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Sunday, February 27, 2011

TEACHERS MUST STRIKE NOW!

Teachers have a national union that represents most of them. They should strike now. Not next week, not next month and certainly NOT next school year.

Teachers can shut this country down. The reason people think teachers are getting paid too much is because parents think of teachers as baby sitters. Most households need two jobs to make their payments to the banks. Shut down the schools and everything slows and shuts down.

That is what needs to happen now. If the union waits until September, the teachers union will be a memory. Look at what happened in Rhode Island on Friday. That will happen everywhere -- work without the union or don't work at all. 

The politicians don't care. All their kids are in private school, paid for by corporate graft.

It is time to stop the assault of the billionaires! Teachers should walk out NOW and every union should join the teachers! General strike!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

LET’S GO SERFING NOW part 2


Wall Street traders are manipulating the price of oil, again. And our bought and paid for president and congress are not doing one thing to protect the American people from phase 2 of the economic downturn for everyone but the banksters and brokerino dealers. It’s not vast hordes of unwashed muzzies rising up against their corporate-America-backed dictators that’s driving up gas prices, as the “news” talkers are repeating a thousand times a day. (Well, they might leave out the history lesson as to who backs the worst thugs around the world.)

Oil fields are NOT under attack. NO oil tankers have been blown up. It doesn’t cost one penny more today to get oil out of the Mideast desert sands than it did a month ago. So, why is the price going up? Goldman Sachs and the other greedy commodity traders are sitting in front of their computer screens driving up the price of food and fuel, for their personal profit.

The professional liars who rule televisions 24 hour news cycle will NOT tell you the truth, even though it is so obvious somebody like me can sit here in my little mountainside shack and figure out what’s going on. People throwing off oppression is nothing but an opportunity for unregulated pigs on Wall Street to make life worse for everyone, as if they haven’t done enough already.

The Storyteller in Chief says it is teachers’ unions that are the problem; the corporate boot lickers on Capitol Hill will tell you it is Social Security and Medicare, when prodded by the news cycle prevaricators.

War and prisons are breaking this country financially, along with underwriting all the bad bets Wall Street makes.

Now more and more families will be reduced to hardship due to rising fuel and food prices -- so that Goldman Sachs traders can have bigger bonuses, bigger yachts, bigger homes in the Hamptons. If you are not among those who already have been ruined by government’s collusion with the market manipulators – there’s a damn good chance you will be soon.

You will be told your coming problems are due to oppressed people rising up in the Middle East. Know this: all our financial problems are created in offices in lower Manhattan. The current administration has fumbled every opportunity to get things under control. "Our" government now exists to make sure the rich stay rich and that the rest of us pay for any financial mistakes the rich  might make. 

Better go on line and order some garden seeds. A time to hunker down is coming.  

++++++

I just got this link emailed to me and watched this video. I'm a little iffy on some of it. However, the speech by the wrestler at the end is right on. But since the video link was sent to me by a federal law enforcement officer I've know for many, many years -- I'll let you decide. (I don't know about the fluoride conspiracy stuff. But then, I have my own well.) There is no right and left politically anymore. There are only haves and have nots.
 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Ginseng Roots Band Got Percussion!

We got us a playah! Right now we're calling him Major Monkey Skulls. We were calling him something else but his wife came to the gig tonight and put the kibosh on that.

Anyway, he's working out just fine on monkey skulls and washboard. Starting to sound like a roots band with a ukulele twist.

On another note -- the holiday Monday really screwed up my timing this week. I forgot to buy my Mega Millions last night (my numbers did NOT come up. If they had, I probably be bled out by now.)

And I forgot today was Wednesday until tonight. So, Chapter 24 of BROADWAY VAMPIRE is posted for your reading pleasure. Better late than never.

Soon, I'll start posting these gigs. You have to see JJ Deluxe. The man has got the sax mojo going on! We played a set at the Riegelsville Inn Monday night, by invitation of the ukulele player whose gig it was, and you would have thought he was a rock star the way those young ladies went after him when we came off the band stand. The man has it going on!

