A List of Environmental and Telecommunications Events and Issues
December 5 to December 12, 1997
Published, Edited and Written by George Mokray for
218 Franklin St #3
Cambridge, MA 02139
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Saturday, December 6
Visiting student leaders from Kosovo strategizing about their
situation in the former Yugoslavia and eager to hear about student
Cambridge Friends Meeting House, 5 Longfellow Park
Sunday, December 7
contact Aram at 983-1705 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Doyle's, 3484 Washington St, Jamaica Plain
Why Preparations for Nuclear War Remain the Cornerstone of U.S.
Joseph Gerson, American Friends Service Committee, editor of
_With Hiroshima Eyes: Atomic War, Nuclear Extortion and Moral
and _The Sun Never Sets: Confronting the Network of U. S. Foreign
Community Church of Boston, 565 Boylston St, Copley Sq, Boston
Mailing Party for TecsChange
contact Aram at 983-1705 or email@example.com
Grassroots International, 179 Boylston St #8, Jamaica Plain
Monday, December 8
Religion and Technology: A New Phase
Anne Foerst and Harvey Cox, Harvard
Harvard, Rockefeller Small Dining Room
The Secular Mind
Harvard, Rockefeller II
Radiation Protection of Personnel
Roger Clarke, National Radiological Protection Board of the UK
MIT Building NW12, Room 222
Quantum Teleportation and "The Willies": Cryptology, Ethics, and
Michael Fortun and Herbert Benstein, Hampshire College
MIT Building E51, Room 095
Batholith Tectonics: A View Based on Magmatic Fabrics and
Keith Benn, Univ of Ottawa
contact 353-2532 or firstname.lastname@example.org
BU, Room B36, 675 Commonwealth Ave, Boston
The Russian Defense Industry and the Transition to the Market
Julian Cooper, Univ of Birmingham, UK
Harvard, 215 Coolidge Hall, Bergson/Ulam Room
The International Community and the Refugee Crisis in the Great
Lakes Region of Africa
Joel Boutroue, UNHCR
contact 253-3121 or email@example.com
MIT Building E38, Room 714
Religious Persecution, Religious Freedom, and Human Rights
Harvard, Barker Center, Room 110
The Politics of Race
Abigail and Steven Thernstrom, authors of _America in Black and
Harvard, Kennedy School, ARCO Forum
Tuesday, December 9
8:30 am - 3 pm
Environmental Technology Verification Conference, EPA Region 1
This conference will introduce the US EPA's Environmental
Technology Verification (ETV) Program in New England. Of interest
if you either have an environmental technology you want to have
verified, if you are a buyer of technology and you want to learn more
about the new technologies that have already been verified.
Hanscom AFB, Bedford, MA
How Strong is a Cell? The Mechanics of the Cytoskeleton
Paul Janmey, Harvard Medical School
Harvard School of Public Health, Building 1, Room 1301, Boston
Unified Theory of Superconductivity and Antiferromagnetism Based
on an SO(5) Symmetry
Eugene Demier, Stanford
Harvard, Lyman 330
A Discussion of the Cellular and Developmental Bases for Animal
John Gerhart, UC Berkeley; Marc Kirscher, Harvard Medical School
Harvard, Fairchild Biochemistry Building, Lecture Hall
25 Years with "Ms"
Marcia Gillespie, editor-in-chief
Harvard, Taubman Building, Room 275
Editorial Comment: See this week's Begging Bowl for more information on a recent "Ms" story.
Our Ozone Layer: Its Science and its Protection (video)
Steve Andersen, EPA; Daniel Albritton, NOAA; Ashley Woodcock,
contact 496-7466 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Harvard, Kennedy School, Belfer Center for Science and
International Affairs Library, 79 JFK St
Intervention and Proliferation: Defining the Moral Issues
J Bryan Hehir, Harvard Divinity School
Harvard, Coolidge Hall, Room 2
The Prospects of Economic Growth in Central Asia
Jeffrey Sachs, Harvard
Harvard, Coolidge Hall, Room 3
Mediating Culture: Indigenous Media in an Age of Electronic
Faye Ginsburg, NYU
Harvard, Barker Center, Room 133
Common Purpose: Strengthening Families and Neighborhoods to
Lisbeth Schorr, author
Harvard, Longfellow Hall, Askwith Lecture Hall
Wednesday, December 10
The Unofficial Economy in Transition
Simon Johnson, MIT
Harvard, Coolidge Hall, Room 4
Zero to $300 Million in Three Years: Philosophies for Fast-Track
Jon Hirshtick, Solidworks, Inc
MIT Building 1, Room 390
The Green Tiger: Balancing Ecology and Economic Growth in the
Barbara Goldoftas, Bunting Fellow
Harvard, Bunting Institute
Editorial Comment: If I weren't teaching intro to Internet at Virtually Wired (now at 19 Temple Place, Boston and http://www.vw.org) at this time, I would definitely be at this lecture. If you attend, please take notes and share them.
Labor as an Agent of Change in Democratic Capitalism: Subnational
Innovations in Germany and the US
Kirsten Wever, Rutgers Univ
Harvard, Center for European Studies, Cabot Room
Toward Machines That Can Deny Their Maker
Rosalind Picard, MIT
MIT Building 34, Room 101
Linking Compassion and Human Rights, A Program of the National
Coordinating committee of the 50th Anniversary of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights 1998 Celebration
Virginia Mary Swain and Tom Hansen, facilitators
contact 225-0403 for information and to register
2 Hubbard Park, corner of Sparks and Hubbard Sts
registration fee: $10
Thursday, December 11
8:30 am - 10:30am
How P2 and Environmental Management Systems Affect Insurance
What Is Environmental Insurance & Liability?
Wayne Whitford, Michael Long, and Willis Corroon, Sedgwick
How Have Others Reduced Insurance Costs?
Gabriel Paci, Boston Retail Products; David Mannion, Eastern
contact NBEN at (978) 557-5475, email email@example.com, or
Avery Dennison, 1 Clarks Hill (Bishop St), Framingham
Seating is limited. Please respond by Dec. 8, 1997
NBEN Members: $20 Non-members: $40
Human Health and Global Environmental Health: Policy Implications
Health Costs of Global Environmental Change and Policy; The UN and
Prospects for International Agreement
Paul R. Epstein, Harvard Medical School and Joanne Fox-Przeworski,
UN Environment Programme
contact 432-0493 or http://www.med.harvard.edu/chge
Cannon Room, Building C, Harvard Medical School, Boston
Sustaining the Transition: Social Policy in Postcommunist
Branko Milanovic, World Bank; Ethan Kapstein, Univ of MI; Walter
Connor, BU; Mark Kramer, Cold War Studies Dept
Harvard, Room TBA
The Hybrid Internal Combustion Engine Concept
Carlos Herrera, MIT
MIT Building 31, Room 161
Institutional Inertia, Democratic Consolidation and the Politics of
Constitutional Renewal in Post-Communist Central Europe
Allison Stanger, Middlebury College
Harvard, Center for European Studies, Lower Level Room
Hugh Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Harvard, Kennedy School, ARCO Forum
Discussing _How the Mind Works_
Steven Pinker and Howard Gardner
Harvard, Longfellow Hall, Askwith Lecture Hall
6 pm dinner
6:30 pm meeting
Environmental Roundtable: The agenda for December will include
reports on environmental campaigns, the Clean Elections Law,
meetings with the Massachusetts congressional delegation, and
approval of ER bylaws
contact Cindy Luppi at 423-4661if you want dinner. Dinner is $5
and will include pizza, drinks, salad, and cookies.
contact Julie at 350-8866 or John at 781-981-7413 if you want to
add a topic to the agenda. If you have written announcements or
information, we suggest you bring 15-20 copies to hand out.
Clean Water Action, 76 Summer Street, Boston
Sustainable Step New England - working The Natural Step in NE
contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Episcopal Divinity School, Sherrill Hall, Room 1A
Editorial Comment: I've been part of this group but haven't attended in the last few months while they have been taking on a new direction and name. "Sustainable Step New England" sounds as if it's a 12 step program for environmentalists - "Hello, my name is George and I'm an enviro..." Not necessarily a bad thing, IMHO.
