Sharing countercultural history. Investigating ideas on how to co-create sustainable community outside the box. Establishing said online resources content in one place. Thereby, mirroring the long process of what it takes to raise social justice, political and cultural consciousness collectively. Your mission, should you decide to join us, is to click on the yellow daisy on the left! All the best to you, in a world-wide affiliation!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Wealth & Health: How are they related?

An Inspired and inspiring lead: Mayor of Newark, New Jersey:Cory Booker

Living on Earth: Wealth & Health Program
"When it comes to personal health, diet and exercise are great but salary and zip code could be bigger factors in how long any one of us will live. That’s the message behind the new PBS series “Unnatural Causes, Is Inequality Making us Sick?”

Saturday, March 29, 2008

This Report centralizes everything that this blog stands for:

The Kerner Commission Report, 40 Years Later

detroit forum

Harvey Hollins III, vice president for the government and community affairs at Wayne State University, greets guests at the Detroit hearing held on November 17.(by Elizabeth Conley / The Detroit News)

The Eisenhower Foundation is hosting a re-examination of the issues raised by the Kerner Riot Commission, beginning with forums in Detroit and Newark, two cities affected by the civil unrest of 1967. Read what the media says about these two public forums.


The Detroit News - November 17

Detroit Free Press - November 18

Detroit Free Press - November 16

Lansing State Journal - November 17

Michigan Chronicle - November 15


Star Ledger - November 30

Star Ledger - December 2
Eisenhower Foundation gives early childhood education a boost.

(Baltimore, MD) The foundation used its communications department to share information with columnist Greg Kane of McClatchy Tribune regional news service and the Baltimore Sun about the awards being granted by Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer to two Maryland counties for their innovate preschool programs.

State school superintendent Nancy Grasmick says in the article “If I had my way, I’d do away with the senior year of high school and invest the money in early childhood education.”

While the Eisenhower Foundation doesn’t advocate doing away with senior year (nor does Grasmick really), we do support early childhood education. It is part of a critical continuum that is missing in many poor communities. We advocate multiple solutions to multiple problems funded to the scale of the problem: With a continuum of early education , after school for elementary students, quantum programs for high school students, quality prisoner reentry and training first not work first initiatives, community banking and community policing; entire communities can be stabilized and brought out of poverty. We salute the early child hood efforts of the two counties and Representative Hoyer for his support. Click here to read article
Eisenhower Foundation-The Sorbonne Forum Compares American, French and British Riots Over Poverty, Inequality and Race
Paris Riots

Recent French Riots

(Paris) On June 6, 2007, the Sorbonne (the University of Paris) and the Eisenhower Foundation co-sponsored a one-day Forum in Paris on “Poverty, Inequality and Race: Forty Years After the Kerner Commission and Twenty-Five Years After the Scarman Report.”

The purpose of the Forum was to provide information that the Eisenhower Foundation could use in its upcoming fortieth anniversary update in 2008 of the final report of the 1968 Kerner Riot Commission in the U.S. (officially known as the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders). The Kerner Commission (named after its chair, Illinois Governor Otto Kerner) predicted growing inequality and racial segregation in the U.S. – a prophecy that has come to pass.

The June 6 Paris Forum on the anniversary of Europe D-Day, 1944, compared the causes and consequences of the uprisings in America’s impoverished inner cities during the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s to British riots in the 1980s amongst its urban poor, (which led to a British Commission chaired by Lord Scarman) to the recent French riots in predominantly poor, immigrant neighborhoods.

The presenters at the Sorbonne on June 6 included, in alphabetical order:

1. John Benyon, Professor, University of Leicester, Leicester (UK).

1. Sophie Body-Gendrot, Professor, the Sorbonne, Paris.

1. Alan Curtis, President, the Eisenhower Foundation, Washington, DC.

1. Jeffrey Fagan, Professor, School of Law, Columbia University, New York.

1. Romain Garbaye, CEUMA, the Sorbonne, Paris.

1. Fred R. Harris, Former United States Senator, Chairman, the Eisenhower Foundation, Washington, DC.

1. Anne Power, Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science, London.

1. Vivien Stern, Member, House of Lords, London.

The Paris Forum follows the Eisenhower Foundation's National Forum on "Media, Poverty, Inequality and Race" (click here). The Foundation is preparing an update of the Kerner Commission which will be released on its 40th anniversary in 2008. The process will begin with comprehensive hearings in select American cities which experienced uprisings during and since the mid-1960s, revisiting many that were profiled in the original report. For more information contact Ms. Leila McDowell, Director of Communications at the Eisenhower Foundation at

Leading Journalists Discuss Policy Impact of Media Coverage on Poverty, Race and Inequality

(Washington, DC) On December 12, 2006 the Eisenhower Foundation held the National Media Forum on Poverty, Inequality and Race. Over two dozen leading journalists, media critics and scholars spoke on these issues throughtout the daylong forum.

To frame the Forum, the Eisenhower Foundation Forum had posed the question: why has the quantity and quality of print and electronic media coverage on poverty, inequality, race – and effective policy to deal with these issues – declined so precipitously since the late 1960s, in spite of recent reporting on Hurricane Katrina and failed federal policy on the Gulf Coast?

Click here to view videos of the presentations.

Click here for the Forum agenda and here for bios of the panelists.

Click here to order a copy of C-SPAN's coverage of the event.
The Truly Disadvantaged and the Inner City: A Return to Education, Training, and Placement

(Washington, DC) November 6, 2006 -The Eisenhower Foundation held a day-long forum on employment training for youth, titled “The Truly Disadvantaged and the Inner City: A Return to Education, Training, and Placement.” Present at the forum were leaders from some of the most successful job education and training agencies in the United States (such as Job Corps, Youth Build USA, Vocational Foundation, Inc., Youth Opportunity Movement, Center for Employment Training, Remediation and Training Institute, and Alexandria Seaport Foundation).

