Archive for November 11th, 2010
Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.
By Robyn Gee
Youth Radio recently profiled a company called Mr. Youth, a marketing agency targeting youth consumers. They claim to be experts in engaging young people, which includes enticing young people to remain on their own payroll for long periods of time. They were recently voted one of the best places to work in New York City by Crain’s magazine.
Mr. Youth recently collaborated with Intrepid, to conduct a study with the goal of finding out how Millennials, or people born in the 1980s, would design and manage a company. The results of the study provide insight into the minds of young people today, and how our companies will be run in the near future.
The study took two groups of Millennials, one in the U.S. and one in the U.K. and challenged them with the task of creating a model for how to run a fashion retail company, including the organizational structure, product development, and marketing aspects of the company.
They found consistent preferences among both groups of young people. First of all, Millennials did not write in a definitive CEO to their company, but instead organized company staff into teams with expert areas of focus. However, 82 percent of the 1,000 Millennials included in the study said that it is important to have a staff that can do each others’ jobs.
In addition, Millennials gave equal weight to design and creativity, as finance and management, and valued having diverse opinions when it came to decision-making. The study showed that Millennials desire continual change, and a constantly challenging environment. When it comes to company hierarchies, Millennials are not persuaded by seniority or systems of tenure, and they believe strongly that, “Authority is earned and proven through direct interactions, not given blindly based on titles and experience.”
Millennials designed a company where each employee starts at the bottom level, and works their way up, so that each employee gets face to face contact with consumers.
To read more, check out their study here.
Also from Youth Radio-Youth Media International:
Navigating a Dead-End Economy
Jobs Scarce for New Teachers
Youth Radio/Youth Media International (YMI) is youth-driven converged media production company that delivers the best youth news, culture and undiscovered talent to a cross section of audiences. To read more youth news from around the globe and explore high quality audio and video features, visit Youthradio.org. </em
Follow Youth Radio — Youth Media International on Twitter:
For a very long time I have been calling for, expecting and otherwise anticipating the day that the Federal Reserve would begin openly monetizing government debt. I knew the day would come intellectually, but in my heart I hoped it wouldn’t. But with the Fed’s recent decision to directly monetize the next 8 months of federal deficit spending, that day has finally arrived. I have to confess, while my prediction has proven accurate, I’m still stunned the Fed actually did it.
In this report I examine the risks that this new path presents, what match(es) may finally ignite the decades-old pile of dry fuel, what the outcomes are likely to be, and what we can and should be doing in preparation.
How is this Quantitative Easing (QE) different from the prior QE?
There are two main points of departure between the two QE programs:The level of global support for such efforts
Where the money was/is targeted
Let’s take the second point first.
QE I consisted of all sorts of liquidity efforts that went by various acronyms, but the main act was the accumulation of some $1.25 trillion in MBS and agency debt. Some might note that taking MBS paper off the hands of financial institutions, which then bought treasuries with the cash, is little different than the recently announced QE II program because at the end of the day, money was printed and Treasuries were bought. In this regard, they’re right.
But let’s be clear about something: the first QE effort had the specific aim of repairing damaged bank balance sheets. That is, banks and other financial institutions had made some colossally poor and risky financial moves that didn’t work out for them. They needed some help, and the Fed was more than happy to oblige by handing them free money to patch up their losses.
Of course they didn’t do this outright by saying, “Here take this money!”; they did it somewhat sneakily. But when the Fed hands you huge piles of money (for your dodgy debt) and then let’s you park that very same money in an interest bearing account at the Fed, there’s really no difference between that and just handing banks free money. No difference at all. If the Fed ever offers you free money that you can then park in an interest bearing account with the Fed, you should take them up on it, and you should do it as much as they will allow.
Indeed, that’s exactly what happened. These parked funds are called “excess reserves” and this chart clearly displays the massive program undertaken by the banks and the Fed:
Now, it’s also true that the Fed does not pay a lot of interest on this money, just 0.25%, but on a trillion dollars that pencils out to some $2.5 billion a year, handed straight over to the banks. I call this program “stealth QE” because it is nothing more than printing money and handing it over to the banks with a slight bit of complexity thrown in just to put the dogs off the scent. A couple of billion may not sound like much these days, but I raise it to illustrate the many and creative ways that QE I was about getting the banks back to health, and not much else.
So QE I (and the ‘stealth QE’ program) was directly aimed at banks to help them repair their balance sheets and make them whole on their terrible decisions and losses. It turned out, though, that fixing the banks did absolutely nothing for Main Street. The rest of the economy remained mired in a rut, with banks either unable or unwilling to make additional loans. They kept their QE lotto winnings and parked them with the Fed.
QE II, then is about getting thin-air money to the government which, the Fed rightly assumes, will immediately spend that money and push it out into the economy. Here’s how the head of the Dallas Fed, Richard Fisher, put it in a recent talk he gave:
There it is in black and white. You might want to read it a couple of times to let it sink in. The Fed is directly monetizing the next eight months of excess(ive) spending by the federal government and is doing it despite being perfectly aware of the extent to which history is littered with the economic carcasses of those who have traveled this path before.
Presumably we are supposed to console ourselves with the idea that the Fed will be successful where others have failed, and sometimes failed miserably. Yes, we are talking about the same Fed that fueled that last two destructive bubbles by keeping interest rates too low for too long, failed to see the housing bubble as late as 2007 for what it was, and which apparently entirely lacked the capability to foresee any of the current mess. That Fed.
The one run by the gentleman who said this to the House Budget Committee on June 3, 2009,
In summary, the difference between QE I and QE II is that QE I went primarily to the banks and QE II is going directly to the government. While this may be something of a semantic difference, it shows that the Fed is changing its strategy again. We might ask: why this shift and why now?
How is QE II being viewed outside of the US?
In a word, poorly.
The German finance minster called the Fed’s application of US monetary policy “clueless” and argued that the Fed decision would “increase the insecurity in the world economy.”
China was predictably unhappy too, but initially used more diplomatic language:
Xinhua: G-20 Should Set Up Mechanism To Monitor Reserve Currency Issuers
BEIJING (Dow Jones)–China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency published a commentary on Tuesday calling for the Group of 20 industrial and developing economies to supervise the issuance of international reserve currencies, and harshly criticized the U.S. Federal Reserve’s new round of quantitative easing.
The G-20 should “set up a new mechanism that effectively monitors the issuer of the international reserve currency, especially when it is not able to carry out responsible currency policies,” Xinhua said, making an apparent reference to the U.S. as the issuer of the dominant reserve currency.
“Considering the influence of the policy moves in the major international reserve currencies on the global economy, it is necessary for the issuer of the international reserve currency to report to and communicate with the G-20 Group before it makes major policy shifts.”
All of the above is loosely coded diplomatic speak for “The US really bummed us out here, they should have stuck to the agreements we thought we had after the Pittsburg meeting. Going off-script like this was really not appreciated. We think an intervention is needed here.”
Later, an advisor to the Chinese central bank went further and called the US actions “absurd.”
PBOC Academic Adviser Questions Dollar’s Global Role
Nov. 9 (Bloomberg) — Li Daokui, an academic adviser to China’s central bank, said it could be seen as “absurd” that the dollar remains a reserve currency after the financial crisis.
Here are a few other selected expressions of dismay from around the world:
United States receive criticism from all sides because the decision to print money
U.S. decision to pump 600 billion dollars into the economy has sparked a wave of strong disapproval. World leaders, who are preparing for the G20 summit in Seoul this week, warns that the move will complicate U.S. global economic recovery.
G20 tensions rise over the future of the global economy
The US last week stoked the simmering tensions by unveiling plans for another $600bn (370bn) of quantitative easing (QE), on top of the $1.7 trillion already in place. The dollar crashed in what is being seen as the latest round of competitive devaluations, as nations seek to debase their currencies to help domestic industry.
Brazil retaliated by buying dollars. Xia Bin, a member of the Chinese central bank’s monetary policy committee, branded the US stimulus plan “abusive” and warned it could spark a new global downturn. German finance minister Wolfgang Schuble accused the US of breaking the promise made at June’s G20 in Toronto, saying he would “speak critically about this at the G20 summit in South Korea.”
Just two weeks earlier, G20 finance ministers at the warm-up summit in Gyeongju, South Korea, had pledged to refrain from competitive devaluation and Tim Geithner, the US Treasury Secretary, had promised the US would retain its “strong dollar” policy. At Seoul, the US will be facing accusations of empty rhetoric.
The harmonious language of hope at the Pittsburgh summit has now given way to something brazenly belligerent. The Brazilian President, Luiz Incio Lula da Silva, has said he will go to the G20 meeting in Seoul ready “to fight.” For President Obama, who has just lost a bruising midterm election battle, it will mean another painful encounter.
Greece Hits Out At Money-Printing Nations
Speaking on Jeff Randall Live, George Papaconstantinou warned quantitative easing only serves to stoke up inflation.
“You get inflation. You get a situation that’s out of control. People lose their purchasing power. It doesn’t get you very far,” he said.
In summary, QE II has been described by several major trading partners as “clueless,” “abusive,” “absurd,” and even resulted in a lecture from Greece on the subject of printing. By the time you are getting lectured by Greece on monetary actions it might be time for a bit of self-reflection.
It is not too strong to suggest that something of a tipping point has been reached in regards to how the US is perceived as a leader on financial and monetary matters.
Why this is important
Okay, so the US’s international friends are a little upset with the US for deciding to print up the better part of a trillion dollars out of thin air. What’s the big deal?
The big deal here is that the OECD countries have a monster borrowing bill set for next year. There needs to be some level of cooperation and fair play is going to be required in order to pull this off:
$10.2 Trillion in Global Borrowing
Next year, fifteen major developed-country governments, including the U.S., Japan, the U.K., Spain and Greece, will have to raise some $10.2 trillion to repay maturing bonds and finance their budget deficits, according to estimates from the International Monetary Fund. That’s up 7% from this year, and equals 27% of their combined annual economic output.
Just ponder those numbers for a bit. The average borrowing across 15 major developed countries is 27 percent of GDP(!). Ask yourself how dependent the entire OECD world is on a smoothly operating financial system in order to merely function next year.
Having the perception out there that the US is being run by clueless (or ‘abusive’) individuals is not going to help the situation much.
In order for the requisite levels of borrowing to be pulled off in a smooth and uninterrupted fashion, there can’t be any hits to confidence and no major disruptions can happen. Everything has to run with clockwork precision. It is against this backdrop that I view the profoundly undiplomatic statements directed at the US as quite a bit more serious than some other observers.
By choosing the path of money printing (instead of austerity like the UK), the Fed has decidedly placed the US on a very risky course. I see the outcomes are almost binary: either this works or it doesn’t.
If this gamble works, business will pick up, unemployment will drop, tax revenues will flow again to the states and federal government, the sun will continue to rise in the east and roses will bloom in the spring.
If the gamble fails? There we can envision an enormous devaluation event for the US dollar and the Fed having to choose between defending the dollar (via rising interest rates) or preventing the federal government from a fiscal emergency brought about as a consequence of rising interest rates. And by “fiscal emergency” I mean being forced to slash expenditures by as much as 50% in order to service rapidly escalating interest carrying costs on the short term portion of the fiscal debt load. But that’s a death spiral because cutting government spending is the same as cutting GDP (it’s practically 1:1) and every cut to GDP leads to lower revenues which will necessitate more expenditure cutting, etc. and so forth until ‘the bottom’ is reached.
I wish there was some sort of middle ground on this one, but I can’t quite see it. Either the Fed’s efforts work or they don’t. Let’s hope for success.
In truth, I’ve long predicted that the day would arrive when the Fed would monetize government debt, but I hoped that it would never come. Because hope alone is a terrible investment strategy, I prepared for this event years ago by accumulating gold and silver as the core of my portfolio.
But now the rules have changed again, we are on a slippery slope, and gold and silver were always meant to be my “transition elements” put there to help shepherd my wealth through the transition period as the world’s fascination shifted from “paper” to “things.”
