Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tales of the Absurd from Reno

Ok, maybe not so absurd. This is Reno after all...

A Seven-Year-Old Designated Driver

Cops: Drunk Nevada man turned wheel over to his young son

OCTOBER 31--Meet Alfredo Martinez. While the Nevada man should be saluted for knowing that he was too drunk to get behind the wheel last night, he probably should not have tabbed his seven-year-old son as his designated driver. Martinez, 37, was arrested after Reno cops spotted his car weaving across lanes and stopping suddenly. When officers pulled over the vehicle before it could enter a highway, they found a plastered Martinez in the passenger seat and his son behind the wheel. Martinez, pictured below in a mug shot snapped at the Washoe County lockup, directed the boy to drive him home because he was too drunk to do it himself, cops said. Martinez is facing a felony child endangerment rap.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Reno Bike Project plug

The rr doesn't really know much about this group but I'm all about giving attention to this project. Attend the event on November 18th at Record Street Cafe and check out their blog at the above link. Below is the text from their craigslist ad.

Dear Reno Cyclists:

We, Noah Silverman and Joseph Kozar, are taking the initial steps to start a Bicycle Cooperative in Reno. This will be a local non-profit community bike shop established on the principles of recycling used bikes, bike repairs, community event promotion, and promotion of alternative transportation. Because this will be a non-profit bike shop, its livelihood will depend on bicycle donations and, for the majority, volunteer work.

We are currently in the brainstorming process as to how to achieve the many goals necessary for the foundation of this community project. If you would, please send this message to all members of your organization. The more input we receive back, the more likely we are to succeed in fulfilling the needs of all members of the community. We would greatly appreciate and welcome any and all ideas on the following topics:

·Locations, preferably;
-The downtown area
-Near major bicycle routes

·Donations, i.e. bikes/bike parts & Tools
-Idea's for current bike collection
-Temporary bike storage

-Including any groups or individuals not necessarily related to cycling interests

·Grants/ Funding
-Possible organizations and individuals to solicit
-Possible groups or individuals to assist with grant writing and fund raising.

·Other bicycle organizations that we may of forgotten

You can send your response's to renobikeproject@gmail.com . Thank you very much for you time and interest.

Reno Bike Project
Joseph Kozar
Noah Silverman

Friday, October 27, 2006

Instilling Confidence As Usual

This from Salon....

The White House on Iraq: Anyone have any ideas?

We thought the president's press conference performance this week was notable for its grim assessment of how things are going in Iraq and its lack of clarity about any way forward.

It turns out that we weren't alone.

In an appearance on the NewsHour last night, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley was asked what the American people should have "taken away" from the press conference. His answer: "I think the president gave a very balanced and sober assessment of the situation that we're in, made it clear that there are real challenges, made it clear that, while our basic objective remains the same, we have adapted and made changes in how to pursue that objectives, would be making more changes in the future, that he was open to any constructive ideas, because obviously one thing we can all agree on – I think Senator Biden would agree – we need to succeed in Iraq. It's too important for the country. So I think you saw an openness to be receptive to ideas, but also a steadfastness that we cannot afford to lose in Iraq."

Got that? On the war in Iraq -- the centerpiece of his administration, the central front in "the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century" -- the president is . . . well, he's open to ideas, if anyone's got them.

We're not sure what's more troubling here: That this is all that the president has to offer, that the national security advisor can't do a better job of spinning it, or that the White House Communications Office thought so much of Hadley's comments that it just e-mailed them to reporters under the headline, "In Case You Missed It."

-- Tim Grieve

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Saturday, October 28th Peace Rally - then go vote....

Peace for All Peoples! We Are the Majority! March and Rally October 28

Supporters of peace throughout Northern Nevada will march and rally on Saturday, October 28 to demonstrate unity and demand peace in this time of war. People will gather at Pickett Park (at Kirman and Mill Streets, near "Renown Health," nee Washoe Med) at 2:30 p.m., will begin marching west on Liberty Street at 3:00 p.m., and will rally at the Bruce R. Thompson Federal Building (Liberty and Virginia Streets) beginning at 4:00 p.m. The event will be peaceful and legal.

