|ARCHIVE ISSN: 1530-5775||
April 2012 Vol.14 #4
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Step Up It's Time
from the Editors
We have all become aware of the attack on women's rights and health in this election season &%151; and that it began before this. It is often said that this is a strategy to eliminate a woman's right to choose, but it is clear from the rhetoric and the progression of laws designed to shame and punish women, often for just being women, that it is a deeper attack than that. The most obvious demonstration that this attack on women's health is an attack on all women; not an attack on any one issue, is the opposition to the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act.
Twenty-four states enacted 92 new abortion restrictions last year, 2011, more than four times the number passed in 2010. According to Sarah Kliff, in the Washington Post Wonkblog by the beginning of this year five states had enacted bans on abortion after 20 weeks of gestation, seven required abortion providers to perform or offer an ultrasound prior to the procedure and eight states now bar private health insurers from covering abortion services. But others are pushing for defunding and regulation of birth control, medical exams, what doctors are allowed to provide as information to their female patients and such basics as pregnancy leave.
Emily's List lists their "Top 10 Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Attacks on Women’s Rights" as:
Planned Parenthood, the largest single provider of women's health services has been under agressive attack since 2011 and that attack may has culminated with the recent defunding of Planned Parenthood in the state of Texas, where it is not being replaced with a comparable state-based service for women. Medicaid is the only program which is still available as a subsidized health care program in Texas and it serves a narrow range of income levels and is not intended to specifically serve the needs of women.
The list of statements by legislators (federal and state) demonstrates a shocking lack of understanding of and compassion for women's health issues, yet these are the people who want to step in, often in place of a medical doctor's judgment, and control women's health.
But this week, it is not just women's health that is on the Republican chopping block. The Supreme Court, whose record for integrity and Constitutional standards has been anything but stellar of late, is being asked to comment on all of our health care. The first question they asked (and plan to answer) is whether they can answer any question before the plan goes into full effect. That may sound cautious, but ask any family whose over 20 child has maintained health coverage thanks to the parts of the bill that are already in effect what they think about timing. Or any insured person who has a condition that might be deemed "pre-existing"… anyone who has a chronic illness and may soon (or eventually) reach their insurance limit what they think about a definition of freedom that ignores the needs of the citizens, or about the timing of removing their personal protection.
Ask me what I think about a Supreme Court that will decide if those who don't understand the need for a society wide commitment to health can be spared that share in responsibility, at the same time they have twiddled while women are required to undergo forced ultrasounds, denied the right to their own reproductive decisions, and are regularly shamed and demeaned by legislators and media personalities for trying to maintain that basic right.
According to Care 2 Causes a study released by the University of Michigan shows that women who have early access to the pill have increased wages through the course of their lives. "We found that women who had early access to the pill in the 1960s and 1970s earned 8 percent more on average by the 1980s and 1990s than women without early access," said Martha Bailey, a research affiliate at the U-M Institute for Social Research who authored the study. "As the pill provided younger women the expectation of greater control over childbearing, women invested more in their human capital and careers," said Bailey. "Most affected were women with some college, who benefited from these investments through remarkable wage gains over their lifetimes."
In the last women's movement (Second Wave/1960s and 70s) I did a lot of public speaking on the absurdity of the inequality of our laws. Unfortunately, the topic is still a good one today. I found this list of Seven Ridiculous Laws Against Women that I hope will make you crying mad:
2. In Vermont, a woman must obtain written permission from her husband if she wishes to wear false teeth. Because women really lead with their teeth in wanton, uncontrolled sexuality.
3. In Tucson, Arizona, women are not allowed to wear pants. No word on the stance on booty shorts or thongs.
4. In Carrizozo, New Mexico, it is illegal for a woman to appear unshaven in public. Rejoice, razor industry, rejoice!
5. In Dyersburg, Tennessee, it is illegal for a woman to call a man on a date. I don't want to live in a world where equal-opportunity drunk dialing isn't free to all.
6. In Carmel, New York, women may not wear high heels within the city limits. They are obviously just protecting their citizens, as this move effectively disqualifies the city from ever letting a "Sex and the City" sequel to be shot in their town. Good move, Carmel!
7. In Michigan, a woman isn't allowed to cut her hair without her husband's permission. But what if her husband cuts it for her?
Now stop crying and kick some legislature butt. What we do in this election is going to change everything. Whether it is for the betterment of our society is really up to you because if you aren't willing to fight for women's rights and for legislators who will walk that path with you, you will get the kind of world no one deserves not even as a penalty for failure.
Read this feature from past issues.
You can see more by David Donar at http://politicalgraffiti.wordpress.com/.
Read this feature from past issues.
Modern Technological Policing
an interview with Steve Kates, part 2
LF: Well, that type of demonstration has not been seen in the United States for a very long time. We do see flash-bang grenades and other assault types of weapons in police departments being used against groups of people. How has this evolved? They didn't use flash-bang grenades at Kent State not everyone will remember that, but it was in the nineteen sixties, an antiwar protest where the police overreacted and killed four students but there were no flash grenades involved; there were no what we today would consider assault weapons involved. So, how did police go from basic guns and rifles and batons to the kind of robo-cop kind of padding and helmets and weapons and stuff we see now?
Steve: That's an interesting question, Georgia, and I think, basically, California leads in what we call SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics). Back in the 1970s with the Watts Riots and other riots that happened in this country Miami, New York Newark… areas like that, Detroit law enforcement, and I think there is a lot of validity to a lot of the tools that they will employ . Let's just define a little bit about the flash bang grenade; it's a small device that SWAT or other specialized personnel not just a regular police officer is able to deploy; who deploys them is all about different department policies. The purpose of that is literally to stun, not rupture the eardrum of the person but to do exactly what it says which is to stun them. So the flash bang grenade really I think came from what law enforcement faced in the 1970s, but if you look at the tradition of the flash bang grenades it's very effective because the enemy or the opposition really does not have time to think clearly once they are blinded by the explosion of a flash bang grenade, say at night or if, say, they happen to detonate that in a storm or a small room. There is going to be ample opportunity for law enforcement to get in and subdue those perpetrators. And it's dangerous, but I guess those are the rules of the road. Law enforcement is going to do what they have to do to keep the officer safe in whatever situation when necessary.
Flash bang grenades and the use of assault weapons really came from seeing the criminals also heavily armed, and for what a handgun cannot do law enforcement needs those special tools to be able to stop loss of life both from the civilian side and for their own team members.
LF: You're probably going to disagree with me but I feel very strongly that these things should never be used against groups like the Occupy protestors.
Steve: I'm not going to disagree with you. I mean, I can emphatically say this, and I want to make it very clear and I want to make it very clear with you that I don't see why we'd have to use flash bang grenades against a peaceful assembly. And, certainly, I don't see any reason why we would have to draw an assault weapon or shoot people whether I believed in their politics or not. I mean if they aren't doing anything where they're holding weapons or holding hostages, or doing anything like that, I would agree with you there. I don't think we need to deploy flash bang grenades against protestors who are occupying a park somewhere; and I want to make that distinction.
