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Topsail Island. (Photo by joanneleon. January, 2012)
"There are boats in the street five blocks from the ocean"

-- Motel owner Peter Sandomeno

Jethro Tull - Thick as a Brick

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News and Opinion

Occupy Sandy is a coordinated relief effort to help distribute resources & volunteers to help neighborhoods and people affected by Hurricane Sandy. We are a coalition of people & organizations who are dedicated to implementing aid and establishing hubs for neighborhood resource distribution. Members of this coalition are from Occupy Wall Street,,, and many individual volunteers.

Occupy Sandy is a coordinated relief effort to help distribute resources & volunteers to help neighborhoods and people affected by Hurricane Sandy. We are a coalition of people & organizations who are dedicated to implementing aid and establishing hubs for neighborhood resource distribution. Members of this coalition are from Occupy,, and and many individual volunteers.

Via Amazon:
Occupy Sandy NJ and Occupy Sandy NJ's Wedding Registry

Your donations make a difference! Critical supplies support NJ residents seeking shelter, food, warmth, and human kindness in Sandy's aftermath. For up-to-date information about how to help, visit or Items purchased will be sent to the Jersey City Sandy Recovery distribution center at Barrow Mansion, 83 Wayne St, Jersey City, NJ, 07302. If you have Amazon Prime or are able to pay for expedited shipping, prompt delivery is GREATLY appreciated. Items may not show as purchased until they are shipped. Rest assured that they are in queue. Feedback welcome at @SandyRegistryNJ is Leah Barton hunkered down in Houston, TX, with strong support from Heather Balliet Lee in Jersey City. Hat tip to the original @SandyRegistry in NY. Check out for additional needs. **SATURDAY UPDATE from the terrific Barrow Mansion volunteers - We are able to deprioritize food now that other organizations are up and running. We still need COATS and BLANKETS and TOOLS FOR UPCOMING RECONSTRUCTION EFFORTS.** 600 BOXES have been delivered to date - details at Please spread the word through your networks! THANK YOU for your incredible support!
NOTE: This couple has requested no gift wrap.

Do the Math

On November 7th, we’re hitting the road to jumpstart the next phase of the climate movement.
It’s simple math: we can burn 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide and stay below 2°C of warming — anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth. The only problem? Fossil fuel corporations now have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, five times the safe amount. And they’re planning to burn it all — unless we rise up to stop them.

This November, Bill McKibben and are hitting the road to build the movement that will change the terrifying math of the climate crisis. Join us.

Occupy Sandy Does Not Signify Occupy Wall Street Has Found ‘New Purpose’

The media as a collective has never understood the Occupy movement.

From November 2011 to the movement’s one-year anniversary, various outlets pronounced the movement dead. The pronouncements ignored the various reasons why the movement appeared to be dead, such as less media coverage and the fact that it has never had a national organization at the top. It has always been decentralized.

To pronounce it dead is to say that all the small groups spread out through the nation are no longer organizing. Now, with the success of Occupy Sandy, the media is drawing conclusions about the Occupy movement that again shows it does not understand this social movement.

The Lakota Five: Young Pine Ridge Marathon Runners Leave a Lasting Impression on New York City

When five young people from the Pine Ridge Reservation answered a call for runners to represent their community in the New York City Marathon they never imagined their visit would create such a lasting impression. The trip which was sponsored by One Spirit, a non-profit organization headed by a remarkable woman by the name of Jeri Baker. One Spirit works within the Pine Ridge community bringing food, wood and various programs to community members in need. This past spring the New York Road Runners Club granted five entries to One Spirit with the hope of encouraging Native youth to train and finish the 26.2 mile course. “By allowing just regular community runners to enter the race, this program became a way to highlight the positive accomplishments members of the community can do,” says Baker. So with the help of Lakota running coach Dale Pine they set out to recruit 5 runners: Jeff Turning Heart, Amanda Carlow, Nupa White Plume, Alex Wilson and Kelsey Good Lance.

Two days before their visit, New York City was hit with the worst natural disaster it has ever faced.  Nonetheless the city’s mayor told the world the race would continue. On Friday evening as this reporter sat with the runners in the lobby of their hotel conducting an interview the news reported the Marathon was cancelled. One could see the look of disappointment on the faces of the runners who worked so hard preparing for the race some running up to 120 miles a week. Almost instantly the runners, their coach and One Spirit’s Baker decided this trip would not be in vain and even though the mission of the run was to help their community they knew many communities in the city also needed help.