This protest has been created by three area groups: A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) - RENO, the Reno Anti-War Coalition (www.renopeace.org,) and Sierra Interfaith Action for Peace. It has been endorsed by:

-The World Can’t Wait

-Queer Student Union (UNR)

-Food Not Bombs – Reno

-Women Without Borders

-Pax Christi

October 28 will see locally organized peace demonstrations from coast to coast, illustrating that Americans want peace abroad and at home. To see the call for action by International A.N.S.W.E.R., click here: http://answer.pephost.org/site/News2?abbr=ANS_&page=NewsArticle&id=7836.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Who you callin' "arrogant and stupid"?

When I heard "A senior U.S. State Department diplomat told Arab satellite network Al Jazeera that there is a strong possibility history will show the United States displayed "arrogance" and "stupidity" in its handling of the Iraq war" ... my first reaction was, JUST in its handling of the Iraq war?


and Stupid?

History will decide.....

The Costs of War

I love that this site breaks down the costs according to different categories of governmental appropriations such as:

You can even compare the Iraq war expenditures with what the money would have provided in different states.

"Seeing a shift in opportunity, cyclists are riding a spurt of political power"

From the Seattle Times. Most interesting to me is the "Sharrow" symbol that is appearing on Seattle streets. Many cyclists have mixed feelings about marked on street bike lanes, particularly because of the hazard they create for cyclists when the lanes hit busy intersections and cyclists are forced to weave around right turn lanes and other obstacles. Perhaps this is a viable compromise. I've clipped part of the article below. The full story is at the link. These are all issues Reno needs to be dealing with in a more proactive manner considering our growth rate.

CULTURAL CHANGE reveals itself in weird ways.

Like the week gas topped $3 a gallon and Zack Treisman, a mild-mannered mathematician and avid cyclist, was arrested by plainclothes King County Sheriff's deputies while pedaling through Belltown with 300 others during a monthly ride called Critical Mass.

You could look at the incident as isolated, a twilight confrontation between free-wheeling cyclists and zealous cops.

Or you could see our city at a cultural crossroads — the conflict, really, over how to deal with congested streets, global warming, an obesity epidemic.

Loose, leaderless, Critical Mass is more Idea than Political Movement. Part celebration, part demonstration, the semi-spontaneous bicycle rally meanders over urban asphalt (intentionally clogging streets) in about 100 cities around the world on the last Friday of every month. There's no membership roster, no pre-planned route, just a parade of pedals, clots of stalled motorists and a provocative motto: We're not blocking traffic. We ARE traffic.

Their Web site asks: Why are people compelled to organize their lives around having a car? What would an alternative future look like?

Anyone can ride Critical Mass, for any reason. Treisman, then a University of Washington grad student, needed a breather from his doctoral dissertation on arc spaces and rational curves, so he decided to join friends for an invigorating spin around the city. Plus, he believes bicycling is healthy and helps preserve the environment.

In San Francisco, where Critical Mass began in 1992, rides can take on a righteous confrontational edge. Early posters featured cyclists screaming "Get Out of Our Way!"

Here in polite Seattle, riders are more likely to yell, "Get on your BIKE!" Cyclists have been known to chat with captive motorists about trendy fixed-gear bikes even while "corking" or blocking intersections so comrades can stream past.

Typically, Seattle police ignore Critical Mass — despite the participants' merry and egregious violations of traffic rules and open-container laws. But on that long summer evening, King County Metro Transit police intervened, jumping out of a van to tackle and arrest a skinny teen who'd corked an intersection and 30-year-old Treisman who came to his aid.

News accounts focused on whether the deputies had properly identified themselves, on turf tensions between city and county police, on law-enforcement issues with Metro Transit. Witnesses stepped forward. Investigations ensued. Charges were not filed.

Traffic resumed.

But on the cracked pavement, significant questions remain unanswered.

What are we going to do about traffic? Pollution? Our health?

LOOK UP. See all those construction cranes? New condos. More people. The city's head count has topped 560,000 and is still climbing. After a decades-long dip, we've exceeded Seattle's previous population peak (550,000 in 1960).

Yet there's a significant demographic difference between now and the baby-boomer '60s: Fewer kids. These days we are a city of grown-ups, high rises, zoned urban density. Translate: More drivers, many small households and double the number of cars. The reason Seattle feels crowded is not because we're jostling elbows. It's because we're bumper to bumper. "Congestion is a car problem, not a people problem," says Peter Lagerwey, coordinator of Seattle's Bicycle and Pedestrian Program.

