Ithaca Blog

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Obama's Vietnam Starts Now

This week, tens of thousands of Americans soldiers are leaving for Afghanistan to fulfill the Obama's administration's planned surge there.

It is wrong, strictly, to speak of a plan. Events of the last week have shown that at the highest levels of the government and military, there is no plan whatsoever.

It seems hackneyed at this point, or at least painfully obvious, to draw comparison to Vietnam. Yet the case is exactly the same.

The only thing different is the volunteer army. This is the sole lesson the government learned from Vietnam. Make sure only poor people die. That will quell dissent.

Last week, addressing the nation about the oil leak, President Obama asked Americans for prayers. He hasn't asked for any for the war. Here his hope is for silence.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Little Kids Don't Wear Watches

Little kids don't wear watches and they don't use calendars, because they are not interested in the passage of time. They haven't experienced enough time yet to notice or care.

We overheard a conversation today between a 7-year old and one of those adults who don't know how to talk to kids very well. This type of adult struggles to think of interesting topics for kids - or, worse, doesn't, and either talks to the kid as an imbecile, or as another form, like a larva, rather than as a real person with proclivities.

These adults will fall back on the passage of time as a topic.

"What grade are you in at school?," we heard this well-meaning adult ask a kid out in public today.

"Second grade."

"Uh-huh," the adult says. A long pause. "Well. Do you know what's really scary? I can remember when I was in second grade."

Another pause, as the kid waits - patiently, but to no avail. Finally, he asks: "What happened?"

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

First Annual Peter DeMott Trot, Sunday 20 June

The inaugural 5K "trot" to honor the memory of peace activist Peter DeMott will be held on Fathers Day, Sunday 20 June, at the Cornell Plantations. We excerpt a statement about the event from the Ithaca Catholic Worker group:

When Ithaca peace activist Peter DeMott died suddenly on February 19, 2009, the community and the nation lost one of our greatest advocates for peace and justice. Peter died while working in a tree. He left behind his wife, Ellen Grady, and their four daughters, Marie, Kate, Nora, and Saoirse.

Peter did not run competitively, but was an avid distance runner. To honor Peter's memory, his friends and family from Ithaca and beyond will gather on Father's Day, June 20, on the Cornell campus for the first annual "Peter DeMott Peace Trot," a non-competitive 5K race that will serve as a fundraiser for the Ithaca Catholic Worker group.

The event begins at 1 p.m. in the '64 Grove of the Cornell Plantations. Registration begins at 11 a.m. Those wishing to register in advance can go to

T-shirts to honor Peter's memory will be available to all entrants. The winners in the men's and women's divisions will receive a carpenter's hammer to disarm any weapon of war or for construction purposes.

For more information, call 607/277-6932 or email

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Energy Spills, From La. To Pa.

First Louisiana, now Pennsylvania.

In Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania state government ordered a halt to all natural gas drilling in the state by a Houston-based company whose "out-of-control well" spewed explosive gas and polluted water in plumes 75 feet high.

The company, EOG Resources, is hydraulically fracturing about 70 wells in Pennsylvania.

EOG did not notify county officials until three hours after the blast. A 911 dispatcher reported being told by the company of "a small problem and it was being handled."

The well remained uncapped for 16 hours.

State officials ordered electric service cut in the area to prevent the gas from catching fire.

About 35,000 gallons of polluted water have been collected. Monitors in a nearby spring show signs of the toxic solution.

The day before the blast, EOG reportedly performed a test of the well's safety mechanism, which it called successful.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog