Party Senate candidate and Ralph Nader blast Hillary while
campaigning in Albany
The U.S. government’s war on marijuana jumped to a new platform
this week—YouTube. The White House announced plans to place
anti-pot commercials on the hugely popular Web site, which
allows anyone to post almost any video for free. They are
betting that their anti-drug message will be well-received
by the site’s viewers; we are betting otherwise.
Despite the United States’ status as a democratic nation,
it is a country of coronations rather than elections, according
to consumer advocate and three-time presidential candidate
Ralph Nader. The political activist joined Howie Hawkins in
Albany Monday to endorse Hawkins, the Green Party candidate
for U.S. Senate, and to criticize—and that’s putting it nicely—Sen.
views this election as her coronation,” Nader said of Clinton,
condemning her for refusing to engage in political debates
with her challengers.
are rare intervals in our country when people have an opportunity
and a chance to discuss important issues with a candidate,”
he said. “If she is going to insist on proceeding in an authoritarian
mindset, which is to refuse a debate with all ballot-qualified
candidates to the office she seeks, she is displaying the
kind of personality and character we’re all too used to in
Although Clinton is overwhelmingly expected to retain her
Senate seat in November, five politicians are challenging
her incumbency. Republican candidate John Spencer and four
antiwar minor-party candidates, including Hawkins, have thrown
their hat in the ring.
people vote on issues, if they know what their options [in
candidates] are and they vote on the issues, I’ll be the next
senator because the majority’s not pro-war, and the majority
can benefit from the national health plan I propose,” said
Hawkins, who has made bringing the troops home and national
health insurance central issues in his campaign.
They are two issues he and Nader said Clinton has, to the
detriment of her constituents, avoided.
has also turned her back on abuses that she knows a lot about,”
Nader said. “She no longer, if ever, supports single-payer
universal health insurance—that is, full Medicare for everybody.
She [hasn’t addressed] the pharmaceutical industry, in a state
where lots of its residents head to Canada to buy cheaper
drugs, and she simply won’t challenge the insurance industry.”
Nader cited these and other hands-off politicking as evidence
of Clinton’s surrendering of “her integrity, her principles
and her past beliefs in order to gain the arrogance of power.”
He described her as shifting from a moderate Democrat to a
“profoundly corporate Democrat,” faithful only to her big-
business campaign contributors.
a contradiction in the Democratic Party between their voter
base, which is antiwar and generally progressive, and their
funder base, which has been pro-war and more conservative,”
Hawkins said. “Clinton is acting in office like her funder
base wants her to, and ignoring her voter base.”
She is “marching arm-in-arm with major corporate lobbies toward
the White House,” Nader said, stating he has no doubt Clinton
will make a run for president in 2008. “I think she wants
to raise so much money that the money itself will scare off
some of her challengers in the primary. She’s going to come
in with $80 or $90 million, and that’s a horrific sum for
any candidate to challenge.”
As for whether he’ll step forward as a candidate in 2008,
Nader said he doesn’t know yet, but he isn’t ruling out the
Hawkins is the only candidate in New York state whom Nader
has thrown his weight behind during this election cycle.
Richards, the one-time governor of Texas, died
this week at age 73. It was at the 1988 Democratic
National Convention, while treasurer of Texas,
that she gained national attention by leveling
this criticism at George H. W. Bush: “Poor George.
He can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot
in his mouth.” She would go on to become governor
of the Lone Star State in 1991 and serve in that
office until 1995, losing her reelection bid to
George W. Bush.
this month it was revealed that the U.S. government
has been paying 10 journalists in Miami to write
news the government wanted written. TV, radio
and print journalists received hundreds of thousands
of dollars to write anti-Castro stories targeted
at Miami’s Cuban population. The practice of paying
journalists to write slanted stories has become
common in the Bush administration. Although reports
about the Miami incident also reference the Pentagon
paying Iraqi newsman to write positive stories
about the war, they neglect to mention that the
Education Department also paid pundits and journalists
to promote the No Child Left Behind Act.
what is being called a peaceful and bloodless
coup, key players in Thailand’s military took
over Bangkok this week and deposed the country’s
controversial prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra.
The overnight coup was led by Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin
and received the blessing of Thailand’s influential
but otherwise powerless king. Many see the ousting
of the freely elected Thaksin, who has been embroiled
in a corruption scandal, as a boon for democracy.
