Worldwide Anti-Whaling Day – November 5, 2010


International Day of Protest for Lolita Was A Huge Success!

THANK YOU to everyone, world wide, who came out on the International Day of Protest for Lolita on May 15, 2010. Even here in Pittsburgh we had about 2o people. The Seaquarium protest had almost 100 people! It’s about time something was done to reinforce the fact that these are wild animals, not entertainment.

I’d like to especially thank everyone who came, bought t-shirts, made signs, handed out brochures, signed petitions and donated. You’re what make this so wonderful! Also, I’d like to thank Luke Kapp and Matt Dye for taking video and pictures! Here’s some pics courtesy of Shelly Signorello and Michelle Spano Buzas!

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Remember, folks, the fight isn’t over yet! Please go to to see what you can do to help!

And here’s the video from Luke Kapp! Make sure to check out his YouTube channel.

International Day of Protest for Lolita – May 15, 2010

On Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 12:00pm, a protest will be held all over the world with a division here in Pittsburgh, PA to raise awareness about Seaquarium Orca, Lolita.  Over thirty different cities and countries have signed up to be part of the massive collaboration to show the Miami Seaquarium along with other marine mammal parks and the world that Orcas do not belong in captivity.  One of our protests held on October 11, 2008 generated national media attention for the Orca when a four-minute segment was aired on CNN Headline news.  In collaboration with Orca Network, I invite fellow Pittsburgh residents and media to come out and support this cause. We hope to see Lolita retired back into a sea pen in her native Pacific North West waters where she will be taken care of for the rest of her life unless she chooses to rejoin her pod that lives there as well.

She has been living in an illegal tank at the Seaquarium for the last 39 years, and has taken a backseat to the newly developed swim with the dolphins program. This backseat has raised controversy as to why she shouldn’t be retired, because the Seaquarium is not allowed and won’t build her a bigger tank.  Surrounding the controversy with the rising number of orca attacks at Sea World, she could be the first of a new generation of orcas being retired back to their natural habitat

If retired she will initially reside in a generously sized “bay-pen” where she will be fed, taken care of and slowly reintroduced back into the wild. After rehabilitation it will be her choice to continue to live in the “bay-pen” or leave to rejoin her pod.

In 1970 Lolita was captured in Penn Cove. Since then, much controversy has surrounded the safety of the Seaquraium’s actions with their animals. Hugo, an Orca captured two years earlier from the same pod as Lolita, committed suicide at the Seaquarium in 1980 by bashing his head off of the illegal tank; after showing strong signs of depression. Many have offered more than what Lolita’s insurance policy is worth for her retirement, but Owner Arthur Hertz of The Seaquarium has yet to agree. The concern is from coast to coast on an animal that has done her time in living quarters to small, and arguably unsafe conditions for patrons to view in this dated arena.

Please come out to support this wonderful cause on Saturday May 15, 2010 at Point State Park in Pittsburgh, PA. Feel free to use the comment space below for any questions, directions, or offers for help! Also, if you plan on coming, please let me know. I’m trying to get a sort of pre-registration plan together. Help us get a good turnout and you’ll be on the news and possibly even a spot on Current TV! Anyone can help! We’re looking for photographers, videographers, face painters, and creative people to help make t-shirts and signs. Also, we need a bull horn! It’s just not a protest without a bull horn!

Come on down for Lolita! Kids are welcome, too! Actually, if we get enough, expect some face painting!

You can email me at for more information. You can also email Shelby Proie at and find more information at or

You can also pre-register at the Facebook Event or the Myspace Event. Feel free to friend me on both!

Also, here’s a list of city captains. If your city isn’t listed or you need contact information for your city leader, contact Shelby at Save Lolita!

Chicago: Niki Gianni
Miami: Shelby Proie
NE Florida: Venus Hurst
Whidbey Island, WA: Howard and Susan
Olympia, WA: Pat Rasmussen
Vancouver: Rachel Palmer
Denver: Lauren Kimball
Berkeley, CA: Wendy
Amsterdam: Ingrid van Dam
Pittsburgh, PA: Amanda Young
Whakatane, New Zealand: Emily
Toledo, Ohio: Amber
Philadelphia, PA: Shannon
San Diego, CA: Hailey
Stockholm, Sweden: Ewakajsa Werngren
San Fransico, CA: Kim Flaherty
Toronto, Canada: Bob Timmons
Vancouver Island: Tarah Millen
Glen Falls, New York: Jessica Ryle
Belgian: Noortje
Budapest, Hungary: Tatiana
Orchard Park, New York: Kimberly
St. Lois, Missouri: Sarah Garvin
Key West: Kathy Watkins & Gina Gaft
Portland, Oregon: Rae Wilson
Michigan: Bailey Hanson
Minneapolis, Minnesota: Christine Swedell
Melbourne, Australia: Gwen Williams
Indianapolis, Indian: Leighann Shropshire
Seattle, Washington: Diana Comstock
Houston, Texas: Amanda and Brian
Sarasota, Florida: Candace Gee

For Constance McMillen!

