Bloggers for a Progressive Athens

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Update - Hiatus to End Soon?

This blog had originally been started as a web project for the post election activist group Athens Progressive League. The group disolved shortly after the inauguration, and has yet to reconsolidate itself. A yahoogroup email list of this group is still active - although it generally only reflect mass emailings of local actions and events and otherwise has become an echo chamber for one person's (a former APL group member) animal rights activism. The group has not had a meeting or hosted an event/action since its cursory role in the J20 counter-inaugural action. Thus the group which this blog was originally created for is defunct.

New activist campaigns have evolved in Athens since then - and I do expect that APL could come back together in time for the 2006 campaign season - therefore new posts may resume soon.

Daniel Sparks

Monday, January 31, 2005

Scary-Dumb Stuff

Apology 1: Sorry for not signing the last blog post.

Apology 2: This will be the last time I use a Scary...Stuff title for a while. I am due to be flogged under orders from the originality deity later today for my insolence.

Some kids don't get it (survey included).

The results are rather interesting and show a bit of hypocrisy.

For example - while the adults are far more supportive of airing unpopular views and supporting freedom of the press than the kids - the kids are far more protective of offensive musical lyrics and student newspapers. All results show hypocrisy in all age/professional groups. A true liberal or progressive stance on first amendment issues and freedom of the press/media would support an "I agree" response to all questions, even if we found the material to be personally offensive. As for the 'Rathergate' scandal - the media should technically have the right to publish innacurate information, but should not be immune from the repercusions of doing so (lawsuits, loss of market share, boycotts, etc).

Other than that (dumb question time) - I do have to wonder how many of the high school students thought that "express unpopular opinions" meant that the science nerd or girl with braces would have their own column in the school newspaper? If so, 83% is far more progressive then with what I'd credit my old high school with.

At any rate, for those discouraged with the survey, check out the latest John Sugg column in Creative Loafing. The latest upsurge in pre-college youth activism is a sign of hope and hopefully a sign of things to come (check out www.michaelmoore.com for more info on this new trend). I was at a rally in Atlanta fairly recently (Dec. 4 antiwar rally) of about 200 folks and would have to say about 35-40% were under the age of 30 with about 1/3 to 1/2 of that number being 18 or younger. Also, not only are such young activists increasing in number - they are also very outspoken as well and will hopefully see many of them go on to be solid organizers in the years ahead.

As for the depressing results of the poll - I don't think this will last. Many musicians are banding together to fight the neoconservative agenda, including P. Diddy's 'vote or die' and Eminem's 'mosh' (which features an animation of activists occupying the U.S. Capital Buidling). Whether or not this is successful, I don't know, but current events do leave us with a bit of hope that the tide may be turning.

Daniel Sparks

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Scary-Scary Stuff

Brownshirts.

Reading about this makes me seriously ill and paranoid. I sincerely hope that this does not become some sort of future trend or aspect of the politicized-Christian/neoconservative worldview and methodology. If it does, we're going to be hard pressed to maintain our freedoms and prosperity using only Gandhi's ideas.

Scary-Silly Stuff

The following isn't very political, but more of a personal account of the J29 2005 ice storm.

The icy precipitation began falling on Friday night around 6pm, but was not enough to interrupt my plans of stumbling from bar to bar around downtown and then arriving too late to a show at Tight Pockets. Other than my friend having to scrape a little sleet off of his windshield, no problem, and the road were good. I went to sleep around 1 in the morning and by then more freezing rain and sleet had begun to fall.

I awoke around noon to find an inch of slushy snow and sleet on the ground and rain and sleet falling, probably freezing at the areas where the ground was below freezing. A solid glaze had stuck to the trees and grass and the main roads were okay but side roads were iced up.

At 330pm I walked to the geography building and managed to slip once. Icy cover was a mix of black ice, icy rubble, and slush - no trees or power outages yet. What was normally a ten minute walk took about 15-20 minutes. I left the geography building for downtown at 615pm to check if a show was still going on at Tasty World and found the slush to be freezing over. 30 minute walk. Very slippery. Show was still going on, but it wouldn't start until later and no one was there.