So I do agree with you. I mean I think that's totally ridiculous. If a court order states that they have to move from a location there are other ways to do it, but I agree with you. I don't think a flash bang grenade needs to go off next to someone and blind them or damage their eardrums, or does an assault weapon need to be shot at a person who does not have weapons. I'm saying it this way: If a person has no knife or a gun, obviously I wouldn't say we are able to shoot anybody or use flash bang grenades.
LF: Good. I'm glad to hear that.
Steve: Let me say this, the simplest way and I'm not a command officer of any SWAT team, nor am I qualified to talk about how any cities with their legal departments handle these things, but in my experience just with pepper spray alone I would imagine that if you had a pepper bomb that totally covered an entire field trust me on this even the most diehard protestor is not going to want to be standing their ground. I would think on that basis alone, there are other less lethal tools to utilize. The only way I would go back against that opinion is if anyone in that group were shooting at police and then they have to protect themselves. If someone is actually in that crowd shooting at police, then I think that's a whole different story.
LF: That would be a different story except that we haven't seen that and probably will not in the United States.
Steve: Let's hope it stays that way; peaceful protest. You know I think the whole lesson of freedom, Georgia, is this. Many people talk about freedom but a lot of people are hypocrites because, here it is and I think everybody listening needs to think about this too, you may think that certain freedoms are great but if someone's not bothering you or there is an illegal thing that they're doing, just because you don't agree with them is not a reason to want to go out there and beat on these people or do anything. If you're really a freedom loving person then you're going to be able to understand that there are many circumstances that you, yourself, are not going to agree with. Am I correct that you agree with that from your side?
LF: Oh, absolutely. I mean that is the point of freedom is that everyone should have it whether you agree with them or not unless they're hurting someone.
So that's the Occupy Movement, but we are looking at, in the very near future an expectation of much larger gatherings than any of the Occupies have reach so far, as large as they have been, and that will be at the conventions. And I wanted to ask you about this thing that I've heard about called the "Miami Model" and if anything like that is likely to happen and the conventions and how you think that they should be handling the really large protests that I hope will be happening at, at least one.
Steve: Let's put it this way: Again, I am a peace loving person, I think from my experience as a volunteer over fifteen years with the sheriff's department; I have no law enforcement powers other than as a deputy and I want to make it very clear to you and to your listeners that I do not condone violence at all, but I think it is very simple. If someone is coming at me with deadly force, being in the law enforcement world or just a civilian listening to this, I think it's your God given right to protect yourself from an illegal, unlawful attack on your body. Someone could have a 50 pound rock in their hand that they going to throw at your head, so sure I would want to stop that someone. If they have a firearm, that changes the dynamics of the whole thing. But let's go to the basis of your question here. I'm in no way looking to stop or circumvent the First Amendment or any of our freedoms, but at any of these locations whether they be conventions or any other political, or any other type of event I think if people are legally there, that is with license to be in a park or if they have permits or what have you I have no problem with that. But, as you know violence can get out of hand, can escalate; it can start out very small but then a lot of people can get killed or, certainly, have no idea that there is that potential for the threat or the possibility to die. So, again, I'm not advocating that police shoot or pepper spray crowds for no reason but you can imagine that if the economy continues to… I don't know, maybe not stabilize out there… I mean in a very tough political year like this you don't know what can happen. I just hope that cooler heads prevail. Everyone is entitled to make a protest, but if it begins to get violent, where people are beating people or attacking people, it is law enforcement's job to stand the line because there is no other line and we would have anarchy.
Going back to what you were saying before about this Miami Model, let me just separate something here and bring up what the Miami Model is. The Miami Model is something that was taught to law enforcement in a very sad way back on the eleventh of April 1986 in south Florida when the FBI lost in just a few hours a number of agents, Special Agent Jerry Dowd and Special Agent Benjamin Groghan, in an amazing shootout with two bad guys, Michael Lee Platt and William Russell Maddux. Here were two individuals, very well trained, military trained guys, who were obviously involved in a string of robberies in south Florida, but not all of the details were available. Basically, what happened was that the FBI was caught in a very bad situation and didn't realize that these two bad guys, these crooks, were going to fight back with the strength that they did. So after the loss, that loss of the FBI agents the whole policy changed. They realized that a lot of their firearms were underpowered. They realized that they needed to fight with a stronger caliber gun, and that started off a whole different training paradigm in the 1990s for law enforcement. Essentially what happened was that law enforcement decided to change its tactics so we have more of what's called today an "active shooter program". If there is a shooter in a school it's not that police are going to respond twenty minutes after the shoot happens; there's a whole way to mobilize. But this sort of refers to a whole change thanks to the Miami incident. Law enforcement changed the kind of caliber they're using. They went from a simple 38 special or 357 magnum, they went to the 9mm or the 10mm. So law enforcement changed a lot of its tactics for how to deal with these kinds of gunmen. These were people who wanted to kill. These weren't your average criminals who have no education. They were very trained military guys and it cost the lives of a number of FBI agents. So the FBI and the whole country, I think, changed in many ways with the type of ammunition and firearms that law enforcement would use to respond with.
LF: It sounds like that brings us back, full circle, to my original question about if there was a line that changed everything. But right now, today, is there one weapon that has made the most impact on domestic policing?
Steve: I think the most important weapon right now is the amazing unit called the TASER. It's an amazing piece of equipment. I think, first, there were so many law suits that TASER had to defend against and let's be honest here, people did die because maybe in drug and alcohol abuse, you know a lot of times people are compromised and I think about 98% of the abuser cases were exonerated. What is important about the TASER, if you don't have to kill someone in their apprehension, I mean, if you can have that person go to court instead of shooting them dead; then the TASER has probably had the single biggest impact in the last generation. The TASER has not been deployed for twenty five years but since it has been out there I would say the TASER has been a real aid to law enforcement. Though a small percentage of people have died from that, it is sad to say that, but I think it outweighs all of those who would have been shot by overzealous police officers or by someone who wasn't following department policy. So I tip my hat to the TASER and also the OC strike, I think it has its place in today's policing.
LF: Well I have time for one more question and, if I may, I want to ask a personal one. It isn't so much a question as something I think our listeners are going to be interested in hearing. There is a story I know about you; a few years ago, an incident on an airplane. We talk about people fighting back when they are confronted by violent situations and helping to calm them, and I think this story of how you dealt with such an experience will be interesting.
Steve: I'm interested to tell the story but for no personal gain, again, I feel very strongly in this kind of training that I received from the Maricopa County sheriff's department here in Phoenix, Arizona, starting back in 1995.
My brother Joe and I were flying from Phoenix to Orlando, Florida, on a non-stop, on a Southwest flight. I was there for business and my brother and I were flying and about an hour and a half into the flight I decided to use the front lavatory and, you know, in this post 911 time you can't form a line so somebody got up, went back to their seat and I darted up to the front. We were sitting about four rows from the front of the airplane. As I came back out of the restroom I heard a terrible screaming going on at the back, with a lot of curse words, a lot of profanity. And I can't believe it, I see this guy punching the face of a flight attendant and I see this guy going thoroughly crazy in the back and people starting to scream. I inched my way back to my seat and my brother was asleep, so I woke him up and the stewardess behind me, her eyes as big as saucers, says "Oh my God! Can you guys do something". And I identified myself as a volunteer with our sheriff's department. Then, I just , literally, ran to the back of the plane and pushed the guy into the bathroom in the back.