Monday, February 21, 2011

More from the Dept of Random Thoughts

Profit or nonprofit, American theater in these times is all about what money wants to hear, not about the truth that needs to be told.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Desperately Seeking Percussion

Uke Jackson and the Ginseng Roots Band must find a percussionist. We are looking for someone with a good sense of rhythm, ability to keep time, and a good sense of humor. Man or woman is welcome.

We want you to play the skulls. This is a very rare South Pacific percussion set up to which JJ Deluxe has added some accouterments usually associated with washboard. We will teach you to play the way we want.

If you can play washboard, we will use that talent, too.

If you have a cocktail kit (small kick drum, snare and high hat) -- all the better.

We have lots of gigs upcoming through the spring, summer and autumn.We would REALLY like to have someone for our Mardi Gras gig on Tuesday, March 8 at the Buckwood Bistro on Route 46 in NJ.

Uke Jackson and the Ginseng Roots Band playing community bandstands and other venues from crossroads cafes to cosmopolitan cabarets, from farmers markets to festival main stages -- up and down the Delaware River watershed, with occasional forays across, NJ and into Manhattan.

Serious candidates only, please.

Please call Uke Jackson Entertainment for an audition: 570-426-1989.

Please share this on your social media pages and/or Tweet it.

Thanks for helping keep the music alive!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

NEWS FROM THE DELAWARE RIVERKEEPER

Assaults on the Delaware River continue apace -- from the frackers and the evil Army Corps of Engineers. Corruption and cronyism are alive and well in the Federal court system and in the Delaware River Basin Commission. These two stories come to us from the Delaware Riverkeeper:

Pennsylvania’s Delaware River Watershed Legislators Call for Expansion of Public Comment on Delaware River Basin Commission Draft Natural Gas Rules

Delaware River Watershed Six Pennsylvania elected representatives from the Delaware
River delegation have submitted letters to the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) over
the past week requesting the agency extend the public comment period for the Draft Natural
Gas Development Regulations it has issued so more of their constituents can give input. The
Public Comment period is due to close on March 16, just a month away.
Public interest in the critical rulemaking that will govern gas development activities in the Basin
has been remarkably high yet the 90 day public comment period does not allow enough time
for full participation. This important set of regulations will impact all corners of the Basin due to
the far reaching water quality and quantity effects of natural gas development on water
supplies, arguing for a comment period that’s long enough and enough public hearings to truly
reflect broad input.
 
Leaders who have submitted letters to the DRBC include Rep. Mark B. Cohen (202nd
Legislative District), Rep. Lawrence Curry (154th Legislative District), Rep. Robert L. Freeman
(136th Legislative District), Rep. Babette Josephs (182nd Legislative District), Rep. Tony Payton
Jr. (179th Legislative District), and Rep Greg Vitali (166th Legislative District).
Legislators commented on why they sent letters calling for more time and opportunity for
public input.
 
“Philadelphia City Council’s Marcellus Shale Report and Resolution No.100515 of 2010 raised
serious issues that demand a deliberate and careful response by regulators as well as more
time for the public to fully assess the risks and benefit of drilling”, said Rep. Mark B. Cohen.
Rep. Greg Vitali stated, “The 90 day comment period is simply not long enough for large
numbers of people, other agencies, and elected officials to meaningfully participate, especially
considering the strong public concern about the impacts of natural gas development on
drinking water and the Special Protection Waters of the Delaware River Basin and the
complexity of the issues involved.”
 
“I support broad and active participation by the public in regulatory decision-making; I believe
there is no good decision made in our democracy that does not encourage robust public
participation. With the safe drinking water of 15 million people at stake, it is critical this process
is given an in depth review and analysis to make sure the water supply is protected.” said Rep
Babette Josephs.
 
Copies of the letters submitted are attached (in PDF file).
 