Friday, December 12
Pitch Pine Communities on Long Island, NY Before and After Fire
Franz Seischab, Rochester Inst of Technology
contact 508-724-3302 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Harvard Forest, Rt. 32, Petersham, MA
Can Bureaucracies Reform from Within? The Case of the Indian
Naresh Chandra, former cabinet secretary and ambassador to US
Harvard, Coolidge Hall, Room 2
Editorial Comment: This may be one of the most important questions to ask and answer in our world today. Can a bureaucracy ever be creative?
Workshop: Presentation of Preliminary Research Findings for a
Comparative Study of Transational Migration
Harvard, William James Hall, Room 601
Self-Organized Carbonate Precipitation into Alkaline Media:
Application to Precambrian Geochemistry
Juan Garcia-Ruiz, Univ of Granada
MIT Building 54, Room 915
Micro Heat Engines, Gas Turbines, and Rocket Engines
Alan Epstein, MIT
Harvard, Pierce Hall, Room 209
Benefit for the women and children of Srebrenica, Bosnia
contact Sefer Ozdemir at 269-2676 or 269-5555
Polish-American Citizens Club, 82 Boston St, South Boston
$25/person, $20/person for groups of 4 or more. Send tix fee to:
New England Bosnian Relief Committee (NEBRC)
17 Boston St, South Boston MA 02127
RSVP by Dec 5
If you can't attend, please consider sending a donation.
Saturday, December 13
Merrimack Valley Greens Annual Pot-luck/latch Party
Bring a dish, a friend, an instrument, and a designated driver. Lots
of fun guaranteed!
Hibernians Pub, Lawrence (?)
Sources for Listings:
MIT _Tech Talk_ :
Harvard _Gazette_ :
Harvard Environmental Resources On-Line:
MA Executive Office of Environmental Affairs calendar:
Earth Day Network international/national listings:
Earth Day Greater Boston calendar:
act-ma the Massachusetts activists mailing list:
subscribe by emailing email@example.com, leaving the subject line blank and typing "subscribe act-ma" as the message
Peace and Justice Events Hotline at (617)787-6809
Computer Organizations of NE (CONE):
http://bcs1.ziplink.net/cone/sig - Special Interest Group list
http://bcs1.ziplink.net/cone/cal/index.html - calendar
Boston Webmasters Guild
Community Technology Center Network
Table of Contents
Moms Know Computers
Editorial Comment: My sister, Joan Mokray (firstname.lastname@example.org@kns.com) sent me this along with all the other jokes and wordplay she sends me each day to prove that she is working hard at her job. Mothers not "muthahs" rule the world. We often forget that. The following piece is applicable not only to computer science but to all forms or organization and clear thinking. I believe that environmentalism is advanced housekeeping - not particularly glamorous, necessary each and every day, and requiring a certain amount of forethought and consideration. If this species is to survive and prosper, we must awaken the mommy within!
From "Doc Don" Taylor
A friend of mine from down under sent me this, I know not where he got it from. But it seems that since one of the problems we face is getting technical people to speak in terms understandable to managers, this might provide a step in the right direction. Perhaps you can talk to a mother for further insights. If not, at least its light-hearted.
For years I badgered my mother with questions about whether Santa Claus is a real person or not. Her answer was always: "Well, you asked for the presents and they came, didn't they?"
I finally understood the full meaning of her reply when I heard the definition of a virtual device: "A software or hardware entity which responds to commands in a manner indistinguishable from the real device."
Mother was telling me that Santa Claus is a virtual person (simulated by loving parents) who responds to requests from children in a manner indistinguishable from the real saint.
Mother also taught the IF ... THEN ... ELSE structure: "If it's snowing, then put your boots on before you go to school; otherwise just wear your shoes."
Mother explained the difference between batch and transaction processing: "We'll wash the white clothes when we get enough of them to make a load, but we'll wash these socks out right now by hand because you'll need them this afternoon."
Mother taught me about linked lists. Once, for a birthday party, she laid out a treasure hunt of ten hidden clues, with each clue telling where to find the next one, and the last one leading to the treasure. She then gave us the first clue.
Mother understood about parity errors. When she counted socks after doing the laundry, she expected to find an even number and groaned when only one sock of a pair emerged from the washing machine. Later she applied the principles of redundancy engineering to this problem by buying our socks three identical pairs at a time. This greatly increased the odds of being able to come up with at least one matching pair.
