#MacArthur Foundation 26 Newest Fellows 2019: #Scientists, #Artists, #Dancers, #Musicians, #Writers, #Activists, More

#MacArthur Foundation 26 Newest Fellows 2019: #Scientists, #Artists, #Dancers, #Musicians, #Writers, #Activists, More

“The MacArthur Fellowship is a $625,000, no-strings-attached award to extraordinarily talented and creative individuals as an investment in their potential.”

There are three criteria for selection of Fellows:

  1. Exceptional creativity
  2. Promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments
  3. Potential for the Fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

Meet the newest crop of very fortunate creative sorts, this year’s MacArthur Fellows, who will each receive $125,000/year for 5 years to do WHATEVER THEY WANT!

“From addressing the consequences of climate change to furthering our understanding of human behavior to fusing forms of artistic expression, this year’s 26 extraordinary MacArthur Fellows demonstrate the power of individual creativity to reframe old problems, spur reflection, create new knowledge, and better the world for everyone. They give us reason for hope, and they inspire us all to follow our own creative instincts,” — MacArthur President John Palfrey.

2019 McaRTHUR fELLOWS

For bios, specific info on each Fellow, and more about the Program and the Foundation, check out their website: https://www.macfound.org/programs/fellows/

Imagine: There are no outside or public applications or nominations. The process for selection is so secretive and unknown that very few people (no one outside the Foundation, supposedly) even knows who the nominating and selection committees’ members ARE each year!

“Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a lifetime achievement award, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential. Indeed, the purpose of the MacArthur Fellows Program is to enable recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society.

“The Foundation does not require or expect specific products or reports from MacArthur Fellows and does not evaluate recipients’ creativity during the term of the fellowship. The MacArthur Fellowship is a “no strings attached” award in support of people, not projects. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000 to the recipient, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years.”

In the Foundation’s favor, this year—for the second time since I’ve been tracking it, which is many years—the female-appearing Fellows outnumber the male-appearing Fellows: 11 seeming males, 15 seeming females. The Fellows process has been great on “diversity” and varying geographic locations (but still too many are from the coasts) for quite a while. You can check out the stats on their site any time.

Again, very cool!

My fave recipient this year: cartoonist and activist, Lynda Barry. Love her work (“Ernie Pook’s Comeek,” and many other writings/graphic contributions)!

Favorite recipient’s displayed quote…
Ocean Vuong: “Language, like people, can be perpetually in flux. Words are, in a sense, bodies moving from one space to another. Our very cells, too, are always moving. They are just overflowing, and dying, and being reborn. What is seemingly so static is actually constantly in motion. Literature, then, is movement—but it is also the measure of movement in our species’ thinking and feeling. To participate in that great migration, as a writer, is the ultimate gift.”

You can view ALL recipients of this Genius Grant (all Fellows): https://www.macfound.org/fellows/search/all

2019 “Gloria Awards: Salute to Women of Vision”: 5/8/19! Please attend, donate, sponsor, support!

2019 “Gloria Awards: Salute to Women of Vision”: 5/8/19!
Please attend, donate, sponsor, support!

New York City, NY 6 – 11:30 PM

2019 MS banner awards

Join Gloria Steinem and Teresa C. Younger at the

Ms. Foundation for Women’s 31st Annual Gloria Awards

A Salute to Women of Vision

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

6:00 PM ET Cocktails

7:00 PM ET Awards Presentation and Dinner

9:00 PM ET Gloria Awards After Party

At Capitale Bowery • 130 Bowery • New York City

The Gloria Awards is the Ms. Foundation for Women‘s largest annual event, celebrating activists, innovators, and philanthropists who ignite policy and culture change on behalf of women and their communities nationwide. Named after Ms. Foundation Co-Founder, Gloria Steinem, the event pays tribute to the remarkable achievements of feminists whose courage and leadership move us toward our shared vision of a just and inclusive democracy.

Across generations, across the nation, women and girls are standing together to demand change that is overdue. More than ever, women and girls are vocal and mobilized. Generations of women are empowered to create social, political, and economic equity for all genders.

The 2019 Gloria Awards theme—Looking Back on Our Future—honors intergenerational wisdom, courage, and success.

https://forwomen.org/gloria-awards/

Women of Vision Honorees, 2019

dream hampton is an award-winning filmmaker and writer from Detroit. Her most recent work, “Surviving R. Kelly”, Lifetime Television (2019), broke ratings records and had wide and far-reaching impact.

Grassroots activist and Latinx advocate Angeline Echeverría, Executive Director of El Pueblo, Inc., specializing in leadership development for Latinx youth and adults in the Raleigh, North Carolina community.

Human rights defender and advocate Deon Haywood, Executive Director of Women with a Vision in New Orleans, improving the lives of marginalized women, their families, and communities through advocacy, health education, supportive services, and community-based participatory research.

Marie C. Wilson Emerging Leader Honoree

Sana Amanat, Vice President of Content & Character Development, Marvel Entertainment. Her past editorial credits include Captain Marvel, Hawkeye, and Miles Morales. She is most known for co-creating a Muslim-American female super hero named Kamala Khan – the new Ms. Marvel – which gained worldwide media attention and sparked excitement and dialogue about identity and the Muslim-American narrative. 

Peggy Charren/Free to Be You and Me Honorees

Layla Bagwell, Jessica Hernandez-Garcia and Charlotte Iradukunda--15 year-old members of the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, who created a Facebook campaign to support Dr. Christine Blasey Ford during her Supreme Court testimony. In addition, their letter writing campaign garnered over 117,00 signatures, including hundreds of women who disclosed their own experience of sexual assault as teenagers.

Ms. Foundation for Women
https://forwomen.org/

MS foundation logo.png

Questions?

https://e.givesmart.com/events/c8Z/

The 2019 #TED Fellows and Senior Fellows Are Amazing!

Unlike the “genius grants” recipients selected annually by the MacArthur Foundation, the #TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Fellows and Senior Follows are culled from many countries, not just the USA.

Fantastic and exciting group of many types of innovators, scientists, artists, creators of such talent and skill! Fabulous!

ted2019fellows_blogheader
image from http://blog.TED.com

These grants and this program “support extraordinary, iconoclastic individuals at work on world-changing projects, providing them with access to the global TED platform and community, as well as new tools and resources to amplify their remarkable vision. The TED Fellows program now includes 472 Fellows who work across 96 countries, forming a powerful, far-reaching network of artists, scientists, doctors, activists, entrepreneurs, inventors, journalists and beyond, each dedicated to making our world better and more equitable.”

if you live nearby and/or want to go, there is a conference in which they will all appear: TED2019, April 15-19, in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Check them out, here: https://blog.ted.com/meet-the-2019-ted-fellows-and-senior-fellows/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

How #Republicans Stole Every #USA #Presidential #Election They “Won” Since 1980 and How To Stop Them in 2020

How #Republicans Stole Every #USA #Presidential #Election They “Won” Since 1980 and How To Stop Them in 2020

rig-electionsfrom http://cps-news.com/wp-content/misc_html/gop-election-rigging.html

From The Washington Post to The New York Times to Mother Jones magazine to the League of Women Voters to many other independent, reputable sources (these and others quoted and linked, below), we now know how and which aspects of these elections have been rigged by Republicans and their cronies. What can we do? GET INFORMED and FIGHT BACK!

“‘This election [2016’s] was rigged.  And it needs to stop,’ said Chris Carson, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States….’We are not talking about vigilante voter intimidation,’ said Carson. ‘We are talking about official, legal voter suppression by state legislatures and election officials.'”
This article, posted on 11/23/16, lists 13 states with KNOWN voter suppression tactics that were utilized.

“Millions of would-be voters didn’t participate because of obstacles designed to discourage them….Fourteen states had new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election, and 20 have had such restrictions put in place since 2010, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a group that opposes such laws….[T]he Leadership Conference Education Fund, a civil rights group, found that counties previously covered by the Voting Rights Act have closed down at least 868 polling places. The closures (often without adequate notice) disproportionately affect minority voters.”
From The Washington Post, 11/29/16.

On 3/20/18, we saw this headline: “Cambridge Analytica bosses were secretly filmed boasting about how they helped Trump win the US election.” By late summer, 2018, this “business” had been closed down/renamed, its managers fired and some indicted (including Mark Turnbull, the managing director, and CEO Alexander Nix), and many others under investigation who used their “services” have also been indicted/arrested via Robert Mueller‘s independent prosecution team looking into Russian AND OTHER MEDDLING in the 2016 elections, among other things.
From https://amp.businessinsider.com/cambridge-analytica-boasts-won-trump-election-facebook-data-2018-3

If you are a more visual learner, try charts and tables/graphics, which depict the extent and types of fraud committed during the 2016 election, posted on 9/18/17: “What Really Happened in 2016, in 7 charts”

And, don’t be fooled by all the Republican rhetoric: “Yes, Russian Election Sabotage Helped Trump Win; Republicans want you to think that meddling didn’t figure in the 2016 election result. Don’t.”   From 7/24/18. Very upsetting.

“[T]he modern-day swing of election rigging began with the 1980 Presidential Election. Democrat Jimmy Carter was President, running for his second term. Republican Ronald Reagan was the GOP’s nominee for President. However, the stage was set for rigging that election exactly one year earlier.

“On November 4, 1979, a mob of young Islamic revolutionaries overran the U.S. Embassy in Tehran Iran, taking more than 60 Americans hostage. The Carter Administration worked for more than a year to free the hostages, getting a small number released, then attempting a failed rescue mission. The Americans were held for a total of 444 days, only to be released peacefully just minutes after Republican Ronald Reagan took office in 1981.

“Americans were surprised at the release; in particular, the timing. Why just minutes after Reagan took office? It would be a dozen years later before the general public would know the truth….

“Republicans conspired to delay the freedom of 52 American citizens and government employees for more than a year, endangering their lives in the process, in order to win an election.” from http://cps-news.com/wp-content/misc_html/gop-election-rigging.html

And, that’s just example number ONE.

The 2016 election was the first presidential contest in more than 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. Voter suppression, which disproportionately favors Republicans, is something the Republicans have been working toward for decades, unfortunately, and they have been succeeding.

FYI, some terms:
—The popular vote = whether the candidate won the state or not; one vote, one person
—The electoral vote = how much that state was ‘worth (how many electoral college votes that state has)’ for that election.
—About the Electoral College:
——The District of Columbia and 48 states used to have “winner takes all,” meaning. whichever candidate has the majority of popular votes gets that state’s entire electoral college vote count.
——Two states in 2016 had “proportional winning,” meaning, each candidate’s percentage of popular votes received determines how many electoral college votes that candidate gets from that state for the electoral college’s total. More states are joining this group, as of 2007 (Maryland became the first state to switch), known as the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.”
Connecticut and other States Dump “Winner Takes All” for Electoral College Allocations
Election Fraud = conspiracy to alter election results on the part of individuals, organizations, political parties, and/or local or regional/state/federal governmental officials by a variety of tactics, using many types of (sometimes LEGAL, now) voter suppression, such as: eliminating same-day registration; tampering with/unfairly purging or not accepting voter registrations; tampering with/miscounting votes/falsely recording votes from voting machines; unfairly altering /closing polling locations or giving false addresses and / or restricting the polling places’ open hours; restricting early voting; creating unfairly discriminatory voter ID requirements; printing false (post-election) dates or incorrect mail-back addresses on absentee ballots; sending out absentee ballots too late or not at all; not counting all votes; forcing people to use “provisional ballots,” then not counting them; barring ex-felons from becoming eligible to vote after serving their time; falsely claiming individuals are not eligible to vote and then illegally not allowing them to register or to vote; overcounting /stuffing votes; diminishing voting effectiveness by creating paper ballots difficult to read, use, understand or mark one’s vote clearly on; making it a felony for anyone other than a family member or caregiver to collect a voter’s absentee ballot; lying about a candidate’s political party affiliations, names or positions in order to confuse voters; putting up dead or false candidates; threatening to and placing ICE, police and other intimidating individuals at polling entrances while making public threats to arrest anyone guilty of anything who comes to vote; and so many more awful methods. NONE of these is the fault or responsibility of the VOTER.

voting_rights suppression map_2018from https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/10/voter-suppression-wisconsin-election-2016/

Voter Fraud—of which there is HARDLY ANY—IS the responsibility of an individual voter or group of voters. This involves people who do or attempt to vote more than once, or in more than one location, or use fake IDs or fake names to register or vote.
***************************************

How Close Were the USA Presidential Elections?

Currently (2018), 270 Electoral College votes are needed to “win” a Presidential election in the USA. Each State is allocated a number of Electors equal to the number of its U.S. Senators (always 2) plus the number of its U.S. Representatives (which may change each decade according to the size of each State’s population as determined in the Census*).

2000: George W. Bush vs. Al Gore
—Electoral College: 538 total/271 “won”
—No. of popular votes Bush received: 50,460,810 = Bush LOST by 543,816 votes
—Election decided by a Supreme Court vote, which gave the “win” to Bush
History will most likely record this as the first known illegal take-over of the White House. Dozens of people were involved, but most remember only a few names. Jeb Bush – George W’s brother – was governor of Florida and Katherine Harris was Secretary of State. With her job as Secretary of State, Harris simultaneously co-chaired George W. Bush‘s Florida election campaign, served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention, and took time off from her “day” job to go around the country stumping for Bush.

“…Harris declared George W [Bush] the winner by just a mere 536 votes (.009786%) over Democratic opponent Al Gore. Florida state election law didn’t require the Secretary of State to order a statewide recount, not even in such a ridiculously tight election. But this article by The New York Times quoted a recount by the Miami Herald which said Gore would have won a flawless Florida election by 23,000 votes. Even if the Miami Herald was 90% wrong, Gore would still have won by more than 1500 votes….

“…Choicepoint and Database Technologies, two companies (later combined into one company) hired by Katherine Harris’s office to examine the legality of registered voters in Florida, had doctored the outcome. 57,700 legal voters were removed from the list and not allowed to vote. (Later, independent experts said most of those voters would have voted for Al Gore based on their party registration.)

“Choicepoint said 8,000 of those Florida voters were felons, thus negating them as legal voters. But as it turned out, those 8,000 Florida voters had committed only misdemeanors, not felonies, which did not negate their voting eligibility.

“There were several thousand more purged from the voting register simply because they had the same last name as convicted felons. Some were even purged because their personal computers had notes indicating they might commit a crime in the future.

“…Bush “won” in Florida by only 536 votes”

2004: George W. Bush vs. John Kerry
Electoral College: 538 total/286 “won”
No. of popular votes Bush received: 62,040,610 = Bush “won” by 3,012,171 votes
Just as the election of 2000 was exposed as “fixed” after that election, so was the 2004 election.

“Had Kerry won Ohio, he would have won the election, he would have needed only 59,301 voters to switch their vote from Bush to win the state. The smear campaign (remember the “Swift Boat,” anti-Kerry lies**?) against Kerry, among other heinous practices, definitely impacted many people’s ability to vote and their choice of whom to vote for.” 

“59 newspapers that had backed Bush in 2000 endorsed John Kerry in 2004. The Republican Party was split on Bush with some very powerful names breaking off.

“On a level playing field, Bush could never have won again in 2004. But since their 2000 tactics worked so well, and without repercussions, he and his party once again turned to illegal means, but this time it was coupled with a highly publicized immoral attack on their opponent.”

“The following is just a small sampling of the irregularities.

  • Almost 3 million people living abroad never received their ballots or received them too late to vote. The pentagon shut down their web site used to file registrations, but they could never account for the reason the site was shut down.
  • Sproul & Associates, a consulting firm hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in six states, was caught shredding Democratic registrations. The company was headed by Nathan Sproul, the former executive director of the Arizona State Republican Party.
  • In Ohio
    • Officials purged tens of thousands of eligible voters and neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives.
    • Short changed Democratic precincts in voting machine allocation.
    • Some Republican precincts had a 98% voter turnout while some Democratic precincts had only a 7% voter turnout.
    • GOP election officials in Warren County invented a terrorist threat to keep the media from monitoring the official vote count.
    • One in every four citizens who registered in 2004 were not listed on the registration polls.
    • 80,000 votes for John Kerry was counted for George Bush.
    • 357,000 voters were prevented from voting or did not have their vote counted. The overwhelming majority were Democrats.
    • Phone calls were made from a hotel across the street from the Ohio Republican Party headquarters to Democratic voters threatening them if they showed up to vote.
    • Kenneth Blackwell was Ohio’s Katherine Harris this time around. Blackwell, as Secretary of State, was in charge of vote counting, yet he was co-chair of President Bush’s re-election committee. (Does this sound like déjà vu “all-over-again”? Why not, it worked in 2000.)

“Practically every irregularity of the 2004 election helped George Bush and hurt John Kerry. Pollster Lou Harris was quoted as saying ‘Ohio was as dirty an election as America has ever seen.“‘

2008: John McCain vs. Barack Obama
Electoral College: 538 total/365 won
No. of popular votes Obama received: 69,498,516 = Obama won by 9,550,193 votes
If the grassroots organizations that “got out the vote” for Obama had been less successful, Democrats would have “lost” this as well. But, winning by over 9 MILLION votes is impossible to hide. 

2012: Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama
Electoral College: 538 total/332 won
No. of popular votes Obama received: 65,915,795 = Obama won by 4,982,291 votes
—“
About two weeks before the election, Anonymous released a video warning Karl Rove and his PAC, American Crossroads, that they were watching and if Rove and his group tried to rig the election through the electronic voting machines as they did in 2004, Anonymous would shut them down.

“When the election was over, ‘a group calling themselves The Protectors, believed to be comprised of Anonymous hackers, sent a letter to election transparency non-profit, Velvet Revolution, claiming to have thwarted attempts by GOP strategists to flip votes and rig the election in three swing states.’

“…[S]imple math produced by retired NSA analyst, Michael Dunihot:

“And mathematics showed changes in actual raw voting data that had no statistical correlation other than programmable computer fraud. This computer fraud resulted in votes being flipped from Democrat to Republican in every federal, senatorial, congressional and gubernatorial election since 2008 (thus far) and in the 2012 primary contests from other Republicans to Mitt Romney.”

2016: Donald J. Trump vs. Hillary Clinton
Electoral College: 538 total/304 won
No. of popular votes Trump received: 62,984,828 = Trump LOST by 2,868,686 votes
—“Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were potentially manipulated, according to prominent computer scientists and lawyers who have spoken with the Clinton campaign”  https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/wisconsin-michigan-pennsylvania-election-hillary-clinton-hacked-manipulated-donald-trump-swing-a7433091.html
—“
[S]tates controlled by Republicans across the country have enacted disenfranchising voting laws that unquestionably target non-Republican voters. By doing so, Republicans won’t have to work so hard to come up with new ideas of how to rig elections. If they can achieve their goal by reducing the number of ‘qualified’ Democratic voters to something less than Republican voters, then they are home free. No need for rigging elections anymore.”

Republican election Fraud
from http://www.politicsplus.org/blog/2012/10/13/gop-election-fraud-still-going-strong/

“Election Fraud is not a new tactic, Republicans tested voter suppression in the election of the 43 President, George w. Bush. Since then the morbidly rich has only increased efforts, will they be successful in the 2018 election?” The Thom Hartmann Program, “How Republicans Tested and Got Away with Election Fraud”

A video, for those who like those:

This election was one of the worst uses of Republican-funded and -managed voter suppression to defraud, obstruct, deregister, disenfranchise and block Democratic voters in US history. “The 2016 election was the first presidential contest in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), because the Supreme Court ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that states with a long history of discrimination no longer need to have their proposed voting changes approved by the federal government. …14 states—including important swing states—had new voting restrictions in place.”

For example (and there are HUNDREDS like this): “Donald Trump ‘carried’ the state by 27,000 votes, but 300,000 registered voters, according to a federal court, lacked the required forms of voter ID. Turnout in Wisconsin was at its lowest level in 20 years and fell by 52,000 in Milwaukee, where 70 percent of the state’s African-American population lives.”
Historically, and particularly in 2016, African-Americans were expected to vote for Democrats, like Hillary Clinton.

Also,
“On Election Day, there were 868 fewer polling places in states with a long history of voting discrimination, like Arizona, Texas, and North Carolina. These changes impacted hundreds of thousands of voters, yet received almost no coverage in the media.”
Making voting more difficult to access (by having fewer polling places, putting them further apart geographically, closing polling stations for early voting, etc.) in areas that poorer people, elderly people and college students would vote (all individuals who ordinarily use public transportation or lack vehicles of their own) disproportionately affects Democratic voters adversely, as Republicans well know.

“[Trump‘s] campaign openly boasted that ‘we have three major voter-suppression operations under way’ to reduce turnout among African Americans, young women, and liberals….The election results showed that when more people vote, Democrats do better. That’s why the GOP is so invested in voter suppression.”
https://www.thenation.com/article/did-republicans-rig-the-election/

—“[A] report from the Government Accountability Office, …found that strict voter ID laws in Kansas and Tennessee had decreased turnout by roughly 2 to 3 percent, with the largest drops among black, young, and new voters.

“According to a comprehensive study by MIT political scientist Charles Stewart, an estimated 16 million people—12 percent of all voters—encountered at least one problem voting in 2016. There were more than 1 million lost votes, Stewart estimates, because people ran into things like ID laws, long lines at the polls, and difficulty registering. Trump won the election by a total of 78,000 votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin….

“[W]hen Republicans took control of 26 state legislatures in the wave election of 2010, they passed a slew of laws making it harder to vote. Twenty-two states have adopted new voting restrictions since then, more than half of which first went into effect in 2016….Republican-controlled statehouses have already passed more voting restrictions in 2017 than they did in 2016 and 2015 combined. ”
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/10/voter-suppression-wisconsin-election-2016/
**************************************

It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

The WORST thing any candidate can do early in the counting process is concede. That was the key mistake made by Al Gore, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. Once they concede, it doesn’t matter who actually “wins,” because concession means they have withdrawn from the race, formally. PLEASE tell your local and regional/state candidates: DO NOT concede, NO MATTER WHAT, until ALL legal challenges are finished and ALL votes are counted, which may take MONTHS.

Usually, it takes weeks to find out who actually wins any hotly contested races. For the 2018 mid-term races, due to the time it takes to count so many paper ballots and awaiting outcomes of legal challenges in “broken” states guilty of election fraud (polling location problems, broken machines, wrong ballots, illegal registration purging and discarding absentee ballots, etc), we could be looking at much longer.

More about the likely delays and their causes here, from 10/30/18:
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/10/this-election-will-never-end/
****************************************************************
RESOURCES

General voting info and help, here:   https://www.fvap.gov/uploads/FVAP/States/eVAG.pdf
—Help track voting problems and report them here:  https://www.wral.com/how-you-can-help-track-voting-problems-during-the-midterm-elections/17905814/
If you or someone you know had their registration removed illegally/unfairly, were prevented from voting in some other way, were forced to use a provisional ballot (which may not ever be counted) or aren’t sure if your mail-in ballot was counted, here are places to call/email for help:
—For absentee ballot users, it may not be too late (postmarked on or before 11/6/18 is the rule in most states). Find out here: https://www.vote.org/absentee-voting-rules/
Protect the Votehttps://www.brennancenter.org/protect-the-vote
Provisional Ballot info here, state by state:  https://ballotpedia.org/State_by_State_Provisional_Ballot_Laws
and more info, here:
https://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/verify/verify-should-you-ask-for-a-provisional-ballot-with-a-receipt-if-you-are-challenged-at-the-polls/85-606659301

—For people with disabilitieshttps://www.aapd.com/advocacy/voting/

protect the vote

“We are happy to connect with voters however they need! Call us at 866-OUR-VOTE or text ‘Our Vote’ to 97779 with your questions or reports of problems. We’re here through election day to

“What kinds of voting problems might you run into?
✦ A problem with your voting machine
✦ If you want to change a vote you made on your ballot/machine
✦ Having your ID challenged
✦ Your name isn’t on the voter list
✦ Polls closing early
✦ Being intimidated or pressured at the polling location

“If you run into these, or any other problems while voting, take action right away.

