Submitted by SusanGalloway, Anna Sears and New Yorkers Against Fracking on Fri, 2014-04-18 02:10
In January the Cuomo administration released a draft of its New York State Energy Plan. Despite words about “clean” energy and colorful pictures of solar panels and wind farms, the document fails to lead New York to a sustainable future built on renewables.
Although the draft plan claims to support a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, it lacks any strategy for accomplishing this.
Last week, we were watching TV, and a commercial about “shift work disorder” came on. A rugged older gentleman in a flannel shirt was explaining about how he hadn’t realized how his job might be affecting his sleep patterns and quality of life, until his doctor asked him what hours he works. I laughed out loud. Then the commercial (which was for Nuvigil – used to improve wakefulness) went on to tell you to talk to your doctor, and then it went through the lengthy list of side effects, you know – the usual drill.
I think it is awesome to have dialogues about what’s going on in people’s lives and what might be improved, whether it’s with a prescription or other changes in lifestyle. And if having an official diagnosis helps more people figure out what’s going on and what they can do about it, more power to them. Just… personally, I find it absurd that this wouldn’t be a natural line of thinking. I think about this kind of stuff all the time.
On Tuesday February 18th, I went to Attica to visit Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony L. Bottom or Prisoner #77A4283) along with other activists. This was my first time at a maximum security prison. With its impossibly high walls and multiple turrets, it looked like a castle, albeit an ugly gray one, and I half expected to be intercepted by a moat.
The inside of the prison is coldly institutional, regulated, bland. The visiting room is large, furnished with tables and chairs, and an entire wall of vending machines. The walls are painted with dolphins and miscellaneous underwater scenes. I soon understood why. Many families visit with young children in tow and soon their noisy chatter began to reverberate throughout the carefully reinforced and supervised space we were in.
Jalil joined us after 15-20 minutes. Tall, affable, with a warm smile on his face and a taqiyah (Muslim skullcap) on his head, it was easy to fall into conversation with him. Jalil is interested in everything. He asked Diane about her work as a Rochester city high school teacher and discussed my films with me, including issues related to Islam and feminism and the Partition of India. His charm and lively intelligence make it hard to imagine that he’s spent more than 40 years of his life in prison. He was a young Black Panther when he was arrested in 1971. Since COINTELPRO, a secret FBI program aimed at sabotaging dissent and disrupting movements for self-determination within the US (from the 1950s to the 1970s) has now been exposed for its illegal activities, it’s incredible that political prisoners like Jalil continue to be locked up.