Archive for May, 2008

Obama Here: More Hope, Change, Not Much Else

May 25, 2008

This will be a blog posting on the fly today. First a photo essay (a beautiful day for photography by the way) from Obama’s appearance at Wesleyan University in Middletown to give the 176th annual commencement address in place of the ailing Ted Kennedy. Following the photos there will be an 8 minute video of the event and later I will add some comments about the address and also about remarks by President Michael Roth.

Funny, Obama thought he was at Wellesley; listen at around 6:10 in the video. (Omitted from the Obama campaign official You Tube video posted on Wesleying blog) And the Courant’s blogger Melissa Pionzio thought she was at Palmer Field instead of Andrus Field (“Well, I’m here sitting under the trees on the side of Palmer field where the Wesleyan Commencement ceremonies will begin in about 45 minutes.”) She also seems alarmed by the obvious presence of heavily armed security agents:

“There appears to be sharp shooters of some kind atop the glass connection between the campus chapel and I think Judd Hall (home of the psychology dept.) They are in black, with their arms folded – looks like there are about four of them. A woman with binoculars behind me confirmed that they have rifles up there, yikes!!

The following video runs a little over 8 minutes:


Tags: barack obama at wesleyan,barack obama,ted kennedy,wesleyan university,middletown ct,wesleyan commencement,global warming,climate change,progressive politics,michael roth,wesleying,

This blog also appears today at http://conservacity.blogspot.com
and http://middletown.ctlocalpolitics.net

Advertisements

Obama Here for Kennedy:Wesleyan Weekend

May 22, 2008

Middletown is facing near lockdown as B. Omama has agreed to sub for Ted Kennedy at the Wesleyan U. 176th Commencement, With thousands here for the Reunion combined with the Commencement we can only imagine the additional thousands of fans that will show up for a glimpse of the senator. The substitution of Obama as speaker is confirmed by Wesleyan higher ups.

On Sunday, May 25, 2008, United States Senator Barack Obama will deliver the Commencement Address at the 176th Commencement Ceremony at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.

Senator Obama is honored to speak on behalf of United States Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who was previously scheduled to deliver the address. Obama says:

“Ted and I talked about me filling in for him at Wesleyan University earlier this week. Considering what he’s done for me and for our country, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him. So I’m looking forward to standing in his place on Sunday even though I know I won’t be able to fill his shoes,” Senator Obama said.

Carbon Offset Scam: $$ to Assuage the Guilt

May 21, 2008

Wesleyan Recommends Buying Good Feelings….

Wesleyan is making a green pitch to help well heeled, guilt laden alumni, traveling to the upcoming Reunion/Commencement, feel better about their carbon footprint. The Wesleyan University web site says:

To offset your carbon emissions when traveling to Reunion & Commencement Weekend this year, please visit the Carbonfund.org web site! Use their Auto and Airline calculators to estimate the amount of carbon you will produce in traveling to and from Middletown, and make a donation to Carbonfund’s carbon-reducing projects to offset your impact. (and)

You will notice a new color standing out against the traditional black and red regalia decorating the 176th graduating class during its commencement ceremony this year: Green. A symbol of our dedication to producing an increasingly sustainable Reunion & Commencement Weekend, all graduating seniors, graduate students, alumni and their families, as well as faculty and staff members, will have the opportunity to don green ribbons indicating their commitment to the Wesleyan Community Climate Agreement and to leading a more environmentally conscientious and sustainable lifestyle in future pursuits.

The Washington Post had an interesting article on Aug 16, 2007 (excerpts):

With a click, a credit card and $99, visitors can pay a Silver Spring nonprofit group, Carbonfund.org, to “offset” a year’s worth of greenhouse-gas emissions. Whatever the customer put into the atmosphere — by flying, driving, using electricity — the site promises to cancel out, by funding projects that reduce pollutant

Sites such as this one, offering absolution from the modern nag of climate guilt, have created a $55 million industry that once would have been beyond the greenest of imaginations. The market for “voluntary carbon offsets” now encompasses dozens of sellers and thousands of buyers, including individuals and corporations.

