Category Archives: Human Relationships

Mowing the Lawn in Gaza

By Volaar

“When thy intelligence shall cross beyond the whirl of delusion, then shalt thou become indifferent to Scripture heard or that which thou hast yet to hear.”  – Bhagavadgita

I keep this passage from the Book of Doctrines close to my heart since I first came across it in the winter of 1991, for I thought it a dangerous passage.  Two centuries prior to our beloved Christian movement and some seven to twelve hundred years after Moses first freed the Jews from slavery in Egypt, the Gita was making doctrines obsolete faster than scribes could record them.  Or the rich people of those days could typeset, print and distribute them.  The ebb of life on the planet was slow and uneven in the third century BCE or we might all be walking about with dots on our foreheads.

By the year 1948 (CE), those laying claim to being the people of Moses Continue reading

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At the Drive In

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I’ve put this off long enough.  I’ve enjoyed the fruits and sweetness of a brief entanglement with bliss and despair long enough.  It is time that I get down to business, call a spade a spade and then pick up my spade and put it to its intended use.  I am done with my creature comforts and of protecting what has yet to be taken, as if what has already been taken has not been egregious enough.

Perhaps I should qualify the comforts I enjoy today, at the edge of this springboard, by mentioning where this journey began for me. Continue reading

Measuring Up As Men

SteubenvilleinTutuBy Volaar

“I call on men and boys everywhere to take a stand against the mistreatment of girls and women. It is by standing up for the rights of girls and women that we truly measure up as men.”  — Desmond Tutu, November, 2012

Not three months prior to Tutu’s statement, two teenage boys brutally assaulted, humiliated and traumatized a sixteen year old girl who was inebriated past the point of being able to take care of herself, let alone call for help from others.

To this very day, the victim’s family and the victim continue to receive death threats and threats of bodily harm from the victim’s teenage peers in the Ohio town of Steubenville, population under 19,000. Continue reading

Just One More Thing….

By Volaar

I understand that Native Americans resent our imperial relish over Christopher Columbus’ discovery of what he wanted his padrones to believe was Asia; I also understand that we, an imperial army of herded sheep, ran the ancestors of our indigenous people into near-extinction by being more in number, racked by pestilences of flesh and blood too putrid to be considered wholly human and by being less conscious of our surroundings and more willing to commit atrocities for the sake of putting one in the “W” column.  Thanks for pulling us through those first couple of Winters, gang. Continue reading

Bob Koehler on Invisible Boundaries

By Robert C. Koehler

I’m sending out an old column this week. I just got back from Paris, where my daughter, Alison, got married. I’m still jet-lagged. This column, about an earlier transition in her life (our lives) was written in 2004.

Tribune Media Services

Nothing fills an emotional void quite like the piercing drone of bagpipes. No matter the kids were rolling their eyeballs as they shuffled two-by-two into the stifling field house — this was profound, and I was on the verge of tears.

Oh, there she is. My daughter. Gulp. Eighteen years old. A college student. I stifled the impulse to wave and embarrass her still further. We had fleeting eye contact, then she turned to the business of finding her seat, one of almost 500 reluctant stars of this event.

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Jew or Genital?

A Story in Three Pieces

By Volaar

 I should have suspected that the future would not be anything like it had been promised to us in 1977.  During a compulsory sex education course one of our football coaches had the indubitable privilege of referring to our nether regions as, “gentiles.”  Continue reading

A Green Tree in Your Heart

By Robert C. Koehler

“Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.”

Building community is a sacred process, so I begin here, with a Chinese proverb that a healer and social worker turned into a song. The sacred has an intensely personal dimension to it, and the singing bird rips it open for me.

Three weeks ago I wrote a column called “The Barbara Tree,” in which I talked about two things: the orange papier-mâché bird that mysteriously appeared on a branch of the linden tree that had been planted in a nearby park in honor of my late wife; and a blog-in-progress I’m in the process of launching, with some friends, called Chicago Spirit, which seeks to celebrate the world-in-progress that so many people are creating: the world beyond war, eco-exploitation, domination consciousness, spectator culture and the privatization of the commons.

