Atlantis Alumni

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Most Enjoyable Tour Of The Philadelphia Museum Of Art

Photo: Dan discusses "The Crucifixion, with the Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist Mourning Companion paintings Made in Netherlands" (historical name, 15th-16th century) c. 1460 by Rogier van der Weyden, Netherlandish (active Tournai and Brussels), 1399/1400 - 1464 Yesterday Dan conducted a guided tour of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. There were 23 people on the tour, all from the William Way GLBT Community Center's "Morning's Out" senior gay men's social group. Dan touched on art from medieval times through the romantic era. The tour lasted almost two hours. Everyone seemed to enjoy it thoroughly.

Occupy Philadelphia Day 56: Eviction, But Not The End

Overnight police moved against the peaceful occupiers in Philadelphia and Los Angeles...pretty obviousy coordinated from the federal government. Rather than helping peaceful people who are working for a more just society, elected officials are supressing citizens. While the occupiers may no longer have a physical presence in cities where they have been evicted, the ideas and the solidarity developed over the past several months will continue.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Autumn Specialties

I always place a horm of plenty on our mantle for Autumn. Dan found this lovely and tasty Autumn log cake at the market yesterday. Fall is my favorite season.

Monday, November 28, 2011

More Occupy Philadelphia Photos

Occupy Philadelphia Day 54

Occupy Philadelphia was supposed to be evicted from Dilworth Plaza Sunday at 5 least that was the deadline given to us by the city. So I went down to the occupation to proivde medic support. Hundreds of protesters were there at 5 PM. Some delicious squash soup was served, many signs were created and displayed, and the people's mic was busy with protesters each telling their vision for a better society. The city should help the occupation, not evict us. The photo above is of me with a logn time friend Larry taken at the occupation Sunday evening.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Porter, The Cat

Here's a photo that our friends Mark and Richard sent to us of their orange tabby Porter. Loki wants to meet6 him!

Visit To The Wharton Esherick House

Yesterday Dan and I joined our friends Richard and Mark for a most enjoyable visit to the beautiful and unique home of sculptor Wharton Esherick (1887-1970.) The house is nestled on a hilltop near Phoenixville, PA. The house looks small from the outside but it is remarkably spacious inside. It is full of the beautiful works in wood that this remarkable man created during his lifetime. We had a rather long tour that lasted almost two hours!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

OP Day 52: The Federal War Against Occupy

Philadelphia Mayor Nutter has joined the list of U.S. mayors who have evicted peaceful occupiers fronm their encampments under the direct supervision of the federal government. Nutter told Occupy Philadelphia that they have to leave Dilworth Plaza by Sunday afternoon. So we have a federal police state mobilizing the local Gestapo to disperse the occupation. And you thought we live in a democracy? Naomi Wolf writing in The Guardian:
..."when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence. It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent. Occupy has touched the third rail: personal congressional profits streams. Even though they are, as yet, unaware of what the implications of their movement are, those threatened by the stirrings of their dreams of reform are not. Sadly, Americans this week have come one step closer to being true brothers and sisters of the protesters in Tahrir Square. Like them, our own national leaders, who likely see their own personal wealth under threat from transparency and reform, are now making war upon us."

Get Your Rainbow Delegation Wristband

Everyone deserves to be loved and accepted. Rainbow Wristbands say "I am safe & supportive" It is a visible statement that LGBTQ youth are not alone.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Fact Check