Gridlock, impossible parking and high gas prices make it increasingly enticing to get around by bike. And statistics, though squishy, show more people doing just that.

The 2000 U.S. Census found bicycling this area's fastest-growing method of getting to work. In the city, 1.8 percent of adults commute by bicycle. (To compare, the rate is 2.2 percent in Tucson, 1.9 percent in San Francisco, .5 percent in Chicago. In certain German, Dutch and Belgian cities, 25 percent of all trips are by bike.)

--more at the link above

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Congrats to Renodiscontent.com and Myrna the Minx

Say what you will about the annual RN&R "best of" poll, it's certainly nice to see Myrna get acknowledged for her great contributions to the Reno blogosphere. Cheers!

New York Times editor to speak on the media’s role in global conflict

From UNR News:

North Korea is developing nuclear weapons. The United States is taking unprecedented steps to curb terrorism. Sudan’s Darfur region continues to endure one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

What role do the media play in such global struggles?

It’s a question Ethan Bronner, deputy foreign editor for The New York Times will share his thoughts about at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, in the Edmund J. Cain Hall Auditorium at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Early Voting!

It starts this Saturday! Take that sample ballot (mine arrived in the mail today) study up, and vote! It's not really a working democracy if you don't vote.

And, while you are at it, get out and attend one of the following events:

Gov. Tom Vilsack holds a pre-debate rally with Sen. Dina Titus (Reno)
Rally before Titus heads to Elko for the last gubernatorial debate. 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Friday, Oct. 20, Teamsters Local 533, 240 Gentry Way, Reno

GOTV Rally with Senator John Edwards and Sen. Dina Titus (Reno)
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.,Tuesday, Oct. 24. Grand Sierra Resort, Grand Theater, Reno
Free tickets are required and available at Democratic Headquarters at (775) 829-1699 Or at the Dina Titus Headquarters at (775) 323-2006

FRIDAY: Rally for Jill Derby before her debate on Friday, Oct. 20, 6:00 @ Reno City Hall, corner of 1st and Virginia. Call 775-826-7944 for more info. Then watch Jill Derby take on Dean Heller on KRNV at 7 p.m.

Glorius Fall Color!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Oh, please!

The rr's mailbox had this little message titled "Saving American Lives" from Ken Mehlman, RNC Chairman (apparently close buddy of Jack Abramoff but that's a different story). Apparently all Republicans are for saving lives and almost all Democrats want Americans to die at the hands of terrorists according to Ken. Nevermind that this administration refuses to provide American soldiers with body armor they need for protection during their extended stays in Iraq (see link above for more on this). Don't you just hate it when those damn democrats stand up for civil liberties, ya know, the ones that make America...um America?!

Dear Reno Rambler,

Yesterday morning marked a significant victory in the War on Terror. President Bush signed vital legislation ensuring that America can continue interrogating dangerous terrorists like 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Under this new law, the brutal terrorists who planned the attack on our country can be brought to justice. This law is an important reminder of what we can accomplish when the President and Congress work together for the safety of America.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Event celebrates after-school programs

There are a lot of things wrong with our public school system but this isn't one of them.

"Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit organization that raises awareness of the importance of after-school programs and advocating for quality and affordable programs."

Kudos to the RTC

Reno Nevada RTC Introduces Hydrogen Fuel Vehicles

The Regional Transportation Commission showcased it's latest project at the smart living expo this afternoon that will eliminate the use of fossil fuels to get around town. The RTC has already taken action to reduce energy use in the buses we take around town. But their latest project will go one step further. Dean Mottram H2 Project Manager said, "You're looking at the wave of the future".

What transportation officials are talking about is a new way to power buses in Northern Nevada, called hydrogen fuel. You can think of it as a bus running on water, but it's a little more complicated. Jim McGrath from RTC said, "We are going to use water to generate hydrogen, use it as a fuel source for our vehicles to lower emissions to help our community become a leader in green energy resources".

The RTC is also rolling out other types of fuel efficient buses, including hybrid, and bio diesel buses that will run on recycled vegetable oil.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Reno in the News, or, Why didn't I see the "Welcome Mobile Adult Content Congress" on any Siena Hotel Billboards?

I mean, I always see the "Welcome Bowlers" signs. Apparently even Ron Jeremy showed up. Hmmm maybe they couldn't think of a good way to shorten the name, Mobile Adult Content Congress. I would have suggested "Welcome Ballers" but, gasp, that might have created a bit of confusion.