The Delaware River Basin Commission is accepting comments on its Draft Natural Gas
Development Regulations through March 16, 2011. The DRBC’s draft rules are available at
Hearings will be held Feb. 22 – Honesdale High School Auditorium,459 Terrace Street,
Honesdale, Pa., Feb. 22 – Liberty High School Auditorium, 125 Buckley Street, Liberty, N.Y.
and Feb. 24 – Patriots Theater, War Memorial, 1 Memorial Drive, Trenton, N.J. All are 1:30
p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
###


New Jersey Court Decision on Deepening
Appealed by Environmental Plaintiffs
Philadelphia, PA – Delaware Riverkeeper Network, the Delaware Riverkeeper, New Jersey Environmental Federation, Clean Water Action, Delaware Nature Society and National Wildlife Federation filed their appeal to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals of the January 13, 2011 ruling by Judge Joel A. Pisano, U.S. District Court in the District of New Jersey regarding the Delaware deepening project.  Judge Pisano ruled the project could move forward despite the arguments by the State of New Jersey and five environmental organizations that the project violates multiple state and federal laws.  The five environmental organizations will challenge both the legal interpretations and factual errors included in the District Court ruling. This appeal is the second one filed by the five environmental organizations. The first appeal was filed on February 1, 2011 and challenged the ruling by Judge Sue Robinson of the U.S. District Court in the District of Delaware.
“New information is constantly emerging about how this project harms our communities and how the Army Corps has manipulated the numbers to try to make this bad project appear good.  If the law were followed, these false claims by the Corps would have been uncovered.
Even the Government Accountability Office doesn’t believe the Army Corps,” says Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper. Van Rossum continues, “If the law were followed, we wouldn’t be wasting over $300 million on a project that will harm jobs in New Jersey and Delaware and harm our communities by threatening the water they drink, the fish and oysters they eat, and the lands that protect us from the ravages of storm and climate change.”
The Environmental Plaintiffs filed this appeal the day after the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection filed its own appeals of Judge Pisano’s and Judge Robinson’s decisions. Says Maya van Rossum: “New Jersey’s appeal stands in defense of all states whose legal authorities over federal projects are stripped if these Judges’ decisions are allowed to stand.” It is likely that the challenges to the two district court cases will be consolidated and heard together by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Dave Pringle of the New Jersey Environmental Federation stated:  “There is something very wrong when citizens and states have to join together to defend themselves from a federal arm of government, but that is exactly what is happening here.  New Jersey communities are being ravaged by the Army Corps. Thank goodness we have a Governor and local environmental organizations tough enough to stand up to them.”
“It is crucial for the Delaware River’s future health and its wildlife that are vital to the region’s communities and economy that these lower court decisions be reversed and that this boondoggle project gets the environmental and economic scrutiny the law requires,” said Jim Murphy, Wetlands and Water Resources Counsel for the National Wildlife Federation.  “The Corps’ consistent arrival at self-serving conclusions should not pass for legal compliance, and we hope that distinction is recognized by the appeals court.”
                Jane Davenport, Senior Attorney for the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, noted that “Judge Pisano apparently accepted the Corps’ assertions that the Project complied with multiple federal environmental laws without fully examining the evidence in the record to the contrary, or even requiring the Army Corps to provide the complete record in the first place. It is puzzling, to say the least, that the judge could fail to require the Corps to conduct a new environmental analysis based on today’s science and data when the Corps’ last in-depth look at the Project’s impacts in 1997 is pushing fourteen years old.”
                Richard Fleming of the Delaware Nature Society emphasized “the Society's concern that Judge Pisano's decision could extinguish Delaware's legal right to reasonable environmentally-protective requirements covering the Corp's dredging operations. 
The judge's decision is far-reaching, and Delaware's rights should not be yielded without forcing an independent examination of his reasoning via the appeals process."
The five environmental organizations and the Delaware Riverkeeper contend that the Deepening Project violates multiple federal and state laws including the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, Clean Air Act, and Delaware State law.
The Deepening Project is a 1992 proposal by the US Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority, to deepen the Delaware River’s main navigation channel from 40 to 45 feet for 102 miles.  The last Environmental Impact Statement for the project was completed in 1997.  The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection revoked its Coastal Zone Consistency Determination for the project in 2003.  In 2009, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control denied the project State Subaqueous Lands and Wetlands permits.  The Army Corps has already been allowed by the courts to deepen a 12 mile stretch known as Reach C.
For the third year in a row, the President’s budget as submitted to Congress contains no appropriations for the deepening project.
 