Now that we’re “almost there” in terms of the required shift in perception necessary to call an end to one period (the “king dollar” period) and mark the beginning of another, it’s time to begin considering the places, timing and ways that these transition elements can be redeployed to take advantage of the second part of this story.
In particular, concerned minds are looking for answers to questions about what might happen next and how to insulate oneself from monetary madness. These questions are explored in detail in Part 2 of this article (free executive summary, enrollment required to access).
Follow Chris Martenson, Ph.D. on Twitter:
Francesca Zambello, the new general and artistic director of Glimmerglass, has ambitious plans for the 35-year-old opera company in Cooperstown, New York.
Appointed in March as successor to Michael MacLeod, Zambello’s first decision was to change the name to Glimmerglass Festival because, as she says, “I think a festival puts its arms around many different activities, and I want people to understand the breadth of our offerings.”
But Zambello, who is artistic adviser to San Francisco Opera and has directed at top companies here and abroad since her 1984 Houston Grand Opera debut, is a realist. She knows that U.S. charitable giving is down, and all arts organizations must attract new donors and ticket-buyers if they want to thrive, or–in some cases–survive.
Photo by Claire McAdams/Glimmerglass Festival.
“My goal,” Zambello tells me in a phone chat, “is to attract as many people to our productions as possible. I think we all need to reenvison ourselves, and there are several ways that each artist or company can do that. I personally think the Met’s route with their HD broadcasts is very vital–a good use of technology–but where I fit in with Glimmerglass is the grass-roots approach. You’ve got to have a mission that is clear and attractive to a wider audience than just the opera cognoscenti.”
Longtime opera fans, though, will have plenty to savor in 2011 as Zambello presents Carmen (sung by Ginger Costa-Jackson) and Cherubini’s rarely performed Medea (sung by Alexandra Deshorties). She also plans a double bill of one-act premieres: John Musto and Mark Campbell’s Later the Same Evening, staged by Leon Major, and Jeanine Tesori and Tony Kushner’s first opera, A Blizzard in Marblehead Neck, commissioned by Glimmerglass and directed by Zambello.
But one exciting innovation is Zambello’s decision to stage an American musical each season, performed without amplification and with a full orchestra of 36-40 players, which will buck the Broadway trend of universal body mics and chamber orchestration. For her first season she will direct Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun, starring Deborah Voigt in the title role and Rod Gilfry as Frank Butler, Annie’s sharpshooting rival.
“Musicals are our American art form,” Zambello observes, “and they have the same popularity that Verdi and Puccini enjoyed. Every gondolier could sing their arias the way that here in the U.S. everyone can hum ‘Edelweiss.’ And Glimmerglass is very much about celebrating that which is American. Also, most American singers came to opera because they sang musicals in high school and college, or in church. That kind of connection is very powerful. I hope we’ll bring in new people who will buy a ticket to Annie Get Your Gun and enjoy it, and then buy a Carmen ticket.”
Zambello’s love of theater began during her childhood. A Manhattan native, she spent her youth backstage at Broadway houses or summer stock companies while her mother, actress Jean Sincere, was working. (TV fans take note: Ms. Sincere now plays the ancient librarian on the hit show, Glee.) Zambello’s father, Charles Summers, began as an actor and stage manager but eventually became a business executive who moved his family to Kansas, then Europe. Yet amazingly, by her teen years, Zambello knew she wanted to direct. “I loved the live part of it,” she admits. “That’s what keeps me going because a live performance is not like anything else; even when you capture it on video, it’s not the same as being there.”
A 1978 graduate of Colgate University, who also attended Moscow University and speaks five languages, she learned her chops in the eighties as assistant to legendary opera director, Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. “He was invaluable to me,” she says, “and he gave me a lot of advice, most of it very practical such as, ‘All your work with the performers has to be done in the rehearsal room, because once you get on stage, it’s hard to get their attention again.’ He knew it was important to spend several weeks in the rehearsal room because you need that time to create relationships and bonds…and that’s the time for discovery and also the mistakes.”
From 1984 until 1991, Zambello headed Milwaukee’s Skylight Opera Theatre, an experience she recalls fondly. “Skylight runs year round, and that was my period of growing up as a director while putting on eight shows a year. I shared responsibility with Stephen Wadsworth, and we were close colleagues and co-artistic directors. I didn’t know how lucky I was until now when I look back on what Verdi calls ‘the galley years,’ and what’s so great about that was directing all the time, and planning the shows, and casting people, and raising money–all those things taught me a lot. ‘Low-budget’ is often the inspiration for creativity.”
At rehearsals for San Francisco Opera’s May 2010 Die Walkre. Left to right: Christian Rth (associate director), Zambello, Eva-Maria Westbroek (Sieglinde), and Nina Stemme (Brnnhilde). Photo by Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera.
When I ask Zambello why she was once called “the most controversial opera director of her generation” (Time), she laughs. “I had my share of controversy early on,” she says. “I was one of the first people ever to be booed on stage at the Met for a  production of Lucia that many people now think was genius. I think it was way ahead of its time. But I view myself as someone who’s a storyteller. I’m very much geared to the audience, especially as I’ve directed pieces with real longevity.”
In recent years she has staged the world premiere of An American Tragedy, Cyrano, and Les Troyens for the Metropolitan Opera; La Boheme at Royal Albert Hall; Carmen and Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House; and War and Peace (“a career highlight”), Billy Budd, and William Tell for the Paris Opera. She brings the same meticulous attention to Broadway and touring productions (The Little Mermaid and The Little House on the Prairie) that she gives to Wagner’s Ring, which she will stage again next spring at San Francisco Opera. When we spoke, she had just finished directing Salome at Washington National Opera, a company to which she often returns.
“In Washington,” she remarks, “you are given the time to rehearse, and [quality] only comes from proper rehearsal time, which is not about expensive technology but about people power. That’s what I try to focus on as a director, and everything I’ve done there–Salome, Porgy and Bess, the whole Ring except Gotterdammerung, Billy Budd and Fidelio–gave me what I needed. I think what people respond to are performances that are in harmony with each other, and where the sum of the parts is greater than the individual.”
One day Zambello hopes she’ll be asked to direct Der Rosenkavalier, La fanciulla del West, and Elektra, none of which she plans to produce at Glimmerglass. For now, though, she’s focusing on the needs of her new artistic home. “I’d love to get more people, even from abroad, to visit New York State–there’s so much to do and see, and people don’t really know the region. Between nature and culture, I am charmed by the amazing juxtaposition of the Alice Busch Opera Theater next to a corn field and cow pasture. We have a rural setting that was beautifully celebrated by James Fenimore Cooper.” (In fact, Glimmerglass was Cooper’s name for Otsego Lake on whose shore the opera festival takes place.)
Zambello also hopes the new Artist-in-Residence Program will attract the best young singers, and she’s pleased that Deborah Voigt has agreed to tackle this offstage role. “Many opera companies have summer programs, but I wanted to give singers the best experience they could audition for. Along with performing opportunities I wanted to offer them a leader who’d be there as a mentor. I wanted someone who had been through young artist programs (as Debbie went through the Merola Program in San Francisco and was also an Adler Fellow), so the kids will have access to hands-on knowledge. And I also wanted the artist to challenge herself or himself in some way, and do something outside their regular box.”
The Glimmerglass Festival opens July 2, 2011, and continues through August 23. Along with the productions mentioned here, Deborah Voigt will perform a special cabaret on July 29, and Nathan Gunn will give a concert on August 12. For information, contact www.Glimmerglass.org.
For further information about the director, visit www.francescazambello.com.
Follow Susan Dormady Eisenberg on Twitter:
Over a week after the 2010 election thousands of uncounted ballots continue to be sorted and verified by county clerks around Colorado. A new analysis confirms that the Colorado State House District 29 race between Democratic Representative Debbie Benefield and Republican Robert Ramirez remains “too close to call.”
Analysis of new data shows there are at least 687 uncounted ballots in the district, and only 208 votes separating the candidates. The outcome of the election will remain in doubt until Tuesday of next week.
We believe that the voters will have the final word in this election, as they should. And this election reconfirms that every vote counts. Mail-in ballots continue to be verified as election officials make sure uncounted votes are processed correctly. The data shows that Colorado State House District 29 remains too close to call.
With HD-29 undecided, control of the Colorado State House also remains undecided, with 32 Democrats and 32 Republicans currently awaiting the outcome of the HD-29 race to determine majority control over the chamber.
Some important facts include:
In the last few days, specific data from Jefferson County shows that there are 464 provisional ballots in the process of being verified that have yet to be counted.
According to Colorado Secretary of State (SOS) data, currently the statewide average of provisional ballots being verified in the 2010 election is 88%.
In addition, 223 “curable” mail-in ballots are outstanding in the district–where Jefferson County election officials asked voters to fix minor signature or identification problems before they could be officially counted.
So far, 24,778 votes have been counted in the race–with at least 687 uncounted ballots.
State statute mandate the last day for counting provisional and outstanding mail-in ballots is Tuesday, November 16th.
A statutory recount is triggered if the official tally of votes cast in a race are within 0.5% (one-half of one percent).
Follow Pat Waak on Twitter:
The Maynard Institute’s Fault Line Framework is a diversity tool that teaches people to talk to each other with the goal of understanding. Dori J. Maynard, who has been refining the framework, will write a regular feature about living on the Fault Lines. This is her first entry.
A few hours before the recent Rally to Restore Sanity, the general manager of a Hampton Inn in Washington, D.C. kicked me out of his hotel, forcing me to stand on the street to wait for my colleague in 39-degree weather.
The incident began when I arrived early for a breakfast meeting with a program officer from one of the major foundations that supports the nonprofit I run. We were in town for the Online News Association’s annual convention and wanted to catch up.
After looking around the lobby, I settled on a seat at a table where I could watch the elevators.
Right in front of me was an older white guy wearing a t-shirt with the word “eracism” emblazoned on the back. Given that the tenor of our national conversation these days has me increasingly fearful about where this country is heading, I was touched to see him making such a strong statement and got up to tell him so.
He was in town for the rally, and we discussed that and the general mood in the nation. When the conversation ran its course, I turned to return to my seat.
That’s when the general manager stopped me and asked if I was a guest at the hotel. I explained I was not but was there for a business meeting with a guest. “Ma’am, you’ll have to leave the hotel,” he said, leading me through the lobby and toward the doors.
I thought he had misunderstood, so I repeated that I was in fact there at the invitation of a hotel guest. “Ma’am, you’ll have to leave the hotel,” he repeated. Slowly, I began to realize that this was no case of “mistaken identity.”
The general manager apparently had deemed me so undesirable that he did not think I was fit to sit in the lobby of his Hampton Inn.
Somewhat disoriented, I managed to have the presence of mind to tell the front desk clerk to call my colleague and let him know that I would be unable to meet him in the lobby as planned because I was being escorted out of the hotel.
The general manager and I watched as she spoke into the phone. Clearly, I was there to meet a paying guest. But the general manager continued to repeat, “Ma’am, you’ll have to leave the hotel.”
People have asked why I did not refuse to leave and then insist that he call the police.
I think that the truth is I was blindsided.
My professional life is all about working with the news media to ensure that all segments of our society are accurately and fairly portrayed. I often speak of the corrosive effects of skewed media images on our public policy and personal lives.
As a person of color in this country, I have many times felt as if I am under greater scrutiny, so I compensate and arm myself as best I can. I consciously try to act in a way that reassures those around me.
Taking a cue from my father, I try to dress as well as possible, almost as if I’m sending up a silent prayer that if I look like this, maybe you won’t treat me like that.
But walking into a hotel lobby for a business meeting is such a mundane and common occurrence in my life that it never dawned on me to be on guard.
It wasn’t only the manager who blindsided me. Equally shocking was my own reaction.
We have programs that teach people how to talk across difference, including not internalizing another person’s negative reaction. Intellectually, I knew this had nothing to do with me. Yet all I felt was shame.
Henry Louis Gates Jr., was roundly criticized for screaming “you don’t know who you’re messing with,” according to a police report, as the Cambridge cop arrested him in his own home.
I wanted to shout the same thing, not as an arrogant assertion of my authority but as an anguished cry for recognition of our shared humanity.