Mother had all of us children write our Christmas thank you notes to Grandmother, one after another, on a single large sheet of paper which was then mailed in a single envelope with a single stamp. This was obviously an instance of blocking records in order to save money by reducing the number of physical I/O operations.
Mother used flags to help her manage the housework. Whenever she turned on the stove, she put a potholder on top of her purse to reminder herself to turn it off again before leaving the house.
Mother knew about devices which raise an interrupt signal to be serviced when they have completed any operation. She had a whistling teakettle.
Mother understood about LIFO ordering. In my lunch bag she put the dessert on the bottom, the sandwich in the middle, and the napkin on top so that things would come out in the right order at lunchtime.
There is an old story that God knew He couldn't be physically present everywhere at once, to show His love for His people, and so He created
mothers. That is the difference between centralized and distributed processing. As any kid who's ever misbehaved at a neighbor's house finds out, all the mothers in the neighborhood talk to each other. That's a local area network of distributed processors that can't be beat. Mom, you were the best computer teacher I ever had.
Table of Contents
I came back from Thanksgiving to find my refrigerator, a White-Westinghouse 14 cubic foot model, running constantly, the compressor motor whining, making no cold. I unplugged it and bowed my head in remembrance of its stalwart service these many years. An old room-mate and I bought it second-hand from a neighbor. I've never bought a refrigerator new and now have the opportunity to do so.
I began to call around to find an efficient and ozone friendly model. I called Whirlpool to see if I could buy one of their "super-efficient" models developed under DOE's "golden carrot" or super-efficient refrigerator program (SERP). Turns out that Whirlpool discontinued production of that model in August. It was never generally distributed or advertised, as far as I know; and my friend Ambrose Spencer told me long ago that he understood the Whirlpool design which won the golden carrot award, which was our first slurp at SERP, was actually a mothballed design from the archives. Whirlpool developed no new technology to win their award. Evidentally, that SERP design is now back on the shelves it came from, gathering dust.
I called my utility (Cambridge Electric Light) to find out if there was some kind of energy conservation program that would help me pay for or find a new refrigerator. Knowing CELCO, I didn't expect there would be and I was right again. No help there. CELCO is notorious as one of the worst utilities in terms of demand side management in this state. Under deregulation, I suspect it will get worse.
I called the MA Office of Energy Resources and was referred to Alex Wilson's _Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings_ (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0918249244/alistA/) for information. My library had the 1990 edition but Wordsworth bookstore had a more recent edition that recommended the GE TBH 14SA or TBH 14AT, the Hotpoint CTH 14C4, or the Kenmore 96842 as efficient refrigerators in the 14 to 15.4 cubic foot size.
I called DOE and got a request for my mailing address so that they could send me a packet of information on the subject. I even called the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute down in Virginia and left a message. Haven't heard back from them yet (yeah, right).
My friend Ambrose suggests that I investigate the Vestfrost refrigerator. from Real Goods (http://www.realgoods.com). Here's what they had on their Webpage:
"Real Goods has been searching for a "green" refrigerator/freezer for years. We're proud to offer the Vestfrost from Denmark, which offers CFC-free design, high efficiency, and reasonable price. Using only 0.88 kilowatt-hour per day (@ 75 deg.F ambient temp.) the Vestfrost SKF 375 is an energy miser. No freon or CFC products are used for the foam insulation and the refrigerant is CFC-free R-134A. [Editorial Comment: Most refrigerators these days use R-134A, an HFC. Ambrose says that there may be some biological toxicity to this compound but that it doesn't eat up the atmosphere, as far as he knows.] It also meets strict European standards for recyclability.
"Europeans take a slightly different approach to refrigerator design. The Vestfrost is slender and taller, using a minimum of floor or counter space. Standing just over 6'5" tall with a 2' x 2' footprint, the refrigerator over freezer design allows easy access to the most commonly used items without bending over. This is taller than American-made refrigerators, so it may not fit into spaces under existing cabinets.
"The Vestfrost has separate compressors and controls for the refrigerator and freezer sections. Advanced design places the condenser and cooling tubes in the walls of the unit. The back is sealed so no efficiency-robbing dust collects on the working parts. This sealed design insures that the Vestfrost will operate almost silently. Internal volume is approximately 12 cu.ft. Domestic refrigerators cheat a bit by listing exterior volume. The typical "19 to 22 cu.ft." fridge actually has about 12 to 14 cu.ft. of internal volume. Doors can be either left or right opening. Warranty is one year with the American importer. 79" x 24" x 24".