The forum participants reviewed the underlying principals of the former Eisenhower Foundation funded Argus job training model for youth, and, by using the LaFrance Associates’ report as a starting point, discussed best practices in youth employment education, training, and placemen that could be used to enhance the Argus model and inform development of a new job training model by the Foundation. Click to read "Findings on Youth Employment Training Best Practices" prepared by LaFrance Associates.
Public-Morality Forum
Televised on C-SPAN
What Would Geno Do?

Father Baroni
at confirmation hearings in 1977

What is public morality? Many religious and secular leaders believe it is more than personal morality – that it is about vision, and what journalist Walter Lippman called “pursuit of the good society.”

How can we create a framework of public morality at a time when poverty has increased four years in a row, tax breaks are being given to the rich, domestic spending is being reduced, schools are becoming more segregated, and the public sector has failed New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina?
One man who dedicated his life to the pursuit of the good society was the late Father Geno Baroni, Assistant Secretary for Neighborhoods at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the late 1970s and the highest ranking priest in the federal executive branch of the government.

On what would have been Baroni’s 75th birthday, the Eisenhower Foundation held a forum on public morality that gathered more than 30 government, religious and secular leaders to discuss his legacy and explore ways it can be put to practice today.

Recap of the two-day forum
Newspaper coverage
Summary of the "Baroni Principles"
Commentary: Invest Hawaii tax surplus in poverty solutions

Eisenhower Foundation President Alan Curtis and Trustee Jeff Faux of the Economic Policy Institute spoke at Facing Hawaii's Future: A Gathering for the Common Good, a forum held by Faith Action For Community Equity (FACE), a local coalition of churches, labor unions, grassroots groups, tenants' organizations and native Hawaiian groups. FACE, the largest advocacy coalition on the island, represents a constituency of over 38,000 that engages in actions and programs that challenge the systems that perpetuate poverty and injustice.

Curtis and Faux spoke on the growing economic rift in America and the need for proven policies that help the truly disadvantaged, issues explored in the Eisenhower Foundation book Patriotism, Democracy and Common Sense.
As part of the Eisenhower Foundation capacity building program, the Foundation provided critical media and organizing strategies to the coalition, helping it to achieve coverage and legislative victories on housing and long term health care. Read more about Eisenhower Foundation's capacity building inititiave.

To read Alan Curtis' thought provoking op-ed in the major daily newspaper, the Honolulu Advertiser.

To read Columnist Jerry Burris' observations on Hawai'i's Next Social Revolution, click here.

Michelle Takemoto of FACE believes that Hawai'i's Middle Class is in Trouble. To read her Op-Ed, click here.

To read the Honolulu Advertiser's editorial regarding support for caregivers, click here.
New from the Eisenhower Foundation

Now available in paperback
on Amazon and in bookstores

Ex-Offenders Find a Voice at First-Ever National Summit

Ex-offenders and organizers convene the first national conference of Previously Incarcerated Persons at Delancey Street in San Francisco.

In November 2005, the Eisenhower Foundation, in partnership with the Delancey Street Foundation and more than 20 other organizations around the nation, hosted a forum in San Francisco that brought together the concerns of previously incarcerated persons in America with the warnings of President Dwight Eisenhower a half-century ago.

Eisenhower's farewell address, drafted by his brother Milton, warned against the "military-congressional-industrial complex." Today, most observers agree America has a "prison-industrial complex" -- in which huge government prison-building expenditures are made as job-generating economic development grants to rural communities, disproportionately white.

In response to the prison-industrial complex, the Delancey Street Foundation and the Eisenhower Foundation seek to create a national movement that empowers previously incarcerated persons, advocates for the same rights people have in other industrial democracies, expands our replications of Delancey Street, and significantly reduces the American recidivism rate.

More on the first national summit of Previously Incarcerated Persons.
Amy Goodman Interviews Clare Short In Recent Democracy Now! Episode

Goodman, at left, and the Right Honourable Clare Short, MP.

Crusading humanitarian Clare Short, a member of the British Parliament, has been fighting against international issues of hunger and poverty during her entire career in government. A contributor to Patriotism, Democracy, and Common Sense, Short visited fellow contributor Amy Goodman at her Firehouse studio to tape a segment of Democracy Now! recently in New York. To read a transcript of the exchange or watch the segment (at 128k stream).
Poverty Rise, Katrina Damage:
Both Could Have Been Avoided

Our prayers go out to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which wracked the U.S. on Aug. 29. The next day, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that a million more Americans had entered the brewing storm of poverty in America − which grew for the fourth straight year.

Next year, tens of thousands of Katrina's victims may be added to the list of those who live on less than $19,300 for a year family of four. The total is now 37 million Americans, with more well on their way there.

Eisenhower president Alan Curtis is featured in a nationally syndicated column by William Raspberry in the Washington Post, who writes that this fourth-year economic disaster could have been avoided – much like the catastrophic aftermath of Katrina. Read the full article.

Poverty Standard 'a Joke' In Costly American Cities

In response to the Census data, the San Diego Union-Tribune correctly observed that $19,300 can't go far for a family of four in a major city.

In San Diego, the average small apartment rents for $1,210 -- or $14,520 a year. Subtract that from $20,000, and that family of four will be having a pretty lean year. Trouble is, that $20,000 is above the poverty level. This will shut the door to most poverty assistance.

Experts agree that the real income needed to escape poverty in America is significantly higher than the 40-year-old federal standard.

Eisenhower president Alan Curtis told the paper that "the long-term trend is to ignore the realities of the poor." For a look at what it takes for a family to really break even, please click here for the full story.

From East Coast to West Coast, Outrage Over Poverty in America

After hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the state of America's poor was vividly brought before us -- the face of a nation that many of us seem to avoid until disaster strikes.

