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On Monday March 31, 2015 President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 22 Drug War Prisoners. This is a small step in the right direction from the Obama administration. Here is a link to the White House Blog page about it.

From an article on Alternet

"Had they been sentenced under current laws and policies, many of these individuals would have already served their time and paid their debt to society," White House counsel Neil Eggleston said in a statement announcing the commutations. "Because many were convicted under an outdated sentencing regime, they served years -- in some cases more than a decade -- longer than individuals convicted today of the same crime."

I took this kayak and train trip again on Sunday 9-28-2014. Unlike the other times I've gone when it has been in the mid 40's with rain showers, this time it was warm with sunshine. Unfortunately there are no train photos from this trip. I slipped on a wet rock getting out of the kayak and the camera went swimming. Here are some photos I captured.
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I ran across an interesting story from the Washington Post about video that was recorded during the recent Teachout-Wu campaign in New York State and is to be used for a documentary.
The news story titled "Coming Soon: Zephyr Teachout, The Movie" is about how filmmaker Jennifer Dworkin has captured video and plans to edit it into a documentary about the underdog campaign.

Jennifer Dworkin, who last directed a documentary on a recovering crack addict for PBS, began filming Ms. Teachout during an upstate convention for the Working Families Party in late May — a politically raucous 48-hours during which Ms. Teachout lost the party’s nomination to Mr. Cuomo after Mayor Bill de Blasio helped the governor cut a deal.

“It was a roller-coaster,” said Ms. Dworkin, who had a three-person camera-crew at the event, which was not televised or otherwise filmed. “It was extremely intense behind the scenes.”

Since then, Ms. Dworkin has spent nearly every day with Ms. Teachout, whom she was friendly with before the campaign, and Ms. Teachout’s running mate, Tim Wu. She called the race “a real David and Goliath story.”

I'll be looking forward to seeing that one if / when it comes out.

Posting the email communication I received from Zephyr Teachout after the primary.
I want everyone to have an opportunity to read this.

Thank you.

Last night, we exceeded all of the pundits expectations, keeping Andrew Cuomo at barely 60% of the vote, and won 24 New York counties outright. In three months, with no money for TV or even mailers, we punctured the illusion that Andrew Cuomo is a popular incumbent Democrat.

Tim and I want to thank the teachers and parents, the fracktivists, the immigrant rights activists, the public employees, and all New Yorkers who shared our vision.

You have been heard.

You were part of a people-led, inspirational campaign, waged against all odds against an establishment prince. And by doing so, you empowered countless others to see possibilities where they might only have seen obstacles.

We are going to take a few days off, but we are not done. This campaign demonstrated the rise of a new force in our politics, the rise of fearless 21st century Democrats who believe in #AllofUs, and are willing to fight for it.

To fight, we need to shed our fear. When the Moreland scandal broke, the silence among Democratic elected officials was striking, but not surprising. Albany is in the grips of politics of fear.

I think what we've shown here is that its alright to speak up. Democrats don't need to be scared anymore. When the Governor is pushing tax cuts for the wealthy or trying to cut education, the Mayor and other leaders ought to stand up and call him out. It can't just be the advocacy groups --- elected officials have a duty to criticize the de facto leader of the Party when that leader is no longer advancing our values.

We ran to win, but this campaign was also about speaking truth to power. Our state hasn't seen more truth delivered to power since the outbreak of the Occupy movement three years ago. Listening to you, it's clear that we've broken the logjam. I can't wait to see how it all unfolds now that so many have found their voice.

Consider the wins we've achieved since we started, three months ago:

