Archive for August 1st, 2011
It has been raining relentlessly across Europe and the summer has been no summer at all. We step outside, jackets thrown over our sweaters, umbrella unfurled, and walk into centreville, head bowed against the chill wind. We watch in dismay as the few tourists brave enough to face the inclement weather straggle through town looking for something to do. Anything (continue reading…)
Everyone knows that the current unemployment rate is high (9.2 percent) and has been high for over two years. Adult men are more likely to be unemployed than adult women (9.1 percent vs. 8.0 percent), with teenagers (24.5 percent), whites (8.1 percent), blacks (16.2 percent) and Hispanics (11.6 percent) showing the highest rates of unemployment. Forty-four percent of the unemployment have been out of work for over 27 weeks (continue reading…)
America wakes up this morning with the specter of a self-inflicted national default behind us, at least until 2013, according to the deal announced last night.
That is unequivocally a good thing for our economy not to mention our national sanity. It’s a good thing in the same way that ceasing to bang yourself on the head with a hammer would be a good thing.
But really, what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks (sorry, I’ve got young kids) was that about?!
If your conclusion is that Democrats got rolled because the President is a lousy negotiator, I disagree. Not on his negotiating skills… as someone said in comments, I wouldn’t want him in the auto showroom with me when I’m bargaining for a better price (continue reading…)
“Who is the rich man?” asked the New Testament professor at Yale Divinity School. David Lull was discussing the parable about a person unwilling to give up his possessions to follow a more selfless path to love and happiness.
I barely paid attention that day in 1985. I was lost in my own thoughts of repaying student loans and finding an alternative to the cockroach-infested married student housing.
Until I heard his answer: “You are the rich man,” Lull told us. It only took a moment to realize he was right.
We were not like much of the world’s and the nation’s population (continue reading…)
Cross-posted from TomDispatch.com
Recently, Nelson Mandela turned 93, and his nation celebrated noisily, even attempting to break the world record for the most people simultaneously singing “Happy Birthday.” This was the man who, on trial by the South African government in 1964, stood a good chance of being sentenced to be hanged by the neck until dead. Given life in prison instead, he was supposed to be silenced. Story over.
You know the rest, though it wasn’t inevitable that he’d be released and become the president of a post-apartheid South Africa (continue reading…)
This morning, Lahore is hot and sunny. Former Acumen Fund Fellow Jawad Aslam meets us in our guesthouse lobby and we drive through the city, passing Lahore’s beautiful fort and mosque, admiring the mix of cars and donkey carts, of morning life, though traffic is easier before nine as the days start and end later here. I’m happy to be out, happy to be seeing our work. Indeed, I’m never happier than when I’m in communities, talking to people who are making a difference in their own lives.
Saiban’s Khuda-ki-Basti 4, the housing development project led by our former Fellow Jawad, has sold almost all of its low-income plots now and fully repaid Acumen Fund (continue reading…)
Some might argue it’s the breadth of the collection, in which case a restaurant like Paris’ legendary La Tour d’Argent deserves a nod. The much-lauded spot has a brag-worthy, 400-page list that includes selections which date back to 1858. Even when the restaurant auctioned some 18,000 bottles from its collection in 2009 (for a not insignificant $1.5 million, no less), the world-class cellar’s holdings were still upwards of 400,000 bottles.
Which brings us to another important factor: The collection should likely include some rare and perhaps extremely old bottles (with extremely high price tags to match) (continue reading…)
Climbing Mt. Everest is not on my bucket list and never will be. Ditto for hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail or kayaking down the Colorado River.
This is no snap judgment. I’ve tried many times to be an outdoor enthusiast, gone to great lengths and high altitudes (continue reading…)
I just arrived in Nairobi from the States and it’s now been more than 10 days since parts of Somalia were announced by the United Nations to have reached famine level. As aid workers, the “F” word hits us hard.
A famine? How did we get there? How did we let the situation deteriorate so that people are actually dying of hunger?
