Adios Chairs!

Tuesday was my day off, and was a very productive day off indeed. I finally got around to craigslisting my old white fabric parsons chairs, and also listed some "hunk a junk" that's been rusting in our backyard for sometime for free, and ended up with some deluxe coffee in exchange. Ok, we'll start with the chairs. These are the chairs I bought a month ago on a whim after seeing their INSANELY low price tag.

Pretty, ain't she? I actually bought 4 of them, although I really need 6 dining chairs. I wasn't sure how they'd work since I was buying them online, plus I wasn't sure if I wanted all  the same or if I wanted to do 2 different captains chairs. They were $33 each. REALLY! No,  I didn't forget an extra zero there! I was floored. For those who don't know, this is a chiavari chair. It's actually an ancient Italian banquet chair design,  created for the ladies to perch upon in the massive ball gowns of the day. On top of it's charming antiquated history, the chiavari chair is a must have staple for glam weddings, and considering my past as wedding planner, it seemed even more fitting to have these in my home. They're easy to clean, lightweight, and just that perfect splash of eclecticism I was looking for. Love.

And this is a very similar design to the chairs I craiglisted. Ok, this one's a bit nicer, but you get the idea. Just add some scuffs on the legs and some stains on the fabric!
My hubby and mother told me I was dreaming when I said I thought I'd get $100 for them. I thought that was realistic, but I asked for $125 instead just in case some haggler decided to barter me down. Well guess what? Not only did I sell them but I got exactly what I asked for them! Woot woot! A little part of me almost wishes I had asked more- as I had many people emailing me asking if it was $125 for one chair, or for all six. Oh well. They found a new home (thank goodness because these chairs were my first baby), and I made some money to help pay for my lovely chiavari chairs.

Just for fun, lets do some math:

Cost of New Chairs (including shipping) $190
Less funds from Old Chairs - $125
Total Expense: $65

Granted, I now only have 4 chairs and do need to figure out what to do for the other 2, but if I do say so myself, $65 for an entirely new look is GREAT deal! I love this upcycling thing!

Nature Crush.

S/S 2011: Brisbane Trends

Cumming, C. 2011 - Social Emissions
Cumming, C. 2011 - Social Emissions
Cumming, C. 2011 - Social Emissions
Check out where Suzie gets her inspiration:

Hitting the streets in Brisbane and Sydney last week  I saw strong re occurrences in the S/S 2011 Trends. 
What did I wear while out on the prowl ? A hot pink vintage number with a classic peter pan colour, thin black waisted belt and a stark black canvas trench with quilted collar. Collars are big this season, as is mixing bright colours like this fuchsia dress with plain, or textured blacks. A popular combination is a classic black on black outfit with a bright zesty colour over sized envelope clutch, an easy DIY outfit for all those fashion conscious but still on a budget.

Crop Tops! How cute is this little floral number that this Sydney-Side is wear with a un-even hemmed skirt in caramel (Hint: Try mixing Hot pink and Caramel! Looks fantastic and a classic look that would still cut the mustard for work attire) She has topped it off with a classic brown vintage bag embellished with large armoured discs which is a nice jeux  de position to this hippy-chic look. Crop tops have been popular this S/S 2011 with the likes of Rag & Bone. This belly-bearing look is hot and is here to stay after carrying on from S/S 2010.

I love Suzie’s look! (check out her blog here!) because of its versatility. This cute little number consisting of a loose fit high waisted short, sheer textured blouse and fitted cropped blazer with shoulder details could be taken from day to night. Switch the low key, casual converse high tops for a pair of wedged booties and your ready for drinks and dinner. This focus is on glamorous day wear and for all those women who don’t get to walk a red carpet every day she give it a go. We have seen the short and blazer trend on the catwalk for Balmain this season. Another option? Not comfortable with the high waisted shorts? Don’t Suzie’s pins to pull it off ? Why not try the leather shorts and fitted blazer with a loose white top teamed with a pair of patient stiletto’s and maybe so heavy metal jewellery for that “Rocker Chick” Look.

