http://www.globalcitizen.org/Content/Content.aspx?id=e7a1bf8c-f2b9-44bf-95f8-5f5ac4c21aec&rby=0ebac365-0f52-45a8-a869-11cb13d7a9a2

 

The fight for justice has never been easy. But human history has always been shaped by courageous actions and a vision of a better world.

 

From the civil rights movement to the end of Apartheid, people with a vision of a better world have sparked and spread their passion for change in families, communities and countries… building social movements that changed things forever.

 

As Global Citizens, we stand against the greatest injustice of our time: extreme poverty. Because we know that a world that deprives 1.3 billion people of their basic rights and opportunities is unjust, and unacceptable. We know that we must do something about it. We celebrate the efforts made to cut extreme poverty by half, but recognise more still needs to be done. We know that people living in extreme poverty are working hard themselves, and that we need to learn, and take action, to change the rules that trap them in broken systems.  

 

We don’t ask for charity, we ask for justice. And we put our hands up to write the next chapter in the greatest story yet to be told… the end of extreme poverty.

 

Using Global Citizen we unite and amplify our collective voice, working together to learn more and take action on issues that perpetuate extreme poverty. We share our passion for the issues we care about, and mobilise around crucial moments for change.

Image

Advertisements

http://www.globalcitizen.org/Content/Content.aspx?id=d8bd8464-2ee4-4692-b722-e3ca8404e09f&rby=0ebac365-0f52-45a8-a869-11cb13d7a9a2Image

Libra

November 24, 2010


Libra (Part One)

Much of America heard about the death of John Lennon from Howard Cosell during Monday Night Football or from Tom Brokaw on the Today Show the next morning. I was a 13-year-old delivering the NY Daily News.

I remember the news death of John Lennon and the week following it extremely well considering all the things I’ve forgotten over the years.

One cold and early Tuesday morning, early in December, 1980, I was delivering the Daily News for my neighbor Ralph who couldn’t deliver his “paper route” that morning. (Yes, back then we still had young people delivering newspapers at 5 in the morning!)

Riding my bicycle and throwing the folded, bagged and rubber-banded papers to the doorsteps, most of the fifty or so papers I had to deliver were in garden apartment complexes on a fairly busy road called Liberty Street.

As always, when I filled in for these morning deliveries, I took notice of the cover story as I was bagging the papers: “John Lennon Slain Here; ex-Beatle shot.”
I knew the name Lennon because a month or two earlier, around the time of my birthday in late September (Lennon was a Libra, like myself, you see). I had received a bunch of “hand-me-downs” from an older cousin. My cousin was also a huge Elvis and Beatles fan and had sent a few Elvis and Beatles 45’s along with the sweaters and corduroys whose hem would have to be let down.

Having just turned thirteen years old, I had certainly heard of The Beatles. At that age though, my previous exposure was only through promotion for things like ‘Beatlemania’ on Broadway and the promotion of the cheesy Sergeant Pepper film with the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton.

Listening to the records from my cousin during the month of October and November was my real introduction to the band. It was also how I immediately knew the “Lennon” to which the headline was referring because most of the songs had the familiar “Lennon-McCartney” songwriting credit below them of course. I had also watched the film “Help” (or was it “A Hard Days Night”?) when it was aired on one of the local channels sometime that Fall.

So as little as I really knew about the man, I knew that this was simply very sad news.

I was not so young that I didn’t know that people kill for all sorts of bad reasons. After all, a few summers earlier all of the neighborhood kids were fascinated with the ‘Son of Sam’ murders. But this was different. The ‘Sam’ killings were the random efforts of a psychotic. This was the targeted killing of a well-known husband and father who, from what I was reading, was simply on his way home from work.

While the story was in the back of my mind the entire morning at school, it hadn’t really pre-occupied me. It was the typical Tuesday eighth grade experience, including the (dreadful) daily reading from Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer which our teacher, Miss Rotini, would read for about twenty minutes every day before lunch.