But in some cases, these customers may be buying good feelings and little else.

A closer look reveals an unregulated market in which some improvements bought by customers are only estimated, extrapolated, hoped-for or nil. Some offsets support projects that would have gone forward anyway. Others deliver results difficult to measure.

Carbonfund.org, for example, has advertised offsets that finance wind farms and tree-planting projects. But some wind farms said the donations haven’t led to anything new….

Blogger Doug Bandow at OpenMarket.org opines:

What a great system. I think I will open a carbon offset business. Pay me, oh, $100 and I will plant a sprig that will eventually become a tree, absorbing the carbon dioxide that you’re causing by getting on an airplane or buying a computer or, especially, driving to work. And I am offering a special deal, today only! A dozen trees for just $1000. How can you beat that? Just send your checks to me, in care of CEI. It is a classic win-win situation: You can feel good about yourself while I can go look for another antique chess set or rare history book.

Serenity Returns to Wes Campus….

May 18, 2008

Wesleyan U (CT

In the few days following the tumultuous events of last week (the police student confrontation*), peace has returned to the campus just in time for next weekend’s reunion and commencement celebrations. Following is a portion of the university’s announcement about the 176th Commencement. Senator Ted Kennedy was scheduled to be the speaker but his appearance remains doubtful because of recent health issues.

The 176th Commencement Ceremony (11 AM May 25)
The Commencement Ceremony will be available live by Webcast. Please go to http://wescast.wesleyan.edu for details about how you can view the ceremony.
A live broadcast of the Commencement ceremony will be available in the Memorial Chapel, Patricelli ’92 Theater, Crowell Concert Hall, and Tishler Lecture Hall (Room 150), Exley Sciene Center, rain or shine. The ceremony may also be viewed online. Please check this site for details the week of May 18, 2008.
In case of inclement weather, you may also call the main University number at 860/685-2000 to determine whether or not the University will institute the rain plan for the Commencement Ceremony.

*The student-police clash created great controversy and charges and counter charges are in the air and on the blogosphere. We reported on it on Right of Middle; Wesleying blog has been all over it; Ed McKeon at Cauterwaled weighed in; the student run Wesleyan Argus published a special edition, also see Hartford Courant and Middletown Press.

On April 6 last we reported on an incident involving several students and one Middletown police officer.

Finally, an historical note regarding Wesleyan town/gown, police/student relations: On May Day 1954 following a veterans parade on Washington Street there occurred a near riot on campus. Right of Middle reported (April 30, 2007):

….events of the previous Sunday (Loyalty Day) when some Wesleyan students clashed with police and VFW members during a parade through town and onto the campus. The disturbance garnered nationwide attention, with charges of subversion on campus….An informal band of students with musical instruments began to perform in front of the Delta Kappa Epsilon house. Other students with their instruments joined the band and they all marched on High St to Washington St where they turned around only to find themselves leading the VFW parade which had just come up Washington and turned onto High…..From this point forward confusion reigned. Police, in attempting to clear the streets for the marchers, were accused of undue roughness although it was evident that a number of students provoked the officers. At least one student, Terry Hatter, was taken into custody; other students refused to doff their hats when the flag passed and were rebuked by police.

The commotion continued onto Andrus Field, The Argus reported::

The police then began to disperse the students. the marchers who had been standing on the other side of the stret started to cross the steet, saying something about “un-peace” apparently in reference to the sign. By the time they had reached the other side the students had been herded into the house by the police. The bulk of the paraders had reached Andrus field by this time and were awaiting the start of the speeches. Several inquisitive students had gathered behind Denison Terrace to view the proceedings. It was this time that the German Swastika flag, a trophy brought to Wesleyan by a veteran paratrooper after the war, was seen hanging from a dormitory window. The flag had been brought to the dormitory from the Alpha Delta Phi house, where it had been hanging for about twenty minutes. The Alpha Delta had gotten the flag from students who had been dissuaded from hanging it at the Beta Theta Pi house. (The Argus from the period-pdf)

Ahh youth….Happy Spring and Best Wishes to all new grads,,,We return to serenity below….