#######

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

CHAPTER 23 of BROADWAY VAMPIRE posted with song

Okay. The latest chapter in the serialization of BROADWAY VAMPIRE is now available for your reading and listening pleasure. Which is by way of saying that this week's chapter includes my song Thick Stack of Hundred Dollar Bills. To listen, just click on the song title when you come to it in the story. Or to read along while the song plays, right click on the song title and open the song in a different window.

Thank you!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

THE VALENTINE AFTER PARTY -- OMG

It took a huge breakfast at Veselka, the drive back to the mountains, two naps and a cigar -- but I have finally recuperated from the brilliant Valentine party at the Gershwin Hotel and the insane after party that Mike Anton, map publisher and sometime contributor of photos to The Unknown Playwright Speaks, decided to host on the spur of the moment.

First, let me say that Neke Carson pulled out all the stops with the line up of performers for the evening. The incredible performer Oliver Edgar read a poem. Phoebe Legere, who was Lady Gaga-esque before Lady Gaga was in junior high, played a delightful set, and there were so many more -- dancers, opera singers, piano players. There was even a Bollywood dancer-singer!

And the lovable hostess and Gershwin Hotel owner Suzanne Tremblay had tray after tray of delicious vegetarian Indian appetizers going round the room at the perfect moment -- midnight, of course -- to perk up anyone whose energy was beginning to flag. (I especially love Suzanne because she gave me a residency grant to live in her hotel for 2 months in 2008 during the rehearsals and run of Ukulele Land.

The entire ground floor of the Gershwin was abuzz with a couple hundred avante garde artists, including many of the old crew from Andy Warhol's Factory, and it felt like an event from a bygone era in a lot of ways. My great friend the movie music composer Francis Kuipers showed up on my invite, just arrived from his home in Italy.Penny Arcade was there. Playwright, long-time Warhol intimate, and bon vivant was also there.And so many more.

At one a.m. we hopped in a cab and adjourned to Anton's place. Soon it was thronged with all sorts of creative types -- artists, writers, film makers -- and me playing my ukulele and singing and leading some singalongs. It was damn close to being a hipster hootenanny, if that's possible.

Anyway, the imbibing and music went on until  5:30 a.m. -- when I stretched out on the sofa. One guest -- a true Gorgon if ever one walked the earth in the 21st century, or ever for that matter -- was the last guest other than myself. She (who shall remain nameless) refused to leave, even though she had spent the previous two hours glowering and cursing at anyone who came near her.

Anton, one of the most easy-going cats on the planet, gave up trying to coax this creature out the door when she dropped her head to the kitchen table and appeared to pass out. I heard him go to bed. Perhaps an hour or ninety minutes later I was awakened by noises that sounded disturbingly like retching. I tried to go back to sleep and ignore this, and eventually found slumber.

At about 9 am the beast began crashing through the apartment, still intoxicated from drinking whiskey mixed with gin and -- I learned during a phone call this evening with Robert Heide -- her meds for schizophrenia. After smashing a few of Anton's chotzkes, she without so much as a how-do-you-do sat down on my feet. I yelped and pulled them out from under her plump bottom and got up. She promptly stretched out, chuckled an evil laugh, and grabbed the sleeping bag I'd covered myself with and, mercifully, hid herself.

I promptly got into my shoes, grabbed my coat, shouted a farewell to Anton, and slam-locked the front door behind me and headed for the aforementioned breakfast.

Rather than end on this note of madness, though, I'm posting a photo below. I took it with my cell phone. The subject is Alan "Springman" Bolle -- one of the delightful artists who made the after party a fun event, the end of it notwithstanding.

February 14, 2011 -- truly a night to remember!

Not the greatest photo, obviously. Maybe I can get Alan to supply a decent photo that captures his madcap spring-covered persona. Anyway, Springman was there! 
And spring-like weather is on the way!