“You don’t know who I am. I could be your mother, your sister, your cousin or your aunt. I am a fellow human, not something to be discarded on the street.”
I said none of that.
The closest I came was, “Why are you doing this to me? You know I am meeting someone here.” Even I could hear the weakness in my voice, further deepening my sense of humiliation. That was the only time the general manager deviated from his script, saying, “We have to protect our other guests. Ma’am, you’ll have to leave the hotel.”
I made one more lame attempt to assert myself and asked for his name. He thrust his card at me, opened the front door of the hotel and ushered me into the cold. The card identified him as Joseph Galvan, General Manager of Hampton Inn Washington DC Convention Center.
Stunned, I stood shivering on the street wondering what the heck had just happened to me.
People have asked me whether I want Galvan fired. The truth is I don’t want him ever to do this to someone else, particularly someone younger and truly vulnerable. But firing him won’t solve the problem.
As I pointed out after NPR recently fired Juan Williams, just because you shut someone down doesn’t mean you’ve lifted up the issue.
Our Fault Lines framework teaches that it will be very difficult for us to reach common ground until we learn to have the difficult conversations around charged issues. That’s what I would like to see happen this time.
I would like to sit down and have a conversation with the general manager and his colleagues. I want to know what and who he saw when he looked at me in the lobby of his hotel. I want to discuss his underlying assumptions and how he came to them.
After hearing about what had happened to me, my cousin Peter looked up the company on the Internet and learned that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had sued one of its Indianapolis properties about a month ago. I’d like to talk to company representatives and learn what happened and what they think about both of these incidents. I’d also like to know what the company’s guidelines are for escorting people out of the lobby.
This is what we teach and preach in our media work because we don’t think we have a chance to restore our national sanity if we can’t even determine how to have a civil conversation with each other.
Originally posted at The Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.
Follow Dori J. Maynard on Twitter:
It’s January of 2009 and Bruce Schoenfeld, the relentlessly truth-seeking Travel and Leisure wine writer, calls to ask if I would be in Mendoza for Harvest.
“I’m mostly writing a piece on Salta, but I’d like to drop by Catena and ask you about the current state of Argentine wine,” he says.
I was already planning a trip north to check out some Torronts vineyards, so the timing was perfect. Bruce joins myself and Fernando Buscema, Research Director for the Catena Family Vineyards, and we embark on a journey from Mendoza to Salta. At the Mendoza airport, we run into Cecilia Diaz Chuit, owner of the most romantic luxury cabins in the world, Cavas Wine Lodge in Agrelo, Mendoza. With Cecilia in tow, we have our fourth and final passenger.
We rotate seats throughout the 14-hour voyage, depending on who can best tolerate hyper extending the neck to listen in on back seat conversation.
“I am interested in Salta because it hasn’t been discovered yet,” says Bruce.
“What do you mean Bruce? All I see here are dirt roads, gigantic trees, wild horses, orchards and little adobe houses with clothes hanging on a line,” says Cecilia, with an immediate rebuttal. “And we are in Mendoza; there are no shopping centers, no supermarkets – just the Andes and the vineyards!”
We head up north through San Juan (Argentina’s second most important wine producing province, after Mendoza) into the town of Chilecito, La Rioja (Argentina has a wine producing region with the same name as the region in Spain). Families on mopeds rule the streets of colonial Chilecito. Our 1998 Jeep seems oddly modern and out of place.
Lunch in Chilecito is a huge platter of meat with chorizo (Argentine sausage), lomo (filet mignon) and rib eye steak with French fries on the side. Argentine fries are made in a thin and crispy style and fried with lard. We make the mistake of starting with deliciously juicy meat empanadas (turnovers filled with chunks of meat) and at the end of the meal we feel full — too full.
Fernando is driving. Though he says he’s not tired, we make him drink a double espresso anyway. Bruce, Cecilia and I open a bottle of 2002 CARO Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon from my family’s partnership with Domaines Barons de Rothschild [Lafite]. The wine is still very youthful, with delicate aromas of cassis and tobacco. It is both grainy and velvety. The flavor lasts through our flan with dulce de leche (milk caramel) dessert.
Bruce and I do some stretching exercises in the restaurant’s backyard. He’s recovering from a knee injury, and that is where the real bonding begins. You see, I’m a doctor, and when the doctor in me is called to duty, I feel the overwhelming need to heal. The Mendoza vs. Salta debate is out the window. Of course, Bruce does not agree with my stretching advice, but I don’t mind, because he is the patient. As I like to teach the emergency medicine residents at UCSF, the patient is always right.
We continue north through Catamarca province on long stretches of two-lane asphalt, with brush and desert on each side. At times, we catch a glimpse of the mountains to the west. Bruce insists on paying his portion of the gas, the meals, everything. Lest his impeccable journalist reputation be tarnished by our influence.
We cross the Bienvenidos a Salta (Welcome to Salta) sign and head into the quaint Spanish colonial town of Cafayate, the cradle of Argentine Torronts. We are staying at the luxed-up Postales del Plata hotel, the refurbished home of the very aristocratic Michel Torino family turned Starwood resort.
There are heavy, engraved wooden closets and Spanish tiles everywhere. We are the only guests at dinner. Bruce doesn’t like the salad, and, for once, I agree with him. The humitas (corn mush seasoned with onions and spices and baked in its husk) save the day.
We drink Alamos Torrontes from Salta and Bruce smiles. I can see that he is thinking, “[This is] more proof of the riches of Salta.” Torronts, Argentina’s only native white varietal, makes a very aromatic and mineral white wine that grows best in the province of Salta.
We move on to an old vintage of Nicolas Catena Zapata. Cecilia and I look at each other. I can tell by the way she swallows the wine, slowly so that you can see her Adam’s apple stand still for a few seconds, that she is as inspired by it as I am. Finally, Bruce puts the salad aside and tastes the wine.
“What is the vintage, Laura?” Bruce asks.
We talk about the 1999 vintage, and all three of us realize that this trip is not about Malbec vs. Torrontes, Mendoza vs. Salta, but that it is about experiencing the richness of life and the gift of wine, food and good conversation.
Now, every time I drink Torronts, I think of Cecilia and Bruce and of the irrefutable truth that Malbec is from Mendoza and Torrontes is from Salta. Salud!
Vino Argentino, Argentina’s first US-published wine country guide by Laura Catena can be found in bookstores throughout the USA and UK, Amazon.com and will soon be on Amazon’s Kindle.
The Alamos portfolio of wines (which includes Torrontes, Chardonnay, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon) is available at retailers nationwide at a suggested retail price of $13 per 750ml bottle.
Follow Laura Catena on Twitter:
As our country pauses today to honor the heroism of veterans past and present, we must also take time to focus on our veterans’ futures. We’ve heard a lot lately about the battles our servicemen and women, especially our most recent veterans, face once they return home from active duty and rejoin civilian life.
These battles have resulted in rising rates of depression, substance abuse, and even suicide. For many veterans, such problems are rooted in the simple struggle to find a job once they leave the service, a struggle that can make an already difficult transition seem insurmountable.
One of those people is Brian Addison, who spent more than ten years as an MP in the Army, but found himself unprepared for the new challenges he faced upon returning home.
“I learned a lot of things and did a lot of things in the military,” says Brian. “Several deployments made me face difficult situations, but it didn’t prepare me for the civilian world and the challenges I would face there.”
Shortly after leaving the military, Brian began using drugs and alcohol, hoping to avoid his pervasive feelings of doubt, displacement and anger. Although he found several job opportunities in the restaurant industry, he was unable to hold them down. Knowing he needed a change, Brian went back to school, and for a while made some real progress, graduating from Columbus State University and then starting law school. But substance abuse increasingly took over his life, and he left law school after just a year. His marriage fell apart and in 2009 he was arrested for drug possession. Homeless, save for a sister who was kind enough to take him in, Brian felt a lifetime removed from his decade of proud Army service.
“I was unemployable, and very well defeated and unable to do pretty much anything,” said Brian. “Even though I had 10 years of military experience, three deployments, a bachelor’s degree and was married with two kids.”
It wasn’t until he hit rock bottom that Brian found out about a program at Goodwill Industries of Southern Rivers that helps prepare veterans for the myriad challenges of post-service life. Brian joined the program, and Goodwill counselors worked with him on everything from restoring the basic people skills that had declined during his battles with drugs and depression, to developing job interview tactics and specific workplace skills.
Upon graduating from the Goodwill program, Brian landed a part-time job in the accounts payable department of an independent living facility. After being there for just a month, he was offered a full-time position as an occupancy specialist. Today, Brian’s life is back on track. He is sober and focused on being a good dad and productive worker.
Unfortunately, there are too many cases of veterans like Brian who never get the help they need, be it substance abuse treatment, a mental health diagnosis, housing assistance, or just the opportunity to learn new skills that will help them find a job.
At Goodwill, we work with veterans like Brian every day, helping them put their lives back on track and re-enter the workforce. In 2009, nearly 2 million people in the United States and Canada were served through Goodwill’s career services programs, including seniors, veterans, immigrants, people with disabilities, those with criminal backgrounds, and others facing challenges to finding employment. Out of the nearly 2 million people served last year, 21,873 of those individuals had documented veteran status. In 2008, this number was only 12,524.
Take a minute to listen to Brian’s story in his own words. Each week, you can hear another story from someone who has been able to get their life back on track via the My Story podcast, also available for free through the iTunes store.
This Veterans Day, as you remember the heroic service of our men and women in uniform, please take a moment to think about the battles they face when they get home. If you are a veteran and are in need of job training or employment assistance, or if you know of someone who is, contact the Goodwill in your community and ask for an employment specialist.
Follow Jim Gibbons on Twitter:
As it happens, a lot. And a lot more than just money, especially when (as in our case) the effort involves a massive, rapid transformation of public education. As co-founder and CEO of Rocketship Education, I just had the privilege of accepting the prestigious McNulty Prize, awarded by the Aspen Institute and the McNulty Foundation. This prize means big things to Rocketship, and I’m proud and excited by the opportunities it confers.
Rocketship is a network of K-5 charter schools whose mission is to eliminate the achievement gap, and we’re not content to let change happen slowly. Today, we have three flourishing schools in San Jose, California; in just five years, we intend to increase that number to 30 schools, and in 10 years, we will have built out a national network of hundreds of successful schools.
So how does the McNulty Prize support Rocketship’s vision? Perfectly. John McNulty, in whose name, memory and honor the Prize is awarded, was a bold, passionate man with big ideas and a limitless capacity to challenge the status quo in order to make big things happen. When I co-founded Rocketship in 2005, we had a bold dream: to eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetimes. With 13,000 failing public schools in our country, that might seem daunting to some, but my co-founder Preston Smith and I relished the challenge. We knew we needed to up-end the status quo — miserably underfunded schools, a dearth of talented teachers, and a depressing flow of undereducated children with no prospects for earning living wages.
Fortunately, big challenges can catalyze game-changing ideas, and that’s how we created the Hybrid School Model, a novel approach to augmenting outstanding teaching with tutors and technology, to meet the specific needs of each and every student.
Rocketship’s hybrid school model combines individualized instruction in our Learning Lab with outstanding classroom teaching. Learning Lab uses tutors and technology to go deep on each child’s individual needs and is the primary driver of basic skills mastery at Rocketship. This frees up teachers’ classroom time to do project-based learning, and teaching critical thinking skills that are so essential for college and the workplace.
The hybrid school model works really well. Rocketship’s students (90 percent low income, and often coming from families where English is the second language), are outperforming their peers. Last year, Rocketship students scored as high on achievement tests as the much wealthier Palo Alto Unified School District. Not bad.
And, just as important, Rocketship’s hybrid model is very financially efficient. By using non-certified staff in Learning Lab, we hire fewer teachers overall. Rocketship is able to reinvest nearly $500,000 in annual savings from hiring fewer teachers right back into improving the quality of our schools, including Academic Deans, Leadership Development, and higher teacher salaries (20 percent above surrounding districts). It also lets us open new schools without the need for philanthropy.