I spent the next few hours around downtown, drinking iced coffee ('cause I'm a masochist) and managed to bum a ride home which required buckets of hot water to melt some ice to get traction for the tires, but was much better than trying to walk home.

I got home to find a series of leaks in my windowsill, wall, and adjacent ceiling. I unplugged all the electronics and got a bunch of buckets, jabbed a hole in the ceiling to let the water drain and then got a dehumidifier to dry out the carpet. At least the ceiling didn't collapse, but is rather warped, put plastic all over my books and computer stuff. Walked outside to find that the transformers were starting to pop and branches were starting to break. Called a friend on my cell and then went back inside.

Power went out for two hours starting at 1015 and stayed out until 1230am. Had to empty buckets twice. Spent part of the power outage time outside watching for trees to fall and hearing some transformers pop. Also overheard some presumably drunk nearby residents were outside making noise. A lot of folks were outside and rather loud and I was wondering if outside + drunk + power outage would yield either fireworks, fires, or rioting. The first 2 out of 3 did happen.

At 130am, someone did light off some fireworks and I listened to find out if one would hit a tree, shake the icy branches and result in a big toppled mess. Didn't happen. At 430am however, a 6" thick branch came down off a tree on the other side of Bloomfield and took the powerlines with it. The resulting crash woke me up and I got to the window in time to see the live wires pop and sizzle on the ground and burn anything it touched. It burned and sizzled for about an hour (after I dialed the emergency number) and went out before anyone blocked the road off. On a side note, downed powerlines do sound like the way they do in the movies - just a lot louder and brighter.

As of writing I have driven around town and found quite a bit of tree damage, almost as much as with the remnants of Ivan back in September. Power still out at the Lumpkin and Clark intersection, streetlights not working. The window leak has stopped and the ceiling leaks have dissipated quite a bit, but are still dripping.

Last night I did see some really funny things UGA students were trying to do on the ice. There was the usual assortment of idiots trying to drive or walk or jog and people trying to skate on the heels of their shoes (a good way to sprain something as I have personal experience). The best was a group of four folks trying to kayak across the ice by running about 40 feet across the ice (slipping and losing hold of the kayak the whole way) only to bellyflop on the kayak and maybe make it about 8 feet before stopping. Apparently the concept of a hill is new to these folks. I didn't see any darwin award material though, other then me losing my footing on an incline.

I have a piece of ice that fell from a tree in my freezer, it's about 3/8" inches thick. Other areas I noticed about 1/4 - 3/4 ice accumulations. Had this storm dropped over an inch of ice, I'd definitely be bailing water out of my bedroom instead of writing.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

NO to Gonzalez

Torture is not a progressive value and we would to well to try and keep him from being the next Attorney General of the U.S.

Take action now:

CALL: Capitol Switchboard, (202) 224-3121.
Ask for your Senator's office.


Oh, and watch your step in the ice out there, I've already slipped once today.

Daniel S.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Local J20 Recap with Commentary

There were a lot of new faces at the rally and march today and we had several good banners. On the whole I'd say we had a total of about 60-75 people in the streets which is approximate to one of the Athens for Kerry rallies this past fall.

Time for a recap. We had a great day and we are in a position to do much more and better next time.

This is a copy and paste from the antiwar.com blog. I don't agree with this guy's whole analysis, but it's a good example of how too much of our chanting and speaking at rallies end up falling flat or making us look foolish.

Comic Relief
If you're not watching C-Span2 right now, please start. It's the International ANSWER counter-inaugural demonstration, and it's a laff riot. Karl Rove paid these imbeciles to show up, right? And what is it with leftists and chants?

"No blood for oil/US off Iraqi soil!"

"No justice, no peace/US out of Middle East!"

"Stop the war, recall the troops/To liberate the chicken coops!"

OK, I made up the last one, but why do lefties believe in the self-evident consanguinity of the antiwar, gay and lesbian, and animal rights movements? Michael Berg, God bless him, just blamed K-Mart for the war on Iraq. Sheesh.