Monday, February 14, 2011

VALENTINE PARTY AT THE GERSHWIN HOTEL

So, tonight Suzanne Tremblay, owner of the Gershwin Hotel in Manhattan and patron of the arts, and impresario and veteran of Andy Warhol's Factory Neke Carson are hosting a party honoring 100 artists and performers. And guess what? I'm one of them.

I will be there with bells on. (Do you know where the "be there with bells on" expression comes from? In the avalanche-prone winter-time Alps, back in the days before 4 wheel drive, people often traveled on skis to visit their neighbors. When someone announced a party, people who planned to ski to the celebration replied, "I'll be there with bells on." And they literally wore bells on their ankles and wrists. The reason for this was that, in case they got buried in snow and were still alive, they would kick and push a little space away from their extremities so that they could shake the bells. If they didn't show up, neighbors knew to go searching, and what to listen for. A little bit of winter trivia.)

The Gershwin Hotel is at 7 East 27th Street at Fifth Avenue. The event is from 9 pm til 11 pm and admission is free. Show up early if you want a seat.

Here's the list sent by Suzanne and Neke:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

JUDGES ANNOUNCED FOR 2011 OBIE AWARDS

New York, NY (February 10, 2011) – The Village Voice announced the judges for the 56th Annual Village Voice Obie Awards. The Voice’s chief theater critic, Michael Feingold, will again chair the Obie Awards committee.  Joining him will be Voice critic Alexis Soloski and four guest judges: Critic Hilton Als of The New Yorker; playwright David Henry Hwang, a three-time Obie Award winner for his plays F.O.B., Golden Child, and Yellow Face; director Evan Yionoulis, an Obie award winner for her production of Richard Greenberg’s Three Days of Rain; and critic Andy Propst, of TheaterMania AmericanTheaterWeb.com (and also a frequent Voice contributor), who will again serve as secretary to the committee.
Founded in 1955 by Voice cultural editor Jerry Tallmer, The Village Voice  Obie Awards annually honor the best of Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway. Unlike most theater awards, the Obies do not publicize nominations or employ rigid categories in which a “Best” is selected. In the conviction that creativity is not competitive, the judges select outstanding artists and productions and may even invent new categories to reward artistic merit.  Past winners have included well-known stars such as Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, William   Hurt, Morgan Freeman, Mos Def, Amy Irving, Kevin Kline, Nathan Lane, Olympia Dukakis, Robert Duvall, Denzel Washington, Kevin Bacon, Alec Baldwin, Kathy Bates, James Earl Jones, Joan Cusack and Harvey Fierstein, to name a few. 
The venue for the presentation of the 2010-2011 Village Voice Obie Awards on Monday, May 16, 2011 is Webster Hall. Tickets will be available for $25 to attend the ceremony soon at obies.villagevoice.com. Names of the ceremony's hosts and presenters and entertainment will be forthcoming.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

From the Dept of Shameless Self-promo: BROADWAY VAMPIREand UKULELE LAND

The Readers Edition of the book and lyrics, which I wrote, for UKULELE LAND came out last week and now joins my novel BROADWAY VAMPIRE on Amazon. Click here for my author page.

Meanwhile, Chapter 22 in the ongoing serialization of BROADWAY VAMPIRE was posted today. A new chapter is added every Wednesday. It's free.

Monday, February 7, 2011

WHITHER THE AMERICAN PUBLIC ICONOCLAST?

Last week I painted myself into a corner, so to speak. I announced a blog topic – “Whither the American Public Intellectual” – before I’d written word one. I sat down later that day and part of the next and turned out roughly 2,000 words that didn’t have much to do with what I was trying to say. Tonight it hit me.

It’s not the Public Intellectual I miss. It’s the Public Iconoclast. There must still be people like Lillian Hellman, Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal or Allen Ginsberg who are willing to go on a show like Dick Cavett had on PBS and rage and bluster and mock the status quo, as well as each other on occasion. (Man, am I dating myself here or what?)  

