Howard County Greens Weblog

The Green Party Local in Howard County, Maryland.

29 March 2006


The Iraq War, National Security and War Powers

(from the Village-Green mailing list)

At the Montgomery County Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, 3rd floor, Rockville. (Directions below)

Candidates hoping to occupy Senator Paul Sarbanes' soon-to-be-vacated seat will answer questions on U.S. actions and obligations in Iraq; national security; the role of the Senate in relation to presidential "war powers," warrantless domestic surveillance, the treatment of detainees, and related issues. The questions will come from the forum organizers and the
audience. (The forum is free and open to the public.)

Candidates who have confirmed their participation are Robert Kaufman, Allan Lichtman, Thomas McCaskill, Kweisi Mfume, Joshua Rales, Lise Van Susteren, and
Kevin Zeese.

The forum will be moderated by Terry D. Kester, co-host of the WPFW show "What's at Stake."

The forum is sponsored by the Montgomery County Coalition for Alternatives to War (McCAW) and the Montgomery County Progressive Alliance. Endorsing organizations include Maryland United for Peace and Justice, The Gray Panthers, PeaceAction Montgomery, The Campaign for Fresh Air and Clean Politics, and the Social Justice Committee of the Cedar Lane Unitarian

Directions to the County Office Building:

BY CAR: From Silver Spring area: take Viers Mill toward Rockville; Viers Mill beomes East Jefferson St (Rt 28 East) as soon as you cross Rockville Pike, turn left at Monroe St . and see immediately the garage for the building; turn right into the garage. Park and take the stairs or elevator one flight up to the C-D level where you will exit into the back courtyard of the building, walking under a short covered walkway, at the side of a fishpond, into the building; take the
elevator (to your right) to the 3rd floor.

Coming via I-270, take the Falls Rd. exit (#5) to the left to Rockville, which puts you on Maryland Ave; turn right onto east Jefferson (Rt. 28 E and first right into the parking garage at Monroe St. intersection. Then follow directions above.

East Jefferson is parallel to Maryland Ave, where the front door to the building is. On Sunday, street parking may be more accessible than at other times.

BY METRO: Take the Red Line toward Shady Grove, exit at the Rockville station. Take the stairwell to a raised walkway that passes over Rockville Pike. Upon exiting the walkway, go to the end of the block. Turn left onto Monroe St. and go one block to East Jefferson St and turn right, another block to Maryland Avenue and turn left. Cross the street to 100 Maryland
Ave. on the left.

For more info—and to volunteer to help the day of the event-contact:, contact Fran Pollner orPam Rasmussen or Rossana Baptista or Mike Hersh

19 March 2006

March Meeting Minutes Uploaded

This month's highlights -

Live music is much appreciated. So, in the future we will continue to schedule our meetings to follow their jam sessions. Not in April however, since we're NOT going to schedule a meeting for Easter Sunday. Nor in May, as that is the County Caucus, and we're going to want to have more than an hour to give everyone in the county a chance to vote. But starting in June, we'll be having all of our meetings at the Blue Cow Café, on the third sunday of the month, following The New Southern Cowtippers jam sessions.

Petitioning is going to accelerate. We might even have a petition co-ordinator! (If Doris doesn't get scared off). I will upload the petition form and instructions to the website sometime soon, so stay tuned. We desperately need more petitioners, and events to table at. Volunteer, or at least point us in the right direction.

Brandy Baker has announced her run for Congress in Maryland's 7th District. We will invite her to speak at next months local.

The local has encountered some expenses (mostly in conjunction with the Caucus), and will need fundraisers. Please let us know of opportunities, and/or volunteer. Kevin Zeese is interested in a 'shared' fundraiser for us and, as we've mentioned before, he could use a house party in Howard County. Please speak up! (We were sorry to have missed you Kathy, are you still interested?)

Not mentioned in the minutes, but of interest to many of us, there is a movement to create a cooperative middle school in Howard County. This project is in very early stages, and Karen Blue is spearheading the effort to get things started.

The mailing list is porting over to a yahoogroup. See the new link in the sidebar.

09 March 2006

HCCPJ Vigil coming up

We received the following from Howard County Coalition for Peace and Justice:

Please join the Howard County Coalition for Peace and Justice for a peace vigil marking the third anniversary of the war in Iraq. The vigil will be held from 5-6 p.m. on Sunday, March 19, at the corner of Broken Land Parkway and Little Patuxent Parkway near the Columbia Mall just a few blocks from the library. Please bring appropriate signs to promote peace.

For information, call 410-381-0335.

HCGP is having a meeting that day at 4pm; hopefully, we can get most of our agenda done by that time so that our members can join HCCPJ.

04 March 2006

Hotel Rwanda (a movie review)

I expected this movie to be very difficult to watch, and it was. It tells a story of a very human tragedy, which occurred within my lifetime, and has echoes back to previous tragedies, and stories which have been passed down in my family. It tells it well, with lots of complexity and many layers and levels.

I will not describe the most difficult parts of the movie here, but I will give a brief overview of two aspects of the plot. The historical background, as given in the movie, is simple and, although new to me, depressingly familiar.