As a nation consumed with the lives of the rich and famous, we rarely seem concerned about the 37 million Americans who live below the poverty level. Now will we remember these images of desperation, and work for change, or will the memories fade yet again?

On the West Coast, the San Francisco Chronicle discusses the recent shift in focus toward the poor. On the East Coast, Kevin Merida and Michael A. Fletcher write of the new "celebrity poor" in The Washington Post. Eisenhower president Alan Curtis is quoted in both.

Panelists Urge Practical U.S. Policies for World Leadership

Century Panel

Joseph C. Wilson, left, with Richard Leone, Alan Curtis, and Clare Short at Eisenhower Foundation forum Feb. 15.

Many of the world’s current ills can be solved with sensible, mutually supportive policies – if its leaders could merely turn from immoral, avaricious foreign and domestic policies to populist, democratic
policies that benefit average workers and their families.

For Dr. Curtis' presentation, please click here; for Richard Leone, click here; for Joseph C. Wilson, click here; and for Clare Short, please click here.

Concerns of Working America Addressed in Eisenhower Forum

Labor and the Eisenhower Foundation came together as one April 27 at the National Labor College for a major forum based on themes addressed in new book, Patriotism, Democracy, and Common Sense.

The Eisenhower Foundation didn’t just write a book,” said Labor College president Sue Schurman. “This is part of a campaign to take our country back and make it what it ought to be.”

Dr. Alan Curtis, editor of the volume, was joined by noted economist Jeff Faux and Dr. Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, Labor College faculty member, on the panel moderated by Dr. Schurman during sometimes contentious question-and-answer.

Each presenter received a standing ovation.

Dr. Schurman told 55 labor leaders from around the U.S. about the foundation’s roots in the civil-rights movement. “That was your calling – the social-justice movement,” she told the authors of the book who comprised the forum panel.

“You found the labor movement a natural extension of that movement. And if labor is going to grow, and help take back our country and take back our movement, then we must make common cause with people like the Eisenhower Foundation and the ideas contained in Patriotism, Democracy, and Common Sense.”

Dr. Curtis received sustained applause from union leaders during a portion of his presentation that focused on “public morality”:

“It is publicly immoral for a fifth of America’s youngest children to live in poverty,” he stated to a round of applause. “It is immoral for America’s CEOs to earn 400 times more than America’s workers and 250 times more than its teachers” – a comment well understood by the unionists.

For a transcript of the proceedings, please click here.

Dr. Alan Curtis

Eisenhower Principals Get the Ear of Congress

Poverty, unemployment, poor education, racism, and the highest incarceration rates in the world remain American dilemmas that diminish the credibility and "soft power" of the U.S. in the eyes of other nations.

Yet cost-effective solutions exist, as illustrated by the Congressional testimony of two Eisenhower Foundation principals.

Testifying before the Congressional Black Caucus, Eisenhower President Alan Curtis concluded the issue is not lack of knowledge, but lack of will. "We already know what works for the truly disadvantaged and need to replicate it to a scale equal to the dimensions of the problem." For Dr. Curtis' presentation, click here.

Washington Standardized Test Gets Failing Grade from Students

Students in Washington state have a new hurdle to clear in order to graduate -- the Washington Assessment of Student Learning. It's a hot topic among parents, and students say the test "is an unfair addition to graduation requirements."

In some schools, almost half the students fail the standardized test, beginning in 9th grade. If you don't pass in your senior year, you can forget about a high school diploma. For the latest on the controversy, please click here for a new developments in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Social Security Going Broke?Immigration a Problem?
Maybe Not, Experts Say

babybust Sen. Harris

Sen. Fred Harris

Rumors of the death of Social Security are greatly exaggerated, thanks in part to continuing immigration, experts said at a recent Eisenhower forum in Washington.

The thoughtful analyses presented at the forum are now available in The Baby Bust: Who Will Do the Work? Who Will Pay the Taxes?, edited by former Senator Fred R. Harris. This landmark book of essays by demographic, economic, and political science experts, examines the "birth dearth" and its causes, implications, and policy options.

When one looks at the Social Security system and immigration trends in the U.S., production is going to increase, not sharply drop as some predict. Wages will be going up, and as a result, the Social Security system will be as healthy as it has been in years.

At a time when both Social Security and Immigration Policy are center stage in the political debate, it is important to fully understand the sometimes technical and confusing issues.

For more information on the content of the book, Click Here.

To order the book from Amazon, Click Here or Click the book image above.

Full-text versions of two of the papers presented at the forum are available below:

The Baby Boom in Historical Perspective, by Herbert S. Klein

Latino Immigrants, National Identity and the National Interest, by Rodolfo de la Garza

Pablo's Court

Pablo Eisenberg, Senior Fellow with the Public Policy Institute of Georgetown University, tennis player extraordinaire and Eisenhower Foundation board of trustees member, writes regularly for the Chronicle of Philanthropy. We are pleased to share his ruminations on politics, principles and philanthropy with you. Here are his latest missives:

Americans Generous? Not Really: January 24, 2008

Government Must Move Quickly to Aid the Smithsonian: November 15, 2007

Bill Clinton's Book on Giving Misses the Key Issues: September 20, 2007

Newspaper Cuts Are a Threat to Charities' Accountability: August 23, 2007

Charities Should Remain Nonpolitical: June 28, 2007

Public Has Right to Know: April 5, 2007

Gates: Role Model in Need of Remodeling: March 8, 2007

Skyrocketing CEO Pay Raises Questions for Charities: Feb. 8, 2007

Congress Should End Special Tax Breaks for Art Gifts: Oct. 12, 2006

How to Stem the Nonprofit-Leadership Deficit: Sept. 28, 2006

Gates-Buffett Merger Isn't Good for Philanthropy: July 20, 2006

Why Don't Charities and Lawmakers Want to Curb Nonprofit Abuses?: Jun. 29, 2006

A Questionable Moral Decision: Mar. 20, 2006

After Katrina: What Foundations Should Do: Jan. 26, 2006

Philanthropy Loses Two of Its Giants:
Waldemar Nielsen and Alan Pifer: Nov. 24, 2005