From Wired News:

All Business, No Boobies
By Regina Lynn
Oct, 13, 2006

RENO, Nevada -- Given the challenges I faced on my way to the Mobile Adult Content Congress here this week, it's a miracle I made it at all.

The nine-hour drive to a rental cabin near California's lovely Donner Lake left me so tired that I forgot to finish bear-proofing my truck, leaving a small bag of dog food in the bed. Sometime during the night, a bear punched through the back window of the camper shell and destroyed the hydraulics that lift and lower the hatch.

Yes, I'll feel stupid about this for quite some time.

After a morning spent sweeping up kibble and shattered glass, calling my insurance company, and finding a dealer in Reno who could repair a SnugTop, I was ready to swear like a sailor ... but I couldn't.

It says so right in the conference's guidelines: "The Mobile Adult Content Congress does not allow pornography or profanity in any presentation or exhibition. This is a professional industry program that is focused on revenue generating opportunities in the mobile adult business."

And the 70 or so attendees looked exactly like what they are: businesspeople, many with technology backgrounds but new to adult content, all working hard to build profitable companies based on the latest tech and an abiding faith in the old adage, "sex sells."

That the content their platforms serve ranges from flirtatious to salacious is almost an aside, except for the intensity with which these sex-tech entrepreneurs discuss age-verification options and content restrictions enforced by the wireless carriers.

(One panelist noted that even in countries in which adult content is available for mobile devices, most -- but not all -- carriers are wary of hard-core video. "Topless and cable-TV sex" is the standard fare.)

"We look at what's happening in Europe and Asia," say conference producers Larry Lockhart and Dan Garza. "They're usually two to two-and-a-half years ahead of (America) in the mobile space."

The convergence of sex and mobile devices is a given, in part because of the combination of privacy and portability the gadgets offer, but it's not an easy marriage. At least not here in the United States.

"We are trying to bring (mobile content) here, but responsibly," says Dan. "To do with mobile what was not done with the internet, addressing age verification and privacy from the start."

But if "responsibly" means banning adult content from the adult content conference, I'm not sure I'm 100 percent on board. You wouldn't tell personal chefs or organic produce delivery co-ops they can't bring food to the annual mobile cuisine conference. You wouldn't tell members of a horse-racing association they couldn't bring jockeys to their conference.

But somehow, as soon as you bring "sexy" women into the picture, the "professional" atmosphere of the conference is, apparently, degraded. Never mind that without those suggestively clad and naked women, there would be no mobile adult content industry to have conferences about.

By prohibiting the content that pays these folks' salaries, the conference's rules suggest that the women for whom birthday suits are professional attire aren't the jockeys -- they're the horses.

I got a bit heated in my conversation with Dan and Larry. "Without the boobies, you" -- I gestured to the predominately male gathering -- "would all starve."

They took my 'tude in stride, relating a story about last year's event in Florida, where one exhibitor had a poster featuring a Hustler image of a girl in a slinky dress. The media honed in on it, and it ran in the papers and on the evening news.

But "The Miami Herald ran a front-page story that said we all looked like a bunch of accountants," said Larry. "That's what we want."

It's not that I'm drawn to the sensory overload of the annual Adult Entertainment Expo, which bombards you with the world's largest flat-panel TVs and the loudest surround-sound systems promoting porn everywhere you look.

I even understand the conference organizers' reasoning. They don't want to so distract the media that the press doesn't notice how businesslike everything is. Television loves to pose a CEO in front of a bikini-babe poster for on-camera interviews. People walking by might be offended if they managed a glance through the hotel's ballroom doors and saw a picture of a lady in lingerie -- yes, even in a casino.

I just don't agree with this line of thinking. The customer base is not buying product because it is a new, industry-changing user interface with far-ranging applications across media and devices. Most customers are not particularly interested in the technical complexities of age verification and secure payment processing systems.

We're buying content: a fantasy, a few moments of sexual entertainment, a cheap and private thrill.

By hiding what they deliver, the mobile adult content people perpetuate the status quo that is making it so hard for them to develop business in the United States: the idea that sexual entertainment is, in fact, something to be embarrassed about.

Otherwise, why would including the imagery they hope to sell to consumers be incompatible with a "professional industry program"?

