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Cindy Sheehan packs it in… my thoughts.

May 31, 2007, 7:07 PM

I was surprised to read in the Express that Cindy Sheehan is calling it quits in regard to her anti-war activism. As I understand it, it’s not that she’s changed her stance politically, but she’s ramping it down significantly.

As you may know, I met Cindy Sheehan twice – once on November 7, 2006, and once on January 4, 2007, both times in Washington DC. I think she’s a magnificent public speaker when you put her in front of a crowd. However, my experience was that she was not that good with making small talk. Me, I’m the exact opposite. I’m terrible with public speaking (I require a full script to get up and speak!), but I can make small talk all day and all night long.

I can also understand why Sheehan no longer wants to be the public face of the anti-war movement. She’s been an activist basically full time since the summer of 2005. Now it’s the late spring of 2007, so that means she’s been at it for almost two years. That’s a long time. I can imagine that the constant traveling and speaking engagements and demonstrations takes its toll eventually.

I have to say, though, I will miss Cindy Sheehan. She really was the public face of the mainstream anti-war movement for some time. Now we’ll have to see if the movement gets a new “face”. But I will always remember the time that I met her.

Categories: Anti-war

What a neat use for a hood ornament!

April 6, 2007, 12:47 PM

While Katie and I were at the mall yesterday, we saw one other thing that caught my eye. One patron of the mall had a Mercedes, and they modified the hood ornament on their car:

Mercedes logo turned into a peace sign

It almost makes me wish I had a Mercedes so I could adapt the hood ornament into a peace sign for my own use. What a great use, going from a corporate advertisement to a very relevant sentiment in this day and age.

Categories: Anti-war, Katie, Staunton

A new tagger has arrived on the Red Line scene…

March 28, 2007, 6:32 PM

As many who ride the Metro can attest, the eastern part of the Red Line has a lot of graffiti visible from the train. Besides the large “Bush Hates Borf” message near the Takoma station, there’s also a whole bunch of graffiti nearer to the ground. A lot of it is on walls in CSX’s right of way, and then there’s some on nearby buildings, and so on.

But I noticed a whole bunch of new tags when I rode up to Fort Totten yesterday on the Red Line. They are anti-war graffiti tags. Here’s an example of one near Brookland-CUA station:

Stop the war graffiti at Brookland-CUA station

I actually saw a bunch of these along the Red Line with similar messages. I don’t necessarily agree with the method used to get the message out – that being tagging – but the sentiment is definitely a good one.

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Categories: Anti-war, Street art, WMATA

Back from DC, back at work…

March 20, 2007, 11:11 AM

The first day back at work after a big protest is always a bit of a letdown. All that positive energy and excitement generated during the protest just kind of dissipates at work. I tell a few of my coworkers the story, and defend myself from the inevitable “so what did you really accomplish” questions.

And now I’m focusing on the follow-up work, where I consider my real activism to come out. The photo set. I’m not that great with public speaking or otherwise being put on the spot, though I do have my moments, like in a conversation about the Nationals and Metro service at A16, and my attempted discussion about the flag and the conservatives at J27. But then back here at my studio (read: my desk), that’s where I like to think I shine. There, I discuss the issue and other things in the context of the march. I have a great time, too.

So, yeah, I’m working on my M17 photo set, which has the working title of “March on the Pentagon”. I’m still in the very early stages of it, though, since I’ve not had much writing time on it at this point. I’m going to have to be clever with how I do mix photos and text this time, because I didn’t get the maneuvering room I usually have at these things. I was essentially locked in a tight formation facing forward, and it affected how the photos came out.

Still, returning to work after a big, successful protest is always a bit of a letdown for me. It doesn’t do that to me for smaller protests, but for the big ones, yes.

Categories: Anti-war, Schumin Web meta

You were just on TV – Fox News

March 17, 2007, 5:01 PM

First of all, hello from the Infoshop, where I just now met David Rovics.