Europeans (in this case, Belgians) colonized Rwanda, an impoverished country about the size and population of the state of Maryland. In order to administer the colony, they divided the native population into ‘Tutsi’ and ‘Hutu’. The
division was described as ‘racial’, but the races were defined by such traits as width of nose, and minor variations in skin tone. In truth, the two populations could only be told apart by family name and identity cards. The Tutsi were put
in positions of authority. It is implied, but not stated, that the Hutu had suffered a great deal under the Tutsi regime. When the Belgian colonists left, the Hutu (immediately or eventually) took control, and began a regime of opression against the Tutsi. The Tutsi rebelled, and there was a violent war.

The picture painted of the international situation is grim. The rest of the world turns it’s back on the situation. UN spokespeople are given instruction not to use the word ‘genocide’ at any length, to be able to maintain neutrality.
Foreigners in the country, from churches, from the UN, from the Red Cross, are first overwhelmed by the situation and then recalled by their own governments.

In the face of this tragedy, one man, a Hutu who is married to a Tutsi woman, goes through a spiritual transformation. During the movie we watch his attitude grow and change.

His growth is reflected in his dialogue, and goes from “He’s not family, family is all that matters” – of a neighbor being beaten by the mob to “We will take care of them,” – to a priest who is evacuated, and forced to leave the orphans
in his care behind, and from “We can only save ourselves” to “I cannot leave these people to die”.

Paul Rusesabagina is depicted as a true hero, a man who saves over a thousand others from brutal and bloody murder. He does it through his courage, and through his cunning, and his understanding of human nature. When the world turns its back on Rwanda, he tells the refugees to call anyone they may know in the outside world, and to say goodbye; to send their voices through the phone, and grab that person, and to make it clear that, if the listener does nothing, the caller will die.

One of the most striking things about the movie, to me, was the realization that never once is this man depicted as so much as touching a weapon.

02 March 2006

Town Meeting with Delegate Liz Bobo

Just returned from the town meeting held by Liz Bobo at Kahler Hall this evening.

Most of the attention was given to the development plan in downtown Columbia, and unfortunately I was late enough to miss that part...but the clear message is that Del. Bobo is trying to mobilize public opinion concerning the new plan and is encouraging people to speak out about it. I felt that she and the Greens were very much on the same page, as were many of the people in attendance - there were numerous concerns voiced about greenspace (and its possible disappearance) in our city.

There were some disappointments. My question was whether she would sponsor an Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) bill in the House now that Sen. Pinsky's bill was killed in committee; she responded that with five weeks to go in the House of Delegates' session, she would not. The consensus among the few pro-IRV Democrats who asked me about it was that this was a bill that should be attempted next session, as Sen. Pinsky has for several sessions now. (Enacting IRV bills locally, as was accomplished in Takoma Park last year, is another option.)

Another was that Bobo expressed that she did not believe that there should be any more municipalities in Howard County - an opinion on the incorporation of Columbia, which is an important plank in the HCGP platform.

Several candidates were present, all of them Democrats: Frank Aquino and Mary Ellen Giles for school board, Ken Ulman and Harry Dunbar for County Executive, Joshua Feldmark for county council. I had a chance to speak to almost all of them; some seemed interested in the opinions of Greens. Of course, the preference would be to run our own candidates and get them elected, to show what we could do in office. When Greens prove themselves in local office, Americans will remember their contribution as they seek higher office.

01 March 2006

From Linda Shade of TrueVoteMD

Originally posted by Mike Cornell, reposted due to a technical problem


A few days ago, the Governor took a strong stand for paper ballots and stated that he had NO confidence in the Diebold voting machines - dealing perhaps a final blow to the legitimacy of the voting system and leaving the State of Maryland in a crisis -- what to do for 2006??

Del. Liz Bobo and her husband Knowles (both staunch supporters of paper ballots) came up with a brilliant plan to save Maryland's 2006 elections:

"An emergency one-year lease of an op-scan system."

This is genius and Del. Hixson has signed on too.

Tell everyone: Support the Hixson-Bobo Implementation Plan.

Why is it genius?

The Hixson-Bobo Plan is great because:

1) it would give us a voter-verified paper ballot and audit trail THIS YEAR

2) It will cost less than running Diebold this year

3) It will buy the state time to find a longer-term solution (though TrueVote thinks op-scan is the best long term solution)

4) It may permanently get Diebold out of our state

5) It is completely in compliance with the excellent HB244/SB713 which has tremendous support

And Del. Bobo has talked to ES&S and they can do it in time for

Genius!!! I know we've thrown out a few different action items in the last few days but this news that Delegate Hixson is throwing her stature and seniority behind it makes it the train to be on!!

ACTION: Call legislators asking them to vote for HB244/SB713 and to let Hixson / Hollinger know you support the Hixson-Bobo Plan!

To find your legislators, go here:

Go get em, and thanks for your work defending our democracy,

Linda Schade, and the whole TrueVoteMD gang
Takoma Park, Md