Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jan 25/Seattle, WA - From Needs to Rights: The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in South Asia

The next meeting of the World Peace Through Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association is titled "From Needs to Rights: The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in South Asia" and features a discussion of South Asian states' experiences with ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Featured Speaker: Professor Upendra Acharya, from Gonzaga University School of Law.

When:  Tuesday, January 25, 2011
             Noon to 1:00 p.m.

Where: 1111 Third Ave. Building
              3rd Floor Conference Room, Seattle, WA

Credit: 1.0 general CLE credit.
REGISTRATION:
http://www.mywsba.org/Default.aspx?tabid=90&action=MTGProductDetails&args=5954

MORE INFORMATION (including how to join &then attend this event for free):
http://www.wsba.org/lawyers/groups/worldpeace/wptl.htm

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Court Fees and General Rule 34 in Washington State

Court fees can be a barrier to justice. Forget about hiring a lawyer; if you can't even afford to pay the fee that a court may charge to file a case, you don't have equal access to the protections of law.
Here in Washington State, we've made a small step to deal with this:
As evidence of its desire to help low-income people with civil legal needs access the courts, the Washington State Supreme Court unanimously adopted a new court rule, General Rule 34 (www.courts.wa.gov/court_rules/?fa=court_rules.display&group=ga&set=GR&ruleid=gagr34 ), that provides standards and procedures for waiver of court and clerks’ fees and charges in civil cases on the basis of indigency. The rule became effective December 31, 2010.
GR 34 streamlines and provides uniform, statewide in forma pauperis motion procedures and standards that should benefit both low-income litigants and their pro bono counsel by facilitating entry of court orders waiving such fees and surcharges. The rule, which was proposed by the WSBA, provides for waivers of “filing fees or surcharges the payment of which is a condition precedent to a litigant’s ability to secure access to judicial relief from a judicial officer in the applicable trial court.” A summary of the new rule and further details about it are available online  at http://www.wsba.org/gr34.pdf. --- Press release from the Washington State Bar Association
Getting this rule in place took a long time and a lot of effort, since anything involving money also involving complications from competing interests. However, it's now done, thanks in part to the work of the WSBA Pro Bono and Legal Aid Committee, among many others. It's nice to see progress in closing the justice gap!

Comics: Unshelved

Unshelved is two delights in one! Four days a week, it follows the adventures of a typical public library, including overworked staff  and overenthused patrons.
Fridays are for the "Unshelved Book Club" an oversized graphic report on a book worth reading. It's like a friend giving a recommending a favorite book, using words and pictures.
The authors' blog is also a very entertaining and informative look at books, comics and more.
Highly recommended!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Soap the Planet: a Change the World Wednesday Challenge

I kinda took the long way around with this week's Change the World Wednesday Challenge:
"This week accomplish one or all of the following Eco-friendly laundry practices:
•Wash in cold water only
•Use "Green" laundry soap (consider making your own)
•Use vinegar in the rinse rather than using dryer sheets."
Laundry is an especially interesting challenge, since I share a house with two adults and each of us has our own views about the best way to do laundry. We don't use dryer sheets, so the vinegar rinse idea is out. I habitually launder in cold water already, and don't think I can change the others on the subject. So this leaves using a Green laundry soap or making our own.
Earlier this year, we got a new, state-of-the-art washer which uses very little water and works great! The horizontal tumbling action seems very effective, while using a lot less water, and as a side-benefit the clothes some out with nearly all the water extracted, so drying is pretty quick. However, I wanted to do more,if only for the sake of the challenge.

I like the idea of making my own Green laundry soap, so I googled a few recipes. Here's a few:
Most of these involved an ingrediant called "washing soda", which I'd never heard of and wasn't at the store where I usually shop. Since we'd recently gotten a couple of coupons for an eco-friendly store called Goods For the Planet, and I'd never been there before but was passing nearby, we decided to stop in and ask.



The Sewing Lady
Offers classes!

Goods For the Planet turns out to be a friendly, comfortable store with a lot of interesting stuff in it for the home and garden, but not washing soda. We ended up using our coupon happily, but mostly I enjoyed talking things over with the staff. It turns out one of them shops the Mercer Island Thrift Store and we had a discussion about the sorts of things she looked for. We also had a good talk with the lady who does the sewing classes. She says sewing's becoming very popular, both for fun and practicality, plus it offers an opportunity to use fabric scraps and odd pieces that would otherwise go to waste. We admired her treadle sewing machine and contemplated what we might do with scraps.


And the challenge? we spent part of our coupon meeting on Method's laundry detergent, a low-impact soaps that we know by experience works just fine. It was handy to restock our supply at Goods For the Planet.

From Soap to Change the Planet: Change the World Wednesday

I kinda he long way around with this week's Change the World Wednesday Challenge:
"This week accomplish one or all of the following Eco-friendly laundry practices:
•Wash in cold water only
•Use "Green" laundry soap (consider making your own)
•Use vinegar in the rinse rather than using dryer sheets."
Laundry is an especially interesting challenge, since I share a house with two adults and each of us has our own views about the best way to do laundry. We don't use dryer sheets, so the vinegar rinse idea is out. I habitually launder in cold water already, and don't think I can change the others on the subject. So this leaves using a Green laundry soap or making our own.
Earlier this year, we got a new, state-of-the-art washer which uses very little water and works great! The horizontal tumbling action seems very effective, while using a lot less water, and as a side-benefit the clothes some out with nearly all the water extracted, so drying is pretty quick. However, I wanted to do more,if only for the sake of the challenge.
I like the idea of making my own Green laundry soap, so I googled a few recipes:
Most of these involved an ingrediant called "washing soda", which I'd never heard of and wasn't at the store where I usually shop. Since we'd recently gotten a couple of coupons for an eco-friendly store called Goods For the Planet, and I'd never been there before but was passing nearby, we decided to stop in and ask.

