Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bach Mass in B Minor - April 26, 27

Betsy Tuel sent word of an upcoming concert:

The Ulster Choral Society and Camerata Chorale are excited to present a performance of the Mass in B Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach. This monumental work set the standard for settings of the Latin Mass.

The combined choirs will be joined by professional soloists and the Bach-Handel Festival Orchestra to make this a highly polished performance.

Performance dates are:
Saturday, April 26, 8:00 PM, at the United Methodist Church in Poughkeepsie (just south of Vassar college)

Sunday, April 27, 4:00 PM, at the St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in New Paltz (just west of SUNY New Paltz)

Admission: Probably about $15, with discounts for seniors and students.

More Information: Bill Tuel 658-9532

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Karpova v. Snow Brief Filed with Supreme Court

From Judith Karpova:

Today, the fifth anniversary of the 2003 US attack on Iraq, attorneys Michael Sussman and Stephen Bergstein filed a brief to the Supreme Court to defend me against the prosecution of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury Department: Judith Karpova v. John Snow, Secretary, Department of the Treasury, United States of America.

Five years ago, in February and March of 2003, I went to Iraq with an international movement called the Human Shields to defend the UN designated civilian infrastructure of that country, such as water treatment plants and power generating stations. Such sites had been bombed by the US in the 1991 Gulf War, with catastrophic results for the Iraqi civilian population. The Human Shields had the larger ambition of bringing enough Western people into Iraq to prevent the war from going forward. Though failing in this greater goal, the sites we lived on during the 2003 war were not bombed. We were hosted by an Iraqi tourism ministry which provided food, lodgings and transportation within the country.

The Treasury Department accuses me of supporting the pre-war Iraqi economy by allegedly buying food and thus breaking the economic embargo against Iraq. As if, had I spent a few dollars, I could have undermined the entire US effort, going on for twelve years, to impoverish and starve the Iraqi people. Over a million Iraqi people died as a direct result of these sanctions, from the lack of banned medication and from untreated water. The embargo had become an international scandal.

The war which did go forward in 2003 is beyond a scandal. The Bush administration has again destroyed the country's infrastructure, used cluster bombs and depleted uranium against it citizens, handed over Iraq's reconstruction money to political cronies, and economically looted the country. It is closing in on seizing its oil reserves. In the desperate scarcity it has created, the administration uses US taxpayer money to pay every Iraqi sect and militia to kill each other. It has killed at least another million Iraqi people through these policies and driven millions more from their homes. The US soldiers trying to contain the Iraqi insurgency are treated as throwaways, denied protective equipment in the field and care when they return. While the administration borrows trillions of dollars to pay for its oil war in Iraq, it attempts to punish me and other humanitarian travelers for witnessing pre-war Iraq and stating that Iraqi lives are no less important than our own.

This Administration has a policy of impunity. The war itself was based on unconfirmed assertions and actually forged documents. Mercenary contractors commit atrocities in Iraq and are immune from prosecution because they're neither part of the military nor subject to US civilian law. Iraq itself is not permitted to prosecute any foreign contractors and these contractors fail to rebuild, but get paid anyway. Paul Bremer, the administrator of Iraq in 2003, says he's not subject to law because the Coalition Provisional Authority was not an entity of the US government. In my case the courts mirror this culture of impunity. Without a hearing, without having to submit any evidence or proof to an impartial judge or jury, the Treasury Department has both accused and convicted me of supporting the Iraqi economy by my humanitarian travel there prior to the war. In his memorandum to the Southern District Court of New York State, the US Attorney notes that the (Federal) Second Circuit "has declined to attach talismanic significance to the availability of an oral hearing."[1] A talisman is an object thought to have magical powers. This is apparently what the government now thinks of due process -- as a kind of superstition. Thus far the state and Federal Courts have upheld this denial of due process. I have filed to the Supreme Court today to ask if the culture of impunity has engulfed them as well. Do they also find due process nothing more than a superstition, or is it instead part of our Constitution, which they need to uphold?

[1] US District Court Southern District of New York, Judith Karpova against John Snow, 05 Civ. 5812 (CM) ECF Case p. 11

Have you subscribed to

From Ruth Wahtera:

I recommend that everyone subscribe to

Here's a video from them (they publish one a week) about spam.

If you're not familiar with them, they
are a nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in US politics. They are sponsored by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Here's an update they sent today about the political chain emails we all receive. They also analyze all the speeches, ads, debates, etc. from every candidate in all parties. Recently they added coverage of important court elections.

That Chain E-mail Your Friend Sent to You Is (Likely) Bogus. Seriously.
March 18, 2008
by Lori Robertson
We’ve noticed that chain e-mails, particularly those about politics, have a lot of things in common: urgent and frightening messages; spelling errors; a tendency to blame mainstream media for not telling the real story; and false, misleading, utterly bogus, and completely off-base claims.

If there was ever a case where readers should apply a guilty-until-proven-innocent standard, this is it. We at ask the public to be skeptical about politicians’ claims. With these e-mails, outright cynicism is justified. Assume all such messages are wrong, and you'll be right most of the time.

Note: This is a summary only. The full article with analysis, images and citations may be viewed on our Web site:

The Perito Moreno Glacier Video

From Caroline Paulson:




Thursday, March 13, 2008

Art of an American Dream

From Arlene Bruck:
We're very proud that one of the students AAUW honored during the holidays, Cayetano Navarrete, is the youngest artist selected for a solo show at the Woodstock Artists Association Museum. He is a junior at Kingston High School.

Do make an effort to see Cayetano's show which continues through April 7th.

Daily Freeman - Art of an American Dream: "A Kingston High School student in search of the 'American Dream' has reached a significant reality. At the age of 16, he is believed to be the youngest person ever selected for a solo show at the Woodstock Artists Association Museum.

He is Cayetano Navarrete, and his exhibition of recent works, primarily mixed-media with paintings, photos and prints, opens from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the museum, 28 Tinker St., in Woodstock. The exhibit continues through April 7."

[Read more of the Freeman article by Bonnie Langston]

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Miss Pettigrew and Pay Equity

From Garnette Arledge

Do you read Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster especially Howard’s End, Jane Austen and enjoy the film Cold Comfort Farm?

If your response to the above list is positive, go see Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, now playing in Woodstock. The main character reminds me of the AAUW mission, spirit and spunk. The underlying theme relates to our recent telephone conference call on Pay Equity – something only distantly addressed in the ‘merry romp’ as the Washington Post critic called it. Neither of the women character’s have economic safety nets, hence their desperation as well as their wiles.

Click here for a cheeky review, anti-ageist although it means to be cute. Read it, if I haven’t convinced you that you might enjoy this bittersweet comedy on the last few moments before Hitler’s Blitz. Somehow we leave the cinema knowing Miss Pettigrew and her ilk will triumph, just as they did, and we will, this epoch as well.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Brain Games in Rhinebeck

From Garnette Arledge:

Life Long Learning Institute at Bard, Member Joanne Gelb is starting a new BRAIN GAMES class in Rhinebeck.

New participants are welcome to join the class which will meet every Wednesday at the Starr Library, 66 W. Market Street in Rhinebeck beginning March 12 at 1 PM.

Registration is not required. Just show up.

Brain Games is a fun program for senior citizens using memory games and puzzles to help them expand their brain power. A volunteer leader guides the class of all skill levels through a series of mental exercises designed to stimulate and challenge their brain.

Age-related mental decline is expected to affect nearly 84 million people worldwide by the year 2040, but according to the National Institute on Aging, recent studies have found senior citizens who exercise their brains with games using reasoning, speed and memory have long-lasting benefits.

A large study published in the December 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association showed the positive effects of regular brain exercise can last five years or more.

If you have any questions, call Joanne at 876-8799.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Can You Pass a Citizenship Test?

From Garnette Arledge: How well can you do?

Independence Day Quiz
Every day thousands leave their homelands to settle here in the land of the free. Before they become citizens they are required to take a citizenship test and score 80%.

Could you pass this test if you took it today?

Our quiz is made up of 20 questions found on the actual citizenship test with a few curveballs in the mix.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Pew Report Finds More than One in 100 Adults are Behind Bars

From Ruth Wahtera:
Seems like it's time to revisit our policies and our budget priorities.

Pew Report Finds More than One in 100 Adults are Behind Bars: "The report points out the necessity of locking up violent and repeat offenders, but notes that prison growth and higher incarceration rates do not reflect a parallel increase in crime, or a corresponding surge in the nation’s population at large. Instead, more people are behind bars principally because of a wave of policy choices that are sending more lawbreakers to prison and, through popular “three-strikes” measures and other sentencing laws, imposing longer prison stays on inmates.

As a result, states’ corrections costs have risen substantially. Twenty years ago, the states collectively spent $10.6 billion of their general funds—their primary discretionary dollars—on corrections. Last year, they spent more than $44 billion in general funds, a 315 percent jump, and more than $49 billion in total funds from all sources. Coupled with tightening state budgets, the greater prison expenditures may force states to make tough choices about where to spend their money. For example, Pew found that over the same 20-year period, inflation-adjusted general fund spending on corrections rose 127 percent while higher education expenditures rose just 21 percent."

Saturday, March 1, 2008

AAUW Pre-Trip Program: Enjoying Tosca

Whether or not you plan to attend the NYC Opera production of Tosca with us, you'll enjoy this special pre-trip program.

Our speaker, Raoul di Blasi, age 91, is still active as a Kingston voice and piano teacher. He discusses the opera, Tosca, with great affection. You'll spend a delightful hour enriching your appreciation of the opera.

“Why not come for the talk and then go out to dinner with the glorious arias of Tosca in your ears,” suggests Vivi.

When: Friday, March 14, at 4 p.m.
Where: the Kingston Area Library

This program, and all of our trips, are open to the public

The Kingston Branch of AAUW trip to the New York City Opera for Tosca is Saturday, April 5. Seats are available for the bus and opera, or you can choose the bus trip alone. You'll find details on the trip here.