When You Can't Trust the Trustees: Oct. 27, 2005

Philanthropy Must Challenge Corporate America: Aug. 18, 2005

Excessive Executive Compensation Needs to Be Stemmed: April 29, 2004

What Congress Can Do to Fight Charity and Foundation Abuses: March 18, 2004

The Public Loses Out When Charities Become Too Businesslike: June 10, 2004

Accrediting Charities Isn't Government's Role: Aug. 5, 2004

The Unsung Heroes of Philanthropy: May 1, 2003

Why Foundation Grants Shouldn't Mix With Politics: Feb. 6, 2003

The Buck Stops with the Board of Directors -- Or at Least It Should: Oct. 17, 2002

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Another Word to the Wise

Find the original post here.
(Watch the video on BM's blog first!)
Posted by: Michael J. Ahles | March 1, 2008 11:50 AM

This shows not just how hard it is for reporters but educators too. We are at a time when teachers have been cornered into testing, that means nothing except losing schools u NCLB. We can not get critical thinking to be the number one priority any more. Lynn Cheney helped America decide what students learn in the classrooms across the country and it is not Howard Zinn or Ms. Painter from last nights show. Maybe we should have the conservatives write all our news stories like they have written our humanities standards in school curriculum. Obama and Clinton want merit pay for teachers and that will not help. I know lets have teachers teach just the spin of the era they teach. Johnson told the truth about Vietnam. Nixon was not a crook. Wilson met Ho Chi Minh at the Paris Peace talks of 1919. Bush does not spy on us. HW Bush has nothing to do with NAFTA. Hilary takes on the credit card companies. Clinton never sold small arms to other countries. Steiglitz is wrong that the Pentagon is keeping two sets of money books on the Iraq War. Students do n need to know what was past and is prologue. Reality is being manipulated and educators are under the gun since the backlash of the 1960-70s to conform more and more every year. The Culture Wars are being ignored. If we lose an educated critical polis we are done for. We only have a little time left for free speech in the classrooms. It seems the newspapers are not far behind because this has already happened to teachers in America, just look at State and Federal Case law. Now people might take notice what is happening in school districts across the nation similar to what is happening to Risen and the FBI whistleblower. An educated public can only help news reporters who tell the truth, but that has scared the powerful elite since civilization has existed. A smart public demanding the ability to rise on the social ladder, that is class warfare! The Ravitch Language Police are on the March and I do not think it is the liberals. The old whigs are winning and they do not take Adam Smith along on journey to opression!
Thank you Rick Carr.
Track the reason for the post on this blog back to this blog.


Co-sponsors and Speakers:
Gold Star Families for Peace
Progressive Democrats of America
Win without War
After Downing Street
Hip Hop Caucus

the Troops Home
Velvet Revolution
The Nation
The Backbone Campaign
Brad Blog

In April, Congress will vote to give George Bush another $102 billion blank check for Iraq - unless we finally persuade our Representatives to Just Say No.

One of the best ways to persuade a Representative is to hold a Town Hall Meeting and fill the hall with people who care and are willing to speak passionately. That gets their attention!

(Another way is to turn out a crowd for a Town Hall that your Representative is already scheduled to attend. You can follow the appropriate instructions below.)

So we're asking the 500,000 members of to organize Iraq Town Halls in all 435 Congressional districts on any Sunday in April. It takes just two reliable activists to get started - can you help?

Here are the basic steps for planning the Town Hall (you may need to click "read more" right below):

1. "Raise your hand" by logging in here:
Look under "Congressional District" and see if someone else has volunteered for an Iraq Town Hall. If so, click the link and offer your help in the comments.
If no one else has volunteered, next to "Congressional District" click [Post] and a blank form will open. Complete the form as follows:
Subject: Iraq Town Hall Volunteer
Topic: Iraq Town Halls (#4 on the topics list)
Body: Identify yourself and write what you're willing to do, and what you need help to do. If you want to hold a small meeting to plan the event, post a time and place (for example a convenient coffee shop or library).
2. Ask one reliable friend to help you organize this event
3. Pick a convenient auditorium with several hundred seats - a school, church, library etc.
4. Call and ask which Sundays in April are available for a Town Hall Meeting on Iraq, how much they charge for a 2-hour event, and whether you can sell tickets at the door to cover costs.
5. Call the District Office (not DC office) of your Representative in your local phone book or here:
ask for the scheduler to find out which of the available auditorium dates work for your Representative. If your Representative won't give you a date promptly, pick one yourself - and leave an empty seat on the stage for your Representative.
6. Post an announcement of the event by logging in here:
next to "Congressional District" click [Post]
Subject: Iraq Town Hall Scheduled
Topic: Iraq Town Halls (#4 on the topics list)
Body: Date, Time, Location, Address, etc.
If you need to raise money to pay for the auditorium, mention how much and where they can send a contribution.
7. Email us at iraqtownhall[at]democrats{dot}com and we'll give you instructions how to email all of our members in your Congressional District.
8. Reach out to local Iraq veterans and their families to speak (see speakers at top)
9. Reach out to progressive allies in your area to bring people and spread the word:
10. Make a 1-page flyer (or use the sample below) and post it in busy locations (coffee shops, supermarkets, libraries, post offices, etc.)
11. Post your event on every community calendar you can think of (internet, radio, newspaper, etc)
12. Email and/or call local reporters (TV, radio, newspaper, blogs) to personally invite them to attend