1) Talk to a poll worker BEFORE you finish voting and tell them about the problem. They are there to help you. 

2) If they don’t or can’t help you, ask for their supervisor.

3) If you still have a problem, call Election Protection Hotline at (866) OUR-VOTE.” 

from: https://politicalcharge.org/2018/10/26/how-to-report-a-problem-with-voting/


For more information about past elections, there are great stats, explanations and comparisons offered here:  List of United States presidential elections and stats


NOTES:

*The way the USA population is counted for the every-ten-years USA Census is hotly disputed right now (2018.  For the 2020 election (unless there is a special election prior to that, WHICH IS POSSIBLE), the Census’ totals will be THE deciding factor for every state that still has “winner takes all” for its Electoral College (see above). There are also security issues (cyber and other), issues of “citizenship” being contested and may suppress participation in the Census due to fears of being deported if “counted,” and other problems: “The 2020 Census Is Already in Big Trouble”
and “Why America’s next census is controversial”
[T]he most prominent census-related debate has been the growing conversation about gerrymandering. The enumerated purpose of the census in the Constitution is to use the data gleaned to redraw congressional districts and reallocate representation to fit the population. Over the past few decades, as politics and demographics have become increasingly intertwined, the institutional incentives to game that system have mounted. Especially as Republicans have embraced their status as a party for white men, they’ve become more and more adept at using the census, especially the redistricting process, in order to maintain partisan advantage. But that advantage has been built mostly with the census data already in hand—influencing the data itself, perhaps by biasing it against noncitizens, would add another potent weapon to an arsenal that’s already proven its dominance over American electoral politics. And that is to say nothing of the possibility that between foreign and domestic interventions in data quality, the census could be rendered unusable or unreliable for those political processes altogether. Without a census, there is no American democracy. 

**”Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, formerly known as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, was a political group of United States Swift boat veterans and former prisoners of war of the Vietnam War, formed during the 2004 presidential election campaign for the purpose of opposing John Kerry’s candidacy for the presidency….[T]here was not a speck of truth to the allegations, and the Bush inter-circle was exposed as being behind the attacks. Even John McCain questioned the ad and condemned it as “dishonest and dishonorable”

#MacArthur Foundation 25 Newest Fellows 2018: #Scientists, #Artists, #Dancers, #Musicians, #Writers, #Activists, More

#MacArthur Foundation 25 Newest Fellows 2018: #Scientists, #Artists, #Dancers, #Musicians, #Writers, #Activists, More

“The MacArthur Fellowship is a $625,000, no-strings-attached award to extraordinarily talented and creative individuals as an investment in their potential.”

There are three criteria for selection of Fellows:

  1. Exceptional creativity
  2. Promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments
  3. Potential for the Fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

Meet the newest crop of very fortunate creative sorts, this year’s MacArthur Fellows, who will each receive $125,000/year for 5 years to do WHATEVER THEY WANT!

Working in diverse fields, from the arts and sciences to public health and civil liberties, these 25 MacArthur Fellows are solving long-standing scientific and mathematical problems, pushing art forms into new and emerging territories, and addressing the urgent needs of under-resourced communities. Their exceptional creativity inspires hope in us all.

MacArthur Fellows 2018

For bios, specific info on each Fellow, and more about the Program and the Foundation, check out their website: https://www.macfound.org/programs/fellows/

Imagine: There are no outside or public applications or nominations. The process for selection is so secretive and unknown that very few people (no one outside the Foundation, supposedly) even knows who the nominating and selection committees’ members ARE each year!

“Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a lifetime achievement award, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential. Indeed, the purpose of the MacArthur Fellows Program is to enable recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society.

“The Foundation does not require or expect specific products or reports from MacArthur Fellows and does not evaluate recipients’ creativity during the term of the fellowship. The MacArthur Fellowship is a “no strings attached” award in support of people, not projects. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000 to the recipient, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years.”

In the Foundation’s favor, this year—for the first time since I’ve been tracking it, which is many years—the female-appearing Fellows outnumber the male-appearing Fellows: 10 seeming males, 13 seeming females, and two gender-free. The Fellows process has been great on “diversity” and varying geographic locations (but still too many are from the coasts) for quite a while. You can check out the stats on their site any time.

Very cool!

#USA #Midterm #Elections are 11/6/18: OTHER Dates, Info, Rides, Resources

The USA Midterm Elections on 11/6/18 have never been more important than they are this year, 2018, when our democratic systems are STILL undergoing vicious internal and external attacks and many leaders are corrupt but still in office. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!

retro-midterm-elections-vote-election-pin-button-badge-M759KY (1)

National Voter Registration Day is September 25, 2018, and LYFT is helping! See article, below.

Here’s a link to a candidates list for each race and the reasons that your vote matters.
—35 of 100 seats in the Senate are currently already held by “incumbents,” meaning, the Senator in that seat is running for re-election.
—Nine of these are Republicans: VOTE THEM OUT! They have RUINED our democratic process over the last 12 years. THEY HAVE TO GO!
—Twenty-six are Democrats, and some do NOT deserve to win, but voting for them DOES make sure a Republican will not win, so suck it up and vote for the less-worse candidate, PLEASE!
—“In the House midterm elections, Democrats need to flip 23 seats to capture the 218 seats necessary for control of the chamber. There are 194 likely or solidly Democratic seats and 175 likely or solidly Republican seats. The competitive races below are listed by state and district number. Get the latest updates here.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/us/elections/calendar-primary-results.html 

A reblogged article, below, is geared toward California voters, but info in it applies for ALL elections and has links to resources for ALL voters.  For example:

“’A candidate’s voting history is public. If the candidate is running for federal office as a representative or senator, you can find their voting record on Congress.gov. For those who have held state office, you can contact your state legislature website.’”

and

“You can find out who is on the ballot in your district using this sample ballot tool from www.ballotpedia.org. After doing some research and studying or comparing different candidates, you will then have a better idea of who you are interested in voting for.”

Link to article:  https://summitpsnews.org/2018/09/14/midterm-elections-are-coming-up-heres-how-to-make-an-informed-decision/

Remember: 

your_vote_counts

REGISTER! 
Find out your state/locality’s deadlines and get in BEFORE that date (between 10/1 and 10/16/18 for most localities), especially if you’re registration is happening by mail, especially if you’re out of the country (much earlier deadlines!).

GET INFORMED!
Go to the above resources or those listed in the article, or go to http:///moveon.org or other progressive sites for specific issues and candidate position information.

For non-partisan candidate information for every locality, go to your state’s League of Women Voters site, which will list debates/town halls/panels, ballots, registration information, polling place information, election days’ ride requests procedure, written candidates’ position papers, and more: https://www.lwv.org/

For female candidates info and to contribute: Emily’s List is the best site for that: https://www.emilyslist.org/ 

ARRANGE TO VOTE!
ABSENTEE:
If you must vote by mail, PLEASE check deadlines (which vary by locality/state)—some are up to 10 days prior to the actual election date, which  means your ballot must ARRIVE no later than 10/26/18 to be counted!
https://www.vote.org/absentee-ballot-deadlines/

IN-PERSON:
USE PAPER BALLOTS! They cannot be hacked!

You can find your local polling place here: http://www.vote411.org/
Get or give a ride! Check local announcements or the League of Women Voters site: https://www.lwv.org/

Also, LYFT is offering free and discounted rides to polling places on the day of the election! http://fortune.com/2018/08/23/lyft-free-ride-discount-election-day/ explains it, or go directly to http://lyft.com if you already have the app!  “Lyft will offer riders half-off rides booked anywhere in the U.S. on November 6. Organizations like http://Vote.org and http://TurboVote.org will help distribute a nationwide 50% off code that can be used within the Lyft app. The company says it will also provide free rides through nonpartisan, nonprofit partners like Voto Latino to help members of underserved communities who historically have had a harder time getting to the polls.”

We are all counting on each other! VOTE!

School drops archbishop’s name amid sex abuse report fallout — INKLING LEAGUE

HARRISBURG, Pa. – A Roman Catholic high school will shed the name of Washington’s archbishop, who was cited in a sweeping grand jury report as having allowed priests accused of sexually abusing children to be reassigned or reinstated while he was Pittsburgh’s bishop. The Diocese of Pittsburgh said Wednesday that Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl made […]

via School drops archbishop’s name amid sex abuse report fallout — INKLING LEAGUE

“We’re going to need a bigger boat.” The great white shark that is the corruption that riddles and has riddled the Catholic Church, from top to bottom, won’t all be able to be hunted down and killed, nor can those who are “trying to do good” be confined to a few renamings of schools.

The Catholic Church’s institutional leaders have to do way more than that to manage the damage they’ve inflicted on hundreds of thousands over centuries. Pulling down statues of Confederate “heroes” in the USA will pale in comparison to the backlash that is already being felt all around the world.

Good luck with all that.

#TEDGlobal2017 line-up, here

On August 27, 2017, an extraordinary group of people gathered in Arusha, Tanzania, for TEDGlobal 2017, a four-day TED Conference for “those with a genuine interest in the betterment of the continent,” said curator Emeka Okafor. As Okafor put it: “Africa has an opportunity to reframe the future of work, cultural production, entrepreneurship, agribusiness. We…

via Sneak preview lineup unveiled for Africa’s next TED Conference — TED Blog

#Nobel Prize Winners 2017: Why we need scientists, peace activists, writers more than ever

#Nobel Prize Winners 2017:
Why we need scientists, peace activists, writers more than ever

Thanks to these scientists, researchers, activists and one writer, we can now enjoy advances and new inventions very soon in a variety of areas.
—With the “dumbing down” of the USA and many other places due to climate science-deniers, creationists and other cretins, we are indeed fortunate that scientific advancements are still being honored, supported and achieved around the world.
—Living in our current dystopian reality, we desperately need creative writers to help us understand where we went wrong and how to improve things before it’s too late.

This year, unfortunately, the winners were all men (big surprise, there) and one group. Check out their accomplishments!

2017 Nobel Prize Winners

  • Literature
    Kazuo Ishiguro: “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”

    Kazuo Ishiguro

    Kazuo Ishiguro is probably best known to USA citizens because he wrote the book, The Remains of the Day, which was turned into an award-winning movie (starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson) in the early 1990s. He refers to this process of creating Hopkins’ character and much more here, when he delivered his Nobel Lecture, “My Twentieth Century Evening – and Other Small Breakthroughs,” on 12/7/17 at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm. Watch/listen to it here: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2017/ishiguro-lecture.html
    Or, read it, here: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2017/ishiguro-lecture_en.html

    My favorite parts:

    I could suddenly see an exciting, freer way of composing my second novel; one that could produce richness on the page and offer inner movements impossible to capture on any screen. If I could go from one passage to the next according to the narrator’s thought associations and drifting memories, I could compose in something like the way an abstract painter might choose to place shapes and colours around a canvas. I could place a scene from two days ago right beside one from twenty years earlier, and ask the reader to ponder the relationship between the two. In such a way, I began to think, I might suggest the many layers of self-deception and denial that shrouded any person’s view of their own self and of their past.

    and, I can relate to this next part very strongly, myself:

    I should say here that I have, on a number of other occasions, learned crucial lessons from the voices of singers. I refer here less to the lyrics being sung, and more to the actual singing. As we know, a human voice in song is capable of expressing an unfathomably complex blend of feelings. Over the years, specific aspects of my writing have been influenced by, among others, Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Emmylou Harris, Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, Gillian Welch and my friend and collaborator Stacey Kent. Catching something in their voices, I’ve said to myself: ‘Ah yes, that’s it. That’s what I need to capture in that scene. Something very close to that.’ Often it’s an emotion I can’t quite put into words, but there it is, in the singer’s voice, and now I’ve been given something to aim for.

    and, also:

    …all good stories, never mind how radical or traditional their mode of telling, had to contain relationships that are important to us; that move us, amuse us, anger us, surprise us….[I]n the end, stories are about one person saying to another: This is the way it feels to me. Can you understand what I’m saying? Does it also feel this way to you?

    Best of all, and making my own points so well:

    It’s hard to put the whole world to rights, but let us at least think about how we can prepare our own small corner of it, this corner of ‘literature’, where we read, write, publish, recommend, denounce and give awards to books. If we are to play an important role in this uncertain future, if we are to get the best from the writers of today and tomorrow, I believe we must become more diverse. I mean this in two particular senses.

    Firstly, we must widen our common literary world to include many more voices from beyond our comfort zones of the elite first world cultures. We must search more energetically to discover the gems from what remain today unknown literary cultures, whether the writers live in far away countries or within our own communities. Second: we must take great care not to set too narrowly or conservatively our definitions of what constitutes good literature. The next generation will come with all sorts of new, sometimes bewildering ways to tell important and wonderful stories. We must keep our minds open to them, especially regarding genre and form, so that we can nurture and celebrate the best of them. In a time of dangerously increasing division, we must listen. Good writing and good reading will break down barriers. We may even find a new idea, a great humane vision, around which to rally.

    Thank you, Kazuo Ishiguro, for your insights, emotional authenticity, creativity and ongoing contributions to our literary and emotional lives.

  • Peace
    International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN): “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”
    ICAN is needed more than ever, it seems. Sigh.
    Find out more, here: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2017/ican-facts.html

    ICAN logo

  • Physics
    Kip Thorne, Rainer Weiss, and Barry Barish: “for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”
    Following up and proving one of Albert Einstein’s more “wacky” theories (about the existence of gravitational waves), these scientists and their teams have done some extraordinary work, here.

    Kip Thorne

    Rainer Weiss

    Barry Barish

  • Chemistry
    Jacques Dubochet, Richard Henderson, and Joachim Frank: “for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution”
    So, freeze stuff and we can see it better. Cool.

    Jacques Dubochet

    Richard Henderson

    Joachim Frank

  • The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel; Economic Sciences
    Richard Thaler: “for his contributions to behavioural economics”
    In addition to being brilliant and innovative, Thaler is very funny! Check out some of his humor, here: https://quotefancy.com/richard-thaler-quotes
    Like, “The assumption that everybody will figure out how much they have to save and then will just implement that plan is obviously preposterous.”
    And, “I’m all for empowerment and education, but the empirical evidence is that it doesn’t work. That’s why I say make it easy.”
    For sure, this: “I think the people who’ve been the most overconfident in our business in the last decade have been the people that called themselves risk managers.”
    My favorite: “When an economist says the evidence is ‘mixed,’ he or she means that theory says one thing and data says the opposite.”

    Richard Thaler

  • Physiology or Medicine
    Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young: “for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm”
    If it helps people sleep better, I’m all for it!

    Jeffrey C. Hall

    Michael Rosbash

    Michael W. Young

Get more info here:
https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/lists/year/?year=2017

All info, above, from: http://Nobelprize.org Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 11 Dec 2017.

REPOSTING: TEN Ways to Encourage #Victims of Any Age to #Report #Sexual and Other #Abuse

REPOSTING, from 2014:
Because of the uproar over the continually surfacing reports of sexual assault perpetrated by [SO MANY MORE THAN] Bill Cosby on now-adult (or then-adult) women, these topics are now front-and-center in the media and, I hope, in private as well. Why do people refrain from reporting right after having been assaulted? Many reasons.

Let’s NOT give them reasons to keep silent any more!

Here are TEN Ways to Encourage #Victims of Any Age to #Report #Sexual and Other #Abuse. Learn, use them, SHARE!

ONE
Believe what they tell you until you’re sure one way or the other. This is the one situation in which the accused should be considered guilty until proven innocent, especially when children are the victims. It is hard enough to come forward with a report of an assault, especially after a long time has passed. The likelihood that this report is false is very low.

TWO
Be outraged on their behalf. Consider that this IS true and this DID happen: aren’t you incensed? This is NOT the time to be doubting or dismissive. If, in the very rare cases that it occurs, this turns out not to be an accurate report or did not happen, you have lost nothing but some time and your trust in this person.

If, however, it is TRUE—a report of assault usually is—this crime or repeated crimes occurred. If you do not respond as an advocate, you will regret it for the rest of your life. It will do irreparable harm to the victim, to you and to your relationship for you to have doubted him/her in a time of great need. If you had been in a position to prevent or protect and you did not succeed prior to this, you are especially culpable. By not believing, you will have doubly failed him/her in a way that is usually unforgivable. If you do not actively support ending the crimes against him/her by continuing to fail to protect, you may actually be liable.

In some states, knowing of assault crimes and not preventing, reporting or otherwise behaving in ways that protect future victimization makes you a criminal: you are seen as a collaborator, an accessory, by knowing what you now know and keeping silent. This makes you potentially likely to be prosecuted yourself.

THREE
Allow your protective, compassionate aspects to prevail. You may feel very intense emotions as you listen to this report of a crime that hurt this person very badly: angry, helpless, scared, worried, anxious. However, this is NOT your time to vent. It is inappropriate to behave in such a way that the attention refocuses on YOU and your “hard time.” Be there for the victim right now, even if you were somehow involved or feel guilty. Control your emotions enough so that you can vent some other time, with someone else.

NOTE: If you know the perpetrator, especially if the perpetrator is someone you are related to by family or friendship, is a workplace or school peer, is someone you live near or have to see often, protect yourself.

DO NOT CONFRONT the perpetrator by yourself unless you are sure you are safe to do so. There are authorities, support groups, other friends or family members who can accompany you or do the confronting. Let them do it.

FOUR
Ignore any past dishonesty, prevarication, or other “reasons” to doubt the reporter or the report. The “rape shield” law is there for many reasons, and this is the major one: the VICTIM’s past behaviors, character or misdeeds DO NOT MATTER here.

The only person responsible for an assault is the perpetrator. Period. No one “made” him/her do it. It doesn’t matter what the perpetrator claims were “causes,” particularly if the perpetrator tries to turn it back on the victim. “She asked for it,” “He liked it,” “We’ve been close like that plenty of times before” are all excuses and do not absolve the perpetrator from criminal charges if an assault occurred. “No” means “No.”

FIVE
Treat sexual assault, abuse of children, rape, child molestation as the CRIMES that they are. Assault is not an “accident,” a “misunderstanding,” a “joke,” a “one-time thing,” “just the way things are.” We each have the right NOT to be violated by another person. Period.

Also, DO NOT AGREE to keep this a “secret,” even if the victim begs you not to tell. Maintaining secrecy is NOT doing any favors for this victim. Really.

If the victim is a legal adult, you can discuss how, when, to whom this report should be made, and ways you can support the further reporting. However, if s/he won’t agree to tell anyone else, you should not promise to maintain this secret. The perpetrator WILL NOT STOP until s/he is forced to stop. Usually, stopping happens only when the criminal is arrested and incarcerated.

Remind him/her: potential future victims could be protected—saved—by this victim’s report because every report helps lead to subsequent arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of the perpetrator.

Reporting is empowering and liberating. Keeping the crime a secret is neither of those.

Some people who are members of religious, cultural or family groups are victimized repeatedly but group sanctions prevent reporting. YOU CAN HELP by following these guidelines and being sensitive to the extra barriers for victims in these groups.

Native American rape stats

image from a Board on Pinterest called “Anti-Rape and Feminism” http://www.pinterest.com/allysuperbee/anti-rape-and-feminism/

For more about reporting requirements when USA adult women are the victims: http://goo.gl/eT2lA2
The National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women
American Prosecutors Research Institute
1-703-549-9222

For more information about male victims of violence in the USA: http://www.ncadv.org/files/MaleVictims.pdf
from The Public Policy Office of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
(NCADV)

NOTE: If you are listening to a report from a minor, a child, and you are an adult, in many states ALL adults are “mandatory reporters.” This means you MUST take notes and call or send in your notes to authorities when you hear of child victimization, even if you’re uncertain as to the veracity of the claim. You are a mandatory reporter and MUST report if you work or volunteer in certain occupations in most states. Find your county, province, parish or state’s reporting phone number or email and USE IT.

Ethically, legally, morally, you SHOULD report in order to stop crimes by this perpetrator from recurring and to protect the victim from future assaults. You must try to make sure the child is safe going forward. HOWEVER, if you are NOT a mandatory reporter, not in social services, not a family member, get some advice and support.

SIX
Keep any shame, guilt, humiliation or other baggage of yours or from his/her past OUT of this conversation. Whatever they said/did not say, wore, did/did not do, wherever they were located, however he/she conducted his/her life, THIS IS NOT THE VICTIM’s FAULT.

Rapists rape. Child molesters molest. Assaulters assault. Criminals commit crimes. Period.

Also, use the correct language: language is powerful. Calling someone a “pedophile” doesn’t even sound as bad as “child molester,” so use “child molester” or “perpetrator of sexual assault on a minor child.” Both are accurate and give appropriate weight to the crimes. “Sexual harassment” is NOT the same as “rape,” but they are both crimes. Learn what each of those circumstances includes.

“Date rape,” “acquaintance rape” or “dating violence” labels reduce the significance of the assault by positioning familiarity as the main label. Don’t downgrade the importance and don’t minimize the impact in these ways, because studies have shown that victims who knew their perpetrators suffered longer and more intensely.

Why? Because victims who knew their assaulters were not just physically assaulted, they were often emotionally terrorized prior to and after the assault, devastated by the breach of trust, intimidated and threatened by the perpetrator to prevent reporting, and forced to continue to be in the presence of the perpetrator after the assault occurred or while assaults continued.


SAAM-Pic-_1

image from http://www.reachofmaconcounty.org

SEVEN
Recognize and honor the trust this person is putting in you by revealing this information. THANK THEM for telling you. Become his/her advocate. Guide him/her to understand that secrecy only protects the perpetrator. Strongly, kindly encourage him/her to tell more people, especially police or other legal officials, even if the statute of limitations prevents arrest or prosecution.

NOTE: Almost ALL perpetrators have more than one victim, over many years. Every accusation publicly recorded helps police follow the perpetrator’s trail to a newer victim so that arrest and prosecution CAN occur.

EIGHT
Acknowledge the courage it took for them to come forward, regardless of how long it took them to do so. It doesn’t matter if the assault occurred twenty minutes or twenty years ago: right now, the violation and injury are “current” for the victim. Consider that while they are telling you about their pain, fear, sorrow, confusion, hurt, anger.

NINE
DO NOT ASK them what they were doing, “how it happened,” or any other victim-blaming questions. There will be plenty of time to get the “whole story.” While they talk, you LISTEN. When they are finished talking, help him/her decide what to do next. Speak soothingly. Hold them while they cry. Offer tissues. You are not the prosecutor. It is NOT your role to cross-examine or overly question them at this time. Be kind. Remember your relationship.

Causes of Rape

image from https://www.tumblr.com/tagged/rapists-cause-rape

TEN
Encourage them to go/go with them to a hospital if the assault happened within the last 24-48 hours. This is the critical time to collect evidence, get examined, be treated, etc. If the victim has not yet bathed or showered, convince him/her not to do that until after the forensic and medical exams. Take charge. Drive/accompany him/her.

#metoo


RESOURCES
There are many resources available to educate yourself and others with more than these ten recommendations. Here is a great one, The Pennsylvania Coaltion Against Rape (PCAR): http://www.pcar.org/blog/common-victim-behaviors-survivors-sexual-abuse

Here are some more:

USA “hotline” reporting phone numbers:

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE

National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE

National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD

For more information and to report assault of USA women (applies to men as well): Rape and Sexual Assault Reporting Laws, from The National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women (NCPVAW) http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/the_voice_vol_1_no_3_2006.pdf

and, [during the OBAMA administration, there was a report generated by the] USA White House in January, 2014, Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action, for assaults against women and girls (applies to males as well): http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sexual_assault_report_1-21-14.pdf

For more information and to understand the laws about reporting crimes against USA children/youth:
Child Help USA (for victims, offenders and parents) 800-4-A-CHILD or (800-422-4453)

Help for USA youth victims:

National Youth Crisis Home (a referral hotline for youth in crisis)

1-800-HIT- HOME (800-448-4663)

I hope this post helps you and future victims experience better receptivity, support and aid. SHARE.