Two days ago, for the first time ever--in a campaign stop--Governor Cuomo talked about income inequality and why it is a critical issue.
Because of this campaign, Andrew Cuomo has promised to back Democrats for the State Senate, and pass a comprehensive public campaign finance system. We can continue to use our voices to hold him to that promise.
Andrew Cuomo was boasting in campaign literature that he had increased school funding.
Yesterday, at the polling booth, after years of silence, Andrew Cuomo promised to visit a Pennsylvania fracking site. We can continue to use our voices to hold him to that promise.
We made cable mergers and monopolization a campaign issue.
Because of our campaign, Governor Cuomo is now actively campaigning on the Dream Act and has said he will put his full weight behind it. This commitment would not have happened without our campaign.
We held the line that we will not compromise on a woman’s right to choose. Governor Cuomo has followed our lead and committed to actually fight to win the full 10 point plan. We can continue to use our voices to hold him to that promise.
We took an unequivocal stance in support of marijuana decriminalization. In response to our campaign, Governor Cuomo has committed that he too will support marijuana decriminalization.
Every person who carried a petition, or wrote a letter to the editor, or voted for us today should be proud that our campaign won these commitments. All of us should be proud of the long-lasting impact this campaign has had, and will have.

Some people have asked me why I decided to run, and when I made that decision. It happened when we saw that no public campaign financing was passed in Albany. "They" said no one would care about it, but in the face of what just happened, I want all incumbents to understand there is a big electoral cost to refusing to push for publicly funded elections.

I know I will not rest until we ban fracking, fully commit to renewables, end common core and fully commit to full public funding of schools, end anti-immigrant fear and commit to New York state citizenship, and end tax giveaways to the rich and fully commit to a more equal, open democracy and economy. I won't be satisfied until we start breaking up the new monopolies that are choking our economy and democracy.

We have seen through this campaign that the political system does respond to pressure. We have seen that when you raise the issues, when you speak truth to power, when you rely on honest and grass roots democracy, the system moves. These must be our principles going forward. We have a come a long way in this campaign, we did not make it to the top of the mountain, but together we all see the bright light that guides our vision. As I said at the WFP convention, quoting Maya Angelou: "We must confess that we are the possible."

The possibilities are just opening up.

Again -- thank you.

Zephyr Teachout

Teachout & Wu Sue Cuomo, Hochul & NYSDC, Alleging Election Law Misdeeds
Is the headline of this September 5th story by by Christopher Twarowski in the Long Island Press.
New York State Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout and running mate for lieutenant governor Tim Wu announced the filing of a lawsuit in state Supreme Court Friday, charging, among other allegations, that the New York State Democratic Committee has been illegally funding the re-election campaign of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his running mate Kathy Hochul.

The lawsuit [READ IT HERE] seeks not only to prohibit additional contributions to Cuomo and Hochul’s campaigns, but an order compelling the two to reimburse the state committee for monies already spent in support of their campaigns prior to the September 9 primary election.

I have received four Cuomo-Hochul campaign mailings with this return address:

New York State Democratic Committee
750 Third Avenue, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10017

More coverage:

From election law blog

Times Union ( Albany News Paper Blog Page  with link to copy of suit filed )

  Direct Link to Teachout Suit

Television News coverage from PIX 11 NYC

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Here is the text of a recent email I received from the Teachout-Wu campaign.
We need to support BOTH Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu in the NY democratic primary election.
I am going to make another contribution today. If you can contribute funds, now is the time.
If you are going to vote in the primary election next Tuesday, vote for both of these progressive candidates.

One week left.

We're on the verge of a historic upset - and in seven days, if we leave everything we've got on the campaign trail, we'll get to watch Zephyr accept the Democratic nomination for Governor.

Because I don't know about you, but I refuse to have to sit around the morning after Primary Day and ask myself if there's anything more we could have done.

It's time to go big for Teachout-Wu, or go home. Can you make a $35 contribution to the campaign in this final week so we can beat Cuomo next Tuesday?

With your help, we can elect the first female Governor of New York and the first Asian-American elected official to hold statewide office in New York. We can begin to end the corruption of Cuomo's Albany. We can.

Please: Contribute to the Teachout-Wu campaign today so we can make progressive history next week.

We're grassroots power fighting corporate power in this election - and with your support, grassroots power is going to win this election.

This is the time where we calculate what is and isn't possible with the money we have on hand. If you've been waiting for the right moment to donate to the campaign, then I want you to know: This is the moment to do it.

Let's go big - because we're sure as heck not going home. Click here to say you were part of the moment we changed New York and shocked the cynics who said you couldn't pull it off.

Thank you for everything you do to make what we're doing possible.

