The Blues aesthetic described by August Wilson’s character, Ma Rainey, symbolizes the spiritual impulse vibrating through my life. The creative lens of the African American Church colored my spiritual worldview. I have witnessed the western divisions of sacred and secular under the weight of the “Blues and Gospel” motif of the African American Church experience. “I take that emptiness and try to fill it up with the” eternal virtues rooted in
Archive for January 1st, 2012
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As aptly captured by Time magazine, 2011 was the ‘Year of the Protestor.’ From the Arab Spring to the UK riots to the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) demonstrations, 2011 witnessed an outpouring of popular discontent aimed at governments and businesses alike. But while OWS dominated headlines here at home with its anti-capitalism message, a quieter, but just as transformative story was taking shape in parallel: that of businesses leading the charge to make the world a better place for the majority. It is a variety of capitalism that would have been fundamental to Adam Smith but is exceptional among capitalists in the 21st century.
With little fanfare, corporations are responding to social challenges – from poverty, to environmental degradation and access to technology. 2011 may one day be remembered as the year when CEOs began to address many problems of society and the year when sustainability joined profit as a driving force of decision making in corporate boardrooms and value creator for corporate
The two most inspiring news stories of 2011 were about a brilliant business mogul and a protest movement that decried big business. How very American.
Of the hundreds of billions of words spoken in 2011, the ones that affected me the most were, “Oh,
In the first half of 2011, we heard the word”deficit” in wave after wave of political discourse. The Republicans used it as a signifier of Washington’s lack of fiscal self-control — of an intellectually and morally bankrupt government that spent our money without concern for the views of those who had earned it in the first place. The “deficit” was real, and it was also symbolic of a failure to maintain an economy that promised a reasonable opportunity for creating a better future. Government spending was seen to be the problem because those who spent (and perhaps those who benefited directly from the spending) had no connection to how Americans made a
There is a story, now somewhat legendary, that John Kennedy once gave as a birthday present to his friend and court jester Dave Powers a silver mug with this engraving:
Only three things are real: God, human folly, and laughter. Since we can do nothing with the first two, we must do what we can with the third.
Serious people increasingly find American politics an exhibition of human folly. And, though certain conservative forces have sought for some time to insert God into the equation, it borders on sacrilege to lay at His doorstep this human folly brought on as much by the God-politicizers as anyone.
Arguably the most profound political question of our time is how to treat with the ultimate seriousness it deserves a political process that seems to wish to spiral downward with almost demented insistence. Great leaders, including great presidents, inevitably have their
While you sometimes have to convince skeptics that politics matter, it’s even harder to get people to see that the decisions the media make when it comes to pop culture are important. But they are. We live in a time in which celebrity is not only something that often comes without being earned by any achievement, but fame is inescapable in our culture and the focus of so much attention on television and online.
I think we’re paying a price for our obsession with faux celebrity. So even though I know it’s a losing battle, my 2012 New Year’s resolution is meant to take a shot at fighting back.
My 2012 New Year’s resolution is to ignore people who receive news coverage despite the fact that, by any reasonable approach, they shouldn’t matter as public figures.
Of course, when the subject of famous for being famous comes up, the first people to spring to mind are the members of a certain family whose late patriarch was an attorney for
I have a tradition for bringing the year to completion by attending a spiritual retreat called Living in Grace in Northern California every December. The best way to describe my experience there is like running a roto-rooter through my mind and emotions and clearing space for my spirit to become more present. At the beginning of the retreat, I set an intention for this year to find and know my place of calm, and to reside within it. I trust that any free-floating anxiety inside of me will be replaced with a canopy of calmness and
Lots of things are coming together to give 2012 the feel of a make or break year — a year that could well determine whether the world transitions to a better and more stable place or, instead, battles an even larger number of economic, political and social fires. The drivers in four key geographical areas will be heavily influenced by the interaction of political leadership, the strength and agility of institutions, and the newly empowered segments of society.
First, there is the US where, to state the obvious, the results of the November elections will meaningfully impact the path taken by the largest economy in the world, and its only superpower.
This is an election about the economy 00 past, present and future. In the next few months, we will all be bombarded by various explanations of why America lacks its traditional growth dynamism, why so many people remain un- and underemployed, and why poverty is rising to such unacceptable levels.