Bush couldn't ask for better enemies.

Posted by: Matthew Barganier on Jan 20, 05 | 10:41 am | Comments? | link

While the movements aren't cosanguine, I will say that there is a great deal of overlap we do a good job addressing and even though the copy and paste is very critical (and asinine) - I do support these movements regardless. My commentary is about methodology.

A few things on my mind:

Good:
1) The motorcade - you all rocked it!
2) The theatre - everyone was involved and it went flawlessly.
3) Involvement of the people in the crowd - empowerment rocks.

For next time:
1) Keep issues separate unless they are connected and that connection can be made obvious to Joe Sixpack (this is more nebulous to our community as a whole).
2) Evolve rallies/marches to better communicate to Joe Sixpack.
3) Change our chants - I noticed that this was somewhat problematic today and the only chant that would stick were the "more war - what for!" and the "whose streets our streets". We need to find out what exactly our chants communicate before we start screaming them and yell a chant that gets across a message and not just makes noise (or scares people away).
4) Avoid anti-chants (fuck Bush) and use create pro-chants (Money for education, not for war).
5) Go out with a bang - things just sort of fell apart at the end. We should have motorcaded back to the Arch. It was well after rush hour and we probably could have jogged in the streets or marched on the sidewalk same pace as the motorcade.
6) Long term - try to build more of a activist culture if you will. Go for more visibility and more face to face communication.

Ugly:
1) I am a total shit for brains for forgetting a legal pad and pen. Too many awesome folks (the high school kids were totally stoked when I gave them t-shirts) were out rockin' with us today and I didn't invite them into our community.

Hope:
1) Soon the Athens Progressive League will be putting on a persuasive speaking seminar. I will send out more information on this oportunity monday or tuesday.

Anyway this is my opinion, so feel free to email and add comments.

Love and peace,
Dan

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Rise Up!

@ the Arch, Thursday January 20, 4pm.

And yes, we will be inaugurating a Bush.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Protest Information Update

There will be anti-inaugural activities happening in Athens. I will have more details after the AGJC meeting tonight.

As for MLK: here is some information about a service oportunity:

b) MLK Day of Service In Blue

(http://www.freeblue.us/)
MLK day in athens (p.s. there is also an anti-war march in ATL)

For the fourth year in a row, the Athens-Clarke County community in
conjunction with the University of Georgia will host a Day of Service
on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday - January 17, 2005 from 8:30
a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Springfield Baptist Church on Fourth Street
and the Lyndon House Arts Center on Hoyt Street in Athens.

The 2005 Day of Service community projects include clearing paths
through out Gospel Pilgrim Cemetery, cleaning up overgrown vegetation
and planting trees at North Oconee River Park along the MLK Parkway,
and reclaiming the Spalding Cemetery. Clean-up of the river, removal
of trash, kudzu removal, path building, and vegetation planting are
just some of the activities slated for the Day of Service community
projects. Volunteer check-in and a light breakfast will be held at
the Springfield Baptist Church (corner of 4th and Bray Streets) at
8:30 a.m. and the kick-off ceremony will follow at 9:00 a.m. After the
service project is concluded, lunch for volunteers will be served at
the Lyndon House Arts Center after noon with a variety of activities
to follow. It is important for volunteers to wear heavy work boots
and to bring a pair of work gloves.

To register as a Day of Service volunteer or for more information
contact Joslyn DiRamio, Coordinator, Volunteer UGA at (706) 542-6396
or Sam Carvalho at 613-3155 extension 1209 or visit www.uga.edu/mlk
Monica Knight
Director of Student Achievement and Educational Equity
Clarke County School District
240 Mitchell Bridge Road
Athens, GA 30606
Office: (706) 546-7721 Ext. 18326
Cell: (706) 247-4205


I will probably put out a call to have the Athens MLK peace vigil on Tuesday from 5-6 (same as the normal time and we would already have a permit).

See you at the Arch.

Daniel Sparks