June 28, 2008

On the death penalty, I’m an abolitionist; on education and health care, a universalist; on economic growth, a minimalist, while on economic policy, a socialist; on military power deployed in the service of occupation and conquest, a pacifist; on the possibility of progressive political change, a pessimist of the head and an optimist of the heart.

I’m just sayin’…

One of the Most Mind-Boggling and Significant Events

June 28, 2008

( Apologies to m.l.)

One of the most mind-altering and significant events of the last century took place on a makeshift creaking bed in a small cabin in an isolated stretch of a sun-scorched California valley as dawn was breaking many, many years ago. To this day no one has ever revealed to those not present what actually took place.

Questions and more Questions

June 26, 2008

  1. If you had the power to bestow on all human beings on earth three qualities (not religious affiliations nor physical attributes nor material goods) what would they be? Why?
  2. Are these qualities embodied in your life? Your home? Your work place? Your community?
  3. What are five things you could do right now to bring those qualities more fully to life in each of these settings?
  4. What prevents you from doing those things?

One World

June 26, 2008

—Besides the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which government permitted the execution of juvenile offenders until last year ( when the highest court in the land rendered a split verdict on the matter) ? (Hint: Recently, China, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Bengladash, and Nigeria banned the practice).

—Now that Somalia has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, what nation stands alone in refusing to sign?

—Which government stands against 106 other nations in opposing the treaty that developed an International Criminal Court whose mission is to prosecute genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity?

—With over half the nations of the world committed to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, which major country has not signed?

—Which nuclear power withdrew from the treaty barring nuclear testing in space? (Hint: The same power recently scuttled a nuclear disarmament agreement, “unsigned” a global warming treaty, and walked away from a world conference on racism).

Another Quiz

June 26, 2008


  1. Name the six countries bordering Afghanistan?
  2. Which country shares the shortest border?
  3. Which the longest?
  4. Where, when, and under what circumstances did Dr. Watson, Sherlock Holmes’ associate, sustain his shoulder wound?
  5. How many Afghans were involved in the September 11 attacks?
  6. What percentage of the world’s people live in the United States? In Asia?
  7. What percentage of the world’s finished products are consumed by people in the US?
  8. What percentage of the world’s energy resources are consumed in the US?
  9. How large are the undeveloped oil reserves in Afghanistan? In Central Asia?
  10. Of the world’s six billion people, how many lack the basics to survive? How many own a computer? How many have a bank account?
  11. If the world were a village of 100 people, how many would be: a) literate? b) Muslims, Christians, Jews? c) hungry? d) homeless?
  12. When President Bush says the US will never reconcile with an unpopular despot who oppresses his own people, is he referring to: a) Saudi Arabia? b) China? c) Iraq? d) Uzbekistan? e)None of the above?
  13. When President Bush attacks the lack of truly democratic practices and institutions is he aiming his rhetoric at: a) Pakistan? b) Cuba? c) Saudi Arabia? d) Kuwait? e) The US? f) All of the above?

Fill in the Blanks

June 26, 2008

1. One percent of American households control as much wealth as the combined wealth of % of ____ American households.

2. ____ Americans made over $2 million a day from 1997-2000.

3. ____ people in the world can’t read.

4. If you own a refrigerator, have a bed and clothes in a closet you’re richer than ____ % of the world’s people.

5. ____% of the world’s people are non-white.

6. If you’ve never been tortured, been a slave, or seen a relative die in war, you’re luckier than ____% of people in the world.

7. ____ % of humanity owns a computer and has a bank account.

8. Less than 5% of the world’s people own ____% of the world’s wealth.

9. ____ % of the population of the world is Asian.

10. ____ % of the world’s population is non-Christian.

Teaching Malcolm X

June 18, 2008

Karen Salazar, an LA teacher, was fired for being “too Afro-centric,” notably teaching The Autobiography of Malcolm X. At a time when banning books is back in style in many quarters, and the right to think at all is under steady and screaming attack, Salazar deserves the support of all citizens, teachers, students and parents. Find her students’ protest on You Tube. Speak up for free thinking and open dialog.