Friday, 8 May 2009
The good kind. The kind that start as a sharp, sudden tingle where my skull meets my spine and quickly spread across my shoulders into a fuzzy warm glow. That's what this video gave me. Repeatedly.
Monday, 1 September 2008
Very, very important
As Gustav rolls through the Gulf, there's been a lot of talk about how much more prepared New Orleans is this time around. But that doesn't still mean that system won't fail people, potentially a lot of people
. BfP has been doing a hell of a job making sure her readers know about these people
and the organizations working to protect and assist them
. Go have a look, and do what you can to offer your support.
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Online exhibit on health and human rights
The National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world's largest medical
library and a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH),
recently launched a new exhibition, "Against the Odds: Making a
Difference in Global Health." The exhibition will be on display at the
NLM on the outskirts of Washington DC until 2010, and can be viewed
online. The web site focuses on a different theme each month and for
MAY 2008 the theme is HEALTH and HUMAN RIGHTS:
The exhibition explores aspects of the history of global health as
well as current issues, highlighting the shared concerns of
communities around the world. Materials from the History of Medicine Division of
the National Library of Medicine are on display alongside artifacts
and images gathered from across the globe and video interviews. Featured
stories include the early years of the AIDS epidemic in the United
States and the work of ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power),
the Chinese barefoot doctor movement, the International Campaign to
Ban Landmines, and the smallpox eradication program led by the World
Alongside scientific discoveries and ongoing challenges, the stories
illustrate the connections between health and human rights: the
importance of clean water, safe housing, nutritious food, affordable
healthcare, and protection from violence in fostering health and
wellbeing. Visitors to the exhibition web site are invited to share
their perspectives on these issues and GET INVOLVED:
Thursday, 20 March 2008
Help the Book Thing of Baltimore
When I got back to the States after my posting in Macedonia and moved in to my not-quite-gentrified northern Baltimore neighborhood, I spent a lot of time wandering around on weekends, getting reacclimated. It's a nice neighborhood to wander in; there are lots of trees, long lines of brick rowhomes, some lovely postage-stamp front gardens - and, as I discovered one morning as I turned a corner on my way home, FREE BOOKS. A handlettered wooden sign has never said anything sweeter.
I followed its arrow, and in the concrete gap behind one corner house there were crates and crates of books stacked on the ground, and people clambering up and down a narrow concrete stairwell into a basement from which the odor of slightly damp print and paper wafted. I didn't often venture into the basement after that first expedition. It was an entrancing mess, with books on shelves and in piles in every available nook, but too closed in for me. I was generally content to have a quick browse among the crates outside on my way home from the farmers' market. Even a quick browse often sent me home with more books than I could comfortably manage. And I could visit all weekend, every weekend, whenever the urge to hunt up a new book struck.
I soon learned that my little oasis was The Book Thing of Baltimore, a non-profit dedicated to "put[ting] unwanted books into the hands of those who want them." Launched out of the back of a van in the late 1990s, by the time I discovered it, the Book Thing was already an institution, and soon became the home, or at least the transit point, for a large part of my book collection. It was one of the first things I went looking for when I came back to Baltimore last year. But the house was shut up tight, and the donation bin was gone. I hurried home in a panic to hit Google, learned that the Book Thing was alive and kicking in a more spacious location and made it a part of my weekend routine again.
Now, the Book Thing needs help paying its mortgage. They're trying to make a $120,000 balloon payment by 1 April. Cash donations can be made through Network for Good. Information about donating other items can be found here. (Oh, and here's a good article about the Book Thing I found when I was looking for their website.) The Book Thing is one of the best things about Baltimore - people from every walk of life come through its doors, and leave with as many books as they can carry. It's unpretentious, improbably successful, and constantly struggling. Please help keep it going!
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
An awful anniversary
| || |
Dear Friend of the IRC,
Today marks the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq.