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Virginia is for Misogynists

By Michael Collins

The Virginia legislature is about to enact a law that requires a transvaginal ultrasound procedure for all women who have abortions (except in the case of a medical emergency). Apparently, the legislators are unaware that the law violates existing sexual assault code or that Virginians oppose the law by a wide margin.

Here’s the procedure.

“You will lie down on a table with your knees bent and feet in holders called stirrups. The health care provider will place a probe, called a transducer, into the vagina. The probe is covered with a condom and a gel. … The health care provider will move the probe within the area to see the pelvic organs.” Medline Plus

This isn’t an option. It’s a requirement for an abortion in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The law is clear:
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A Theory of Chronic Pain

A social and evolutionary theory of human disease and chronic pain

By Denis G. Rancourt

We like to nurture a species self-image where we are radically different from ants and bees. The idea goes like this. Ants and bees are automatons completely governed by chemical and physical signals and each individual in the colony has its place which determines its physical body characteristics, adapted to the function of its class.
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Boycott called for Lowe’s pulling ads on TLC’s All-American Muslim show

By MyFellowAmerican

As you may have recently seen in the news outlets, Lowe’s Home Improvement recently pulled its ads from the TLC show All-American Muslim in response to an organization claiming the show “falsely humanized Muslims in America.” This controversy has exposed more Islamophobia in America which falls directly in line with what the My Fellow American project is trying to prevent and overcome in America.

As a supporter of the project, would you please visit www.myfellowamerican.us to share what this controversy means to you? I encourage you to ask your readers to do the same to help spread the message of tolerance to fight back against intolerance and fear-mongering. We’ve just posted a host of new content from various entertainers and faith leaders on this topic. There is also a pledge button to show your support to the cause.

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August To June; Bringing Life to Palm Beach Schools

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copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

As any Mom or Dad might do on Parent Teacher Conference Day, Amy Valens, the Educator featured in the documentary film August To June, traveled from “classroom to classroom.” This journey was not a conventional one. Indeed, Amy did not attend a series of Parent Teacher Conferences. What she did was appear at Palm Beach screenings of her documentary. The film follows twenty-six [26] third and fourth graders who studied with Amy in her last year of teaching. The open classroom, within a public school, “Brings Life” to education.

After the movie was viewed, Ms Valens and the audiences engaged in conversations. They discussed what they saw and how it might relate to a broader dialogue. The subjects of Education Reform, Classroom Standards, Teacher Quality, Merit Pay, Student-Rewards for Success, Parent Involvement, and Testing are but a few topics prominent in our national debate. While the assemblies of viewers varied widely, the results were the same. Every child, every class, all Teachers, and each parent, tells a unique tale. Regardless of the individual or group, we see the world, or in this case the film, through our own lens. Continue reading

The Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Scandal, the Second Mile Foundation, and Penn State

By Michael Collins

The current focus on Pennsylvania State University, its football program, and former coach Joe Paterno will be replaced by a more pervasive sexual assault scandal in the coming days and weeks.  At-risk children and their often disadvantaged single parents were delivered up to a relentless sexual predator with exhibitionist tendencies as described in the findings of a special Commonwealth of Pennsylvania grand jury.  (Image:  from video)

The relentless deviate, former PSU defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, is accused of sexually assaulting children for years.  According to the grand jury, he gained easy access to children and early adolescents through a foundation he founded in 1977, the Second Mile Foundation. He continued the assaults at his home and in the PSU showers on at least one occasion. The foundation serves over 100,000 at-risk youth. Sandusky started the foundation as a group home for “troubled boys” in 1977. Since hiring Jack Raykovitz, PhD, a licensed psychologist, as president, the foundation has grown into a multimillion enterprise serving over 100,000 children throughout the state.
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7 shots fired near ‘Occupy Oakland,’ one dead

By East Bay News

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) — One person has been killed after a gunfight near the Occupy Oakland camp at Frank Ogawa Plaza Thursday evening.

Video at East Bay News

Six gunshots rang out shortly before 5 p.m. several feet from the 12th Street BART station adjacent to the plaza where Occupy protesters have set up camp.