REBLOGGING: A Letter to Survivors of Sexual Assault by JOHN PAVLOVITZ

REBLOGGING: A Letter to Survivors of Sexual Assault
NOVEMBER 10, 2017 / JOHN PAVLOVITZ

A beautifully written, heartfelt, supportive and sympathetic message to/for all survivors of sexual assault and related traumas.

An excerpt: “My friend, I’m sorry for both your initial injury—–and for the way the world causes you further damage when you take the risk of stepping forward, or simply as you endure our daily oblivion. You deserve far better.”
(link to full post, below)

Thanks, John.
#MeToo

https://johnpavlovitz.com/2017/11/10/letter-survivors-sexual-assault/

John’s post has a list of great resources at the end. Here is a review of yet another one, if you like to read:
THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE by Bessel A. van der Kolk
https://whathasbeenread.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/the-body-keeps-the-score-by-bessel-a-van-der-kolk/

2017 #MacArthur Fellows: 24 Creative, Genius, Unique Leaders Who Inspire

2017 #MacArthur Fellows: 24 Creative, Genius, Unique Leaders Who Inspire

Let’s celebrate extraordinary and amazing and beneficial and FUN people! I first heard about these annual awards when they were only about $200,000 and they were called “Genius Grants.” The stipend for the MacArthur Fellowship is currently set at $625,000, paid in quarterly installments over five years.

The cool thing about this award is that the group of people who nominate and select these individuals every year are ANONYMOUS and it is apparently impossible to discover their identities. This protects the process from corruption, one would hope.

Their FAQs page states: “All of the participants in the selection process—–nominators, evaluators, and selectors—–serve anonymously, and we keep their communications confidential. Anonymity protects them from being inundated with unsolicited requests. In addition, our experience shows that people readily provide frank impressions if they have an assurance that their responses will not be disseminated beyond the program staff and Selection Committee.”

I’ve heard that each recipient gets a phone call “out of the blue,” since they don’t even know they’re being considered, to announce that they are selected and about to receive one of our highest honors and a huge cash award.

The idea behind these awards is that the Fellows can then “quit their day jobs” or work less for money while living on the investments/cash they get/accumulate from this award. That award liberates Fellows to pursue their genius ideas even further! YEA!

There are three criteria for selection of Fellows:
—Exceptional creativity
—Promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments
—Potential for the Fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

Again, from the FAQs: “The MacArthur Fellowship is designed to provide seed money for intellectual, social, and artistic endeavors. We believe that highly motivated, self-directed, and talented people are in the best position to decide how to allocate their time and resources. By adopting a ‘no strings attached’ policy, we provide the maximum freedom for the recipients to follow their creative vision, whether it is moving forward with their current activities, expanding the scope of their work, or embarking upon an entirely new endeavor. There are no restrictions on how the money can be spent, and we impose no reporting obligations.”

I also love that they make a concerted effort and usually succeed in finding obscure, diverse, interesting and helpful people to whom to give this important award each year. Check out the 2017 cohort!

Anybody a fan of the CMT TV series, Nashville, as I have been? One of the recurring roles has been being played in 2015-2017 by one of this year’s recipients, Rhiannon Giddens, a gifted “Singer, Instrumentalist, and Songwriter,” who won for: “Reclaiming African American contributions to folk and country music and bringing to light new connections between music from the past and the present.”

Sometimes, though, they do not pick the “thought-leader” in a particular area, but one who is using others’ work in new ways or places. I wish they’d give credit to the originators of this recipient’s work: Betsy Levy Paluck uses the thinking and program components of Community MattersSafe School Ambassadors program’s creators, Rick Phillips, John Linney and Chris Pack. I know this because I worked for/with them and helped write the book they created about their anti-bullying work over 10 years ago. Oh, well. Can’t win them all!

Spread the word! Read about these people and their projects to youth and adults to inspire us all to be better! There is no upper age limit on recipients, either!

This year’s recipients include artists/designers, social scientists/humanities scholars, physical scientists/mathematicians, writers, community leaders/ strategists/ activists, and more.

There are, as usual (2016 was an exception), fewer female (9) than male (15) recipients. Most are under 50 years old, but a few are older.

However, more than usual (15) are people of non-Caucasian/ non-Western European ethnicities. Click on this link for an interactive map showing each of the recipient’s place of birth or location at the time of their award: https://www.macfound.org/maps/2/

A few are academics or work in other large organizations, but most are independent owners/operators or work in small businesses or in the nonprofit sectors.

Want to know more? Check out these myth-busting responses: https://www.macfound.org/press/commentary/five-myths-about-macarthur-genius-grants/

2017 MacArthur Fellows: 24 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All

The MacArthur Foundation named the 2017 MacArthur Fellows this week (10/10/17). Fellows will each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000, allowing recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions.

“From transforming conditions for low-wage workers to identifying internet security vulnerabilities, from celebrating the African American string band tradition to designing resilient urban habitats, these new MacArthur Fellows bring their exceptional creativity to diverse people, places, and social challenges. Their work gives us reason for optimism and inspires us all.”

Visit the MacArthur Foundation website for Fellows’ bios and more info about each recipient as well as videos, the lists and descriptions/bios of previous years’ recipients, and the remaining FAQs/Answers:

https://www.macfound.org/programs/fellows/


4 PERFECT #SOLUTIONS to #GUN #VIOLENCE in the #USA: #brilliantideas

4 PERFECT #SOLUTIONS to #GUN #VIOLENCE in the USA: #brilliantideas


image from NFTY (National Federation of Temple Youth [Jewish] https://nfty.org/take-action/gvp/

  1. Make it too expensive to have shootings:


    image from Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence

    Unfortunately, this country runs on money. We all know insurance companies run this country. And, most people’s families have a lot of influence and responsibility for their members.
    When gun violence becomes too expensive, insurance companies will move to change it quickly. When shooter’s embarrass and COST their families money, family members(parents, grandparents, spouses/partners, children) will move more quickly to prevent/shut those shooters down/report them BEFORE they go on rampages.

    So: charge each criminal shooter’s FAMILY and any insurance companies he [99% of shooters are male] uses FOR ANY REASON (car, house, boat, life, disability: whatever) to pay for the health care, recovery, rehab, burial, therapy, income losses, personal injury debilitation, PTSD and other costs associated with being shot at/shot.

  2. #NRA Lobbyists and Members must pay:


    image from http://EverytownResearch.org

    We all know that the NRA—National Rifle Association of America—and other gun association lobbyists have prevented the passage of reasonable gun safety laws. We must hold them ALL accountable NOW. For every dollar a lobbyist “donates,” s/he must provide the same amount to compensate victims and communities for gun violence. I promise: donations will disappear!

    SO: charge the NRA members EACH 10% of ALL gun violence costs not covered, above, for example: for all site clean up, hospital, ER, ambulance, policing, EMT expenses and other community costs associated with dealing with gun violence OF ANY KIND (domestic, hijackings, criminals, shooters, gangs, robberies, terrorists: whatever).

  3. Tax all profits:


    image and statistics from Mother Jones magazine

    Those who profit from any dangerous, harmful or otherwise socially destructive and/or unnecessary products have been made to pay for its consequences already via taxes in the USA (think: cigarettes, gasoline, luxury items like yachts, etc.). Why should gun and ammo profiteers be exempt?

    So: charge each gun show operator, gun shop owner, or owners/operators or profiteers of ANYWHERE that sells guns and/or ammunition, onsite OR ONLINE (pawn shops, hardware stores, “sports” stores, “hunting” stores, etc.) a VIOLENCE #TAX on EACH item sold that could be used to harm people. I think a 20% tax of each sale would be a sufficient disincentive both to purchase and to sell. That money shall go to cover the costs accrued in #1, 2, and 4 of this list as well AND gun safety classes, gun violence prevention seminars and other educational programs REQUIRED for ALL GUN OWNERS and USERS to attend ANNUALLY (this includes military, police and others who “legally” use guns).

  4. Pay until you do better:


    image of and quote from Gabrielle Giffords

    Our Congressional Representatives (those elected to either the House or Senate, federal and state legislatures) respond to only two kinds of pressure: money (donations, bribes, extortions) and non-election threats. Let’s use BOTH, here. They will change their votes or go broke (and probably get voted out as well). YAY!
    Make them pay out of their PERSONAL accounts (cannot use campaign, PAC or other non-personal monies to pay these fines)

    So: charge each Congressional Rep a FINE if s/he votes AGAINST gun safety, gun control, gun laws OF ANY KIND another 10% of the total costs, above, AND use these fines to cover FUTURE gun violence costs, such as extra policing, compensation to families of victims, compensation for employers/workplaces of victims, funds for repairs to venues where shootings occurred, compensations to property owners/users of sites where shootings occurred, compensation to neighborhoods in which decreasing property values occur because of being the sites or being NEAR the sites of gun violence, etc.


image from http://momsdemandaction.org

See how fast the gun laws change!

What do you think? Comment here.
NOTE: reasonable, constructive, useful suggestions/questions, ONLY; the rest will NOT be approved and will be deleted. Use: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

3 Films/Events from Unify.org and others

3 Films/Events from Unify.org and others
[Announcements and images from Unify (http://unify.org)]

ONE:
#makingfriends “Making Friends Across Religions”

A short film… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGMQsJ0VzAk

“On June 14, 2017, many of the world’s most prominent religious leaders made a joint statement encouraging people everywhere to make friends across religions.

“Friendship and getting to know one another are the antidotes to negativity and divisions in society, enhancing understanding and unity.

“We pray that the message and example of unity, shown by these leaders, will contribute to bridging divisions by inspiring you and your friends to start new conversations with people of different faiths. Follow the example, spread the message.” http://lionsgateevent.com/


TWO:

8/8/17, 2 PM YOUR TIME


#Globalmeditation on 8/8/17, 2 PM EDT USA:

“The ‘Lion’s Gate Synchronized Global Meditation’ combines several powerful planetary alignments, including the Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, the Lion’s Gate (or Egyptian New Year) and the 30 year anniversary of the Harmonic Convergence.”


THREE:
#CalmOneCalmAll 8/2/17 at 2 PM YOUR time, JOIN IN:
“A Moment of Calm: Global Forgiveness Moment”

watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FloNvmQCZ0A

“Become a part of the growing wave of peace. Join the ‘Global Forgiveness Moment ––The Moment of Calm’ from wherever you are. Simply observe TWO MINUTES of silence on August 2 at 2 PM to forgive and experience the calmness within.”

Thanksgiving dinner and other help for low-income or isolated folks in the USA, from nationwide site, “Aunt Bertha: Connecting People and Programs”

Share! RT! Thanksgiving dinner and other help for low-income or isolated folks in the USA, from nationwide site, “Aunt Bertha: Connecting People and Programs”

bertha

For help with finding free meals, job training, housing and other kinds of assistance, searchable by zip code, for low-income people and/or those without family or a place to have #Thanksgiving, nationwide, use the “Aunt Bertha” site, here : https://www.auntbertha.com/

TED Blog

Aunt-Bertha-ThanksgivingNo, Aunt Bertha will not pinch your cheeks. That’s because she is not actually a person. Aunt Bertha is a service, created by TED Fellow Erine Gray, that connects people in need of food, healthcare and housing with the wide variety of programs available in their area.

This week, Aunt Bertha is aiming to connect as many people as possible with a free and hearty Thanksgiving meal. To do so, Aunt Bertha created a database of more than 1,000 places in the United States that are serving free meals—complete with turkey—over the course of this week. At AuntBertha.com/Thanksgiving2014, you’ll find a searchable map of free meals available in your city, along with details about how to get more information.

Aunt Bertha has also cracked open the data to look at when the most free meals are taking place (hint: on November, 27 at 11am) and what kind of organizations…

View original post 252 more words

#ElevatetheVote in/for the USA NOW, 11/8/16: #Meditate at 6 PM EST

#ElevatetheVote in/for the USA NOW, 11/8/16: #Meditate at 6 PM EST

“Hello” from the global Elevate the Vote team, “in devoted collaborative service from California, Texas, Tokyo, Australia, and Arizona! We are excited to share that over 21,000 people around the world have signed up have signed up to meditate with us on November 8th!”

elevatethevote-1
JOIN US ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE CONSCIOUS REVOLUTION!

“Please take a minute to add yourself to the map by clicking here or here: https://elevatethevote.com/home.
If you have any tech difficulties email support@elevatethevote.com

elevatethevote-2

from their website or https://elevatethevote.com:

Our mission is to inspire meditation flash mobs at polling stations across the U.S. on November 8th with others joining globally through a livestream broadcast.

Our intention is to elevate the consciousness of every U.S.A. voter on election day,
impacting how we feel about ourselves, politics, this election, and each other.

We will send you access to the livestream audio meditation on November 6th – On the broadcast website you will also be able to check-in and submit your photos!

If you aren’t joining a polling station flashmob in the United States, please join us from wherever you are – and if you haven’t joined the Facebook event, click here or here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1833891426856145/ to do so!

The livestream meditation will be a guided inspirational 30 minute experience followed by 30 minutes of silence.

Please take a few minutes to share this invitation through email,
a phone call, or facebook event – each person who joins creates a
powerful ripple effect into our world through their presence and actions.

Together we are demonstrating there is a different way of relating to politics than we primarily see on the media – that we can act on our passion for change with respect for different perspectives and with care for each other.

It is an honor to serve together towards a better world for future generations.

Emotions are running high for millions of us. Together we can bring inner-peace to the front lines of the election process, giving us all an opportunity to experience the election in a new way.

Many of us know that meditation has an impact both in our individual lives and the world around us – our goal is to inspire a tangible shift in perspective and unification of our global community.

From a place of Depth, Compassion, Unity, and Understanding.

E Pluribus Unum” = “Out of Many We Are One
– Inscribed on the Great Seal of the United States – 1776

The US is a diverse nation with extreme differences. Our democracy is not perfect. And neither are we.

This mass meditation is an opportunity for us to come together and heal the divisiveness, showing the world and our children what is possible with inner peace, respect, and unity.

Our collective action makes a statement. It can change everything.
People will notice. Minds will change. Hearts will open. The world will be different.

We know it is only a matter of time before our political systems transform. Humanity is heading towards an enlightened society and every person, being, and system is transforming from the inside out.

May this mass meditation be a step forward for all of us.

For all of humanity.

Thousands of local, state, and federal officials will be elected on November 8th.

May our collective vote serve our nation and serve our planet.

We pray for the highest outcome possible.

We Vote with our Presence.

The global synchronized meditation will broadcast live at
3:00 pm PST /6:00 pm EST to smartphones across the nation and around the world.

Thank you for your care,
Elevate The Vote Team

Commemorating an Extraordinary Teacher and Person: Bill Heyde, who passed on 10/26/16

Celebrating an Extraordinary Teacher and Person:
Bill Heyde, R.I.P., 10/26/16, reported by the Ladue Education Foundation in St. Louis, MO, USA

bill-heyde
Mr. Heyde, circa 1973, courtesy of the Ladue Horton Watkins High School yearbooks, as published for his obituary in the St. Louis Post Dispatch

Dear Friends of Mr. Heyde,

I am saddened to share with you the news that our wonderful Mr. Heyde passed away on Wednesday. His health had recently been improving, and he was scheduled to return to his assisted living facility, but his life came to a close on October 26, 2016. As you all know, he had a life-changing impact on many of his students’, colleagues’, and friends’ lives.

Visitation will be on Sunday, October 30, from 2:00-6:00 p.m. at Bopp Chapel, 10610 Manchester Road in Kirkwood, MO.

The funeral service will be Monday, October 31 at 10:00 a.m. at Bopp Chapel.

Burial will be immediately following the service in Cape Girardeau.

Condolences may be sent to Bill’s sister: Adelaide Parsons and her husband Robert, 3120 Independence, Cape Girardeau, MO 63703.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to two of Bill’s favorite organizations:
Missouri Scholars Academy Development Fund
c/o Honors College
210 Lowry Hall
University of Missouri-Columbia
Columbia, MO 65211

and

The Ladue Education Foundation
9703 Conway Road
St. Louis, MO 63124

Here is the link to the obituary in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/stltoday/obituary.aspx?n=william-albert-heyde-bill&pid=182178423&fhid=6378

For those of you who missed it the first time around, here is the link to the clever rap written and performed by 1972 alumnus Steve Levin to honor Mr. Heyde in 2015: https://youtu.be/tA5F3XdNcwI

As a grateful former student of Mr. Heyde’s, I’m so glad I was in St. Louis for the wonderful event honoring him as an amazing teacher and person in April, 2015!

Mr Heyde and students circa 1970
Mr. Bill Heyde and students, Ladue High School, circa 1970?

We had a BLAST!
Bill H and Bill W - Copy
Bill Heyde and Bill Weiss

Doug Cassel and Tom Newmark - Copy
Doug Cassel and Tom Newmark (sorry it’s blurry)

Jim McKelvy - Copy
Jim McKelvy and ??

Mark Zooie and Mr H mock debate - Copy
Mark Zooie (sp?) in mock debate

Randy Rubin mock debate - Copy
Randy Rubin in mock debate

Scott Anderson and Glenn Caplin - Copy
Scott Anderson and Glenn Caplin (former Debate captain)

Tripp Frolichstein mock debate - Copy
Tripp Frolichstein in mock debate

At the actual event, many people contributed to a large scrapbook and to the event’s festivities, including an amazing speech by former Missouri state debate champ, Neal Osherow, and an incredible original poem/rap, written and performed by former debater, Steve Levin https://youtu.be/tA5F3XdNcwI, and a mock debate (pictures, above) with many former debaters. So much fun! So much respect, admiration, love, re-connecting.

Mr. Heyde gave a prepared speech (but mostly from his memory!!) of the history of the debate team at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis and that was fascinating. There were many former debaters and Speech competitors there (as I was, having won 4th place at the Missouri state level with my acting partner, Karen Raskin, in Duet Acting!), and students of Mr. Heyde’s. Excellent turnout: many had to be turned away due to fire code restrictions!

Thanks, Ladue Education Foundation organizers, for imagining, creating and hosting this excellent festival!

Here is my letter, sent to Mr. Heyde in 2012 and again in 2015 for this event:


Hi, Mr. Heyde,

I just found out how to contact you and wanted to thank you. You may not remember me, since you have had thousands of students, so let me jog your memory: I was then Sally Fleischmann (Jonathan’s next-younger sister) at Ladue High School (we have 2 younger sibs you may also have taught, Wendy [now, Ellen] and Lauri). I took your Advanced Composition class in 1970-71. I was one of the only students to get a “B+” on a first draft, while most received “D”s and “F”s. So, I suppose I can’t give you credit for ALL of my writing skills and abilities, but please, read on.

Another memory jog: One of the essays written for your class (about game-playing imagery in a short story by William James) was published in that year’s LHS creative writing journal. I then went on to torment Ms. Cannon in the Advanced Placement English class my senior year by never getting less than a “B” on any written paper, while acting up in her class a lot (I did win the vote [along with our class President, Andy Eder] for “Class Clown” in our yearbook’s “Senior Superlatives,” after all…).

Although I had been published, starting as a 4th-grader, in school and camp newsletters, for short stories, articles, poetry and songs, and again as a freshman, in Missouri Youth Writes, for a poem, prior to having your class, I felt that this essay’s being published was my first “adult” placement. As an actual adult, I have had short stories, poetry, articles, nonfiction books, songs and plays published and produced by others, and served as an editor/rewriter/proofreader for many publications.

In 2013, I became a blogger (Sally Ember, Ed.D., http://www.sallyember.com), and a self-published science-fiction author with Volume I, This Changes Everything, of The Spanners Series</strong>; in 2014, I added Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, and I hope to add Volume III, This Is/is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, in 2015 and seven more after that! In 2014, I began hosting my own talk show, conversations between authors, CHANGES, and I often think of you while talking to others about their writing. I also write reviews for Goodreads and Amazon, and while critiquing others’ books, your phrases about what constitutes “good” or “bad” writing often come to mind.

I credit you and want to thank you for modeling for me (and many others, I’m sure) how to teach and inspiring me to teach composition and writing to adolescents and young adults. I went on, after teaching elementary school and middle school language arts, to teach writing: for five summers at Upward Bound; for several years at three community colleges; for five years at two different universities; and, for six years in community education locales, including Corrections Education, in several states. While acquiring my Master’s and doctorate at UMASS/Amherst, I taught writing in Peter Elbow’s peer review process’ domain. I also have had occasional contract work as a researcher/ writer/ editor/ proofreader. I know that your recognition of my writing as “good” (a characterization you did not give out to many pieces) set me on this path.

I think of you often, as a great teacher and someone who inspired me to write more and to teach writing. Even 43 years later, I can picture you perfectly, gesticulating strongly, your necktie blowing about as you passionately enjoined us to become literary critics, not just essay-writers. “Literary criticism” was a foreign concept to me as a junior in high school, until your class. I had learned about symbolism, metaphor and allusion, even how to cite quotations. But, putting it all together analytically, originally, and interestingly? Never even crossed my mind, until you gave us your assignments.

You opened me to a whole new intellectual world. I remember with intense clarity the exact moment when I first “got” what you were trying to convey, and understood (in a very basic way, but still, understood) how to construct a critique. I was astonished. It was as if you had been decrypting a code, helping us to begin using a secret language within English. I really was thrilled to be part of this new “club.”

Yes, I am a geek. I usually read over 250 books a year. Yes; I do. I have, since elementary school, been an avid reader. I was also an athlete: a runner, a cheerleader in 9th grade, a gymnast and field hockey player; also, I am a musician and singer/actor; and, in high school, I was “popular,” including having been elected/selected to that pinnacle for girls in that era, a cheerleader. This is to say to your students that these “identities” are not mutually exclusive: being inducted into the National Honor Society and having lots of friends happily co-exist in many, and I heartily encourage your students to cultivate both their brains and their hearts.You will help them, I’m sure.

I mainly wanted you to know what a great influence and help you were in my professional life, and what warm memories I have of your class. Never think your import was forgotten or unsung, even if we don’t find you to tell you: THANK YOU!

Best to you and your students, past, current and future. Write on!

Take care,

Sally (Fleischmann) Ember, Ed.D.


Do you have a teacher, coach or other mentor you’d like to thank? Start by commenting here and keep on sharing! #thankateacher

Mr Heyde and one student
Mr. Bill Heyde and student, Ladue High School, circa 1970?

#Writing #Contest! And, USA National #Punctuation Day® is TODAY! September 24, 2016

Are you (more than slightly) OCD [Obsessive-Compulsive Disordered] about punctuation and grammar? Do you have a mental (or, like me, an actual) correcting pen ready at all times?

In a day-long Professional Development workshop (which included reviewing the state standards on English Language Arts…) last week, I spent many happy minutes disparaging and then correcting the mistakes in the presenter’s Power Point slides and the manual provided.

I found 17 errors in a three-paragraph story alone.

So fun!

Oy!

No wonder this is one of my all-time favorite non-holidays!

USA National #Punctuation Day® is TODAY! September 24, 2016,
Jeff Rubin, Founder

national-punctuation-day-announcement

Also, every year there is a CONTEST! YES! Sharpen your red pencils!

National Punctuation Day® announces 2016 writing contest

This year, for the 13th National Punctuation Day® on September 24, we salute the unsung and under-appreciated heroes of our lives — TEACHERS.

Have you had a teacher who changed your life, someone who brought into focus a subject you hadn’t previously understood, or introduced you to something that became your passion? Maybe you had a teacher who helped you develop a skill that wasn’t natural for you.

Maybe you have a teacher like that now.

Did you have a teacher who, along with the basics they he or she was supposed to be teaching, taught you that it was better to try and fail than to not try at all?

Perhaps two teachers? Three? More?

HERE’S THIS YEAR’S CONTEST: Write a thank-you note of no more than 250 words to a teacher, expressing your gratitude for having been taught how to write using proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and how those skills have helped you in your student or adult life. Make it personal by identifying the teacher, subject, school, grade level, and state/country.

Entries will be accepted through October 31 at Jeff@NationalPunctuationDay.com.

Winners in the student and adult divisions will be announced, and prizes will be awarded, in December.