Quantity: 62-299 Vestfrost Refrigerator $995
"Shipped freight collect from Scottsdale, AZ
Please call us at 800-762-7325 if you require a freight estimate."
There is also the US made Sunfrost refrigerator for around $2000. The going price for refrigerators in the 14-15 cubic range is about $500.
Right now, I have my food sitting on the back porch in two insulated coolers. I open them up at night and when the temperature is below 40 F. Next Wednesday, I will take my old refrigerator and put it out on the street for pick-up by the Cambridge Department of Public Works. They will take it back to the yard and recycle the CFCs in the compressor, a privilege for which I have paid $15 (the true environmental cost?).
While I'm looking for a new refrigerator, I've been thinking about designing a cold box, like the plans in the old _Integral Urban House_ book. A cold box is an insulated box with a vent at the bottom to take in outside air and a vent at the top to expel the hotter air which rises. Add a stack and you can create a draft that will keep the inside of the box cooler than its surroundings. With the proper thermostatic controls and a battery of cold packs (those blue gelpacks you can put into a cooler), I might be able to go for all winter without the need for a refrigerator. I have a few designs on the back of an envelope that look like interesting possibilities.
However, if you have any information about highly efficient, non-ozone eating, environmentally sustainable or restorative refrigerators and refrigeration strategies for the home and apartment, I'd be interested in hearing about them.
Table of Contents
Dashboard for Spaceship Earth
Cliff Figallo (email@example.com) posted this idea to the WELL back in August.
"Bucky Fuller called it Spaceship Earth. I'm working on a project to build a kind of "dashboard" on the Web for our spaceship. The purpose of the dashboard is to get attention and generate discussion. I'm convinced that we should, at the very least, be engaged in figuring out if we are in deep shit or not regarding global warming...
"I probably got the idea from the Doomsday Clock. In 1947, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists put the last quarter hour of a clock on its cover with the minute hand pointed to 7 minutes before midnight. The position of that hand, over time, came to symbolize our nearness to nuclear war based on the arms race and cold war politics. It wasn't so much the objectivity and accuracy of the clock, but it's symbolism that made it effective over the years as a centerpiece of world concern.
"Global warming will not result in a sudden worldwide cataclysm. There is no Doomsday at the end of a countdown. If the problem proves to be as bad as many climatolgists say, it will result in a slow and drawn-out change in human habitat that will effect civilization in many ways. Some may even benefit from it. The fact is, we don't know. And that is the problem.
"The Planetary Dashboard is meant to be a centerpiece for concern about the problem. We know more every day about our home planet. We know more about its current condition and about what we, as humans, are doing that might change its condition. At some point, we may be able to point to direct cause and effect from our actions to the conditions that support our lives here. The Dashboard will use the Web as a platform and information-gathering environment to translate current science into something we non-scientists can relate to.
"So, what is it, anyway?...
"The Dashboard will have 3 graphically-produced "gauges" which will be driven by the most current scientifically-accepted models. Like the speedometer, tachometer and odometer on your car's dashboard, they will display the pace at which humans are driving (and using) the environment. One gauge will display global output of carbon emissions on a daily basis. One gauge will display global population. One gauge will show current per capita carbon output.
"Links from those gauges will go to sources of models and raw data, explanations of the data and their relationships to the global warming effect, and broader discussions of the effect including debates between believers and skeptics. All of these materials already exist on the Web.
"Stage two will be a Web-based conferencing platform where ongoing public discussion can take place and where events can be staged. Debates, interviews, panel discussions and press conferences can be carried and archived there. So far, this medium has been under-used considering the importance of widespread discussion to this issue.
"The question is, if it proves that global warming is as serious a threat as many qualified experts say it is, when will be too late to begin turning our habits around? Some say we may have passed that point already and that the damage we've done up til now will take effect in any case in a few decades. It's a big What If? If we guess wrong, it's going to be an even bigger "Uh Oh!"
"Of course most of us will be dead by then, but many of us will leave family behind to deal with the mess. Which is why I'm trying to help get it figured out as a non-scientist.