This was a 737, packed with people, and there's not a lot of moving space on there. So to make a long story short, the guy jumped out of the bathroom, red eyed and the profanity he threw at me I'm not going to repeat, but it kind of startled me because the guy did say he was going to kill me. So, as he spit in my face, I punched him in his throat, grabbed him by the ears and did the things I knew to protect myself. I wasn't the aggressor. My brother was right behind me and we were literally hitting this guy with all we had and this guy was just not going down. He finally pushes us and he almost pushes me over onto a row of seated people and I sprang back. I'm 56 now and this happened five or six years ago, so I'm not as agile as, maybe, a 21 year old who lifts weights. He was going for the door handle of this 737 in flight, cursing everyone and saying he hates America. Now, to me that was still obviously out of control, so we were still punching the guy. We finally got him on the floor in the airplane; we tied him up with our belts. They're call tactical belts. They're belts that you pull and they have like a "D" ring in them, like a mountain climber has so they lock down.
One of the stewards came back and said, "Oh, my gosh, we've got to bring this plane down." He radioed the captain on the intercom and I never went down faster, nor did those other 140-some odd people. We went from about 40 thousand feet straight down to the Jackson, Mississippi airport in all of about seven minutes. I mean we dropped. And all of the time I'm standing with my foot on this guy's head.
We landed on the runway and the plane immediately pulled off to the side, not at the terminal, but off the side of the runway. Little did I know, but a couple of FBI agents got onboard and we were holding the guy down, and they had their firearms drawn and indicated that they wanted everybody on the ground. I identified myself as a volunteer with our sheriff's office and my brother, so they wouldn't shoot me, because you don't know who the bad guys are when you walk in on a fight sometimes in fact most of the time. They tried to hook this guy up with the handcuffs and he bit the agent on the hand. And then they punched him back and they took this guy off the airplane. He was still kicking wildly. The airplane shut down. The FBI agents asked my brother and I to step off the plane: Who were we? What did we do? I told them again that we were volunteers with our sheriff's department; we had no jurisdiction; we were just trying to help out. It is the same thing I always tell people on my other radio show: Always refuse to be a victim, a victim is somebody with no options. If I'm going to talk the talk I tried to walk the walk that day. We found out the guy was a Russian drug dealer. I don't know if he had any priors or warrants for his arrest, but the police did take him into custody.
We got back on the airplane and the passengers were all shaking our hands and the ladies were hugging us and thought we were sky marshals so I said "no, we're just people like you who didn't want to take that kind of nonsense so we wanted to get involved." And the sad part, Georgia, is that nobody on that airplane helped us. I mean they just sat there yelling and screaming, which I found even more sad. We got to Orlando; Southwest was very nice to us. They gave us a free airline ticket which we never expected or wanted. Our own sheriff's department recognized us with a Sheriff's Commendation Award, later, which we, neither my brother or I, never expected or thought that we would get. I think the whole summation of the story is that people were hurting other people and I just didn't want to see it happen. I had no authority to do anything. I just acted because I thought that the important thing is to do something. Like a lot of people do. I'm not here to preach, but if you volunteer helping people at a hospital or at a senior citizens' home, something. Each one of us out there makes the world, hopefully, a little bit better. That's what we tried to do that day. LF: That's a good note to end the story on, Steve. It's a dramatic story and I thank you for telling it. Steve: Thank you, Georgia, and I think the summation of all of this is if you can take flight and not go to a fight I think that's always the way to go.
Talking about law enforcement, my only comment is that there are many good women and men out there who go into law enforcement. Since the days when I was younger, policing has changed a lot and I hope we don't become a nation of button pushers, you know, we're innocent until proven guilty. I think a little bit more of the human factor should be employed in law enforcement instead of the robots and the drones, and some of the other technology. And when those techniques come out, let's hope that law enforcement can justify their use of deadly force. They have a tough job too, and people need to understand that.
Steve Kates in his other role as Dr. Sky® talks to guests about science and celebrity on TeenTalkNetwork.com and LadybugLive.com.
Read this feature from past issues.
When I tell someone I am still busy and will give them attention shortly, I say "I'll be online in a moment."
Computers have been around some 70 years, and in that time they have invaded our language as well as so many other aspects of our lives.
In honor of National Poetry Month I wrote a little poem:
Work My desktop is cluttered with files and programs icons of productivity that encourage effective use of time and memory exploring the web of knowledge until a friend gives me a virus!
Imagine reading that in the 1930's. A bit stilted, but it does make sense. But not at all with the same meanings that we would read into it today.
Try your hand at this and see what you come up with.
And do read a few poems this month. It's like taking your vitamins. Remember what William Carlos Williams wrote:
It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.
You Too are Truly Scrumptious
While teenagers and more than a few middle-aged moms are squealing over "Twilight" hunks, I have to admit my own admiration for Dick Van Dyke. He seems to be keeping up just fine with the likes of vampires and werewolf hunks. Recently married at 89 to a woman 50+ years his junior, he still conveys a happiness and joyful attitude. My admiration stems from a little movie called Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. From start to finish, the movie was filled with singing and dancing and Dick Van Dyke magic. Whistling candy and Broadway show tunes mingled with sixties innocence. Emily and I have spent the last four weeks singing all the songs and remembering the scenes. Joel loves the songs too but is equally fascinated that the author of the books also wrote the James Bond series.
My favorite part of the movie involved Dick Van Dyke singing "The Two of You" to his children. As a fantastical invention created breakfast for the kids, Dick Van Dyke crooned in his own inimitable way how much he loved the two children. When we first saw the movie, I found myself misting up a little in the midst of the Van Dyke hilarity. In the darkened movie theater surrounded by the smell of popcorn and squirming kids, there was something so heartwarming about the movie that debuted before I was born that I gripped Emily a little tighter.
The movie continued with a sweet lullaby to "Hush-a-by-Mountain" which nearly made me bawl as Dick Van Dyke serenaded his sleepy children. I found the out-of-print soundtrack for the movie and it hasn't left the cd player rotation. Emily and Joel sing along with the "two of you" song with me designated as the female version of Dick Van Dyke. The timeless spirit of a movie so full of tenderness and the love between child and parent has endured far longer than any vampire flick.
There may be a time when a silly song about candy that whistles and car that flies is eclipsed by the latest boy band. For now, we are going to crank up Dick Van Dyke in all his glory. I may not be able to make eggs roll down a slot to create an instant breakfast. We may not be spies or inventors and we don't live in a fantastical world of pirates and candy factories. don't have a car that flies. I can however love the "four of us"-the modern Ian Fleming family. My midnights aren't spent camping in line for the latest vampire flick. As the kids fall asleep, I hum a timeless karaoke lullaby a la Dick Van Dyke. For that framed moment, the world stands still and I send them off to Lullaby Bay one more precious night. No vampire or werewolves needed. All I need is the example of one quick-footed lanky dancer, melodies that belie any trends and the "two of them".