Mike Boland,
Teachout-Wu For New York


I am voting in the NYS Democratic Primary

66%28 votes
2%1 votes
2%1 votes
23%10 votes
4%2 votes

| 42 votes | Vote | Results


I received another email communication from Zephyr Teachout yesterday. She and Tim Wu are touring the state campaigning. They are looking for additional volunteers to help them conduct a grass roots campaign. See the text of her email below for the details.

We’re on fire! This week the Sierra Club, the National Organization for Women, and The Nation magazine, endorsed us. Today we launched our 3-day Whistleblower Tour across New York State. Sign up now to volunteer.

Our Whistleblower Tour will take us to 18 cities, towns and villages. At each stop we’re meeting our supporters and getting ready for Primary Day, Sep. 9.

We are blowing the whistle on Andrew Cuomo-era corruption in New York State. On the first day we – Visited a luxury highrise tower owned by Extell that was a target of a Moreland Commission subpoena.

Met with staff and residents at Valley View Center for Nursing Care and Rehabilitation. This is a state run facility threatened by privatization - a process for reducing services to seniors while increasing profits for private owners.

Toured the devastating effects of fracking in Montrose, PA. We could see how this supposedly 'safe' industry is poisoning the water, land, air and people. Immediately afterwards, we went to Binghamton to listen to fracktivists trying to avoid a similar fate in New York.

Listened to the stories of two whistleblowers in Buffalo who are part of Pigeongate, a sordid story invoking political fundraising that is also featured in the Moreland Commission report.

Everywhere we go we are highlighting stories of New Yorkers impacted by big money corruption. We'll be on the road for two more days, visiting Rochester, Watkins Glen, Syracuse, Albany, East Greenbush, Ghent, Woodstock, Kingston, New Paltz, White Plains, Queens, Uniondale and Brooklyn. See the whole agenda here.

The culture of corruption in New York politics must end - and we're only going to do it town by town, volunteer by volunteer, voice by voice. If you haven't signed up yet to volunteer, let this be the sign you were looking for.

Thank you.
-- Zephyr Teachout



Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 01:44 AM PDT

Zephyr Teachout runs with Tim Wu

by jbob

I received a new communication from Zephyr Teachout yesterday. It highlights the stark difference in choice of a running mate between her and Governor 1%. See below.....

Also check out this great diary posted late last night by Kossak xaxnar

email communication from Zephyr Teachout:

I'm a traditional Democrat: I believe in fully funding public schools, welcoming immigrants, banning fracking, and investing in infrastructure.

I chose Tim Wu as my running mate because he stands for these values - Tim's been challenging corporate power for a very long time in his writings and in his work at the Federal Trade Commission.

Governor Cuomo is not that kind of Democrat -- as Republican Senate Leader Skelos has said, he's more of a "moderate Republican." This is evident when you look at his choice for running mate, Kathy Hochul.

Hochul's record in public office and stated views can lead to only one conclusion: she is not a Democrat.

Last Friday, a campaign volunteer, Tim from Brooklyn, sent us a video of Kathy Hochul describing her own record in her own words. You’ve got to see this to believe it:

This video shows what is at stake in this race, and I need your help in getting the word out. Not only is this an eye-opening video, it demonstrates the kind of campaign we are running: grassroots, do-it-yourself. We don't have millions from special interest groups - we have a large group of small donors and activists who are putting their passion and creativity to work to help us win this thing.

On September 9th Tim will go head-to-head with Hochul on the ballot and we need your help in educating voters about her record. Please share this video through email, Facebook, Twitter and word of mouth.

With opponents who are silent on the issues and who refuse to debate, we need every registered Democrat in New York to get a chance to see why this race is so important. (And if you are so inspired, make one yourself!)


Zephyr Teachout


Join us on Facebook and Twitter!

Zephyr for New York · 225 Broadway, Suite 1902, New York City, NY 10007, United States


Zephyr Teachout will honor the memory of Eric Garner today. Please see her email announcement below for details.

Tomorrow I’ll be in Staten Island to honor the memory of Eric Garner and draw attention to a topic that is often difficult to discuss. Being a black person in America today means you have a higher likelihood of being injured, shot, or killed by police. We’re joining the call of community organizations to publicly mourn Eric Garner’s death and put an end to these horrible encounters.
We can look at the Garner case through many different lenses. It is a situation involving specific NYPD officers whose behavior must be looked at carefully by the relevant authorities. However this case is also emblematic of larger issues in policing that impacts young black men in particular. We are also seeing the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, as a milestone in how our country treats some of its citizens.

