Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Saturday, Jan. 24 All-American Peace Inaugural Ball

Wow! I feel blessed to have been able to attend the All-American Peace Inaugural Ball yesterday evening, at the nearby Seymour Town Hall. This event had been planned and organized, in large part, by Mark Ruddy and Mark Helpsmeet. Many kudos to each of them for the hard work and many hours they put into making last night's event an inspiriing reality. I can today testify that their hard work PAID OFF. I feel happy that Voices For Peace Institute had the opportunity to be one of the sponsors of this inspiring event. Women in Black, Iraq Moratorium, the Friends Meeting, and other groups had information tables, plus, Mark Ruddy made available much helpful information from the Friends National Committee on Legislation (

Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign ( was the keynote speaker. He talked about how grass-roots movements that change the way governments behave (state or national) are started and continued by individuals like you and me simply taking the time to (and in some cases being brave enough to) TALK to family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. about what we have learned to be true about political problems facing us and the possible solutions to those problems. He told an inspiring story of how Wisconsinites way back in the mid-1850s got the ball rolling that led to many positive changes in our state...and they did it by talking WITH each other and TO politicians.

Then, too, the Peace Ball last night was honored to have Bruce O'Brien lead people in a Group Sing of Peace and Justice songs, and the Ball also was graced with the music of the peerless Sue Orfield Band providing (incredible music to dance by)!

Thank you again, Mark Ruddy and Mark Helpsmeet, once again, for having the vision and tenacity to make last night's event a reality! May we now all roll up our sleeves and look for ways to talk with each other and talk TO our government representatives about the changes we want to see in America!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jan. 22, 2009 - President Obama issues order to close Gitmo

Finally! THANK YOU President Obama! The order involved not only closing Gitmo down but all overseas CIA secret prisons. In the AP story, the following excerpt appeared, at the beginning of the piece:

"WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama began overhauling U.S. treatment of terror suspects Thursday, signing orders to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, shut down secret overseas CIA prisons, review military war crimes trials and ban the harshest interrogation methods.

With his action, Obama started changing how the United States prosecutes and questions al-Qaida, Taliban or other foreign fighters who pose a threat to Americans — and overhauling America's image abroad, battered by accusations of the use of torture and the indefinite detention of suspects at the Guantanamo prison in Cuba.

"The message that we are sending the world is that the United States intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism and we are going to do so vigilantly and we are going to do so effectively and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals," the president said."

I read the full story at: (accessed today - 1/22/09).