"So where's the Dashboard at today?
I'm corresponding with two potential Web designers to build it. It will only require, at this point, one graphical page with a non-graphical alternate page. I'll put together the underlying pages.
"I'm looking for a home for it. I've been invited by the Global Change organization to have it be a part of their site.
"And I'm looking for funding for its construction and maintenance. Any ideas out there? It will be about $10,000 for Stage One but I'd like to have it done by the time of the Kyoto summit on December 1."
I suggested that Cliff contact Liberty Tree (http://www.libertytree.org) to see if they were interested. I also suggested he take a look at the World Game's Website (http://www.worldgame.org). Since that time, the World Game has started something called Worldometers:
"The World Game Institute's WorldometersTM give you a real-time view of Spaceship Earth. These meters and gauges monitor the status of our ship and crew--from fuel, food and air supply to the readiness of the crew. They will alert you to an emergency, changing conditions or direction, potential problems and current status. They will not tell you what to do, or how to do it, just what is happening. These meters are the dashboard of Spaceship Earth."
The meters consist of:
Generally, the data presented is pretty basic and pretty good but the education criteria are extremely badly thought out from my jaundiced point of view. There is also a series of Webpages that serve as a gateway from the World Game homepage to the Worldometer pages that goes on forever and provides very little information. If you want to look at the Worldometers themselves, go directly to
http://www.worldgame.org/worldometers/worldcrew.html and skip that particular Webmaster's idea of a neat trick.
If you want to monitor the proceedings in Kyoto, Japan on global warming more directly, you can access video and sound (if you have the requisite plug-ins on your browser) at
Tom Parris (firstname.lastname@example.org) of Harvard Environmental Network (http://environment.harvard.edu) suggests forwarding your address to email@example.com for further information and updates on the Kyoto climate conference.
Table of Contents
Eleanor LeCain for State Senate?
Editorial Comment: Gil Friend (firstname.lastname@example.org and http://www.eco-ops.com/eco-ops) sent me this endorsement for a local politician. She's an "A List..." subscriber and thus must be just the kind of person I'd like to see under the golden dome of the State House.
Eleanor is simply one of the best. I've known her for 20 years, and know
her to be smart, committed, heartful, strategic and destined for leadership that serves. She has my total support. I hope she can count on a little bit of yours.
I'd be grateful if you could do whatever seems appropriate -- and if you
could forward this message on, especially to folks in the Boston area.
Thanks, and best regards,
>Date: Mon, 1 Dec 1997 11:05:01 -0500 (EST)
>Subject: Senate campaign
>I'm running for the state Senate in special election on Tuesday, Dec 9th.
> Our campaign theme is "Building on What Works." My senator retired
>suddenly, and they called a quick election to replace him. Some elected
>officials are running, too. I'm the underdog, but with a very low turnout
>expected, I could win with as few as 2500 votes. We're running a very
>Visit our website at "http://www.eclipse.net/~slepian/LeCain". Someone I never met just set up the site for us!
>There are three ways you could help, if possible. First, send us names of
>voters you might know in the Boston area. Second, send money. Each
dollar will help us reach another voter with a brochure and phone call.
Third, spread the word.
Here's what was on her Webpage (I was the 38th visitor):
I need your help to win a seat in the Massachusetts Senate. I would love to be a voice for a new politics. I only need a few thousand votes to win. IÕm looking for help identifying voters in the district and raising money to fund the campaign.
"I am running because I want to help change the way politics and government are done in the community andthe country. Politics as widely practiced has no soul. We usually feel no connection between what politicians do and how we live. We don't believe we can make a difference.
"We can do better. We can build on the breakthroughs that already exist in
every field, dramatically improving our quality of life, and saving billions
of dollars. I've spent the past several years researching these breakthroughs for my book, What's Working in America.
"The Senate campaign is a living laboratory of a new politics, focused on positive solutions. My campaign theme is "Building on What Works."
"I have the qualifications to be a senator. I have served at senior levels of state government including Assistant Secretary of State and Executive Director of Blueprint 2000, strategic planning for the state's future. I'm a graduate of Yale and Boalt Law School. I've been very active for peace,
women and the environment, and very involved in the community (see
below for more info).
"The key to victory is turning the support from friends like you into votes on election day.