Read this feature from past issues.
Our guest columnist this month is Barbara Berger, author of Fast Food for the Souland other books.
The moment a person walks through the door to a therapist's office or goes to a psychologist or attends a 12-step meeting is truly a transformative moment in any human being's life. And it's also probably one of the bravest things a human being can ever do. It takes an enormous amount of courage. Because when someone does this, it means the person is coming out of "denial".
And if this happens to be you, well when you do this, when you actually take this awesome and fearful step, you are really admitting that, "Yes, I have problems and I need help". For most of us, this is extremely difficult to do, extremely difficult. It's extremely difficult because we've been brought up to believe there is something shameful about not being perfect and about asking for help. We don't want anyone to know we're not perfect, not in control. We don't want anyone to know we're afraid and insecure and that we don't have all the answers or know how to take care of ourselves in a kind and loving way.
I've noticed that asking for help is extremely difficult for quite a few spiritually minded people in the so-called alternative or "New Age" movement because a lot of us believe or have believed (me included) that if we just say our affirmations enough, if we just visualize enough, if we just think positive, well then all the so-called "bad" stuff will just go away and everything will be honky dory.
Until one day we find out it doesn't work like that.
The so-called "dark" side keeps on howling for our attention, asking to be looked at and understood and brought into the light. So no, in my experience, the pain doesn't go away by ignoring it or being in "denial" about it.
And one day well, perhaps you will realize that you really do need help. That you can't figure it out on your own and that glory hallelujah, there is actually help to be had… somewhere out there… But here's the deal - you have to ask for it yourself. You have to show the Universe that you want it. It doesn't just show up all by itself.
And so there you are suddenly, standing there with your hat in your hand so to speak, surrendering your pride and swallowing your ego and asking for the Grace of God! The sheer terror this involves can rock even the hardiest soul. And yes, difficult as it may seem, this is truly one of the bravest things a human being can do. I know how much courage it took for me to admit that I needed help. And I also know that every time someone walks through my door for a private session with me, I am in such awe because I know that it means here's another brave soul who is swallowing their pride and admitting that they're not perfect and actually asking for help. This is truly an awesome act of courage.
So please if you are coming out of denial and are considering asking for help, don't underestimate the power of this act. Don't underestimate the courage it takes and don't underestimate what this does to the Universe. Because when you ask your Higher Power for the Grace of God, your Higher Power is always listening - and I repeat - always listening! Yes your Higher Power is always there!
So the power of your intention, the power of you saying to your Higher Power - yes I surrender, I can't do this by myself any longer, I need help and I am open now for your healing Grace… that yes this may just be the most difficult thing you've ever done in your whole life, but it's probably also the most powerful thing you will ever do. And the bravest!
So yes dear friends! Take courage and bring it all into the light! That's when and where the magic begins!
Barbara Berger is the internationally known, best-selling author of Fast Food for the Soul (published in 30 languages), Are You Happy Now? and The Awakening Human Being - A Guide to the Power of Mind which was just released in the US and the UK. The book can be ordered on Amazon.com. Find out more about Barbara Berger.
Read this feature from past issues.
The Golden Rule: Live It for Your Children
“Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.”—H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
In a previous column, I mentioned that my own daughter was killed by a hit-and-run driver. He was a 39-year-old man with 11 children of his own, and his excuse for hitting her was that he was distracted by searching for his wallet on his way to the store.
Distracted? Sure, it happens. But what kind of person leaves a beloved human being lying on the road, not knowing whether she was dead or alive?
Imagine the example this father of 11 chose to make for his children when he chose to flee the scene of that accident.
What We Can Do
Our children watch us every chance they get. They watch us to find out what they are supposed to do in life. They come into the world strangers in a strange land, and they learn how to be human and humane by observing the people closest to them—their parents and siblings. Our kids learn to be responsible for their actions when they see us grownups take responsibility for our actions. They learn to correct their own behavior and not blame others for their mistakes by watching us own up to our mistakes. They learn morality by observing our decisions and our actions.
In short, our children will do as we do, and not as we say.
That said, how would they know that driving at breakneck speeds is wrong if they’re accustomed to hearing their parents brag about “making good time” when driving somewhere? How will they know the dangerous consequences of distraction if they regularly watch their parents answer the cell phone while driving?
Whether behind the wheel or behind another customer in a long line at the store, we teach our children how to treat others every time we interact with someone.
Beyond minding our own behaviors, how do we sensitize kids to the needs of others? What’s more, how can children learn to respect themselves as the gateway to respecting others?
Children develop self-respect from doing the right thing. Therefore, as parents, we need to begin as early as possible to use the vocabulary of caring. Children as young as toddlers can start learning to consider the effects of their actions on others. For instance, the process of sensitizing little ones can begin with asking questions such as, “How do you think your brother feels when you push him away?”
It is never too early to begin the process of self-awareness. And it is never too early to begin preparing children to be part of the family unit, the community in which they live, and the family of mankind. Even the youngest toddlers can learn to share their toys, learn to help with household chores, and learn to give their time and energy for the sake of others. We can raise them in homes where there is a spirit of cooperation and reciprocity. We can help them understand their effect on others. We can even expect them to make amends when they have erred, and to ask for forgiveness, and to learn to forgive themselves.
It really is not hard to do. All it takes is for each of us to be the kind of person we want our children to become.
Molly Koch is reprinted here with permission from Baltimore's Child Magazine. You can also find Molly at mollybkoch.com and keeptheconnection.org. Contact Molly with questions, comments or suggestions for this topic.
Read this feature from past issues.
Does it mean that you will stand up for yourself no matter what?
I read where a self esteem expert felt that part of having self esteem was, "The ability to stay calm and grounded when everyone around you is in a state of chaos."
Or is it the ability to know yourself so well that no matter what happens in your life that it can not threaten who you are on the inside?
Would it mean that you were able to make decisive decisions? That you would then act with follow through that is consistent? That you would take charge of your life as opposed to be always reacting to life events? Would it mane that you determine your course in life?
Would having self worth mean that you were able to make your own decisive decisions (big and small)? You would no longer need to consult with others first or have their approval?
Does having self worth mean that you will never need to be a chameleon-not needing to change who you are to fit someone else's expectations?
Does having self worth mean that you can move away from unhealthy acquaintances and friends who are always complaining and blaming their lack of success on someone or something else and attract new healthy relationships?
When we look at these questions and comments it's important to differentiate between having a desired response and a goal. In fact everything stated is a great goal, but do you accomplish these goals as a result of having a better or improved self worth or do you need to accomplish these goals to demonstrate that you know how to improve and build self worth?
I took these questions from a self esteem guru's article on "What is self esteem to you?"
As I look at these questions which each point to an obvious goal, self worth becomes something that you subjectively evaluate depending on your ability to achieve each goal. And that's a BIG problem for if you fall short of any one of these great goals, then you will feel less about yourself. In other words you will be disappointed in yourself which leads us to feel that we are beyond help.
What the difference between achieving each of these personal growth and personal change goals than achieving a prestigious career, or financial freedom, or whatever?
Sure, when you accomplish feeling that you are in charge of your own destiny, make your own decisions, no longer need to change yourself to be liked by others, can handle all kinds of chaos and stress, and so on, you will feel great about you and have a high degree of self worth. When you are successful in a great career, have financial freedom and so on, you'll feel that you know how to build and improve self worth.
But what happens when you fall short of those goals, you feel badly about you, right? And then you feel that you have little if any self worth.
What is missing here? Answer: There's no mention of the associated emotions of disappointment and how they are handled. How to build and improve self worth is to deal with the disappointments-feel and experience the frustration, uncertainty, anger, confusion, depression, and so on and still to choose to like you and know that you are a fine person no matter what. To love you not because you accomplished something, stood your ground, made a decision on your own, let go of old negative emotionally draining friends and made new supportive friends, have a prestigious career, are financially independent or… but to love you simply because you were born with the spiritual right of self love. You didn't hate or dislike yourself as a baby. Hating and disliking yourself was learned and it's time to unlearn that nasty unhealthy self demeaning habit. No need for anyone's agreement or praise to tell you what you already know and that is you were born loved by the universe.
Richard Kuhns. NGH certified has self help mp3 downloads for personal change and personal growth at http://www.DstressDoc.com find a sense of self worth at http://www.SelfEsteemCure.com and SelfEsteemCure.com for weight loss.
Read this feature from past issues.
The Scale Conspiracy It's a fact-95% of all diets and weight loss program fail. Why? Are you a compulsive habitual eater, a compulsive emotional eater, or self defeative eater? Warning: Reading this book will provide you the means to build self esteem such that you will feel great about YOU even on the worst "bad hair day" imaginable. Patricia Rose Gilles Looking For Something to Believe In? Is it that we need something to believe in to find ourselves? A few months ago I was at a street fair and there was a booth promoting Islam. Their phone number had whyislam in it. I didn't really talk to them about Islam but I did read their sign which was about learning self restraint during Ramadan from the pleasures of things like eating, drinking, smoking and sex with their wives during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and submissiveness to Allah. Whether it's Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism or whatever, people seem to need something in which to believe. They need something to encourage restraint. It's like their personal growth and personal change programs are dependent on their relationship with God. Why? Can they not trust or believe in themselves? Do we need to believe is something like a god in order to have permission to believe in ourselves? Do we need to believe that we are sanctioned by God to believe in ourselves or experience self worth? Spirituality: What is spirituality? According to Wikipedia Spirituality really has nothing to do with God, but it seems that every religion believes that love of God is a path to being spiritual-that personal growth and personal change is dependent upon it. This is both true and untrue for it depends on their view of who and what God is. Practically all religions believe that their God has some kind of personal investment in each believer or non believer. Now this is also true, but we need to define God, for this is where the crazy twist is. Religions believe that God is an entity outside themselves and greater than human. Wow this is really something. And as you know it's not new. In fact most of us who have been exposed to religion have learned to believe this way. But there are so many questions and if it weren't for the Qurans, Torahs, Bibles, Vedas, Upanishads, epics, Puran-as, and the Bhagavad Gita, and so on of the various religions maybe we could have common understanding. But these great books (I call them great because they have survived the centuries) have you rely more on faith than on reality and common sense. In fact every thing that doesn't have a logical answer is explained away by faith in a deity. If you study all these great books you'll see that there is but one focus and that is how humans are to treat other humans and how to live with restraint to things like stealing, murder, sex. Likewise to "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." These great books are about how to treat other fellow human beings respectfully and what works in relationships. And there's nothing wrong with any of this. In fact is all makes sense except for the religions who attempt to control sexuality with guilt. The ten commandments talks about relationships with other humans and not having idols before God and that God is a jealous God. The entire premise is that some separate deity (God) gave this tablet to Moses with the ten commandments. Again we're asked to believe in faith. Faith that Moses went up to a mountain with a burning bush and the Jewish God inscribed this tablet and that when he witnessed his people sinning that he smashed the tablet. Let's go beyond faith for a moment and look at common sense. No where in any of these Bibles, Quarans, and so on do they look at the essence of the universe other than to say in the Jewish bible that God created the universe in six days and the seventh day he rested. And no one (except for a few fanatics) really believes that each day was limited to 24 earth hours as we know them today. Who is this God that created the universe anyway? What is God? You know when most of these great books were written, the science of mathematics, for instance, was limited to counting shillings in material transactions. In fact many transactions never involved money or shillings they ofter were no more than an exchange (barter) of material things-chickens for bread and so on. These great books were written by the scholars and disciples of the time who had more questions than answers. The focus of life during the time was more about how humans treated other humans to support personal growth and personal change-not that we've answered all those questions but the reality is that very little was known of the sciences as we know them today. It would have been incomprehensible to think of any God having any thing to do with the sciences. Yet, if God created the universe and life he obviously knows a lot about the sciences. Why is it that no one thinks about God having any connection with any of the sciences? When the mathematician solves a problem, he thanks God. When the chemist solves a problem, he thanks God. When the physicist solves a problem, he thanks God. When the biologist solves a problem, who does he thank? God? They believe that in some way God has led them to the solution or understanding of the problem on which they were working. God knows enough to help these scientist solve the most intricate problems. But just suppose that God is the law of physics. Suppose he/she/it is also the law of biology. Suppose he/she/it is the law of mathematics, chemistry and probability. You know the strange thing is that there is mathematics in biology, chemistry, physics, and probability. In fact all these sciences are intricately connected. Humans have identified these laws and named them, but maybe they are all one law. P (Probability),M (mathematics), C (Chemistry), and B (biology)--PMCB. If you combine all these laws (PMCB) you have the creation of the universe and every living and non living thing. In fact every living and non living thing is the manifestation of these laws. We could say that everything is God. You are the manifestation of God. You are God. The snake in your back yard is God. The mosquito that bites you is God. The sofa upon which you rest is God. The Morgellon's disease which haunts and infects you is God. There are no silent subliminals or dreams instilled by an external deity. You (God) creates your own dreams. Does God care what happens to you? Do you care what happens to you? Do your friends and family care what happens to you? Of course. You and your friends and family are all God and everyone you know cares and yes, there are those who you don't even know who care about you. For instance the stranger who pulls you from your burning car cares what happens to you. Are you a jealous person? Jealousy is a something that most every human being fights for many years and sometimes forever during their life time. So yes, Moses said that God is jealous and yes you bet you are and it's something with which you constantly fight in your personal growth and personal change program. And yes, do you have binging temptations, or to do drugs, smoke, or drink too much? All of them are idols you put before you-God. In summary if you're looking for something in which to believe, how about believing in you-God-the manifestation of PMCB. Find the inner path through these laws to realize the basis of your being. Use meditation, prayer and contemplation (all stress techniques) to develop your inner life to have faith in yourself for your personal growth and personal change program. Use this understanding to connect with nature, the cosmos, the human community or other individuals. Remember we have yet to comprehend things like ESP, the skills of Edgar Cayce, our inner connectedness, and so on. Use your life and talents as a source of inspiration and your orientation in life and remember that spirituality goes beyond material realities and likewise know that the manifestation of health and wealth is yours to choose as the universe provides through the PMCB all that you desire. Richard Kuhns B.S.Ch.E. NGH certified, a prominent figure in the personal development field. His goal is to provide all the tools one needs to successfully deal with emotional eating.