TSJS 03 April 2011

The Thesis Social Jam Sessions keep growing strong and are not about to stop anytime soon. The line up keeps growing better and more diverse. We will keep introducing acts to the youth of Soweto and Johannesburg at large.

This instalment is filled with diversity thanks to the DJ's and Live acts. Ill skills will be gracing the TSJS stage for the first time after their return from London where they were doing their 24hr mixtape ...project. This dynamic duo of Uno July and Jimmy Flexx will turn the stage into their home and make the crowd their guests. The Layders are back to showcase what they have for the masses from their forthcoming album on Soulcandi records. It must go into saying that this is the platform that got them to be signed and it’s good to have them grace us with their grown sound.

DJ Okapi's sound is that of African vibes and bubble gum all mixed with Vinyl. He is slowly making a name for himself in the Johannesburg scene and has already played at Dirty Secret and the 70 Juta opening. His selection is sure to school people and get them all nostalgic. Zakes is the hip hop/downtempo DJ that has been in the scene from long. Those that know him will tell you that he was there when DJ Mbuso was still starting out. He will be bringing along his “A” game for the TSJS crowd. Paledi and Kid Fonque don't need that much introduction. Both their selections are eclectic and will keep the crowd happy.

Comedy will be provided by Mpho "Popps" the second season runner up of so you think you funny. This young lad has been blowing up the scene... ask David Kau. As the one of few comedians to get a standing ovation at the Black Only comedy, we are proud to have him grace our stage. Opening for him will be Donovan.

DJ line up:
Kid Fonque

Live Acts:
Ill Skills
The Layders

Comedy: Mpho "Popps”


Price: R20 with no Thesis gear
R15 with Thesis gear
Time: 14H00

More information:
011 982 1182

Support the Equality Nine!

To:  Office of the City Attorney of San Diego We urge the San Diego Attorney General's office to drop all charges against the "Equality 9" local activists who were arrested on August 19, 2010 at the County Administration Building on Harbor Drive.

The Equality 9 engaged in a peaceful sit-in when the County Clerk would not issue Marriage Licenses to two same-sex couples that day, as they were willing to do for any opposite-sex couple that stepped into the office. The 9 were arrested by dozens of Sheriff's Deputies in full riot gear and military-style formation. They were shackled and marched out to buses, then were brought to jail where they were processed and spent several hours.

In the weeks before the sit-in, U.S. District Court Judge Walker ruled, "Because Proposition 8 disadvantages gays and lesbians without rational justification, Proposition 8 violates the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution." But yet Prop 8 lives on, thanks to a stay that was imposed until it is decided that its defenders have completely exhausted their appeals. We believe this is absurd; the courts should not suspend the people's constitutional rights until those who despise them are satisfied. The stay must be lifted.

Sign the petition here!

Photo from SF IndyMedia

The skills that pay the billz

Rochester grandmother evicted, Take Back the Land members arrested

How much sense does it make to forcibly evict a woman and her seven children from a home they already have and move them into a state-funded shelter?

Our brothers and sisters at Take Back the Land have been standing watch every day to try to prevent Catherine Lennon and her children from the house they used to own.  Today, Rochester police swept in and arrested six members and a neighbor who had the nerve to object to the eviction and to the 25 cruisers that invaded the neighborhood.  The International Alliance of Inhabitants has an eyewitness report of today's events. 

Last week at Arise a woman stopped in to pick up some flyers on the potential cuts in family shelters.  We were talking about homelessness and eventually she asked the classic question, one of the questions that helped start Arise.

"Why are there so many boarded up buildings and yet the shelters are full?"

You can ask that question tomorrow when you call your attorney general and ask her/him to negotiate the toughest settlement possible with the big banks.  Crime Doesn't Pay has a number you can call that will direct you automatically.  the site helps explaoin why every call is important.

Locally, you can support the No One Leaves  Campaign.  We're working to stop foreclosures and prevent evictions right here.  An eviction blockade may not be too far in the future.

