Tuesday, April 27, 2010

These Images

Pyramid Lake, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

These Images

Thus like swans,
wings wide open in the air,
when spring splashes lakes onto shores,
where in the woods,
wild ducks wheeling in pairs
for a love nest, and snakes
after spring's first thunders,
slide forth from winter's fields,
when raccoons lose their minds
mating among maple leaves
in Quaker cemeteries,
and golden smoke rises
above cypress trees, their needles
aquiver with too much pollen,
when songs flow from their lips
and bare feet welcome the embrace of sand,
where, under the tent of a white sheet,
eyes fall on the sea-drenched forehead
of the beloved,
when the church bells rings,
children dash through the lunchroom,
their jackets of tropical fruit and birds of paradise
against the concrete ground of P.S. 19,
where words are at stake,
and thoughts are immobilized,
where life shouts with joy
and being is beauty and love
no longer clings,
where senses quicken their steps
to enter hearts of things...

So simple, these images,
their recognition
is in our nature,
yet too often neglected,
our eyes already elsewhere.
It is beyond the gods
why we hold onto our sorrows
so long, and so stubborn.

~ Wang Ping ~

(of flesh & spirit: poems)

Web version:

April 30th & May 1st: Michael Meade in Portland

With Michael Meade at the wedding of friends
Carl Hay and Olivia Oso

Please come join author, mythologist, and storyteller
Michael Meade

for an evening of story and commentary on
Tales of the Divine
Friday, April 30th ~ 7:00 pm
First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th Ave., Portland, OR


for an intensive workshop on
Creative Mentoring
Saturday, May 1st ~ 9:30am to 5:30pm
Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark St, Portland, OR

For more information about these and other events,
about books, CD's, and other available materials,
and about Mosaic Multicultural Foundation,
please visit the website at http://www.mosaicvoices.org/.

Peace ~ Molly

* * *

"Join us for an evening that considers how to become a "disciple" in one's own life and how to find one's true worth in the world. This dynamic and surprising array of stories, poems, and commentary offers tools for negotiating the troubles of the modern world while finding paths of purpose, meaning, and destiny."
~ Michael Meade

Anna Lappe & Frances Moore Lappe: Every Choice We Make Can Be a Celebration of the World We Want

Two amazing women! ~
Anna Lappe and her mother Frances Moore Lappe

I recently had the honor and gift of seeing Anna Lappe speak here in Portland. I had already seen her mother speak twice in the past, and the last time I asked Frances Moore Lappe to autograph her Diet For a Small Planet, which I had purchased nearly four decades ago.

Now Anna Lappe is standing in her own power and acting to make a difference in the world. Please check out their website The Small Planet Institute and the invaluable books that both of these amazing women have written. Also important is to view the video of the "Real Story of the Boston Tea Party" and more. It is exciting that there is so much to learn! And while it might seen as negative, I experience it as very empowering to know that what we eat has a huge impact on ourselves, our children, the planet. We have choices! Knowledge is empowering!

Tag, we are all it! Peace ~ Molly

* * *

Thoughts from the Lappe's:

Every choice we make can be a celebration of the world we want.

Hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food but by a scarcity of democracy.

An MRI study of people competing vs. cooperating found that cooperating stimulates the same parts of our brain as does eating chocolate.

Ninety percent of Americans make less in real dollars than they did in 1973 – on average $4,000 less. The wealthiest 400 Americans now control more wealth than half the world’s people.

Worldwide, more people are members of cooperatives than own shares in publicly traded companies; cooperatives provide a fifth more jobs than do global corporations.

Democracy is not what we have, it is what we do.

More than a third of both the world’s grain and fish catch now go to feed livestock, which return to us only a fraction of the nutrients.

If the whole world adopted sustainable farming practices, production could increase by over 50 percent.

In three decades agricultural output per person has climbed by one fifth worldwide, but in just the last two years over 100 million more people suffer from hunger—reaching a total of nearly a billion.