Many of Thailand’s urban middle class began protesting
Thaksin last year for actions, they allege, that
were directed toward dismantling the fledgling
democracy. Gen. Sonthi said that free elections
will be held by October 2007.
pottery: Potters at the Arts Center of the Capital Region
create bowls to donate to the Empty Bowls project in
unexpected success with its inaugural event last year, a Troy
project to fight hunger gears up for a second round
A community project based in Troy is turning to local artisans
for help in achieving its mission of raising awareness about
hunger and stocking local food-pantry shelves. Potters will
produce and donate hundreds of handcrafted ceramic bowls for
the city’s second Empty Bowls event, a fund- raising project
hosted in various communities across the nation.
The event’s success is contingent upon the cooperation and
enthusiasm of several community constituencies. The effort
begins with local potters, whose handicraft becomes the focus
of the Empty Bowls event, at which a $10 admission charge
entitles attendees to a one-of-a-kind ceramic bowl and a hot
meal courtesy of area restaurants and bakeries. At the event,
scheduled this year for Oct. 1, it’s the financial contributions
from community residents that enable the project to provide
lump-sum donations to Troy food pantries.
Troy’s trial event in October 2005 sold out of bowls and raised
more than $11,000, which was divided among the city’s nine
food pantries—enough money for one to feed its hungry for
the next two years.
Barbara Reeley, the Troy project’s founder and chair of the
local Empty Bowls committee, said she was dumbfounded by the
outpouring of support and excitement the event received in
I found out by talking to other potters throughout the country
is that our event is one of the more successful [Empty Bowl
projects],” she said. “We may not make 30,000, 40,000 or 80,000
dollars, but as far as how we sold out and that we’re keeping
it all local.”
Reeley is upping the ante for this year’s event. She has increased
the number of bowls to about 1,200, up from the approximately
900 sold in 2005. Additional restaurant and bakery vendors
have agreed to donate soups, breads and baked goods. The Italian-American
Community Center, which is hosting the event for a second
year, also has agreed to provide more dining-room space.
While Reeley occasionally receives bowl donations from potters
throughout the Northeast, who hear of the project and feel
compelled to contribute, the bulk of the pottery is produced
during weekly sessions at Reeley’s studio, River Street Pottery.
Her studio sessions have bustled with potters since early
this summer. In addition to this steady output, Reeley was
promised about 100 bowls each from an art class at Skidmore
College and the Arts Center of the Capital Region.
JoAnn Axford, a professor at the Arts Center, has been a member
of the Troy Empty Bowls planning committee since last year.
After what she described as the “phenomenal” success of last
year’s event, Axford said she wanted to allow more people
the opportunity to participate. She planned three work sessions
in September for her students and novice potters to attend.
you imagine someone making a bowl for the first time?” Axford
said. “They’re going to feel thrilled, and yet they’re giving
it away. That’s pretty neat, I think.”
Although the Troy Empty Bowls project remains young, the event
is well-rooted in other communities across the nation. The
original event was the brainchild of a high-school art teacher
and his students in Michigan, who concocted the Empty Bowls
project as a solution in their quest for a creative way to
raise funds to support a local food drive in 1990. After the
event, the bowls would serve as a yearlong reminder of hunger
in the world.
In addition to the support of local artists, restaurants and
bakeries, Reeley has received raffle prize donations from
area businesses and monetary contributions from others.
The Troy Empty Bowls event will be held Oct. 1 from noon to
3 PM. For more information, contact Barbara Reeley at 669-5296.
Appropriate for Our Audiences
says ads promoting birth control are too controversial for
its Hudson theater
is pretty much nothing to do around here,” said Nicole Dallas
about her hometown of Hudson. “We’re always wondering, ‘Where
is there to go?’ And that’s where people go. Everyone I know
goes there,” she said of the Hudson Movieplex 8 Cinema.
Nicole works just a bit down the road from the theater as
a program assistant at Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood. There
she helps educate area teens about responsible sex. She and
her coworkers want to reduce Columbia County’s teen-pregnancy
rate—a rate that, at last check, was 27-percent higher than
the New York state average for 18 and 19 year olds.
If things had gone as planned, Dallas also would have been
educating teens who visited the Hudson 8 Movieplex. Dallas
modeled for one of the birth-control advertisements that Planned
Parenthood proposed to run onscreen before movies in the cinema.
But according to Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood spokesperson
Blue Carreker, the advertising campaign was rejected by the
Cinema North, the company that handles advertising for the
theaters, claiming the ads were “controversial” because they
promote birth control. (Cinema North did not return calls
Carreker noted that the theater had run Planned Parenthood
ads in the past. She reported that a representative from the
company complained that the new series of ads was too “in
your face,” and “shows specific ways of using birth control.”