The protest went swimmingly. I got off the Metro at Foggy Bottom, headed down to the main rally site, and eventually found the SDS contingent. After we determined what we wanted to do, we were off! This time, the black bloc stayed with the mainstream march (sponsored by ANSWER) for the most part. We formed a very tight affinity group, with arms locked the entire way. My right shoulder is now a bit sore due to that. We marched past the counter-protesters “guarding” the Lincoln Memorial (*eyes rolling*), and then marched over Memorial Bridge and on into Arlington. We eventually made a left turn, and headed towards the Pentagon. Our black bloc, after initially having to wedge itself into the mainstream march to get moving, mostly marched as its own unit to the side of the mainstream march, arms locked all the way. Did I say very tight affinity group?

At the Pentagon, we split from the mainstream march. The mainstream march went left, and down into the Pentagon’s north parking lot (ho-hum). There, they had their rally, complete with speeches. Meanwhile, we continued on Route 27 for a little bit more, before we were physically stopped by Pentagon Police and the Virginia State Police. After briefly pushing against the line of police, a pyrotechnic device went off right in front of us (I was near the front of the march at this point), and we backed off. The police then started putting on gas masks, and a standoff began. The police were warning us to disperse, and many participants in the black bloc sat down in the street in front of them. The police gave warnings to disperse, they sat down. I backed off, and went to the back of it all, since I wasn’t in the mood to get sprayed and/or arrested. Thus I ended up standing in the back, ready to run if it became necessary. A number of people from the SDS contingent determined that they were going to go back to the recruiting center in DC where the window had previously been broken, while others (including myself) decided to call it a day. Meanwhile, a very dedicated group of black bloc-ers remained at the Pentagon, continuing the standoff. I’m told that no pepper spray or tear gas was ever used (though they were prepared to use it), and that the group finally dispersed on its own when the State Police brought a large number of paddy wagons into position, prepared to make mass arrests (unlike DC, they can do that in Arlington).

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Categories: Anti-war, Black bloc, DC trips

At this early hour, we’re up, and you know what that means…

March 17, 2007, 2:09 AM

It is 3:30 AM on Saturday, March 17, 2007 as I am writing this. And you know what that means, right? Yes, that’s right – I’m going to Washington DC, and it must be something important if I’m going on a weekend and getting up so bloody early that the road’s not even awake yet.

As you probably guessed, and as I hinted to in my previous Journal entry about the Malkinites, I’m going to the M17 demonstration today. Yep! Despite the snow that hit the area yesterday, I’m still going. Nature’s going to have to do better than that to keep me away.

And I’m ready, too. The protest pack is already in the car, and Big Mavica’s batteries are fully charged, plus I topped them off last night. All I have to do is get my two big bottles of water, and I’ll do that on my Mt. Jackson stop.

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Categories: Anti-war, DC trips

If this is the best that the right wing has to offer, I am not impressed.

March 14, 2007, 6:35 PM

I seem to have been made the poster child of the anti-war movement on the blog of conservative columnist Michelle Malkin. And if what I’ve seen is the best that the right wing has to offer, I am not impressed.

And now we understand why the Republicans lost in November if this is how these people handle themselves. Here are a few gems for you…

From “jim”: When Islam over runs this country it will be because of wussy boys like you.

From “Kelly Aasen”: Go to the gym, read some real books (not the liberal trash you appear to be reading) and get the [expletive deleted] out of your parents house and on your own.

From “A Vet”: Kindly don’t come looking to desecrate the VN memorial. We had experience dealing with people in black previously and we won’t take kindly to any attempts to leave any paint/marks on it. Otherwise have a nice day Sunday. PS: kindly don’t date my daughter.

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Protesting leaves you SO sore…

January 29, 2007, 2:07 AM

Marching around DC for six hours at a relatively fast pace leaves you sore the next day. Specifically, my legs hurt. Whatever muscle runs along the outer sides of the thigh must have gotten quite a workout, because it’s aching today. Going down the stairs has been hell. Going up is no problem. Go figure.

Otherwise, I thought it was interesting to read this in this ABC News article:

The rally on the Mall unfolded peacefully, although about 300 protesters tried to rush the Capitol, running up the grassy lawn to the front of the building. Police on motorcycles tried to stop them, scuffling with some and barricading entrances.