America emits twice the carbon per person that Europe does. But think what’s possible: California emits 20 percent less carbon per dollar GDP than Germany; and it gets a quarter of its electricity from renewables!

Can we truly believe ‘the world’ can change if we don’t experience ourselves changing? And there’s only one way to change ourselves – that’s by taking risks.

Even the fear of death is nothing compared to the fear of not having lived authentically and fully.

In Washington DC, more than two dozen lobbyists push mainly corporate interests for every one representative American citizens have elected to protect our interests.

Every time we act, even with our fear, we make room for others to do the same. Courage is contagious.

It’s not possible to know what’s possible. So we are free to go for the world we really want.

Hope is not something we seek in evidence, it is what we become in action.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Whenever Our Goodness Is Seen

Whenever our goodness is seen, it is a blessing. Every culture and tradition understands the importance of seeing one another with love. An old Hasidic rabbi asked his pupils how they could tell when the night had ended and day begun, for daybreak is the time for certain holy prayers. "Is it," proposed one student, "when you can see an animal in the distance and tell whether it is a sheep or a dog?" "No," answered the rabbi. "Is it when you can clearly see the lines on your own palm?" "Is it when you can look at a tree in the distance and tell if it is a fig or a pear tree?" "No," answered the rabbi each time. "Then what is it?" the pupils demanded. "It is when you can look on the face of any man or woman or child and see that they are your sister or brother. Until then it is still night."

~ Jack Kornfield, from The Wise Heart

* * *

"The voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes,
but in having new eyes."

~ Marcel Proust

Hafiz: The Great Work


Is the great work
Though every heart is first an

That slaves beneath the city of Light.

This wondrous trade,
This magnificent throne your soul
Is destined for-

You should not have to think
Much about it,

Is it not clear
An apprentice needs a teacher
Who himself

Has charmed the universe
To reveal its wonders inside his cup.

Happiness is the great work,
Though every heart must first become
A student

To one
Who really knows
About Love.

~ Hafiz ~

(The Gift -- versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)

Web archive of Panhala postings:

Teaching Love, Not Fear, To Children

With professor, prolific author, fierce longtime child advocate,
and "national treasure" James Garbarino

In recent months a Facebook site came to my attention: My parents didn't put me in time-out, they whooped my ass!. This is my response...

For over two decades I have worked with children and families in some capacity. For a total of ten years I worked with abused and neglected preschool aged children. I then worked with the Healthy Start Program doing home visiting with first time parents; I worked with some families for five years providing parent education and support. For the past 3+ years I have been a permanency caseworker with the Department of Human Services Child Welfare. I am also a trauma survivor myself, and have been engaged in my own healing, transformative, and heart awakening process for over 25 years.

Part of growing up immersed in varying degrees of normalized harm in my family of origin and in our culture at large was learning to numb out, not see, minimize, and develop a high tolerance for both subtle and overt violence. One of the most precious and hard fought for gifts of my many years of healing has been to bring down the walls around my heart, lifting one veil at a time which kept my vision distorted and my heart off center and my instincts impaired. I could write a book on all this, and perhaps I will some day. But for now I am focusing on one thing - how we treat our children.

Having grown up with so much fear, I knew that I did not want my children to fear me. But I did not know what to do instead. And without awareness and knowledge and new tools to use, it can be easy to believe that the only two options are to spank and use fear on the one hand, or to just allow children to "run wild" and be out of control on the other. It took a long time to truly put into practice this middle way - the way that teaches love, not fear.

As I moved to share the gifts I was learning in my professional work, among the many challenges I faced was bringing the teachings of parenting with love and respect to those who believed that to spare the rod is to spoil the child. The above Facebook site is a perfect example of those who believe that a good ass whoopin' is necessary to raise children to be "good".