However, as both Dallas and Carreker point out, the advertisements
are fairly timid. Dallas’s ad features her picture, bordered
by a quote that reads, “Some things I can control.
That’s why I use birth control.”
Carreker said that the ads were deemed fit to run on the sides
of buses in Albany. And she said that although she is glad
the ads are getting out there, she thinks the Hudson theater
represents a lost opportunity to reach an isolated teen audience.
Dallas agreed, and she thinks movie theaters have a greater
responsibility to their young audiences to promote safe sex.
“We are seeing sex in the movies,” she said, “and teens are
seeing it everywhere in the media, but there is nothing advertising
the third time the charm in Albany’s quest to expand its landfill?
quick response,” said Chris Hawver, executive director of
the Pine Bush Preserve Commission, “is that it is a much better
plan than the last one.” After two other plans to expand the
Rapp Road landfill were greeted poorly by the public and environmentalists,
the city of Albany offered up another plan on Tuesday in hopes
that it will be approved before the current landfill overflows
its capacity. The city currently is taking in maximum levels
of garbage from surrounding communities to maximize revenue
from the dump.
The new plan would move the dump to where the transfer station
is currently located. The transfer station would be relocated,
and the city would attempt to purchase two bordering properties
that are not part of the Pine Bush Preserve. Moving the structure
of the transfer station is estimated to cost $2 million. However,
the city also has hired a consulting firm to restore some
sensitive environmental areas around the dump, and, as General
Services Commissioner Bill Bruce pointed out, the price tag
on that is unknown. The new plan is a much more expensive
alternative than the previous plans.
But according to Lynne Jackson of Save the Pine Bush, the
plan is just bringing the process back to where it started—taking
land promised to the preserve and burying it in garbage. She
insists the three acres that would be used in the newest proposal
were involved in a deal brokered by Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings
and Gov. George Pataki in May 2000 in which they agreed to
trade 19 acres on Washington Avenue for 45 acres of Pine Bush.
At the time, both Pataki and Jennings made it clear the land
was intended for preservation. “By working creatively,” said
Pataki, “we are protecting environmentally valuable Pine Bush
land while putting 19 acres back on the tax rolls.”
Jackson further insisted that at least part of the land is
actually already part of the preserve.
In the past year, Albany has twice presented plans to expand
the landfill [“The Garbage Burden,” April 27, 2006]. The first
would have expanded it into land that the city had legally
promised to dedicate to the Pine Bush Preserve. The second
plan would have taken already dedicated land. However, this
past spring, Assemblyman John McEneny put a wrench in the
process by killing a bill he had sponsored to move ahead with
the second plan at the last minute, saying the bill was unnecessary
for the review process to take place.
being vilified for stopping the expansion to the west, I feel
pretty vindicated,” McEneny said last Tuesday. “Now we are
talking, instead of going west into the preserve, talking
about going east and not into the preserve. It’s a good thing
I put my foot down when I did.”
wouldn’t create the awful precedent of taking already dedicated
land from the Pine Bush” Hawver elaborated. “But is it great?
No. It is still taking land from the Pine Bush.” However,
Hawver, noted that the land now in the city’s sights is not
“classic” Pine Bush.
Ward 12 Common Councilman Michael O’Brien said that although
Pine Bush supporters are not likely to “stand up and cheer”
over the new plan, it will be a lot more “palatable” to them.
He hopes that once the plan is submitted for approval, it
will give the city a chance to look at long-term solutions
to its trash problems, as well the trash problems of the Capital
Region Solid Waste Management Partnership members.
Still, Jackson insisted that solutions are currently available.
Jackson, a number of members of the crowd, and Ward 1 Councilman
Dominick Calsolaro asked city officials Tuesday if the city
has considered simply lowering the amount of garbage it takes
in as a way to increase the current dump’s life span. The
response they got was silence.
Jackson also proposed ways—including tidal, wind and solar
power—to balance revenue the city would lose from taking in
less garbage. But O’Brien insisted that the problem will not
be solved exclusively on a regional basis. “We need to find
creative ways of limiting creation of all this throwaway stuff,”
he said. “But it is beyond any municipality to do it by itself.
It was beyond New York City, apparently, and they are a lot
bigger than us and they threw up their hands. We definitely
need the Feds involved in this. We need the state to not just
be regulatory, but proactive.”
loose ends this week-