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Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 05:01 PM PST

Kitchen Table Kibitzing: 2/25/2015

by rb137

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Kitchen Table Kibitzing is a community series for those who wish to share part of the evening around a virtual kitchen table with kossacks who are caring and supportive of one another. So bring your stories, jokes, photos, funny pics, music, and interesting videos, as well as links—including quotations—to diaries, news stories, and books that you think this community would appreciate. Readers may notice that most who post diaries and comments in this series already know one another to some degree, but newcomers should not feel excluded. We welcome guests at our kitchen table, and hope to make some new friends as well.

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All photos in this post are by Prince Balume and Achilles Balume, and are posted here with permission.

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In 2006, DR Congo passed a new constitution, which is similar to our (US) constitution in many ways. The right to vote, to assemble, and to free speech are guaranteed. Beyond our constitution, it guarantees strong parity between men and women. The issue today, though, is that it imposes tenure limits on the President.  

By law, President Joseph Kabila must step down and allow an open election in 2016. He began as a military dictator who led the country through a transitional government, and was then democratically elected President. His re-election met with some criticism, and he's since been maneuvering to extend his tenure -- recently by trying to amend the tenure law outright, and then by introducing requirements that would delay the election.

People in DR Congo are still learning about the law and starting to believe in their rights. If Kabila stays in power, it will set back the progress the people have made toward a Democratic DR Congo. John Kerry and the US State Department have been trying to get him to step down at the end of his term.

Last month, Kabila's supporters in Parliament passed a census requirement for the next election. That law would delay the 2016 election indefinitely. The people of DR Congo organized a coordinated demonstration to protest the census requirement. The government cracked down on the protesters. Some were killed and others are not yet accounted for.

The great success was that Parliament eventually relented and removed the census requirement. It was a real step toward implementing democracy. It dearly cost people who demonstrated, though -- some who paid with their lives.

So, what does this have to do with the climate?

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Mon Feb 02, 2015 at 06:06 PM PST

One more thing anti-vaccers don't get...

by rb137

I wasn't going to jump into this conversation, but I want to add another dimension to the discussion of the benefits vs. dangers of vaccinating. I feel qualified by the fact that my first-born child had a severe reaction to her first DPT vaccination many years ago.

We got her first vaccination on time when she was two months old. Within ten minutes, she was screeching non-stop, like a threatened animal. We got sent home anyway, where she continued to screech for many hours until she had a seizure and went into a coma for three days. Happily, she woke up and seemed perfectly fine. She didn't have any long term neurological damage.

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It's nice to see you all again -- meatworld has been chewing into my blogging time lately, so I don't get out as often as I'd like. I wanted to drop in and tell you about something wonderful, though. I also want to mention that KTK played a role in making it happen.

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Greetings, all...

I've not been around much for the past several months -- I've been up to more good than no good, though. Well, most of the time, anyway. And I do enjoy hanging out at KTK when I can. Tonight, I will share some random point and shoots from a hike on Mount Dickerman. I hope you enjoy.

A good and sweet new year to those who observe.  Cheers! -rb


Kitchen Table Kibitzing is a community series for those who wish to share part of the evening around a virtual kitchen table with kossacks who are caring and supportive of one another. So bring your stories, jokes, photos, funny pics, music, and interesting videos, as well as links—including quotations—to diaries, news stories, and books that you think this community would appreciate. Readers may notice that most who post diaries and comments in this series already know one another to some degree, but newcomers should not feel excluded. We welcome guests at our kitchen table, and hope to make some new friends as well.
Continue Reading

KuangSi2Dr. Emmanuel de Merode is Chief Warden of Virunga National Park in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has dedicated the past fifteen years of his career to protecting the National Parks systems of Eastern Congo through a series of brutal international and civil wars. He is regrettably unable to post today, but we'll look forward to hearing from him soon.

In the meantime, I want to draw your attention to Virunga National Park. This epic saga is about a testing ground for the most difficult climate and development challenges we face today. The park directorship is charting a course to create sustainable development that will serve many for generations. DR Congo, Central Africa, and the people holding trump cards in the developed world are at the brink of making an irreversible choice.

De Merode and his colleagues risk their lives for a sustainable future that creates a workable economy for the local people. Virunga National Park points the way to the future. As Virguna goes, so go we all...