His newly released book, Quick Tips on How to Build and Improve Self Worth : is available on Amazon's kindle and Barnes and Noble's Nook. The book is free with the hypnotic companion CD to Build and Improve Self Worth
He also has a Weight Management CD program to end Comfort Eating at EmotionalEatingCure.com Complete program to overcome Panic Disorder With Agoraphobia at PanicBusters.com with many
Self Help MP3 Downloads for Personal Growth and Personal Change at DStressDoc.com.
NEW from our own Richard Kuhns
Answer: No, it's not the bathroom scale conspiring against you as it sometime seems. It's that the overweight person has a thinking (suggestion) problem or a problem dealing with certain emotions.
Answer: At any given time you may be one of three types of eaters (compulsive or not). The Scale Conspiracy in easy to understand terms empowers you to identify the type of eater you are at any given time. Then using specific easy to use common sense techniques and suggestion (self hypnosis too), you will handle it successfully so that you may remember you used to have an eating issue but forget what it felt like as you shed weight permanently.
You can enjoy Patricia's poetry all of the time by buying Echoes of the Moon Flower It is a beautiful book.
How About Yourself?
1. Spirituality refers to an inner path which enables one to realize the basis of his/her being; or the "deepest values and meanings by which people live."
2. Meditation, prayer and contemplation are spiritual practices which are intended to develop an individual's inner life. Connectedness yielding a more comprehensive self is a spiritual experience with nature, the cosmos, the human community or other individuals.
3. Spirituality is often experienced as a source of inspiration or orientation in life.
4. Spirituality goes beyond material realities.
The Scale Conspiracy
It's a fact-95% of all diets and weight loss program fail. Why?
Are you a compulsive habitual eater, a compulsive emotional eater, or self defeative eater?
Warning: Reading this book will provide you the means to build self esteem such that you will feel great about YOU even on the worst "bad hair day" imaginable.
Patricia Rose Gilles
Looking For Something to Believe In?
Is it that we need something to believe in to find ourselves? A few months ago I was at a street fair and there was a booth promoting Islam. Their phone number had whyislam in it.
I didn't really talk to them about Islam but I did read their sign which was about learning self restraint during Ramadan from the pleasures of things like eating, drinking, smoking and sex with their wives during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and submissiveness to Allah.
Whether it's Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism or whatever, people seem to need something in which to believe. They need something to encourage restraint. It's like their personal growth and personal change programs are dependent on their relationship with God. Why? Can they not trust or believe in themselves? Do we need to believe is something like a god in order to have permission to believe in ourselves? Do we need to believe that we are sanctioned by God to believe in ourselves or experience self worth?
Spirituality: What is spirituality? According to Wikipedia
Spirituality really has nothing to do with God, but it seems that every religion believes that love of God is a path to being spiritual-that personal growth and personal change is dependent upon it.
This is both true and untrue for it depends on their view of who and what God is. Practically all religions believe that their God has some kind of personal investment in each believer or non believer. Now this is also true, but we need to define God, for this is where the crazy twist is. Religions believe that God is an entity outside themselves and greater than human. Wow this is really something. And as you know it's not new. In fact most of us who have been exposed to religion have learned to believe this way.
But there are so many questions and if it weren't for the Qurans, Torahs, Bibles, Vedas, Upanishads, epics, Puran-as, and the Bhagavad Gita, and so on of the various religions maybe we could have common understanding. But these great books (I call them great because they have survived the centuries) have you rely more on faith than on reality and common sense. In fact every thing that doesn't have a logical answer is explained away by faith in a deity.
If you study all these great books you'll see that there is but one focus and that is how humans are to treat other humans and how to live with restraint to things like stealing, murder, sex. Likewise to "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." These great books are about how to treat other fellow human beings respectfully and what works in relationships.
And there's nothing wrong with any of this. In fact is all makes sense except for the religions who attempt to control sexuality with guilt.
The ten commandments talks about relationships with other humans and not having idols before God and that God is a jealous God.
The entire premise is that some separate deity (God) gave this tablet to Moses with the ten commandments. Again we're asked to believe in faith. Faith that Moses went up to a mountain with a burning bush and the Jewish God inscribed this tablet and that when he witnessed his people sinning that he smashed the tablet.
Let's go beyond faith for a moment and look at common sense. No where in any of these Bibles, Quarans, and so on do they look at the essence of the universe other than to say in the Jewish bible that God created the universe in six days and the seventh day he rested. And no one (except for a few fanatics) really believes that each day was limited to 24 earth hours as we know them today.
Who is this God that created the universe anyway? What is God? You know when most of these great books were written, the science of mathematics, for instance, was limited to counting shillings in material transactions. In fact many transactions never involved money or shillings they ofter were no more than an exchange (barter) of material things-chickens for bread and so on.
These great books were written by the scholars and disciples of the time who had more questions than answers. The focus of life during the time was more about how humans treated other humans to support personal growth and personal change-not that we've answered all those questions but the reality is that very little was known of the sciences as we know them today.
It would have been incomprehensible to think of any God having any thing to do with the sciences. Yet, if God created the universe and life he obviously knows a lot about the sciences. Why is it that no one thinks about God having any connection with any of the sciences?
When the mathematician solves a problem, he thanks God. When the chemist solves a problem, he thanks God. When the physicist solves a problem, he thanks God. When the biologist solves a problem, who does he thank? God?
They believe that in some way God has led them to the solution or understanding of the problem on which they were working. God knows enough to help these scientist solve the most intricate problems.
But just suppose that God is the law of physics. Suppose he/she/it is also the law of biology. Suppose he/she/it is the law of mathematics, chemistry and probability. You know the strange thing is that there is mathematics in biology, chemistry, physics, and probability. In fact all these sciences are intricately connected. Humans have identified these laws and named them, but maybe they are all one law. P (Probability),M (mathematics), C (Chemistry), and B (biology)--PMCB.
If you combine all these laws (PMCB) you have the creation of the universe and every living and non living thing. In fact every living and non living thing is the manifestation of these laws. We could say that everything is God. You are the manifestation of God. You are God. The snake in your back yard is God. The mosquito that bites you is God. The sofa upon which you rest is God. The Morgellon's disease which haunts and infects you is God. There are no silent subliminals or dreams instilled by an external deity. You (God) creates your own dreams.
Does God care what happens to you? Do you care what happens to you? Do your friends and family care what happens to you? Of course. You and your friends and family are all God and everyone you know cares and yes, there are those who you don't even know who care about you. For instance the stranger who pulls you from your burning car cares what happens to you.
Are you a jealous person? Jealousy is a something that most every human being fights for many years and sometimes forever during their life time. So yes, Moses said that God is jealous and yes you bet you are and it's something with which you constantly fight in your personal growth and personal change program. And yes, do you have binging temptations, or to do drugs, smoke, or drink too much? All of them are idols you put before you-God.