See you next Friday,

Regina Lynn

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A radical idea...

...is sweeping the world of American bicycle manufacturing: building bikes that people will use for actual transportation."

Gasp! Bikes as transportation? Go figure. Still, I must admit it would be a welcome change from the "wannabeeLANCE" marketing strategy of the last 8 years.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Is it a Brave New World?

I've been rereading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley recently and it reminded me of this piece written some 20 years ago by Neil Postman in his seminal work, "Amusing Ourselves To Death." I remember the first time I read Postman and feeling guilty about the obsessiveness I can feel about certain elements of pop culture. I still struggle with letting myself get too absorbed in TV, Films, Music.... I find them addictive and not in a particularly good way. The more I pay attention to those things, the more I am not focused on things like the state of the union/world and disengaged from things like poverty, education, and suffering in the world.

The bottom line, and the way I've tried to balance this struggle in myself, is to envision my tombstone with a tally of how many hours I logged during my life on certain activities. Do I want my headstone to note the tens of thousands of hours I may have spent watching tv? In the end, if I spent more time watching reality tv than doing community service is that something I want on my conscience?

What strikes home about the Postman excerpt comparing 1984 and Brave New World are these statements:
"What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.
Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism." As an educator I see this firsthand.

I suppose it's safe to say that our world has elements of both Orwell and Huxley's visions. But it's alarming how much Huxley seems to have been right that what we love will...

Oh, wait! Gotta run, it's time for America's Next Top Model.

Foreword from
Amusing Ourselves to Death
by Neil Postman

We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.
But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another - slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions". In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Quote of the Day

"What's worse is the likely fate of the Current Occupant [of the White House], who is contending with Pierce, Buchanan and Warren G. Harding for the title of All-Time Worst President. He's got a good shot at the title if only because he's had so much more to be worst with. (Any young persons who have been inspired by Mr. Bush to take up public service should be watched very closely.)"
- Garrison Keillor


Perusing fellow blogger Doc Moriarity I came across this photo. I wonder if this restroom is popular with men? Nothing like exploiting male feelings of inadequacy!

Educators AND Bicyclists? - Of course I'm posting this story

Ok, maybe it's not so good that these teachers will "stow the bikes" by Thanksgiving but I'll cut them some slack since they're in Vermont. Haven't they heard of icebike.com ?


Colchester teachers release endorphins, not greenhouse gases

Published: Tuesday, October 10, 2006
By Matt Sutkoski
Free Press Staff Writer

The way Will Warren figures it, a gaggle of bicycle-riding Colchester teachers have prevented more than 600 pounds of global-heating carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere since mid-September.

At least a dozen Colchester High School teachers ride their bikes to work, some almost every day. Zack Kramer, 29, peddles more than 20 miles through early morning darkness from his Jonesville home to the school. Warren, 41, a biology teacher, comes in from South Hero, rows a boat across the cut in outer Malletts Bay, then gets back on his bike to travel down the Causeway to school.

The teachers never set out to become a group, or manufacture a teachable moment with their bicycle commutes. English teacher Mike Long, 56, said he's ridden his bike to work since the 1970s. Others said they were on a health kick. Many decided independently to ride rather than drive. Then the bicycling teachers started talking to each other, and the informal group was born.

Since Sept. 15, Warren has meticulously maintained a spreadsheet of how many miles each of the teachers ride, factoring in the mileage ratings of the teachers' cars and calculated emissions. As of Friday, they avoided releasing about 600 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, Warren said. Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are linked to global warming.

A dozen or so teachers in Colchester will not resolve the earth's global warming problems, Warren said, but it's a chance to set an example.

Husband-and-wife teachers David and Diane Bahrenburg, of Colchester said students see them passing through neighborhood streets. Maybe they'll convince kids that bicycling is healthier and better for the environment than driving, Diane Bahrenburg said.

Not so fast, said Colchester High School senior Hannah McFadden. "I think it's cool, but I wouldn't do it," she said of her bike-riding teachers. It already takes some time to get things together in the morning, without adding bicycles to the equation, she said. Then there's the matter of hauling supplies back and forth, she said.