I remember one family in particular that I worked with for 5 years through the births of their two children. I so respected the mother's honesty and her strong voice which shared, "I don' t know who to believe - you or my pastor..." Because I was bringing out all these materials on the harm that hitting children causes while her pastor was telling her on Sundays that spanking children is an important part of parenting. Ultimately, again and again I returned to sharing with this mother that I did not want to tell her what to do. I wanted to empower her to know in her deepest being what she wanted to choose to do. More important than anything I could say, or any handout I could bring, I asked this beautiful woman in her mid-thirties to simply observe what happened when she chose to spank. To truly notice her daughter's reactions and emotions. To truly notice what happened in their relationship when she chose to spank or to do the harder work of implementing an alternative. I encouraged this mom over time to try to let go of my words or her pastor's and instead allow herself to experience, to know in her heart what was working and what was not. It helped empower her to also notice what were short term and long term consequences of her parenting choices.

Ultimately, this mother came to her own conclusion to not use spanking and to instead motivate, teach, and parent with love rather than fear.

My spiritual path is deeply rooted in the choice I make again and again each and every day to try as best as I can to walk a path of no harm. How I define "no harm" continuously is expanding and evolving. One thing is clear and summed up on a couple stickers I've had on my refrigerator over the years: "It is Never okay to hit a child", and "The only way we will ever stop the abuse and neglect of children is to stop believing that punishing people makes them good." Amen.

A huge passion which has emerged for me over many years now is my commitment to and love for children. To the extent that we can support one another in truly and deeply understanding what helps rather than harms the little people in our midst is the extent that we are helping, I believe, to create a more just, humane, compassionate, peaceful, and loving world. It takes a great deal of courage to face how we have been harmed. Until we experience the fear, shame, anger, and loss that so many of us carry in our hearts from well intentioned parents, we remain at risk of acting out the hurt we may not even know we carry inside.

There is an alternative to using fear to raise "good" children on the one hand or its opposite, which is neglect. We can make the choice to teach love or to teach fear. Which do we truly want to pass on? I know what my choice is...

For more information:

Excellent parenting resource: http://www.askdrsears.com/html/6/t060100.asp

In the article "The Long-Term Effects of Spanking", the research cited reports that "Of the nearly 2,500 youngsters in the study, those who were spanked more frequently at age 3 were much more likely to be aggressive by age 5...As 5-year-olds, the children who had been spanked were more likely than the nonspanked to be defiant, demand immediate satisfaction of their wants and needs, become frustrated easily, have temper tantrums and lash out physically against other people or animals...Corporal punishment instills fear rather than understanding."
Read more:
This website describes negative impact of physical punishment on children, including that "Children who continue to be spanked are more likely to be depressed, use alcohol, have more anger, hit their own children, approve of and hit their spouses, and engage in crime and violence as adults." They go on to say that spanning "teaches the child that might makes right -- that the use of violence is a valid way to handle conflicts; ...interferes with the development of trust, a sense of security, and effective communication" between parent and child." Please go here for more information:

In the article "What Spanking Does For Kids", the authors report the impact of physical punishment. Among many negative consequences listed are: "Frequent and harsh spankings can cause young children to bottle up their feelings of fear, anger, and hostility. In later life these children are unusually prone to suicidal thoughts, suicide, and depression... Despite the age or gender of the child, the family's social class or ethnicity, whether the child was hit frequently or rarely, severely or mildly, whether there were high or low levels of interaction and affection in the home, and regardless of the degree to which specific situational variables may have mitigated the effects of the punishment, spanking consistently contributes to lowered self-esteem." Please read more here: http://www.nospank.net/hyman2.htm

The article "Spanking a Child Affects Brain Development" reports that "recent research on human brain development has shown that spanking and other corporal punishment will have a significant adverse affect on the development of a child's brain and brain function. Whenever a child experiences fear and stress, especially when combined with high emotional confusion or emotional separation from a parent or other caregiver, that child becomes biologically and neuro-chemically alarmed and on high alert." Please go here for more information: http://ezinearticles.com/?Spanking-a-Child-Affects-Brain-Development&id=4065617