College Row-Wesleyan CT

Steadyjohn photos

Connecticut’s Largest Tree….

May 12, 2008

Although the world’s largest living organism is a fungus in Oregon it, sadly for observers, is almost entirely underground. Not so the Pinchot Sycamore on the east bank of the Farmington River in Weataug (Simsbury). Standing tall at nearly 100 feet and with a circumference of over 28 feet this sycamore is the largest tree in Connecticut and the largest sycamore in New England. In the aerial view below the full canopy of the tree can be seen next the open area immediately to the right of the bridge at the road side.

In April 2000 the Hartford Courant described the tree and its surroundings:

Nobody knows exactly how old it is, but it is almost certainly two centuries old, and it may be three centuries old. It is named for Gifford Pinchot, a Simsbury native who became the first head of the U.S. Forest Service, a governor of Pennsylvania and co-founder of what today is the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies…..It is the state’s largest tree of any kind, it is the largest sycamore in New England and, latest information suggests, it may be tied with a tree in Bath, Va., for honors as the largest sycamore in the United States. It appears to be healthy.

More interesting information here.

Great Tits Cope Well with Warming….

May 9, 2008

The blog title above is the actual headline from a BBC News article. The discussion is about how some British birds are coping (or not coping for that matter) with climatic changes. The Great Tit, for example is doing quite well, adapting to the earlier arrival of its Winter Moth caterpillar food by laying its eggs earlier. Thus the chicks have abundant food when they hatch. (from the article, emphasis added)

At least one of Britain’s birds appears to be coping well as climate change alters the availability of a key food.

Researchers found that great tits are laying eggs earlier in the spring than they used to, keeping step with the earlier emergence of caterpillars.

Writing in the journal Science, they point out that the same birds in the Netherlands have not managed to adjust.

Understanding why some species in some places are affected more than others by climatic shifts is vital, they say.

Feet to the Fire Festival: More Info….

May 8, 2008

The Wesleyan community will explore its environmental impact through an eco-arts festival called “Feet to the Fire” on May 10 that will feature food, music, art, theater and a premier by a world-renowned choreographer Ann Carlson (pictured above).

Running from noon to 5 p.m. at Veterans Park in Middletown, “Feet to the Fire” will combine the variety of arts performances, interactive exhibits and a farmers market with food from Connecticut vendors. Exhibits coordinated by the Jonah Center for Earth and Art will highlight energy conservation, sustainability and resilient communities.

Ann Carlson, award-winning choreographer, launches a new series of performance works, Planet Next, that envision life on a future earth. The first of these works, “Green Movement,” uses elements of humor and surprise while challenging the audience to intimately confront the realities of their present day existence.

“Feet to the Fire is an extraordinary campus-wide and community exploration of one of the most urgent issues facing our world today,” says Pam Tatge, director of Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts. “The idea that so many students, faculty members, community members, and artists have collaborated to make works for the festival is simply thrilling.”

The event will also feature a sculpture garden, labyrinth, theater, dance, music, poetry, art and performances by Art Farm’s Circus for a Fragile Planet, Marion Belanger, Tom Callinan, Electric Junkyard Gamelan, Green Street Arts Center, Independent Day School, Kalimba Liberian Group, Geoff Kaufman, Jesse Karlsberg, The Middletuners, Mixashawn, Noah Baerman Trio, Oddfellows Playhouse, RJ and the On-the-Spot Jug Band, Susan Romano, Sirius Coyote, Toussaint Liberator, Wesleyan students and more.

The festival is a part of “Feet to the Fire: Exploring Global Climate Change from Science to Art,” an 18-month project that includes research opportunities for a team of students and faculty to explore first-hand the effects of global warming, fieldwork studies in art and science, performances, pedagogical exchanges in existing courses, commissioning of artists and convening of experts.