In case you live under a rock and haven’t heard about this ridiculousness, from Dan Savage, writer of Savage Love:

“I need to ask you to do something. Not for me, but for a teenage lesbian in a small town. Constance McMillen is a senior at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi. When she asked if she could attend prom with her girlfriend, she was told no. When Constance pressed her case, the Itawamba County School Board canceled prom rather than allow Constance to attend with her girlfriend. The school board had to know what would happen next: The other students blamed Constance for getting prom canceled and “ruining senior year.” Constance is now being harassed and bullied.

The school board claims it canceled prom to avoid “distractions.” Now it’s up to us—to decent people everywhere—to make sure that bigotry and discrimination are a much bigger distraction for the Itawamba County School District than inclusion and tolerance ever could’ve been.

E-mail, call, and fax Itawamba Schools superintendent Teresa McNeece (, phone 662-862-2159 ext. 14, fax 662-862-4713) and Itawamba Agricultural principal Trae Wiygul (, 662-862-3104). Then join the Facebook page “Let Constance Take Her Girlfriend to Prom.” And, finally, make donations to the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition (, which is organizing an alternate prom that will welcome all students, and make a larger donation to the ACLU LGBT Project (

Call, write, fax, donate. Constance needs to know that there are people all over the world who are on her side. And, more importantly, Itawamba County Schools needs to know that we’re not going to let them get away with this. Be respectful, but be relentless. Let’s show these bigots what a real distraction looks like. Get ’em.

Seriously? What ridiculousness is that!? I’m sure this girl’s had enough problems, being a lesbian in a small town and now this school district’s given her schoolmates more fuel for the fire. We need less bigots and more tolerance! Like Dan says, “Get ’em!” You can also read more about Constance’s situation over on the ACLU website or over on the SLOG.

International Call Day for Lolita #2 – January 23, 2010

Thanks again to everyone who called in for the first International Call Day for Lolita in September, now we’re asking you to call again. This past September, over 100 people worldwide called the Miami Seaquarium asking them to retire Lolita and release her to be with her family in Puget Sound, Washington, prompting them to actually close their phone lines and designate a button to press if you wanted to talk about Lolita!

Please call the Miami Seaquarium on  January 23, 2010 to let them know that her illegal confinement will not be tolerated. You can contact them at (305) 361-5705. If the line is busy, try back in a few minutes!

If you’re not sure of what to say on the phone, you could say something like:

“Hi, I’m calling from [your city] and I am concerned about Lolita’s living conditions. her tank is sub-standard according to APHIS and about the size of a standard hotel swimming pool. My family and myself will be boycotting your aquarium until Lolita is retired and released.”


“Please retire Lolita the killer whale. I understand she is important to your business, but she has been in the same small tank for 40 years now. Her family is still alive in the wild and there are thousands of people willing to pay for her retirement. Captive dolphins and whales have been released before very successfully and Lolita is a great candidate. Until she is retired, my family and I have decided to boycott Miami Seaquarium.”

And really, people, you know this isn’t in vain…YOU are the ones that plugged their phone lines, YOU are the ones who prevented the Seaquarium from winning a spot on TV with Nickelodeon. YOU can do it again!

Also, in Lolita news, check this out from Shelby Proie with Save Our Oceans Now:

Finally, everyone that wants to help Lolita but doesn’t live in Miami or even the United States now can!  Thanks to Niki we are starting an international day to protest for the retirement of Lolita, the lone captive orca kept in an illegal sized tank at the Miami Seaquarium.   On Saturday May 15th we are looking for city captains from all around the world to organize a protest (in front of a captive facility, city center, or busy town square) to show the Seaquarium that people from all over the United States and the WORLD want to see Lolita retired back to her native waters off the coast of Washington.  Pictures and videos of the protests will be broadcast and then sent to the Seaquarium.  I’m sure local media will get involved and we will raise more awareness than ever about Lolita’s plight and why she must be retired.