Here are the basic things to do at the actual Town Hall:

1. Come early to set up and bring all the items you need below
2. Test the sound system to make sure it works
3. Bring video cameras to record the event for Youtube
4. Set up a few long tables in the back for literature from your allies
5. Set up a table and chairs on the stage with a readable sign for each speaker, including your Representative - whether (s)he attends or not
6. On the podium, tape a sign with your Representative's name and DC phone number in large letters so everyone can add them to their cellphone
7. Set up a card table at the door with several clipboards for sign-in sheets. Ask for name, zip, email, and cellphone for texting
8. Bring a cash box for contributions
9. Greet reporters at the door, thank them for coming, and invite them to sit in the front and interview the speakers
10. After the speeches, ask everyone to call their Representative and leave a message with their name and address and a simple demand: vote NO on $102 billion more for Iraq
11. Form a committee to keep up the pressure on your Representative through grassroots events like honkathons, ironing-board letter-writing, anti-war film showings, tables at community events, etc.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Women's Herstory Month

"Feminism directly confronts the idea that one person or set of people [has] the right to impose definitions of reality on others."
_ Sue Wise, feminist author & Liz Stanley, sociologist

Feminist Quiz:
What former slave was a powerful speaker for the rights of women and Black people?

Answer: Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)

National Women's History Project Honoree: Lorna Simpson
Lorna Simpson was born in 1960 and she is a well-known photographer and artist. Her art challenges conventional views of culture, gender, identity, and history. She uses the human body to portray the interactions and relationships that we experience in a multi-racial society.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tibetans divided over protest strategy

Stringer/India / Reuters

Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, addresses a news conference at Dharamsala in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh March 16, 2008. The Dalai Lama called on Sunday for an investigation into China's tough response to protests in Tibet, and whether it was deliberate "cultural genocide". The comments from Tibet's spiritual leader came as police and troops locked down Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, two days after street protests against Chinese rule that the region's government-in-exile said had killed 80 people. REUTERS/Stringer (INDIA)
5:53 a.m. ET, 3/18/08

Updated 3:19 p.m. PT, Tues., March. 18, 2008

DHARMSALA, India - Tibetan exiles saw a chance to put China on the spot ahead of the Beijing Olympics, but never expected their protests to spread to Tibet and turn violent. Now the Dalai Lama is threatening to quit if his people don’t return to peaceful resistance.

It’s a warning he has used before — telling Tibetans to return to peaceful protests during 1989 unrest — but this time it comes amid deep divisions within the Tibetan community between those who back his pacifist approach and an angry young generation that demands action.

While the situation inside Tibet remains unclear, much of the violence last week appears to have been committed by Tibetans against Han Chinese — a fact that troubles the 72-year-old Dalai Lama, who has long called for Tibetans to have significant autonomy within China.

“Whether we like it or not, we have to live together side by side,” the Dalai Lama told reporters Tuesday in the northern Indian hill town of Dharmsala, seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile. “We must oppose Chinese policy but not the Chinese. Not on a racist basis.”

Though fearful of a Chinese crackdown — he compared the plight of Tibetans to that of “a young deer in a tiger’s hands” — the Dalai Lama insisted he could not abide violence by his own people. Peaceful protest is the only way, he said.

He said that if the situation gets out of control, his “only option is to completely resign.”

An aide later clarified that the Dalai Lama meant he would step down as the political leader of the exile government — not as the supreme religious leader of Tibetan Buddhists.

Regardless, his call for Tibetans to work with the Chinese stands in stark contrast to the “Free Tibet” chants of thousands of Tibetan youths, Buddhist monks and nuns who have marched the steep paths of Dharmsala in recent days, angry faces painted with Tibetan flags and chests smeared with blood-red paint.

They want action not diplomacy, independence not autonomy.

Youth activist cites frustration
“There is growing frustration among the younger generations. They have been talking for 20 years and nothing came out of it,” said Tsewang Rigzin, head of the Tibetan Youth Congress.

He urged “the protesters in Tibet to continue in their protests until China gets out of Tibet.”

While hesitant to directly criticize the Dalai Lama — who is deeply revered by Tibetans — and careful not to endorse violence, the younger activists warn that patience with his approach is running thin.

“I certainly hope the middle way approach will be reviewed. The Tibetan nation and Tibetan culture are on the verge of extinction,” Rigzin said.

Another activist, Tenzin Choedon, a 28-year-old student, said: “It is time for a change in Tibet and the Tibetan movement.”

The activists argue that the Dalai Lama is squandering a golden opportunity by not opposing China hosting the Olympics.

“We have to seize the opportunity of the Olympics,” said Rigzin. “We have to shift the spotlight while the whole world is watching to show the true color of China.”

The Youth Congress and other exile groups began a Dharmsala-to-Tibet walk on March 10 — just before Beijing was to kick off its Olympic celebrations with a torch run through Tibet. It was also the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising in Tibet that forced the Dalai Lama to flee to India.

When Indian authorities stopped the first march just days after it began, the exiles embarked on a second attempt.

It’s a far more antagonistic approach than the Dalai Lama prefers. On Tuesday, he urged the marchers to abandon the project, saying it would only spark confrontation with Chinese troops at the border. “Will you get independence? What’s the use?” he asked.

Yet even the Dalai Lama understands the anger of the young.

“In recent years our approach has had no concrete improvement inside Tibet, so naturally (there are) more and more signs of restlessness, even inside Tibet,” he said.

The turmoil in Tibet also has laid bare the inability of Tibetans to capitalize on the intense exposure to their cause and extract concessions from China.

“We are helpless,” said Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of the Tibetan exile government, echoing comments by the Dalai Lama.

The government announced Monday that it was setting up a committee to coordinate the actions of Tibetan groups during the crisis. But word has not reached every group.