"You can help in the following ways:
1) VOTES: I need to find 2,500 votes to win. If everyone who receives
this letter sends me the name and phone number of just 1 person (more if
you can!) in the district, and they in turn identify 5 like-minded neighbors, I will win. PLEASE SEND ME THE NAMES OF ANYONE YOU KNOW IN THE DISTRICT.
"My district includes parts of Boston (Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, Dorchester, Mattapan, Roslindale), Milton, Randolph, Canton and Avon. If
you don't know anyone in the district, send me the names and numbers for
5 friends in Boston, and they can help us identify likely voters so I can
meet them in person.
"2) MONEY: A short election means we won't need much ($25-40,000), but we need money today for phones, posters, office space, press kits, newspaper and radio ads. Every dollar really helps. (The state limit is $500 per person.) Please write your checks to "Committee to Elect
Eleanor LeCain" and mail to 43 Samoset Street/Boston, MA 02124.
"3) TIME: If you can, come to Boston for a day, a weekend, or a week.
We need 50 people on Tuesday, December 9, to help 50 of our supporters
get to the polls. Campaigns can be fun.
"Please share this website with anyone you know who might be able to help. Time is of the essence.
"As Eleanor Roosevelt said, "The future belongs to those who believe in the
beauty of their dreams." Thanks for your support! Love,
Eleanor Mulloney LeCain
43 Samoset Street
Boston, MA 02124
"Please use e-mail as much as possible to send me names, phone numbers
and e-mail addresses of your friends in the area. Eleanor Mulloney
LeCain's email ÊÊÊ(EMLecain@aol.com) Thanks!"
Table of Contents
The Begging Bowl
Editorial Comment: This came by way of the corporations listserv (email@example.com), the online discussion for the groups across the country who are organizing for the March 1998 Democracy Teach-In and working against corporate commodification and control.
I don't know Ani DiFranco's music as I don't listen to much music these days but I have been aware of her since she produced an album for and with Utah Phillips. She seems to be a smart and self-assured person with a clear sense of who she is and what she wants. I'll listen for her music now because I know that her voice is one of integrity and amusement. She knows that money is only a tool and the task is to touch each other heart to heart and soul to soul.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Margo Robb) (by way of email@example.com (el viento))
Subject: Ani DiFranco to Ms. - No Corporate Music!
I thought this was of general interest.
"Ani wanted folks to be able to read the entirety of her message instead of
an edited version. **You may distribute or forward the following as long as you do not alter or edit it.** "
November 5, 1997
Marcia Ann Gillespie, Editor in Chief
135 W. 50th Street
New York, NY 10020
So I'm poring through the 25th anniversary issue of Ms. (on some airplane going somewhere in the amorphous blur that amounts to my life) and I'm finding it endlessly enlightening and stimulating as always, when, whaddaya know, I come across a little picture of little me. I was flattered to be included in that issue's "21 feminists for the 21st century" thingybob. I think ya'll are runnin the most bold and babe-olishious magazine around, after all.
Problem is, I couldn't help but be a little weirded out by the paragraph next to my head that summed up her me-ness and my relationship to the
feminist continuum. What got me was that it largely detailed my financial
successes and sales statistics. My achievements were represented by the fact that I "make more money per album sold than Hootie and the Blowfish," and that my catalogue sales exceed 3/4 of a million. It was specified that I don't just have my own record company but my own "profitable" record company. Still, the ironic conclusion of the aforementioned blurb is a quote from me insisting "it's not about the money." Why then, I ask myself, must "the money" be the focus of so much of the media that surrounds me? Why can't I escape it, even in the hallowed pages of Ms.?
Firstly, this "Hootie and the Blowfish" business was not my doing. The LA Times financial section wrote an article about my record label, Righteous Babe Records, in which they raved about the business savvy of a singer (me) who thwarted the corporate overhead by choosing to remain independent, thereby pocketing $4.25 per unit, as opposed to the $1.25 made by Hootie or the $2.00 made by Michael Jackson. This story was then picked up and reprinted by The New York Times, Forbes magazine, the Financial News Network, and (lo and behold) Ms.
So here I am, publicly morphing into some kinda Fortune 500-young-entrepreneur-from-hell, and all along I thought I was just a folksinger !