A few more calls, if you're willing, on behalf of the Lennon family and Take Back the Night:

Make Calls to Step up Political Intervention
Voice your support for the family and your horror at the heavy-handed police tactics:

Rochester Mayoral Candidates
Mayoral candidate Alex White at 585-315- 7687
   Thank for his support
Mayoral candidate Bill Johnson at 585.465.9370
   Come out publicly to support the family and stop the eviction
Mayoral candidate Tom Richards at 585-697-0924
    Come out publicly to support the family and stop the eviction

U.S. Congress
Representative Louise Slaughter at 585-232-4850
    Pressure Fannie Mae to negotiate
Senator Chuck Schumer at 212-486-4430
    Pressure Fannie Mae to negotiate

Rochester City Council
Neighbor and Councilman Dana Miller at 585-428-6048
   Thank him for his support and tell him to keep on.

Rochester City Marshal
City Marshal Responsible or Eviction: Sande Macaluso at 585-544-4888

Trickle Down: Brisbane Trends

Cumming, C. 2011 - James Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane

Cumming, C. 2011 - James Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane

Cumming, C. 2011 - James Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane

According to Fashion Marketing (2007) The term fashion trend  refers to aspects of the appearance and construction of fashion products that relate to a particular season. Fashion Marketing (2007) also states that, fashion trends provide insight into the style and colour direction that future fashion products will take in their final form.

Whilst hanging out in local hot-spots we can see how seasonal runway collections have trickled down into local department stores and in some cases been effectively been turned into projects that can be done at home. (Polhemus, 1994). Whilst wondering the streets of Fortitude Valley, Brisbane  I met Clare who has perfectly captured the S/S 2011 Trend “Rocker Chick” Through her use of textured blacks that fall between solid and sheer mixes, multi-layered, punked-up python textured leather skirt, light jersey fabrics and her cropped midriff top which she heavily accessorised with inch long metal studs, finished with a pair of sheer tights and military style Doc Martins. Clare’s luxe grunge look has been sourced from the Balmain and Burberry Prorsums Spring 2011 Collection as seen this year at fashion week, Globally.

Next I met Georgia, a sweet girl with edgy style and the attitude to go with it. Georgia’s blushing pink, dove grey and black colour blocked modern day t-shirt dress has been made three dimensional through the use of thin delicate layers of silk. This loose silhouette dress resembles that of which we saw in the S/S 2010 Narciso Rodriguez collection. According to Nicole Phelps (2009) Rodriguez loosened up silhouettes dramatically and used materials such as silk, linen and organza to create three dimensional shift dresses that were equal parts arty and easy. This trend embodies the modern and minimal which according to Sue Evans (2010) are simply designed pieces with clean cut silhouettes enhanced with minimal detailing, softened shoulder lines and a stylish classic. Georgia has embraced the minimalism trend as her own coupling the dress with a pair of old vintage lace up ankle boots and simplistic silver beaded chains.

When I met Katia she was shy, but her outfit said otherwise. Her creative inventiveness was a draw card and her interpretation of the “Chic Nomad” look was eye catching. Katia’s threads consisted of a structural digital printed dress in A/W 2010 key trend colours civille, rust and black, draped in a powder coloured muslin wrap layered with a heavy duty metal belt. Katia’s look according to Sarah Clarke is inspired by an elegant and ladylike urban warrior look which spirals down from A/W 2010 collections such as Sass and Bide, Kenzo and Rodarte. Heidi Middleton from Sass and bide also described their collection as one about different cultures, different textures, and mediums all coming together. The Chic Nomad trend has taken on a layered feel of different textures and colour’s and Katia channeled it flawlessly with delicate little finishing touches, such as the  Xena warrior princess style metal belt and Caribbean infused fringe bag.  

I think that we will continue to see these trends on the street as they are simplistic and easy to re-invent and reproduce, which would be appropriate given the financial economic times following the Global Financial Crisis and as people recover from the recession or a jobless recovery, A key theme for 2011 according to Leona Melius (2011)


Evans, Sue. “S/S 2011 Key Items – Proportional Layering.” Last modified October 25, 2010.