PLEASE visit founder, Jeff Rubin’s, website, where he has explanations of EVERY type of punctuation WITH PHOTOS of those used in English, AND pages of info, recipes (!?) and resources, like “Punctuation Products” and “Punctuation Playtime Program”! http://www.nationalpunctuationday.com/ for more information and fun stuff.

The site also has great posters/signage of excellent punctuation mistakes, videos, radio spots, schools’ participation pix, newspaper coverage of NPD (even right here in St. Louis, MO!) and much more!

Love this sign!

dianadaycare
We can only hope these “Little ‘Genius’s'” can’t read, yet.

Most unusual tribute?
Video of a Punctuation Rap Song by Dots N Dashes: https://youtu.be/4vYrws3766Q The participants make punctuation marks on the football field, as if they were a marching band. Hilarious.

Photos of bad signage and more at: http://www.NationalPunctuationDay.com

Got a photo of an incorrectly punctuated sign?
E-mail it to Jeff Rubin Jeff@NationalPunctuationDay.com and it will be posted on the National Punctuation Day® web site–—with a photo credit!

Here is another video:
http://wabi.tv/2012/09/24/celebrating-national-punctuation-day/

CONTACT JEFF: Jeff also does presentations and answers your punctuation questions and makes live appearances (he lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, California): (510) 724-9507 and Jeff@NationalPunctuationDay.com

Special note
— to any of the students who had/have me as a teacher who happen to have read this far: Copies of your entries and thank-you notes are appreciated, but please proofread them first! ~~~~

Or, here is what I will look like when I see YOUR errors:

win_20160822_092915

2016 #MacArthur Fellows: 23 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All

Let’s celebrate extraordinary and amazing and beneficial and FUN people! I first heard about these annual awards when they were only about $200,000 and they were called “Genius Grants.” The stipend for the MacArthur Fellowship is currently set at $625,000, paid in quarterly installments over five years.

The cool thing about this award is that the group of people who nominate and select these individuals every year are ANONYMOUS and it is apparently impossible to discover their identities. This protects the process from corruption, one would hope. Their FAQs page states: “All of the participants in the selection process—–nominators, evaluators, and selectors—–serve anonymously, and we keep their communications confidential. Anonymity protects them from being inundated with unsolicited requests. In addition, our experience shows that people readily provide frank impressions if they have an assurance that their responses will not be disseminated beyond the program staff and Selection Committee.”

I’ve heard that each recipient gets a phone call “out of the blue,” since they don’t even know they’re being considered, to announce that they are selected and about to receive one of our highest honors and a huge cash award.

The idea behind these awards is that the Fellows can then “quit their day jobs” or work less for money while living on the investments/cash they get/accumulate from this award. That liberates them to pursue their genius ideas even further! YEA!

Again, from the FAQs: “The MacArthur Fellowship is designed to provide seed money for intellectual, social, and artistic endeavors. We believe that highly motivated, self-directed, and talented people are in the best position to decide how to allocate their time and resources. By adopting a “no strings attached” policy, we provide the maximum freedom for the recipients to follow their creative vision, whether it is moving forward with their current activities, expanding the scope of their work, or embarking upon an entirely new endeavor. There are no restrictions on how the money can be spent, and we impose no reporting obligations.”

I also love that they make a concerted effort and usually succeed in finding obscure, diverse, interesting and helpful people to whom to give this important award each year. Check out the 2016 cohort!

Spread the word! Read about these people and their projects to youth and adults to inspire us all to be better! There is no upper age limit on recipients, either!

This year’s recipients include a Human Rights Lawyer, Artists, Musicians, Creators and Writers of several types, Linguists and other Historians, Scientists of many subdisciplines, a Jewelry-Maker and a Financial Services Innovator! And, perhaps for the first time, there are more female (13) than male (10) recipients! Most are under 50 years old, but a few are older.

About half are people of non-Caucasian/ non-Western European ethnicities. Click on this link for an interactive map showing each of the recipient’s place of birth: https://www.macfound.org/maps/1/

A few are academics or work in other large organizations, but most are independent owners/operators or work in small businesses or in the nonprofit sectors.

2016-fellows-macarthur

Want to know more? Check out these myth-busting responses: https://www.macfound.org/press/commentary/five-myths-about-macarthur-genius-grants/

2016 MacArthur Fellows: 23 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All

23 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All
Recognizing 23 exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for significant contributions in the future, the Foundation today named the 2016 MacArthur Fellows. Fellows will each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000, allowing recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions.

“While our communities, our nation, and our world face both historic and emerging challenges, these 23 extraordinary individuals give us ample reason for hope,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. “They are breaking new ground in areas of public concern, in the arts, and in the sciences, often in unexpected ways. Their creativity, dedication, and impact inspire us all.”

Visit the MacArthur Foundation website for Fellows’ bios and more info about each recipient as well as videos, the lists and descriptions/bios of previous years’ recipients, and the remaining FAQs/Answers: https://www.macfound.org/fellows/class/class-2016/


ALSO, as described in a previous post, the MacArthur Foundation is celebrating having had 35 years of MacArthur Fellows with events in Chicago and New York City still to come for 2016. Check out the three remaining public ceremonies and events. Fantastic opportunities!

This weekend, “Poetry Off the Shelf”: with poet, Ellen Bryant Voigt, September 27, 2016, 7 – 8:30 PM CDT, at the
Poetry Foundation , 61 West Superior Street, Chicago, IL, USA.

On October 1 and 2, 2016, at New York City’s Kennedy Center, Artistic Director and Jazz Fellow, Jason Moran, hosts two different Fellows, Jessie Little Doe Baird and George E. Lewis.
https://www.macfound.org/events/fellows35/

10-22-16 is the last of three: Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) is sponsoring INDIE AUTHOR FRINGE 2016 – for Authors, by Authors

Alliance of Independent Authors has sponsored two INDIE AUTHOR FRINGE 2016 – for Authors, by Authors which occurred on April 15 and May 14. The third and final occurs October 22, 2016

[All Info and logos, below, are from Alli‘s page and emails in March and September from Orna Ross]

Alli logo

Alli is hosting three, one-day, online events, as fringe options to the three main global publishing events of the year: London Book Fair, Book Expo America and Frankfurt Book Fair.

http://selfpublishingadvice.org/indie-author-fringe-fair-2016/

Each Indie Author Fringe event is an FREE ONLINE AUTHOR CONFERENCE, offering expertise and experience from indies and self-publishing services around the globe.​
Register here: https://app.convertkit.com/landing_pages/86364

Third event starts on October 22 at 10 AM Frankfurt Time.

Yes, it’s Indie Author Fringe time again. Our next — third and final — online conference of the year will be on Saturday 22nd October, for the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Its theme is Running an Indie Author Business, and again, we’re lining up a roster of world-class speakers who’ll be sharing their experience and expertise to help you turn your creative endeavors into an enterprise that delivers commercial satisfaction too.

Whether you’re trying to decide if you’re ready to launch your author business or you’re already up and running and need guidance to streamline or improve, our conference will answer all your questions and save you time, money and effort as you go.

Speaker Update

6 weeks to our speakers and their sessions. View the speaker line-up here
http://selfpublishingadvice.org/fbf-indie-author-fringe-2016-speakers/

Launch of the Best Website Competition

The focus of our competition this time is Best Websites for Indie Authors. What website would you recommend as a resource to another indie? A panel of judges will review all entries and the Winner will be recognized and awarded by ALLi. You can submit your own website, or somebody else’s. Please check the submission guidelines.
http://selfpublishingadvice.org/indie-author-fringe-fair-2016/fbf16-website-competition-submission/

Your Free Book

alli-free-book-2016

And, don’t forget to download your free copy of Opening up to Indie Authors. All Fringe delegates receive this free ebook, which tells you how to get your book into book stores, literary festivals, libraries and wherever good books are found. Use this link to get your free ebook: http://dl.bookfunnel.com/4c4f35haln

HOT OFF THE PRESS

In Celebration of Ingram Spark‘s Gold sponsorship at Indie Author Fringe, they are offering the following:
—All setup costs waived on new titles
—Setup your existing paperback titles in hardback for no additional cost
—Visit their sponsor page for more information
—Enter INDIEFRINGE16 as the Promo code when setting up your title.

Ingram Spark‘s Offer: TERMS & CONDITIONS

Offer valid September 8th to November 30th, 2016
Applies to all printing options
Both print and ebook setup fees will be waived

About The Alliance of Independent Authors
(ALLi, pronounced “ally”) is a global, nonprofit association for writers who self-publish. Read about the benefits of becoming an ALLi member.

WHAT TO EXPECT

—24-hours of advice and expertise, conversations and connections.

How Does a Virtual Conference Work?

As each hour ticks by on October 22, we’ll publish a new Session on our Event Home Page.

Our first Indie Author Fringe primarily focused on “How To Create a Better Book,” though we have sessions on selling and marketing in each Conference. Different sessions are aimed at beginner, intermediate and advanced level, so no matter where you are as an indie author, you’ll find something for you.​

Indie Author Fringe FAQ

What is Indie Author Fringe?

Indie Author Fringe (formerly known as IndieReCon) offers FREE ONLINE DAY CONFERENCES for authors interested in self-publishing, alongside three of the biggest publishing fairs.

How many Indie Author Fringe events are you hosting in 2016?

We have held two already and now will be having our third of three online international events in 2016:
Frankfurt Book Fair (19th-23rd October 2016) – Our Indie Author Fringe event will be on October 22nd

London Book Fair (April 12th-14th 2016) – Our Indie Author Fringe event was on April 15th

Book Expo America (May 11th-13th 2016) – Our Indie Author Fringe event was on May 14th

What does Indie Author Fringe Offer?

We offer the best self-publishing advice and education for indie authors across the world — using the global reach of the ALLi</strong> network.

How much does it cost to attend Indie Author Fringe?

We are (and always will be) run by authors for authors, so it’s all free!

What Indie Author topics will your cover?

Over the course of the year, our online conference events will take authors through the entire indie author journey, from writing to promotion and beyond. Each event will offer 24 hours of non-stop advice and inspiration, organized around key self-publishing topics.

What #Issues are/were YOU are the “Right” side of?

Being on the “right” side of so many issues, for his/herstory, is exhausting but satisfying.

So, VOTE and make your voices heard in EVERY election, especially local ones.

voting-matters

Why?

First, they call us crazy.

Then, they say we’re “conspiracy nuts” (a less vague variation on “crazy”) because, of course, our government/ those priests/ the leaders of whatever institution can’t all be lying or wrong…

Next, “popular” opinion starts to sway because FACTS are on our side, but most people aren’t persuaded, yet.

So, the media starts to report that maybe, just maybe, we “outliers” and “extremists” could be correct.

The media’s hesitancy is paid for by the politicians and corporations who are promoting the other side/maintaining the status quo, so most still say we’re “unpatriotic,” or “angry,” or (when we are women) “bitches,” and when we are not white, “terrorists.”

Then, more FACTS on our side emerge, having actually (oh, horrors! so shocking!) been suppressed, denied, lied about and otherwise hidden from public view prior to having been irrevocably exposed, usually (now) by a hacker (or, in the olden days, by a brave reporter or other whistleblower who often ended up dead or imprisoned, as hackers do, now).

Then, lawsuits and riots and protests and demonstrations are occurring regularly, still mostly not covered or not covered accurately by the media. And, we are still RIGHT and now we are WINNING.

Finally, usually a long time before “popular opinion” completey changes, a few brave and prescient lawmakers create bills which pass into laws, or the majority of the Supreme Court happens to agree on a sane and rational decision (for a change), so laws force change. Slowly, and not without detractors, protestors, idiots and others who NOW are the “crazies” and “terrorists,’ society moves ahead.

AND (whew!), many dead bodies and ruined lives later, we “win.”

Yippee.

Then, see how they all relate? “Intersectionality” is the understanding that one oppression /one injustice links to many others—perhaps ALL others.

intersectionality

Add to my list of issues you are/have been on the “right” side of, here in the comments on my site: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

I WAS/AM WE ARE/WERE RIGHT ABOUT THESE ISSUES:

Pro Voting Rights and Access to Honest and Fair Elections for all

which goes with

Anti Dakota Access Pipeline

dap-protests

which goes with
Pro Environment = Pro Clean Air; Clean Water; Pro Arable Land; Anti Pesticides; Anti Poisons and Pollutants; Anti GMOs and Seeds Stealing; Recognizing Climate Change as REAL; Pro Organic/Healthy Foods, Medicines, Hygiene products, Household cleaners, etc.; Anti Vaccinations (until properly vetted and proven more beneficial than harmful); Anti Chemotherapy (until proven more beneficial than harmful)

and

Pro Alternative Energies/ Less reliance on oil/gasoline

and

Anti Fracking

and

Pro Green Burials and Cremations

and

Pro Green Housing/Offices

and

Pro Electric Cars

and

Pro better Public Transportation

which also go with

Pro Natives’/ Indigenous Peoples’ Freedom and Autonomy in the West and other countries/continents

and

Pro Black Lives Matter (and, no: it is NOT the same as “All Lives Matter,” so stop saying that!)

black-lives-matter

which goes with

Pro Civil Rights for all = Anti Racism

and

Anti Imperialism

and

Pro Freedom for Tibet

and

Anti Colonialism

and

Anti Apartheid

and

Anti Royal Rule/ Dynasties everywhere

and

Pro Palestinian Independence (if nonviolent)

and

Anti Israeli and Palestinian violence

and

Anti Sharia Law

which go with

Anti Imprisonment according to Race/Economic Status and the “Three Strikes” Laws

and

Anti The School-to-Prison Pipeline

school-to-prison-pipeline

and

Civil Rights also goes with

Pro Access = ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) = Anti Disabilities discrimination

and

Pro Marriage Equality

and

Pro Affirmative Action = Anti Racism/ Anti Classism / Anti Religious Discrimination

and

Pro Human Rights and Anti Human Rights Violators

and

Pro Women’s Right to Choose/Reproductive Rights of all kinds (birth control, women’s health check-ups, Planned Parenthood Clinics, abortions

and

Pro Single-Payer, Government-Sponsored Health Care for All

and

Anti Genital Mutilation of both males and females (“circumcision”)

and

Pro Women’s autonomy (access to individual credit, access to all types of work, equal pay, etc.) = Anti Sexism

and

Pro Regulation and Monitoring of Sex Workers /Legalization of Prostitution

and

Anti Weight Loss drugs and industries

and

Anti Brassieres/Bras unless necessary for sports/exercise and comfort purposes

ill-fitting-bras-symptoms Symptoms of Ill-Fitting Bras

and

Anti Make-up/Cosmetics (except for costuming/theatrical and fun purposes)

and

Anti High Heels

and

Anti Cosmetic surgery

and

Anti “Welfare Reform”

and

Anti “Right to Work”

right-to-work-is-wrong_issuebanner

and

Pro Affordable Day Care

and

Pro Free and Equal Public Education, from Pre-School through Community and state College levels

and

Anti Sexual Harassment

and

Anti Domestic Violence and “women as property” of husbands/men

and

Anti Child Abuse/Child Labor and “children as property of adults”

and

Anti Sexualization of Children

Pro Legalization of all recreational drugs, particularly marijuana

which goes with

Anti Addiction demonization and “treatment” industry

Anti War (all of them) and Pro Peace

peace-movement
Photograph by Leif Skoogfors, used with permission, 1970

which goes with

Anti Nuclear power plants and weapons

and

Anti Weapons proliferation

Anti Corporate greed and malfeasance, including “Citizen’s United” law

which goes with

Pro better Banks’ Monitoring and better Regulations and Enforcement

and

Pro Wall Street’s Monitoring and better Regulations and Enforcement

and

Pro Transparency

Pro Meditation

which goes with

Pro Emotional Intelligence

and

Pro Music and Arts Education

and

Pro Recess and Physical Education for Youth

and

Pro Science Education (especially for girls/women and minorities)

occupy-everything

Dear parents of Brock Turner, and any “supportive” relatives, friends and associates…

Dear parents of Brock Turner, and any “supportive” relatives, friends and associates:

You are making things worse and you are horribly wrong to “support” Brock. I hope you can educate yourself and learn to change your position. Treat the woman he brutalized as the victim rather than Brock Turner.

assault is not an accident

Some facts:

—This supposedly mentally competent young man (Brock was a scholarship student at a prestigious university) did not “make a mistake” when he brutally assaulted an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. His intentions were clear and his actions thought out in advance.
—He did not “accidentally” drag this inebriated young woman off behind said dumpster. He considered his options and chose this as the best place to hide what he was doing to her.
—He was not “confused” when he decided to stick objects and himself into her naked body’s orifices as she lay amidst dirt and pine needles.
—He was not “unclear” about her inability to give consent when he tried to run away because 2 good Samaritans attempted to and did chase and stop him.

When asked about his crimes (which are not in question because there are witnesses and medical records to demonstrate his guilt, which was proven and he was convicted), Brock has lied repeatedly and still has not apologized or shown appropriate (healthy) remorse. These are not good signs.

The legal terminology here is clear: Brock Turner, “with malice aforethought,” “willingly and knowingly” committed “multiple felonious assaults” on a helpless woman.

malice aforethought

How can you depict Brock as any kind of victim?

His horribly venomous selfishness and inappropriate sense of entitlement (learned and encouraged, no doubt, from many of YOU) are part of a family and community pathology that shows itself in serious misogyny, part of what is termed “rape culture.”

—Do not defend him.
—Do not excuse him.
—Do not attempt to protect him from the consequences of his own actions.

—Do not pretend that this was a one-time event. Ask him. No one does an assault like this only once. He happened to get CAUGHT this time. I’m certain he has done this before, or worse.
“The research team discovered serial rapists are far more common than previous research suggested — a finding that could change how sexual assaults, including so-called acquaintance rapes, are investigated.” Data that are now considered typical; study from one county in the USA: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160606122823.htm

—Your entire family and any “supportive” members of your community, religious and civic organizations need counseling to deal with how you have failed him and how your thinking and emotions are completely distorted about him and this tragic crime that he committed. If you/they have not been able to hear/read the entire text of the victim’s Impact Statement, do that. Read her letter repeatedly until you understand the enormous heinousness of his acts and your misguidedness.

—If you have sons, work with young boys or men, or are one, you should learn from this/teach several things:
1) Women are not anyone’s property to do whatever they want with, any time they want. It doesn’t matter how much or what she drinks, ingests, wears, says, looks like or acts like: she is not “yours.”

rape-time-to-stop

2) If a potential date or sexual partner can’t communicate coherently or at all, she can’t give consent for sex. Find her a safe friend to be with her and get her safely home.

3) Perpetrating physical acts that are sometimes considered “sex” on someone who has not given consent is NOT sex: these are acts of rape, assault and physical torture and are CRIMES. Do not even consider any other definitions.

4) It is your duty to make sure Brock and others who are legally required to register as sex offenders wherever they go, live and work DO register. Do not let him or others continue to ruin women’s lives.

failure-to-register

You can be compassionate about Brock’s pathologies and future problems without condoning what he did or making him “feel better” about it. He should NEVER “feel better” about any of it.

Sincerely,

Everyone else who is sane and compassionate

What Matters

What Matters

As I approach my 62nd birthday (August 22), I reflect on the news stories I see/hear almost daily, now, that corroborate and validate most of my life’s choices, values and beliefs. Sharing, now, so you don’t all have to re-invent the wheel. Mostly I/we were right. Get with it.

Interactions matter. Treating all humans with respect and meeting humans needs (food, clothing, shelter, meaningful and well-paid work, safety) properly are right. Equality, egalitarianism, acceptance, compassion, kindness and respect are the right ways to greet, treat and live with all others, regardless of perceived or actual differences among us and changes in circumstances. Ending oppression, discrimination, bias, prejudice and all forms of subjugation must occur.

RespectKindness
image from http://www.tomvmorris.com
Respect

Government and economics matter. Democracy (when it works) and socialism are right: we must listen to and take care of each other.

Conflict resolution matters. War is wrong, especially war that only makes profits for a few corporations and individuals and ruins land, kills/maims people and destroys economies for everyone else. All the “police actions”/wars the USA has engaged in since World War II (and some of our actions during World War I and World War II) were/are horribly wrong. Millions have been harmed or died for NOTHING except to enrich a few. We must learn to communicate better, de-escalate, use diplomacy, engage in dialogue, compromise and yield.

Give-peace-a-chance-no-more-war1-e1442090350987
image from http://www.popularresistance.org
Peace

Health matters. Eating healthfully and organically is right: better for us, better for the farmers, better for the environment. Contact sports that cause head injuries must end: change the rules or close down those sports completely for children and teens and give adults information that allows them to make educated choices about participation. Sugary foods and drinks, salty and fatty snacks and other negative-impact foods should be made less available and/or taxed very highly so fewer people can eat/get them so readily.

Other beings matter. Treating animals with respect at all times if we are going to use, eat (which some would argue is wrong), imprison and otherwise subjugate them (less stress and pain during and before slaughter, while being raised and during captivity of all kinds) is right.

Consumers’ choices matter. Choosing to purchase items that are made by people who are paid well, treated well and free to come and go is right. Choosing to purchase items whose production (harvest/manufacture/acquisition) does not harm or destroy the planet, the economy, or the people involved is right.

you-can-make-a-difference
image from http://arabedrossian.org
Healthy planet

Parenting requires time, effort, knowledge, education and support to be done well. Childcare can be a positive aspect of young children’s lives as long as they also have good parenting.

Minds and bodies matter. Meditation, yoga, stress management, play, listening to each other better, being outdoors more and learning/listening to music/making art all help families, businesses, schools and individuals in every possible way. Beauty, nature and gratitude are important. Learn/include and do these. Drink a lot of clean water. Sleep more and in better conditions.

healthy body and mind
Healthy choices

Reproductive freedom and rights are integral to a woman’s dignity and independence and are the business of no one else besides each woman and her chosen medical team.

Religions whose leaders or principles restrict the freedom or impinge upon the safety of or intend to demean anyone, inspire divisiveness or hatred, or foment disrespect for non-believers or some members of their own sects because of gender, age, sexual orientation or other characteristics are not to be tolerated any longer and must be ended.

BigotryLifestyle550
image from http://www.patheos.com
Civil and personal rights

Facts are not subject to opinions. No one cares what anyone thinks about facts. Facts are not optional. People who misunderstand, misuse or misguide themselves or others regarding any facts (about the impacts of climate change, the dangers of fracking, etc.) are not to be given any credibility or listened to by anyone with even moderate intelligence.

Tyson quote
Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson, Ph.D., facts quote

Play time matters. Violence begets violence: video games, TV shows and films, music lyrics that demonstrate/engage users in repeated and frequent incidents of violence (personal, sexual, group) desensitize the viewers/players and generate much more violence overall in the culture. Games/shows that degrade women/girls and depict members of particular ethnic or other groups as “the enemy” or the objects of degradation cause users/viewers to adopt these perspectives and behave badly towards these individuals in actual encounters. Children’s and teens’ time using these games or watching these shows must be curtailed. Bring back more outdoor play, longer and better equipment for recess play indoors and outside. Sports and games that encourage coaches/leaders to discriminate among, exclude or otherwise demean participants or activities in training or play that cause players harm must be changed or stopped.

recess
Play

Excellence matters. Skills, talents, education and intelligence are not all equally distributed or acquired. We are not all the same even though we are to be treated with equal respect. Not everyone wins. Everyone is not equally good at everything. Not everyone can earn an “A.” 49.9% of any group is below average, by definition. Get used to it.

Collaboration matters. Governments, organizations/groups of all types and businesses of all sizes operate more successfully when they utilize collaborative, inclusive engagement rather than hierarchical, exclusionary dominance do better economically, have higher morale, have lower attrition/crime rates and better attendance/participation.

collaboration-background4
image from http://www.cptwebs.com
Collaboration

I could have provided a lot of research URLs to back up each of these claims, but I don’t need to, any longer. They are all true. YOU do the research.

