Reflecting on fasting and action to close Guantanamo

posted by Mike on January 23rd, 2010

Yesterday was the 12th and final day of the fast. It was spent, by many, in jail. For the others, it was a day of cooking food, roaming the corridors of the courthouse, and tidying up outreach.

This morning, three of us went down to the Japanese Buddhist temple for drumming and chanting.

“If even monks become weary and sloppy in saluting with joined palms, then no one will perform raihai. One would no longer salute parents, children, wife and husband, neighbors or laborers with palms together.”
Nichidatsu Fuji

Which suggests one value of Thursday’s actions. If Catholic Workers aren’t creating illegal memorial services for dead detainees in the Capitol dome, then who will perform them?

Second Sunday of Advent

posted by Mike on December 6th, 2009

Our homemade Advent wreath

Here’s a picture of the Advent wreath we made this week. We colored white candles with melted crayons (my friend is a master at this), melted them to a piece of cardboard, put that on a tray, and covered it with evergreen branches from the tree in the backyard. I think it looks great.

We’ve been marking Advent with readings from the Henri Nouwen booklet. Today for the first time we also used the Bishops’s prayers. I was surprised to see that as part of your Advent ceremony they ask you to visit a website. Makes me feel less silly about blogging my second Sunday of Advent.


My friends have the Advent doodad pictured above in their kitchen. Day by day, you hang figures from the pegs. No idea what this is called.

posted by Mike in General | on December 6th, 2009 | Permanent Link to “Second Sunday of Advent” | No Comments »

61 arrested in White House demonstration against war and torture

posted by Mike on October 5th, 2009


This afternoon, an estimated 82 61 people Americans were arrested outside the White House while protesting the Obama administration’s continuation of Bush-era policies of war and indefinite detention.

More photos

Video of the demonstrations, including incorrect arrest estimate:

McClatchy video

More video

CNN blog:

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that neither he nor the president were aware of the protest until it was mentioned in the daily briefing to the press, adding: “I think the president has long believed that whether your opinion is on one side of this issue or the other, that this is the greatness of our country, is that you get to amplify that opinion.”

More coverage:

Update: Why the inaccurate early arrest estimate? It seems that 20-odd people, the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance affinity group, approached one of the White House gates, seeking to meet with someone and discuss a letter they’d sent Obama. Nobody came out to meet them, so they had a die-in. After many minutes, it seemed they would finally be arrested, so some of them stood and sang. Members of law enforcement then shoved the group out of the area; none was arrested, though some of the organizers had assumed they would be.

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Continuing the call to close Guantanamo

posted by Mike on October 4th, 2009


Worth noting that all summer long, people have continued to gather each Tuesday near the White House to encourage President Obama to keep his promise to close the prison at Guantanamo and end America’s policies of torture.

These vigils are a continuation of the 100 Days Campaign.

508 #83: Kola Akindele

posted by Mike on September 11th, 2009

508 is a show about Worcester. Today’s panel includes Brendan Melican, Cha-Cha Connor, and City Council challenger Kola Akindele.


Audio: mp3 link, other formats, feed, lo-fi versions for slow connections

Video: Downloads and other formats

The latest round of debate over Worcester’s pools ended in a contentious City Council meeting this week. Some are seeing the issue as a litmus test in the upcoming City Council election. It has also spurred new calls for a change in the city’s charter.

508 contact info

Upcoming candidates should include Mary Keefe, Rob Diaz, and Grace Ross. Feel free to post questions to them in the comments to this post.

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posted by Mike in General | on September 11th, 2009 | Permanent Link to “508 #83: Kola Akindele” | No Comments »

Hiroshima Day 2009, Worcester, Massachusetts

posted by Mike on August 6th, 2009

11 people gathered at Worcester City Hall today to repent, as Americans, for the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and to call for nuclear disarmament.


A recent poll found that 61% of Americans think the bombing was “the right thing” to do. There are two ways to look at this. Was the bombing an effective way to bring WWII to an end? Was the bombing a horrible crime?