“So far we have not heard from them,” said B. Tsering, head of the Tibetan Women’s Association, which is taking part in the march to Tibet.

Despite China’s charge that the Dalai Lama and his supporters planned the uprising, the protests in Tibet and cities around the world were spontaneous — organized by local Tibetan groups and their sympathizers, B. Tsering said.

“If this continues I’m afraid the Tibetan people might lose control. It could get difficult,” she said. “Lots of demonstrations are decided on by the young people and we can’t control them.

The Dalai Lama insists pacifism is the only path to saving Tibet from the “cultural genocide” that he sees being inflicted by Han Chinese migration to Tibet and the communist regime’s religious restrictions.

“Our only strengths are justice and truth,” he said. “Force is immediate, but the effects of truth sometimes take longer.”

Arthur C. Clarke

Sci-fi guru Arthur C. Clarke dies at 90
Known for ‘2001’ and tech predictions; asked for secular funeral

Sanka Vidanagama/AFP-Getty Images file

Science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, seen here in this photograph taken at his home in Sri Lanka in December 2007, has died at the age of 90 after suffering breathing problems, an aide says.

8:32 a.m. PT, Wed., March. 19, 2008

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - Even in death, Arthur C. Clarke would not compromise his vision.

The famed science fiction writer, who once denigrated religion as “a necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species,” left written instructions that his funeral be completely secular, according to his aides.

“Absolutely no religious rites of any kind, relating to any religious faith, should be associated with my funeral,” he wrote.

Clarke died early Wednesday at age 90 and was to be buried in a private funeral this weekend in his adopted home of Sri Lanka. Clarke, who had battled debilitating post-polio syndrome for years, suffered breathing problems in recent days, aide Rohan De Silva said.

The visionary author won worldwide acclaim with more than 100 books on space, science and the future. The 1968 story “2001: A Space Odyssey” — written simultaneously as a novel and screenplay with director Stanley Kubrick — was a frightening prophecy of artificial intelligence run amok.

One year after it made Clarke a household name in fiction, the scientist entered the homes of millions of Americans alongside Walter Cronkite anchoring television coverage of the Apollo mission to the moon.

Clarke also was credited with the concept of communications satellites in 1945, decades before they became a reality. He became known as the "godfather" of the satellite revolution. Geosynchronous orbits, which keep satellites in a fixed position relative to the ground, are called Clarke orbits.

Fiction vs. nonfiction

His nonfiction volumes on space travel and his explorations of the Great Barrier Reef and Indian Ocean earned him respect in the world of science, and in 1976 he became an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. But it was his writing that shot him to his greatest fame and that gave him the greatest fulfillment.

“Sometimes I am asked how I would like to be remembered,” Clarke said recently. “I have had a diverse career as a writer, underwater explorer and space promoter. Of all these, I would like to be remembered as a writer.”

From 1950, he began a prolific output of both fiction and nonfiction, sometimes publishing three books in a year.

A statement from Clarke’s office said he had recently reviewed the final manuscript of his latest novel. “The Last Theorem,” co-written with Frederik Pohl, will be published later this year, it said.

Some of his best-known books are “Childhood’s End,” 1953; “The City and The Stars,” 1956; “The Nine Billion Names of God,” 1967; “Rendezvous with Rama,” 1973; “Imperial Earth,” 1975; and “The Songs of Distant Earth,” 1986.

When Clarke and Kubrick got together to develop a movie about space, they looked for inspiration to several of Clarke’s shorter pieces. As work progressed on the screenplay, Clarke also wrote a novel of the story. He followed it up with “2010,” “2061,” and “3001: The Final Odyssey.”

"2010" was made into a film sequel, and Clarke's legacy in the movies may well continue after his death: A film adaptation of "Rendezvous With Rama" has been in development for years, with actor Morgan Freeman as producer and star.

How Clarke inspired space exploration
Clarke's fiction inspired real-life space exploration. After the first moon landing in 1969 — an event Clarke predicted decades earlier — NASA Administrator Tom Paine said in an inscription to the writer that he "provided the essential intellectual drive that led us to the moon."

Clarke's 1979 novel, "The Fountains of Paradise," helped spark the real-world efforts to build a space elevator from Earth to orbit. The idea is still being pursued, even though its realization may still be decades away.

In the wake of Clarke's death, NASA said countless young people were inspired by "his hopeful vision of how spaceflight would transform societies, economies and humankind itself."

"Although his personal odyssey here on Earth is now over, his vision lives on through his writing; he will be sorely missed," Alan Stern, the space agency's associate administrator for science, said in a written statement.

Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin struck a similar tone: "Sir Arthur's positive vision of the future excited generations about space exploration, and inspired millions to pursue scientific careers," he said.

Planetary scientist Torrence Johnson agreed that Clarke’s work was a major influence on many in the field. Johnson, who has been exploring the solar system through the Voyager, Galileo and Cassini missions in his 35 years at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, recalled a meeting of planetary scientists and rocket engineers where talk turned to the author.

“All of us around the table said we read Arthur C. Clarke,” Johnson said. “That was the thing that got us there.”

His legacy in space and on Earth

In an interview with The Associated Press, Clarke said he did not regret having never traveled to space himself, though he arranged to have DNA from his hair sent into orbit.

“One day, some super civilization may encounter this relic from the vanished species and I may exist in another time,” he said. “Move over, Stephen King.”

Along with his DNA sample, Clarke enclosed a handwritten note that read "Fare well, my clone."

Clarke, a British citizen, won a host of science fiction awards, and was named a Commander of the British Empire in 1989. Clarke was officially given a knighthood in 1998, but he delayed accepting it for two years after a London tabloid accused him of being a child molester. The allegation was never proved.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa lauded Clarke for his passion for his adopted home and his efforts to aid its progress.