Art Exhibit, 6/3 – 7/31: “Hidden Messages: The Subtlety of Oppression,” St. Louis, MO USA

Art Exhibit, 6/3 – 7/31: “Hidden Messages: The Subtlety of Oppression,” St. Louis, MO USA

My most recent #author guest on CHANGES conversations between authors Darian Wigfall (Episode 49, 6/1/16, on Google+ https://goo.gl/OYRt1H or YouTube https://goo.gl/x5IxVZ), is also an artist, activist and community organizer in St. Louis County. His #art is part of the exhibit that opens TONIGHT, 6/3/16, and runs through July 31, 2016, in St. Louis, Missouri, USA (yes, where #FERGUSON is), with that of many other #artists whose work interacts with #oppression, #activism, #intersectionality and #hope.

GO! TELL OTHERS! Free & open to the public during gallery hours.

Grand Center Arts & Entertainment District
501 N. Grand Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63103

(Closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
Wednesdays 11 AM – 6 PM
Thursdays 11 AM – 6 PM
Fridays 11 AM – 9 PM
Saturdays 10 AM – 5 PM
Sundays 12 PM – 5 PM

June 3 EXHIBIT OPENING, 6 – 9 PM

Poetry and interpretive paintings by Emily Timmerman exploring oppression in the areas of race, class, and gender.

About:
Oppression is being exposed all over the world. From the Arab Spring to Black Lives Matter, people are waking up to the fact that we are being oppressed by those who have the money to control the narrative about people and how they are punished.

These paintings are interpretations of the messages that our oppressors have handed down to us to keep us under control. Over time we have adopted these messages for ourselves, reinforcing and perpetrating the oppression against ourselves. The last piece in the 4 stanza poem is a warning that our comfortable lives will be destroyed by the forces that create the artificial comfort we enjoy.

Darian alone
Darian Wigfall

Darian art
image from gallery’s website

http://kranzbergartscenter.org/calendar/current-events/item/hidden-messages-the-subtlety-of-oppression

The Kranzberg Arts Center is a non-profit organization located in the heart of the Grand Center Arts and Entertainment District at 501 N. Grand Blvd. It houses three distinct, multi-use spaces: a gallery space dubbed the Kranzberg Arts Incubator, a flex-seat 100 capacity black box theater, and a 100 capacity cabaret/lounge performance space with pro audio & lights. The basement of the KAC is home to the Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design Education Center while the Black Box is the home of resident theater companies UMSL & Upstream.

Connect:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kranzbergartscenter
Twitter/Instagram: @KranzbergArts

For Inquiries: chris@kranzbergartscenter.org

Advocacy, Entitlement and Knowing When to Complain: The Rights of Poor People

Advocacy, Entitlement and Knowing When to Complain: The Rights of Poor People

If you are new to this blog, you may not know that I was in an accident about two years ago that resulted in a broken nose and concussion as well as other injuries. The concussion was not one of the “good” kind, meaning, I have still not completely recovered.

This deterioration in my health caused me to run through my savings and unemployment benefits in California and have to rely on others. Finally, I am privileged to benefit from my mother’s having space and a generous heart, allowing me to move in with her in St. Louis about 18 months ago.

Missouri, however, is not a great place to live if you are indigent. This post is the third in a series about my experiences here. This third one is on poor people’s rights. The second was on food for indigent people in Missouri (published February 16, 2016, http://wp.me/p2bP0n-1BL). The first one was on health care (published February 9, 2016, http://wp.me/p2bP0n-1By).

This post is important because it looks at the underlying issues that make a difficult situation (being poor) worse or better for each person. The intersections of perceived or claimed race/ethnicity, perceived or claimed gender, perceived or claimed social class, perceived or claimed age, home/best language, physical and mental health and (dis)abilities, perceived or claimed religion, perceived or claimed sexual orientation, and economic status in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, USA, in the mid-20teens, can adversely influence, improve or neutrally affect one’s experiences every moment.

“Intersectionality” is an important part of understanding how poverty impacts each person and family differently. Therefore, in this series, I need to bring in the politics of social identity. We all have to learn to address these overlapping oppressions and unfair treatments to help ourselves understand how everything is NOT actually “equal” regardless of the similarities in two people’s incomes.

intersectionality
Intersectionality includes all of these components of one’s social identity.

It’s not “all good.”

It doesn’t have to be this way.

It ISN’T what it IS “naturally”: people and then institutions run by people make things this way and create/perpetuate systems that keep them this way.

Missouri is one of the worst places to be if you’re poor, but it’s not even the worst by any standards. Your experience all depends on the other components of your social identity. If you’re believed to be a white male, seemingly in good health and able-bodied, perceived to be heterosexual, assumed to be Christian, speaking mid-Western-accented English like a native, have at least some college education and otherwise seeming to be a USA “mainstream” guy between the ages of 25 – 65, you are going to be much better treated and fare better even when you’re poor than if you do not claim or cannot pull off having others believe you have all or any of those social identities.

If you’re also not a felon, have a place to live (a legal address) and (the use of) a car, you’re probably not going to be poor for very long.

Unless you’re obese. Unless you’re smelly. Unless you’re an addict. Unless you’re perceived to be “not one of us” in whatever way “us” is defined: then, you’re in some trouble. But, even with those cards stacked against you, as a poor assumed-to-be-white & -Christian with some education who speaks adequate English and can pass for straight and male and under age 65, you’re still going to be better off than anyone who isn’t.

no isms allowed

Change one aspect—gender—and things automatically get much worse. Change two—ethnicity/race and gender—and you’re doomed.

Check this out, from Everyday Feminism, June 20, 2015 by Carmen Rios “These 5 Statistics Prove That We’re Feminizing Poverty (And Keeping Women Down in the Process)” http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/06/feminizing-poverty/
— “Despite the overall poverty rate declining in America, 18 million women remain below the poverty line.”
—“Women are poorer than men in every state, regardless of education or geographic location. And for women of color, elderly women, and LGBTQIA+ women, it’s even worse.”
—“The poverty rate for Native American, Black, and Latina women is almost double the poverty rate for white women.”
—“For women, and especially women of color, the fight to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 or $15 is very personal—and could be the difference, for them, between barely surviving and finally thriving.”
—“…over a lifetime, women lose an average of $434,000 to the wage gap.”
—“One of the most important aspects of intersectional feminism is the understanding that when we fight for the most marginalized women, we liberate all women along with them.”

And, from other sources (see below) that add in education and other factors to race/ethnicity and gender with income levels:
—“White households take home between $10,000 to $20,000 more per year than their Black counterparts in every age bracket”
—“Enrollment in ‘high poverty’ schools for Black children is 41 percent, 38 percent for Hispanic children, 31 percent for American Indian/Alaska Native and a mere six percent for Whites.”
—“Even when Black and minority children attend mixed schools, they are more likely to be tracked into remedial or basic classes while their White counterparts take advanced, honors level courses.”
—“70 percent of students arrested or referred to law enforcement for school-related infractions were Black or Latino.”
—“While people of color only comprise about 30 percent of the US population, they account for 60 percent of those imprisoned.”
—“There is no such thing as unbiased, unpolitical education.”
—“People with ‘Black’ or ‘ethnic-sounding’ names are less likely to get callbacks for interviews.”
—“Blacks are more likely to be born into poverty and are less likely to escape it.”
—“Whites are 2-3 times more likely to make it into the middle class in their lifetimes compared to their black counterparts.”

poverty-is-violence
from http://iamarevolutionary.wordpress.com
Poverty IS violence. It has to stop.

Find a well-vetted nonprofit that advocates and works to end poverty and understands intersectionality and contribute, volunteer, blog about their work! Here is one: http://www.results.org/

Good news! We made this mess; we can clean it up.

Mandela quote about poverty
Nelson Mandela, Audre Lorde, Martin Luther King, Jr., Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem and so many more have spoken out about the nature of the human-made elements of our social and political systems and the oppressions they systematize.

WE are the ones who must advocate, complain, recognize that we are entitled to better and that so is everyone else, and ACT!

—Do not sit by and watch passively when others are mistreated, disrespected, unfairly scheduled or managed, especially when you are in any position of better privilege: it is your DUTY to advocate whenever you are able.
—Write letters, blog, make phone calls, picket, march, show up and let those in power know you are not satisfied with the “status quo.” Be specific.
—VOTE! It is your DUTY and responsibility as a USA citizen who can vote (if you are one) to use that right in EVERY election. It is the LOCAL elections that most affect people who live near you, and regional and state office holders who make laws that affect us all. Federal elections matter, too, but not as obviously or as immediately.

WIN_20141104_095753 I VOTE! And, as of early March, I am working as a election-day supervisor at a local polling place!

—THEREFORE, do not ignore bond issues, council and mayoral elections, county positions, state office holders’ elections and only vote on presidential ballots. ALL VOTES MATTER!

Want to know more? Have a read:

From October, 2015, inGenere.it: “Intersectionality. Putting together
things that are often kept apart” by Jeff Hearn
http://www.ingenere.it/en/articles/intersectionality-putting-together-things-are-often-kept-apart

From February, 2015, NPR: “Study: Black Girls Are Being Pushed Out of School” by Karen Grigsby Bates
http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2015/02/13/384005652/study-black-girls-are-being-pushed-out-of-school

From February, 2015, the the Frisky: “18 Things White America Needs To Reconcile To Truly Become Colorblind” by Tiffanie Drayton
http://www.thefrisky.com/2015-02-26/18-things-white-america-needs-to-reconcile-to-truly-become-colorblind/

If you appreciated this series, please reblog/share it, comment, ask to be a guest blogger and contribute your own point of view or write on a related topic: http://www.sallyember.com

This third post was on advocacy and intersectionality (published on February 23, 2016, http://wp.me/p2bP0n-1C2).
The second was on food for indigent people in Missouri (published February 16, 2016, http://wp.me/p2bP0n-1BL).
The first one was on health care (published February 9, 2016, http://wp.me/p2bP0n-1By).

Live in or want to go to #Bali to study #music, #dance, #psychodrama, #yoga?

Live in or want to go to #Bali to study #music, #dance, #psychodrama, #yoga? Check out Motivational Arts Unlimited/ Consultants, Mario Cossa’s upcoming classes, workshops, retreats and other events!

Musical Theatre Dancing Class- Starts 21 Feb, 2016
Intro To Psychodrama Group- 22 Feb, 2016
Tending The Garden Of The Soul: A Retreat For Personal Restoration And Renewal- 17-23 July, 2016

What is MAU? MOTIVATIONAL ARTS UNLIMITED is established to provide training and personal growth experiences using creative and expressive arts (especially drama and movement) in combination with yoga and other types of body work to support positive life change while reflecting the cultural and spiritual awareness of its community in Bali, Indonesia.

MUSICAL THEATRE DANCING FOR FUN AND FITNESS
Sundays 10-11am : 21 & 28 Feb and 6 & 13 March
Tuesdays 3-4pm : 23 Feb and 1 & 15 march
(no class Tues, 8 March in preparation for Nyepi)
at Ubud Fitness Bottom Floor – Jalan Jero Gadung – Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Mario in Anything Goes
Mario Cossa is in the center of this photo of Dames at Sea

Musical Theatre Dancing For Fun And Fitness
Whether you have been tapping your toes for years or have never heard of “jazz hands,” you can join the fun and enjoy a good aerobic workout set to an assortment of musical numbers from a wide range of shows. Simple choreography will keep it lite and easy as we soft shoe and Busby Berkeley (etc.) our way through a fun workout.
See video »https://www.facebook.com/926608724051297/videos/1111316422247192/
Tuition: Rp 100,000 per class (including tax), come with a friend and pay 2 for Rp. 150,000 (tax included) or pre-pay 4 classes : Rp 350,000 (including tax)
Pre-registration requested
e-mail: mario AT dramario.net or call (0)361 479 2782 or go to our FB Event Page.

PSYCHODRAMA FOR PERSONAL GROWTH
A 2-hour introductory session
Monday, 22 Feb, 2016 – 6-8pm
In Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
(Directions provided when you pre-register.)

Intro to Psychodrama

Psychodrama For Personal Growth
“Psychodrama,” from its Greek roots, literally means “the soul in action!” Developed initially by J.L. Moreno in the 1920s, it is currently practiced, with many variations, throughout the world. Moreno was also a pioneer in Improvisational Theatre and Social Network Theory and felt that since our lives are lived in action and interaction, sitting (or laying down as the Freudians practiced) and merely talking was not an effective means of promoting greater health and developing a broader role repertoire. Join in the co-creation of a safe and supportive group environment for personal exploration and transformation.
See video


Registration fee (to cover venue cost): Rp 30,000
Pre-registration requested.
e-mail: mario AT dramario.net or call (0)361 479 2782 or go to our FB Event Page.

Tending the Garden of the Soul

I think it is essential sometimes to retreat, to stop everything that you have been doing, to stop your beliefs and experiences completely, and look at them anew…
If you can do so, you would be open to the mysteries of nature and to things that are whispering about us, which you would not otherwise reach. ~ J. Krishnamurti

Join us for a 6-night, restorative retreat in the magical garden island of Bali to renew your connection to nature and to the Self. In the lush sanctuary of Villa Gaia (http://www.gaiaretreatcenter.com), we will use the concepts and practices of Jungian depth psychology and Morenian psychodrama to co-create sacred spaces in which soul-making can take place.

For C.G. Jung, the Soul is visible in the rich images of our dreams and imaginings. For J.L. Moreno, the Soul is encountered in action and in our social relationships. This retreat offers grace-filled opportunities to share with others an exploration of your inner garden landscape and to encounter your inner gardener – the One Who Tends the Soul.

DATES: Sunday 17th July to Saturday 23rd July 2016
TUITION: US$1,250 for shared room or US $ 1800 for private room. (Residents of Bali who elect to reside off site may participate in the retreat and enjoy shared meals for a fee of US $650.)

Please Note: Participation is limited to 14 on a first-registered-first-served basis.
A registration deposit of US$500 is required to hold your space. Deposit is refundable through 1 April, 2016; half-refundable through 15 May, 2016. Bank transfer fees are the responsibility of the participant. Balance of payment due 1 July, 2016.

Gaia retreat center
Gaia Retreat Center

Residential Tuition Includes:
Transport from airport to Villa Gaia Retreat Center
Accommodation, Tax and Service Charge
Buffet breakfast – Monday through Saturday
Four lunches (one on your own during Wednesday’s free afternoon)
Four dinners (two on your own during Tuesday’s and Thursday’s free evenings)
Eleven Facilitated action exploration sessions
Facilitated Opening and Closing Ceremonies
Facilitated By: Mario Cossa, RDT/MT, TEP, CAWT and J. Kaya Prpic, PhD, Diploma Candidate – CG Jung Institute, Zurich.
Registration Enquiries and Forms:
soulgardendreaming AT gmail.com

MacArthur [Foundation] Announces [a year-long series of] Performances, Discussion to Celebrate 35 Years of Iconic Fellowship Program”

MacArthur [Foundation] Announces [a year-long series of] Performances, Discussion to Celebrate 35 Years of Iconic Fellowship Program”
https://www.macfound.org/press/press-releases/macarthur-announces-performances-discussion-celebrate-35-years-iconic-fellowship-program/#sthash.wuDoFQcB.dpuf

AND

Events Calendar
https://www.macfound.org/events/fellows35/?all=1

The-MacArthur-Fellowship-Program logo

These events are happening mostly in Chicago and on the East Coast (Washington, D.C., New York City), but will be broadcast/put online as well. Awesome! And, “Most of the events will be open to the public for free or at low cost.”

I have always been fascinated by and love seeing who gets these grants each year. I adore the entire secrecy of the process (no one knows, supposedly, who does the selecting, no one can be nominated, and no one can self-nominate). So, one day, my friends and I imagine, someone gets this phone call or email saying: You have been selected as a MacArthur Foundation Fellow for a “Genius Grant”! What an amazing thing to happen!

The panel chooses such an excellent variety of creative, intelligent, talented and skilled individuals, also. Each year, we can learn about their Fellows and meet jugglers, dancers, scientists, writers, playwrights, poets, musicians, choreographers, youth workers and other educators, environmentalists and activists of other types and whoever strikes their fancy all honored in this way. Usually they choose about 20 people from all around the country. Not all are young, not all are older; not all are men or women; not all are Caucasian. Fabulous.

The MacArthur Fellowship[s], called “genius grants” by the media, recognize[s] exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for significant contributions in the future.

Fellows each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000, which comes with no stipulations or reporting requirements and allows recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions. Since 1981, 942 people have been named MacArthur Fellows.

Fellows are selected through a rigorous process that has involved thousands of expert and anonymous nominators, evaluators, and selectors over the years.

The Foundation does not accept unsolicited nominations.

This year “is expected to include the following events as well as others to be announced later.

  • Public artist Rick Lowe will deliver a lecture on “Art in the Social Context” at Stanford University’s Haas Center for Public Service as part of the Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor program (Stanford, CA, Feb. 4).
  • The College Art Association will host a discussion with photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier and public artist Rick Lowe as part of its 104th Annual Conference (Washington, DC, Feb. 5).
  • The Poetry Foundation will present the Chicago-based collective Every House Has a Door’s adaptation of a work by poet Jay Wright (Chicago, Feb. 20).
  • In conjunction with an exhibition of her work, the Whitney Museum of American Art will host a discussion with documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras (New York City, Feb.).
  • Sixth & I, a historic synagogue and cultural event space, will present a panel discussion on immigration featuring writers Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Aleksandar Hemon and Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz (Washington, DC, March 7).
  • New York’s 92nd Street Y will present a panel discussion featuring MacArthur Fellows (New York, March).
  • Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry will host MacArthur Fellows for events marking National Robotics Week, including Jr. Science Cafes, a public conversation, and robotics demonstrations (Chicago, April 2).
  • The National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, in collaboration with the American Historical Association, will host a conference on “The Future of the African American Past,” featuring scholars, activists and historians, including several MacArthur Fellows (Washington, DC, May 19-21, 2016).
  • The Poetry Foundation will host a reading by poet and writer Alice Fulton (Chicago, May 24).
  • The Economic Club of Chicago will feature two conversation pairings with arts entrepreneur Claire Chase and music educator Aaron Dworkin as well as computational biologist John Novembre and historian Tara Zahra (Chicago, May 25).
  • Wingspread will host a public event featuring MacArthur Fellows working on issues of interest to the Johnson Foundation and the Racine community (Racine, Wisconsin, May).
  • The Chicago Humanities Festival will host a one-day series of programs highlighting the work of MacArthur Fellows (Chicago, May).
  • MacArthur Fellows will be featured in a plenary session at the annual convention of Americans for the Arts (Boston, June).
  • Orchestra conductor and MacArthur Fellow Marin Alsop is designing three free evenings of performances in conjunction with the Grant Park Music Festival that will showcase MacArthur Fellows working in music and science, including cellist Alisa Weilerstein, violinist Regina Carter, and composer Osvaldo Golijov (Chicago, July).
  • The Harris Theater will host a free, two-night dance performance series featuring curated works created by MacArthur Fellows, including Kyle Abraham, Merce Cunningham, Michelle Dorrance, Susan Marshall, Mark Morris, and Shen Wei (Chicago, Sept. 16 and 17 or 18).
  • The Chicago Humanities Festival will incorporate MacArthur Fellows into its regular annual programming (Chicago, Sept.).
  • The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will host two free public performances by MacArthur Fellows through its Millennium Stage series (Washington, DC, Oct.).
  • Conservation biologist Claire Kremen will speak at as part of the Women in Science series at The Field Museum (Chicago, Nov. 2).
  • Also during the year-long anniversary MacArthur Fellows will field questions from the public in Reddit ask-me-anything sessions and appear on other digital platforms.

Attend! View! Learn! Appreciate! Enjoy!

More info about the Fellows Eligibility, Criteria and Selection Process, from their website:

Criteria:
“There are three criteria for selection of Fellows: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

“The MacArthur Fellows Program is intended to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations. In keeping with this purpose, the Foundation awards fellowships directly to individuals rather than through institutions. Recipients may be writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, entrepreneurs, or those in other fields, with or without institutional affiliations. They may use their fellowship to advance their expertise, engage in bold new work, or, if they wish, to change fields or alter the direction of their careers.

“Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a lifetime achievement award, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential. Indeed, the purpose of the MacArthur Fellows Program is to enable recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society.

“The Foundation does not require or expect specific products or reports from MacArthur Fellows and does not evaluate recipients’ creativity during the term of the fellowship. The MacArthur Fellowship is a “no strings attached” award in support of people, not projects. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000 to the recipient, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years.”

How Fellows are Chosen:
“Nominees are brought to the Program’s attention through a constantly changing pool of invited external nominators. The nominators are encouraged to nominate the most creative people they know within their field and beyond. They are chosen from as broad a range of fields and areas of interest as possible.

“Nominations are evaluated by an independent Selection Committee composed of about a dozen leaders in the arts, sciences, humanities professions, and for-profit and nonprofit communities. Each nomination is considered with respect to the program’s selection criteria, based on the nomination letter along with original works of the nominee and evaluations from other experts collected by the program staff.

“After a thorough, multi-step review, the Selection Committee makes its recommendations to the President and Board of Directors of the MacArthur Foundation. Announcement of the annual list is usually made in September. While there are no quotas or limits, typically 20 to 30 Fellows are selected each year. Since 1981, 942 people have been named MacArthur Fellows.

“Nominators, evaluators, and selectors all serve anonymously and their correspondence is kept confidential. This policy enables participants to provide their honest impressions independent of outside influence.

“The Fellows Program does not accept applications or unsolicited nominations.”

Eligibility:
“There are no restrictions on becoming a Fellow, except that nominees must be either residents or citizens of the United States, and must not hold elective office or advanced positions in government as defined by the statute.”

2015 #MacArthur Fellows: 24 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All

Let’s celebrate extraordinary and amazing and beneficial and FUN people! I first heard about these annual awards when they were only about $200,000 and they were called “Genius Grants.”

The cool thing about this award is that the group of people who nominate and select these individuals every year are ANONYMOUS and it is apparently impossible to discover their identities. This protects the process from corruption, one would hope.

I’ve heard that the recipient gets a phone call “out of the blue,” since they don’t even know they’re being considered, to announce that they are selected and about to receive one of our highest honors and a huge cash award.

The idea behind these awards is that the Fellows can then “quit their day jobs” or work less for money while living on the investments/cash they get/accumulate from this award. That liberates them to pursue their genius ideas even further! YEAH!

I also love that they make a concerted effort and usually succeed in finding obscure, diverse, interesting and helpful people to whom to give this important award each year. Check out the 2015 cohort!

Spread the word! Read about these people and their projects to youth and adults to inspire us all to be better! There is no upper age limit on recipients, either!

2015_McArthur F fellows_feature-alt

2015 MacArthur Fellows: 24 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All

Recognizing 24 exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for significant contributions in the future, the Foundation today named the 2015 MacArthur Fellows. Fellows will each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000, allowing recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions.

“These 24 delightfully diverse MacArthur Fellows are shedding light and making progress on critical issues, pushing the boundaries of their fields, and improving our world in imaginative, unexpected ways,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. “Their work, their commitment, and their creativity inspire us all.”

https://www.macfound.org/fellows/class/2015/

Share! Read! Act! #Refugees #Crises: Thanks, David Amerland, for aiding

SHARE! READ! ACT! If you’re not on Google+, you’re missing out on many things. David Amerland​’s “SUNDAY READS” are some of them https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/MVBSX : Read them all!

gplus-sunday-read-September-062015

Here is today’s. URGENTLY need you to read this and ACT!

My comments:
“My favorite of all your ‘SUNDAY READS,’ David Amerland, because you provide calls to action of many types and degrees, from opening up our minds and hearts to our homes to our wallets to our ‘mouths’! THANK YOU!

“We are not helpless, but we need reminding and we need direction.

“SHARE! READ! ACT! #refugees #crises”
and
“The irony and karmic balancing that brings German leaders to help Semitic peoples…perfect.”

David Amerland originally shared to SUNDAY READ:

“‘We are alone, there is no one, help us!'”

“The contextual basis of our existence never becomes more evident than when we face what we sometimes disparagingly call ‘first world problems.’ Over the last few weeks I have been buried in business reports the urgent and pressured changes being made to the draft chapters of a book going to print and the inevitable everyday pressure of emails, articles, requests for interviews, comments and quotes.