"Practice Positive Parenting" describes how "instilling fear in children serves no purpose and creates feelings of shame and humiliation. Fear has been shown to lead to an increased risk of future antisocial behavior including crime and substance abuse." They also give tools for developing positive discipline such as: Use empathy and respect; Research positive discipline; Understand the unmet need; Work out a solution together; Be proactive; Understand the child's developmental abilities; Create a "yes" environment; Discipline through play. More: http://www.attachmentparenting.org/principles/disc.php
Author and professor James Garbarino, one of my heroes and a "national treasure" who has worked tirelessly on behalf of children for years, believes that the consequences of spanking cause sufficient harm that spanking should be illegal. Jim’s "Lost Boys" came out synchronistically at the time of Columbine. I have several of Jim’s books and you can go here for more information:
From "Spanked Children Lose Trust": "In his booklet Plain Talk About Spanking, Jordan Riak writes: "the act of spanking a child erodes the bond of trust between the child and the parent. The spanked child is less able to regard the parent as a source of care, protection and comfort which are vital to every child's healthy development." Without a sense of trust of his parent, the child's ability to grow up and be an emotionally healthy adult who is able to trust and love others is severely hindered." More:

In the article "Disciplining Your Child", the authors describe what to do instead of corporal punishment. Please go here for more information: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/communication-discipline/pages/Disciplining-Your-Child.aspx?nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token

Difference between discipline and punishment:

Other resources:


Friday, April 23, 2010

Documentary: For the Next 7 Generations

For The Next 7 Generations, a phenomenal documentary of hope
Causes - Fundraiser
Date: Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Location: Hollywood Theater, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland, OR

The first screening in March, 2010 sold out and 100 people needed to be turned away! Advance tickets $8 at:https://robot.boxofficetickets.com/800-494-TIXS/WebObjects/BOTx2005.woa/wa/inspectProgram?id=101415&passKey=90cc441baf

Ticket at the door $10. Also can get to advance ticket through Hollywood Theater's website.

To see preview, go to http://www.youtube.com/carolehart

Five years in the making, this much anticipated feature documentary is now complete!For the Next 7 Generations documents the momentous journey of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, as they travel around the globe to promote world peace and share their indigenous ways of healing. Originating from all four corners, these 13 wise women elders, shamans and medicine women, first came together in 2004 at a historic gathering in Upstate New York. Motivated by their concern for our planet, they decided to form an alliance: The International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers. The film begins at their first gathering follows them to the Amazon rainforest, the mountains of Mexico, throughout North America, and to Dharamsala, India, for a private meeting with the Dalai Lama. Facing a world in crisis, the Grandmothers share with us their visions of healing and a call for change now, before it’s too late. Through their teachings, they are lighting a way to a peaceful, sustainable planet. This film documents their unparalleled journey and timely perspectives on a timeless wisdom.

Monday, April 12, 2010

April 19th: Bill McKibben To Speak In Portland + His New Book

This is an excellent resource!
What a blessing to see this amazing, courageous man!

Bill McKibben
Author, Educator, Environmentalist

To Speak in Portland:
April 19, 2010
McMenamins Bagdad Theater at 7:00pm
3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, OR 97210

Regarding Bill McKibben's new book, EAARTH, Barbara Kingsolver states: "Read it, please. Straight through to the end. Whatever else you were planning to do next, nothing could be more important."

For more information about Bill McKibben and these significant issues which affect us all, please go here: http://www.billmckibben.com/index.html

Please also consider spreading the word.

Peace ~ Molly

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ninth Duino Elegy

Ninth Duino Elegy

Praise the world to the angel: leave the unsayable aside.
Your exalted feelings do not move him.
In the universe, where he feels feelings, you are a beginner.
Therefore show him what is ordinary, what has been
shaped from generation to generation, shaped by hand and eye.
Tell him of things. He will stand still in astonishment,
the way you stood by the ropemaker in Rome
or beside the potter on the Nile.
Show him how happy a thing can be, how innocent and ours,
how even a lament takes pure form,
serves as a thing, dies as a thing,
while the violin, blessing it, fades.