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10 Things Ghandi Might Have Tweeted

By Gordan Smith
InternetProvider.net

With Ghandi’s commitment to simplicity of life, it is hard to imagine that he would have participated in the Twitter world, but if he had, I’m sure that his tweets would have been re-tweeted many times over. Should he have been inclined to share his thoughts in 140 character lines over this digital medium, they may have been something like this.
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Building Community, Building Peace

Bob will speak in Los Angeles this Sunday; details below.

By Robert C. Koehler

In our techno-saturated society, we have the casual capacity to capture any unfolding event on film — even an act of shocking violence — and send images of the live action around the globe just by whipping out a cell phone.

Two years ago, Chicago’s Fenger High School had its 15 minutes of horrific fame when the beating death of one of its students, an honor student named Derrion Albert — waiting for a bus after school, caught suddenly in a surge of gang violence, savagely beaten with two-by-fours and railroad ties — was recorded on someone’s cell camera and became an international spectacle.

What we lack, it would seem, is the capacity to do anything about the violence itself.

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Primary Teachers and Their Pedagogy

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copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

I offer homage to a Teacher whose pedagogy touched me in a manner invisible to me until this moment. For scores, I understood what a gift he was to me. His open and caring ways were as I craved. However, I had never imagined that this man’s schooling style made the difference in my life. Today, I invite each of us to look beyond the boundaries or the labels.

Often in life we are asked to reflect; who was or were your most profound Teachers. I shared my stories in a missive or more. Those Who Can Teach; Life Lessons Learned, Those Who Can Teach; Transformative Teachers, and Why I Write and Write, Then Write Again. There are myriad sorts of Teachers. A few are true treasures. These special souls take a personal interest in us as individuals. Students are seen as whole beings, not solely a score, or a name to be identified as a number. Without these rare Teachers we would not soar.

Innumerable Scholars seek to inform rather than interact in a way that inspires. Academicians, an abundance of these, think to fill a brain full of facts, formulas, and figures, is to teach. I wonder; do these Educators believe they learn from their students? I cannot know with certainty. For myriad mentors, their labor is not born out of love, but out of need . . . the need to train students for a test. Continue reading

Defense Against the Psychopath (Video)

By Steffan Verstappen
From his book, ‘The Art of Urban Survival

This is not the typical survival book that imagines a post-apocalyptic scenario, but is written for today’s urban environment, with real life threats faced in modern society. ~ Ed.

Save Our Schools; Let Us Never Forget the Mission, March, and Movement

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copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

Near a month has passed since the Save Our Schools storm swept through Washington District of Columbia. As with all squalls the effects of such an event linger long after the winds die down. A physical space cleaned-up after a tempest takes place does not erase the memory of what occurred. Be it a blast of air or an action, the calm does not close a chapter in our lives. The current, commitment, the cause, and our concern do not wane with time, that is, unless we choose to move on or tell ourselves that that is possible. I believe the notion the past is past is fallacious. Our past permeates the present and is a foundation for the future. Thus, for me, the thought, and the March to Save Our Schools are strong. It survives as is evidenced by the now named Movement.

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Enemy Appreciation Day

From his new book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound

By Robert C. Koehler

For all we owe to them, shouldn’t we maybe set aside an Enemy Appreciation Day? Hugs ’n’ kisses, darling, thanks for being you.

I say this less facetiously than you might think. Such a holiday has the potential to be more educational and transforming than any other on the calendar, if on this day we suspended, however briefly, even our most justified shudders of aversion and turned petulance and malice into celebration and wonder. I’m not suggesting that we love our enemies, either personal or ideological, merely that we alter our relationship to them for a few minutes out of the year.

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Libya’s War for the Abaya

By Susan Lindauer, former U.S. Asset covering Libya and Iraq
at the United Nations during the Lockerbie negotiations

For European bankers, it’s a war for Libya’s Gold. For oil corporations, it’s a war for Cheap Crude (now threatening to destroy Libya’s oil infrastructure, just like Iraq). But for Libya’s women, it’s a fierce, knock down battle over the Abaya— an Islamic style of dress that critics say deprives women of self-expression and identity.

Hillary Clinton and President Sarkozy might loath to admit it, but the desire to turn back the clock on women rights in Libya constitutes one of the chief goals for NATO Rebels on the Transitional Council.

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