“My life, to all intents and purposes, has been circumscribed by the immediate needs being pressed upon me, the narrow context of something that I have to do in a very limited space of time. Meanwhile, at the back of my mind, every time I dip across the web I sense the change in the world around me.

“As the sum total of largely man-made disasters accumulates around the globe, for the first time in our century, we face a mass movement of people, an Exodus (http://goo.gl/fWIurF) that’s the largest since WWII: http://goo.gl/leWg1X

“As hundreds of thousands of refugees flooded cash-strapped and ill-prepared Greece which is struggling to cope: http://goo.gl/rdlHbq The Economist ran a piece on why this is happening: http://goo.gl/kWZYjM. Europe, one of the world’s richest areas, is paralyzed by the refugee crisis: http://goo.gl/V2AO7e unable to formulate a coherent policy, its leaders largely incapable of understanding the right thing to do instead of the politically expedient thing to say, are left floundering (again) – adrift in a situation that is evolving too fast for them to formulate a politically palatable soundbite.

“This has left the nation-state behaving like any system under siege, led by people who feel overwhelmed would: defensively. Hungary put up fences, ironically spending over 100 Million Euros (http://goo.gl/hlTg7Q) and using inmates to help keep costs down – its effectiveness already under question and its morality under attack: http://goo.gl/D5GUbc. Germany (http://goo.gl/D68U6r) and the UK (http://goo.gl/TF1c6w) have seen a far-right resurgence as the issue of immigration gets muddled with the refugee crisis and colored with anti-Islamist rhetoric (http://goo.gl/OFE0PZ).

“While politicians flip-flop on the issue and parliaments debate without anything being resolved the unfolding crisis gets deeper, its images, unrelentingly grimmer: 71 people die, suffocating in the back of a refrigeration truck in Austria: http://goo.gl/bs4oe9. A father, desperately trying to get his family to safety, left in charge of a sinking boat is left to pick up their lifeless bodies: http://goo.gl/XN3Ysl the picture of this seemingly insignificant tragedy in a massive tide of human pain, suddenly personifying exactly what’s happening: http://goo.gl/P8D5uc.

“Death, usually only takes on meaning when it can be given a human face: http://goo.gl/KqaPKf. Its story made to reflect the big picture (http://goo.gl/DYxw8E) behind it that made it possible to happen in the first place: http://goo.gl/XN3Ysl.

“You’d be forgiven for thinking that there is little hope. That the world is a dark, vile place (http://goo.gl/gVeb2v). That those we entrust to lead us betray us (http://goo.gl/qWaAbL). That we, might as we try, cannot change anything, that really – context and content, our ‘first world problems’ – our issues with efficiency, marketing, selling and buying. The lawns that need to be cut and the BBQs that need to be lit and the things that make our life ‘real’ are, should be perhaps, not just what we should worry about but what we must worry about. Our security blanket. The sedative we reach for to distract us from what we cannot change, what we cannot affect. What we feel powerless against.

“This not what’s happening here. The same ‘first world problems’ that make our attention sometimes focus on the seemingly inconsequential, also become the driver for creating social media tools and the motive force for forging new ways of operating.

“Against the frequently stated, kneejerk, absurd and intellectually impoverished charge of ‘social media distracts us from real life’ and ‘social media stops us from having a life’ stands the starkness of the impact of a crisis that’s being felt even through the many layers of the pressures that surround us daily.

“Social media, connectivity, technology – for all their imperfections, also make it impossible to switch off, impossible to ignore and impossible to deny. No more ‘I didn’t know’ (http://goo.gl/6N0sXL) defense lines. We now know and feel and understand and agonize and think.

“And unlike our elected leaders, refreshingly, we act. A US man ‘grabbed’ a ship and set off to do something about it: http://goo.gl/dcGtE6. Icelanders (whose government caps immigration to 50 a year) opened up their homes, actively offering to help take in refugees: http://goo.gl/EkkbPi. Buckling under pressure from home Germany and Austria opened their doors: http://goo.gl/bO90rn internet shaming having at least one positive effect.

“It doesn’t stop there.

“The Refugees Welcome website uses people power and crowdsourcing (the same idea that brought us Airbnb) to change the way we respond to the refugee crisis: http://goo.gl/11E1ty. Petitions (http://goo.gl/MDY4Bt) are having the desired effect as EU refugee policy is changing: http://goo.gl/0qNqpE. If you’re in the UK you can sign the online petition to increase support for refugees and asylum seekers: https://goo.gl/1fDi1k you can add further pressure by signing The Independent’s petition form: http://goo.gl/qcOJ45.

“This is not an EU problem (http://goo.gl/fsqRe8). It is a people problem. It is a global problem, which people, seeing people in trouble can help solve. In New Zealand you can add your voice to those who want change to the refugee quota: https://goo.gl/wCmxjy. On Facebook the ‘Open Homes, Open Hearts’ initiative helps US citizens add their voice to the tide: https://goo.gl/bZsLqJ and a petition on the White House website could really do with your signature: https://goo.gl/tZy3tT.

“This could have been a really dark, hopeless ‘Sunday Read.’ The issues raised here are deep, potentially divisive. They are the kind that our elected officials feel powerless to deal with quickly. Yet, the very same tools that allow me to somewhat flippantly talk about the need to have plenty of coffee at hand and a mountain of sugary treats, allow us to connect, share, and actually do something ourselves, first. Even something as small as sharing a petition in our social media channels to help raise its visibility and awareness.

“We may be small. But we are not powerless. We may feel alone, but we really are not. We may think that nothing changes, but here’s proof that things are. The world is connecting across lines that officials do not foresee and cannot control. We self organize (https://goo.gl/vgukwN), create forces of our own, drive change in ways that only our ‘first world concerns’ can prepare us for.

“We understand two things that government and institutions do not always grasp: As people we can act to do the right thing, first: http://goo.gl/tMuQ8R. As people we can make a difference because we are no longer alone and isolated.

“The title of this ‘Sunday Read‘ was taken from the heart-wrenching message of a Syrian woman to the Italian coastguard: http://goo.gl/leWg1X. Our message today to the world, to each other, here, to those who we feel need help, in any context is that the world is really changing. You are no longer alone. None of us is.

“Coffee, chocolate ice-cream, donuts, croissants, cookies and chocolate cake. I know it seems facile, yet it’s a ritual that helps keep us together. Make us stronger. More effective, until even more join us. Have an awesome Sunday, wherever you are.” 

NOTE: I do not usually share an entire post like this, but so many of you are not on Google+, I knew you wouldn’t/couldn’t go there. And, this post and these issues are so important, with so many points of contact, so much information, and significant and easy-to-follow calls to action, that I had to include the entire post.

Please pray and send positive thoughts to save all beings from wild fires

from Chagdud Gonpa Rigdzin Ling
(my dharma center)

August 2, 2015

“Dear Sangha,

“As you may have heard, there are over 60 fires in Trinity County [northern California, USA, between Redding and Eureka] that began just a few days ago. We are safe here at Rigdzin Ling, but there are fires in very close proximity to us and we are engulfed in heavy smoke. We are preparing for changes that may occur over the next several days if the fires have not been contained. We are asking the sangha to make prayers at this time. Many sentient beings will die from these fires and many people’s lives are at risk.

“Please pray to Guru Rinpoche and Tara. You may do so by reciting “Barchad Lamsel” from Galaxy of Heartdrops, “Jetzun” prayers from the concise daily Red Tara practice, and the “Prayer to Guru Rinpoche to Dispel Elemental Disturbances. [Find prayer here and below: http://goo.gl/yYTRBF or http://chagdudgonpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/prayer-to-guru-rinpoche-dispelling-elemental-disturbances.pdf]

“We will update our Facebook page regularly for any changes to the conditions at Rigdzin Ling.

“Thank you for your prayers.
In the Dharma,
The Rigdzin Ling Sangha”

A Prayer to Guru Rinpoche to Dispel Fire and Other Elemental Disturbances

SA CHHU ME LUNG JUNG WAI BAR CHHED KYIY GYU LU NYEN CHING JIG PAI DU JUNG TSE
When our illusory bodies are threatened with destruction because of obstacles and disturbances of the earth, water, fire, and wind elements,

YID NYIY T’HE TSOM MED PAR SOL WA DEB OR GYAN JUNG WA ZHI YI LHA MOR CHAY
I supplicate you without any doubt or uncertainty. When Orgyen comes, together with the goddesses of the four elements,

JUNG WA RANG SAR ZHI WAR T’HE TSOM MED OR GYAN PAD MA JUNG NAY LA SOL WA DEB
without a doubt the elements will be pacified in and of themselves. Orgyen Padma Jungnay, to you I pray.

SAM PA LHUN GYIY DRUB PAR JIN GYIY LOB
Grant your blessings that our wishes be spontaneously accomplished.

Extracted from the Sampa Lhundrupma within the Seven Chapter Supplication

ChagdudRinpoche near end
the late His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, 2001

You’re Not Alone: An Indie Authors Anthology in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support Group

You’re Not Alone: An Indie Authors Anthology
in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support Group

is being Released 7/15/15!

[I am promoting this excellent compilation for a great cause. Info below. I’m NOT one of the authors, FYI, just helping out.–Sally Ember, Ed.D. http://www.sallyember.com]

Indie Anthology cover

The following info comes directly from their “Press Pack”:

What is You’re Not Alone?
“An international group of #indie #authors, inspired by the personal grief of one, decided to collaborate in the spring of 2015 in a project to create this multi-genre smorgasbord of original short stories, all with the same potent theme – relationships. Some are heartfelt, some funny, some poignant, and some are just a little bit scary – much like relationships themselves. All are by authors fired by the shared enthusiasm to give something back in aid of Macmillan #Cancer Support. Cancer touches us all. It has in some way affected those who have contributed their time and talent here. This is our way of showing that we care.

“Indie authors carry forward a revolutionary shift in publishing, which allows the author to be creative director in their own work. There are many exceptional, experienced and acclaimed writers who have decided to take this bold step in publishing. In producing this anthology, we have also had the inestimable assistance on board of artists, graphic designers, and bloggers – all of whom have a place in our acknowledgements. You, the discerning reader, are the other vital part of this equation. By buying this book you are supporting the work of indie authors, as well as discovering their worth. You are also supporting the charity to which we have chosen to dedicate our work.”

100% of the royalties earned or accrued in the purchase of this book, in all formats, will go to the Pamela Winton Tribute Fund, which is in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Worldwide Links for You’re Not Alone: An Indie Author Anthology
http://smarturl.it/YoureNotAloneAnth
http://bookshow.me/B00Y5RCOOE
The above links will take readers to the Amazon store in their country of registration from anywhere in the world.

“Artist Christine Southworth’s original sketch interpretation…is quite simply, amazing. So talented.”

TABLE OF CONTENTS

01. A YEAR AFTERWARDS By Lesley Hayes
10. CLOSURE By BL Pride
19. COLIN AND SANDY By Anthony Randall
29. ONE OF THOSE DAYS By Ian D. Moore
37. DOLPHINS DANCE By Mike Billington
51. A SPECIAL EVENING By D. Avraham
59. AT THE HANDS OF THE HEALER By Sallyann Phillips
67. DAD By Kayla Howarth
77. FOREVER YOURS By Christoph Fischer
87. FRUITS By Phyllis Edgerly Ring
91. THE YOGA BOWL By Felipe Adan Lerma
96. LILIES FOR THE MANTEL By Sylva Fae
102. GABRIEL AND THE MINISTER BIRD By Andy Updegrove
108. INSIDE OUT By Penny Luker
116. WITCH’S MARK By Katerina Sestakova Novotna
127. LOVE’S SILENT ACHE By Lisa Shambrook
133. GOALS By Tom Benson
144. IF THE SHOE FITS By Katharine E. Hamilton
154. THE BIRTH By Lucinda E. Clarke
157. LOTTA BLUM By Barbara Doran
163. NEVER TOO OLD By Angela Lockwood
168. OOH AIR MARGRIT By Rebecca Bryn
173. BABES By Max Power
182. LAST GOODBYES… By Paul Ruddock
188. A STITCH IN TIME By S.K. Holmesley
198. DAY LATE, DOLLAR SHORT By Eric Lahti
207. LOVE IN AN ELEVATOR By S. E. Meyer
215. NO LONGER BROKEN By Nico Laeser

Indie anthology working cover

Meet the Indie Authors

All contributing authors were asked: “Why have you given your time and work to this cause”
Below, you will find a list of their individual answers and links to their books or websites, to help you discover more about them and their other works.

IARE collage authors photos and names

Lisa Shambrook: Carmarthenshire, Wales
“My family life has been touched by cancer with two of my children’s grandparents suffering. We’ve seen both those who’ve won and lost the battle, and this is a chance to do something to help.”
http://www.lisashambrook.com
http://www.thelastkrystallos.wordpress.com

Sallyann Phillips: Swansea, Wales
“My dad died of cancer, but his strength and determination amazed me. This is my way of honouring him, and the nurses who helped keep his spirits up.”
http://www.Angelsblood.co.uk

Penny Luker: Cheshire, England
“I wanted to contribute to this anthology because of the dear friends I have lost to cancer and because the Macmillan nurses gave them such help and support.”
http://www.pennyluker.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/pennyluker.writer?

Anthony Randall: Dorset, England
“Both of my Grandmothers died from cancer. My maternal Grandmother spent her last week in a hospice where she received brilliant care, the nurses were formidable. It’s an essential charity that I am more than happy to support in this humble way.”
http://www.amazon.co.uk/English-Sombrero-Nothing-but-run-ebook/dp/B00IHH209W
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-English-Sombrero/555658614480373

Katharine Hamilton: Texas, Unites States of America
“In memory of my cousin, Melissa. One of the most hilarious, kind-hearted, and genuine women I have ever known. Fifteen years later, I still wish I had taken that crazy car ride around Murfreesboro with you. But thank you for making my awkward, teenage-self feel cool… even if it was in Arkansas.”
http://www.katharinehamilton.com

Christoph Fischer: Carmarthenshire, Wales [He organized the press packet: THANKS, Christoph!]
“I lost both of my parents to cancer and also a few close friends, so I’m naturally committed to the MacMillan cause. I have seen the MacMillan nurses in action and couldn’t be happier to support their marvellous work.”
http://www.christophfischerbooks.com
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Christoph-Fischer/e/B00CLO9VMQ

SK Holmesley: Colorado, United States of America
“I contributed because Ian asked, and it was a way that I could say: ‘Sorry you lost a loved one.’”

Rebecca Bryn: St David’s, Pembrokeshire, Wales
“My mother was a volunteer cancer nurse, and also nursed my father who died from prostate cancer. This is my chance to honour their courage, love and strength.”
http://www.rebeccabrynandsarahstuart-novels.co.uk
http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/rebecca-bryn

D. Avraham: Hebron Hills, Israel
“When I lost my mom, it would have been that much harder if there hadn’t been caring people supporting us at the time. Ian’s project reminded me of need to thank them. I have donated my piece in their honor, a small gesture to say thank you.”
The Shepherd King Chronicles: Foundation Stone (Beith David Publishing, 2010).
Off-Wire (Lulu 2014), and the author/illustrator of the children’s book, Squared (beith David Publishing 2013).

Tom Benson: Scotland
“I lost both my father-in-law and mother-in-law to cancer before I really got to know either of them.”
http://www.tombensonauthor.com/

Ian D. Moore: North Yorkshire, England
“I began and contributed to this anthology to support the work that the Macmillan Nurses do. My father, father-in-law and mother-in-law were all taken by cancer. This is a tribute to them all.”
https://www.iandmoore.com

Andy Updegrove: Marblehead, Massachusetts, United States of America
“I have dedicated this story to the memory of my father, mother and sister, all of whom died from cancer.”
https://updegrove.wordpress.com/

Lesley Hayes: Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
“I’ve been alongside several people affected by cancer. One familiar emotion is powerlessness. Contributing here seems a concrete way of continuing to be alongside, and to show that I care.”
http://www.lesleyhayes.co.uk

Nico Laeser: British Columbia, Canada
“I took a brief hiatus from writing my third novel for the opportunity to work alongside the many incredible authors taking part in this project, and to offer whatever help I could to such a worthy cause. You can find my novels on Amazon by searching ‘Nico Laeser’ or by visiting my author page:”
http://www.amazon.com/Nico-Laeser/e/B00SF3C732

Max Power: Maynooth, Republic of Ireland.
“Having lost my father through cancer, when asked, I had no hesitation in making a contribution through my writing, to this most worthy cause.”
http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower
http://www.facebook.com/maxpowerbooks

Eric Lahti: New Mexico, United States of America
“I joined the anthology, at the time, because another story was needed. As I started to write, my story became a kind of goodbye to my dad and grandfather who died in 2001 and 2008 respectively.”
Arise: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PX710Y0
Henchmen: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GRXB5Ik

Phyllis Edgerly Ring: New Hampshire, United States of America
“In memory of my father, I am grateful to contribute to this healing resource of hope and compassion.”
http://phyllisedgerlyring.wordpress.com
http://www.amazon.com/Phyllis-Edgerly-Ring/e/B001RXUFD6

S.E. Meyer: Wisconsin, United States of America
“I made the decision to donate my time to this cause for my brother-in-law, Paul, who just recently fought and won the battle against testicular cancer.”
http://www.facebook.com/semeyerbooks
http://www.amazon.com/S.-E.-Meyer/e/B00CFRHL9Y

Christine Southworth: Lancashire, England
“I am involved in this project as a thank you to those who cared for my husband.”
Twitter: @bearprintstudio

Sylva Fae: Cheshire, England
“Helping with this anthology allows me to show my appreciation for those who cared for my dad.”
Sylvanian Ramblings: http://www.sylvafae.co.uk

Barbara Doran: Munster, Westfalen, Germany
“I submitted my story, Lotta Blum, to this Anthology because it’s for a good cause. Ian D. Moore wrote a moving statement on the wonderful works of the Macmillan cancer nurses in a recent post on an Indie Review Group and I responded. You can find my musings here:”
http://www.eclecticwrite.wordpress.com
http://www.serendipitydoit.wordpress.com

Kayla Howarth: Queensland, Australia
“Knowing it was for a good cause, I decided to try something I’d never done before: write a short story. This experience has been uplifting and therapeutic, and I’m glad I took up the challenge.”
http://www.kaylahowarth.com
https://www.facebook.com/KaylaHowarthTheInstituteSeries

Angela Lockwood: France
“Never too old, has been inspired by my mother, who lost her husband and my father to cancer in 1993. I wanted to add a positive story about life afterwards.”
http://www.cruftslover.adzl.com
http://languageintheblood.blogspot.fr

Katerina Sestakova Novotna: Honolulu, United States of America
“It was just an automatic response to a post that I saw. If my thoughts may support a good cause, it’s a great honor to get involved.”
http://www.amazon.com/Hawaiian-Shrunken-Katerina-Sestakova-Novotna-ebook/dp/B00OYUSO1Y

BL Pride: Slovenia
“After a close encounter with cancer I decided it was time I started pursuing my dreams. Being a part of this project is a tribute to a life-changing experience.”
http://www.blpride.com

Mike Billington: Reus, Spain
“I wrote this story for the anthology because, as a cancer survivor myself, I know first-hand just how important the kind of support MacMillan Cancer Nurses provide is. My hope is that Dolphins Dance reminds readers that life is better when we are connected to other people.”
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KCABGK
http://www.amazon.com/author/billington

Felipe Adan Lerma: Austin, Texas, United States of America
“The simplest answer is of course because I wanted to share some of what I feel when writing. The question of whether we are ever truly alone sharpened my focus for this story, shifting the action several times. I am very grateful for the impetus to bring my thoughts to expression in this very short work.”
http://www.amazon.com/Felipe-Adan-Lerma/e/B005XCUUK0
http://www.felipeadanlerma.com

Paul Ruddock: London, England
“Having witnessed cancer first-hand I was absolutely delighted to contribute to such a worthwhile project in support of Macmillan Nurses.”
http://www.paulruddockauthor.com
http://www.echoesofthepen.com

Lucinda E. Clarke: Spain
“My father died when I was two years old, from cancer. When I was diagnosed with the same insidious disease in 1999 I was terrified. I have enormous respect and gratitude for the medical team that saved my life and I hope this is a small way of saying thank you.”
http://lucindaeclarke.wordpress.com
http://www.lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

#Buddhism, #Buddhists, #Tibet and Patheos: Get your #Interfaith Dialogue On!

This is a great year to be a #Buddhist, especially in the USA. President Barack Obama met publically with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the first time any USA president has done so in public since 1959 (when China invaded and illegally began to occupy Tibet, causing the Dalai Lama and millions of Tibetans to flee across the mountains into other countries), which bodes well for work towards liberating Tibet. http://goo.gl/EiP9bj

Tibetans in exile now live in dozens of countries worldwide, with His Holiness the Dalai Lama continuing to serve as their spiritual leader and Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay as their recently elected political leader.

LobsangSangay1 and HH

Educated in the West and filled with optimism, Dr. Sangay recently expressed his heartfelt belief that Tibet will be reclaimed by Tibetans: “Success is right in our hands!” http://thetibetpost.com/en/news/international/4497-qsuccess-is-right-in-our-handsq-tibetan-political-leader-sikyong

Chinese government policies are still to imprison, torture, rape, steal from and otherwise oppress millions of Tibetans, taking over more and more land and controlling the government in occupied Tibet. It is a horrible situation which the USA has done little to alleviate, probably because no one has yet found oil in Tibet. However, a glimmer of hope for change appears in some USA 2015 policy statements, such as this one: “…the Chinese government’s failure to address problems in Tibet ‘will continue to be a stumbling block to fuller political and economic engagement with the United States.’” https://www.savetibet.org/us-government-believes-resumption-of-dialogue-on-tibet-is-critical/#sthash.2iIypjg2.dpuf

The two sources, above, http://SaveTibet.org and http://theTibetpost.com, are excellent ways to keep up with the news of Tibet and Tibetans.

For “all about Buddhism,” especially in the USA, I turn to “PATHEOS: Hosting the Conversation on Faith”

ABOUT Patheos:

Founded in 2008, Patheos.com is the premier online destination to engage in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality and to explore and experience the world’s beliefs. Patheos is the website of choice for the millions of people looking for credible and balanced information about religion. Patheos brings together faith communities, academics, and the broader public into a single environment, and is the place where many people turn on a regular basis for insight, inspiration, and stimulating discussion. Patheos is unlike any other religious and spiritual site on the Web today.

As evidenced by the company founders’ story, religion and spirituality continue to be an important part of American life, with more Americans today than ever before identifying themselves as spiritual. In fact, according to the Pew Internet Project, more than 82 million Americans (and 64 percent of all Internet users) utilize the Web for faith-related matters. The importance of religion and spirituality, coupled with the growing use of the Internet for religious matters, point to the ongoing need for an online resource for religious and spiritual engagement and dialogue. Patheos fills this need.

Patheos is a place to:

Find accurate, balanced information on the world’s religions in our extensive library.
View religious history and facts through unique interactive tools that allow visitors to compare, contrast, and explore religions and belief systems in new and innovative ways.
Participate in the global dialogue on religion and spirituality through responsible, moderated discussions on critical issues across religious traditions.
Read commentary on current events from a wide range of viewpoints.
Follow your favorite bloggers and columnists.
Engage with others from various faith traditions.
Get a glimpse into the beliefs and traditions of other faith groups in a safe and welcoming environment.

I subscribe to the “Buddhist Channel,” but receive a variety of faiths’ updates as well.
“American Buddhist Perspectives” mostly gathered/written by Justin Whitaker, which has this tagline in its logo:
Buddhism, Philosophy, Ecology, Life, Teaching, Politics: May All Beings be Happy
http://www.patheos.com/

Patheos logo AmericanBuddhist_P30_bh

I get reports via Patheos on small and large “engaged Buddhism” projects, endeavors of individual practitioners and groups of Buddhists to improve life for all sentient beings. These include: raising awareness of climate change; preventing/ending sex trafficking/slavery; reducing extinctions of species; and, many other ecological and political causes.