That’s where the importance of scale comes in. This would all be great, but remember those 13,000 failing schools? That’s why scaling rapidly is essential. Aside from philanthropic funding to build our central office capacity and expansion to new cities, Rocketship schools do not need any additional financial support. This financial efficiency has given us the capacity for 60 percent annual growth, and over the next 10 years we hope to expand to 50 cities across the country. Rocketship’s model is based on scale.Once Rocketship opens its first school in a city, we can open new schools to meet whatever the parent demand is.If you saw the movie, Waiting for ‘Superman’, you saw those terrible waiting lists and lotteries. Rocketship was designed explicitly to solve this problem.We open schools quickly enough that we never build up wait lists and every parent who wants to send their child to a great school can.In San Jose for example, there are 30 failing elementary schools.We plan to open 30 Rocketship schools over the next decade as part of San Jose’s SJ2020 plan to be the first city in the country to eliminate the achievement gap.
So back to McNulty and Aspen — the immense privilege of winning this prize gives Rocketship the ability to advocate for our students, and to drive big changes — rapidly. It drives public awareness of Rocketship and our students’ accomplishments. It opens important doors for Rocketship — doors that enable us to meet and interact with thoughtful change-makers. And when people become aware of the work we are doing, and of the amazing and wonderful things we can expect from our students, they usually get very excited. We are especially inspired by our champions in many city across the country who are making a concerted effort to bring Rocketship to their city. We know that the achievement gap can be eliminated in our lifetimes, but it will take all of us working together.
Starting with extensive data, which showed that Americans began to change their borrow-and-spend ways long before the start of the crisis, we — as authors of Spend Shift — set off across the country to find people who were reinventing their lives in the wake of the “Great Recession.” The stories we gleaned help us see how the crisis has rearranged our priorities, awakened our creativity, and reconnected us to the people and things that really matter. The faces of the Spend Shift suggest that the consumer is adaptable, business is adaptable, and the future is not as dim as it appears.
Torya Blanchard, Detroit. Owner, Good Girls Go to Paris
1 of 16
States Where Food Stamp Usage Is Soaring (PHOTOS)
8 Ways To Bootstrap A Business Without Going To A Bank
Where Unemployment Has Been Growing The Fastest (PHOTOS)
NerdWallet’s Top 5 Credit Card Sign-up Offers, Fall 2010
NerdWallet’s Top 5 Low APR Credit Cards, Fall 2010 Edition
10 Travel Tips for Business Travelers
With low cost loans from the non-profit University Cultural Center Association, Torya Blanchard opened a tiny crepe restaurant to share her love of all things French with her hometown, Detroit. Serving low-cost but high quality meals Good Girls Go to Paris quickly became profitable. The shop also provides jobs and a light of hope in a city where shuttered shops outnumber those that are occupied.
Total comments: 1 | Post a Comment
Rate This Slide
Rank #2 | Average: 8.6
Current Top 5 Slides
Choose your Top 5 Slides
| Become a fan
Picked These as the Top 5 Slides in the Slideshow
Top User Slides
| Become a fan
Picked These as the Top 5 Slides in the Slideshow
Users who voted on this slide
Given his anti-trust case load at Justice, Joel Klein’s appointment as NYC Chancellor was one of the strangest days of my life. But (long story short) we were working together a few months later to support the development of new schools.
Klein proved to be America’s best example of an urban system head committed to ‘the good school promise.’ Joel had the courage to close struggling schools and open new schools (and the good fortune to work for a mayor that supported him). Tweed (NYC DOE office) buzzed with smart young people trying to keep up with Klein’s relentless pace.
With a charter cap in place, Klein’s team took advantage of the capacity community groups to help develop new schools. New Visions for Public Schools flourished as the nation’s leading intermediary. Urban Assembly, Good Sheppard, Expeditionary Learning, and others developed networks of good new high schools and boosting the cities graduation rate.
Joel fought for and won the right to open more charters and took full advantage–Village Academy, Success Network, and Achievement First developed some of America’s best elementary schools in high needs neighborhoods. Klein’s portfolio approach leveraged mass transit and traded bad seats for good seats as fast as city and state politics would allow.
Each year in office, Joel became a more powerful advocate for children. In clear and compelling terms, he became America’s leading reform advocate. Recognizing the importance of mobilizing underserved communities, Joel founded Education Equality Project, a leading gap-closing advocacy organization (now co-chaired by Michael Lomas and Janet Murguia).
One of the most important developments in education in the last decade, School of One, was piloted in NYC because Joel made room for innovation. The NYC iSchool would not have been approved as a charter, but Joel backed the innovative high school destined to be one of the city’s finest.
While some argued with his tactics, it was hard to argue with his motives. Joel put the kids of NYC first. And they were fortunate–we were all fortunate–to have him there for most of a decade.
Follow Tom Vander Ark on Twitter:
The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
That was the moment at which World War I largely came to end in 1918. One of the most tragically senseless and destructive periods in all history came to a close in Western Europe with the Armistice — or end of hostilities between Germany and the Allied nations — that began at that moment. Some 20 million people had died in the fighting that raged for more than four years since August 1914. The complete end of the war came with the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919.
The date of Nov. 11 became a national holiday of remembrance in many of the victorious allied nations — a day to commemorate the loss of so many lives in the war. And in the United States, President Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919. A few years later, in 1926, Congress passed a resolution calling on the President to observe each November eleventh as a day of remembrance:
Of course, the hopes that “the war to end all wars” would bring peace were short-lived. By 1939, Europe was again at war and what was once called “the Great War” would become World War I. With the end of World War II, there was a movement in America to rename Armistice Day and create a holiday that recognized the veterans of all of America’s conflicts. President Eisenhower signed that law in 1954. (In 1971, Veterans Day began to be marked as a Monday holiday on the third Monday in November, but in 1978, the holiday was returned to the traditional Nov. 11 date).
Today, Veterans Day honors the duty, sacrifice and service of America’s nearly 25 million veterans of all wars. We should remember and celebrate those men and women. But lost in that worthy goal is the forgotten meaning of this day in history — the meaning which Congress gave to Armistice Day in 1926: “to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations … inviting the people of the United States to observe the day … with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.”
The Veterans Administration website offers more resources on teaching about Veterans Day.
This Blogger’s Books from
Don’t Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned (Don’t Know Much About…)
by Kenneth C. Davis
America’s Hidden History: Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims, Fighting Women, and Forgotten Founders Who Shaped a Nation
by Kenneth C. Davis
Follow Kenneth C. Davis on Twitter:
In North America the media’s coverage of climate change, and its perpetuation of the nonsensical debate between believers and deniers, has taken center stage. But we would do well to remember that this debate is largely irrelevant in countries being hit by the first wave of climate change. Saleemul Huq, who was based in London before returning to Bangladesh earlier this year to lead an institute for climate adaptation, recently told me that from where he sits in Bangladesh, one of the poorest and most vulnerable countries to climate change impacts, “climategate” and other coverage of climate change denying media have absolutely no resonance.
“Doing something about it” would require that developed countries collectively reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2020 (below 1990 levels) and provide sufficient short and long term finance for developing countries to both help them mitigate their own emissions and adapt to a monumental problem not of their making.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon tried to do his part by kick-starting a process to identify new and innovative sources of finance. He established an advisory group of economic experts, and their report came out last week. The good news is, as two of its members Trevor Manuel and Nicholas Stern commented in The Guardian this week, “The group’s report concluded that the goal of raising $100bn a year for developing countries is feasible if the political will is there.”
Looking at this report through the adaptation lens, however, here is what Saleem had to say:
While the advisory group focused primarily on long-term strategies, short-term finance — one of the most important commitments made by governments last year in Copenhagen — started to flow.
Looking at the commitments so far through an adaptation lens, however, is more like looking into a mirror in a carnival fun house — the image is so twisted and distorted that if it weren’t so sad it would be comical. According to a recent report by the World Development Movement:
..of the money committed so far, 42 per cent is to be given to the World Bank, 47 per cent is to be given to programmes which will give loans, and less than 1 per cent is to be given to the UN Adaptation Fund.
Loans? For adaptation? Isn’t that a bit like burning down your neighbor’s house and then lending him the money to rebuild it? Perhaps it’s this lack of accountability on the part of the developed world that explains a bizarre finding in a survey earlier this year which shows that most Africans blame themselves for climate change despite being responsible for only 4% of global emissions.
Development organizations such as Oxfam are calling on governments to establish a new climate fund in Cancun:
We need governments… to establish a ‘one-stop shop’ fund that will see climate finance distributed efficiently, transparently and based on the needs of the poor people receiving it.
The other adaptation litmus test for governments in Cancun will be whether they face up to the fact that there will be unavoidable significant loss and damage as a result of climate change and establish a solid institutional foundation for dealing with it.
Looking at climate change through the adaptation lens also can and should be empowering.
For those in the richest countries, it should provide a powerful moral and emotional incentive — it’s about doing the right thing. Adaptation projects help improve the livelihoods of poor communities. And for those motivated by less noble considerations, investing in adaptation at home and abroad makes good economic sense. It helps prevent future disasters that will ultimately come home to roost. Pay now, or pay much more later.
For those in vulnerable developing countries, there are inspiring leaders who couple their call for support with demonstrated action of their own. Just this week, vulnerable countries came together in the small island nation of Kiribati to discuss how to get out in front of these issues.
The Maldives, for example, has had to relocate people from 16 islands due to coastal erosion and salt water intrusion to freshwater supplies. But it’s not waiting on an international climate deal before taking action, pledging to go carbon neutral by 2020 — and in the long run saving money to boot. As President Nasheed noted in a recent interview with the Washington Post,
We need to act now. I know the Maldives going carbon neutral is not going to change the world. It will save us a whole lot of foreign currency [which we spend buying fossil fuels from other countries.] … We believe it is possible to find a low-carbon development strategy that can be mapped in a way to other developing countries. It is not too late to mend our ways.
The efforts of individuals like President Nasheed should be a moral wake up call for leaders in the developed world. If a country that bears no blame for the climate crisis can take decisive action to mitigate its impacts, where does our duty lie?
My journey to Cape Town, South Africa, to attend the Microsoft Worldwide Innovative Education Forum as an innovative teacher representing the United States gave me plenty of time for reflection. Thirty-one hours of travel time to be exact! If you had told me a year ago that I would be sitting in the airport in Washington, DC, waiting to board a plane to South Africa, I would have said you were crazy! But, here I am and it occurs to me that it was always a possibility, as are all the events of our lives, dependent on actions, decisions, and choices made every day by each and every one of us. This, sure to be one of the highlights of my life on this earth, came to be because of choices I made in my life. I chose to change careers late in my life and complete the teaching degree that I had left behind with an early marriage. I chose to devote a great deal of time teaching myself how to use technology. I chose to spend personal time creating online experiences for my students. I chose to be friends with Rawya Shatila from Beirut, Lebanon, and become involved in activities that were challenging, but rewarding.
The wonder of technology has always fascinated me. I often think of all the signals in the air sending cell phone calls, e-mails, text messages, video conferences and media here, there and everywhere each and every second. I don’t have any idea how it works but I like to imagine it in the air around me! With the appropriate device I can capture those signals to send and receive communications. There are opportunities around us every moment as well. As a teacher, I spend a tremendous amount of time planning and preparing to teach young children about academics and the world. Taking time to explore the opportunities is often difficult and time-consuming. But… if I had decided searching for an epal was too much work… if I had decided not to participate in projects with Rawya… if I had viewed filling out applications for contests as being too time-consuming… if I had made some simple choices rather than the more difficult ones, I would not be sitting here. Ironically, the more tough tasks I took on, the easier they became, and the rewards are amazing.
I recently realized that my responsibility for finding opportunities and possibilities does not end with myself. Perhaps my greatest task is opening the world of opportunity and possibility to my young students. I want them to see the rewards of choosing the tough road rather than always the easy way. I want them to see that hard work pays off and can take them places they have only dreamed of. I want to inspire my children and my co-workers to open their minds and hearts to the opportunities that abound.
