Chocolate and wine

The annual fundraiser for the Disupute Resolution Center called "A toast to chocolate" was held yesterday at St. Martin's University. This is fundraising at its best: bring in a lot of people on a lazy Sunday afternoon, get them high on sugar, endorphins, and alcohol, and then ask them for money. Boy, what a set up! Who could resist?

The program was also very well done. Each speaker told heartfelt stories about the power and importance of alternative disupute resolution. As a mediator, it was not a tough sell for me. I've seen the process work significant change in the lives of people who are locked in conflict and miserable. It is peace work at the personal level, disseminating tools for improving communication one family at a time.

Now that's the idea

"Fighting Neo-Nazis: Against Foreign Fruit and Right Wingers," from SPIEGEL ONLINE:

A Leipzig performance artist has found an original way of disrupting neo-Nazi marches and demonstrations. When the skinheads come to town, the German Apple Front is there to meet them -- complete with its very own Führer of fruit.

It's shortly past midday on May 1 in Leipzig and 20 youths in black suits sit in an apartment south of Leipzig's city center, trading sunglasses and red-and-white armbands. The "Propaganda Minister" puts on a few records while the "Führer" rushes down to the gas station to buy batteries for his megaphone.

At first glance, the kids in their militaristic garb look like a group of right-wing radicals. But they're playing American rock music, and the symbol on their armbands is an apple, not a swastika. The "German Apple Front" is getting ready to perform -- because today, neo-Nazi Christian Worch of Hamburg is in town.

Bring the kids!

The Gleaners Coalition invites you to join us as we enter our second season of sharing the harvest with hungry people in our community. Plant, paint & play in our garden. No one too old or yount to help us feed the hungry.

Help Plant Lettuce at Kirsop Farm

This is how the gleaners work parties first got started last year, planting lettuce at Kirsop Farm.

We need 6 volunteers to work from 9am till noon planting lettuce. At noon we'll share a farm fresh meal prepared by the farm...

We will be doing this about every two weeks all spring and summer long! Call Barry to come along!


Joining Hands: Juntos Somos Un Volcan

Joining Hands: Juntos Somos Un Volcan An evening of revolutionary music & stories from Nicaragua presented by the Thurston-Santo Tomas Sister County Association

Join us for this gala event as three community organizers from Santo Tomas, Chontales, Nicaragua share music and stories of their lives.

Rosa Aura Guerrero, lead singer for the Nicaraguan band Nuevo Amanecer & coordinator of the Santo Tomas Children’s Free Lunch Program. Facunda Zeledon, teacher at Lincoln Elementary’s sister school, Ruben Dario. Doctora Maria Salvadora, People’s Clinic in Santo Tomas.

Lincoln Elementary students will perform Baile Folklorico (traditional Nicaraguan dances) and join in several songs.

The three women, the eighth delegation from Santo Tomas, will be visiting Olympia from April 19 – May 11 as we work together to strengthen our 17 year sister city relationship. TSTSCA is one of hundreds of sister city organizations which formed in direct response to undeclared US wars in Central America in the 1970’s & 80’s. These cross-border exchanges bring great benefit to both sides, as communities share resources, organizing tactics, hope and humanity, building bridges, not fences.

Doors open at 6 pm, Show starts at 6:30 Refreshments will be served following the performance.

$6 children under 12
$10 OFS, student & low-income
$12 - $30 (sliding scale) General

All funds go to projects in Santo Tomas!

Good question

From The Seattle Times:

Who is a terrorist?

After the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people, it was clean-cut Timothy McVeigh, a brooding loner — infused with hatred of the government — who was convicted and put to death for that crime.

After 9/11, which claimed the lives of more than 2,900 people, it was the bearded visage of Osama bin Laden.

This year, the Bush administration has touted the arrests of terrorists of a different kind — homegrown militants who have embarked on arson attacks to protest treatment of animals and the environment.

During the past three years alone, FBI counterterrorism agents have conducted at least 190 investigations into property crimes claimed by the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). None of the crimes injured or killed people.

The salmon are running!

By special request:

From the comments:

Isn't it odd that a guy in a fish suit would raise the hackles of so many people? I guess in Olympia the guy in a salmon suit is the equivalent of roller skating transvestite nuns for the religious right in san francisco. Stand proud fishman, you are what is right about olympia. May your spawn be prolific, your fry hardy, and may you continue to return to our welcoming streams.

Whatever happened to ...

... Mike Gravel? He was a United States Senator representing Alaska from 1969-1981. He was famous for reading the text of the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record in 1971, and also for filibustering against renewing the Vietnam War draft.

Sen. Gravel visited Evergroove during the 1972 campaign and stumped for McGovern. I attended his speech, and what I recall the most was that he would make a reference to himself as a "Superdove" about every other minute. I even had the opportunity to chat with him a little bit about Alaska politics since I had family connections in the Alaska Democratic Party, but it was the punch he gave to his self-description that sticks.

He had a thin political base in Alaska. In being elected to the Senate he defeated Ernest Gruening in the primary, it was a surprise upset, and many Democrats up there never quite forgave Gravel for it. To many far Left and antiwar Democrats, Sen. Gruening was admired for having the wisdom to be one of only two senators to vote against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. And although Gravel's political views matched the far Left checklist, the perception was that Sen. Gravel was mostly concerned with the career of Sen. Gravel.

The ego-driven agenda isn't really all that unusual in the life of a senator, but in his case he eschewed the unwritten rule that if you are not modest, you should at least have the decency to pretend to be. For example, he nominated himself to be McGovern's running mate at the 1972 convention. In some ways, I sort of admire this unvarnished grandstanding.

Well, it looks like we'll get a chance to see more of it. Mike Gravel, who turns 76 on May 13, announced last month that he is running in the Democratic Party primaries for President. Yes, of the United States. He just came out of nowhere and I welcome his entrance into the race. The more, the merrier. A senior citizen ex-Senator with nothing to lose will hopefully rock the boat enough to force the mainstream guys to stop talking like moderate Republicans. It would be nice to have two parties again.

In a bit of ironic justice, Gravel was defeated in the 1980 primary election by Clark Gruening, grandson of Ernest.

Gravel's P2008 website:

City wants to cut its share for Lakefair

The Olympian:

With the cost of running the city climbing faster than revenue, budget cuts are becoming an annual event and officials say they cannot afford to spend as much on Lakefair.

In 2003, the festival lost its biggest sponsor when Miller brewery closed.

Read that last sentence and then think about the role of government. Living-wage jobs in Olympia? LOTT forced out about 400 of them, along with the money Miller was extremely generous with regarding community events.

Olympia Social Forum

Bringing Global Issues Home

Saturday May 20th 9:30 am - 5:30 pm

The Olympia Center 222 N Columbia Street Olympia

The Olympia Social Forum is being organized by students in the Global Citizenship program at The Evergreen State College to help foster discussions about the future of the South Sound region and its relation to the rest of the United States and the world.

Everyone with an interest in the local region -- and beyond -- is welcome! Please join us for presentations and community discussion.

The program will include informative panels and workshops covering a range of topics. Although the final program may change slightly, we are currently planning sessions related to Fair Trade, Education and Global Issues, Activism and Citizen Skills, Health and Welfare, Sustainability, War and Peace and several others. Attendees also will have the opportunity to learn more about local organizations.

Keynote presentation by community leaders:

Explorations in Community Participation and Leadership: News and Views from Two Continents

For more information see Or send email to

The Olympia Social Forum is modeled on the World Social Forum that has been convened annually since 2001. A social forum provides a space where people who are concerned about the future of their communities can share concerns, ideas, information, and strategies for making another world possible.

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