Disgusting. The potentially far reaching implications of this decision are even more disgusting.  
Court: Alleged torture victims can't sue Rumsfeld

CHICAGO — Two American whistleblowers alleging U.S. forces tortured them in Iraq can't sue former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, according to a federal appeals court in Chicago that found those along the military command chain enjoy broad immunity from such torture claims.

Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel filed a lawsuit claiming they were detained in 2006 and tortured after they accused an Iraqi-owned company they worked for of illegally running guns. They argued Rumsfeld personally approved interrogation methods for use by the U.S. military in Iraq, making him responsible for what happened to them during several weeks they were held in military camps.

The 8-3 ruling by the full 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, posted Wednesday afternoon on the court's website, found there's no law granting the men rights to sue Rumsfeld or others in the line of military command. In such a vast bureaucracy, the ruling says, he couldn't be responsible for subordinates who end up crossing legal bounds.

[Emphasis added]

Occupy Sandy Recognized By NY Times, Mayor's Office & National Guard

In her weekly column, the Times' public editor Margaret Sullivan praises the paper's "tough on-the-ground reporting" on neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Sandy. Today that coverage finally catches up to outlets like The Village Voice and The Guardian (among others) in recognizing the Occupy movement's remarkable relief efforts to help neighborhoods that continue to recover from Hurricane Sandy's devastation. And it's not just the Times who are tipping their caps to Occupy Sandy: last night, representatives from The National Guard, the Bloomberg administration, and the NYPD spoke at an organizational meeting for the movement's continued efforts to help powerless Red Hook residents.
Anyone who saw the city's hungry take meals at Zuccotti Park's kitchen last year shouldn't be all that surprised at Occupy's ability to mobilize volunteers, triage supplies and engage in outreach with storm-battered residents. As the Times piece points out, what is most striking about Occupy's role is how large and crucial it really is, given how thin the City is stretched and the "ineffectiveness" that plagues bureaucratic institutions like FEMA and Red Cross. Given the basename URL for the story, presumably this was to be the headline: "Where FEMA Fell Short Occupy Sandy Was There."

Libyan militia members were imprisoned at the annex in Benghazi and the attack might have been a reaction to that, not the anti-Muslim video, and all of this was known within 24 hours of the attack?  Fox News reported about the imprisonment and then they removed that part from their story later?  Was the annex one of the infamous CIA black sites? If Broadwell was a retired veteran, how did she know all these details about Benghazi?  The first video is the full speech.  University of Denver posted it.  Yesterday, it suddenly was changed to "private video" status. Then it was "removed by the user".  Today, it's back in full. Note the first few sentences of that speech about her career "much of which is yet to be written". On October 26, she's not worried about her career at all. Last night they were carrying boxes of documents out of her house.  The second and third videos contain the excerpt that most people are talking about.
Did Petraeus mistress reveal new Benghazi details?

So here is a bizarre twist in the David Petraeus resignation saga.

Paula Broadwell, the biographer revealed as the woman having a secret affair with the now-former CIA director, gave a talk at the University of Denver on Oct. 26 in which she appeared to reveal sensitive, maybe even classified, information about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

The most interesting revelation is her claim that the CIA was holding several Libyan militia members prisoner, which may have prompted the attack. (Though she also sought to explain the Obama administration's initial view that the attack was linked to the YouTube video Innocence of Muslims, an anti-Islam polemic that sparked riots across the Muslim world.)

Alumni Symposium 2012: Paula Broadwell

Paula Broadwell spilling secret CIA information

Paula Broadwell Leaks Info on Benghazi Annex

Oh dear.  Good thing all of this came out after the election and before Pres. Obama had to do his deck chair rearranging for the second term! Remarkably lucky timing for the admin.!  Imagine how surprised they were when they only found out about it much later, after the election.  So anyway, Gen. John Allen is now toast too.  There's all kinds of catnip wrapped in shiny object packages for the media, tabloids and blogs. Amazingly, the woman who called in the FBI to investigate her email because she was being harassed, happened to have had a casual 20,000-30,000 page email exchange with yet another top general.  I guess she was so amazingly stupid that she never figured that the FBI would come across that part of her digital archive.  Or maybe she figured that the shirtless FBI friend who she called on for help would keep all of that part secret or that the government would not discover anything other than the "cat-fight" emails from Broadwell.  Catnip wrapped in shiny object packaging, with jingle bells, and now with hamster balls, cat dancers, laser pointers and SmartCat peek-a-prize!
Scandal probe ensnares commander of U.S., NATO troops in Afghanistan

According to a senior U.S. defense official, the FBI has uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 documents — most of them e-mails — of “potentially inappropriate” communications between Allen and Jill Kelley, a 37-year-old Tampa woman whose close relationship with Petraeus ultimately led to his downfall.