The sewing lady
offers classes!

Goods For the Planet turns out to be a friendly, comfortable store with a lot of interesting stuff in it for the home and garden, but not washing soda. We ended up using our coupon happily, but mostly I enjoyed talking things over with the staff. It turns out one of them shops the Mercer Island Thrift Store and we had a discussion about the sorts of things she looked for. We also had a good talk with the lady who does the sewing classes. She says sewing's becoming very popular, both for fun and practicality, plus it offers an opportunity to use fabric scraps and odd pieces that would otherwise go to waste. We admired her treadle sewing machine and contemplated what we might do with scraps.
We met the CTWW challenge by getting Method's laundry detergent, a low-impact soaps that ones we always use, and it was handy to have it at Goods For the Planet.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Commemorating Martin Luther King Jr Requires Peace

There is something strangely inconsistent about a nation and a press that would praise you when you say, "Be nonviolent toward Jim Clark," but will curse and damn you when you say, "Be nonviolent toward little brown Vietnamese children." There is something wrong with that press. " - MLK 1967


Today, we need only change the word "Vietnamese" to the word "Muslim" and the quote still pertains. - REW

"A nation that continues year after year
to spend more money on military defense
than on programs of social uplift
is approaching spiritual death"
A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fined For Helping Iraq Children WTF? Bert Sacks' Story

My friend Bert Sacks writes:
"Help! I'm being “Fined-For-Helping-Iraqi-Kids”.
I'm not asking for money – and I won't accept any.
Berts Sacks
Fined for delivering medicine
But I am asking instead for your help to get this story out.
If you'll look at IraqiKids.org you'll see a website which tells the story.
The U.S. is suing me for a $10,000 fine I've refused to pay from a 1997 trip I took to Iraq.

If you sign up for a once-a-month mailing, from Jan 11th through Sept 11th, you may learn a lot.

And finally, if you help spread the word -- Facebook, Twitter, emails, tell friends-- that will help a lot.

Your email address will only be used for this purpose; you'll always be able to unsubscribe on every email.

Thanks for your help,

 Bert Sacks
http://iraqikids.org/
contact@iraqikids.org
http://twitter.com/bertsacks
http://facebook.com/bert.sacks
P.S. “Fined-For-Helping-Iraqi-Kids” is a Facebook page you can search for."
Now, I'm spoken with Bert many times. He's pretty old-school, in a peaceful, non-violent direct-action way. Strange as this may seem, it's a simple fact that back in 1997, our great nation was engaged in an illegal and immoral effort to keep medicine out of Iraq as a way of pressuring the Iraqi dictator. The dictator was a pretty awful guy, but killing children was as evil as it was ineffective: our tax dollars at work!
Whether or not you think Bert was right to defy the embargo by taking medicine, you have to admit it was a pretty ballsy move and, of course, now the Iraqi people are our friends. You'd think we wouldn't be persuing efforts to punish people who tried to keep them alive but guess what: nothing pisses off a government more than defying its sovereign will. Thus the "liberal" Obama Administration continues to try to collect a fine from Bert. (That sorta tells you all you need to know about its being "liberal" eh?)
Anyway, Bert's blog can tell you more than I can, so don't take my word for it: Check it out!
------
Learn More:

Home: Repairing Narnia Lamp at Zero Cost


Narnia lamp
Our "Narnia Lamp", showing
the repaired side.
When we bought our house, the streetside lens on the lamp in front (which we dubbed the "Narnia Lamp") was broken. I'd put off repairing it because I didn't want to spend the money getting a whole new lamp just because one piece of plastic was broken, but I didn't think I could order just the part from the manufacturer, even if I could figure out who it was. But it looked like heck!

For the holidays, I covered up the defect, first by turning the lamp into a ghost for Hallowe'en, and then by adding semi-random holiday decor for Christmas. But I just couldn't think of anything appropriate for for Martin Luther King Day, except to Do The Right Thing: put in the time to fix it!

This project turned out to be much easier than I'd anticipated.

First I made a pattern for the replacement lens by holding a piece of cardboard up to the lamp, tracing around it to get the general size and shape, and then trimming to fit.  I made the pattern little shorter than the original lens so I could slip it into place without disassembling the lamp; the gap at the top was concealed by the overhanging top of the lamp.

Previously I had verified that the light didn't generate significant heat - a nice side-effect of replacing the incandescent bulb with an energy efficient bulb - so I didn't need to seek some sort of heat-resistent plastic. I simply cut a replacement lens out of a transluscent plastic storage box that was slated to be trashed for lack of a lid (I couldn't just donate it to the thrift store; no-one will buy a storage container without a lid). 

vintage snipping tools
My vintage snips:
Still functional!
My first cutting experiments were so disasterous they were almost funny. My new variable-speed saber saw shattered the brittle plastic with variable intensity. I tried a couple of hand saws, but the blades got bound up. What finally worked were a couple of vintage metal snips (see photo). I'd picked them up for a song at the thrift store! They weren't as fast as the power saw, but they didn't shatter the plastic; I just had to be a little patient. After all, they may be older than I am!

I decided to use the slightly thicker and more opaque plastic at the bottom of the box, instead of the thinner and clearer walls.
The result is as shown in the photo. The lamp frame conceals any uneveness in the edges. It's not bevelled like the other lenses, but the look is close enough to fill in until the next holiday!

I was pleased to see how quickly it all came together once my trials came up with a working solution. And you can't beat the price: nothing but time, and the time was spent having fun, so it's profit all around! Furthermore, by re-using something destined to be scrapped, I did the responsible thing for our environment. Finally, I was happy to find my vintage tools still work and for some applications can be just right!

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