I also find out: there are fake Buddhist monks panhandling for fake charities in many large USA cities; the revered and much-loved Vietnamese Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, is recovering from his stroke; Buddhism now dominates among world religions, second only to Christianity, in western USA states; what the latest Buddhist publications (books, magazines, online journals) are and what they contain; how feminist Buddhists are awakening interest among other Buddhists for intersectionality (addressing the overlapping oppressions, such as racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism) and discussing homosexuality more frankly and openly than ever before; what other Buddhist blogs exist and what they are posting about lately; global news relevant to Buddhists.

Where else would I read about a rally in India for Tibetan Freedom that resulted in 100 Tibetans’ being detained for protesting outside the Chinese Embassy on the 56th anniversary of Chinese occupation of Tibet?

How about a great response to Christian TV evangelist, Pat Robertson‘s, absurd claim that Buddhism is “contagious” and that a Christian could “get infected by” Buddhism (I WISH!), posted by Justin Whitaker?

My all-time favorite move by the Chinese government has been repeatedly to “order” H.H. the Dalai Lama to reincarnate according to their dictates. I loved reading about his refusal to agree to this absurd demand: “China Orders Dalai Lama to Reincarnate After Death,” by Michael Stone http://goo.gl/R75Akl
“The government of China is ordering the Dalai Lama to reincarnate after his death, and accusing the Tibetan spiritual leader of blasphemy for saying he might not be reincarnated after he dies….the Dalai Lama declared that he would not be reincarnated so long as Tibet is under Chinese rule, and that no one, including China, has the right to choose his successor.”

reject buddha Dalai Lama

Next, I could read an interview with an up-and-coming “Dharampunx” teacher/leader, Josh Korda; or, watch the beloved actor, Bill Murray, talk about being himself and a Buddhist in a videoed “dharma talk”; then, I could sample USA Buddhist leaders’ blogs and articles featuring stories from their lives, activism, journeys and teachings.

If you have interest in interfaith dialogues, other religions, or more about your own spiritual practices and how they intersect with others’, please subscribe to Patheos: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/subscribe/

If you can afford to, please donate to support Patheos‘ work. It offers ten different religions’ “Channels” and one for general “Spirituality” as well as news, blogs, a publication department, a comparative religions library, internships, newsletters and a “Public Square,” which

…brings people together at the intersection of ‘current concern’ and ‘ultimate concern.’ Beneath the surface of ever-changing news headlines are the big, perennial questions about life, meaning, the divine, ultimate purpose — questions that human societies have always wrestled with. In the Public Square, we connect the timely and the timeless and host conversations about some of the most important questions in life.

What else is coming up? Oh, just a small event…
“On May 14, Buddhist leaders, including the scholar-monk Bhikkhu Bodhi, will join together to present the first-ever White House-US Buddhist Leadership Conference. Sessions for the conference will be held at George Washington University, moving then to to the White House—specifically, in the Treaty Room of the Old Executive Office Building, overlooking the West Wing, in the afternoon.”
http://goo.gl/lNbrcQ

2015 GLORIA AWARDS (in honor of Gloria Steinem) from the Ms. Foundation for Women

Can’t say enough good things to and about these #feminist leaders, innovators, advocates and authors. read about and support this year’s group of honorees!

There is a great GALA on May 11 at 6 PM in New York City, USA, and an “after party” from 9 – 11 PM at the same location. Both cost money.

See below for more info, but mostly, I’m posting about the Honorees, who ROCK!

2015 GLORIA AWARDS
Ceremony is on May 11, 2015, in New York City, Pierre Hotel, 6 PM, 2 E 61st St, 10065
Contact: events@ms.foundation.org or 212.709.4436
Purchase tickets, get more info here:
http://www.forwomen.org/gala

the Ms. Foundation for Women

msfoundation logo
to celebrate and honor
ACT FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS
Ms. Foundation Grantees
2015 Woman of Vision Award Winners

****CENTRO DE LOS DERECHOS DEL MIGRANTE
Ms. Foundation Grantee
Woman of Vision Award

CDM logo
http://www.cdmigrante.org/

CDM supports Mexico-based migrant workers to defend and protect their rights as they move between their home communities in Mexico and their workplaces in the United States. Founded in 2005, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (CDM) is the first transnational migrant workers’ rights organization based in Mexico.”

****SUZANNE LERNER
Co-Founder and President, Michael Stars, Inc.
Woman of Vision Award

Suzanne Lerner
http://www.michaelstars.com/

Suzanne Lerner is an entrepreneur, political activist and philanthropist. She is currently the president of Michael Stars and owner of Lerner Et Cie. Suzanne Lerner boasts decades of experience in business, as well as a background in dozens of causes, primarily centered around female empowerment. In 1983, Lerner founded Lerner et Cie, a wholesale fashion showroom, currently with four locations nationwide. Lerner co-founded and currently serves as President of retail clothing company, Michael Stars. Lerner primarily oversaw sales and marketing until 2015, when she was appointed President. Lerner’s second career is philanthropy – both personal and with the Michael Stars Foundation. Lerner serves on the board of Women Thrive Worldwide, ACLU Foundation of Southern California, Prosperity Catalyst and Children Mending Hearts. She is also a member of Women Donors Network and Women Moving Millions. Lerner funds a number of NGO’s that focus on women’s empowerment, economic stability, gender reconciliation and gender-based violence. She resides in Los Angeles.”

****GOLDIEBLOX: Construction Toys for Girls
Corporate Innovation Award

gb_about_goldie
http://www.goldieblox.com/

“Debbie Sterling is the founder and CEO of GoldieBlox. She never knew what engineering was until her high school math teacher suggested she pursue it as a college major. Debbie couldn’t figure out why her math teacher thought she should be a train conductor! Nevertheless, she gave engineering a try during her freshman year at Stanford. Four years later, she graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering / Product Design. Bothered by how few women there were in her program, Debbie became obsessed with the notion of “disrupting the pink aisle” with a toy that would introduce girls to the joy of engineering at a young age.”

****JANET MOCK, Author and Advocate
Marie C. Wilson Emerging Leader Award

janet-mock-redefining-realness-available-now
http://janetmock.com/

“JANET MOCK is the New York Times bestselling author of Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. She considers herself a Beyoncé scholar but is widely known as a sought-after speaker and prominent advocate for trans women’s rights. A native of Honolulu, Janet attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa, earned her MA in journalism from New York University, and worked as a Staff Editor for People.com (People magazine’s website) for five years. In 2012, Janet launched #GirlsLikeUs, a social movement that empowers trans women and celebrates the diversity of womanhood. In 2013, Janet joined the board of directors at the Arcus Foundation, a leading global organization advancing social justice and conservation issues. She lives and writes in New York City with her boyfriend, photographer and filmmaker, Aaron Tredwell and their cockapoo, Cleo. Currently, she hosts the weekly culture show “So POPular!” on MSNBC’s Shift network and serves as Contributing Editor for Marie Claire.”

And, a special award:
The Free to Be Foundation gives its first-ever
Peggy Charren/Free to Be You and Me Award to
JOAN GANZ COONEY, Co-Founder, Children’s Television Workshop

Joan GanzCooney

Joan Ganz Cooney, co-founder in 1968 of Children’s Television Workshop (renamed Sesame Workshop in June 2000) and originator of the preschool educational series, Sesame Street, served as President and Chief Executive Officer until 1990. She is currently Chair of the Executive Committee of Sesame Workshop‘s Board of Trustees and in November 2007 introduced the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, dedicated to investigating the potential of digital media to help children learn and collaborating with educators, media producers, policymakers and investors to put this research into action.

Sesame Street, which began as an experiment, is the first preschool program to integrate education and entertainment as well as feature a multi-cultural cast. It has been broadcast daily since 1969 in the U.S. on the more than 300 stations of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and is seen by millions of children in more than 150 countries. Indigenous co-productions of Sesame Street reflecting local languages, customs and educational needs are produced for audiences all over the world.

“Following the successful launch of Sesame Street, Ms. Cooney and her colleagues created other award-winning children’s series on network and public TV including The Electric Company, 3-2-1 Contact, Square One TV, Ghostwriter, CRO, Big Bag, Dragon Tales, Sagwa the Chinese Cat and Pinky Dinky Doo, each offering educational opportunities around science, mathematics, reading and bringing new experiences to life.

Sesame Workshop programs have been awarded over 150 Emmys and have received scores of other honors presented here and around the world. The Workshop’s activities also include publishing, digital media, product licensing and community engagement efforts such as the award winning program — Talk, Listen, Connect — launched in 2006 to help military families with young children between the ages of two and five build a sense of stability and resiliency during times of separation and change.

“Ms. Cooney is presently a Director at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and a Lifetime Trustee of the Paley Center for Media, The New York Presbyterian Hospital, WNET Channel 13/Educational Broadcasting Corporation and of the National Child Labor Committee and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.”

In 1968, children’s television programming was revolutionized with the creation [by of the Children’s Television Workshop – the force behind Sesame Street, The Electric Company and many other award-winning educational programs.”
Peggy Charren was the founder of Action for Children’s Television, which lobbied broadcasters, advertisers and legislators to create quality educational programming and TV commercials that promote healthy eating and positive child development.

Also being honored:
ACT for Women and Girls as Women of Vision
http://www.actforwomenandgirls.org/

ACT Logo

“Based in Visalia, California, ACT for Women and Girls works to transform women of all ages into leaders for reproductive rights and health care. Through the Female Leadership Academy, ACT engages women from the community to take active roles in eradicating the oppression that lies deep in the roots of California’s Central Valley region – addressing poverty, teen pregnancy, unemployment and environmental issues.

“The Ms. Foundation for Women is proud to be a longtime supporter of ACT for Women and Girls, and honors them as Women of Vision for their innovative efforts to promote and protect reproductive rights.”

ACT is located in Visalia, California, the epicenter and largest metropolitan area of Tulare County. Led by Erin Garner-Ford, ACT‘s mission is to engage women of all ages in leadership opportunities to promote social and personal change. ACTwas founded in 2005 with the creation of the Female Leadership Academy (FLA) program. From the inception of FLA, it was evident that reproductive justice issues demanded to be addressed, as participants were often misinformed about reproductive health, justice, and access.

“Unlike Southern California and the Bay Area, Tulare County has few resources and is the most adversely impacted region in California regarding social issues, such as poverty, unemployment, teen pregnancy, and environmental degradation. ACTtakes an active role in eradicating the oppression that lies deep in the roots of the Central Valley. Through one young woman at a time, ACT makes an impact.

ACT engages young people ages 14-24 through three program areas: The signature eight month leadership program, FLA, which develops young women leaders to actively engage in the reproductive health and justice movement; ACTion Teams for young women and men to educate their peers on sexual health information in the community through events, street outreach and education; and Teen Success, a support group for pregnant and parenting teen moms. ACT’s program participants come from every rural community in Tulare County.

“Through ACT’s programs, young women are prepared and energized to actively participate in shaping the future of their communities (both locally and globally). ACT focuses on reproductive justice leadership, developing young women leaders to engage in civic participation projects and partners with state and national groups for policy advocacy work. The overarching vision of ACT’s reproductive justice work is to INCREASE ACCESS to reproductive health education, contraception, abortion, and protection against sexually transmitted infections. ACT strives to promote services that are comprehensive and culturally competent, influence legislation, and provide a voice from the Central Valley on important bills that impact women and their health.

“Each of ACT’s program participants contribute to ACT’s grassroots campaigns to increase awareness of reproductive health and justice. One of the cornerstones to developing young women’s leadership is through direct action and organizing opportunities. Participants help shape and implement three signature reproductive justice campaigns annually: Pharmacy Access; Comprehensive Sexual Health and Education Initiative; and ‘Don’t Let a Hot Date Turn Into a Due Date.'”


Ms Afterparty eVite 42215
Link to purchase tickets for the “after-party”: http://forwomen.org/afterparty
($75 in advance; $100 at the door).

Why I write about #politics, #elections, #issues and support Emily’s List #feminist #candidates

I WILL write about #politics, #elections, #issues and support Emily’s List #feminist #candidates…and so should you!

feminist activist causes
image from: http://www.list.co.uk

Maybe you think “social media” should just be for posting pictures that are funny or cute. Maybe you don’t want to offend or alienate anyone. Maybe you’re a coward. Maybe you’re undecided. Maybe you’re ignorant and don’t know enough about anything political to write about it. Whatever your reasons or rationales, cut it out.

If you are a USA citizen or a citizen of any country that allows you to vote and you do not exercise that duty and right for EVERY election, informing yourself (which is easier to do than ever before with information EVERYWHERE) and taking a stand on candidates and issues as adults who care are motivated to do, than I want you reading this post to inspire and educate yourself.

If you’re already politically active and savvy, great: SHARE!

First of all, there is a sea of candidates out there for almost every elected post and many campaigns of mis- and dis-information attempting to muddy the waters further. What’s an interested, concerned citizen to do? Utilize the groups that vet candidates and issues FOR us, that’s what. Find a group/entity who screens, analyzes, evaluates and presents, according to YOUR values and interests, those you’d want to vote for, complete with reasons, and information about whom and what to vote against as well.

Propaganda v science
image from: http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com

Better yet, if you’re so inclined, RUN for office. Offer yourself to serve on a Board or Commission. Join/donate to/volunteer for a local or state chapter of the League of Women Voters, the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), the National Organization for Women (NOW), or whatever else strikes your fancy. Start small and keep going, because city council members, school board members, mayors, sheriffs, judges and many others in local offices later become state or federal senators, congressional representatives for the state or federal government, state governors, Supreme Court judges, presidents!

As a life-long feminist committed to environmental, social, educational and other more radical values/components that mesh with my Buddhist, nonviolent foundations, I choose appropriate news sources (mostly nonprofits to boot) to help me learn and decide.

Here are a few I use and recommend:

  • Emily’s List http://www.emilyslist.org/, whose mission is: “We elect pro-choice Democratic women to office.”
  • Mother Jones magazine http://www.motherjones.com/, which has been analyzing and reporting from the center of core issues, reporting what many do NOT report and reporting truthfully, paid off by NO ONE, for decades
  • B*TCH Media, whose tagline is “Outsmart the Patriarchy,” which I love even though I do not like their name, and whose mission is to respond to “pop culture,” but does so much more than that http://bitchmagazine.org/
  • The Daily KOS, which has a weekly open thread on ELECTIONS, and with whom I often disagree but respect http://www.dailykos.com/
  • Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzales and the team at Democracy NOW!, independent, ad-free, on TV and public radio http://www.democracynow.org
  • Dissident Voice, which is “a radical [online] newspaper in the struggle for peace and justice,” that sees itself as providing “hard-hitting, thought-provoking and even entertaining news and commentaries on politics and culture that can serve as ammunition in struggles for peace and social justice.” http://dissidentvoice.org/
  • Upworthy.com, which is a curation site, gathering from many sources, including YOU, if you submit, to re-present “things that matter.” http://www.upworthy.com/
  • The Feminist Wire, with an inspiring and laudable mission: “to provide socio-political and cultural critique of anti-feminist, racist, and imperialist politics pervasive in all forms and spaces of private and public lives of individuals globally. Of particular critical interest to us are social and political phenomena that block, negate, or limit the satisfaction of goods or ends that humans, especially the most vulnerable, minimally require for living free of structural violence. The Feminist Wire seeks to valorize and sustain pro-feminist representations and create alternative frameworks to build a just and equitable society.” http://thefeministwire.com/

JFK quote
image made from John F. Kennedy quote

What else can we/should we do, if you believe, as I do, that change is necessary and that many important changes do occur via our elections and efforts in those directions? Here are some ideas. Comment and add your own, please! http://www.sallyember.com/blog

  • Some of you are lucky enough to have an alternative newspaper right in your area, still publishing in print and/or online (The Valley Advocate (New England, USA sites), The Bohemian (CA, USA, San Francisco Bay Area and Central Coast sites), The Boston Phoenix, Women’s Voices Magazine (many locations around the world) are some of my favorites).
    Read them. Subscribe. Submit comments online. Submit “Letters to the Editor.” Tell others. Buy ad space. Distribute or allow your business to become a site for distribution.

  • Donate to and support National and local Public Radio, Pacifica Radio, other alternative online or actual broadcasting entities. They are fewer and further between than ever and are always operating on shoestring budgets with many volunteers. YOU could volunteer!
  • Maybe you want to get your news from a culturally, ethnically or group-specific source, like Al Jazeera, The Advocate (LGBTQIQ), Univision, The St. Louis Jewish Light, Black Press USA, or whichever you prefer.
    Support them. Donate. Buy ad space. Volunteer. Comment online. Support their advertisers.

social change
image from: http://mariamuir.com

Use my sources and ideas or get your own, but get informed and work for the candidates you support, for the issues that matter to you.

It is UNACCEPTABLE to be passive and silent, more worried more about being controversial than effecting necessary changes. Be bold! Just because you are an artistic sort doesn’t mean you get to hide!

artist as activist
image made from quote by Larry Neal

Get involved. March. Demonstrate. Speak. Donate. Host. Participate. Invite. Write. Solicit.

VOTE!!!!!

“Be A Part Of A Movement: #1000Speak for #Compassion” 2/20/15

from the organizers:

“Be A Part Of A Movement: #1000Speak for #Compassion” 2/20/15

1000 Speak for Compassion

“How cool would it be if we could get 1000 bloggers on the same day to write posts about compassion, kindness, support, caring for others, non-judgement etc.?
“We could call it 1000 Voices For Compassion.
“Who’s in?
“When: February 20, 2015

“How: Write a post TODAY on your blog or Facebook or Google + or LinkedIn or Instagram or any other social media you use about #compassion. What does it mean to you? How has it affected you? How can we bring more of it to those who need it?

“Really, there are no rules, just as long as it’s about compassion.”

From the Facebook group devoted to this event:

Let’s get 1000 bloggers to write posts about compassion, kindness, support, caring for others, non-judgment, care for the environment etc, and ALL PUBLISH ON THE SAME DAY (Feb 20th) to flood the Blogosphere with GOOD! Use the hashtag #1000Speak to promote this event.

I am one of the more than 1000, today.

My post about compassion:
As many of you know, I am a Buddhist (in this and many lifetimes, apparently) in the Tibetan Vajrayana Nyingma tradition. During the many times I’ve listened to teachers speak and I have read the writings of others on topic of compassion, the definition of compassion is what stays with me consistently. According to Buddhism, compassion arises spontaneously within us and moves us to do our best to alleviate the suffering of others.

For me, the companion to this definition is the Buddhist view of love. In the Buddhists’ view, when we feel authentic love, we are moved to speak, think and act in ways that would be most likely to bring about the circumstances that generate happiness for the object of our love and do our best to prevent their being unhappy, even when it means we put them first, above ourselves.

Furthermore, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has been quoted repeatedly, as other teachers before and around him have, also, as giving advice along these lines: “If you want to be happy, focus on helping others be happy.”

Add in the multiple lifetimes component, or karma, and we hear this advice repeatedly throughout Buddhist teachings: “If you want to discover what your past lifetimes were like, look at your present behaviors, thoughts and words. If you want to plant the seeds of your future happiness, look at your present behaviors, thoughts and words.”

NOW is what matters most.

Dalai Lama Compassion

Then, there are the instructions and advice for daily living that arise from teachings on The 6 Paramitas (usually translated as “6 Perfections”), such as Pema Chödrön, an American woman who became one of the first Western Tibetan Buddhist nuns, teachers and authors, spoke about in The Places that Scare You, page 98

THE SIX WAYS OF COMPASSIONATE LIVING
Generosity. Giving as a path of learning to let go.

Discipline. Training in not caushing harm in a way that is daring and flexible.

Patience. Training in abiding with the restlessness of our energy and letting things evolve at their own speed. If waking up takes forever, still we go moment by moment, giving up all hope of fruition and enjoying the process.

Joyful enthusiasm. Letting go of our perfectionism and connecting with the living quality of every moment.

Meditation. Training in coming back to being right here with gentleness and precision.

Prajna (or transcendent wisdom). Cultivating an open, inquiring mind.

The Places that Scare You cover

Putting that all together has given me a great blueprint for my life. I base my minute-by-minute and larger decisions on determinations of how I can be most effective in helping others be happy, especially those I love, by practicing the 6 Paramitas. I combine that with seeking what I am able to accomplish that might help alleviate others’ suffering, even that of strangers or beings I do not know or come into contact with in my current circumstances.

With those aims in my heart, I make it my daily spiritual practice to try to live my life imbued with compassion and love for others.

I frequently fail.

I am impatient. I am selfish. I get angry. I am self-centered. I forget my aims. I lose sight of my heart-centered, larger goals by getting trapped in minutiae and short-term satisfaction. I want what I want and too often I see everything as a zero-sum game I am determined to win. I have been trained in these values, these behaviors and these perspectives: they are second-nature to me.

That’s the reason it’s called spiritual practice: we have to keep trying, keep re-dedicating ourselves to the attempt, moment by moment, day by day. These attitudes do not come naturally to me; I was not provided with a lot of role models on how great it is to be kind, to be generous, to be diligent, to be focused on others’ happiness, to put myself second. I have to strive more sometimes than others, but I usually have to try. Hard.

It is difficult. Scary. Frustrating. Discouraging.

But, I am resolute. Committed. Determined. I have taken vows to this effect, starting with the most basic vow that all Buddhists take, the vow not to harm.

My best moments are characterized by a look back, comparing it to now, and noticing that I haven’t had to put in any effort to feel and act in compassionate ways. When these urges arise spontaneously, I am even more joyful. I know I have had a successful moment when the love I feel for someone really does inspire me to be unselfish and put them first.

When embodying the 6 Paramitas as best I can is making others as well as ME happy, it’s a good moment, a good hour, a good day, a good life.

Excellent moments are surrounded by many in which I am ordinary, selfish and ungenerous.

I re-dedicate myself and continue to practice.

Just keep going

Some days, some moments, my compassion and love practices seem to have taken root.

I hope yours do, also.

Participate in #1000Speak by following this link and the links within the following post.
http://driftingthrough.com/2015/01/16/be-a-part-of-a-movement-1000speak/


Very cool #Author moment report: Last month, as I was writing this blog post and looking for an image via Google’s free images, I put in: “‘Keep Going’ Buddhist,” and what came up?
The book cover for my own book, Volume I, The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything!!! It was pretty far down, but it was there!

It is part of my practice to write Buddhist-themed books with practicing Buddhists as characters, but how did Google know that? Wow!
http://goo.gl/ujmgns

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

It’s not just “one bad #cop”: My 5-Point Plan to Revamp USA #Policing

This post is longer than usual, but it includes personal experiences, research and citations, and my 5-Point Plan. If these topics interest you, well worth your time.

I’ve had it. I’m fed up.

And I know whereof I speak. Three brief, personal experience anecdotes of bad cops:

A) Long-standing problems of prejudice, brutality and out-of-control behaviors by police are rampant and supported by other officers.
I successfully sued my local police department back in the 1980s for false arrest, harassment and attempts to intimidate me out of making a police brutality complaint.
I caught local police officers beating up a juvenile for hanging out in a supermarket parking lot where I happened to be shopping (four: two hitting, two watching and doing nothing). After taking down all the officers’ names and badge numbers, which the abusive ones tried to prevent me from doing, I walked the one block over to the downtown center, where the police station and city park were.

I had just gone swimming with my family prior to shopping. My partner had taken our son to the city park while I shopped, agreeing to meet up after I was finished. The witnessing I had chosen to do had made me about a half-hour late, which is very long by baby standards. The park was right across from the police station, so I met up with my partner and our toddler. As we walked over together, I explained my mission. My son was very hungry and not too happy at my having been delayed in reuniting with him. I sat in the lobby area breastfeeding him, chatting with my partner while waiting to make my formal complaint.

One of the abusive officers happened to walk by as we sat there. When he saw me, he asked the desk officer why I was there. I could hear them talking. A few minutes later, he came toward me, looming over my chair where I sat nursing my son. He was screaming and yelling at me, saying that I was under arrest.