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Our UN Climate Blogathon starts tomorrow -- and we have a great panel of guests, as well as some Daily Kos writers planning to post. This summit is a big deal. The US has been blocking international progress toward curbing carbon emissions in the past, and is making noises like their tune is changing a bit...

Participation in the march, in letter writing, in making as much noise as possible is really crucial today. Please visit our diaries, but if you do nothing else, please make some noise.

Tomorrow's schedule, all times Pacific:

9:00 am  Sen. Boxer and Sen. Whitehouse

10:00 am  Rep. Barbara Lee

11:00 am  Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva

1:00 pm  Ken Ward and Jay O'Hara lobster boat activists

3:00 pm  Bristol County DA Sam Sutter

Also:

NYC Kossacks Meet-up Location for The People’s Climate March

The NYC Kossacks will be meeting at 69th Street and Central Park West. We will have a banner (and some will be wearing orange) so that you can identify us.  Sidnora and joanbrooker will be there at 9:30 a.m. and we encourage anyone who wants to march with us to be there by 10:30 a.m.  There are estimates of 100,000 plus marchers and if people arrive too late, it may be difficult to get through the crowds to our location. After the march, there will be an NYC meet-up at our usual haunt, Spitzer’s Corner @5 p.m. Here is a link to the diary from KathNY, who will also be updating with relevant information regarding the march.

Please check out KathNY's diary for location information.

Please see the guess list and a special thanks to Meteor Blades below the fold:

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Do sign up and march if you can. It will make a difference.

The US has been a primary source for the quicksand prior climate talks have encountered. They are slow realize their effect on the climate, and slower to make real commitments to changing their contribution to greenhouse gas emission.

That said, the tone is changing, and US government officials are listening. The thing is that making a decision that something has to be done is quite a distance from making a decision to do something. And that is some distance away from actually doing. The US appears to be somewhere between those first two steps.

That is why the head count at this march is so important. Climate is not a kooky fringe issue anymore. Everyone needs water. The folks in Washington understand that...

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Tue Jul 08, 2014 at 02:02 PM PDT

150 Years in Yosemite: Those Who Kill

by rb137

As we celebrate 150 years of protecting Yosemite National Park, we have to look closer at how it became ours in the first place.

The name itself -- Yosemite -- is a slur. It is a Miwok word that means "Those Who Kill." Sometimes it's translated as "Some of Them Are Killers," and it refers to the Ahwanhee people who'd lived in the valley for centuries before the US government ordered its evacuation and later created a national recreation area under the Yosemite Grant Act. But the people who lived there weren't killers. They just lived in a valley that our government wanted to use for entertaining dignitaries.

That is the untold story of Yosemite National Park.

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I'll let the flowers speak for themselves. The photos were taken on Rock Mountain last weekend.

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Happy Solstice, everyone. At my house we celebrate this day with the mantra, "May you walk in peace and love."

I work in non-profit. In short, I translate perspectives from people living in a war-addled country for a western ear. An American ear.

As I watch the media whip into a froth about Iraq, I can't help but notice that our perceptions about nation building are similar to our more misguided ideas about humanitarian aid. They both start by thinking that "they" are a problem that "we" can solve. Or control.

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Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 04:52 PM PDT

6th grade graduation speech...

by rb137

This is a speech written for a 6th grade commencement -- by a 12 year old who wishes to remain anonymous. He or she has given me permission to post it here, and it is unabridged.

When we were given this assignment, we were asked to explain our greatest challenge that we have faced and overcome. But this is hard, because we live in just about the luckiest area that you can live in. We all take it for granted, but we actually have things, like food homes and education, that literally billions of people don’t have. So instead of focusing in and trying to find the challenges that we have faced, we should take a step back and realize how lucky we are.

    Take for example, kids who have to work because their families are poor enough that they can’t pay bills. Now they face challenges. In my old school, they opened our eyes to topics like this as soon as we were old enough to understand. I learned to really be aware of how lucky I was. Remembering that really helped me stay aware.

    Once, my literacy teacher in fifth grade had us all stand up and slowly made us sit down based on different groups of people that were discriminated against. We started with 30, and ended with two standing. I remember this particular class because at the time, I hadn’t realized how many people were, and still are, discriminated against. And now you are asking me what MY greatest challenge was?  

    My advice that I would give to younger students is that instead of keeping your head down, and worrying all of the time, you should really take a step back, and be grateful for how lucky you are. Because I sure am.

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