And the things, even as they pass,
understand that we praise them.
Transient, they are trusting us
to save them - us, the most transient of all.
As if they wanted in our invisible hearts
to be transformedinto - oh, endlessly - into us.

Earth, isn't this what you want? To arise in us, invisible?
Is it not your dream, to enter us so wholly
there's nothing left outside us to see?
What, if not transformation,
is your deepest purpose? Earth, my love,
I want that too. Believe me,
no more of your springtimes are needed
to win me over - even one flower
is more than enough. Before I was named
I belonged to you. I seek no other law
but yours, and know I can trust
the death you will bring.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

(In Praise of Mortality, trans. and edited Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)

Web version:

Cherokee Song: Wash Your Spirit Clean

Wash Your Spirit Clean
(Sung in Cherokee and English)

Hi Nv Ga La Ja Da Nv To
Ha Da Hv Si Ni Ja Du Li Sgai
Di Ja Yo Hi Ki La Hi Go Wa Ta
Hi Nv Ga La Ja Da Nv To
Hi Nv Ga La Ja Da Nv To
hos da hi ta da na de ja du
hi es go hi ge ja de le hi
Hi Nv Ga La Ja Da Nv To

Give away the things you don't need
Let it all go and you'll soon see
And you'll wash your spirit clean
Wash your spirit clean

Go and pray upon a mountain
Go and pray beside the ocean
And you'll wash your spirit clean
Wash Your spirit clean

Be grateful for the struggle
Be thankful for the lessons
And you'll wash your spirit clean

Hi Nv Ga La Ja Da Nv To
Ha Da Hv Si Ni Ja Du Li Sgai
Di Ja Yo Hi Ki La Hi Go Wa Ta
Hi Nv Ga La Ja Da Nv To
Hi Nv Ga La Ja Da Nv To
hos da hi ta da na de ja du
hi es go hi ge ja de le hi
Hi Nv Ga La Ja Da Nv To

~ Walela ~

(from the CD of the same name,
which is the Cherokee word for hummingbird)

Web archive of Panhala postings:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Remembering First Female Chief Of Cherokee Nation

In honor of a great woman...

Wilma Mankiller, whose life encapsulated some of the traditions and the changes that are part of contemporary Native American culture, died on Tuesday. She was 64.

In 1985, Mankiller became the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation, a position she held for a decade. As chief, she headed the Tribal Council, the ruling body of the 72,000-member Cherokee Nation, and was principal guardian of Cherokee customs and traditions.

During her tenure, membership in the Cherokee Nation tripled and its budget grew to $150 million a year. Mankiller put much of that money back into health care and educational resources for the tribe.

In a 1993 interview on Fresh Air, Mankiller described how a 1979 car accident that nearly killed her completely changed the way she viewed her own life. She says that accident helped her adopt the Cherokee approach to life.

"I think the Cherokee approach to life is being able to continually move forward with kind of a good mind and not focus on the negative things in your life and the negative things you see around you, but focus on the positive things and try to look at the larger picture and keep moving forward," Mankiller explained. "[It] also taught me to look at the larger things in life rather than focusing on small things, and it's also awfully, awfully hard to rattle me after having faced my own mortality ... so the things I learned from those experiences actually enabled me to lead. Without those experiences, I don't think I would have been able to lead. I think I would have gotten caught up in a lot of nonsensical things."

Five years after the car accident, Mankiller first ran for office in the Cherokee Nation tribe. She says that during that election, which she lost, her gender played a large role.