I laughed at him and told him he was out of line, thinking maybe this was a strange idea of a joke. But he insisted he was serious. I looked over at the desk officer, who shrugged, indicating that I had to go with this still-screaming officer.

I asked if I could take my baby, since he wasn’t finished eating, but the officer spit out an emphatic “NO!” Reluctantly, I handed our baby to his father and went with this insane man with a gun to the PD’s basement. What he had in mind, I had no idea, but I could scream very loudly and planned to do so. Having taught junior high school for several years prior to this and having had an extremely abusive father, it took a lot more than screaming to intimidate me.

When we got downstairs, he got out an old typewriter and began to beat out his arrest report, barking and yelling each question, until we got to my age. When I said “27,” he realised that I was not, as he had presumed from my youthful appearance, a teen mom, but was actually older than he was.

He immediately stopped yelling. However, he somehow still felt compelled to continue with this absurd arrest. He took my mug shots and fingerprinted me, then told me to go back upstairs.

With inked fingers, I went back to the lobby and continued to feed my baby. I told my partner what had happened, both of us incredulous and disgusted. The Lieutenant called me in. I told him that I had just been arrested while waiting to make a complaint about police brutality. He asked, “On what charges?” I told him what the officer had told me, not able to withhold my laughter: “‘Resisting arrest, interfering with a police officer, and intimidating a police officer’ were the charges,” I told him. Knowing that I am 5′ tall and the officer is well over 6′ tall, I assume that is the reason this Lieutenant looked startled.

The Lieutenant put his head in his hands and shook his head, apologizing. “That should not have happened,” he told me. He listened and took notes for my formal complaints, now plural.

I found a great lawyer who took my case on contingency and sued. I also testified on behalf of the juvenile and got his arrest expunged.

Due to my lawsuit, which we settled out of court for a sizable sum pending several conditions, these were met as follows: the two main brutalizing officers involved (one of whom arrested me) were fined, reprimanded and left the force; training and supervision for all patrol officers were improved and made mandatory even for veterans; the Lieutenant who balefully and with great chagrin received my actual complaint and acted on it was made Captain of the force, replacing the one who had been ignoring such behaviors by those he supervised.

B) Police do what owners and managers of businesses tell them to do regardless, of actual laws.
I walked out of another courtroom due to false arrest charges’ being thrown out.
Three years later, a manager of a local movie theatre had asked me to stand up while waiting in an ever-growing line, but I had explained, calmly, that I had a bad leg and couldn’t do that. He then asked me to move to the benches lining the walls, but I didn’t want to lose my place in line, so I politely refused. He threatened to call the police. I looked up from the magazine I was reading (happened to be MS.) and asked on what charge? He blustered a while, then yelped, “Trespassing.” I showed him my ticket and told him to go away, call the cops, do whatever he wanted, sure of my legality.

A not-very-assertive officer from this same police force showed up at his call. Despite my showing this officer my ticket and explaining about my disability, he apologetically arrested me. When asked, he told me the charge was “Trespassing,” but even as he said it, I knew he was aware of that charge’s being ridiculous.

As I was being led out by this officer, the manager hurriedly gave me a refund. As the box office worker reclaimed my ticket, the manager loudly claimed that NOW I was trespassing. I pointed out that at this moment, I was standing while apparently under arrest, so which did he want? Standing or leaving? He ordered me to leave.

I hired the same lawyer as in A, above, since our lawsuit had just barely settled at that point. He sent another attorney with me to the so-called trial (he explained the PD couldn’t just throw the case out because of my successful suit). However, the judge viewed the charge otherwise.

Because a contention of “Trespassing” was obviously idiotic and illegal, AND because, once I appeared in court, the judge knew who I was, the case was thrown out during the “testimony” of the theatre people. During the initial questioning, both the manager and the box officer clerk admitted that the theatre had no such “must stand up” rule (I have had many mobility problems and couldn’t stand up for very long at that time). They also agreed, when asked, that the ticket stated right on it: “ADMIT ONE,” which meant I had had the legal right to be in the lobby, waiting to enter the seating area, in whatever way I needed to be waiting (sitting or standing).

Since the case was thrown out, I dropped my suit. Every time I saw the arresting officer around town, he apologized.

C) Police are too-often poorly trained and supervised for making arrests and handing out citations.
A few years later, while I was still living in this same town, a patrol officer stopped me because he believed my car was overdue for the mandated semi-annual inspection. I told him that he was wrong and refused to get out of my car or stop because a 7-year-old friend of my son’s was meeting us after school at our house and, until I got there, no one was home. I told him, if he insisted on giving me a citation, he would have to follow me home (3 blocks away).

He did, and gave me a citation, which I told him was ridiculous. I told him that a new law had gone into effect at the beginning of this month so that motorists had until the end rather than the beginning of each anniversary month to comply, and this was mid-month. He insisted my car was “out of inspection” and must be cited.

A few weeks later, when this ill-informed officer had realized his mistake AND found out who I was (see A and B, above), he sent me a heartfelt, badly misspelled, handwritten apology, withdrawing the citation. In this letter, he claimed that, since officers had to purchase new manuals annually with their own money, he had not yet been able to afford one at the time of my citation. Since then, he assured me, he had done acquired a new manual and reviewed the new laws. He was now aware of the law’s change and told me I had been correct.


I wish my experiences were unique, to be viewed as quaint, cautionary tales from the bad, “olden” days of the last century. Not so.

Apparently, intelligent, educated police offers are BANNED from many jobs in law enforcement. I am not kidding. “…[F]ederal courts have ruled since 2000 that police departments can legally opt to not hire someone simply because he or she scores too high on an intelligence test….[T]hose who eventually become detectives and solve crimes are the same people who were initially allowed to become police officers at least partly because they did not score too high on an intelligence test.”
http://www.mintpressnews.com/can-someone-be-too-smart-to-be-a-cop/192106/

To make matters worse, here is a major website for advice and tips to help potential candidates pass the entrance exam for incoming police, nationwide, http://policelink.monster.com/education/articles/40799-ten-tips-for-the-police-entrance-exam.

Here is an exact quote from the “10 Tips”:
10) Proof read test. Before you turn in your test answer sheet, be sure to check it over. Test takers often leave answers blank and that impacts their final score. This also gives you a chance to go back and answer those hard to figure out answers.
Grade: C-
1) Missing hyphens (“test-takers,” “hard-to-figure-out answers”).
2) “Proof read” as two words.
3) Pronouns with no clear antecedent (“that” in sentence three; “This” starting the fourth sentence).
4) Ending a sentence with a preposition (“over” in second sentence).

Then, we have this site, purporting to provide a “Police Practice Test.” http://lawenforcementjock.com/police-practice-test/ This site’s home page has a typo/misspelling in its first paragraph: “Similar to that of the New York State Police, agency are now ranking applicants based entirely on their test scores.”

There is so much wrong with the following paragraph, same site, I don’t know where to start:

In my experience, a test can comprise true/false questions; fill in the blank; and essay. However, most police departments like the Seattle police department prefer to use multiple choice exams. Such tests are preferred because of their objectivity, allowing the examiner to access the candidate’s ability to perform the duties of a police officer. Furthermore” [their quotation mark at the end, not mine]

How can we expect incoming officers to be smarter than the people who are providing them special assistance for passing these tests? These helpers apparently have substandard vocabularies as well as minimal grasps of usage, common punctuation and sentence structure.

“All right,” you might say, “proper grammar, spelling and correct English aren’t the only signs of intelligence or fitness for being a law enforcement professional.”

I agree.

What about measurements of ethics, honesty, moral fibre, addiction, history of bullying or intimidation tactics used on weaker peers or others? Or, let’s check in on skill levels in key areas, such as problem-solving, decision-making, crisis response and management, communication (both listening and speaking), sensitivity and appropriateness with those unlike themselves: what do we find?

Abysmal performance across the board.

I am not the only one who believes we all need law enforcement officers’ predominantly low levels of skills and education to improve: “Research studies show that police officers with a college degree provide evidence of better overall job performance and better advancement opportunities then their colleagues without a college degree….[H]aving a college degree significantly reduces the likelihood that officers will use force as their first option when gaining compliance. The study also discovered evidence of officers with a higher education background also makes it more likely they will demonstrate the creativity and problem-solving skills needed to make a community-oriented policing model succeed.”
http://exclusive.multibriefs.com/content/why-education-is-crucial-for-modern-police-departments/law-enforcement-defense-security

It’s not just “one bad cop.” There are now too many in too many places to keep track. I can’t remember all their names; can you?

bad cop 1
image from http://www.sentrymedicalgroup.org

I strongly recommend that all policing entities implement my 5-Point Plan to Revamp USA #policing: qualifications, training, supervision and accountability as well as record-keeping, ASAP.

Who’s with me?

Even that bastion of conservative moderateness, The Huffington Post, claimed last month (via occasional columnist, Tim Arnold) that “America has lost its soul” attributable to objectionably poor policing.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/bad-cops/

Another Huff Post writer, Jerry Ashton, reported last October on the call for a “National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality.” This day will be “[o]verseen by the October 22 Coalition[.] [T]he action is expected to be a historic condemnation of the Department of Justice for its 19-year history of failures to collect and share statistics on the use of excessive force by police officers, even though this action was mandated by ‘The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994,’ the largest crime bill in U.S. history.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jerry-ashton/national-day-of-protest-to-stop-police-brutality_b_6021158.html

My “last straw” landed when I heard about NYC’s Police Department’s former employee, Louis Scarcella. Recently, NYPD disclosed that Scarcella had been operating fraudulently and as an extreme racist for DECADES, framing innocent black men by violently coercing and purchasing witnesses and confessions from the innocent. Dozens (probably hundreds) of other cops knew about Scarcella (many helped him do these heinous acts), but turned a blind eye.
http://thegrio.com/2015/01/14/louis-scarcella-nypd-wrongful-convictions/

Unfortunately, this type of story is not even front page news any longer. In city after city, state after state, dozens, hundreds, thousands of cops have been abusing their authority, overusing their weapons and harming citizens to the point of death.

We can all see that the systems of policing and many of the individuals employed by them have been dysfunctional and dangerous for over a hundred years. Did they ever work well anywhere at all?

Selma.
Detroit.
Police who HEAD the Ku Klux Klan.
Los Angeles.
St. Louis/Ferguson
New York City
and on and on, every metropolitan area.

Also, in almost every small town and unincorporated area, all over this country, law enforcement has been populated by a large number of former “jocks,” athletes past their glory days who did not go to college or barely made it through high school. These officers are not, by any stretch of the imagination, very capable or intelligent. Most of them have not been able to make well-considered decisions or have anyone else’s best interests at heart, particularly those they deem “other.”

bad cops 2
image from http://www.snapthepix.com

By what strange magnetic force are hundreds of thousands of these men drawn to careers in law enforcement, unsuitable as they are? How are they allowed to “graduate” from being their high schools’ resident bullies to earning money paid by our taxes to be community police? Most barely stop along the way to get any training as police, sheriffs, or marshals, excluding a possible stint in the US military (which makes EVERYTHING worse).

It is now very clear to most of us that law enforcement attracts a disproportionate number of bullies with short fuses who harbor racist and sexist beliefs and who exhibit a horrifying willingness to hurt those they are paid to protect.

There are many reasons for these officers to exhibit bad behaviors, but most do it to bolster their own pride and try to impress their buddies. These “public servants” are terrorizing their targets, many of whom have committed no crimes or may be guilt of very minor offenses.

Far from serving their communities, protecting as they are mandated to do, law enforcement officials are now seen as those who frequently catalyze public and individual resistance. These incidents, with the concomitant lack of oversight and judicial consequences, are tearing communities apart.

A vast number of individuals work within our corrupt legal systems to prop up and support bad law enforcement. “Not Guilty” verdicts abound, giving them license to continue their horrendous behaviors. We repeatedly see manifestations of poor discernment by the decisions of jurors and judges when these officers have clearly broken multiple laws. Our communities now also suffer by these leaders’ misdirecting jurors and other public “servants.”

We have too many police, sheriffs and marshals who are engaged in a reign of terror that has been escalating almost daily. What should we do about it?

Here is my 5-Point Plan to Improve USA Policing:

I. Better Background Checks.

II. Better Training.

III. Better Supervision.

IV. Better Accountability.

V. National Databases.

I. Better Background Checks.
I.- A. Refuse jobs in law enforcement to any candidates who have a history of bullying.
We do NOT want to give bullies weapons, authority and clout, ever again. Check school records, arrests and reports, even those for which complaints and accusations did not result in convictions or disciplinary action. Charges that are made but repeatedly dropped or “forgiven” are the telltale signs of successful serial abusers. Look for Restraining Orders. Check school detention and suspensions records. Check military records.

Remember how the Assistant Principal was always threatening that a bad behavior incident would go on our “permanent record” when s/he was trying to deter us? That threat was supposed to make us quake with fear and inspire us to change our ways. Well, THIS is a perfect use, an appropriate application of the contents of that permanent school record.

I.- B. Refuse jobs in law enforcement to any candidates who have a questionable psychological, biological or social history.
Public servants cannot belong to hate groups or who have engaged in behavior that encourages others to participate in hate crimes, harassment, threats or assault based on ethnicity, religion, assumed sexual orientation, age, occupation, disability or other differences, gendered appearances or creed.

Check all the places these records might exist, including the “permanent record” from secondary schools, social media’s and websites’ postings, rosters of memberships in groups and clubs. Check military records, colleges disciplinary actions, any accusations and dropped charges.

Expunge the candidates who do not come up “clean.”

THEN give “clean” candidates a thorough psychological assessment designed to weed out any who harbor such beliefs but who have not yet been acting on them or haven’t yet been caught in the act.

They should also be screened for tendencies to be or actual problems with being alcoholics, drug addicts, thieves, extortionists and other types of criminals as well as for vulnerability to being bribed or unduly influenced.

Police come into daily contact with stolen money, illegal drugs, underage and vulnerable sex workers and a variety of other “tempting” opportunities to behave badly. We must have police who can resist temptation, who are not already addicts, and who do not have the types of personalities that would ever lead them to believe that they are “above the law.”

II. Better Training.
II.- C. Prepare rookies more realistically for what they will face in the field. Rookies should always be accompanied by veterans with good records until they have faced, together, at least two of every type of common incident. If that means longer probation or training periods, so be it.

We should NEVER AGAIN have a cop on patrol who is not up to an appropriately high standard. Why do we ever have police who can’t tell the difference between a toy gun and a real one, who can’t admit when a potential suspect is NOT dangerous and leave them be, who harass someone playing music to the point of injury, who can’t determine when someone is legally blind or hearing impaired, who mistake his/her own gun for a taser, who abuse suspects, and who tamper with witnesses and evidence?

II.- D. Include anger management and extensive therapy as part of the training and ongoing support for officers.
These therapies and group or one-on-one educational sessions must occur at least once a week for a year, at their own expense (via health insurance and/or job training funding) as part of every type of law enforcement rookie’s training requirements. There should also be mandatory “check-ups,” and not just when a cop kills someone or seems to have obvious PTSD or “anger problems.”

Therapy, whether or not they show symptoms of needing it, should be an annual occurrence. Every law enforcement officer at every level should have at least three sessions/year.

If community police are not feeling angry, they’re not paying attention. It’s managing the anger that is at issue, not feeling the emotion.

Making both of these mandatory will weed out the psychopaths and sociopaths within the first twelve months because those candidates either will not agree to participate or will fail the therapeutic portions of the training and ongoing support.

Whoever fails in either of these (where “success” is to be determined by the credentialed leaders/therapists responsible for conducting these sessions) can never be hired as law enforcement. No extensions, no re-takes, no possibility of moving to another locale and starting over.

See V. National Databases, below.

III. Better Supervision.
III.- E. Hold supervisors accountable for their underlings’ mistakes.
Enforce this by making supervisors accountable for decisions that release rookies from probation/ ride-along status (see II, above) so that none is released “too soon” (as evidenced by making too many “rookie” mistakes) without there being repercussions upon the releasing supervisor.

III.- F. Make sure every officer and supervisor is consistently and reliably evaluated.
Written and in-person discussions of the written evaluations should occur without fail at least twice each year for veterans and monthly for rookies for the first 6 months or more, then bimonthly until they are no longer rookies.

Poor evaluations must have immediate, serious consequences. Officers who do poorly must be demoted or have their duties re-assigned until they show substantial improvement within a given time frame. Some must resign/be fired, depending upon how badly they do and how many bad evaluations they have had without improvement.

Guidelines for all of this must be clearly spelled out and followed.

IV. Better Accountability.
IV.- G. Harsher and more permanent penalties must be enacted for officers who break the rules and laws and/or who do not follow procedures and policies properly.
By the time they are released from rookie probation (see II), officers must be immediately and permanently held accountable. Possibly like this: ONE SERIOUS STRIKE and they’re out.

Examples: If they turn off their body or dashboard cameras or do not check to make sure the equipment is working prior to going on a call or on patrol, they are fired. If they are threatening to anyone for no legal reason, harassing and/or harming them, they are fired. If they break laws, do not follow procedures, interfere with fellow officers’ duties, steal or tamper with evidence or incur other serious charges, they are fired.

IV.- H. Reprimands and Sanctions Must Be Strict.
The type of work law enforcement officers do cannot allow for serious mistakes in judgment to happen without having the consequences of strict sanctions and reprimands.

What about like this? One such lapse or error results in temporary restriction or demotion.

If two or three lapses/errors in judgment occur, they’re docked in pay and the demotion is moved to long-term. If these occur twice in any 6-month period, they’re fired.

If these occur twice in any two -year period, they’re put on temporary restriction or demoted, with changes pending results of an investigation to determine fitness for duty.

IV.- I. Supervisors and Department Heads/Chiefs are Responsible for Departments’ Outcomes and Statistics
If outcomes are poor (meaning, officers are behaving in ways that get them sanctioned, reprimanded, arrested, fired and/or jailed, disproportionately to those in comparable geographic/demographic areas) for any six-month period, that manager is demoted or fired.

If poor stats occur in any other 6-month period within two years in that same department under new management, the manager and his/her supervisor are both fired.

V. National Databases.
V.- J. Develop and maintain national databases.
We must do better at collecting data. All individuals’ attempts at being hired in law enforcement must be centralized.

All actions of individuals working in law enforcement while hired must be tracked.

Every departments’ outcomes and patrol statistics must be logged and searchable.

V.- K. Data must be available to the public and to all types of law enforcement. Transparency is key. This occurs via body and dashboard cameras with both audio and video components and frequent checks of said equipment.

All data entry must be supervised and checked regularly.

Most importantly, what should already always be happening, is that good cops and others doing a good job who work in law enforcement should NOT hide, protect or collude with those colleagues who should be fired or jailed.

Bad cop 3

There are many sectors that do/do not support excellence in law enforcement officers. My post, here, recommends improvements in some key areas, but not all. Let others research and recommend further changes to address areas I have left out, please.

bad cops 4
from http://www.slideshare.net/icjia/il-exec-training2012pptfinal

The USA #Civil #Rights #Restorative #Justice Project needs YOUR information

SHARE! Help restore the actual history of USA atrocities, the genocide of blacks, especially men, in the USA South during the first half or so of the 20th century.

If you know of a “Jim Crow,” KKK, community- or personally instigated, racially motivated killing, any details, please contact the people in the Civil Rights Restorative Justice Project right away.

Scour letters, family diaries, journals, photographs, Bibles’ death records, anecdotes from those who were there.

Find out more: http://goo.gl/0Tuav1 = story on NPR

Send info and learn more about project: http://www.northeastern.edu/civilrights/
Northeastern University School of Law
400 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Email: crrj@neu.edu
Tel. 617-373-8243

crrj

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Switch your USA Landline or Cell Phone Company to Support Great Causes! CREDO DOES!

CREDO (formerly Working Assets) has been donating a large portion of its profits and allowing customers (“Members”) to vote on where the profits are donated for decades.

I had been using WALD for my landline and then CREDO for my cell phone since the 1990s (WALD used to provide coupons for free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream pints for every new customer I referred, so I referred a LOT!).

CREDO will:

  • buy out your contract
  • provide free or paid cell phone model options (Android only, of course)
  • actually provide English-speaking humans to talk to you from its 24-7 Customer Service
  • give you access to its great website
  • offer competitive prices.

Truly worth a switch. STOP supporting multinationals like AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc., TODAY!

Make your phone bill work to help YOUR choice of nonprofits and good causes!

CREDO uses the Sprint network, so be sure that network operates well enough where you live before switching carriers.

For the end of 2014, CREDO sent this email (images below), which I hope inspires YOU to switch carriers.

CREDO Engaged_Voters_Panel1

CREDO Middle_Panel_1

CREDO Middle_Panel_2

CREDO Middle_Panel_3

I am NOT an “affiliate marketer,” and I am NOT getting paid (or even getting any ice cream) for promoting this.
It’s just the right thing to do. Please switch this month!

Sally Ember’s #Crowdfunding Song

Watch/listen to Sally singing this song (not very well, including a sneeze, mid-song):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eehr3F0TZzs
OR
http://youtu.be/Eehr3F0TZzs

For more info and to donate:
http://www.patreon.com/sallyember Thanks!

Sally Ember’s #Crowdfunding Song
(lyrics by Sally; based on You’re Gonna Miss me When I’m Gone, or The Cups Song)

I tripped and fell and broke my nose and head
…. About 8 months ago
I also lost my job, had to move and lost my house:
Crowdfunding is the way to go.

Way to go
Way to gooooooo:
PLEEEEEEASE help me meet my goals?
Turn my vids into podcasts,
Fund my other worthy tasks:
I have a long way still to go.

I’m not a super singer or a poet, true:
This video is proof of that;
But I need to catch your eye, wake your urge to open wide:
Pockets, purses: share your stash.

Share your stash
Share your staaaaash:
Convert your good vibes into cash!
Help this writer stay on course,
You will feel no remorse
If you decide to share your stash.

If you help me, I can help you, too:
Edit, proof or entertain.
If you donate just a few
I will give ebooks to you
More dough helps us both and quells my pain.

Ease my pain
Make it raaaaaain
Crowdfunding could relieve my pain.
Buy a cover; do not stint;
Turn my ebooks into print;
Please donate to reach my aims.

I tripped and fell and broke my nose and head
…. About 8 months ago
I also lost my job, had to move and lost my house:
Crowdfunding is the way to go.

Way to go
Way to gooooooo:
PLEEEEEEASE help me met my goals?
Turn my vids into podcasts,
Fund my other worthy tasks:
I have a long way still to go.

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#Crowdfunding with #Patreon: Sally Ember’s Campaign Needs Your Support!

#Crowdfunding with #Patreon: Sally Ember’s Campaign Needs Your Support!

If you are in the “giving” mood this month, as many are, or any time after December, 2014, please consider becoming a Patreon member (free) and supporter of creative people? You could help us to achieve particular goals, complete projects, and acquire enough general financial support to keep being creative.

WIN_20141113_151113
Sally Ember, Ed.D.

What’s unique about Patreon‘s site and its campaigns is that donors and creative petitioners have the chance to interact via messages and also by the recipient’s offer of “rewards” as “thank-you” gifts, services, or products.

Sally (I) put on this campaign’s “rewards” page several options based on amounts of donations (first starts with a donation as low as $4.00), which include free ebooks, editing/proofreading services of increasing size for increasing donations, and other rewards in the future.

THE PITCH VIDEO:
http://youtu.be/f8nYsfjm_aU?list=UUqnZuobf0YTCiP6silDDL2w

Please visit, watch the pitch video, share, and consider becoming a Patreon patron.

Help fund a book cover, sound equipment upgrade and conversion of videos to podcasts, conversion of ebooks to print books and becoming available as Print-On-Demand (POD) books and/or provide any size donation to go towards the general financial support of a working #writer, CHANGES Google+ Hangout On Air (#HOA) talk show host and blogger who supports other #indie #authors.

Thanks, Happy Holidays, happy creating and happy reading!

THE PATREON PAGE:

http://www.patreon.com/sallyember