Allen, a Marine, succeeded Petraeus as the top allied commander in Afghanistan in July 2011. He also served as Petraeus’s deputy when both generals led the military’s Tampa-based Central Command from 2008 until 2010.

The FBI first notified the Pentagon of its investigation into Allen’s communications with Kelley on Sunday evening, according to the senior defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the pending case.

In response, Pentagon chief Leon E. Panetta referred the investigation on Monday to the Defense Department’s Inspector General for further review, according to a statement released by Panetta early Tuesday as he was traveling to Australia.

The latest development in the unfolding scandal has shaken President Obama’s national-security staff and upended his carefully chosen plans for filling senior military and intelligence leadership jobs in his second term.

David Petraeus CIA scandal engulfs US Gen John Allen

The top US commander in Afghanistan, Gen John Allen, is being investigated for allegedly sending "inappropriate emails" to a woman at the centre of a scandal which ended the career of CIA head Gen David Petraeus, officials say.

The emails are said to have been sent to Jill Kelley whose complaint led the FBI to uncover Gen Petraeus's extra-marital affair with Paula Broadwell.

Gen Allen denies any wrongdoing.


Gen Allen was due to face a Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday. If approved, as had been widely expected, he was expected to take up his Nato appointment, heading the Nato-led International Security Assistance Forces (Isaf), in early 2013.

Jimmy Cliff - The harder they come

Aren't you so pleased with yourselves, progressive blogs, leading voices of the progressive movement, for what your cheerleading (rather than pressure and accountability) achieved?  All Romney oppo research and cheerleading all the time for months on end.  The minute the election is over, this is what we get, and it's exactly what the people who you pummeled for talking about it have been saying for two years now -- the people who advocated applying pressure while we still had something to bargain with.  And now you want to jump out in front of the parade with the wailing and knashing of teeth, as if this is some kind of surprise to you?  Next thing you know you'll be leading a great protest (of emails and phone calls) and then in the eleventh hour, lamenting that this is the best he could do, alas!  We should support it because it could have been worse, alas!  The terrible horrible Republicans are to blame again, alas!  Shut up or you'll wreck our chances for 2014, alas!

Leaked deal memo for last year’s Grand Bargain: “Obama willing to go quite far”
“This is a confidential document, last offer the president — the White House made last year to Speaker Boehner to try to reach this $4 trillion grand bargain.  And it’s long and it’s tedious and it’s got budget jargon in it.  But what it shows is a willingness to cut all kinds of things, like TRICARE, which is the sacred health insurance program for the military, for military retirees; to cut Social Security; to cut Medicare. And there are some lines in there about, “We want to get tax rates down, not only for individuals but for businesses.”  So Obama and the White House were willing to go quite far.”
OMG, even the All Romney All the Timers are sounding the alarm! What, no more etch-a-sketch front page posts?!? Send money to the brave grassroots left, hurry! to help with the fight!  Bark when we tell you to bark! Heel when we tell you to heel!
Leaked deal memo from grand bargain talks show threat to Social Security, Medicare, safety net

Bob Woodward got his hands on the deal memo that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner struck in 2011 in their effort to secure a budget deal that would appease the Republicans who took the national economy hostage. Via Americablog, he described it on Meet the Press and it's bad. Really bad.

The triumph, in writing.  Get out that champagne, Van!
White House Grand Bargain offer to Speaker Boehner Obtained by Bob Woodward

Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest

The Evening Blues - 11-12-12

Broadwell’s Denver Appearance: Did She Cover Petraeus’ Bad Briefs?

General Dynamics: The Digital Tale of John & Jill and Dave & Paula

Scandal Surge: The Mid-Summer Adjustment

Open thread for night owls: The real David Petraeus scandal

Leaked deal memo from grand bargain talks show threat to Social Security, Medicare, safety net

“The History We Didn’t Know” About Last Year’s Grand Bargain Negotiations

Jethro Tull - Locomotive Breath


Remember when progressive debate was about our values and not about a "progressive" candidate? Remember when progressive websites championed progressive values and didn't tell progressives to shut up about values so that "progressive" candidates can get elected?

Come to where the debate is not constrained by oaths of fealty to persons or parties.

Come to where the pie is served in a variety of flavors.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."  ~ Noam Chomsky

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