That Tuesday was different though, because before she dismissed us for lunch, Miss Rotini, a 60-something year old, unapproachable but entirely adequate (for what I knew back then) teacher gave us a warning. “You’re going to go home later and hear news about a man who lived a life of doing drugs and not following the rules,” she said. “He questioned the good people who lead this country, but don’t let them fool you –there’s a phrase ‘what goes around comes around’ and sometimes you pay a price for not following the rules.” She said nothing more or less and most of the kids didn’t even know who she was talking about because she didn’t allow him the dignity of even mentioning his name.

Immediately, I wondered – had I misread the newspaper? Had he overdosed on drugs or been killed trying to overthrow the government? During the short walk home for lunch, I wondered the whole time how I could have misunderstood that morning’s newspaper.

Of course I hadn’t misunderstood and I realized that shortly after as I heard more about what had happened and learned more about the life of the man.

And by presenting the story to me this way, my teacher taught me an early lesson. That was to always question, at least in my own mind, the information I was being given. Later, i learned that this rule was especially relevant if it came from the people who are the elected leaders of this country.

Imagine that.

Senator Joe Lieberman, the Democrat-turned-Independent from Connecticut, appears to be taking the lead in the Senate to expand gay rights.

President Obama has been working with Lieberman to create a strategy to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that bans openly gay servicemen from the military, the Advocate reports.

“On ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ this administration is talking directly to the Hill — we are in direct discussions with Senator Lieberman,” John Berry, the director of the Office of Personnel Management, recently told the Advocate. Berry is the administration’s highest-ranking, openly gay official.

A spokesman for Lieberman confirmed that the senator, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, had been speaking to the White House about the bill, the Advocate reports. The spokesman, however, gave no other information regarding the senator’s plans.

Lieberman is already working to expand rights for homosexuals with legislation to grant the same benefits to gay federal employees and their spouses as given any married federal employee and their spouse, the Hill newspaper reports.

The bill has one GOP co-sponsor, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), along with 23 Democratic co-sponsors. Lieberman hopes to bring the bill to the Senate floor by the end of the year, the Hill reports.

With respect to repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” Berry told the Advocate the White House would like to see Senate legislation gain bipartisan support.

While many in the gay community are losing patience with Mr. Obama for his lack of action on gay rights issues, the Washington Post points out in an editorial Tuesday that Congress shares the blame.

“Ending… forms of institutional discrimination based on sexual orientation requires leadership. Pity there’s not enough of it coming from either end of Pennsylvania Avenue,” the Post wrote. “Overturning ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and DOMA require legislation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) have been content to sit on the sidelines while Mr. Obama takes the hits. This can’t continue.”

On Safire

September 28, 2009

safireW

William Safire, former Nixon speechwriter, conservative NY Times columnist, language guru, has died at age 79.

He was always fascinating on the subject of English language use and style(<~~ Ironically, a ‘sentence fragment,’ my spell-check tells me.) Perhaps one of the last among a generation of great writers, BUT Safire was often on the wrong on the issues politically and cannot be forgiven for being the Nixon speechwriter who introduced the word ‘values’ into their lexicon, helping to start the divisive, hateful era that we are currently in the middle of.

I’d like to say ‘Rest In Peace,” but instead have to say “Good riddance.” This country has a great deal of cleaning up to do thanks to how some of the language he introduced has been manipulated.