I saw the world out the window differently. In the past, looking from the window of an airplane I have always focused on looking down. Tiny farm lands, forests, and lakes have captured my eye and I have marveled at how they look from the eye of a bird! This time, I found my eyes looking outward instead, to the horizon. Suddenly, it wasn’t what I could see below me that caught my interest, it was instead what I couldn’t see. I could imagine the curve of this great planet below me and the land that was below the horizon. Instead of the world seeming smaller, it was suddenly gigantic and I realized for the first time what a tiny portion of it I have seen and experienced. I am filled with awe at the realization that I am traveling halfway around the planet to places I have only dreamed of.
In the Grand Junction airport, a man saw my passport and asked me where I was going. As I told him about my trip, he shook my hand, congratulated me, thanked me for being an educator, and then he laughed. He remarked that the people at the forum would not realize how amazing it was that the teacher representing the United States of America at the Worldwide forum comes from tiny Craig, Colorado! I had to laugh as well. It is amazing and that is the miracle of networking on the Internet. We all come from the world and that is all that really matters. This is the opportunity of a lifetime. I am humbled by the possibility.
Follow Cheryl Arnett on Twitter:
On my recent trip to France and Switzerland, I did a great deal of driving, easily more than 1,500 miles stretching from Zurich to Lyon to Champagne to Alsace to Jura. As my wife and I plotted out how to find each destination, not always easy with a GPS prone to sending us off through vineyards or up foggy mountain roads, I found myself gravitating away from highways and onto the local routes whenever possible. Why? I wanted to see the character of where I was rather than endless highways and assorted rest stops.
Driving in Europe is a decidedly different experience than driving in the U.S. and each country has its own peculiarities, from road signs to toll systems. Places like Ireland and Poland have very little in the way of modern highways, forcing you to experience the countryside, but in much of the rest of Europe, modern expressways allow you to skip the small towns in favor of a quick ride between major population centers. For seasoned travelers, that kind of driving is a lost opportunity to see a country.
There’s undoubtedly something to driving through open countryside past rolling pastures and vineyards, only to hit the brakes in time to crawl through a medieval village. Some places are so small, you barely have time to slow down before you see the next sign with the town’s name slashed through, allowing you to hit the gas and watch the cows become a blur. Other towns meander, the roads getting progressively narrower as you pass a square or the village church. Eventually you reach a place where the path — yes, it’s a former path now paved — barely allows one vehicle to squeeze between buildings. I both relished and feared these challenges, all the while silently hoping no one would approach until the road widened again. Of course, the appearance of a truck changes things. The first rule of driving is if something is bigger than you, move over. And sometimes in a town, there may be nowhere to go but reverse.
Country roads offer their own challenges, sometimes narrowing to a single lane, suddenly turning to gravel or becoming clogged with herds of animals. Years ago, before I gathered the courage to drive in England, I was driven through Wales by some friends. On either side of the road, itself wide enough for only one and a half cars, were high stone walls. Somehow when a car appeared around a bend, there was always a small pull-off where we could slip past each other. On my trip, there were no stone walls but sometimes steep drop-offs leading to a valley far below. I’d be sailing along a winding road only to hit the brakes and downshift as a car rounded the bend coming the other way. In those instances, I chose not to look down.
My most exhilarating experience came on a one lane “National Road” in the middle of Champagne. The sky was ominous, though no rain had yet fallen, and a line of cars built up behind a group of three trucks. One, the slowest, carried a large assortment of stacked water bottles and I could easily imagine a scene out of a bad Hollywood movie with plastic bottles bouncing off every surface as cars careened out of the way. That day I wasn’t feeling aggressive and marveled as several cars behind me began to poke out into the oncoming lane, feeling out the distance and whether they could overtake the truck ahead of me before an oncoming vehicle approached. Then they began to move, almost like prizefighters, bobbing and weaving with fluidity, first past me, then in between the trucks ahead. Finally, my adrenaline starting to surge, I bounced out of line too and hit the gas. Quickly I was past the first truck. Then the highway section began and I zipped past the remaining trucks, now occupying the slow lane. Sometimes you need a little highway after all.
But in the countryside you can only drive fast in short bursts and highways often narrow back to one lane roads. Then you crawl along looking at 17th century stone houses or admire the herd of imposing cows being shuttled across the road. Those are the charms of rural Europe and something I wouldn’t care to miss whenever I drive on the Continent.
Follow Michael Tulipan on Twitter:
Crossposted with www.TheGreenGrok.com.According to a new report: We need to put a carbon price on oil to keep the price of oil down.You know how the climate-denier politicians love to warn the public that any climate legislation will increase energy costs and destroy our economy? A recent report pokes some holes in that reasoning. The authors of the report? None other than the International Energy Agency or IEA.
The IEA is an intergovernmental organization originally set up to provide energy analysis to its 28 member governments in the wake of the 1973-74 oil crisis. One of its main tasks is to produce an annual report on the state of global energy — it’s called the World Energy Outlook. If you’re an energy wonk, and who isn’t these days, it’s pretty heady stuff, filled with cool facts and figures about what has happened and predictions based on economic and energy models about what is likely to happen.
The IEA has always been focused on fossil fuels. Two of its founding objectives were to:
“maintain and improve systems for coping with oil supply disruptions,” and”operate a permanent information system on the international oil market.”
And even though its mandate included “improv[ing] the world’s energy supply and demand structure by developing alternative energy sources and increasing the efficiency of energy use,” the IEA’s reports tended to focus on fossil fuels while largely marginalizing the role of renewable energy. But that has changed.
IEA Jumps on the ‘Peak Oil’ Wagon in 2008
IEA’s about-face began two years ago when, in a departure from its typically confident projections for petroleum supply, the organization reported that fields were declining at double the rate of earlier projections and projected that conventional oil would peak in 2030. Previously, the idea that oil supplies might one day peak had been “dismissed,” to quote one reporter referring to IEA’s 2005 report. The IEA’s executive director even went on record referring to those concerned about peak oil as “doomsayers.” Not so anymore … especially for petroleum — the scarcest of fossil fuels. By some reports it took a whistle-blower at the IEA to get the agency to fess up about impending oil shortages. But that was a couple of years ago. Flash forward to 2010.
IEA Bids Farewell to Cheap Oil This Year
IEA’s three-volume, 700-plus-page outlook for 2010 is hot off the presses, and one of its major conclusions [pdf], once again, is that the age of cheap oil is behind us. It’s a perfect storm headed our way — a steady rise in global demand for oil crashing up against an increasingly limited supply of economically recoverable oil. By 2035, the group projects, demand for oil will increase from about 84 million [xls] to 107 million barrels per day, and prices will rise to $135 per barrel — a range we painfully visited briefly during the spring and early summer of 2008. (The current price of oil is about $80 a barrel.)
But There Is a Potential, if Surprising, Fix
That’s definitely going to put a sizable dent in our wallets and end up sending a lot of dollars to foreign shores. But the IEA points out that there is one way to get off the oil-price roller coaster. If we enacted policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (and promote renewable energy), demand could be as much as 10 percent less, a prospect that would in turn reduce each barrel of oil by about $20 in 2035.
The bottom line is that alternatives to fossil fuels are needed to rein in their prices and ease supply constraints while they are a dominant player on the world stage, and economists tell us that the most effective way to get there is to put a price on carbon.
It’s kind of odd, but it could turn out that the best way for us to save money in the long run is to put a price on carbon and thus discourage people from consuming so much gasoline and driving the price up.
Now, I realize that this might upset the anti-cappers and anti-carbon taxers, but, hey, don’t blame me — I’m just the messenger.
Follow Bill Chameides on Twitter:
Passengers said they had endured limited amounts of food and backed-up toilets during the three nights they spent adrift in the Pacific Ocean.
The Carnival Splendor was 200 miles (310km) from San Diego when the fire broke out in its engine room on Monday.
“I love being back on land,” passenger Ken King told the Associated Press.
The 952ft (290m) ship, which is owned by Carnival Cruise Lines, was pulled into San Diego Bay at around 0830 local time by six tugboats and escorted by several Coast Guard vessels.
Individuals on the ship and about 100 people onshore cheered loudly as the Carnival Splendor reached land.
By mid-afternoon on Thursday, about 2,500 passengers had disembarked the ship, which a Carnival Cruise Lines official said was better than anticipated.
The evacuation of the passengers and crew was slowed by disabled elevators.
“The staff was excellent. Only a few people on board were rude. The food was horrible. Starting at 5am on Monday, we didn't have toilets for 13 hours,” Mr King said.
Anyone who watches Food Network Challenge knows that judge Kerry Vincent isn’t easily impressed. To me, that’s what makes her so impressive. Though she’s been called “the Simon Cowell of cake” and “the dominatrix of decorating,” when I spoke with Kerry Vincent in a phone interview, I didn’t come away with the impression of a villain.
Kerry didn’t just land on Food Network Challenge, she was invited to be a judge when the show first went into production in 2003. The author of “Romantic Wedding Cakes”, she has 25 years of sugar art experience–and a 15 year undefeated record on the international competition circuit. She also invented two decorating techniques–Vincent Marquetry and pleating rolled fondant.
Kerry Vincent with one of her cakes. (Courtesy of Kerry Vincent)
Kerry Vincent was born in hard times, in the Australian Outback, in a town called Wyalkatchem (pronounce that!). Raised among sheep shearers, from age 6 she was helping out her mother who fed the hungry shearers three meals a day, plus two tea times. Of course, she made the sponge cakes. “I wasn’t cut any slack when I was young, we all had to pitch in,” said Kerry. “I was a war baby and I had it rough, but I’m glad. I learned how to stand on my own two feet.”
Viewers of Food Network Challenge might not realize that Vincent didn’t go straight into decorating in adulthood. She was a beauty queen and fashion model first, then pursued a career in PR and Marketing. At age 28, she up and moved to London, via boat to Singapore.
“I arrived in London with not a friend or contact. I stood there in Heathrow and thought Ok here I am, now what do I do?”
In the 1960s, Kerry before cake. (Courtesy of Kerry Vincent)
With a sense of adventure that stems from growing up in the Outback, Kerry spent five years living in London and traveling throughout Europe, where she met her American husband Doug. The couple moved in high society and diplomatic circles, where Kerry became known as “the hostess with the mostest.”
“We did a lot of entertaining, but unlike the other wives, I actually did all the cooking myself. So I got a reputation for not only throwing a great party, but actually make all the food… and the desserts. I specialized in desserts because that was my favorite part.”
Kerry began taking cooking classes wherever and whenever she could, including Le Cordon Bleu in London. But it was in Zurich that she had an epiphany. “I fell in love with the art of decorating when I walked into my first chocolate shop in Zurich and saw all of these gorgeous decorations and displays for Valentine’s Day,” said Vincent. “Then the next thing was to see if I could do it myself!”
Professional cakes came later in life for Kerry, and quite by chance, when she and her American husband moved to the U.S. “As an ex-patriot, the first thing you do is go out and look for a home. So while Doug was working, I was trying to find a place with the help of one of his colleague’s wives.”
It turned out that new friend was planning her son’s wedding, and she needed a cake. She begged Kerry to make it, and although Kerry knew she could do the cake part no problem, she didn’t know how to work with fondant or gum paste. “Then I realized that while we’d been doing fondant and gum paste in Australia for three generations, in America it was all butter cream. So I thought, Well I could do that!”
Kerry had a crash course in piping butter cream roses at a local cake shop, elbows on the counter with the owner of the shop, practicing with cream cheese and pastry bags.
Her cake was a huge hit. Not only was it beautiful, but the butter cream she made was the best anyone had ever had. “I didn’t know Americans were making butter cream out of Crisco, and I used real butter of course, so everyone loved it.” (Butter cream with Crisco?? Glad we’re over that phase in American dessert history!)
Word of the cake spread like wild fire, and the calls started pouring in for her to make more cakes. But she told everyone it was a one off thing, that cakes weren’t her profession. Then, when Kerry was on holiday, she had a thought. “Everyone in America was doing butter cream wedding cakes, so if I could decorate with fondant and gum paste, then maybe I could carve out a niche for myself.” So she bought an armful of books and taught herself how to do it. The rest is herstory.