“All of us working on the Festival are united in the belief that the arts have the potential to help us see and understand the impact of climate change while at the same time assist us in envisioning a sustainable future,” Tatge says.

The project is funded in part by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Creative Campus Innovations Grant Program, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Wesleyan’s grant is one of only eight grants given to challenge campus-based performing arts presenters to integrate their programs more organically within the academic environment.

The Festival is co-sponsored by Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts and Environmental Studies Program, the Jonah Center for Earth and Art and the City of Middletown, in collaboration with the Center for Creative Research and the Green Street Arts Center.

Feet to the Fire will take place from noon to 5 p.m. rain or shine. Admission is free and open to the public. The event is located at Veterans Memorial Park in Middletown, located off Newfield Street. For more information and directions call 860-685-3355.

Source: The Wesleyan Connection

Coginchaug River at Veterans Memorial Park (June 2007)….

Feet to Fire Festival: Sat. May 10….

May 7, 2008

Feet to the Fire Festival

An Eco-Arts Festival with Global Implications | Bring the Whole Family!

The Jonah Center is a community partner with Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts in this exciting community event

Saturday May 10, noon to 5 p.m. in Veterans Park

FREE ADMISSION

How can we become more aware of our environmental impact and imagine a sustainable future? Wesleyan University engages the arts to explore the possibilities through the Feet to the Fire Festival at Middletown’s Veterans Park. Feet to the Fire is an eco-arts festival for the whole family featuring music, dance and theater performances, interactive exhibits and a farmers market with food from Connecticut vendors. Exhibits coordinated by the Jonah Center for Earth and Art will highlight energy conservation, sustainability and resilient communities.

Ann Carlson, an award-winning choreographer, launches a new series of performance works, Planet Next, that envision life on a future earth. The first of these works, Green Movement, uses elements of humor and surprise while challenging us to intimately confront the realities of our present day existence.

For more information about the Festival: http://www.wesleyan.edu/feettothefire or call 860-685-3355.

Just When You Thought….Yep, More Sharks!

May 4, 2008

Chalk another one up for Global Warming: An increase in world-wide shark attacks on human beans. At least that’s how the Guardian U.K. sees it. The headline screams: Surge in Fatal shark Attacks Blamed on Global Warming.

When you actually read the article you find more compelling reasons for the alleged surge: i.e. increased numbers of peeps recreating in ocean waters and/or overfishing depleting shark food stocks. Finally the money line: “Another contributory factor to the location of shark attacks could be global warming and rising sea temperatures.”

Btw, I would recommend staying out of the water at New Smyrna Beach FL which is called, ” the shark attack capital of the world. It has had more recorded incidents per square mile than any beach on Earth….It’s more like a vicious dog bite, half a dozen stitches, a few bandages, that sort of thing,” said an observer referring to the common 2-3′ black tip sharks doing most of the nipping.

Photo Notes:

Top-Great White and Kayacker

Bottom-Fishing for Black Tip Sharks

Postscript:

Friend Shane writes: “I live in the desert I should be ok unless there are any land shark sightings”

I replied: ” No land sharks, but there are sand sharks. Actually they’re real and lifeguard rescues one.

Another friend: “Sharks are evil creatures. They do not sleep and a few species have been known to replicate by self induced cloning, if they ever figure out a way to breath on land I say we give up and submit to our new hammerhead masters.”

Me: Evil creatures, nay!

…everyone talks about sharks, not only in connection with shark fin soup and potency products but also because of their mostly predatory habits and their alleged bloodthirsty character. In the process it is forgotten that almost 70% of all currently living sharks are intensely engaged in caring for their young and practice a form of brooding which we usually connect with mammals: To be precise the female keeps her developing eggs in the final section of the oviduct, called the womb or uterus, and following a long gestation period gives birth to fully developed, extremely independent pups, in other words, sharks give birth to living offspring. to be precise, many sharks are viviparous.
Source: Shark Info

Here is a hammerhead female with 15 well-developed pups which were removed from the uterus.