“We were all proud to have this celebrated author, visionary and promoter of space exploration, prophet of satellite communications, great humanist and lover of animals in our midst,” he said in a statement.

Son of a farmer

Born in Minehead, western England, on Dec. 16, 1917, the son of a farmer, Arthur Charles Clark became addicted to science fiction after buying his first copies of the pulp magazine “Amazing Stories” at Woolworth’s. He read English writers H.G. Wells and Olaf Stapledon and began writing for his school magazine in his teens.

Clarke went to work as a clerk in Her Majesty’s Exchequer and Audit Department in London, where he joined the British Interplanetary Society and wrote his first short stories and scientific articles on space travel.

It was not until after World War II that Clarke received a bachelor of science degree in physics and mathematics from King’s College in London.

Serving in the wartime Royal Air Force, he wrote a 1945 memo about the possibility of using satellites to revolutionize communications. Clarke later sent it to a publication called Wireless World, which almost rejected it as too far-fetched.

He moved to Sri Lanka in 1956.

In recent years, Clarke was linked by his computer with friends and fans around the world, spending each morning answering e-mails and browsing the Internet.

On the occasion of his 90th birthday last December, Clarke delivered a speech to a small gathering during which he passed along three wishes: for ethnically divided Sri Lanka to find a lasting peace, for the world to embrace cleaner energy resources, and for extraterrestrial beings to "call us or give us a sign."

Clarke married in 1953, and was divorced in 1964. He had no children. He is survived by his brother, Fred, and sister, Mary. His body is to be brought to his home in Colombo so friends and fans can pay their respects before his burial.

This report was supplemented by

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Reality Check on Obama's Legend

March 7, 2008 3:01 AM

The myth of Obama has overtaken the reality of a rather ordinary and checkered politician, argues Sister Toldjah, who provides the smelling salt of facts to rouse the fainting crowds.

by Sister Toldjah

Barack Obama wants people to believe he is a “Washington outsider” who will “change” the way D.C. works. His selling points are that he decries lobbyists and special interests, says his campaign is responsible “to no one but the people,” asserts he has the ability to “get things done,” claims his 2002 anti-Iraq war speech was “courageous” and proved he has good judgment when it comes to walking against the political winds, has made a focal point of his campaign his commitment refocusing the US’ attention Afghanistan, and downplays the “experience” argument by suggesting that Washington experience is the “wrong” type of experience the country needs right now.

That’s his campaign spin. Now here are the facts:

1) On not taking money from DC lobbyists and special interest PACS: This is the type of double-talk “politics of the past” rhetoric he rails against. While his claim is technically true, what he does do is take money from state lobbyists and other big money contributors who have substantial lobbyist machines in DC, like law firms and corporations. In April 2007, the LA Times quoted the Campaign Finance Institute’s Stephen Weissman as pointing out that the distinction Obama makes on lobbyist money is meaningless: “He gets an asterisk that says he is trying to be different. … But overall, the same wealthy interests are funding his campaign as are funding other candidates, whether or not they are lobbyists.” The Capital Eye reported that “[a]ccording to the Center for Responsive Politics, 14 of Obama’s top 20 contributors employed lobbyists this year, spending a total of $16.2 million to influence the federal government in the first six months of 2007.” Obama’s no stranger to being influenced by those campaign donations, either.

2) His ability to “get things done”: Sure he has it, if you consider that every bill he passed as a State Senator was passed his last year in office by a Democrat-controlled legislature. Also, some of the more high profile accomplishments he cites now like the racial profiling/videotape confession legislation were bills where a lot of the legwork had been done by other Democrats in the legislature years prior when it was controlled by Republicans, but were given to Obama by his kingmaker, Senate president Emil Jones, Jr. in order for him to make the “close” (where he often did). When asked about this by the Houston Press’ Todd Spivak, State Senator Rickey Hendon replied, “I don’t consider it bill jacking. … But no one wants to carry the ball 99 yards all the way to the one-yard line, and then give it to the halfback who gets all the credit and the stats in the record book.” This isn’t to suggest that Obama’s achievements in the state senate are totally without merit, but instead to point out they weren’t all done by his leaping tall buildings in a single bound. He had a lot of help from Democrats. Consider this, too: if he wins, he will have a solid Democrat Congress to work with, so the only “reaching out” he’d have to do would be to the few moderate Republicans who have already proven themselves all too eager to vote with liberal Democrats.

3) His courage: Contrary to a recent hyperbolic campaign ad, it wasn’t “courageous” to give his 2002 anti-war speech, primarily because he delivered it at an anti-Iraq war rally. At the last debate, America’s former co-president claimed that it was easy to give that speech, and it wasn’t a gamble for him because he wasn’t in the US Senate and therefore wasn’t in a position of responsibility. Obama’s impassioned reply was, “I was in the midst of a U.S. Senate campaign. It was a high-stakes campaign.” Wrong. In reality, Obama did not announce his intentions to run for the US Senate until January 2003.

4) Experience: He downplays the question now, but after he was elected to serve in the US Senate in 2004, he was questioned about running on a national ticket. His response was, “I am a believer in knowing what you’re doing when you apply for a job. And I think that if I were to seriously consider running on a national ticket I would essentially have to start now, before having served a day in the Senate. Now, there are some people who might be comfortable doing that, but I’m not one of those people.” A little over a year later, he definitively stated he would not run for president, and wanted to serve out his full Senate term.

5) His “commitment” to Afghanistan: He believes the US “took its eye off the ball” when we went into Iraq, and promises to refocus on Afghanistan as president. The reality is that since Obama began chairing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on European Affairs in January 2007, not a single policy hearing has been conducted on anything, Afghanistan or otherwise. When Clinton brought this up at the Cleveland debate, Obama conceded, “I became chairman of this committee at the beginning of this campaign. … So it is true that we haven’t had oversight hearings on Afghanistan.” ‘Nuff said.

