says, “I think the biggest thing is to get involved in election work.

Read the Q&A here.

Granny Peace Brigade to March in Newark

Just in case you haven’t heard about the Grannies, they gained recognition last year after they were arrested outside of the recruiting office in Times Square.  They were charged with disorderly conduct.  They were offered a plea bargain that included all charges being dropped in exchange for the Grannies’, whose ages range from 59 to 91, staying out of trouble for the next six months.  I am sure to the prosecutors chagrin, the grannies turned the deal down.  You might be wondering what their defense was.  They said they went to the recruiting station to enlist so their to spare their grandchildren from having to do so.  When they got there the door was locked and they being of advanced age became tired and needed to sit down.  They were acquitted.

This comes our way from New Jersey Peace Action

Join the Grannies for Peace in a Rally and March

Sunday, June 25 from 1:00 pm– 3:00 pm

Starting at Broad and Market Streets in Newark and marching to the Armed Forces Recruiting Center located at 31 Clinton Street

Please Join us for a Potluck Dinner with

Grannies for Peace Brigade
Sunday, June 25 at 4:00 p.m.
At the Friends Meeting House
225 Watchung Avenue
Corner of Watchung Ave. & E. 3rd St.
Plainfield, NJ 07060

The Grannies Peace Brigade is the group of 18 “grannies” who were swept up last October by the New York City police, handcuffed, loaded into police vans and jailed for four and a half hours.

The grandmothers were accused of blocking pedestrian traffic at the Times Square Army recruitment center in mid-town Manhattan after the women presented themselves for enlistment on October 17. They told army recruiters, “We insist/we enlist,” arguing that the military should take them into Iraq service rather than their grandchildren. They were acquitted on Thursday, April 27.

The women ranged in age from 59 to 91 and protest each week in Times Square against the war. Their campaign, arrest, and trial drew media attention from around the world. The Grannies celebrated their court victory by breaking into song outside the courthouse after the verdict, singing “God Help America” to the tune of “God Bless America.”

Asked what the judgeÂ’s decision meant to her, Grannies for Peace member, Joan Wile, 74, a retired singer, said, “Listen to your granny, and take to the streets like we did.”

Sponsored by: NJ Peace Action, PeoplesÂ’ Organization for Progress – Plainfield Chapter and Somerset Voices for Peace & Justice – Local groups who sponsor monthly demonstrations at the recruiting stations in Plainfield and Somerville.

This will be a potluck dinner, so please bring a dish to share, a dessert, or some drinks as you are able.

You can RSVP to: info@somersetpeace.org to let us know what you will bring and how many people are coming, which will help with our planning.

March and Rally on Broad and Market Streets, Newark
DATE: June 25
TIME: 1:00pm – 3:00pm
LOCATION: Broad and Market Street, Newark 

Just Say NO to War

Army 1st Lieutenant Ehren Watada, as expected failed to deploy with his unit to Iraq.  Although he is not the first soldier to invoke consciencious objector status and refuse orders to deploy, he is believed to be the first officer to do so.  Watada remains on the base at Fort Lewis under orders not to speak publicly and awaiting a decision from his commanding officer on whether or not he should be charged and for what.  In January Watada attempted to resign his commisson stating

“I am wholeheartedly opposed to the continued war in Iraq, the deception used to wage this war, and the lawlessness that has pervaded every aspect of our civilian leadership.”

  On June 7th during a press conference Watada expressed the belief that deploying to Iraq would make him a “party to war crimes”.

It is my conclusion as an officer of the armed forces that the war in Iraq is not only morally wrong but a horrible breach of American law.  Although I have tried to resign out of protest, I am forced to participate in a war that is manifestly illegal. As the order to take part in an illegal act is ultimately unlawful as well, I must as an officer of honor and integrity refuse that order.”

If would like information counseling the troops and on conscientious objector status you can contact the Catholic Peace Fellowship.  They even have a local chapter in NJ.  You can contact
Stephen J Spiro, New Jersey Organizer
Box 4451 – Brainy Boro Station
Metuchen, NJ 08840-4451

The New Jersey Chapter of the Catholic Peace Fellowship will also be at the following events this weekend if you want to drop by
June 24, Saturday. 
St Joseph’s Parish Fair. 
School grounds, Manning Ave & Westervelt Ave,
North Plainfield, NJ. 
10am to 8pm

June 25, Sunday. 
Fanwood Street Fair. 
Downtown Fanwood, NJ
11am to 5pm