"The only issue in the first election was my being female," she said. "That was a total — a total issue in the entire election. There was incredible opposition because of that. But the people who stayed with me in the '83 election and who stayed with me through today, 10 years later, have been the older people in the tribe and the more traditional elements of the tribe. I've always found that fascinating. My husband and I have talked about it and I think we've come to the conclusion that maybe older people have a greater sense of history and understand that there was a time when women played a more significant role in the tribe and there was more balance and harmony between men and women in the Cherokee Nation."

Mankiller served as the chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1985 to 1995. In 1998, President Clinton awarded her the Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor.

In addition to her husband, Charlie Soap, Mankiller is survived by her mother, two daughters, several brothers and sisters and four grandchildren. Her memoir is titled Mankiller: A Chief and Her People. She was also the author of Every Day is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women.

* * *

If we're ever going to collectively begin to grapple with the problems that we have collectively, we're going to have to move back the veil and deal with each other on a more human level... In Iroquois society, leaders are encouraged to remember seven generations in the past and consider seven generations in the future when making decisions that affect the people... America would be a better place if leaders would do more long-term thinking.
~ Wilma Mankiller

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It Isn't Magic...

It's not magic; it isn't a trick.
Every breath is a resurrection.
And when we hear the poem
Which is the world, when our eyes
Gaze at the beloved's body,
We're reborn in all the sacred parts
Of our own bodies: the heart
Contracts, the brain
Releases its shower
Of sparks,and the tear
Embarks on its pilgrimage
Down the cheek to meet
The smiling mouth.

~ Gregory Orr ~

(Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Exultet

Easter Exultet

Shake out your qualms.
Shake up your dreams.
Deepen your roots.
Extend your branches.
Trust deep water
and head for the open,
even if your vision
shipwrecks you.
Quit your addiction
to sneer and complain.
Open a lookout.
Dance on a brink.
Run with your wildfire.
You are closer to glory
leaping an abyss
than upholstering a rut.
Not dawdling.
Not doubting.
Intrepid all the way
Walk toward clarity.
At every crossroad
Be prepared
to bump into wonder.
Only love prevails.
En route to disaster
insist on canticles.
Lift your ineffable
out of the mundane.
Nothing perishes;
nothing survives;
everything transforms!
Honeymoon with Big Joy!

~ James Broughton ~

(Sermons of the Big Joy)

An Absence of Class

Warm Greetings

From a larger perspective, this is not about left/right, Republican/Democrat, conservative/progressive, or any other polarity. This is about integrity, dignity, respect, connection, caring, compassion, and passion for a more just world which works for all. This is about refusing to justify violence, and refusing to allow fear to dictate our actions and instead choosing to act from our higher selves. We are all connected. Namaste ~ Molly

* * * * * *

by Bob Herbert
Published on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 by The New York Times

Some of the images from the run-up to Sunday's landmark health care vote in the House of Representatives should be seared into the nation's consciousness. We are so far, in so many ways, from being a class act.

A group of lowlifes at a Tea Party rally in Columbus, Ohio, last week taunted and humiliated a man who was sitting on the ground with a sign that said he had Parkinson's disease. The disgusting behavior was captured on a widely circulated videotape. One of the Tea Party protesters leaned over the man and sneered: "If you're looking for a handout, you're in the wrong end of town."

Another threw money at the man, first one bill and then another, and said contemptuously, "I'll pay for this guy. Here you go. Start a pot."

In Washington on Saturday, opponents of the health care legislation spit on a black congressman and shouted racial slurs at two others, including John Lewis, one of the great heroes of the civil rights movement. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was taunted because he is gay.

At some point, we have to decide as a country that we just can't have this: We can't allow ourselves to remain silent as foaming-at-the-mouth protesters scream the vilest of epithets at members of Congress - epithets that The Times will not allow me to repeat here.

It is 2010, which means it is way past time for decent Americans to rise up against this kind of garbage, to fight it aggressively wherever it appears. And it is time for every American of good will to hold the Republican Party accountable for its role in tolerating, shielding and encouraging foul, mean-spirited and bigoted behavior in its ranks and among its strongest supporters.