In summary if you're looking for something in which to believe, how about believing in you-God-the manifestation of PMCB. Find the inner path through these laws to realize the basis of your being. Use meditation, prayer and contemplation (all stress techniques) to develop your inner life to have faith in yourself for your personal growth and personal change program. Use this understanding to connect with nature, the cosmos, the human community or other individuals. Remember we have yet to comprehend things like ESP, the skills of Edgar Cayce, our inner connectedness, and so on. Use your life and talents as a source of inspiration and your orientation in life and remember that spirituality goes beyond material realities and likewise know that the manifestation of health and wealth is yours to choose as the universe provides through the PMCB all that you desire.
Richard Kuhns B.S.Ch.E. NGH certified, a prominent figure in the personal development field. His goal is to provide all the tools one needs to successfully deal with emotional eating. His newly released book, Quick Tips on How to Build and Improve Self Worth : is available on Amazon's kindle and Barnes and Noble's Nook. The book is free with the hypnotic companion CD to Build and Improve Self Worth He also has a Weight Management CD program to end Comfort Eating at EmotionalEatingCure.com Complete program to overcome Panic Disorder With Agoraphobia at PanicBusters.com with many Self Help MP3 Downloads for Personal Growth and Personal Change at DStressDoc.com.
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Solar Sister wants to light up rural Africa
One-year-old start up Solar Sister is using cosmetics company AVON's model to distribute solar energy in Uganda, Sudan, and Rwanda. To learn more about the “business in a bag” model that's giving rural African women an income and a renewable light source, Dowser spoke to Katherine Lucey, Solar Sister's founder.
What was the problem you saw and how could you fill that need in a unique way?
In rural Uganda, where 95 percent of the homes don’t have electricity, solar technology is a distributable energy source; so, it’s a very good solution to clean rural energy or actually, rural energy period. It just happens to be clean as well.
Also, the technology that we were using – the solar panel, the PVC, etc., was very "techie" and we were in homes where there was no technology. So, the women didn’t have a comfort zone with the technology that we were bringing into their home.
We realized that the women are responsible for the solar panel – it’s a household utility. So, there’s a gender gap there for technology. And that’s not specific to Uganda. It’s an issue here at home as well when you look at the gender ratio in science and math. It leans towards men.
That’s how I started thinking about how we can close that gap.
And the solution?
The AVON model for solar energy.
At the time that I was developing this idea, the design of the solar lamps became micro-solar. These are designed specifically for BoP [Base of the Pyramid] application. They’re rugged, very intuitive to use, affordable, and readily available. And it’s not as "techie;" it’s really just a light. So, the gap bridged. All of a sudden it’s a lot easier for women to use. You stick it out during the day; you bring it in at night; you flip a switch and you have light to read, cook, and even a source to charge your phone.
It’s also 1/10th the cost of a home solar system so it’s within the price point of these homes. They can range from $15 to $50, and when you’re already paying $2 a week for kerosene, it’s an investment that will pay off in a few months because you’ll no longer have to pay for an energy source. They use those extra funds then for better food, health care, and schooling fees.
And the price continues to drop as the technology evolves.
Did Solar Sisters pair with a micro-finance institution (MFI) to provide women entrepreneurs the initial capital needed for this "business in a bag" model?
No. Rather Solar Sister uses a "micro consignment" model versus micro franchise. These women don’t have to pay the franchise cost up front and we don’t work with MFIs.
For example, we had a lady, Viola, who signed up to be an entrepreneur. But she had just had a baby so was not able to sell immediately. If she had taken out a loan then she would have had to start paying back within a week or so. That would have been difficult in her situation and put her collateral at risk – her home.
Rather, we want them to sell and our intent is not to make money off the interest rates. So, we extend a loan ourselves by providing them the inventory.
In handling the finances, do you utilize mobile banking or other forms of banking?
Yes! In Uganda, 5 percent of people in rural Uganda have electricity but 80-85 percent have a phone. Not only do they have one phone but four phones for different calling plans and mobile carriers to get the cheapest rates. In fact, with solar energy, many women are able to charge the phones of their neighbors for 25 cents and provide a service. So, it’s another source of income.
And yes, we use mobile banking and SMSs to communicate with the entrepreneurs and streamline funds. It makes the operation much more efficient.
Have you had any default cases?
Yes, we’ve had women who have sampled it and decided it’s not for them so they’ve bought the lamps themselves that are in inventory or returned them to us and that’s alright. That’s not a problem. We understand.
What propelled you to focus on this particular issue – energy poverty?
My background was in energy so I was sensitized to the idea that energy is fundamental to development. My work experience was on a much bigger scale, though – developing large plants and big-scale economic development. But as I left that post, I knew that the same principles apply at the home level, the grass-roots.
I was really interested in microcredit and how it was giving access to financial services. But I saw that there was this same need on the energy side – access to energy in a way that they could do it at the grass-roots level. The will of government wasn’t there; waiting for the government to solve the rural energy problem was not the answer. We needed a solution that was closer at hand.
Solar is the most democratic – we all live under the sun. Energy is free and the equipment is a one-time cost. Compare that with cost of burning wood or kerosene, and [the] health issues involved. The cost is extremely high. That’s why I went with solar.
When you come back to the States, do you wonder why can’t we do some of these ideas on a more grass-roots level at home?
For those in Uganda, the cost of solar is much cheaper. They’re paying 20-30 percent of their income on energy already. We don’t pay that much. And if we were to put in solar equipment, it would require us to spend a bit more. So, we think of solar as a luxury, which makes it harder to implement here.
You’ve been in this startup mode for a year, any hiccups along the way? [This article originally appeared in June 2011]
We met this one lady who seemed like a great businesswoman, had a lot of potential, and we thought she’d make a great entrepreneur. But after the initial box of lamps she took from us, we never heard from her again. So, we got back in touch and asked her how the experience was. She told us that she’d sold the box and it was a wonderful opportunity. But why didn’t she ask for more lamps? Sh responded, that she thought it was just a one-time opportunity.
So, I found myself wondering how did we not convey this correctly that this is an ongoing business opportunity, not a one time thing?
Sometimes, such simple details make you realize flaws that you couldn’t have conceived because we just assumed that these ladies would come back to us when they wanted more inventory.
With these lessons in mind, what do you say to other budding social entrepreneurs?
Be committed and open to learning. That’s the key. Just stick with it and be open during the process of developing your idea/organization.
You’re working with Ashoka as a changemaker. How do you see this model as being scalable?
We’re partnering with women’s groups who have been working in the community for 10-20 years. By doing such partnerships, we’re able to use their foundation and their local knowledge. The biggest challenge in scaling is actually identifying funding partners, should it be a developing impact investor, philanthropic organization, or some other entity. So, what we need to do is really become the experts in our business. Women can sell a lot of items. Solar energy is one of them, and it’s one mode to economic freedom.
This story originally appeared at Dowser.org.
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Read this feature from past issues.
Books, Cooks, Looks & Ms. Elani
Dear Friends and Readers,
Human trafficking is a problem world wide.
Human trafficking is a problem world wide.