Burberry Prorsum. 2011 “ Spring 2011 Ready-to-Wear collection”. Image. Accessed March 18, 2011.

Fitzpatrick, Cassie.“ Trends : Women’s Wear Trend Analysis – Textured Black.” Last modified May 19, 2010. track/features/2010/may/ti2010may19_091370.html

Cherry, Kate. “ London Fashion Week: Womenswear Street Shots, PT 2 – Layered.” Last modified March 9, 2011. to My WGSN

Rodriguez, Narciso. 2010 “Spring 2010 Ready-to-Wear”. Image. Accessed March 12, 2011.

Evans, Sue. “S/S 2011 Key Items – Modern & Minimal.” Last modified October 25, 2010.

 No Aurthur.
“ – Trend Report: Under Wraps” Last accessed March 9, 2011.

Mistry, Meenal.“Fall 2010- Ready-to-Wear - Sass and Bide” Last modified February 18, 2011.

Rodarte. 2010  “ Fall 2010 Ready-to-wear.” Images. Accessed March 10, 2011.

Kenzo. 2010  “ Fall 2010 Ready-to-wear.” Images. Accessed March 10, 2011.

Sass and Bide 2010 “ Fall 2010 Ready-to-wear.” Images. Accessed March 10, 2011

WGSN 2010. "Catwalk Colour Confirmation autumn/winter 2010/11" Images. Accessed March 11, 2011

Melius, Leona. 2011. “World Economic Forum 2011: Trend Analysis” WGSN. Accessed March 13, 2011.

Helped more than most? How about hurt more than most.

I saw this show advertised the other day and just from the synopsis I knew I wasn't going to watch it, never mind it was on the FOX network. But to have Stossel say Indians got the most help is ludicrous.

Take a minute and watch the video.

Stossel: No Group Has Had More Gov't Help Than American Indians (VID

Posted by: "" miketben1

Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:27 am (PDT)

_http://tpmmuckraker .talkingpointsme
11/03/stossel_ no_group_ has_had_more_ govt_help_ than_ameri_ 1.php_
(http://tpmmuckraker .talkingpointsme 03/stossel_ no_group_ has_had_more_ govt_help_ than_ameri_ 1.php)

Stossel: No Group Has Had More Gov't Help Than American Indians (VIDEO)
_Eric Lach_
(http://tpmmuckraker .talkingpointsme lach_1/2011/ 03/20-week/) | March 24, 2011,

Quick, which group has the U.S. government helped out the most? Wall Street, maybe? Or the unemployed? Oh, how about all those defense contractors? Wrong, says Fox News contributor John Stossel. As far as Stossel is concerned, it's Native Americans. Stossel was on Fox & Friends this morning to discuss some high-paying government jobs _recently reported_
(http://dailycaller. com/2011/ 03/23/uncle- sam-shelling- out-big-bucks- for-government- jobs-gop- says-time- to-cut/#ixzz1HWS fd
0TM) in The Daily Caller. The report found that the "Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs needs someone to run the Facebook page for the Dept. of the Interior and they'll pay up to $115,000 a year." Stossel took that as an opportunity to wonder about the entire concept of a Bureau of Indian  Affairs. "Why is there a Bureau of Indian Affairs?" he said. "There is no Bureau of Puerto Rican Affairs or Black Affairs or Irish Affairs. And no group in America has been more helped by the government than the American Indians, because we have the treaties, we stole their land. But 200 years later, no group does worse."  Established in 1824, Indian Affairs is the oldest bureau of the United States Department of the Interior. Among other responsibilities, the Bureau is charged with "maintaining the federal government-to- government relationship with the federally recognized Indian tribes," _according_
(http://www.bia. gov/FAQs/ index.htm) to its website.

Graphic from DistortedSmile's photostream at Flickr.

Help us build the anti-biomass movement! Sign this petition!

Local opposition to biomass is building toward a bigger can help by signing this petition calling for a three year moratorium on biomass plants!

Citizen Petition Seeking a Moratorium on Biomass Electricity Projects

Jobs? Or Jobs with Justice for All?