Regardless of our political beliefs, this day is a solemn reminder of our special responsibility to assist millions of Iraqis who have been driven from their homes because of the ongoing violence.
The International Rescue Committee is on the ground expanding our critical relief efforts for Iraqi refugees who have fled to Syria and Jordan — just as we do for millions of others fleeing violence in war-torn countries around the world.
Today, I hope you will make a gift to help IRC provide lifesaving services — including food, health care, education, and counseling — to countless Iraqi families and others around the world who have been uprooted by violent conflict.
The Iraqi refugee crisis is one of enormous scale, and today it is the fastest growing refugee emergency in the world. The statistics are alarming:
- 60,000 — Iraqi refugees fleeing their homes every month, mostly because they have been threatened with death, torture, or kidnapping
- 4,400,000 — displaced Iraqis
- 220,000 — displaced Iraqi children who have stopped going to school
- 12,000 — United States goal for the number resettled Iraqi refugees to enter the country in 2008
- 1,432 — Iraqi refugees actually resettled in the United States in 2008
Behind each one of these numbers stands a real person whose life has been drastically altered by violence and fear.
Ibrahim, an Iraqi man the IRC is helping, is one of those people. His life began to unravel two years ago when he began to receive death threats. He was working as a photographer for an Iraqi magazine - documenting the worsening sectarian violence on the streets of Baghdad. Local militiamen demanded the articles stop, and when they did not, they began to kidnap and kill his colleagues.
After narrowly escaping a bomb blast in front of his home, he and his wife packed a few belongings and fled to East Amman where they now live with their six-month old son in a dark, frigid room. With your support, the IRC will provide Ibrahim's family and countless others with food, clothing, mattresses, blankets, health care, and education.
Please make a gift today and help the IRC continue to provide critical relief services and advocate on behalf of millions of refugees who have fled from Iraq and 24 other war-torn countries around the world.
At the IRC, we feel a deep connection to every person whose life has been shattered by conflict. With your continued partnership, we will continue to serve as a beacon of hope for millions of refugees. You can help us bring them from harm to home.
Thank you for your support.
President, International Rescue Committee
P.S. Forbes, Worth, Newsweek and SmartMoney have rated the IRC among the most efficient humanitarian agencies, because 90 cents of each dollar we spend goes to programs and services that directly benefit refugees. Please make a gift today.
|Invite your loved ones to join the IRC's global family. |
Friday, 14 March 2008
Support the Department of Women's Studies at USF
HELP SUPPORT THE ONLY AUTONOMOUS DEPARTMENT OF WOMEN'S STUDIES IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Dear Friends of Women's and Gender Studies:
These are hard times for Higher Education in the state of Florida in general, and for the University of South Florida in particular.
We write on behalf of the faculty, students, and members of the University community concerned with preserving the Department of Women's Studies.
Due to a severe budget crisis, the Department of Women's Studies faces the potential loss of its status as an autonomous department. As the only free-standing Department of Women's Studies in the state of Florida, and among the oldest in the nation, we believe that curtailing our autonomy will have a negative impact on our discipline and on our university as a whole.
We ask you to lend your support to us by agreeing to sign the letter below urging the University to maintain the integrity and independent status of the Department of Women's Studies. Please send your name, e-mail, and affiliation to email@example.com.
We will compile all names and present them to the Administration.
The Department of Women's Studies, University of South Florida
Kim Vaz, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair
Marilyn Myerson, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Gurleen Grewal, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Carolyn J. Eichner, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Sara Crawley, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Nagwa Dajani, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Linda Lucas, Ph.D., Visiting Professor
March 6, 2008
Dear President Genshaft and Provost Wilcox,
We are scholars, students, activists, and community members. We express our deep concern at the planned restructuring of Women's Studies at USF and integration of the Department faculty into other disciplines or the merging of the Department as a subdivision of another disciplinary unit.