There's a cachet among teens to driving to school, Diane Bahrenburg concedes. But maybe years later, they'll remember the teachers who rode bicycles. "You're planting that seed," she said. The bicycle commutes have proven addictive. Many of the teachers said they've lost weight, become fitter. The exercise makes them happier and puts them in a better frame of mind when they begin the day teaching. "When you pass up a day to ride in, and it turns out to be a nice day, you get mad at yourself," David Bahrenburg said.

Kramer said on days when he must drive rather than ride to school, he gets antsy, especially on the commute home through thick traffic. "I get annoyed and angry. I'm wasting time," he said.

As fall moves toward winter, the bicycling is getting challenging. Kramer didn't see a dead skunk in the early morning darkness and ran over it. Lately, there have been some days when he left home in the dark and came home in the dark. Frost has covered the lawns he's passed on recent mornings.

All of the bicyclists admit the ardor for their two-wheeled commutes will fade with the winds of November. By Thanksgiving, they'll stow the bikes, but the teachers promise renewed bicycle commutes in the spring.

Contact Matt Sutkoski at 660-1846 or msutkosk@bfp.burlingtonfreepress.com

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Bicycle and Modern City Life

One day I hope to see this kind of integration of bicycle use into the makeup of city life. Not just in big European cities, but in small cities like our very own biggest little city, Reno.

This link has a beautiful array of photos of practical working bikes being ridden by people from all walks of life. Enjoy!

Dude, where's my cross? - from Salon

Now, I am not anti-religion. But I am anti-lazy religion, and this article on the new evangelist "star" Stephen Baldwin (yeah, THAT Stephen Baldwin) is just sad. From Salon...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Reno in the News

Evidently it's news when a black woman is set to play a white woman in a film...but it is based on Reno teacher, Tierney Cahill, so I thought I'd post it.

Halle Berry Breaks Race Barrier in Class Act

Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry has inked to star in the movie about a true-life tale of a teacher from Nevada, USA who ran for Congress after being challenged by her pupils to do so. Berry will play Tierney Cahill, a teacher from Reno, Nevada, who ran for office on the condition that her students would help her with the campaign. The movie, Class Act, is set to begin filming in the summer of 2007.

In an unusual casting protocol, the film's production team cast Berry in the part of Cahill, who is a white woman. An inside source reports that they felt it was important to find the right actress to play the role, rather than the right white actress.

If this becomes a trend, it would be interesting to see if any protests would arise from the reverse: casting a white woman to play an African American or Oriental role. It would more than likely draw minority protests, even though whites are the minority. One can hope audiences will evolve with the film maker's view into what's on the inside, and enjoy life and stories about human character, not physical characteristics.

A.N.S.W.E.R. – RENO -Meeting Today

Sorry, I didn't post this sooner. Should be an interesting gathering.

Act Now to Stop War
& End Racism

A.N.S.W.E.R. 2 Empire

Teach-in & Strategies of Resistance

Sunday, October 8
3:00 – 5:00 pm
University of Nevada, Reno
Pine Lounge inside the JTSU

Fundraising Party after the Forum
6:00 pm
Record Street Café
945 Record St.

Come hear activists and community members share important information regarding the global impacts of U.S. imperialism, and ways to fight back.

As the United States drive for global dominance rages on, speakers will highlight the different manifestations of U.S. imperialism and the strategies of resistance people are using all around the globe to combat it.

This community discussion was initiated by A.N.S.W.E.R.-RENO in response to a local call to create a comprehensive context for deepening the anti-war and anti-racism movement, and to address the lack of information available to our communities.

Speakers Include:

~ Representatives from various local community organizations.

~ Sarah Sloan, National Staff Coordinator for the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition (www.answercoalition.org) based in Washington, DC. She has been one of the main organizers for all of the major anti-war and anti-racist demonstrations that have taken place in Washington, DC since September 11, which cumulatively have brought 1.5 million people into the streets.

~ Nathalie Hrizi, National co-coordinator of Youth and Student A.N.S.W.E.R. — the youth group of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition. Nathalie has been an organizer in the Latin American solidarity and anti-war movements since 2001.





This Modern Life

Ever feel like modern life in America has been reduced to a cycle of caffeine, staring at a computer screen, and cell phone exchanges? I'm sitting here looking at the tools of my trade and just when I think, blech, can't I just ride my bike and read and write all day for fun, Travel the world, try interesting foods...sigh.....I'm reminded of how lucky I have it. Sometimes I need a kick in the head.

It could always be worse....