Influenced by movements on both the left and right that are able to effectively self organize and project near and far, our votes will send important signals on what is needed to overcome our economic malaise. I suspect that, collectively, we will opt for compromise rather than corner solutions.
We will challenge Washington to strike the right balance between tax and spending reforms, immediate stimulus and medium-term debt and deficit solutions, incentives for businesses and safety nets for the vulnerable segments of our population,
Even assuming that the Mayan calendar got it wrong, and the planet will not end in cataclysm — 2012 still figures to be a tough year.
We’re going to live through the bizarre primary of C-list choices, and a general election that is likely to leave us all feeling like the clean-up crew after a carnival.
Then again, maybe the Mayans saw this coming.
It will be an election where the super-PACs, by law, can spend what they want, and say what they want, about anybody they want. The candidates can claim nothing to do with any of it, while repudiating none of it.
So as much as we might want to feel the sense of hope and possibility that comes with the change of years, this is an election year. Worse, it comes in a time spittle-flecked animosity toward the effrontery of contrary opinion.
Imagine what the coming months of full-contact campaigning and mercenary assaults on character are going to do to positions already tempered by four years of political trench warfare.
Reporter and commentator Sam Donaldson once said of Washington politics: “Only the amateurs stay mad.” That was politics then. Politics now is a place of molten incivility and viscous
Happy New Year, HuffPosters! This out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new weekend is my favorite time of the year — and the perfect opportunity for cleaning out our internal hard drives of all the accumulated detritus from 2011, including Anthony Weiner’s photographic skills, Charlie Sheen’s “winning” streak, Rick Perry’s “Oops” moment, Kim Kardashian’s 72-day marriage, 9-9-9, Tebowing, Carmageddon, Newt Gingrich blaming his affairs on his passion for America, the Raptureless May 21, and the president sending an end of the year fundraising email to tens of thousands with the subject line “Hey”… As we leave 2011 behind, let’s drop the faux intimacy, clear our personal hard drives of any hurts, grudges, and disappointments and start the New Year with a clean slate — ready to welcome all the surprises, opportunities, and, yes, challenges, 2012 will bring.
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ATLANTA — Playing without its top quarterback and running back, Auburn (No. 25 BCS) used tandems at each position to set a season scoring high and beat Virginia 43-24 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Saturday night.Auburn was without running back Mike Dyer, who was suspended for an undisclosed rules violation. Quarterback Clint Moseley left with an ankle injury early in the first quarter.Onterio McCalebb, who said this week he wanted to “show everybody I can do it all,” scored on a 3-yard run and 25-yard catch while starting for Dyer. McCalebb had 109 yards rushing. Tre Mason added 64 yards rushing, including a 22-yard scoring run.The offensive outburst came in Auburn’s last game with offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, who has been hired as the Arkansas State coach.Barrett Trotter passed for 175 yards and a touchdown while sharing time with Kiehl Frazier, who ran for two touchdowns.Auburn (8-5) also had big plays on special teams, blocking two punts and recovering an onside kick.Kris Burd caught two touchdown passes for Virginia (8-5).One year after winning the national championship — and losing Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton — Auburn absorbed lopsided losses to LSU, Georgia and Alabama in the second half of the regular season. After the loss to Alabama, defensive coordinator Ted Roof left for the same post at Central Florida.While Malzahn stayed with Auburn for the bowl game, coach Gene Chizik took control of the defense.Moseley limped off the field with an injured right ankle after the Tigers’ second possession. He did not return.Trotter, a junior, started the first seven games before losing his job to Moseley. He made a triumphant return to prominence against Virginia, completing 11 of 18 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown.Frazier, a freshman, had 16 carries for 55 yards and two touchdowns.While others speculated that the loss of Dyer, an All-SEC selection, could be devastating to Auburn, McCalebb was eager to show he could be more than a change-of-pace back.McCalebb set up his touchdown run with a 60-yard run.Burd’s 27-yard catch from Michael Rocco midway through the first quarter gave Virginia, wearing orange helmets for the first time since 1978, a 7-0 lead.Then Auburn’s special teams made the first of two momentum-changing plays in the half.Freshman receiver Garrett Harper blocked a punt by Virginia’s Jimmy Howell to give the Tigers possession at the Cavaliers’ 15. Following a 12-yard run by McCalebb, Frazier scored from the 3.Back-to-back unnecessary roughness penalties against Auburn’s defense helped set up Burd’s second touchdown catch from 35 yards for a 14-7 lead.On the first play of Auburn’s next possession, McCalebb broke free for a 60-yard run to the Virginia 25. He capped the drive with a 3-yard scoring run.Chizik then called for an onside try and Cody Parkey recovered his own kick. After Trotter’s 50-yard pass to Emory Blake, Frazier scored from the 1.Auburn’s Angelo Blackson blocked Howell’s punt through the end zone for a safety in the third quarter. Virginia’s only second-half points came on a 1-yard touchdown by Kevin Parks in the third quarter.Parkey kicked field goals of 45 and 37 yards.Rocco completed 26 of 41 passes for 312 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
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American women face a stark choice in the Iowa caucuses: re-elect feminist President Barack Obama who has advanced equality or caucus for a Republican who pledges to roll back generations of progress.