Detail of Kerry Vincent cake and roses. (Courtesy of Kerry Vincent)
Kerry Vincent has judged over 100 Food Network Challenges. She’s the founder of the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show, the country’s largest competition of its kind. “Eighteen years ago,” said Kerry, “I thought the heartland needed a competition because everything was happening in New York City or on the West Coast.”
But most of us know Kerry from The Food Network, where she’s earned a reputation as the toughest judge. “To me, competition is the most important thing for anyone who wants to be great at what they do. You need practice and competition.”
Although she’s been branded as the “mean judge” by many a losing competitor and viewer–she even gets hate email–Kerry says, “There’s a big difference between mean and constructive criticism. Constructive criticism helps people improve their work, being mean is personal. I’m never personal, I judge what’s put on the table and hope people will learn from it.”
Kerry muppetized in cake. (Courtesy of Kerry Vincent)
One competitor in particular seems to have it in for Vincent, Stevie Famulari. I’ve seen every Challenge with Stevie, and she always tries to ruffle Kerry’s feathers. “Stevie tries to upset me. The rivalry is real on her side… she definitely does not love me.”
In one Challenge Kerry was the surprise client and the competitors had to make her birthday cake–an idea Kerry herself came up with when one competitor cried and complained so much about her judging that Kerry walked off the set. Stevie lit Kerry’s birthday cake on fire in an attempt at pyrotechnics, and the creation welded itself to the stainless steel table. The crew moved it out to the dumpster–table and all–and the next day when Kerry drove onto the set, she nearly fell out of her car laughing. “We’d had a good snow overnight, and there was Stevie’s cake all covered in snow, and it was the prettiest I’d ever seen it! I called my husband and said I finally have a beautiful birthday cake from Stevie!”
Not only branded as the villain on Challenge, Kerry Vincent is also known for her trademark head bands–something she says she doesn’t often wear off camera. She only took up the head band after she cut off her butt-length hair a couple of decades ago. “My husband and I go to a lot of black tie functions, and I just thought I needed something to dress up my sporty short hair.” But when she showed up on the set a couple times without the head band, her producer asked if she had one in her bag. When she replied yes, he said Good, don’t ever show up without one.
Induction into The Hall of Fame for Sugar Artists (Courtesy of Kerry Vincent)
Today Food Network Challenge is seen around the globe and dubbed for foreign audiences. Despite Food Network Challenge being on someone’s television at any given point in dozens of countries, as well as being a launching pad for stardom (like Buddy Valastro, The Cake Boss), Vincent has kept a relatively low profile and is still surprised when a stranger asks for her autograph. Kerry lives the good life with her husband in quiet Tulsa, Oklahoma, where despite her rise to fame, she’s remained decidedly down to Earth.
Check out some of Kerry’s beautiful wedding cakes in this slide show!
1 of 17
The 12 Types of Wine Lovers: Which One are You?
Taking Candy From Strangers: HuffPost Readers’ 10 Best Halloween Treats
The Most Annoying Wine Words
Fall Vegetable Recipes: Sweet Potato & Squash Ideas From Food52.com
IKEA Homemade is Best. from Forsman & Bodenfors on Vimeo.
The Making Of The Ikea Cookbook (VIDEO)
Top 10 Halloween Cocktails
Gene Johnson Hawks Photography, Tulsa, Oklahoma (Courtesy Kerry Vincent)
Total comments: 0 | Post a Comment
Rate This Slide
Rank #2 | Average: 8.6
Current Top 5 Slides
Choose your Top 5 Slides
| Become a fan
Picked These as the Top 5 Slides in the Slideshow
Top User Slides
| Become a fan
Picked These as the Top 5 Slides in the Slideshow
Users who voted on this slide
Follow Regina Varolli on Twitter:
In the Vietnam war the U.S. military sprayed the herbicide Dow Chemical created, Agent Orange (also Purple, Green, Pink, White and Blue) for the improvement of road and waterway visibility and clearing camp perimeters of weeds. The military authorized its use assuring the deployed soldiers it was harmless. But reports circulated in 1964 of increased miscarriages, stillbirths and birth defects among exposed Vietnamese women and animals. In essence performing genocide on the East Asian population by sabotaging the reproduction system of the would-be mothers of future Red Soldiers. With 36 forms of cancer associated to the “approved” chemical, and a 30-year incubation period — it would continue to do the U.S. military’s handy work long after the end of the war.
Our use of carcinogenic chemicals and a coziness with Big Pharma seems to fester during war time, as a more potent cocktail with severe adverse reactions is introduced with each war. In 1990 soldiers deployed for the Persian Gulf — Desert Storm war under Bush Senior’s regime, the soldiers witnessed piles of dead animals in the desert. They were stacked into decomposing mounds five months prior to the troops arrival.
The animals weren’t considered a direct threat since the soldiers weren’t camped directly beside them. But the potential for breeding grounds of diseases remained. To contain the existing problem military personnel thoroughly sprayed the decaying animals with the insecticides methyl carbamate and “Baygon” (a propxur produced by Bayer, the aspirin makers); “Sevin” (a carbaryl produced by Aventis, a French company and smallpox vaccine maker that donated close to $2 million to the Bush camp in 2000); and “Lannate” (a methomyl produced by the chemical making machine DuPont). All are listed as poisons. Our military has already chosen to die for their country — but does that include by the hand of Big Pharma too?
From their deployment, Gulf War Veterans have faced an endless battle with the VA for their array of chronic health issues. Only to be pacified with an all-inclusive watered-down diagnosis of “Gulf War Illness,” and mediocre benefits for their exposure.
Our current Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Veterans have since 2003, encountered a gamut of toxins in theatre from the carcinogenic smoke of burn pits that includes feces from port-a-potties to radiological exposure from inhalation or ingestion of depleted Uranium dust from spent munitions, both of which has infiltrated their camp environment, as well as the Iraqi civilians, via air, soil and water.
Without the DoD willingly coming forward with their cancer diagnoses amongst deployed soldiers, and refuting cancer as a war wound — medical doctors at the VA and other medical institutions are meeting challenges they’ve never seen before. As a percentage of soldiers are being diagnosed with rare, aggressive cancers post-deployment — 4-36 months — that don’t fit the criteria of the illness.
Wyoming native, Cody Feeback (pictured above) joined the United States Marine Corps in 2002 at 18. The teen whose penchant for hunting, fishing, camping and spending time with his friends and family — would take second place to the military service in which he became a devotee. “I loved the Marine Corps the friendships are like none other… it is a wonderful bond you experience with your fellow Marines,” explained Sgt. Feeback, whose home base from 2002 to 2005 was Camp Lejeune, N.C.
In February 2003 the 19 year-old deployed from Camp Lejeune in good health for his first tour in Kuwait, Iraq. He spent the next five months in northern Kuwait at Camp Coyote where as a combat engineer was in charge of convoy security. Like most soldiers, Sgt. Feeback experienced vomiting and diarrhea in theatre, but like most soldiers deployed since 2003, was told it was normal. “I didn’t want my family to worry any more than they already were,” so Sgt. Feeback never mentioned it.
On a night convoy below.
In the DoD’s own December 20, 2001 Field Manual, Treatment of Nuclear and Radiological Causalities, chapter three, page 13 outlines the radiological exposure dosages from 0 – 5 cGy being nominal and acceptable for military personnel during peacetime. But during war, if the dosages are from 75 – 300 cGy, onset in 6 hours the symptoms are headache and nausea at the low end of cGy, vomiting for the high range of cGy with an onset of 2 – 3 hours. The low range of duration is 12 hours upward to 3 – 4 days.
When diarrhea is included to the aforementioned symptoms, the cGy dosage ranges from 300 – 530. The onset of diarrhea within 2 – 6 hours with a duration of 2 – 3 weeks. There is a minimal 24-hour window after exposure to Uranium to order a urine or fecal bioassay. If ordered, those results are kept confidentially in the soldiers RER records [Radiation Exposure Records].
On chapter five, section I, Low Level Radiation, 5-2, B, Exposure Guidance page 5 – 1 and 5 – 2, “The risks associated with radiation exposure within the range of 5 – 75 cGy are confined primarily to the risk of increased incidence of malignant diseases, including solid tumors and leukemia.” So from their own admission, the U. S. military is fully aware of radiation exposure of deployed troops resulting in a Cancer diagnoses, but maintain ignorance when a soldier is actually diagnosed post deployment.
Sgt. Feeback’s tour ended July 2003 and returned to Camp Lejeune. He reconnected with his parents and three siblings, then in 2005 he transferred to Camp Pendleton, California. By that September he received orders to re-deploy. His second tour sent him to Fallujah, Iraq where over the next seven months he made a home at Camp Fallujah. Unaware that local doctors were recording high-rates of abnormal birth defects in Fallujah civilians.
So when Sgt. Feeback’s tour ended in March 2006 he returned to Camp Pendleton where he awaited the completion of his stint in the USMC. And by September 21, 2006 Sgt. Feeback was honorably discharged. The only thing the 23 year-old had on his mind was living a comfortable and fun life with his family, so he moved back home to Wyoming. The next two years he worked as an equipment operator until a position opened at the local VA, in their warehouse shipping and receiving. Within a month he met Roxan, and 16 months later, in March 2010 they were engaged, and prepared for a September wedding.
Then without warning in July 2010 he developed ulu like symptoms that sent him to the Sheridan VA Medical Center. “I complained of abdominal and lower back pain, the doctor assumed it was appendicitis and ordered a urinalysis and CT scan,” the 27 year-old informed. “But when the foctor read the CT scan they saw a mass on the right kidney.”
Immediately they medEvac him to the Denver VA for a biopsy. “The doctors were certain after the biopsy it was Wilms Tumor, but were perplexed since it is a pediatric kidney cancer usually found in three to six year-old children.” The following day when the urine results came back he was diagnosed with a Stage III.
“At first my response was disbelief and fear for my family,” he admitted. “I don’t have any idea if I was exposed to burn pits or had depleted Uranium exposure. Even so, I don’t blame anybody for this sickness… I just don’t like putting my family through all this stress.”
Within a month his right kidney was removed. “I underwent eleven rounds of radiation and am currently going through 24 weeks of chemotherapy,” Sgt. Feeback informed. “I’ve had good care at the VA, and have had a lot of support with visitors and phone calls.”
Marine Feeback below
On September 4, 2010, while undergoing treatments, SGT. Feeback married Roxan, and after serving 4 years and 8 months in the USMC he conveyed, “I was very proud to serve my country and I would do it again.”
The dedication a majority of soldiers have for the military is palpable. And no matter what they were exposed to during deployments, the selfless, courageous men and women serve with honor and devotion never blaming… even at their own peril. And if the U. S. Military subjugates the evidence of cancer stricken soldiers in attempts to hide the environmental genocide in Iraq… then its higher ranking officials will find themselves marred in the history books, as a disloyal superpower that thoughtlessly devoured its own.
In June 2010, Doug Rokke, Ph.D. retired, U.S. Army Major commented on the predicament Operation Iraqi Freedom [OIF] Veterans and civilians of war torn countries are subjected to. “We’ve ignored what we have done to the residents of the nations. We [the U.S. Military] has invaded without justification and then trashed their country. I have come to the realization that based on history we in the military bought the notion “to protect,” but who are we protecting, and from whom?”
“We in the military are simply the extension of power and greed, reality not myth. And the abandonment of our Veteran’s is because of the casualty numbers, that we ourselves are responsible.”
“I am constantly bombarded by telephone, E-mail, knocks at my door, and stopped wherever I go. Every day more Veterans or their families seek help, and suffice to say it’s becoming worse — while we continue to set-up more of the same,” said the disabled Veteran Doug Rokke.
UN First Committee Sends Clear Message to Depleted Uranium Users Over Transparency
International Coalition To Ban Uranium Weapons, U.K.
–Oct. 29, 2010
The United Nations First Committee has voted, by an overwhelming margin, for state users of depleted Uranium weapons to release data on where the weapons have been used to governments of states affected by their use.
136 states voted in favor of a resolution calling on state users of depleted Uranium weapons to release quantitative and geographical data to the governments of affected states. The resolution will now go forward to the United Nations General Assembly for a second vote at the end of November 2010.