If you are interested in being a city captain and organizing a protest in your city please contact me: and I will get back to you with the details!  Let’s all fight for Lolita and show the Seaquarium and the WORLD we are not backing off until Lolita is retired!

So on January 23, 2010, please take just a moment out of your busy day to call for Lolita. It only takes a minute of your time, but you’ll do so much good! Thanks, everybody!

Boycott Ticketmaster

Boycott Ticketmaster!!!So it’s been quite a while since I’ve actually purchased concert tickets…or tickets to anything for that matter, online. I always just got them at the door. What the fuck did I miss!? When we went to see Mike Doughty last Thursday, I went to the Ticketmaster website to see how much they were. Only $16! How affordable! Especially for a concert that I want to see so badly! Wrong. Oh so very, very wrong. $9 of charges per ticket. That’s more than half the fucking ticket price!

This is beyond ridiculous. Thankfully, I’ve found some other resources for concert tickets in the Pittsburgh area:

Dave’s Music Mine
Mr. Small’s Funhouse
Club Cafe
Garfield Artworks
The Rex
31st St. Pub
…and possibly more, those are just the one’s currently listed on their website.

The Exchange
Has tickets to most of the venues listed above, plus possibly more.

The Benedum
I know you =can buy tickets directly through their box office, as I did when we saw Tori Amos last year. I think you can do this with Heinz Hall as well.

The shame of it is, it’s not Ticketmaster’s fault that they’re a monopoly…it’s the fault of the venues and their exclusive contracts. Ticketmaster also gets no part of ticket sales, so here come the charges!

Service Charge – For the general service they provide.
Building Facility Charge – Determined by the venue, still raked in by Ticketmaster.
Processing Charge – ‘Cause we all know how expensive it is to send an email.
Shipping/E-Ticket/Will Call – Just because they can!

Often these fees are 30% to even 50% of the actual ticket price. What the fuck, Ticketmaster? And they get away with this by giving away million dollar sign-on bonuses to large venues. And it’s not even just music! Ticketmaster is the primary ticket seller for TWENTY SEVEN of thirty NHL teams and TWENTY EIGHT of thirty NBA teams. At least the MLB has gone with competitor, From now on, I’m going to try my best to not support this monopoly any longer, or their subsidiaries:

Ticketmaster Ventures, Inc.
Ticketmaster Corp.
TMC Realty Holdings, Inc.
Ticketmaster Publications, Inc.
Ticketmaster Travel Corp.
TM/Video International, Inc.
Ticketmaster Advertising, Inc.
TMC Consultants, Inc.
Ticketmaster Tell Ltd.
Ticketmaster-Direct, Inc.
Cinema Acquisition Corp.
Ticketmaster Cinema Group, Ltd.
TM Movie Tix Holdings, Inc.
TM Marketing, Inc.
Ticketmaster Merchandising Corp.
Ticketmaster-Golf, Inc.
MFG Management Corp.
TM Flowers
TM National Flora LLC.

Instead, I’ll be going with the competitors:

LM Loyalty Management
Neighborhood Box Office
NEXT Ticketing
Prologue Systems, Inc.

Further steps can also be taken. Urge your favorite artists/sports teams to not use Ticketmaster, along with your local venues. The less people who use them, the less power they’ll have to overcharge the masses.

In addition to monopolizing the ticket market and charging these ridiculous fees, Ticketmaster also has no regard for customer privacy. Directly from their website:

“By completing this registration form you indicate that you consent to Ticketmaster sharing your email address and other information with those who provide the event, and that you consent to those who provide the event using your information to contact you by email or other means to send you marketing or other messages or using or disclosing your information in other ways. By completing this registration form, you also indicate that you consent to Ticketmaster contacting you by email or other means to send you marketing or other messages and using and disclosing the information you submit, as described in the Ticketmaster Privacy.”

Why do we let them get away with shit like this!? Fuck Ticketmaster. I’m going with!

Domestic Violence Awareness Month – October 2009

Domestic Violence Awareness MonthNot only is October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but it’s also the unfortunately lesser known Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Silence hides violence and it needs to end now. Below are some statistics of just how rampant this problem really is. Granted, through the hard work of the people spearheading this campaign, the amount of domestic violence related homicides have decreased in number in the past few years, but until that number is zero, we haven’t done enough to raise awareness and stop the cycle of domestic violence.