By the time California (where I chair the state Democratic Party’s Women’s Caucus) will cast votes for president, the primary race will already be all but over, so my hope is that Iowa caucusgoers plant a flag for womens rights now when the race begins. What happens in Iowa will say a lot about how American presidential candidates believe they must campaign to capture the feminist vow in November 2012.
Feminism – equality without apology – knows no partisan bounds. Women across the philosophical spectrum make our own choices about our families, our careers, and our politics. But in order to keep the freedom to make those choices, women need feminist leaders at the helm with policies that advance our
SAN FRANCISCO — Terry Hawthorne returned an interception 39 yards for Illinois’ first touchdown late in the third quarter and the Illini snapped a six-game losing streak by beating UCLA 20-14 in the Fight Hunger Bowl.Nathan Scheelhaase added a 60-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Jenkins midway through the fourth quarter to seal the first victory for Illinois (7-6) since beating Indiana 12 weeks ago.
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The game between two six-win teams who have already fired their head coaches matched the underwhelming expectations as there was little excitement before Hawthorne’s third-quarter touchdown that gave Illinois its first lead.UCLA (6-8) was held to 18 yards rushing in its third straight loss. Kevin Prince threw two TD passes, including one in the closing minute to Nelson Rosario after the game had been decided.But it was an earlier pass by Prince that proved decisive and helped give Illinois its first bowl wins in consecutive seasons in school history. Three plays after Derek Dimke missed a 37-yard field goal for Illinois late in the third quarter, Prince dropped back and threw to his left looking for Shaquelle Evans.Hawthorne read the play perfectly and stepped in front of the throw for the interception and had a clear path to the end zone for the score that gave the Illini a 10-7 lead.Dimke added a 37-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter and Scheelhaase and Jenkins combined on their big play to make it 20-7 with 5:36 to go. Scheelhaase finished 18 for 30 for 139 yards with 110 yards rushing to lead the Illinois offense.Prince completed just 14 for 29 for 201 yards and the Bruins were held to a season-low in rushing, well below their 190.7 yard per game average, by the stout Illini front.The matchup between Big Ten and Pac-12 teams on New Year’s weekend at a picturesque setting in California conjures up memories of Rose Bowls past. But this game was played on San Francisco’s waterfront instead of with the San Gabriel Mountains in the background in Pasadena and was between two teams that had little to celebrate this season.Both teams fired their coaches after disappointing regular seasons with Ron Zook getting let go by Illinois after losing six straight games to end the season and Rick Neuheisel getting run out at UCLA after a 50-0 loss to rival Southern California in the regular season finale. Neuheisel coached the Bruins when they lost the Pac-12 title game at Oregon, leaving them as the first team to go to a bowl with a losing record since North Texas in 2001.With their head coaches gone and new coaches Tim Beckman at Illinois and Jim Mora at UCLA not set to take over until January, interim coaches Vic Koenning and Mike Johnson ran the Illini and Bruins respectively.The Illini, operating under interim offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm, opened up the playbook in the first half but still trailed 7-3 at the break. They called a throwback pass to Scheelhaase, a reverse, a fake field goal and went for it on fourth-and-1 from their own territory.UCLA stuffed Donovonn Young for a loss on that run from the Illinois 45, setting up Prince’s 16-yard TD pass to Taylor Embree for the first score of the game.The Bruins were unable to capitalize after stopping the fake field goal. Holder Tim Russell flipped the ball over his head to Dimke, who was tackled by Shelden Price for a 4-yard loss.UCLA then botched a shotgun snap on the ensuing drive, giving the Illini the ball at the Bruins 30. Illinois settled for Dimke’s 35-yard field goal on the final play of the half.The game, which is sponsored by Kraft, generated three meals for local food banks for each of the 29,878 tickets sold. Officials used an Oreo cookie for the opening coin toss.