I think the answer to the second question is “Yes.” As to the first, Wikipedia is a good place to start. Hiroshima: Was It Necessary? is another introduction.

For another take on disarmament, one expressed by several passersby today, see Randy Newman’s “Political Science.”


Happy 76th birthday, Catholic Worker movement!

posted by Mike on May 1st, 2009

Today, May 1, is the 76th anniversary of the publication of the first edition of The Catholic Worker newspaper, generally recognized as the beginning of the Catholic Worker movement.

Art Laffin of the DC Worker read The Aims and Means of the Catholic Worker at the weekly Friday White House vigil today:

Matt Vogel, managing editor of The Catholic Worker, shares his thoughts:

More thoughs on the anniversary from the Oklahoma City CW.

Carl Malamud for Public Printer

posted by Mike on February 27th, 2009

data4Carl Malamud, rogue archivist and information activist, is campaigning to be made the Public Printer (head of the Government Printing Office). “I’m inspired by Gus Geigengack, a working printer who convinced FDR to name him to the post.”

Mr. Malamud’s “Hack 3: Be Government” was the direct inspiration for Worcester Indymedia’s 2008 project to create a free, public archive of City Council meeting videos. (The City refused to sell us copies of the videos or help in any way; in 2009 they finally started doing this themselves.)

I endorse his campaign, and hope that you will, too. He’s done a heck of a job opening government from the outside–he’d do a heck of a job on the inside, too. Read his platform and then endorse away! “To endorse my nomination, simply comment on any blog post (like this one!), tweet me [@carlmalamud], or send me email []. The endorsements will be harvested, set into a book, and released as a free PDF file with paper copies dispatched to the White House Office of Personnel. Thank you for your support.”

People I read who are endorsing: On the Commons, Boing Boing

Peter DeMott has died

posted by Mike on February 20th, 2009

Photos at Jonah House.

We are told he was injured falling from a tree. More details to come.

Ithaca Blog:

Peter was a veteran of both the U.S. Army and Marines who became one of the leading anti-war activists in America.


Peter leaves behind his wife, Ellen Grady, and their 4 daughters.

Democracy Now:

And the longtime peace activist Peter DeMott has died at the age of sixty-two. Shortly before the US invasion of Iraq, DeMott and three other peace activists poured their own blood on the posters, flags and walls of a military recruiting station outside of Ithaca, New York. The activists became known as the St. Patrick’s Day Four. Demott served four months in federal prison for the action. He became a peace activist after fighting with the Marines in Vietnam.

posted by Mike in General | on February 20th, 2009 | Permanent Link to “Peter DeMott has died” | 1 Comment »

Some Christmas stuff

posted by Mike on December 23rd, 2008

This year I somehow finished most of my Christmas chores in late November. Then things got super-busy, and the last few tasks, like writing this pre-Christmas blog post, got pushed till the last minute.

Civil disobedience through oil and gas bids
Adam sent along this inspiring story of Tim DeChristopher, who de-railed “an oil- and gas-lease sale that caught the attention of Congress and the incoming Obama administration.”

Holiday giving?
If you’re thinking of donating money to an interesting cause, and you’ve already helped your church and local Catholic Worker house, you might consider Worcester’s EMPOWER. This group has been working to start a local biodiesel cooperative, converting waste restaurant fryer oil into home heating oil. They’re raising a few more funds so they can finish crossing the Ts and dotting the Is and begin production. You can learn more about them through EPOCA (their fiscal sponsor), or I’d be happy to put you in touch with the right people.

If you’re looking for a present for post-Christmas giving, you could do worse than the Snow Ghost Community Show DVD box set, available for a $50 donation to WCCA TV13, Worcester’s cable access station (and my sometime employer). Get your copy at WCCA’s office or HBML. I’m slowly uploading the images to the Archive for your DVD-burning pleasure.
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posted by Mike in Christmas, General | on December 23rd, 2008 | Permanent Link to “Some Christmas stuff” | 1 Comment »