I spent all day yesterday at the Western Mass Jobs with Justice Conference.  I thought it was good-- even better than last year-- and more diverse.  Bill Fletcher was  a very thought-provoking speaker.

Got home and then, after getting the cats settled, did what I usually do after a day out:  looked at the news online   Channel 3 had a little article about a job fair scheduled for Taunton, MA that had to be canceled because not enough employers signed up-- not enough jobs!

This got me thinking about the workshop I had just attended, Good Green Jobs.  I didn't know it was going to be mostly about the Mt. Tom coal-burning energy plant in Holyoke, but  had already heard that the coalition organized around Mt. Tom issues was working on a strategy to preserve jobs as well as trying to move Mt. Tom beyond coal.

Here in Springfield,  where we're organizing to stop a biomass incinerator, the plant proponents that I have the most sympathy with are the building trade unions that want the jobs the plant would bring.  Of course, the question we ask back to them is, At what cost are you willing to take those jobs?  And who will pay the price?

The format of yesterday's workshop was that we all sat at three tables, and the workshop facilitators rotated among us.  The last facilitator to join my table was Brian Kenney, IBEW Local 455, who is the business manager for workers at the Mt. Tom plant.  He told us about the significant improvements in air quality that the plant had made this year after installing new scrubbers.  He also mentioned that Mt. Tom is a peak-load plant-- that is, doesn't put electricity into the system 24/7, but only on those days when it is called for.  Meanwhile, the boilers operate non-stop in case they are needed, and-- I don't think I got this wrong-- burn 1,200 tons of coal a day even when not generating electricity!

I do think it took some courage for him to come to the conference, and I had no desire to be rude.  When it was time for questions, I asked him if he and other workers would be willing to work elsewhere if the wages and benefits were just as good.  (I know you lose the solidarity of people you've worked with for years.)

"Those jobs don't exist," he said.
"Yeah, but if they did exist?"
"Well, yeah, but..."

Then someone else mentioned that the coal burned from Mt. Tom comes from Colombia.  Mr. Kenney said he had just heard that, had always thought it was U.S. coal, but maybe it was Colombian.

This led me to ask if he knew anything about the working conditions on the mining end of the operation, and he said he didn't.

When I got home last night, I did an internet search for the source of Mt. Tom's coal, and came across this informative post at Students for a Just and Stable Future.

Last year, more than 100 Colombian coal-miners died at work. Just five weeks into 2011, the death toll already stands at 26. Other than the ties that bind us all together as humans, what do these deaths in Colombia have to do with us in Massachusetts? The connector is coal: The coal we burn at Mount Tom, Holyoke, comes from Colombia.

How does the coal get from Colombia to Massachusetts? Helpfully, the Wall Street Journalprovides the names of the major companies that own coal mines in Colombia. One of them is BHP Billiton, an Australian company that dedicated $4 million to crushing Kevin Rudd’s surtax proposal. BHP Billiton’s shares were up 0.8% today. Others include Xstrata (up 1.26%) and Anglo American (also up by more than 1%).

As connect-the-dots puzzles go, this one is not very elaborate. GDF Suez imports Colombian coal from companies like BHP Billiton. It burns the coal in power stations like Mount Tom, Holyoke. A lackadaisical approach to workplace safety in Colombia leads to the deaths of miners, and a cavalier attitude to climate safety leads to floods in Australia. What are the common factors joining the Australian and Colombian tragedies? We are. And we are doing something about it.
I've posted before about my apparently deathless idealism about unions.  Of course, I've never been in a union, which helps to preserve my ideals.  And I acknowledge the cognitive dissonance we all live with in Corporate U.S.A.-- electric lights burn in all our houses and we know way too little about the working conditions of those who grow our food and make our clothes. But once we do know, we can start to make choices.

Is it too much to ask that Mt. Tom workers consider their brothers in Colombia?  What does solidarity mean in 2011? 

AP Photo: Woman waits for news of a relative after a Colombian mine explosion this year.

Straight, not narrow

From the new Straight, but Not Narrow website:

Straight, gay, and everything in between…. why does it matter?