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Like many Americans who have watched the economic crisis in the Eurozone, I found myself wondering several times over 2011, “Why can’t they get their act together and fix this? Don’t they realize what’s at stake?”
I also scratched my head in wonder several times at how the world’s markets kept falling for every new “fix,” no matter how unrealistic, because of an underlying belief that “in the end the politicians will do what they need to do and solve the problem.”
So in two trips to Europe as the end of 2011 neared, I decided to look at the Eurocrisis from a political perspective and I’ve come to the conclusion that the political system is incapable of solving the problem and probably will completely fail to do so.
The markets will, sooner or later, figure this out.
So how is it possible that political leaders across the Eurozone will fail to come to rational terms around a common solution given the horror many believe awaits each of their countries in the wake of an economic collapse? As a political strategist looking at the problem the answer became clear to me — the problems Europe’s economic system has created are so great they have overrun the ability of the political system to solve them.
For the average American to understand how impossible the political situation is, I want you to try a simple exercise:
Imagine the United States. There is no president. There is no federal government. Instead Rick Perry is the president of
As the new year begins and Syria lurches toward civil war, there is no logical scenario where Bashar al-Assad can legitimately hold onto power without killing many thousands more of his people than he already has. United Nations estimates of more than 5,000 dead since the uprising began in early 2011 seem quaint compared to the more than 20,000 people Assad’s father, Hafez, killed over a two-week period in Hama in 1982. For his part, Bashar has just begun.
So far, the entire international community has shunned the Syrian people. The Arab League last week sent observers to Homs, the scene of horrific brutality against unarmed
“Follow the Leader” is a childhood game which almost universally is played unquestioningly throughout life. Somewhere along the way Thomas Paine upgraded and expanded the rules. He gave us options, advising “Be a leader, follow a leader or get out of the way.”
On a personal level, presumably, one’s ego decides which path to pursue – which train to board that will arrive promptly and safely at one’s intended destination. It’s wisest to make certain that all the decisions of the ego are guided by a Higher Intelligence.
I like the analogy of a train; there’s the engine up front grinding its gears, puffing away with all the cars chugging behind and the caboose bringing up the rear! The tracks, or programing, determine the course of the
Our lives are defined by invisible wars, wars whose theater of combat is the human imagination. These economic and political wars are waged year in and year out, decade after decade, century after century.
Words are the weapons of choice in these wars, and the corporate-backed radical right adds new ones to its arsenal every year. This year was no
Here’s a recent headline in The Guardian: “Gaza Christians long for days before Hamas cancelled Christmas.”
As a non-Christian, I’m curious about the reaction.
Or when the media reports on attacks on Coptic Christians, an estimated ten percent of the Egyptian population.
One such piece appeared in the Wall Street Journal on December 24. It focused on deadly assaults on Christians and their churches, while authoritative sources, including the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, document patterns of discrimination against Coptic Christians. A result has been the steady flow of emigrants from Egypt.
I’m also curious about the reaction when the media notes the Christian population of Iraq has dropped precipitously, as people leave the country in droves for fear of their future.
Or when Saudi Arabia shows zero tolerance for public worship or other activity by non-Muslim communities.