However, there’s no outlet for iconoclastic rambling and carrying on. Political correctness forbids it. Can you imagine an essay like Mailer’s The White Negro being published today, and seriously discussed? I can’t. Race discussions today are limited to TV’s talking heads politely asking the opinions of African American experts and elected officials. I’m not saying there’s not a place for these discussions. Obviously, there is. What bugs me is that there's not a place for anything else.

Much of the problem lies in the neo-liberal derivation of political correctness: personal correctness, as in “I’m politically correct, therefore my personal choices must be the correct ones.” This is the kind of thinking that leads to so-called feminists embracing Hillary Clinton rather than calling for women to be in positions of power on the basis of their accomplishments. Before she was a Senator, presidential candidate, and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was a professional political wife – “Bill and I have a great marriage” as a response to Gennifer Flowers – and a hack lawyer working the angles in Little Rock, based on her access to the then governor.

Likewise, this neoliberal construct means continued cheering for President Obama as he betrays everything he promised as a candidate, on behalf of Wall Street bankers and corporate board rooms. Meanwhile, other than The Nation magazine (sometimes), the pseudo-Left in this country has become a bunch of Washington lobbyists sending out endless begging emails.

In European countries, while most television can be as mindless and nattering as what we have here, there is still room for shows on which writers regularly appear not only to hawk their books but also to speak their version of truth to power (and bash each other while they’re at it).

Everything in America is not nicey-nice. Being polite is not the end all and be all. It is good to outrage people, and to have public figures that are genuinely outrageous and capable of provoking thought across a wide audience and political spectrum. To do so, though, requires a forum that is accessible and allows for fully developed ideas to be expressed.

Fear of the wide dissemination of complex and unorthodox ideas, as well as the fear of offending someone, may both be as big a threat to liberty in this country as is the Patriot Act.  

Tweet that!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

ALL WEEKEND

BrokeTop Mountain Developments

Flux Factory is proud to present BrokeTop Mountain Developments as part of Greenpeace's Coal Free Future, a ship tour raising awareness on the impacts of burning coal and mining. We will run a sales office with competing agents, each agent actively working to woo customers with the charming perks of coal. Combining real estate jargon with tongue-in-cheek presentation, we hope to draw attention to pressing environmental issues in energy-based coal production and consumption. Join us at Chelsea Piers at Pier 59 next to the Arctic Sunrise ship.

Chelsea Piers, Pier no. 59, Manhattan
Continues through MONDAY
10a-4p; $free

Friday, February 4, 2011

FROM THE DEPT OF "GIMME A BREAK!" EGYPT?!?!

Who knew that American television journalists were capable of -- what exactly does one call their latest acts? Stupidity? Hubris? Elitism? Loony Toons?

This bunch breaks out their safari jackets and vests, hop on corporate jets, and race to Cairo. Then they throw themselves into the middle of another country's turmoil. When they get clobbered by some of the locals, the story is no longer about the Egyptian uprising, it's all about them -- America's very own TV "news" stars.

If these people want to tell truth in the face of corrupt power, land those corporate jets in Kabul and defy the Pentagon and its strangle hold on news coverage coming out of Afghanistan. We've all heard the numbers of dead in Cairo and seen them flashed on the TV screen repeatedly. Now we're getting minute by minute tallies of black eyes and interrogations endured by silly blabbermouths.

Let me ask you something. How many Americans were killed or wounded this week in Afghanistan? What section of that country is enduring heavy fighting? How many of our troops have been wounded or killed in battle since the beginning of the month? The beginning of the year? The beginning of the war? How many Afghanis have died?

This Egypt coverage is more mass distraction. The elite few in America are being enriched by the war. It is the same bunch who amassed their piles in Vietnam. 

If all we had to rely on was the main stream media, you and I wouldn't even know that our country is waging war in Afghanistan and Pakistan (undeclared), and being bankrupted as a result, while the military industrial complex and their lobbyists and other lackeys in Washington clean up financially.

I know there's a war on. I've got family over there. These elitist, upper class "journalists" are as pathetic as they are self serving and duplicitous.

Gimme a break already!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hot Chops in the Morning!