For months, Oxfam had been warning against the upcoming food crisis. Not just in Somalia, but all across the Horn of Africa region (continue reading…)
Last month I was interviewed on CNN.com as part of the network’s coverage of the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon declaring the “war on drugs.” It was just one of thousands of articles, broadcasts and blog posts featuring the voices of police officers, politicians and scholars marking an anniversary that offers little to celebrate. Many commentators across the political spectrum eagerly welcomed the opportunity to seriously examine the failures of our drug policies, evaluate possible reforms and opine on what it all might mean.
But not everyone was as excited by the opportunity for reflection on how we can make drug policy more effective. After reading my interview on CNN.com, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy apparently contacted the news organization and demanded equal time to defend the Obama administration’s continuation of U.S. drug prohibition policies.
The published response presents a rare and revealing window into the thinking behind the nation’s drug policy at the beginning of the fifth decade of the “war on drugs.” The transcript is of great interest to anyone who wants to understand why — despite clear scientific evidence, real-world experience and political opportunity — a policy that is so obviously failed and is so profoundly harmful is able to continue year after year.
Written by Rafael Lemaitre, a public affairs staffer in the drug czar’s office, the interview answers obfuscate important facts and completely avoid many of the most important issues in the debate about drug policy.
With polished clarity, Lemaitre spells out a worldview and political intent based on three key (false) ideas:
We are making great strides against drug abuse.
The “war on drugs” is permanent, and any alternative to it means anarchy.
The only goal of real importance in drug policy is to reduce the number of drug users.
Is the “War on Drugs” Working?
As proof that we are making “tremendous progress,” Lemaitre clings to the fact that that cocaine production in one country — Colombia — has dropped over the past decade according to some metrics and that drug use in the U.S (continue reading…)
By guest blogger Mao Shing Ni, DOM, PhD, ABAAHP, LAc; author of the bestselling book Secrets of Longevity.
Summer is a big season for traveling. Here are some ways to keep your health and longevity intact on your journey.
Flexibility is Key to Stress-Free Travel
Travel can be stressful. You may miss a connecting flight, or find out your bus isn’t leaving today, or that somehow your hotel reservations got misplaced.
Before you give in to stress, keep this in mind: travel is often unpredictable, and the easiest way to overcome the stress of encountering an unexpected sticky situation is to adopt an attitude of flexibility. Remember that everything that happens–bad or good–is all a part of your travel adventure.
If you find yourself in a particularly stressful place, take a few deep breaths, and try to put the problem in perspective so you will be ready to face the next step.
Time Out for Renewed Energy
Traveling is exciting, and brings with it a new scene around every corner (continue reading…)
How many electronic devices do you have in your home? How many televisions, computers, iPods, video games, and telephones do you use on a daily basis? Electronic gadgets already account for about 15 percent of household electric consumption, and as these gadgets proliferate, their energy use continues to grow.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that by 2030, new electronic gadgets will triple their energy consumption to 1,700 terawatt hours, the equivalent of the home electricity consumption of the U.S. and Japan combined. According to the IEA, the international community will have to build over 15,000 wind turbines (or 200 nuclear power plants) to power all the TVs, iPods, PCs and other home electronics expected to be plugged in by 2030. The electric bill to power all household electronics will top $200 billion a year, compared with last year’s bill of $80 billion (continue reading…)
I’m pleased to expand on some of “boomer trends” that Dr. Carol Osborn, author and CEO of BoomerInfluence.com, shared at the “Forward with Ford” conference I attended in Detroit in June. After a long weekend of enjoying sun and fun, I’m back from my “condo on the corner at the beach,” ready to blog in my home office. (I just love my new IKEA desk and new IKEA bookcases in my new loft (continue reading…)
I happen to be reading Malcolm Cowley’s book Exile’s Return: A Literary Odyssey of the 1920′s. This book was first published in the U.S. in 1934, then revised and expanded in 1951, and has been republished regularly since then. What is the allure? Why do generations of Americans keep reading it? For one, Mr (continue reading…)
From July 25 through July 30, anti-poverty advocacy group ONE joined 10 bloggers who made their way through Kenya to see what life is really like for moms in the developing world. Follow along and check their progress at http://one.org/us/actnow/moms.
“Sacrificing for success” — that was Tabitha’s motto.