Ok, it's true. I do make a much larger profit (percentage-wise) than the
Hootster. What's even more astounding is that there are thousands of musicians out there who make an even higher profit percentage than me! How many local musicians are there in your community who play gigs in bars and coffee shops about town? I bet lots of them have made cassettes or CDS which they'll happily sell to you with a personal smile from the edge of the stage or back at the bar after their set. Would you believe these shrewd, profit-minded wheeler-dealers are pocketing a whopping _100%_ of the profits on the sales of those puppies?! Wait till the Financial News Network gets a whiff of _them_!
I sell approximately 2.5% of the albums that a Joan Jewelanis Morrisette sells and get about .05% of the airplay royalties, so obviously if it all comes down to dollars and cents, I've led a wholly unremarkable life. Yet I
choose relative statistical mediocrity over fame and fortune because I have a bigger purpose in mind. Imagine how strange it must be for a girl who has spent 10 years fighting as hard as she could against the lure of the corporate carrot and the almighty forces of capital, only to be eventually recognized by the power structure as a business pioneer.
I have indeed sold enough records to open a small office on the half-abandoned main street in the dilapidated urban center of my hometown, Buffalo, N.Y. I am able to hire 15 or so folks to run and constantly reinvent
the place while I drive around and play music for people. I am able to give stimulating business to local printers and manufacturers and to employ the services of independent distributors, promoters, booking agents and
publicists. I was able to quit my day job and devote myself to what I love. And yes, we are enjoying modest profits these days, affording us the opportunity to reinvest in innumerable political and artistic endeavors. RBR is no Warner Bros. But it is a going concern, and for me, it is a vehicle for redefining the relationship between art and commerce in my own life. It is a record company which is the product not just of my own imagination, but that of my friend and manager Scot Fisher and of all the people who work there. People who incorporate and coordinate politics, art and media every day into a people-friendly, sub-corporate, woman-informed, queer-happy small business that puts music before rock stardom and ideology before profit.
And me. I'm just a folksinger, not an entrepreneur. My hope is that my music and poetry will be enjoyable and/or meaningful to someone, somewhere, not that I maximize my profit margins. It was 15 years and 11 albums getting to this place of notoriety and, if anything, I think I was happier way back when. Not that I regret any of my decisions, mind you. I'm glad I didn't sign on to the corporate army. I mourn the commodification and homogenization of music by the music industry, and I fear the manufacture of consent by the corporately-controlled media. Last thing I want to do is feed the machine.
I was recently mortified while waiting in the dressing room before one of my own shows. Some putz suddenly takes the stage to announce me and exclaim excitedly that this was my "largest sold-out crowd to date!" "Oh, really?," I'm thinking to myself, "that's interesting...too bad it's not the point." All of my achievements are artistic, as are all of my failures. That's just the way I see it. Statistical plateau or no. I'll bust ass for
60 people, or 6,000, watch me.
I have so much respect for Ms. magazine. If I couldn't pick it up at newsstands my brain probably would've atrophied by now on some trans-Atlantic flight and I would be lying limp and twitchy in a bed of constant travel, staring blankly into the abyss of the gossip magazines. Ms. is a structure of media wherein women are able to define themselves, and articulate for themselves those definitions. We wouldn't point to 21 of the feminists moving into the 21st century and define them in terms of "Here's Becky Ballbuster from Iowa City, she's got a great ass and a cute little button nose..." No ma'am. We've gone beyond the limited perceptions of sexism and so we should move beyond the language and perspective of the corporate patriarchy. The Financial News Network may be ultimately impressed with me now that I've proven to them that there's a life beyond the auspices of papa Sony, but do I really have to prove this to _you_?
We have the ability and the opportunity to recognize women not just for
the financial successes of their work but for the work itself. We have the
facility to judge each other by entirely different criteria than those is
imposed upon us by the superstructure of society. We have a view which
reaches beyond profit margins into poetry, and a vocabulary to articulate the difference.
Thanks for including me, Ms., really. But just promise me one thing; if I drop dead tomorrow, tell me my grave stone won't read:
Please let it read:
Editorial Comment: I have always wanted my ashes in the compost and no tombstone at all. I hope to be forgotten soon after I die. There are already too many people memorialized and remembered for too many of the wrong reasons.
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