* * * * * *

We must not allow ourselves to become like the system we oppose.
~ Bishop Desmond Tutu

All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love life. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do?
~ The Buddha

Defenders of Wildlife: Tell Discovery to drop Sarah Palin

Thank you to Diana for passing this important message on. Please consider signing the petition from Defenders of Wildlife and sharing this information with others. Thanks so much. Peace ~ Molly

* * * * * *

Dear Friend,

Can you believe it?

Discovery Communications -- the parent company of The Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC and others, and known for their wildlife-focused programs -- is planning to produce an 8-part TV show on Sarah Palin’s Alaska!

Discovery says it regards Palin as being “one of [Alaska’s] proudest daughters.”

Never mind that the former governor was an unabashed champion of Alaska’s brutal and bloody aerial wolf-slaughter program. According to reports, she’ll earn about $1 million per episode from the nature-focused series.

Act now: Send a powerful message to Discovery Communications expressing your outrage at their action and urging them to drop Sarah Palin’s new show from their programming schedule.
Sarah Palin’s Alaska is a “reality TV” show that aims to showcase the “powerful beauty of Alaska,” according to Discovery’s TLC website.

But the real Sarah Palin’s Alaska is an ugly reality. As governor for only two-and-a-half years, Sarah Palin escalated a bloody aerial wolf-slaughter campaign that continues to this very day. She even planned to offer a $150 bounty for the severed forelimb of each killed wolf.

Palin also fought against increased protections for endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales and America’s dwindling populations of polar bears.

It seems ironic that Sarah Palin will now earn millions hosting a nature show after spending years fighting against Alaska's natural heritage!

Send a message to Discovery Communications -- and let them know that Sarah Palin doesn’t deserve to represent the “powerful beauty of Alaska” in front of millions of people.

It’s surprising that Discovery Communications, parent company of such cable television channels as Animal Planet, The Discovery Channel and TLC -- and known for their stunning wildlife-focused shows -- would chose to embrace such a controversial and anti-wildlife persona as Sarah Palin.

Please join me in calling on Discovery Communications to drop Sarah Palin’s new show.


Rodger Schlickeisen
Defenders of Wildlife


At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love.

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

American Inequality

From Bill Moyers Journal, April 2, 2010

In his closing essay for the April 2, 2010 JOURNAL, Bill Moyers references several works on inequality in America. Among these is THE SPIRIT LEVEL: WHY GREATER EQUALITY MAKES SOCIETIES STRONGER by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, who together have spent more than 50 years studying how inequality affects the health of a population.

Bill Moyers talked to them about their work.

RICHARD WILKINSON: Well, what we've discovered is health is just one of many issues which are worse in more unequal societies, including violence or teenage births and all sorts of other problems. These are not just a little bit worse in more unequal societies, but are much worse.

Also among their findings:
- The most unequal countries have more homicide, more obesity, more mental illness, more teen pregnancy, more high-school dropouts, and more people in prison.
- The more equal the society, the longer its people live.
- The United States has the greatest inequality of income of any developed country except Singapore.

>Read the complete interview

Ameican Equality and Inequality

The authors of THE SPIRIT LEVEL are not the first to note the powerful ramifications the loss of equality has had on American society and self-image. In THE AMERICAN DREAM VS. THE GOSPEL OF WEALTH, the economist Norton Garfinkle writes that Abraham Lincoln believed this country's defining characteristic was economic opportunity, that through hard work, over the course of a lifetime, every American — including freed slaves — could achieve a decent standard of living.

In Garfinkle's words, "America was the first nation on earth to offer this opportunity of economic advancement to all, even to the humblest beginner, and this was what made the nation unique and worth preserving. Ultimately, it was the largest reason for Lincoln's willingness to fight the Civil War."