Photo: Occupy Philadelphia Market Street Bridge Action Top 5 FOX myths to debunk this Thanksgiving (from MYTH #1: The congressional Super Committee failed because both sides refuse to compromise. REALITY: The Super Committee failed because Republicans' number one, non-negotiable priority is to protect millionaires and billionaires from paying even one more penny in taxes. Democrats repeatedly offered to make deep spending cuts—far deeper than most progressives would like—in exchange for raising taxes on the wealthy and closing corporate loopholes, only to be refused again and again. So even though the vast majority of Americans say they want to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits, and raise taxes on the rich and corporations, that won't happen until Republicans put aside their extremist stance. MYTH #2: Nobody knows what Occupy Wall Street is about. REALITY: Occupy Wall Street may not have a formal list of demands, but anyone who's been paying attention understands the core problems that occupiers are protesting—that corporations have far too much power in our political system, that Wall Street banks crashed our economy but were never held accountable, and that the richest 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans—156 million people—combined. MYTH #3: Occupiers should stop protesting and just get a job. REALITY: As anybody who's looked for a job in the last few years knows, there just aren't jobs out there. That's a big part of why occupiers are protesting. In September, there were four times as many unemployed people as job openings. And for those who are lucky enough to find a job, median wages today are lower than they were a decade ago. MYTH #4: Occupy Wall Street is intent on provoking violence, especially against banks and the police. REALITY: Occupations across the country have committed themselves to nonviolent protest, in the greatest traditions of protest movements. Some of their protests have been met with acts of police violence—tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets—but in many cases, protesters have reminded police that the police officers are part of the 99%, too. And in the few cases when people have shown up at Occupy demonstrations and committed acts of vandalism, other protesters have even repaired their acts of vandalism. MYTH #5: The biggest crisis facing our country is out of control government spending. REALITY: The two biggest drivers of our deficit—by far—are the economic crash and the Bush tax cuts. We have millions of people out of work, corporations hoarding cash, and factories sitting idle. If we put all those people back to work—rebuilding infrastructure, educating our children, and researching new technologies—it'll shrink the deficit and make our economy stronger for the long haul. And we can easily afford it if we make sure the rich—who are taking home a larger percentage of income than any time since 1917—pay their fair share.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Occupy Mic Check On Obama

Yesterday some occupiers interrupted an appearance by Obama, who has kept his distance from the Occupy movement. One protester handed Obama a note chastizing him for his silence on the police brutality against occupy protesters in recent days. This is yet another way that Obanma disappoints those who used to be his enthusiastic supporters.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Occupy Philadelphia Day 47

Sunday was National Transgender Remembrance Day. Queer Occupy Philadelphia members held their very first direct action Sunday evening...a march through the gayborhood during which they signed up new members for Philadelphia Rage, and organization dedicated to ending violence against transgendered people. The Occupation site in Philadelphia now has fewer tents. Some people have left to avoid having their tents and psssessions confiscated should the city conduct a raid. Dilworth Plaza has the feeling of something coming to an end. Hopefully what ends will only be the encampment, and the movement will continue on and strengthen. There is an excellent article from Forbes available on line today that makes the point that the Bush tax cuts especially capital gains rates is the reason for the expolsion in economic inequality in this country.
Capital gains are the key ingredient of income disparity in the US-- and the force behind the winner takes all mantra of our economic system. If you want to even out earning power in the U.S, you have to raise the 15% capital gains tax...It's crystal clear that the Bush tax reduction on capital gains and dividend income in 2003 was the cutting edge policy that has created the immense increase in net worth of corporate executives, Wall St. professionals and other entrepreneurs...The facts are clear according to the Congressional Budget Office more than 80% of the increase in income inequality was the result of an increase in the share of household income from capital gains...I commend you to the late Justice Louis Brandeis warning to the nation that " We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." We have to make up our minds to restore a higher, fairer capital gains tax to the wealthiest investor class-- or ultimately face increased social unrest.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Occupy Philadelphia Day 46

Yesterday I attended s full day "Training For Trainers" program sponsored by OccupyPhiladelphia (OP). Perhaps I'll be able to draw on some of my experience and knowledge and do some training of occupiers at some point in the near future. The OP GA (General Assembly) voted Saturday evning to seek a permit to move the encampment across the street to Thomas Paine Plaza in front of the Municipal Services building. However, the OP proposal also calls for the permit to allow for camping, tents, and no end date...all elements not likely to be approved by the city. This makes a confrontation between the city and the occupiers more likely and imminent.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Occupy Philadelphia Day 45: Wells Fargo Bank Action Nov. 18

Occupy Philadelphia members protest the predatory and racist lending policies of and foreclosures by Wells Fargo Bank.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Occupy Philadelphia Day 44

Yesterday was an international day of action by various groups working for justice. In Philadelphia several groups joined together to march, demonstrate, and risk arrest. About two dozen protesters were arrested on the 30th & Market Street bridge. This bridge was targeted because it is on the list of structurally deficient bridges. We have plenty of money for wars and to bail out banks, but no money to fix our crumbling infrastructure. Meanwhile OccupyPhiladelphia tried to prempt eviciton by the city by attempting to move accross the street to the Municipal Services building. However, the police prevented the move. Mayor Nutter told OP to just follow proper procedures, whatever they are. Too bad OP just doesn't ignore Nutter. Occupation is not about following the instructions of those who are responsible for the problems we're protesting.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Occupy Philadelphia Day 43: A National Day Of Action