Start your day with some hot tenor guitar! Please check back later today for my rant on the absence of the public intellectual in American life. (You won't see me again announcing a blog topic before it's written.)

Enjoy the music! (Thanks to JJ Deluxe for bring this to my attention.)

 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Citizen Environmental Organizations File Appeals to Stop Deepening and Set Good Precedent

Philadelphia, PA
– Delaware Riverkeeper Network, New Jersey Environmental Federation, Clean Water Action, Delaware Nature Society and National Wildlife Federation filed the first documents necessary for appealing rulings regarding the Delaware deepening project issued by Judge Sue L. Robinson, District Judge for the United States District Court District of Delaware (released November 17, 2011) and Judge Joel A. Pisano, District Judge for the United States District Court District of New Jersey (issued January 13, 2011). The District Court judges both ruled, but for different reasons, that the deepening project was not in violation of state and federal laws and should be allowed to proceed. The five environmental organizations will challenge both the legal interpretations and factual errors included in the District Court rulings. The five environmental organizations contend the project violates multiple federal and state laws including the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Coastal Zone Management Act and Delaware State law. "The Army Corps has played fast and loose with the law for a project that many other branches of government have questioned and challenged. Stripping states of their legal rights and placing a federal agency above the law betrays the trust and obligations promised by our country to its citizens," said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper. Says Maya van Rossum, "Our appeal isn’t just about the Delaware Deepening; it is about the precedent that is getting set for all federal projects on our River and every other River in the country. If the Army Corps is allowed to operate above the law here and now, it will be allowed to do so everywhere – and every community, every river, every environment, and all the drinking water, jobs, and fish for food they provide will be in jeopardy from our very own federal agency."
Jane Nogaki, Vice Chair of the New Jersey Environmental Federation, stated: "The Army Corps must be held to the same standard as any private or public entity, and we are confident that when the full weight of evidence is heard by the judge, that a ruling will go in our favor to protect the precious resources of the Delaware River"
"It is important that the appeals court overturn these rulings that bless the unprecedented, and, we believe, illegal use of narrow loopholes to avoid important state review of the water quality impacts of this disastrous project," said Jim Murphy, Wetlands and Water Resources Counsel for the National Wildlife Federation. "A failure to do so could give the Corps license to ignore state’s concerns about clean water for future projects."
Jane Davenport, senior attorney for the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, noted that "the Judges’ decisions gave the Army Corps the benefit of a deference that the agency did not deserve. Unfortunately, both judges took many of the agency’s assertions at face value without probing deeper into the Corps’ conclusory analyses and outdated assumptions."
"It is unfortunate that the two judges were unwilling or unable to see past the rhetoric and set the precedent necessary to protect our natural resources and communities without which we will not thrive. So in the tradition of our founding fathers, the citizens of the region will take the legal steps necessary to defend our water, rights and laws." said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper.
#######


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rocco Landesman and I agree?

FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF BELIEVE IT OR NOT:

Is it possible that Rocco Landesman and I agree on something? It would seem so. The head of the National Endowment for the Arts and former Broadway producer wrote this on a blog yesterday:

"There are 5.7 million arts workers in this country and two million artists. Do we need three administrators for every artist? Resident theaters in this country began as collectives of artists. They have become collectives of arts administrators. Do we need to consider becoming more lightly institutionalized in order to get more creativity to more audiences more often? It might also allow us to pay artists more."

I have been railing against the surfeit of self-serving administrators for awhile now. I didn't know the actual numbers but 3 admins for every artist in the country is insane. And the fact that the chairman is actually talking about paying artists more? A hat tip to you, sir!

Once again, I have to thank Thomas Cott for his daily email "You've Cott Mail" for the heads up on this discussion. Sometimes it seems I'd be completely cut off here in my Appalachian shack if it weren't for my morning dose of YCM.

You can read Chairman Landesman's blog post here on the official  NEA blog and the
Washington Post's coverage of his appearance at Arena Stage's conference last week here.



Tomorrow, weather and electricity permitting, "Whither the Public Intellectual in America?"