Although UN resolutions are non-binding, they are a useful means of focusing attention on key issues. In this case the ongoing failure of the US to release data on its use of depleted Uranium in Iraq and concerns over the use of the weapons in other conflicts, such as the interventions in Somalia in the mid-1990s.
The resolution was opposed by only four states – the US, UK, France and Israel. These four also voted against previous resolutions accepting that DU has the potential to damage human health (2007) and calling for more research in affected states (2008).
CNN Audit: Military Using Potentially Harmful Methods of Burning Trash
By Adam Levine, CNN
–Oct. 15, 2010
Military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to use waste methods that expose troops to potentially toxic emissions without fully understanding the effects, according to a new government audit obtained by CNN.
Between September 2009 and October 2010, investigators from the Government Accountability Office visited four bases in Iraq and reviewed planning documents on waste disposal for bases in Afghanistan. None of the Iraq bases visited were in compliance with military regulations. All four burned plastic — which generates harmful emissions — despite regulations against doing so.
The emissions have been the source of controversy as troops have complained about a host of problems, from cancerous tumors to respiratory issues, blaming exposure to burn pits. Military officials have denied any consequential effects on most troops.
Prior to an initial outcry about the pits more two years ago, the largest base in Iraq — Balad Air Base — was burning everything from hazardous and medical waste to plastics, using jet fuel as accelerant, according to military documents. The smoke poured over the living quarters and the base hospital, exposing thousands of troops to the emissions.
The U.S. military generates about 10 pounds of non-hazardous waste per service member each day and “may consist of plastic, Styrofoam, and food from dining facilities; discarded electronics; shipping materials such as wooden pallets and plastic wrap; appliances; and other items such as mattresses, clothing, tires, metal containers, and furniture,” the report says.
According to the report, there were 221 burn pits in Afghanistan by August and more are anticipated. Only 21 remained in Iraq and, like the troop levels there, the numbers are expected to decrease. The burn pits are operated by either the military or contractors.
While the pits have been in use since the beginning of each war, regulations and guidance were only issued in 2009 — eight years into the Afghanistan conflict and six years after the start of the war in Iraq.
The military’s attitude about the impact of the burn pits has shifted. When complaints initially arose in 2008 military officials denied there was any hazard to troops. Last year the Pentagon changed that position, declaring long-term effects for troops who had pre-existing conditions was foreseeable.
A GAO analysis of the data from the samples collected found matter named on the CENTCOM list of potentially harmful substances. Investigators found that the samples which exceeded the levels considered safe if exposed for a year mostly contained fine particles. Fine particles can embed in the lung tissue, and of particular concern is when there is prolonged exposure.
Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, who has been vocal in his concern about troops’ exposure to burn pits, urged the Pentagon to restrict the use of the pits in Afghanistan.
“I am deeply troubled to learn that the Defense Department has not taken simple steps, such as segregating plastics, to ensure that our troops are not exposed to harmful emissions,” Feingold said in a statement.
The acting commander of Central Command, Lt. Gen. John Allen, wrote a letter to Feingold in July saying the military is trying to eliminate the use of burn pits at bases that are active for 90 days or more and occupied by 100 personnel or more. In Iraq, Allen anticipates there will be no burn pits by December of this year. Afghanistan is more challenging, but the military is in the process of procuring “almost 200 incinerators,” he said in the letter, obtained by CNN.
“Beautiful black brown lady didn’t mean to be rough with you.
Life it’s been rough enough. I’m sorry baby…
How do broken people love each other?
Best they know how… in fragments.”
I have had a great internal debate about how I should comment or if I should comment on the recently released film For Colored Girls. I saw the movie before a two-show performance day last Saturday of my play Through the Night currently running at the Union Square Theatre. The quote above and those throughout this article are excerpted from the play. I literally broke down in tears in front of my producer Daryl Roth after the matinee. I was enraged and deeply saddened after seeing the film. There are immensely talented actresses and actors in the movie. Some are personal friends. Two in fact have publicly named themselves as Ambassadors for my play Through the Night — Phylicia Rashad and Hill Harper. My deepest feelings actually have nothing to do with any of their dynamic performances. My question is: where do we go beyond the pain?
I am not a black woman. I would not dare rob them of their right to shout their stories from the rooftops. My own mother fought like hell through a racist south of the 60′s, relationships where she was physically and emotionally abused, even having one of her children taken from her by her mate as she attempted to escape to safety. My own father abandoned us to heroin addiction and abuse. In the midst of all this and more, she stands as one of the strongest, most loving, powerful human beings I have every encountered. She has raised me and loved me through moments of personal insecurity, self-discovery and doubt. Today I am proud to say I am black man raised by a dynamic black woman.
“Dance Mama Dance,
Like your nightmare is ending,
Like joy is beginning,
Like life is not through with you yet.”
My play Through the Night began as a response to the play For Colored Girls from a black man’s perspective. As I developed the play, it moved beyond just a response to being a more thorough examination of the inner landscape of the black male’s heart and mind. Still direct responses to the play For Colored Girls remain. In particular, at the end of Through the Night, a black father who has made some big mistakes ultimately holds his newborn high in the air and says to God,
“You gave me this gift and I give him back to You,
I dedicate my life to being a man my son will be proud of,
Just show me what to do…”
This is a direct response to an image from the play For Colored Girls that is also in Tyler Perry’s adaptation that deeply disturbs me. A black man, a war vet, takes his two beautiful children, holds them out the window and drops them. Such an atrocity towards children must be handled with immense delicacy. In a play, where the sensitivity of an actresses’ portrayal and Notazke Shange’s words can guide us to this place in our own mind’s eye, it is challenging, but almost bearable. To see that image in 2010 portrayed on screen for me was unbearable. What is the usefulness? What is the point? Why is this considered dramatic or interesting? Why this fascination, celebration of a repetition of our pain, in particular black pain? Our children are being dropped every day but when are we going to start to explore the real reasons why that is happening and begin to hold up models and images of how we can lift our children up?
And if we really want to explore the pain — can we go to the root? Not as excuse making, but so some real healing can take place? What is the root of the breakdown of our families? In Through the Night a black mother fighting for her dyslexic son speaks about the challenges of being a single mother:
“Want to know why I’m so angry? It’s been bubbling in my DNA for centuries, every since they stole my man from me and he been having trouble finding his way home ever since.”
The shackles of slavery that once chained our bodies are still enslaving the hearts and minds of our families. Our children are being dropped everyday by economic disparities, failing educational systems, a lack of access to quality healthcare, and the absence of safe homes.
Sure there are some black men who rape women, cheat on them, give them STDs and so do some men of every race. But to continue to perpetuate these images without a commitment to a larger conversation is deadly to black men, black children, and even black women. Moreover, it is deadly to our entire society because we are truly all in this together.
In Through the Night I am showing a community a black men being fathers and mentors, sometimes hurting, but ultimately loving the women in their lives. They make mistakes, have flaws, but ultimately they are fighting to overcome. Our healing can be dramatic. It must be because…
“Our children are watching,
And when they see us crumbling it gives them reason not to build,
When they see us dying reason not live,
Our children are watching.”
What’s the end game? Our children must be protected. Our families must heal. Explorations of our pain are only useful as a pathway to our healing…
“Black women have often loved black men more than we have loved ourselves…”
Why? Because they know there are roots to our brokenness that are much deeper than our actions too often display. They know there are black men fighting to beat the odds, the statistics and succeeding everyday. And they know that even though too often our behaviors may belie it, black men do love black women. We must do better and I am a firm believer that this must be done through images that remind us of our greatest possibility.
“Run Black Man Run,
Run to your children hold them tight,
Help them make it Through the Night
Be more think you can,
Be a black man take a stand,
And when you make it through reach back
And help another black man do what we all know must me done,
Run Black Man Run…”
The film has people talking and I am grateful for that. We have been dropped, all of us, now let’s be about the hard work of lifting each other up.
Okay, so you guys got into the spirit with the first “Annoying Wine Words,” and even called me out for my use of some of those wine words! I admit it, I am guilty as charged. After my last treatise, Snooth member Mlandry burned me for my use of “creamy.”
I can break out the science texts and defend myself, or just go with it. So, today I’m gonna do a bit of navel-gazing and regale you with 7 annoying wine words that I abuse — er, use. And folks, let me just add one thing: if this isn’t fun, don’t do it. I always say that about wine (whether it’s drinking wine, talking wine, making fun of annoying wine words, or sharing wine) — it’s got to be fun, and if it ain’t, move on. Nothing to see here anyway, except for 7 more annoying wine words.
6 Chefs’ Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes
Chatting With Food Network Challenge’s Kerry Vincent
Joel Peterson & Ravenswood: Using the Past to Shape California’s Wine Present & Future
Yo-Ho-Ho And A Snifter Of Rum: Sipping Rums To Enjoy Without Paper Umbrellas
Taking Candy From Strangers: HuffPost Readers’ 10 Worst Halloween Treats
Top 10 Halloween Cocktails
This wine is round, you say? Actually, it’s sort of whatever the shape of the vessel it’s in. Wine is a liquid, after all, so it assumes the shape of its glass or bottle. It’s a law of physics (number 3 or 4, I think).
Yeah, I know that you mean “it fills the mouth in a soft, seamless way,” so why don’t you just write that? Well, primarily because that’s more characters and I’m lazy, and it gets boring to write the same thing for every wine, for both me and the reader — so I’m just looking out for your best interests!
Total comments: 0 | Post a Comment
Rate This Slide
Rank #2 | Average: 8.6
I’d say it again..
Current Top 5 Slides
Choose your Top 5 Slides
| Become a fan
Picked These as the Top 5 Slides in the Slideshow
Top User Slides
| Become a fan
Picked These as the Top 5 Slides in the Slideshow
Users who voted on this slide
Have more annoying wine words? Share them in the comments.
Find more wine articles at Snooth.com.
Follow Gregory Dal Piaz on Twitter:
As a writing and publishing coach at AuthorAssist.com, I am struck by the passion and vision writers bring to their books and their words. The power of the word has been long known. As Lord Byron wrote: “But words are things, and a small drop of ink, Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.”
Jeremy Brown of No Limit Publishing Group coined the term “missionary author” as “a person who originates or creates a novel, poem, literary work, etc; who strongly favors a program or set of principles who is sent on a mission and is completely devoted to persuading others or sharing their work with the world.”
Taking Jeremy’s lead, and not wanting to plagiarize, I’m using the term “visionary author” to describe the drive that propels these special writers. Their passions begin in the earliest stages, seeded by forceful experiences they are compelled to share.
You find obvious examples in the expanding self-help book market. From 2006 to 2008 the self-help industry grew from $9 billion to $11 billion. So, if you are a visionary writer, there’s a market for your wisdom and your words. But how do you become a successful visionary author?
Think Dale Carnegie whose book How to Win Friends and Influence People purportedly started the self-help industry and sold more than 50 million copies. Think Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen whose Chicken Soup franchise has sold more than 125 million books. Think Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, and Arianna Huffington. They all are successful visionary authors intent on making a difference in the world. And they did it.
How? Below are five key factors that propel visionary writers toward success. As you begin your journey in the publishing world, here’s what to keep in mind:
A Dedicated Purpose: Know why you are writing the book and what you hope to achieve for your career in the future. Envision how it will bring you success in terms of recognition and professional advancement. Write it down and keep it in a handy place to re-read often-especially during those dark days when things don’t seem to be going in the right direction.
A Sincere Message: Relate your philosophy in definite terms. Encapsulate the series of principles and beliefs that guide your life and/or business practice. Share how you “walk the talk” and therefore can “teach the talk” through your book, confident of the solutions you bring to specific problems. Be aware of others who have similar messages and strategize how to position your book to meet your goals.
An Audience Focus: Have a definite idea of your target audience — who your message is designed to reach. Identify the audience early in the process, since it dictates how the book will be positioned, titled, written, formatted, designed, and marketed. Determine how you want readers to feel and what you want readers to do when they’ve finished your book.