A Thousand Sisters
Human trafficking is a problem world wide. In recent weeks many stories have featured girls in the United States who are caught in this web. Luckily attention is being paid to this terrible practice and cities, states as well as the United States government is getting involved. Most of the world is not as lucky. The general public, let alone the government, does not want to become involved.
In 2011 Lisa J. Shannon wrote A Thousand Sisters, the story of the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As Shannon stated, "It is the worst place on earth to be a woman". She became interested after seeing a show on Oprah. She gave up her lucrative life style in New York working in photo/journalism. She sponsored a woman and ran a marathon for her to raise awareness. Then she went to the DRC and knew her life was about to change.
In 1994 at the end of the Rwandan genocide more than two million Hutu refugees fled into Zaire (now called Democratic Republic of Congo). Unfortunately, over 100,000 Hutu genocidaires, known as the Interahamwe, found a safe place, by easily being assimilated in the camps run by United Nations.
Because there was no international effort to identify this group, rebel leader Laurent Kabila was sponsored by Rwanda and Uganda to invade Zaire.
Unfortunately the truce between Rwanda and Kabila was short lived and once Zaire was invaded, more militias jumped in, including Mai Mai, a local defense force. Refugee camps were destroyed and remaining Interahamwe fled to Congo's forests, renaming themselves Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLA). Kabila renamed Zaire Democratic Republic of the Congo. Half a dozen other countries were dragged into the conflict and it became known as Africa's World War.
Kabila was killed in 2001 and his son took over as president. Conflict ended in 2003 and Joseph Kabila became the first elected president. However, chaos still reigned. Although the largest peacekeeping forces the United Nations has in the world are in the Congo, it is unable to prevent the travesties that continue; mainly killing and raping of women. The Interahamwe, known as 'Those Who Kill Together' remain, as do the Mai Mai. What has become the biggest problem is the raping and trafficking of women to show strength by one of the two groups who wish to gain power. Since January of 2008 sexual violence is rampant. Figures gathered by Shannon show at least nine out of every ten women are raped, and many dozens of times a week. Women are less than nothing, easily bargained for food, money and weapons. Women hide, hoping to be safe, but for the most part are caught, tortured and raped. Many are killed and few are wanted in marriage as they have been 'ruined'.
In order to help women, Shannon formed a group she called "A Thousand Sisters', where woman around the world can adopt a woman and send money to help her be able to support herself and her children. Shannon has traveled to the area several times, bringing letters and help to more than a thousand women from those who now belong to her organization. More than 1,700 people participated in Run for Congo Women. Many celebrities are now involved and as the printing of her book, more than 11,000 women per year are being helped. As Shannon stated '...that is a movement'. And who says one person alone can't do anything? A powerful memoir.
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YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE
News to Follow
Infographic offers look at women in agriculture
China to mandate condoms in hotels to curb HIV/AIDS
MDG achievement: Weighing the odds
Women in politics: Worrying statistics
New guidelines could help working children
Afghanistan's First Women-Only Internet Café Opens
Clinton: Extremists want to control women's lives
Moroccan girl, wed to rapist, kills herself
Struggling Clear Channel and Rush Limbaugh's $400 Million Payday
Female Journalists Offer Students Insights
UN: Don't forget child soldiers
Youth 21 to press for UN influence by young people
Advancing gay rights as human rights at UN
World Bank data shows poverty in retreat
Fallout continues from CIA vaccination ploy
Food prices are projected to soar in 2013
On social giving, and how to promote it
Media and the Internet
The State of the News Media 2012
Distortions, Manipulations and Lies: Oh My!
Activists Worry That Mobile Phones Could Do More Harm Than Good
The Misinformation Machine
Google's Moves Raise Questions About 'Don't Be Evil' Motto
Which Countries Top the List of 'Enemies of the Internet'?
iPhone Investigation: An Undercover Documentary from Syria Made Using Phones
Broadcasters Push Back on FCC Plan to Post Names of Political Ad Buyers Online
Free Press Applauds FCC for Opening Up Airwaves for Low Power Radio
UNESCO inspects mining effects on Barrier Reef
Much of world to experience "water stress"
How climate change imperils wealthy countries
Conservation is a driving force behind world heritage
Access to energy breaks cycle of poverty
High temperatures linked to man-made warming A study by German scientists has linked extreme rainfall and heat waves to man-made global warming, concluding that the high amount of extremes recorded across the world is not normal. The weather over the past decade was likely the warmest in more than 1,000 years, affecting nearly all parts of the globe, including North America, where only this month heat records were broken in more than 1,000 places. AlertNet/Reuters
From the EDITOR
It is close to four years since we first heard the trademark scream of the Tea Party: "We want our country back!" Never mind that the cry was manufactured at a Koch brothers' conference or that the name Tea Party distorted almost everything that was intended by the founders of this country. Never mind all of that because the one thing it did call back from ancient history was an easy acceptance of racism.
Of course, the Tea Party would never have used that word, racism. Their signs sported pictures of President Obama in white face or as a "Bo-Jangles" character. He was pictured under, in front of and wearing swastikas and that might have seemed a bit odd, but what it was was code for the word they did not say and denied if confronted directly. The swastika, Fascism, and ongoing references to Nazi themes, even by Republican members of Congress, were a subtle reminder to their friends that the only racism this group worried over or believed in was reverse racism. I am sure you have seen that in action? It is when the rights of a minority mean the priviledges of those in power are limited in some ways, ways most of us would consider healthy.
Obama the Nazi, the Fascist, the radical is radical by their standards, that party of theirs, simply by being a black man. How radical is it of us to elect one of their opressors to lead? While the birther nonsense is essentially the argument that none of their African-Americans would ever be uppity enough to try. I suspect that is the real question for the racial signals wrapped in their belief in reverse racism and that charge of radicalism.
These days President Obama is the "Food Stamp President" an insult at a time when food stamps are saving lives, when as many as 25% of American children live in poverty thanks to policies that favor the rich? Having had a single mother, he would be designated "abused" in Wisconsin and by Wisconsin state Senator Glenn Grothman if one of that states new radical anti-citizens laws goes into effect; and he has no work ethic, per Newyt Gingrich. Newyt has the last word in this by stating that President Obama is himself a racist not a new assertion because he sympathized with the African-American parents of a murdered child, Treyvon Martin.
When this began, many of us and I suspect the president as well thought back to Jackie Robinson and how the world of professional baseball was integrated with grace and tolerance, at least on Robinson's side. We followed the President's lead in our hesitation to make racism a central argument in political debate. Most of us were quiet.
With the shooting of Treyvon Martin we learned just how far the right wing has pushed our country into its past, into a past of unfettered racism, of the abuse of rights for women, of hatred and the need for conformity. These ideas are not those of most Americans, but this time our instutions have become infested by a plague that they had once been invested with, a plague we thought had been routed. We don't believe that a teenaged boy should die because of his school record, his fashion choices, or the color of his skin and it is about time we told every institution in this country that we want real equality for women, for gay couples, for skin color and hair texture, and historical standing and disabilities...
Now, it is time we took our country back.
Read this feature from past issues.
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