Straight But Not Narrow was started by asking that very question.
There have been a number of great campaigns and charities that have recently emerged to show support to gay youth & teens. However, we noticed one significant niche missing in the efforts…. the message to the young, straight male. It’s an unfortunate reality that most of the bullying and harassment that gay teens face comes from them. It is for this reason that we are building a campaign that is primarily directed to the young, straight male by using comedy and their peers to positively influence their views on LGBT teens.
So, whether you like girls, you like guys, you like both, you like neither (well, that would kinda suck, but you get the idea)…. what difference does it really make? There’s a whole lot more to a person than who they date. And yeah, we’re all different. But we believe that it’s those differences that make us interesting. Why would we all want to be exactly the same? Where’s the excitement in that?
Just be you. Cause that’s good enough for us.

One hour for the earth

After you get back from the Jobs with Justice conference...after you've made supper...after you've found a candle and a good book...turn off your lights and give one hour to the earth!

Friday Highday.

Such a perfect day today. I escaped on my lunch break to take these photos outside my office.

Expect to see a trend post on Monday !

Have a wonderful weekend ...

Gen Y Creatives.

Gen Y (The children of the baby boomers) have the skills to change everything. We have better photographers, better designers, more creative minds, more skills, more resources and better technology. It's no wonder it's so competitive out there. With so many opportunities and so much accessible with basically just a click of a mouse we are seeing the younger generation dominate the creative industry. With the use of facebook and other social media tools, a young entrepreneur doesn't even need serious capital any more to get started, its just a matter of uploading pictures and showing the world what you have to offer. It's basically like and online CV/Resume that screams to the people you network with HEY THIS IS WHAT I CAN DO!! I find myself using facebook less less for my friends stalking people  but more for finding new young talent yet to be discovered or recognised. My friends are doing it, the whole world is doing it and I know that there is multitudes of success coming from it.

An example of some the Shazam-bam-wham shit that is out there right now, that I am ever so fortunate in been able to say that I am affiliated with these young kids and can I just say ... they are only getting started.

I present to you Lunatic Designs  by Clare Eastgate
Photographed by Malt Verdelet Images 

All Designs are made to order, Clare can be contacted here or check out her facebook page here

If I were number 131.....

Petitions by|Start a Petition »
The City of Gainesville, Florida has recently imposed a 130-meals-a-day limit to area soup kitchens. St. Francis House is one soup kitchen who has enacted this limit. The commissioners of Gainesville could immediately rescind this limit. St. Francis House and other area service agencies would not need to be involved at all.

At a recent City Hall meeting, an 8 year-old girl named Mackenzie Case said, "It makes me sad that we have hungry people we aren't allowed to feed." She also held a hand-written sign that said, "If I was No. 131 you wouldn't feed me?"

The pleas of this courageous little girl speaks volumes. She has the dignity and reason that is somehow lost among the commissioners. We need to let the City of Gainesville know just how outrageous and inhumane this limit is.

In these uncertain financial times, we are all one paycheck away from being homeless. This is not rhetoric, it is a scary fact. Food is incredibly expensive. If a family is forced to pay even more money out of pocket to feed their family, they become even closer to losing their home and other necessities. This is why soup kitchens and food pantries are critical assets to each city. Enacting a limit may lead to less of a financial strain on the city for the short term, but having to provide services to many more homeless individuals and families in the long term will certainly cost much more. Preventing the problem is ALWAYS less expensive than attempting to manage it.

Soup kitchens exist to help meet the basic needs of all of us. We are ALL deserving of a hot meal. Without food, a person cannot possibly thrive. The cycle of poverty will no doubt continue. Each city needs to work to meet these basic needs to ensure that each person can get one step closer to moving out of this dangerous cycle.

Please join us in demanding the city of Gainesville to overturn this limit! It is up to the city - not up to each soup kitchen. Help us prevent another family from going hungry.


Hear Bill Fletcher Jr. this Saturday!

Stop the war on the workers!  What sort of movement do we need to lead a fight back, defend and expand our rights, and win good jobs meeting people's needs?
The public is invited to hear Bill Fletcher, Jr., longtime labor, racial justice, and international activist, address this question.

Saturday March 26 ~ 10:45 AM - Holyoke Community College ~ Kittredge Center, 303 Homestead Avenue, Holyoke,
get directions here <> ; use Kittredge Center parking
lot: lot E <> ).

Bill Fletcher, Jr., is the Director of Field Services & Education for the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the International Labor Rights Forum, member of the editorial board of The Black Commentator, on the advisory board of Progressive Democrats of America, and a co-founder of the Center for Labor Renewal. He is the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum, a national non-profit organization organizing, educating, and advocating for policies
in favor of the peoples of Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Fletcher was the Belle Zeller Visiting Professor in political science at Brooklyn College-CUNY for two years.  Fletcher is also a co-founder of the
Black Radical Congress and is a Senior Scholar for the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC.

CONFERENCE: Making Connections ~ with Jobs with Justice, with Each Other, with the People ~ to Defend our Rights!

You are welcome to attend the speech or the entire conference.  But we need you to register if you want lunch after Bill speaks.

There is NO COST to attend this conference. It is fully underwritten by the grants and donations of generous supporters. We invite you to add your donation to the donations of our sponsors. Please visit or donate at the conference.

To have lunch, you must register online <> here by noon on Tuesday March 22.

WHEN YOU REGISTER, please note: At HCC's request, because we are using the Kittredge Center rooms for free, we are using their online course registration software. You will not be charged for this event. Ignore the payment language and the penny charge required by the shopping cart software to enable online registration. To register: Click here <> .
Click "Add to Cart",   Click "Proceed to Checkout"., Enter your personal information ("Student Information"). At "Choose one payment method" select "FREE WORKSHOPS ONLY". Answer "Additional Questions" marked with red star. In "Comments" box, say if you want vegetarian lunch or have other
needs. Click "Check out".You will get a confirmation letter by email and real mail.

This conference is a Tabling Opportunity for Progressive Organizations from 10 to 11am: send request to by Wednesday March 23.

Info, help with registration: 827-0301 x1,

EPA and dioxin: Ask Cong. Neal to sign on

In February, I got the following letter from the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, asking that we get our local congresspeople to sign on to a Dear Colleague letter to Lisa Jackson at the EPA.  I've called Cong. Neal's office a couple of times, but he hasn't signed on yet.

Won't you take a couple of minutes to call him and urge him to sign on?  The Springfield office number is (413) 785-0325

Dear friends,
 We’re working with U.S. Rep. Markey’s office on a “dear colleague” sign-on letter from members of the U.S. House of Rep. to EPA on their Dioxin Reassessment, which has been delayed for 20 years thanks to the chemical industry.  Rep. Markey’s office started circulating the “dear colleague” letter for possible House co-signators yesterday.
Can you contact your member of Congress and ask them to sign on to the letter? 
 EPA is being aggressively lobbied and targeted by the chemical industry and Republican members of Congress on this issue, and it’s therefore critically important that EPA hears from members of Congress letting them know they want EPA to do the right thing.
 If you can help, please let me know so we can track who’s contacting whom.
 Thank you.
 Best, Mike Schade, CHEJ, 212 964 3680,

Waste not Want not.

A fantastic article that my lecturer shared with us recently.

"Zero-waste rather than size zero is becoming the focus of fashion designers worldwide."
(See the rest of the article here)

I'd love to see more designers trying this concept, I can only honestly see good coming from it all. CAN YOU IMAGINE THE DESIGNS ?

I'm honestly picturing gathering and layering and uneven lengths in beautiful light flowy fabrics. It's amazing that ...
"Current conventional garment production methods see 15 per cent of fabric wasted"
Maybe they should consider donating scraps ? Surely there is some young designer out there who could use  left over designer fabric scraps to create something amazing for everyone to see ? OR ... could you imagine entire  Ready-to-wear Alexander McQueen or Chanel  line completely constructed out of of scrap fabric ?

I'm picturing something like this ?


Embraced and long-loved.

Last week I talked about Fast Fashion and how I'm all for it etc etc. I would just like to take this moment to re-phrase what I meant. I love fast fashion ... because I can afford it, I do how ever ADORE high end designs/designers and the beautiful pieces of art they create season after season. I keeps me on the edge of my seat just waiting for more, while at the same time the feeling it leaves me, continues to eat away my stomach lining and I feel horrible and miserable in knowing that I have Buckley's chance of ever wearing some of the extravagant pieces that we see every year at the New York, London, Paris, Milan Fashion week shows. How ever this may be so, it will never put a cork on the uncontrollable feelings I have towards fashion.

I read this article the other day about "Slow Fashion". I think it summarises exactly what I mean perfectly.

Both the designers — the rising star Mr. Ackermann and Christophe Lemaire, the new arrival at Herm├Ęs — are dealing in “slow fashion,” with a belief that fine clothes should be made with exquisite materials and are meant to be embraced and long-loved. “It’s the malady of our industry. Always to go quicker and quicker and that everything should be instant. You can’t produce quality without time,” said Mr. Lemaire"  (See whole article here)

Hermes, by Christophe Lemaire, for autumn/winter 2011, in Paris

Happy Monday.

Photos from my Sydney trip (Paddington Markets)

PRE developer tries a fast one - AFSC responds!

To: Secretary Richard K. Sullivan; Assistant Secretary Alicia B. McDevitt; and Ms. Deirdre Buckley

I understand that you are in receipt of a “fail-safe” petition asking for additional MEPA review of the PRE biomass incinerator. Although PRE lawyers seek to imply (fraudulently, I believe) that we no longer oppose this project, we most emphatically do express our opposition and support this petition as one that asks for a review that the special situation in the Springfield region demands.

The American Friends Service Committee sent in the attached letter, and sent a follow-up email asking why it had not shown up on the list of comments – and I was informed that I had missed a deadline, and therefore my comments would not be posted.  To now have that be interpreted as an implicit endorsement of the project is a perversion of our position and a demonstrable deception on the part of the PRE legal team, as I have since been quoted in a press release as being opposed to the project, and have recently publically spoken out against the project and the PRE chief lawyer in particular at a hearing – and was then quoted in the newspaper the following day.  There can be no doubt that the legal team was aware of this, as I spoke quite fervently in opposition to his and PRE’s continued pursuit of the project.

Furthermore, when I spoke out in opposition to this project, I pointed out that I live less than 4 miles away from this plant, in the town of Springfield.  The quote “very few [commenters] live near the project site” is an inappropriate characterization of the opposition to this project.

Lest there be any confusion, the American Friends Service Committee of Western Massachusetts, and I personally, oppose the PRE incineration project as a threat to our community (on environmental, health, and economic grounds). Please feel free to forward these comments to the folks at Mackie, Shea, and O’Brien, though it is likely unnecessary, because I think it’s clear they were aware of AFSC’s continued opposition, despite their claims otherwise.


Jeff Napolitano
Western Massachusetts Program
American Friends Service Committee

Graphic from Baylor Hospital's photostream at Flickr.

Foreclosure protect Thursday, March 24!

THURSDAY MARCH 24TH, 2011 @ 10:30 AM
(Park on side street OR in Big Y parking lot on St. James Avenue approx. 2 blocks away)On February 22nd, residents and allies gathered to protest (See Video Here & Press Coverage Here) the foreclosure auction of Ms. Inez Williams, who is 71 years old, home. We successfully stopped the foreclosure auction being carried out by MidFirst bank. But MidFirst Bank continues to refuse to work with Ms. Williams. We plan to step up the pressure and show up in force next Thursday to support Ms. Williams and her son. JOIN US! 
We are protesting to do something very specific: send a message to any potential investor, and to MidFirst Bank, that we will resist any attempted eviction of this family. If your business plan involves eviction, you might as well go home!
  • IF THE HOME IS FORECLOSED, DON'T EVICT! Sell Back to Ms. Williams at real market value OR accept reasonable rent from the Williams family!
For more information, please visit or call 413-734-4948