From Barack Obama:

“Domestic violence touches the lives of Americans of all ages, leaving a devastating impact on women, men, and children of every background and circumstance. A family’s home becomes a place of fear, hopelessness, and desperation when a woman is battered by her partner, a child witnesses the abuse of a loved one, or a senior is victimized by family members. Since the 1994 passage of the landmark Violence Against Women Act, championed by then Senator Joe Biden, our Nation has strengthened its response to this crime and increased services for victims. Still, far too many women and families in this country and around the world are affected by domestic violence. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we recommit ourselves to ending violence within our homes, our communities, and our country.

To effectively respond to domestic violence, we must provide assistance and support that meets the immediate needs of victims. Facing social isolation, victims can find it difficult to protect themselves and their children. They require safe shelter and housing, medical care, access to justice, culturally specific services, and economic opportunity. The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act supports emergency shelters, crisis intervention programs, and community education about domestic violence.

In the best of economic times, victims worry about finding a job and housing, and providing for their children; these problems only intensify during periods of financial stress. That is why the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides $325 million for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). This funding will supplement the Federal VAWA and VOCA dollars that flow to communities every year, and enable States, local governments, tribes, and victim service providers to retain and hire personnel that can serve victims and hold offenders accountable. These funds will also bring relief to victims seeking a safe place to live for themselves and their children.

Victims of violence often suffer in silence, not knowing where to turn, with little or no guidance and support. Sadly, this tragedy does not just affect adults. Even when children are not directly injured by violence, exposure to violence in the home can contribute to behavioral, social, and emotional problems. High school students who report having experienced physical violence in a dating relationship are more likely to use drugs and alcohol, are at greater risk of suicide, and may carry patterns of abuse into future relationships. Our efforts to address domestic violence must include these young victims.

During this month, we rededicate ourselves to breaking the cycle of violence. By providing young people with education about healthy relationships, and by changing attitudes that support violence, we recognize that domestic violence can be prevented. We must build the capacity of our Nation’s victim service providers to reach and serve those in need. We urge community leaders to raise awareness and bring attention to this quiet crisis. And across America, we encourage victims and their families to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. Together, we must ensure that, in America, no victim of domestic violence ever struggles alone.”

Some of the shocking statistics:

One quarter of women nationally have been victims of domestic violence. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The National Institute of Justice, Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence, July     2000. The Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: 1998 Survey of Women’s Health, 1999)

– Between 600,000 and 6 million women are victims of domestic violence each year, and between 100,000 and 6 million men, depending on the type of survey used to obtain the data. (Rennison, C. (2003, Feb).  Intimate partner violence.  Us. Dpt. of Justice/Office of Justice Programs.  NXJ 197838. Straus, M. & Gelles, R. (1990).  Physical violence in American families.  New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers. Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (2000).  Extent, nature, and consequences of intimate partner violence.  National Institute of Justice, NCJ 181867.)

– Nearly 2.2 million people called a domestic violence crisis or hot line in 2004 to escape crisis situations, seek advice, or assist someone they thought might be victims (National Network to End Domestic Violence)

Studies show that access to shelter services leads to a 60-70% reduction in incidence and severity of re-assault during the 3-12 months’ follow up period compared to women who did not access shelter. Shelter services led to greater reduction in severe re-assault than did seeking court or law enforcement protection, or moving to a new location. (Campbell, JC, PhD, RN, FAAN. Anna D. Wolf, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Protective Action and Re-assault: Findings from the RAVE study.)

Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. 30% of Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year. (Allstate Foundation National Poll on Domestic Violence, 2006. Lieberman Research Inc., Tracking Survey conducted for The Advertising Council and the Family Violence Prevention Fund, July – October 1996)

Studies suggest that between 3.3 – 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually. (Carlson, Bonnie E. (1984). Children’s observations of interpersonal violence. Pp. 147-167 in A.R. Roberts (Ed.) Battered women and their families (pp. 147-167). NY: Springer. Straus, M.A. (1992). Children as witnesses to marital violence: A risk factor for lifelong problems among a nationally representative sample of American men and women. Report of the Twenty-Third Ross Roundtable. Columbus, OH: Ross Laboratories.)

These statistics are simply ridiculous and it’s time to stop the cycle of domestic violence.

Here’s what you can do to help:

– Join the Women’s Resource Center. They provide assistance to women and children in the way of counseling, career placement, legal aide, and more.

– Demonstrate your support of victims by joining the Purple Ribbon Project.

– Become acquainted with the Silent Witness Initiative in your state. They promote hope, help, and healing for victims of domestic violence.

– Start a Clothesline Project or find one in your neighborhood. Give every woman the chance to be heard.

Also, you can visit these sites for more resources:

Domestic Violence Awareness Month
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Domestic Violence Hot Line