Does all this mean that Obama is an evil person? Of course it doesn’t. By many accounts, Obama is a likable friendly guy, even when he’s not causing supporters to faint when he speaks. He’s someone you could play poker with, even if you’re not a state lobbyist pal. And he probably does care about the “little guy” — even though he wants to “help” him at the expense of everyone else. All this means that Obama is a mere mortal, a man who is not unlike most other politicians when it comes to, well, playing politics. And while the national media’s mostly given him a free ride the last year or so, if Monday’s combative press conference is any indication, soon he may be wishing he really was a Washington outsider — literally.

Sister Toldjah is a freelance writer who blogs at

Monday, March 3, 2008

Because High Art marks the cultural health of a society

Celebrated Tenor Di Stefano Dies at 86
Monday, March 03, 2008 2:20:26 PM

Giuseppe Di Stefano, one of the greatest tenors of the 20th century and a celebrated singing partner of Maria Callas, died Monday. He was 86.

Di Stefano died at home in Santa Maria Hoe, north of Milan, from injuries sustained in an attack at his family's villa in Kenya in November 2004, wife Monika Curth said.

The retired tenor had been incapacitated since unidentified assailants struck him on the head during the attack at his house in Diani, Kenya, she said.

Di Stefano, born in Sicily in 1921, made his debut in 1946 in the northern city of Reggio Emilia with Massenet's "Manon," and went on to sing at the world's top opera
houses, including Milan's La Scala, New York's Metropolitan, and in Vienna and Berlin.

His last performance was in Rome in 1992.

Known for his powerful voice, Di Stefano also is remembered for his duets with Callas, who performed and recorded with him several times in the 1950s through her final tour in 1973.

At the Met, Di Stefano sang in 112 performances, making his debut as the Duke in Verdi's "Rigoletto" on Feb. 25, 1948, and his finale in the title role of Offenbach's "Les Contes des Hoffmann" on Jan. 27, 1965.

Di Stefano will be buried in Santa Maria Hoe after a funeral Wednesday, his wife said.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Wheels of Justice Tour, 2008

In a recent opportunity, I was exposed to grassroots folks of passion, doing their work. I share the value and importance of that work here with you:
The Wheels of Justice Tour has a mission to counter the American media insulation-conditioning of all Americans in ongoing denial of information, by speaking out about the occupations in Iraq and Palestine. Two of the founding speakers on The Wheel of Justice Tour provide intelligent and factual information that you are not getting in the American media. This post is intended for all those Americans who cannot hear the history of our country doing great wrong in the world. A history of great wrongs that are grinding this country to a halt. Intelligent, irrefutable facts and knowledgeable information abound to open one's eyes to the truth. Being afraid and avoiding the truthful consequences of our governments actions that demand our responsible collective availabilities, will only make the pile of grievances that much bigger to show up for. Paying the bill for choices made, always comes due. One can choose truth, learn skills for showing up, choose courage required to do what needs doing, or one can be rendered imprisoned by the weight of one's choices to avoid the truth. Killing and/or hurting one another, turning a naïvely trusting blind eye to government actions unchecked, is always going to come knocking at the door of truth, in a manner that will not be denied.
I invite you to slowly take off your blinders, read what I post for all our betterment and concerned well-being. Spend even an hour researching what you find here. Trust your own intelligence to cross-check all references listed here. References that may also cross your further reading across the "super information highway." The key is to trust yourself. Believe your own instincts. Believe your own intuitions. Then talk with your neighbors, friends, families, community members_ thoughtfully. Observantly. Then quietly consider all the information before you again. Pray. Meditate. Then take appropriate action with your friends, perhaps new friends; to build this world into one that is pro-actively loving. Our governments absolutely require our leadership right NOW! Our governments have gone astray, and we ARE the ones we need right now. In this context, read on about The Wheels of Justice Tour, 2008:
'Eyewitness speakers roll into American towns and cities across this great country, and speak to everyday Americans in welcoming churches, and to students on college campuses. The basic message of the tour is facilitated on a biodiesel bus to show and talk and sing and dance truthfully about the occupation of Iraq and Palestine.
Eyewitnesses share their direct accounts from Iraq and Palestine to challenge and educate Americans about the repercussions of war and occupation on human beings abroad and Americans here at home. Having lived with war, terror and occupation, and seen first-hand the aftermath of government policies rooted in a justification of war and egregious violence the U. S. media then further clinically rations, to propagandize the American public, in order to gain un-researched popular support_ both Mazin Qumsiyeh and Mike Miles talk to us all about justice and human rights as the only real path for peace. Their firsthand experience and perspective are offered unattached to partisan politics.
Qumsiyeh, a Palestinian American, is a former Professor of Genetics at Yale University School of Medicine. He is author of the widely acclaimed book, "Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle." He, along with his work appear in national media, interviews and print.

Miles, is a Catholic Worker and founder of Anathoth Community Farm, a center for the study of nonviolence, community, and sustainable living in Wisconsin. He holds a masters degree from North Park Seminary in Chicago, and has been arrested numerous times while practicing proactive nonviolence over the past 25 years. He has spent time as a human rights observer in both Iraq and Palestine.

The mobile peace center has made over a thousand stops on American campuses, in cities and towns with local peace groups and faith communities, promoting non-violent solutions to war and occupation across this planet. The public is invited to attend their free speaking events, and bus open-house when they arrive in a city near you!'

Looking for an internship in non-violence experience? I understand from last night's event, that TWOJT, 2008 is seeking a trip coordinator!

***Mike Miles: this one's for you!

Contact them to schedule a stop in your town and for more information at: (Well, stay tuned! I am working on this piece and will post pertinent contact info asap. Thanks!)