This is retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis, who was arrested near Wall Street this morning as thousands began protesting Wall Street excesses. Later today there will be a march in Philadelphia in solidarity with actions all accross the country.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupy Philadelphia Day 42: Societal Problems And The Occupy Movement

The Occupy movement stands in solidarity with many other economic and social justice movements, e.g. the unions, and the women's rights, civil rights, and GLBT rights movements. A prime example of that was seen on Monday when OccupyPhiladelphia joined with unionized Aramark workers struggling for a fair contract. Occupations have been criticized of late by politicians seeking a reason to shut them down. Complaints about sanitation and crime abound. But these problems exist in U.S. society at large, with our large homeless population and the staggering amount of poverty that we have. Why would these problems not manifest themselves within our occupations? They are not our fault. We're actually trying to provide remedies. Occupations feed and care for the homeless and work to end povery by demanding economic justice. Therefore, it is shameful of politicians like New York City's Mayor Bloomberg to demonize occupations.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Washington Post: How A Police State Begins

James Downie:
As hard as the NYPD and New York City’s government might try to obscure the truth though, one truth remains: At 1 a.m. this morning, in the heart of New York City, protesters exercising their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly were swept away by the state, while that state also did all it could to preventmedia coverage. No matter what one may think of the occupiers or their cause, nothing they’ve done justifies blockading the press or ignoring court orders. Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and other New York leaders who ordered the eviction should take a long, hard look at their handling of the occupation. This morning’s action may not be what a police state looks like, but it’s certainly how one begins.

In Solidarity: Community College Of Philadelphia

Photo: Carol Stein and a colleague from CCP at the OccupyPhiladelphia AraMark action Monday afternoon.

Occupy Philadelphia Day 41: Bloomberg Ignores The Law In NYC

Photo: OccupyPhiladelphia joins with Aramark union workers Monday afternoon to protest for fair wages and working hours for Aramark employees... New York City’s mayor Bloomberg sent the city police in to clear Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protesters under cover of darkness last night. The police trashed the occupation, destroying personal property including 5,000 books that were in the OWS library. Once again, we see Gestapo tactics employed against citizens on the streets of America. By early daylight, OWS lawyers had secured a temporary restraining order against Bloomberg allowing the protesters back into Zuccotti Park with their tents and sleeping bags. However, the city has defied the order as police have prevented protesters from re-entering the park. This is nothing less than official lawlessness on the part of Bloomberg and the police. It will only serve to strengthen the resolve of those of us determined to bring social and economic justice to America.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Occupy Philadelphia Day 40: The Demonization Of Occupiers Begins

Photo: Reggae entertainment at OccupyPhiladelphia on Saturday... It was difficult to watch the brutal police eviction of Occupy Portland that occurred Saturday and Sunday. One police spokesman didn't even try to hide their lopsided priorities when he stated that they were worried about "the condition of the parks," with no mention of the people in the parks, just the parks themselves. The mayor of Portland proved to be a liar when he stated that there would be no more police activity after the initial raid. The occupoers went back to their destroyed encampment, tried to clean up and re-build. However, they were raided again just as they were having their peaceful general assembly Sunday afternoon and once again driven from their encampment. Police threatened the use of chemical and impact weapons against occupiers who were peaceully exercising their right to assemble. This is what a police state looks like. Now, Philadelphia Mayor Nutter is laying the groundwork for a Portland-style eviction of Occupy Philadelphia by telling untruths about the occupation. In a news conference Sunday, he stated that he had lost patience with OP because "the people have changed." No, Mayor Nutter, we have not changed, nor has the rotten, greedy, corrupt economic system that has led us to occupy and that you are sympathetic to changed one bit. If we have problems within our occupation with sanitation, substance abuse, etc. that is because these problems are rife in your city, Mayor Nutter. We're working hard to address these issues within our peaceful occupation. Help us solve these problems rather then sending in your police enforcers to evict us. There is no pressing need to begin the Dilworth Plaza construction project. There are much more pressing problems that need to be addressed in Philadelphia. Occupy Philadelphia will respond to Mayor Nutter today:
The Legal Collective, with several Working Groups at Occupy Philadelphia, will hold a press conference today at 1PM to address statements made by Mayor Michael Nutter. Individual participants who work on Food, Safety the Women’s Caucus and People of Color Committee will offer a point-by-point rebuttal. Supporting documents will be presented, including attempted email communications with city officials. Legal - “The original members of the Legal Collective have been joined by additional people committed to working for economic and social justice. We have not changed. The mayor's attitude has. We do, however, agree with the Mayor that we can and will continue to maintain open lines of communication to further the work of Occupy Philadelphia. “ Safety – “Occupy Philly’s safety and security members plan to continue de-escalation trainings and being on the front line for creating a safe space at Dilworth plaza. We are dedicated to focusing on survivor centered responses and public safety protocols.” Women’s Caucus - “We are concerned with the contradictory statements that the police and the mayor have made to the media about their support for the occupy movement, while simultaneously withholding support for situations of physical and sexual violence. The recent demonizing and vilifying of the Occupy movement in the media is a scape-goating of the problems and violence that plague our communities and cities daily."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Occupy Philadelphia Day 39