Remember during the 1990-91 Gulf War, when America sent its troops to the kingdom to protect it against possible attack from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq? Our men and women in uniform were asked to risk their lives to defend the Saudis, but were told to keep any cherished religious symbols, such as a cross or Star of David, out of sight, lest they “offend” the host
HOUSTON — Ryan Tannehill threw for 329 yards and a touchdown and Ben Malena ran for two more scores to lead Texas A&M to a 33-22 win over Northwestern on Saturday in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.Northwestern led 7-3 early in the second quarter before A&M reeled off 27 straight points to take a decisive lead and then fight off a late rally to capture its first bowl victory since 2001.Texas A&M broke a five-game bowl losing streak in a win the team dedicated to fired coach Mike Sherman and offensive lineman Joseph Villavisencio, who was killed in a car accident last week.Malena ran for 77 yards, filling in ably for Cyrus Gray, who missed his second straight game with a stress fracture in his left shoulder.Northwestern hasn’t won a bowl game since the 1949 Rose Bowl, a span of nine losses.A&M won a bowl for the first time since a 28-9 victory over TCU after the 2001 season. That also came in Houston, when this game was called the Galleryfurniture.com bowl and played next door at the Astrodome.The Aggies were up 30-7 before Brian Peters intercepted Tannehill early in the fourth quarter and the Wildcats took advantage of that mistake when Kain Colter scored on a 1-yard run for Northwestern’s first points since early in the second quarter. The 2-point conversion left A&M ahead 30-15.Colter found Tim Riley in the corner of the end zone for on a 2-yard touchdown pass to get Northwestern within 30-22 with less than six minutes remaining.A&M responded with a clock-eating drive capped by a 31-yard field goal to secure the win. Senior Jeff Fuller, who has had a disappointing and injury-plagued year, had a key third down catch for 29 yards on that drive and finished with a season-high 119 yards receiving.The Aggies were led by interim coach Tim DeRuyter in his last game at Texas A&M before leaving to become Fresno State’s coach. The Aggies hired former Houston coach Kevin Sumlin earlier this month to replace Sherman, but he wasn’t involved in bowl preparations.Texas A&M wore helmet decals honoring Villavisencio, who died Dec. 22. The black and white decal, which says ‘Joey V.,’ had his No. 67 and the Texas A&M logo. There was a moment of silence for Villavisencio before the game and fellow offensive lineman Danny Baker wore his number and greeted his father before the game.Texas A&M erased a 7-3 second quarter deficit thanks to touchdowns by Malena and Fuller and a field goal by Randy Bullock to lead 20-7 at halftime.Malena’s second touchdown came on a 19-yard run early in the third quarter that made it 27-7. Another field goal by Bullock, this one from 47 yards, pushed A&M’s advantage to 30-7.The Wildcats alternated quarterbacks for much of the day with Dan Persa leading the more traditional offense and Colter directing the wildcat offense. But neither player could generate much offense while often under heavy pressure from the Aggies, who finished with eight sacks.Texas A&M’s offense got rolling in the second quarter when Tannehill found Ryan Swope, who was a high school running back, on a short pass that he took 37 yards to the 1. Swope tight-roped the sideline and avoided a half dozen tacklers before he was brought down.Malena scored a play later to put A&M on top 10-7.Northwestern took a 7-3 lead in the second quarter when Venric Mark scored 2-yard option run.Mark provided another highlight for the Wildcats on a nifty 47-yard punt return where he spun away from a pair of tacklers before hurdling another one before being pushed out of bounds in the second half.
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2011 was full of surprises, many of them the good kind. But which ones will matter in the coming year? Here are the YES! Magazine pick of trends to watch.
Who would have thought that some young people camped out in lower Manhattan with cardboard signs, a few Sharpies, some donated pizza, and a bunch of smart phones could change so much?
The viral spread of the Occupy Movement took everyone by surprise. Last summer, politicians and the media were fixated on the debt ceiling, and everyone seemed to forget that we were in the midst of an economic meltdown — everyone except the 99 percent who were experiencing it.
Today, people ranging from Ben Bernake, chair of the Federal Reserve, to filmmaker Michael Moore are expressing sympathy for the Occupy movement and concern for those losing homes, retirement savings, access to health care and hope of ever finding a job.
This uprising is the biggest reason for hope in 2012. The following are 12 ways the Occupy movement and other major trends of 2011 offer a foundation for a transformative 2012.