I was part of that group of 300-some protesters. And it was quite an event, as this picture attests:

The J27 demonstrators at the southeast corner of the Capitol

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Categories: Anti-war, Cameras, DC trips

“GIVE US A TOUR! GIVE US A TOUR!”

January 27, 2007, 5:29 PM

So the January 27, 2007 anti-war protest went quite well. I ran with the black bloc (no surprise there). The black bloc started out at Dupont Circle, and marched down Massachusetts Avenue to Scott Circle, to 15th Street, to N Street, to Thomas Circle, to Massachusetts Avenue again, to 12th Street, to M Street (or something thereabouts – I made notes with the camera), down Mt. Vernon Place past the front entrance of the DC Convention Center where an auto show was happening (speaking of wars over oil), and down 7th Street through Chinatown and down to the Mall. We ultimately crossed the Mall, and went up Independence Avenue SW to the Capitol.

We marched up to the west stairs (right side) and were denied access (as expected). We shouted, “GIVE US A TOUR! GIVE US A TOUR!” I loved it. After a little bit here, we marched around to the southeast side of the Capitol and repeated this. Then we marched back to the west front again, and then down to 3rd Street NW on the Mall, where things got dull for a bit. Then we again stormed the Capitol, going to the left side steps on the west front. Same result. Not surprised. Then we went back to 3rd again, and had a bit of a meeting. Black bloc quickly came to a rough consensus about where to go from there. They determined to go to a recruitment center downtown. 14th and K, if not mistaken. By that time, I was wearing down, and dropped out at 7th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, which many of you may know as the location of Archives-Navy Mem’l station. My exact comment to myself was, “It’s been real, but I’m tired.” And I let the black bloc pass down the street.

Funny: After undoing all my black bloc finery, I spoke with a group carrying a black flag that had been in the black bloc. They didn’t recognize me. I was like, “wait a sec.” I took my glasses off again, put on the little hat, and held up a red bandanna. I said, “Recognize me now?” They’re like, “oh, yeah, I remember you!” Funny how people recognize you in an “anonymous” appearance. Black blocs are fun, though.

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Categories: Anti-war, Black bloc

Remember not to misspell, now… that’s B-O-R-F.

January 21, 2007, 10:10 PM

Occasionally I have fun with my coworkers. I recently had the occasion of having some cans of spray paint go through the Service Desk to go back to their proper department. And in the meantime, talk of graffiti came up. I made reference to the DC-area graffiti artist John Tsombikos from Great Falls, best known as the main person behind the “Borf” campaign. Of course, my coworkers had no idea. They don’t make these biweekly runs to DC like I do. I remember seeing graffiti from the train along the eastern half of the Red Line referring to “Borf”, and I was like, what-the-heck. “Borf”? It wasn’t until really recently, talking about the “disarm” message that was stenciled on the sidewalk of the Key Bridge, that I really found out what Borf was all about. Very prolific.

Otherwise, it snowed today, as the weather forecasters predicted. Actually, it snowed first, then turned to freezing rain, and then to sleet. All and all, it was not a pleasant drive to work. Actually, going in was worse than leaving. It was all still snow then. Basically packed snow all the way to Waynesboro. The Sable still drives better in the snow than the Previa did, but the trip was not without its challenges, as stopping was something of a challenge. Most notably, I was unable to stop at the intersection of the westbound off-ramp of I-64 and Rosser Avenue in Waynesboro, and therefore slid right through a just-turned red light. So yes, I ran a red light today. I did, and so did the car beside me. Both of us slid right through the red light, blowing our horns to warn any potential cross-traffic of our situation. We both got through unscathed.

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I went to a World Can’t Wait rally today, and met Cindy Sheehan again…

January 4, 2007, 4:00 PM

I went to a rally today in Upper Senate Park that was put on by World Can’t Wait. That group’s goal is to drive out the Bush administration. Cindy Sheehan spoke at the event, as did a host of others.