I was thinking about those words today as I walked into Kibera, the largest slum in Africa (think Central Park, N.Y., with 1 million people living in squalor).
We were in Kibera to see the slum and meet a few people in particular: Rye Barcott, co-founder of Carolina for Kabera and author of It Happened On the Way to War, and Mercy, a single mom living in the slum.
The first stop was Carolina for Kibera (CFK), the organization Rye co-founded when he was a marine-in-training. He started it because he wanted to do something to help young people in Kibera, Kenya. While visiting Kibera on a break from boot camp, he had given $26 dollars to Tabitha Atieno Festo, a widowed mother of three, after she told him she would use the money to buy and sell vegetables (continue reading…)
Do you know a healthy way of behaving when you are stuck and unable to communicate with someone? What do you usually do when you get stuck with someone and can’t communicate?
Try harder to get your point across, talking louder or faster?
Get angry, shouting to intimidate the other person into hearing you and/or agreeing with you?
Cry in frustration?
Feel resigned, give in and just listen quietly to the other person?
Walk away or hang up the phone in a huff, withdrawing your love in the hope of punishing the other person into hearing you?
Grab a drink or food to avoid your feelings?
Turn on the TV or open a book?
Ruminate about how wrong the other person is and what you wish you could say to them?
What happens within you and with your relationship when you do any of these things?
Generally, what happens is that you and the other person are distant for a while and then things calm down, but it may be some time before you and your partner (or friend, child, parent, co-worker) feel comfortable talking with each other or being around each other again.
There is a better way to approach the situation when you can’t communicate. First, it’s important to understand why you can’t communicate.
Why Communication Gets Stuck
Good communication and conflict resolution flow naturally when two or more people are open to learning about themselves and each other.
This means that it is more important to you to learn from the situation than it is to be right and win — It is impossible to communicate effectively when one person is not open to learning.
Think about it for a minute (continue reading…)
One of my all time favorite Eagles song, “Take It Easy”, has a verse that starts like this: “Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, I’m such a fine sight to see.” Well, today, I’m sitting in my office in Tucson, Arizona, reading a book that’s interesting to me. I have to try hard, though, to take it easy as I peruse this work. Why? I’m a bit distressed because the book states that aging is a myth.
Just ask someone who has started to age if it’s a myth or not. In my experience they’ll say “No, it’s real.” The reason that aging is real is because as time goes by there are definite changes that occur (continue reading…)
Can guided imagery really make you less depressed, less anxious and improve your general outlook on life? Apparently the answer is YES. Research on guided imagery in chemotherapy patients, has consistently shown that it can reduce their length of stay in hospitals, lessen somatic symptoms such as vomiting and need for pain meds. But here’s another interesting finding, it apparently also reduces depression and anxiety. And across the board, groups using guided imagery said they found it easier to share emotions and reported having a better perceived quality of life.
The research on guided imagery has followed the funding stream, that is, it has largely been done on cancer patients (continue reading…)
It’s summertime and the street art is easy. With the assistance of French street artist JR and his project “Inside Out,” it’s been easier than ever this summer for people of all stripes to take over the public space with their faces and personal stories.
read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com
Back in 1888, when Berta Benz made the pioneering long distance trip with her husband’s car, no one could imagine traffic jams or even “Carmageddons”. 125 years after its invention, we know about the negative impact of the automobile. Despite this, for most people the car hasn’t lost its fascination.
On the 125th anniversary of the car, several art museums are dedicating exhibitions to the automobile. One of them is the Museum Tinguely in Basel, Switzerland which currently presents the exhibition Car Fetish – I drive, therefore I am (continue reading…)
Barack Obama and Harry Reid have unconditionally surrendered the values and policies that Democrats have stood for since 1932 to the Republicans and the Tea Party, as surely as Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S.
read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com
Granted, the tea party came to Washington and changed the nature of the debate. Last December, two debt commissions reported out long-term solutions to the issue of chronic budgetary reliance on debt. Both commission reports recommended a balance of actions affecting expenditure and revenues. Both commissions projected long-term moderation in debt levels (continue reading…)