01 December 2010

Loving Story - The Movie

A racially-charged criminal trial and a heart-rending love story converge in the history of Richard and Mildred Loving. Their struggle for respect and dignity is set against a backdrop of historic racial prejudice and anti-miscegenation sentiments in the United States not solved by the federal Civil Rights Act.

With the help of two young lawyers driven to pave the way for social justice and equal rights through the historic 1967 Supreme Court case, "Loving v. Virginia" overturned lingering bans on interracial marriage in sixteen states.

Told through never-before-seen cinema verité footage of the Lovings and their lawyers, with other authentic footage of the times and pictures by Grey Villet. Together with oral accounts and interviews with their family and friends, the film captures their saga – from their courtship, to their arrest and exile, to their preparation for the 1967 Supreme Court case.

THE LOVING STORY is an intimate look into a poignant and enduring romance set against the turbulent backdrop of race relations in America in the wake of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act -- intended to expand equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment to all citizens of the U.S.

Bans against interracial marriage had persisted in nearly one-third of the states.

"Loving v. Virginia" was the turning point for marriage equality in the United States. The movie premiere will be in early 2011, and interested supporters can be a part of the final production phase.

Currently Sandra Booker's "When Love Happens" -- the first CD ever to commemorate Loving Day and the Loving's story -- is up for Grammy nomination consideration.

Loving Day celebrations mark the anniversary of the Loving Decision on or around June 12th each year in many cities throughout the United States.

11 July 2010

Learning from Deepwater Horizon Disaster

We won't change overnight - we can't. But if the 20th century U.S. reliance on gas-guzzling vehicles forms the pattern for economic growth, then cash just keeps flowing to big oil companies even faster than the crude oil is spewing into the Gulf of Mexico today (while BP attempts to put a better cap on the gusher.) Big oil companies spend nearly unfathomable amounts of money hoping to convince consumers how "green" they are via slick ad campaigns and quiet, dignified, sincere-sounding sponsorship messages on public TV. 

The reality is hidden, or at least obscured. But it's there to be seen despite the advertising, and the coverup in progress in the Gulf.

Boycotts of one company merely shift the profits to another. This isn't like trying to get Nestle to be responsible about how baby formula is distributed in third world countries, after all. So what's to do?

We have to approach it in several ways, because oil-consumption is woven into the very fabric of our daily lives. No single action will solve this, it's too big. It's likely to take longer to fix than it did to create.

12 Steps to a better tomorrow

» First and foremost we have to admit that we have an oil problem.

» Next we resolve to restore sanity to our decisions rather than letting massive multi-national corporations continue to exploit our oil habit.

» Join those who have to decided to prioritize our decisions on what's best for our planet, family, and neighbors.

» To move forward, we have to understand why we rely on oil - we have to consider our past decisions as objectively as possible.

» Like any other addict, we must admit we got it wrong - we may have been duped, but we own the decisions we made regardless.

» We have to decide to change - we have to be ready to give up these dangerous habits. To do otherwise feeds both the oil pushers and others who haven't yet come to understand just how big the problem really is.

» We have to be willing to lead in progressively reducing and surrendering our reliance on oil-fueled existence.

» Think of all the people harmed by our cars, trucks, and other petroleum-based self-indulgences such as plastic shopping bags and bottles, and admit that it's not just BP and their peers that should make amends for the problem.

» We have to actually make amends, not just think and talk; Boycotts alone won't solve the problem, and we can't wait for BP, Exxon, or governments to fix our demand, which is the real problem, when they can barely figure out how to contain the leaks from a single well.

» We can't stop thinking. We have to consider that no matter how big it is, and how we continue to drive up the demand for petroleum, we must consciously act to reduce our own use over the days, months, and decades ahead while working to mitigate and remediate the effects as we find our way forward to new approaches that reflect our need to thrive in balance with the planet.

» Deliberately improve our contact with nature. Nobody who has ever fished or been a bird-watcher can fail to be moved by the images from the Gulf; only by insulating ourselves from the environment can we pretend our petroleum consumption might not matter. We have had our heads in the sand so long even it has become oil-soaked.

» Lastly, we must spread the word to practice this awareness and perspective to others, as Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) did in his commentary on the the BP oil spill and the need for transportation reform at dc.streetsblog.org - it's a start.

Carpe diem!

21 June 2010

Will Irony Defeat Logic in November 2010?

When voters in the United States reckon their President isn't getting enough done, they often make it harder for him in the "off years" by voting for his opposition.
Logic evidently doesn't over-rule their gut reaction. It may not even enter the calculation.

Veteran Texas Congressman Joe "BP" Barton is the ranking GOP member (and former chair) of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  That means if the Republicans gain a simple majority of seats in the House, Barton is the heir-apparent for the chairmanship.