I said hello to Ms. Sheehan, finally gave her the address to Schumin Web, and also briefly talked with her about her meeting with Rhonda Winfield. Winfield is a local woman – local to me, as she’s from from Stuarts Draft. Her son, Jason Redifer, was killed in Iraq on January 31, 2005. I’ve described Winfield as “the anti-Cindy Sheehan”. Winfield is pro-war, and supports the Bush administration, while Sheehan does not. They actually met at Vienna the day before I first met Cindy Sheehan. I’ve not met Rhonda Winfield, as far as I know (I very well could have waited on her at work, however).

I also asked Ms. Sheehan about what she was charged with regarding her November arrest for hefting the list of signatures over the White House fence. Turns out she was never charged. Good deal.

I got a lot of photos and movies from the event, including excerpts from Cindy Sheehan’s speech. Some of that will likely end up on the Web site, and I’m likely going to post the movies on YouTube. Again, we’ll see, once I get home and can take a good, hard look at the take from today.

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Categories: Anti-war, DC trips

“Peace”

November 25, 2006, 9:39 PM

Paz, paix, peace, an, siochain, friede, shalom, salaam,amani, santeepop, heiwa, hoa bihn

That’s “peace” in twelve different languages: Spanish, French, English, Korean, Gaelic, German, Hebrew, Arabic, Swahili, Thai, Japanese, and Vietnamese. In this time in our history, with a war going on in Iraq, I’m reminded of the song whose lyrics are reproduced above in all those different languages.

I first learned the song in 1991, when I sang a duet with Laine Virtue in the fourth grade for the school chorus. Back then, there was another war going on in Iraq: Operation Desert Storm. Laine and I sang that song, whose only words were the various translations of “peace” as quoted above. Then the next fall, the whole chorus sang a song, “Let Peace Begin With Me”, which was a really neat song (and I can’t find the lyrics for it online).

And with Christmas exactly one month away, I’m holding out hope that we can come up with a peaceful end to the current conflict, and bring our troops home alive very soon. I think this photo says it all…

A woman holds up a US flag, where the fifty stars are arranged to form a peace sign

The “No Armageddon” rally went well, and now I’m watching The Blues Brothers

June 8, 2006, 2:28 AM

The “No Armageddon For Bush” rally went quite well, as DAWN really put on a good show. It was also strange seeing David Barrows dressed up in religious robes:

David Barrows dressed up for the "No Armageddon" rally

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Categories: Anti-war

Food for thought

December 4, 2005, 5:14 PM

First of all, some food for thought regarding the war in Iraq that came in the form of a letter to the editor in the Staunton News Leader, printed here in its entirety:

If the United States military stays in Iraq 10 more days, 10 more months, or 10 more years will the outcome be significantly different? – Tom Long, Mount Solon

I wonder that as well. I personally lean very strongly towards saying that it was never our business to invade Iraq in the first place.

Thought I’d share that.

Meanwhile, I can’t believe I didn’t hear about the protests against global warming until I read about it in the newspaper this morning. I was like, wow. Not much happened for this one in DC from what I could tell on DC Indymedia. I did, however, find the new Climate IMC site. This is an Indymedia site specifically for climate-related news.

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It’s done…

October 14, 2005, 11:57 PM

Finally, my September 24 photo set is finished. Three weeks from shooting to completion. Of course, this means that now I don’t have to look at my photos from September 24 for a while. For let me tell you… when you do a photo set, particularly a large one like September 24 (121 photos plus 14 movies), trust me when I say you can get tired of looking at the photos.

But I’m quite proud of the set. I covered the Mobilization for Global Justice’s feeder march, I covered the ANSWER/UFPJ march, I covered the Freepers, plus I met up with Mom after it was all over.

Now the next photo set in the hopper is from my vacation to the beach. I’m also working on some anti-war stuff for Wikipedia, and some stuff about the Metro, also for Wikipedia.

I also have the 2005 redesign to think about, and I can tell you this – it’s getting later and later every year. The annual redesign was originally in September when I first started doing redesigns annually in 1999. Then it was moved up to July in 2001. Then 2004’s was in October. Now, since I have a backlog of photo sets, and since I generally like the way the Web site currently looks and operates, I’m thinking about doing a very minor redesign on the site, mainly to correct any shortcomings on this design that turned up in the year we’ve had it.