Saturday at 4 PM OccupyPhiladelphia paid another visit to the Comcast center. No arrests took place this time. The building was closed off and police ensured that no one entered. It was a good action anyway that included a march through much of the downtown area. It was the first action since the vote Friday night to stay at Dilworth Plaza. After weeks of sometimes contentious discussion about whether to stay or move, it was refreshing to see the energy of the movement once again focused on an appropriate target.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Occupy Philadelphia Day 38: We Will Stand Our Ground!

Last night, during a general assembly (GA) meeting that lasted until about 11:15 PM, those of us who were present for the duration of the meeting participated in the hard work that is direct democracy. The process yielded a positive result, a way forward that is consistent with the overall occupy movement, and one that all can stand in solidarity with if we choose to:
"Occupy Philadelphia will stay at Dilworth Plaza at the 'anticipated start of the Dilworth Plaza construction.' If this proposal is adoped Occupy Philadelphia will issue a public statement and a list of demands. OP will schedule and implement non violent resistance training and eviction preparation."
Some people, especially those who have not been heavily involved directly with the occupation, are unhappy about this outcome. They would prefer to be non-confrontational by moving the occupation as the city wants. Some fear arrest, being gassed or pepper sprayed, or otherwise brutalized by police. Others worry about the union jobs that are connected with planned re-construction of Dilworth Plaza. It's unfortunate that most of these people could not be at the GA last night. While there were good points made by advocates on both sides of the stay vs. move issue, the four hour process yielded an almost unanimous vote to stay at Dilworth Plaza. During the sometimes intense GA, we learned that there actually is no set start date for construction, and that the unions are unaware of any contracts actually having been signed. This is the "myth" of the Dilworth Plaza construction project...that it has a November start date. We also came to the realization that there is no safety in moving to Thomas Paine Plaza or anywhere else, because in actuality, the police could move on the occupation at any time, permit or no permit, no matter the location. The best guarantee of safety for the occupiers is preparedness, and togetherness. Finally, it was pointed out that we are not yet large enough to sustain two locations. Expanding to Thomas Paine Plaza would serve only to dilute the occupation. We were reminded of the words of Ben Franklin: "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." In some locations where other occupations have been forcefully evicted, this served to strengthen the occupation and enlarge the number of occupiers. There is anger being expressed by those who are unhappy with this decision. That is not in keeping with the spirit of the occupation movement, which is built on solidarity through concensus. I hope that those who are unhappy can manage to channel their anger at this decision in a more productive direction.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Child Abuse Coverups Must End!