You can bet your colourful-deleted-British-expletive that big oil is looking forward to that day, and supporting those who are willing to apologize to BP in the November 2010 election cycle.

Consider the 2nd District in Minnesota, where a below-the-radar Rep, John Kline, is hoping nobody will notice how closely his votes parallel Bachmann and Barton's.  As his challenger Shelley Madore (a former MN House Rep) has been saying since she announced her campaign for U.S. Congress in January of this year, Kline is no less extreme then Michelle Bachmann if you look at his votes. Kline, on the other side of the Twin Cities from the infamous Bachmann, is just Michelle in sheep's clothing.

And I use "sheep's clothing" with all seriousness, because John Kline has done almost nothing but follow the Republican flock during his entire time in office.

We all know that the "off years" are when the party that doesn't hold the presidency traditionally gains traction. People realize the President can't actually get done everything they hoped he could, and so they decide to make it harder for him.

What? You were expecting logic from the voters?

Here's the hard fact about elecctions: Most folks vote for a gut reason, not a head reason.  They'll cite logical reasons in many cases, but the truth is they mostly vote for politicians they like, or they think they'd like to have a beer with, etc.

Here's more truth: The GOP is about to spend a lot of money in key races, including big oil money, and the more headway they make the more gridlocked Washington becomes.

The GOP has decided to prove that government is ineffective, as part of their "small government" platform that sounds so good until you realize that only our elected leaders -- our government -- is sufficient to stand up to BP and hold them accountable.  The Free Market sure the heck can't do it.

Will voters pick the party of Joe "BP" Barton and Michelle Bachmann, with their faithful flock of followers such as John Kline to take on the aftermath of the disaster in the Gulf?  Opinions vary, but I'd rather see folks running the government who not only know how to get things done, but who believe there's more to being in Congress than saying the government should apologize and get out of BP's business.

That's why I like Shelley Madore's track record, and leadership, and her chances running against a "below the radar" extremist in Minnesota (where, let's face it, all eyes are on the Bachmann~Clark contest, and massive amounts of money are being raised and spent.) It's time for proven, effective leadership that knows how to partner with small businesses, not bail out and apologize for big business.

I admire hard workers such as Madore, and Tarryl Clark, and the bravery they show taking on the broken system. I hope more voters like that kind of person this time around.

01 March 2010

Julius Shulman: Architecture & Community

The late Julius Shulman (October 10, 1910 – July 15, 2009) was an American photographer specializing in modernist architecture. His works have been displayed at the Getty Museum and numerous colleges and universities.

Below is a slide show from a forum on "Architecture and Community" highlighting the work of Julius Shulman.
Find more photos like this on One Community

14 January 2010

The Haitians are not, "Being Punished by God"

"The Haitians are Being Punished by God," proclaims Pat Robertson, they are "cursed" as a result of a "pact to the devil," and I have to disagree.

The tragedy in Haiti is being exploited by many who have rushed to set up false charities, just as there were those who adopted the camouflage of charity in the wake of the Tsunami, and almost every other natural disaster in recent memory.

But how we react says more about our nature. If your impulse is to pray, by all means do so. If your impulse is to donate money, food, or other resources to a reputable organization that is sure to get the aid to the needy in a timely manner, go now and do it. If your urge is compassionate, I don't care if you call yourself a Christian, a Buddhist, a Muslim, an atheist, a Hindu, an agnostic, a Jew, a Sikh, a Shinto, a Pagan, or any other label that suits you, I simply applaud the urge to help - even if your capacity to do so is hampered. The need is great.

If your urge is to judge the millions of people living in Haiti, as Pat Robertson has done, I suggest you heed the biblical admonition to, "judge not, lest ye be judged." Robertson is bringing even more awareness to the crisis, and possibly making millions reflect on what it means to act with Christian charity, for which I'd thank him if I thought it was deliberately done.

Before you email, retweet or suggest others update their status, please check with American Airlines, UPS, the Red Cross, and others such as this growing list about the reliability of the organization. Misinformation will not help those in crisis.

World-famous Haitian performer-activist Wyclef Jean has requested that you assist by Texting "YELE" to 501501 to send $5 to YeleHaiti for relief efforts. Wyclef founded the grassroots organization Yéle Haiti in 2005 to promote awareness about Haiti.

For non-text donations or secure donations larger than $5 to Yéle go to click-and-pledge.

Are the people in Haiti part of your community? Do you feel compassion for the suffering of those who are caught in the aftermath of an earthquake?

Kindness in words creates confidence;
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness;
Kindness in giving creates love.
Tao Te Ching