Earlier this week I released a policy statement on the militarization of police and how body cameras can mitigate this kind of violence. But this Saturday isn’t about policy, but standing and supporting the communities most intimately affected with these issues, and to get answers to what happened here on Staten Island to Eric Garner.


Zephyr Teachout


Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 01:38 PM PDT

Zephyr Teachout is a New Yorker

by jbob

Well it is official now.
Here is the text from an email I received last night.

Today the Appellate Court ruled unanimously[1] to throw out the Governor's frivolous lawsuit against us. Despite the Governor's best efforts, there is going to be a primary on Sep. 9th!

We won in court, twice now, but some people have asked: are we in it to win it?

You bet we are. And here's why we think we have a real shot:

First, there are about 750,000 New Yorkers likely to vote in the Democratic Primary. Support for Gov. Cuomo among likely primary voters is incredibly thin. In contrast, our campaign supporters are fueled by the passion of parents and teachers concerned about their kids' schools, the energy of the anti-fracking movement, and voters appalled by Cuomo's abuses of power in Albany. Our supporters are spreading the word, creating campaign materials on their own, holding events and rallies, donating and volunteering for us.

Second, Cuomo's fundraising advantage isn't as meaningful as many think. What can you do with $35 million? If he buys television ads or engages in any large scale promotion of his own candidacy for re-election, the outcome might be similar to what we saw in Eric Cantor's district in Virginia. His spending helped turn out voters who wanted him gone.

Third, we have the big 'mo. Momentum. That means 4800 grassroots donors (about 3800 more individuals than the Governor has) and 1500 individual volunteers. Favorable articles in the press. Terrible news for Gov. Cuomo because of #Morelandgate, his refusal to debate us, and the culture of fear and corruption during his first term. We also have national endorsements from well known progressive Democratic brands like the PCCC, Progressives United, Lawrence Lessig, Bertha Lewis and more.

(If you want to learn more about our reasons for being optimistic read the detailed analysis posted on our site.)

So when someone asks you - does Zephyr Teachout really have a chance? The answer is - yes she does. Yes we do. Yes we can.

Be part of this historic effort with a contribution of $5, $50, or $500.

Thank you,

Charles Lenchner, Digital Director
Teachout - Wu for New York


P.S. We've just released our first video ad, outlining the two futures that NY faces. Please watch and share with friends!

Link to the Teachout-Wu video add


The 87th running of the famed Whitney Stakes took place yesterday at the Historic Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs New York. The purse was 1.5 million dollars for this Grade 1 stakes race. The race card also featured four other graded stakes races worth an additional $1.05 million and showcased some of the best thoroughbred horses racing these days.
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Head on down past the orange horse apple to see some photos from my day at the races.

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Replica of Galen Clark's Cabin now the Mariposa Grove Museum
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Monday June 30 2014 will be the 150'th anniversary of the day Abraham Lincoln signed this historic land grant, The Yosemite Valley Grant Act, Senate Bill 203, on June 30, 1864.
It Granted the Yosemite Valley, and the Mariposa Big Tree Grove, to the State of California “upon the express conditions that the premises shall be held for public use, resort, and recreation [and] shall be inalienable for all time.” The problem of tourism soon overwhelmed Yosemite Valley and the Big Tree Grove as they quickly became "must see" vacation destinations. In 1890, the public wanted the park returned to the federal government and, as a result, Yosemite National Park was established. Today, Yosemite includes nearly 1,200 square miles of the central Sierra Nevada mountain range. With mountains as high as 13,000 feet above sea level, the park preserves alpine wilderness, groves of Giant Sequoias, and the Yosemite Valley's cliffs, waterfalls, wildflowers, and impressive rock formations.
I would like to share some items of interest from recent editions of the Yosemite National Park "daily report". If you're interested in the anniversary hike on down past the orange pine cone to read these announcements and see some more photos I have taken in the park.
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