Photo: our nearby mini-park with Fall colors peaking As a gay man, that institutions like the Catholic church and Penn State cover up child molesters makes me even more angry because it reinforces the view of some that all gay people are molesters. All at Penn State should wear blue on Saturday...the color of child abuse awareness.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Penn State Meltdown

Photo: the brilliant colors of Autumn on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia The shameful developments at Penn State over child sex abuse are incomprehensible, except in the context of sports. Sports are overly highly regarded in this country to the exclusion of other really important concerns. The sports mentality of too many people is proof of the bread and circuses role that sports play in the U.S. Spectator sports keeps the minds of the masses off of illegal wars, torture, corporate ctiminals, excessive greed, income inequality, and a whole host of other maladies that plague our society. The coverup at Penn State is another symptom of an upside down set of American ethics. Paterno should be ashamed of himself. He should also tell the Penn State jocks to stop rioting and go back to their dorms.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Occupy Philadelphia Day 35

Yesterday a group of OccupyPhiladelphia people went to protest when Obama came to the Philadelphia area. But Obama slipped in and slipped out with police protection using the back entrance to the school where he visited disappointing several hundred supporters who waited for hours to catch a glimpse of him.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Occupy Philadelphia Day 34

Yesterday's Occupy Philadelphia direct action was a die-in the at the offices of PNC bank in downtown Philadelphia. The huge bank is involved in financing mountaintop destruction mining and fracking.
PNC is the #1 investor in all of America in companies that practice 'mountaintop removal' (MTR) coal mining - companies who have dynamited over 500 mountains and are responsible for thousands of toxic Clean Water Act violations across the nearby Appalachian region, one of the poorest parts of America. Meanwhile, coal from those mines is burning in Philadelphia power plants right now, giving our kids asthma while PNC invests in natural gas hydrofracking right in our own backyard! If we're not united, what has happened in Appalachia can happen here in Pennsylvania.

A Fine Performance!

Congratulations to our friend Rob Cox for his great cabaret show this past weekend. Rob sang a mix of not often heard songs and standards from the Broadway songbook 1950-present.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Filming The Police Can Be Risky!

Occupy Philadelphia Day 33: Two-Tiered Justice In The U.S.

Police arrest occupiers, or worse, beat them, spray them with pepper spray, or use tear gas on them. At the same time, no one who is responsible for Wall Street excesses that led to the Great Recession has gone to jail or even been arrested and charged. It's no wonder why occupiers protest police excesses. Glenn Greenwald:
The police force - the instrument of law enforcement - is being used to protect powerful criminals who have suffered no consequences for their crimes. It is simultaneously used to coerce and punish the powerless: those who are protesting and who have done nothing wrong, yet are subjected to an array of punishment ranging from arrest to pepper spray and other forms of abuse. That's what the two-tiered justice system is: elites are immunized for egregious crimes while ordinary Americans are subjected to merciless punishment for trivial transgressions.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Occupy Philadelphia Day 31

Friday afternoon we marched from the occupation to Rittenhouse Square where Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was slated to collect big bucks at a fundraiser held at the posh Rittenhouse Hotel. The hotel has three access entriy points on three different streets, so we were unable to intercept Romney and he slipped into the hotel. Romney is a notorious flip-flopper. First he signed off on a fairly progressive health care scheme in Massachusetts but now he wants to repeal the Obama hellth care law. He was in favor of gay rights but now he's against us. He's without principles except what he thinks will do him god in the short term with the rabid Republican right.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Occupy Philadelphia Day 30: Inequality in the U.S.

Paul Krugman in the New York Times:
We have a society in which money is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few people, and in which that concentration of income and wealth threatens to make us a democracy in name only.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Why OccupyPhilly Is Targeting Comcast


Occupy Philadelphia Day 29

Yesterday, in solidarity with OccupyOakland, OccupyPhiladelphia marched through Philadelphia stopping at Republican U.S. Senator Toomey;s office to protest before continuing on to the Comcast building. Comcast is a poster child for coprpoate greed, mnaking huge profits and paying no taxes. At Comcast nine OP members engaged in non-violent civil disobedience with a sit-in and were arrested. There was significant media converage, the message of the protest was ddelivered, so it was a successful action.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Occupy Philadelphia Day 28

These ohotos were taken along the banks of the Schuylkill River in the AM. Today is day 28 of Occupy Philadelphia. There is a nationwide general strike called for today in solidarity with OccupyOakland, and the brutal police attack there that sent 24 year old Scott Olsen a U.S. veteran, to the hospital with a fractured skull. In Philadelphia there will be a rally at noon at the occupation site (Dilworth Plaza) followed by a march to the office of Republican Senator Toomey, who stands for the 1 percent.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fall On Boathouse Row

Early November is about the peak for autumn colors in Philadelphia. On our morning walks Bradley and I pass by Philadelphia's historic Schuylkill Navy boathouses. They are extra pretty surounded by the colors of Fall.