Magic and Loss

September 11, 2009

911a

When you pass through the fire
you pass through humble
You pass through a maze of self doubt
When you pass through humble
the lights can blind you
Some people never figure that out
You pass through arrogance you pass through hurt
You pass through an ever present past
and it’s best not to wait for luck to save you
Pass through the fire to the light

As you pass through the fire
your right hand waving
there are things you have to throw out
That caustic dread inside your head
will never help you out
You have to be very strong
’cause you’ll start from zero
over and over again
And as the smoke clears
there’s an all consuming fire
lying straight ahead

They say no one person can do it all
but you want to in your head
But you can’t be Joyce
so what is left instead
You’re stuck with yourself
and a rage that can hurt you
You have to start at the beginning again
And just this moment
This wonderful fire started up again

When you pass through humble
when you pass through sickly
When you pass through
I’m better than you all
When you pass through
anger and self deprecation
and have the strength to acknowledge it all
When the past makes you laugh
and you can savor the magic
that let you survive your own war
You find that that fire is passion
and there’s a door up ahead not a wall

As you pass through fire as you pass through fire
trying to remember its name
When you pass through fire licking at your lips
you cannot remain the same
And if the building’ burning
move towards that door
but don’t put the flames out
There’s a bit of magic in everything
and then some loss to even things out

Written by Lou Reed

An Irish Funeral Prayer

August 28, 2009

emk

Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Everything remains as it was.
The old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no sorrow in your tone.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effort
Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was.
There is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.
All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting, when we meet again.

Goodnight Saigon

July 10, 2009

Obit McNamara

Robert S. McNamara, the Secretary of Defense under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, died this week at 93.

When McNamara served as the “architect” for the Vietnam War as secretary of defense from 1961 to 1968, he was considered one of Kennedy’s “best and brightest.” He let it be known that he had all the answers, and that those who didn’t agree with him were simply not as well informed as he was.

After being forced to resign in 1968, McNamara refused to discuss the Vietnam War until his 1995 book In Retrospect, was published. In that controversial book, he acknowledged that he “made mistakes” in Vietnam, but reminded the readers that every other top official in Washington did as well. In the book as well as in Errol Morris’ Oscar-winning 2003 documentary The Fog of War, McNamara argued that he based his policies on incorrect information supplied by the military.

In the Morris film, which I highly recommend, he reflected on the decisions he made, from World War II through Vietnam, and the consequences of those decisions.

Those decisions would prove him to be more of an accountant than a strategist or visionary. It is a painful irony that the man who preached the gospel of cost-effectiveness for the nuts and bolts of military hardware failed to realize soon enough that the Vietnam police action would become the least effective and most costly military venture in American history, spending on the Vietnam War escalated from $1 billion to over $20 billion between 1965 and 1967. Then there were the nearly 60,000 dead Americans who never came home.

He deliberately misled President Johnson about the Gulf of Tonkin crisis in 1964. He also cost the lives of three million Vietnamese military and civilians through the military action and contamination from Agent Orange.

McNamara spent his later years as a vocal critic of nuclear proliferation and doing other planing and sanding work on his legacy.

His trademarks were his rimless glasses and slicked down hair and his reliance on quantitative analysis to reach conclusions.

McNamara is the best example of how intelligence alone will never guarantee success. The dangers that come from expecting victory through supreme competence may be lessons that Obama himself will want to study.

One of McNamara’s own painfully learned lessons was not to know yourself, or even to know the group you are leading; in his own words, the main thing is to be smart enough understand and to empathize with your enemy.

“Perhaps rationality isn’t enough,” McNamara says in one of Morris’ most memorable scenes from the film.

Indeed.

Rest in peace.

Industrial evolution

January 29, 2009

Recession-era Dilbert

Recession-era Dilbert

As the Republicans continue to be frustrated with the size of Obama’s package (ahem) and the country at large continues to grow frustrated with leaders in the private sector, the stress has even trickled down to Dilbert, who lost his job in this past week.

Above is Dilbert from earlier in the month, trying to remain relevant around the office before he loses his job. Hits a bit too close to home for some of us.

Unemployment is about more than just losing one’s job. It diminishes some people, but can devastate others.

For many, work defines them and gives them a sense of purpose.

Other words that come immediately to mind are dignity, relationships, structure and respect.

We all need to be loved, accepted and respected and –whether we admit it or not– our jobs takes on a huge part of that role in our lives.

How has unemployment in this economic downturn affected you and your loved ones?

It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose your own. ~Harry S. Truman