Friday, October 06, 2006


Olbermann's critiques of the Bush administration have become marvels of astute political commentary in an age of unreason. Below is a snippet that includes mention of Bush's recent visit and speech in Reno. The link above takes you to a video of the whole commentary. I've said it before and I'll say it again, with no sense of overstating this dreaded reality, but I believe this country is taking baby steps towards becoming a fascist state. I do not use this word lightly. I use it with an understanding of its meaning over the course of history. It feels to me like we are the proverbial frog in a pot of hot water. And we are getting uncomfortably close to the boiling point. Hopefully, as a nation, we haven't lost the strength to jump out.

A Special Comment, about — lying. While the leadership in Congress has self-destructed over the revelations of an unmatched, and unrelieved, march through a cesspool… While the leadership inside the White House has self-destructed over the revelations of a book with a glowing red cover…

The President of the United States — unbowed, undeterred, and unconnected to reality — has continued his extraordinary trek through our country rooting out the enemies of freedom: The Democrats.

Yesterday at a fundraiser for an Arizona Congressman, Mr. Bush claimed, quote, "177 of the opposition party said 'You know, we don't think we ought to be listening to the conversations of terrorists."

The hell they did.

177 Democrats opposed the President's seizure of another part of the Constitution*.

Not even the White House press office could actually name a single Democrat who had ever said the government shouldn't be listening to the conversations of terrorists.

President Bush hears… what he wants.

Tuesday, at another fundraiser in California, he had said "Democrats take a law enforcement approach to terrorism. That means America will wait until we're attacked again before we respond."

Mr. Bush fabricated that, too.

And evidently he has begun to fancy himself as a mind-reader.

"If you listen closely to some of the leaders of the Democratic Party," the President said at another fundraiser Monday in Nevada, "it sounds like they think the best way to protect the American people is — wait until we're attacked again."

The President doesn't just hear what he wants. He hears things, that only he can hear.

It defies belief that this President and his administration could continue to find new unexplored political gutters into which they could wallow.

Yet they do.

It is startling enough that such things could be said out loud by any President of this nation.

Rhetorically, it is about an inch short of Mr. Bush accusing Democratic leaders; Democrats; the majority of Americans who disagree with his policies — of treason.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

School Violence - Part II

Myrna over at Renodiscontent.com has a nice round up of the Foley/Hastert debacle. Hmmm, where's the most dangerous place for kids? Apparently the congress, not our school system...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Is Fall finally here?

A friend of the Rambler sent this wonderful photo from the top of Mt. Rose. Colors changing, cooler temps (a little anyway). And what was that wet stuff coming down from the sky last night? It almost feels like Autumn is here. My favorite season in N. Nevada. Pull out the wool sweaters and enjoy it while it lasts!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

School Violence

I am not making light of the recent school violence in any way. But, before we all join the "mob" screeching about how our schools are not safe I would ask that people consider how unusual the recent school shootings are in comparison to the violence that occurs everyday in the homes of so many abused children. Statistically speaking, schools are actually far safer than most any other place that children congregate and are much safer than many homes when you consider the violent and sexual abuse that too many kids end up enduring in their dysfunctional homes. I say this as an educator and as someone who even last week was witness to a 13 year old threatening deadly violence to another 13 year old in school (the threat was quickly and completely dealt with). After Columbine the media went on a tear about school safety even though the statistics contradicted assertions of schools being unsafe. Let's not let the "culture of fear" continue to be perpetuated in the wake of these recent incidents.

Note the Bush Administration's response in the following link:

Does Reno have the world's shortest "Bike Route"?

I've ridden this stretch of road hundreds of times on my way out and back to Verdi but finally decided to snap a few pics. Located at the intersection of 4th and Mayberry just after the right turn off of West 4th (heading East) onto Mayberry, this marked bike route is all of 100 or so feet and ends abrupty with no turnoffs. I can't help but ask, what's the point? What brilliant city planner came up with this? And while I think we can be proud of not having the dubious honor of having the shortest and dumbest "Bike Lane" in the world (see Cedar Street link (above) and photos (below)-a bike lane going the wrong way down a one-way street?!) I don't think we should hold our heads up too high. Brilliant use of time and money....no wonder cars are unsure of a Bicyclist's right to the road. [if you click on the second photo from the top you can actually see both the "begin" bike route sign and make out the "end" bike route sign in the distance]