Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Grill Me Online This Wednesday, March 1st

Ask Amnesty: SHARE POWER: Using Grassroots Shareholder Activism to Hold Corporations Accountable for Human Rights

All companies have a responsibility to respect human rights in their operations, but all too often they are contributing to human rights abuses – either directly or indirectly. You can hold corporations accountable - morally and legally - for violations within and connected to their operations. SHARE POWER is a new Amnesty campaign based on the idea that no matter who you are, where you work, where you study, or where you live, you can find your connection to multinational corporations, and use that connection to influence them to change.

Join Simon Billenness and Larry Dohrs, two longtime Amnesty volunteers and experts in shareholder activism, on Wednesday, March 1st to discuss SHARE POWER and learn how you can get involved in this campaign.

» Submit a question in advance


Monday, February 27, 2006

Ash Wednesday Etiquette

When I moved to the United States in 1985, I spent my first few years in Albany, New York. Like many American cities, Albany is heavily Catholic.

1986 was my first experience of Ash Wednesday in a predominantly Catholic town. At the time, I was working as a teller at the headquarters of Albany Savings Bank. I remember serving a woman with a conspicuous dark grey stain on her forehead. I distinctly recall thinking that it was probably a stain that she accidently smudged on her face after reading a loose-inked newspaper.

To this day I am so glad that I did not remark on the stain.

With this in mind, I thought it important to try my hand at a little parody entitled:

Ash Wednesday Etiquette ... in Massachusetts

Here's the appropriate etiquette for this Wednesday when you meet total strangers in Southie or the North End of Boston with ash on their forehead.

Adopt a pleasant Jewish grandmotherly kind of voice. You know, like the character played by Mike Myers on "Coffee Tawk" on Saturday Night Live.

Smile at person with smudged forehead. Lick your thumb. Say in pleasant Jewish grandmotherly kind of voice: "Wait. There's some schmutz on your lovely face. Let me wipe that off you."

Use your spit-wetted thumb to try to erase the ash from stranger's forehead.

As you wipe your saliva on the person's forehead, say this: "You know you shouldn't be reading those messy free newspapers. That Metro newsprint gets all over your hands. Why don't you read a nice glossy magazine instead like Cosmo, The Advocate, or Vanity Fair? Or even a free paper, such as Bay Windows, that won't end up messing your clothes and face."

If the stranger has not run away, called the police, or assaulted you before you finish, finish by saying: "There! That's better! You have such a lovely face. You should meet my son/daughter/intersexed offspring (use whichever is appropriate). He/she is an accountant/doctor/dentist/fetish model/same-sex marriage activist."

Repeat with every forehead-smudged stranger as needed or until you are exorcised or have your arm broken.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Simon and Ann kiss

Simon and Ann kiss
Originally uploaded by kimberkit.
More from Kim Wand...

Hard At Work

My friend, Kim Wand, visited us over the weekend and took this great photo.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Tell me what you think of me...


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Win Some, Lose Some

Yesterday, I took a vacation day and helped Claire Naughton get out the vote in her race to become a Massachusetts state representative.

I learned about the race from my good friend, Dan Cohen, who served as Claire's campaign advisor and strategist. When Dan tells me that a local candidate has a good chance to win, I give money and I often fundraise too.

In this race, I gave the maximum: $500. Then I used Evite to send a call for volunteers and money to over a thousand of my friends, colleagues, contacts and even people I met one time at a party. I estimate I raised a couple of thousand dollars.

Despite winning narrowly in Norton and Mansfield, Claire Naughton came up short in Foxboro. Overall, she narrowly lost the election to the Republican by 55% to 45%.

She was by far the best candidate and she fought an excellent uphill race in conservative Republican territory. I have no regrets and I have told her that I will continue to support her if she runs in the general elections for the State House in November. She has a future as a progressive Democratic leader in Massachusetts.

I'm certain that the time and money that I and others spent on this campaign was not wasted. Although it wasn't enough to win this race, we have helped to further build the progressive Democratic movement in Massachusetts. We will win the next race wherever that is. Maybe it will be the Deval Patrick campaign for Governor.

But I have to say that the Massachusetts Democratic Party completely blew it with the Claire Naughton race. With additional money and volunteers from the state party, Claire would have taken this previously Republican seat. But the state Democratic party did virtually nothing.

Shame on them.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Online Quizzes: More Fun Than the Superbowl

Your results:
You are Will Riker
Will Riker
James T. Kirk (Captain)
Deanna Troi
Mr. Scott
Jean-Luc Picard
An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
Geordi LaForge
Leonard McCoy (Bones)
Mr. Sulu
Beverly Crusher
At times you are self-centered
but you have many friends.
You love many women, but the right
woman could get you to settle down.
Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Quiz

Pretty Good For a Brit, eh?

You Passed the US Citizenship Test

Congratulations - you got 10 out of 10 correct!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Where Are The Young Men...A Weight on Their Shoulders?

Sully in Under the Golden Dome asks where are the young Democrats of Massachusetts? He notes that the Massachusetts Democratic Party can't even seem to find them.

I know where I find them.

They are to be found in the Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts along with other web-savvy veterans of the Dean and Reich campaigns.

They are to be found in the State House (state rep. Carl Sciortino) and the Somerville City Council (Alderwoman Rebekah Gewirtz).

And they are to be found in groups like Drinking Liberally. I recently received an invitation to drink and mock George Bush's State of the Union speech through an evite with over 500 invitees.

The Massachusetts Democratic State Party isn't reaching these young Democrats. But MassEquality, Neighbor 2 Neighbor Massachusetts, and State House campaigns like those of Carl Sciortino, Rebekah Gewirtz, Tim Schofield, and Pat Jehlen sure knew how to mobilize them.

I will be in Mansfield and Foxboro on Tuesday, February 7, for a special election to fill a vacant state representative seat. Come down and you will see an army of mostly young Democratic activists help Claire Naughton take a formerly Republican state rep. seat.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Blast From The Past

I was just ego-surfing and I found my old friend, Pete Birks, explaining on his Livejournal - Everything Has A Limit - why he utterly failed to find me at a restaurant in London over Christmas.

Loping around his LJ reminded me of when I used to read his zine, Greatest Hits. It's too full of poker stories for my taste. However Pete is the still the master of the self-deprecating vignette. This piece below for instance had me in fits.

"I'm developing my theory that a blog is (at least for me, and probably for quite a few others), a kind of "imaginary friend" for grown-ups. Men, in particular, can't emote with other men, mainly because other men get very uncomfortable when it happens. Women can emote with other women and, sometimes, men can emote with other women, although if the man is heterosexual there are always complex undertones that never quite go away. But a blog, well, you can emote to your blog just like you can do it to your psychiatrist. On the minus side, the whole world gets to know about it. On the plus side, it's a lot cheaper."
My Other Blog is a Porsche

At my other blog I'm having a little fun too.

The other blog is my Amnesty board member blog. I originally created it last year for my election campaign for the Amnesty International USA Board of Directors. However I only bothered to write two postings. Somehow I still managed to come second out of fourteen candidates.

I've just rejiggered the blog to become my new soapbox on issues pertaining to Amnesty in particular and the human rights movement in general. Come on over sometime and see how mean I can be to poor Google.