Determination: It takes many years to become an overnight success — and a thick skin to survive the rejection and criticism. For inspiration, read the “failure stories” of successful authors. You will realize they have an important characteristic in common: They did not give up.
A Backstage Team: Read the acknowledgments in any book to see the supporting people behind successful visionary authors: the coaches, editors, publishers, book designers, web designers, publicists, reviewers, marketers, distributors, etc. Be sure to identify competent professionals for your team. Get the “backstage” support you deserve and need to move from a visionary writer to a successful visionary author.
Follow Patricia Benesh on Twitter:
Open up your e-mail, your mailbox or turn on the T.V. and there they are. The sales. The massive discounts. The gotta-haves and the must-sees. Even children are targeted to present parents on Veterans Day bandwagon with their wish list of “stuff.”
It’s enough to make you scream in disgust. Or, if you’re a retailer, squeal in delight of the dollars walking in your door. All of the ads and marketing competing for my attention made me wonder. What is this day of honoring Vets really all about? Do we really celebrate the sacrifices and accomplishments of veterans or salivate at the opportunity to increase a bottom line?
Don’t get me wrong, I love a discount as much as the next stay-at-home mama. I like Groupons and coupons too. But the focus of the day seems to be quite heavy on the sales and deals, rather than the admiration of millions of men and women who have dutifully served our country.
However, I recall one eye-opening and humbling visit to a very unique organization on the island of Hawaii at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickham. A unit that is united for one purpose only. At the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), there is only one mission: to account for and bring home American veterans lost during U.S. conflicts.
Before my husband’s command assignment at our new base two years ago, we were in a training course along with other commanders and spouses. While at the course, myself and the other spouses had opportunity to visit the JPAC. We were briefed on their process and their mission. They described how each person assigned there was fully committed to doing their part to honor the fallen veterans of past wars and conflicts by meticulously researching, following up, and locating places and people who might have a clue to where a particular veteran may be. JPAC told us the conflicts they research can date as far back as the Civil War. Sometimes they actually get a good lead that takes them all the way to men and women lost 20 years ago in combat. Many times, though, there are dead ends and incompletes. But that never deters them from trying and persisting.
It doesn’t matter that it’s Veteran’s Day. It doesn’t matter that it’s Christmas. And it doesn’t even matter if the family members have moved on and resigned themselves to memories. The search, the ceremony and the honor do not stop, not until everyone comes home. That’s the solemn promise to families and to America herself, and it speaks of the commitment and honor JPAC extends to our mission of freedom. As a veteran, I was humbled to know that even if we forget, if we get distracted with sales, promotions, or “stuff”, there is someone out there who truly honors sacrifice.
On any day, but especially Veteran’s Day, if you get caught up in the commercial melee of the culture, take a time out. Call a veteran. Thank them with sincerity. Visit a veteran and listen to their stories. Honor them in your own way and celebrate the sacrifice that allows us the freedoms we so enjoy everyday. And if you still need to shop? Patronize a veteran-owned business. Now that takes care of celebration and the bottom line.
Follow Lori Bell on Twitter:
Civil War Soldier, Michael Schwenke of 56th NY Infantry. Photo courtesy of HBO
It is a given that before a person is equipped to be part of a military fighting machine, he or she must be trained–physically and mentally. What is not explicit is that upon a return to civilian life, there is no preparation for re-entry into the previous rhythm of life.
Hopefully, with voices demanding to be heard, the public, lawmakers, and other agencies will listen to the urgent calls to action that must be heeded.
The current situation for veterans is not new, just different. This Veterans Day, HBO is debuting a documentary entitled Wartorn: 1861-2010. Through interviews, personal letters and journals of soldiers, photos and archival footage, the 68-minute film traces post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) back to the Civil War. At that time, survivors were labeled as hysterical, melancholic, or insane. In fact, it is noted that “after the Civil War, over half of the patients in mental institutions were veterans.” In World War I, the condition was referenced as “shell-shock.” During World War II, the term “combat fatigue” was euphemistically employed. (Included in Wartorn is a scene with a group of World War II vets sharing their stories for the first time. One man explains, “I had no one to turn to. No one understood.” Another reveals, “You’re just not coming home the same guy you left.”)
We now have the terminology and psychological insights to recognize the problem. But are we doing any better? When interviewed, General Peter Chiarelli, the Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army who is working to stem the rising tide of suicides states, “You’re fighting a culture that doesn’t believe that injuries you can’t see can be as serious as injuries you can see.” In reality, Chiarellli points out, these are hidden wounds as serious as losing an arm or a leg.” He adds, “We’ve got to get them off the battlefield.”
Suicides among veterans expanded by 26 percent from 2005 to 2007. That doesn’t include the veteran deaths that were the result of high-risk behavior. More than 1,000 Vets in California under the age of 35 died after returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan between 2005-2008. Author and journalist, Aaron Glantz, succinctly outlined this problem in his article, “After Service, Veterans Deaths Surge.” He wrote that the “figure is three times higher than the number of California service members who were killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts over the same period.” He drilled down on the lack of response from the government when he appeared on the “War and Peace Report” hosted by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now.
What’s actually being done in a nuts and bolts way to support veterans? I checked in with America Works of New York, which serves veterans by offering psychological and substance abuse counseling, health insurance guidance, interview and resume preparation, and ultimately job placement. America Works is a for-profit company that is 100 percent performance based. The staff saw an upsurge of veterans into their program approximately three years ago. In 2008, they applied to the federally funded entity “Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program,” and were contracted to place 160 homeless vets in jobs within a year. They reached their goal and got a follow up three-year contract.
The founders of America Works, Dr. Lee Bowes and Peter Cove, have taken their “work first” model, which originated in 1984, and tailored it to the needs of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan–at least one in ten of whom are unemployed. In the 18-24 demographic the stats drop to one in five unemployed, as many enlistees join the service directly from high school–and are looking for a civilian job for the first time.
The facts put out by America Works explain that nationwide approximately 154,000 veterans are homeless each night. Foreclosure rates in military towns have been on the upswing of four times the national average. In 2008, over 1.3 million vets were living in poverty. Almost one million were unemployed. Over a third of incarcerated veterans have screened for PTSD. In the New York City homeless vet population, approximately 85 percent is comprised of those who served in Vietnam and Korea. Many vets move to New York, looking for services and employment they couldn’t find at home.
While I was at the offices of America Works, I had the opportunity to dialogue with Retired Navy SEAL Captain Pete Wikul, Vice President of America Works of Washington D.C. Wikul served over 39 years in the U.S. Navy and was the “Bullfrog”–a title given to the longest serving Navy SEAL on active duty. He shares the 1988 Nobel Peace Prize with all the Peacekeeping Forces who served in Lebanon from 1948-1988.
Outspoken, with lots of personality, Wikul was emphatic about the need to heal suicidal vets. “That’s what I want,” he told me. His figures related that seventeen to thirty-four vets commit suicide daily. “It is estimated by veteran suicide counselors that perhaps as many as three times as many veterans have taken their own lives than the number who died in the Vietnam War.” He said, “The first greatest sin of this country was slavery. The second is how it treats its military vets.”
For Wikul, the problem lies with the individual’s separation from the service. He penned an op-ed with Bob Kerrey outlining the need to prepare vets for rejoining civilian life. Wikul had definitive opinions on the crisis. “The nation is responsible,” he said. “I fault our political leaders.” Referencing the lip service paid to the needs of veterans he emphasized, “I want to see the line item in the budget. It’s the lawmakers that hold the purse strings.” As a man used to accomplishing his mission, his frustration was palpable. “We need analysis, and than a cure for this social ill.” Wikul recommends the America Works mantra of “work first and a rapid attachment to work” as a great leveler, and the way for an individual to maintain his/her self-esteem.
Looking at the issues from another perspective is Ryan Berg, a 28 year-old California based vet, who spent seven years in the Marine Corps. He joined up because he chose not to be in an academic situation immediately after high school. He wanted to be a leader. He currently attends UC Berkeley on the GI Bill, where he is completing a four-year degree focusing on communications. He is the Founding Editor at WhatFits.org, whose mission is to “help build lasting veterans’ communities across the United States.” In addition, they house a news and opinion blog dedicated to the movement of building “real community” among the returning veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Berg has become proactive in seeking to build a “community” of veterans that is modeled on the support structure that was forged during time of service. He described how during deployment, there was a “life saving mechanism borne out of the group experience.” He believes that this core essence needs to be translated into a new language–to help vets adapt back into civilian life. “The important thing to remember,” he said, “is that there is a specific sensibility that needs to be connected between vets. We need support from those who are like us, people who have come out of the same experience. We’re learning what this new mission we are on is. We need to feel as influential in civilian society as we did in the military. We need the care of each other in order to start the new mission. The mission of coming home is a task we aren’t used to.”
For Berg, the most powerful prescription a veteran could receive is that of “community.” He qualified it as follows: “It’s when we have a group of people that hang out and speak to each other in a different way, because of our lives. Whatever stage we are at in our coming home process, life begins to matter more as we speak the same language to others who are like us.” He continued, “It’s kind of like a family. Thinking about what’s next. It’s about guys and girls talking to each other. It’s the platoon mentality. It’s everyone having each other’s back. Getting a veteran into a mental health appointment is nearly impossible without the encouragement of another vet.”
The need to connect to others who understand a shared history was repeatedly articulated in Wartorn. The common denominator pointed to was the refrain “No one except a soldier can understand what a soldier has to endure.”
In 1946, William Wyler directed The Best Years of Our Lives, which won the Academy Award for that year’s top picture. It told the story of three servicemen from the same small town trying to pick up the threads of their previous lives. Samuel Goldwyn decided to produce the film after he read an article about the difficulties experienced by men returning from World War II. The topics of familial disconnect, estrangement, and unemployment are captured in the scene below when former Army Air Force Captain Derry, who is afflicted with nightmares, wanders through an aircraft boneyard.
At the beginning of Wartorn, there is a visual quote by Homer from The Odyssey. It reads, “Must you carry the bloody horror of combat in your heart forever?”
1861, 1946, 2010.
The time to do something is now.
This article originally appeared on the website mgyerman.com.
Follow Marcia G. Yerman on Twitter:
The mountain came to Mohammed this week when Prince Charles and his wife Camilla went to the Irish embassy in London. It was the first time the prince of Wales had set foot in an Irish embassy and he was greeted with warmth and respect by Ambassador Bobby McDonagh and Irish tourism minister Mary Hanafin. The visit was a precursor to a visit to the Irish Republic by Queen Elizabeth in 2011, a visit that would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago.
During the height of the Northern troubles, royalty were not welcome in Ireland. The death of Lord Mountbatten at the hands of the IRA in 1979 in Sligo, when they blew up his boat, was the nadir. Extraordinary to think that a little over thirty years later the British queen will be formally welcomed to Ireland.
When she does many will look at it as the end of formal hostilities between two nations that have been taking shots at each other since 1169 and the invasion of Ireland by Henry 11 on foot ironically, of a message of support from the pope.
Charles stated at the Irish embassy that “At the end of the day, we should never forget that our acquaintance has been long. We can turn that knowing into something new and creative — to no longer be victims of our difficult history with each other.”
That comment was bound to cause controversy. The “difficult history” was almost all on one side when you consider invasion, repression, a famine many called a holocaust and eventually, an unjust partition that exploded in violence fifty years later.
The fact of Charles showing up was probably more important than what he said. In an era where countries become endless enemies, here are two old foes gradually and somewhat grudgingly moving closer together.
There is a lesson on a broader plane here. The Irish peace process took from 1989 to 2010 to really come to proper fruition. Everyone involved from successive American presidents and British and Irish leaders plus massive input from political parties and community groups stayed with it through thick and thin. There are still some dissident violent groups trying to unravel the fabric but this was a peace agreement hammered together with foresight, belief and planning.
Both Britain and Ireland are facing dire economic challenges, but even those pale beside what the Irish peace process accomplished. Prince Charles at the Irish Embassy, Queen Elizabeth in Dublin? As they say in the Bronx, “Who’d of thunk it?”
Follow Niall O’Dowd on Twitter: