Friday, July 18, 2008

Peace Action Alert

Upper Hudson Peace Action Alert

Now, before any irreversible steps are taken, is the time for us to speak out against any U.S. military attack on Iran.

On Monday, July 21st, join the nationwide call in day to make sure your member of Congress knows there is strong opposition to military action against Iran in his or her district. The call in day is sponsored by United for Peace and Justice. It only takes a few minutes to place a local phone call.

Pressure on Congress is critical right now as it considers House Congressional Resolution 362. Unfortunately both Michael McNulty and Kirsten Gillibrand have joined 102 House Democrats and 117 Republicans to cosponsor this resolution against Iran that demands President Bush "initiate an international effort" to impose a land, sea, and air blockade on Iran to prevent it from importing gasoline and to inspect all cargo entering or leaving Iran. Imposing such a blockade without UN authority could be widely construed as an act of war. Ask them to remove their names from co-sponsorship.

Phone numbers:

Congressman Michael McNulty, (518) 465-0700

Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand
, (518) 581-8247

Upper Hudson Peace Action, 33 Central Avenue, Albany, NY 12210 463-5907,

Dissent: Voices of Conscience

Col. (ret.) Ann Wright, author of Dissent: Voices of Conscience
Tuesday, August 12, 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Albany Public Library
161 Washington Avenue, Albany

Ann Wright will speak at the Albany Public Library while she is in the Capital Region for the Kateri Tekakwitha Peace Conference. Ann Wright's new book, Dissent: Voices of Conscience, profiles of those in government and active-duty military who have spoken out, leaked documents, resigned, or refused to deploy to protest the war in Iraq. The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression named Dissent their book of the month for February 2008.

Daniel Ellsberg wrote the foreword. "This … illuminating and remarkably impressive … book should be leaked into the government. … This book could awaken … officials to withdraw their complicity and … tell the truth to [the public]. This country will not escape further human, legal, and moral catastrophes, or preserve itself as a democratic, constitutional republic, if that does not happen. If you're at all like me, you will have a whole set of new heroes when you finish reading this. …Dissent: Voices of Conscience could change your life." — from the Foreword, by Daniel Ellsberg. Please see for further information.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Sidney Albert Albany Jewish Community Center Auditorium
Thursday, July 17, 2008

6:00 pm Dessert and Coffee
7:00 p.m. Program w/ Q&A

Confirmed Attendees include:
Tracy Brooks, Democrat
Jim Buhrmaster, Republican
Darius Shahinfar, Democrat
Phil Steck, Democrat
Paul Tonko, Democrat
Steven Vasquez, Republican


Candidates will speak for 3 minutes each, answer some Q&A’s and mingle with those in attendance prior to formal program at 7:00 p.m. Come meet the people who want to fill Mike McNulty’s seat and make decisions for your future as the next Congress person from the 21st District from our district.

For more information or to sign-up call the NNORC at 514-2023.
Limited Seating.

Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NNORC) is an interfaith partnership led by Jewish Family Services of NENY, and also includes Senior Services of Albany, Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, United Jewish Federation of NENY, St. Peter's Home Care and CHOICES program, Catholic Charities, Sidney Albert Albany Jewish Community Center, and University at Albany School of Social Welfare. NNORC's allow adults to remain in their homes, and give them opportunities for social interaction and increased health and social services.

Welcome Picnic for Iraqi Refugees

A reader asked that we share this mesage, and we at Albany Catholic are glad to oblige.

Welcome Picnic for Iraqi Refugees
Saturday, July 19, 1:30 - 5:30 (rain or shine!)
Islamic Center of the Capital District,
21 Lansing Rd. N., Schenectady, 12204
(off Central Ave., just past Ethan Allen on the right, going west)

Please join the Iraqi Refugee Support Committee for Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, Women’s Association for Family Affairs, and Women Against War in welcoming Iraqi refugees to the Capital District. Approximately one dozen Iraqi families have been re-settled in the Albany area in the past 6-8 months, and many new families will be arriving shortly. We hope you will join us in welcoming them to our community. The gathering will be hosted by the Islamic Center of the Capital District. Our generous hosts will provide picnic foods. You may bring a dish or dessert to share if you wish. We will break bread with our new Iraqi neighbors and provide them with dictionaries and other items to help ease their transition into life in Albany.

This event is free and open to all members of the peace community. You will have the opportunity to make a tax deductible donation to support the Iraqi families as they begin new lives, as well as the Iraqi student who will be studying at Union College as part of the Iraqi Student Project (

If you cannot attend, checks for support of the refugee families can be made out to the Islamic Center of the Capital District, memo line: “ Iraqi Refugee Project”, and mailed to ICCDNY, 21 Lansing Rd. N., Schenectady, 12204. To contribute to the Iraqi student at Union College, please make your check out to Union College, memo line: “Restricted to account #45841”, and mail to Records, Attn: Kathleen D. McCann, Union College Schenectady, NY 12308. Donations to the Union fund can also be made online: and follow the instructions. Please include the memo: “Restricted to account #45841”

For more information contact: Carole Ferraro, 518.463.0095, or Elaine Hills, 518.439.8262.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Carter and Reagan

Today's Daily News has an interesting column by Richard Cohen:
Those of you with keen memories may recall that the energy crisis is not new. In 1977, Jimmy Carter called it the "moral equivalent of war." In the sort of speech a politician rarely delivers, he told a not particularly grateful nation that his energy program was going to hurt, but "a policy which does not ask for changes or sacrifices would not be an effective policy." The core of his initiative was conservation. Carter had earlier asked us to lower the thermostat and wear a sweater. He wore one himself.

Ronald Reagan, who followed Carter to the White House, wore only a smile. For him, there was no energy crisis. Whereas Carter had insisted only the government could manage the energy crisis, Reagan in his first inaugural demanded that government get out of the way. Speaking of general economic conditions at the time, he said, "Government is not the solution to our problem." He went on to call for America to return to greatness, to "reawaken this industrial giant," and all sorts of swell things would happen. It was wonderful stuff.

To contrast the two speeches is like comparing the screeching of a cat to the miracles of Mozart. Yet today, Carter's speech reads as prescient. Most of his dire predictions - "It is a problem we will not solve in the next few years, and it is likely to get progressively worse through the rest of this century" - have generally come true, although not quite as soon or calamitously as he warned. The pity of it all is that in American politics, being right is beside the point.

Albany Catholic recommends you read the entire article here.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Christian Nation Movement

A friend recently sent us a blog item about the “The Christian Nation Movement.”
Pat Robertson has often commented that the phrase "separation of church and state" appears in the Soviet not the United States Constitution and that "our judicial establishment [has successfully imposed] the Soviet strictures on the United States." While Robertson's views were once on the fringe of the Republican Party, today they are echoed by Republican leaders such as former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Senate Conference Chairman Rick Santorum.

The Republicans are actively seeking to implement their vision of a Christian nation through programs such as the Faith-Based Initiative which seeks to expand the role of faith-based organizations ("FBOs") in providing federally funded social services. In implementing this program, the Bush administration removed several constitutionally required safeguards (e.g., allowing federal funds to build religious structures) and limited oversight to "self-audits". Not surprisingly, courts have found a number of grants to FBOs, such as a grant to instruct nursing students on the use of prayer as a therapeutic practice, to be unconstitutional.

Christian nation advocates should leave their red state cocoon and stand on the banks of theProvidence River. For this is where Roger Williams, who had been banished from Massachusetts by the Puritans for his religious views, founded the colony of Rhode Island in 1636 based on his vision that there should be a "wall of Separation between the Garden of the Church and the Wilderness of the world,'" and that religious freedom must extend to all and not just Christians. As a result of Williams' vision, Rhode Island became known as "the safest refuge of conscience" and home to the New World's first Baptist Church and synagogue.

The seed sown by Williams ultimately blossomed into the First Amendment, which in the words of Thomas Jefferson prohibits Congress from enacting any "law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state." While it is true that the actual phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear in the First Amendment, the concept was invoked by the First Amendment's author, James Madison, who explained that "[t]he purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries." The Founders also addressed the Christian nation question in the Treaty of Tripoli, signed under President Washington and ratified under President Adams, which states that "the Government of the United States of Americais not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion."

You can read the entire article here.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Proof That God Loves America

The website has an item titled The Top 10 Foods Only America Could Have Invented:
When it comes to food, America gets a bad rap. It’s a common refrain that America has no cuisine to call our own. We’ve got apple pie and hot dogs, but that’s about it. (And when you really get down to it, the Germans invented hot dogs, and the British were eating apple pie like 1,000 years ago.)

But the truth is, America does have a cuisine to call it’s own. Over the past 232 years we’ve invented some of the most creative, daring, and yes, downright craziest dishes the world has ever seen. Sure, they can be overly greasy, a little too cheesy, and sometimes fried a few times too many. But they’re ours. So to celebrate Independence Day, we’ve put together this list of the best foods that only a country with just the right combination of greed, grit, and gluttony could have possibly dreamed up.

We at Albany Catholic believe this is further proof that God loves America, but we admit that we might be thinking with our stomachs rather than with our brains. The entire article is available here.