The BBC reported startling economic inequality figures in a 2008 documentary: the top 200 wealthiest people in the world control more wealth than the bottom 4 billion. But what is more striking to many is a close look at the economic inequality in the homeland of the "American Dream." The United States is one of the most economically stratified societies in the western world. As THE WALL STREET JOURNAL reported, a 2008 study found that the top .01% — or 14,000 American families — hold 22.2% of wealth. The bottom 90%, or over 133 million families, control just 4% of the nation's wealth.

Additional studies narrow the focus. This from the Pew Foundation and THE NEW YORK TIMES: "The chance that children of the poor or middle class will climb up the income ladder, has not changed significantly over the last three decades." This from THE ECONOMIST'S special report, "Inequality in America:" "The fruits of productivity gains have been skewed towards the highest earners, and towards companies, whose profits have reached record levels as a share of GDP."

More: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04022010/profile4.html

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America's corporate and political elites now form a regime of their own and they're privatizing democracy. All the benefits - the tax cuts, policies and rewards flow in one direction: up.

~ Bill Moyers

Jane Goodall's Reasons For Hope

Jane's Reasons For Hope

It is easy to be overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness as we look around the world. We are losing species at a terrible rate, the balance of nature is disturbed, and we are destroying our beautiful planet. We have fear about water supplies, where future energy will come from – and most recently the developed world has been mired in an economic crisis. But in spite of all this I do have hope. And my hope is based on four factors.

The Human Brain: Firstly, we have at last begun to understand and face up to the problems that threaten us and the survival of life on Earth as we know it. Surely we can use our problem-solving abilities, our brains, to find ways to live in harmony with nature. Many companies have begun "greening" their operations, and millions of people worldwide are beginning to realize that each of us has a responsibility to the environment and our descendants. Everywhere I go, I see people making wiser choices, and more responsible ones.

The Indomitable Human Spirit: My second reason for hope lies in the indomitable nature of the human spirit. There are so many people who have dreamed seemingly unattainable dreams and, because they never gave up, achieved their goals against all the odds, or blazed a path along which others could follow. The recent presidential election in the US is one example. As I travel around the world I meet so many incredible and amazing human beings. They inspire me. They inspire those around them.

The Resilience of Nature: My third reason for hope is the incredible resilience of nature. I have visited Nagasaki, site of the second atomic bomb that ended World War II. Scientists had predicted that nothing could grow there for at least 30 years. But, amazingly, greenery grew very quickly. One sapling actually managed to survive the bombing, and today it is a large tree, with great cracks and fissures, all black inside; but that tree still produces leaves. I carry one of those leaves with me as a powerful symbol of hope. I have seen such renewals time and again, including animal species brought back from the brink of extinction.

The Determination of Young People: My final reason for hope lies in the tremendous energy, enthusiasm and commitment of young people around the world. As they find out about the environmental and social problems that are now part of their heritage, they want to right the wrongs. Of course they do -- they have a vested interest in this, for it will be their world tomorrow. They will be moving into leadership positions, into the workforce, becoming parents themselves. Young people, when informed and empowered, when they realize that what they do truly makes a difference, can indeed change the world. We should never underestimate the power of determined young people.

I meet many young people with shining eyes who want to tell Dr. Jane what they've been doing, how they are making a difference in their communities. Whether it's something simple like recycling or collecting trash, something that requires a lot of effort, like restoring a wetland or a prairie, or whether it's raising money for the local dog shelter, they are a continual source of inspiration. My greatest reason for hope is the spirit and determination of young people, once they know what the problems are and have the tools to take action.

So let’s move forward in this new millennium with hope, for without it all we can do is eat and drink the last of our resources as we watch our planet slowly die. Let’s have faith in ourselves, in our intellect, in our staunch spirit and in our young people. And let’s do the work that needs to be done, with love and compassion.

--Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE


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Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.

~ Arundhati Roy

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness... What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places -- and there are so many -- where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction...
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

~ Howard Zinn