USF has been a leader in Women's Studies; the Department of Women's Studies at USF is among the oldest in the nation, celebrating its 36th anniversary this Spring semester, and it is the only Department of Women's Studies in the state of Florida.
We stress the value of Women's Studies as a discipline: In 1991, the American Association of Colleges identified Women's Studies as "one of twelve learned disciplines most conducive to the promotion of undergraduate liberal learning."
We are concerned that the University might consider closing or merging the Department. This would effectively undermine a discipline that according to the AAC report, has "transformed knowledge in the humanities, social sciences and life sciences, challenging long-established beliefs, contesting dominant paradigms, identifying new areas of research, and introducing new strategies of analysis."
According to the AAC report, "the strength of the women's studies major lies in its commitment to criticize existing theories and methodologies and to formulate new paradigms and organizing concepts across academic fields, its adoption of a complex matrix of gender, class, race, age, ethnicity, and nationality as fundamental categories of social, cultural, and historical analysis, its reliance upon interdisciplinary inquiry in structuring a sequence of coherently interrelated courses, its unrelenting attention to pedagogy designed to create an equitable learning opportunity for all students, and its ability to foster the student's critical and analytical skills."
We urge the University not to entertain any drastic plan to eliminate Women's Studies as an autonomous Department at the University of South Florida.
Please sign in support by sending your name, e-mail address, and
affiliation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
The best Valentine's gift.
I am strongly opposed to all things Valentine (with the exception of Sarah Vaughan's rendition of "My Funny Valentine"), most especially diamond jewelry and cut flowers. Instead of spending money on industries with negative impacts on human rights and the environment, give a gift that supports women's rights. It's much better than chocolate!
"Love isn't how you feel. It's what you do."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Wind in the Door
Show Your Love with an Act of Love
this Valentine's Day
Support MADRE's work to combat violence against women around the world, and show the person you love just how much you care.
Your gift will support women who have survived rape and are moving forward with their lives in Haiti and Kenya, women working to end "honor killing" in Iraq, and people combating all forms of violence against women around the world. MADRE will send you or your Valentine a beautiful gift card with a brief description of the powerful programs your gift makes possible. Visit our website to learn more about these and other programs.
Make a Valentine's Day Gift Donation Now
Please allow three to four day for delivery.
Donations must be made by 5pm EST on February 11th to ensure arrival by Valentine's Day.
Happy Valentine's Day from all of us at MADRE!
Valentine's Day gift donations by check can be made payable to MADRE at the address below. Please indicate "Valentine's Tribute" in the memo line of your check, and be sure to include the name and address of your gift recipient.
121 West 27th Street, #301
New York, NY 10001
If you prefer to donate by phone, please call us at 212.627.0444.
Donate online at madre.kintera.org/val08
Monday, 4 February 2008
Help a blogger out
Kit of Mango & Ginger
(hands down the yummiest blog title in my regular reading list) would like some more responses to her food behaviors and attitudes survey
. Give 15 minutes to further the growth of independent food blogging in Baltimore, won't you?
Thursday, 24 January 2008
Sign petition to raise money for UNIFEM campaign against violence against women
Challenge Grant to End Violence Against Women
UN Foundation to donate $1 for every signature to UNIFEM
WASHINGTON DC / New York (January 22, 2008) - The United Nations Foundation announced today its support for the "Say NO to Violence against Women" campaign. The Foundation will donate $1 for each the first 100,000 signatures to the online campaign that is run by the UN Development Fund for Women, UNIFEM.
The contributions will go to the UNIFEM-managed UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.
"Recent UN research has demonstrated the shameful scope of violence against women around the world, where one in three women are subject to some form of coercion or abuse in their lifetimes," said Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation. "To turn the tide on violence, the international community must work together to stand up for the human rights of women and that's what UNIFEM's "Say NO" campaign does. It allows people everywhere to go on record and stand up for a world free of violence against women."
"Thanks to this fantastic challenge grant, every signature will bolster our
cause to make ending violence against women worldwide a top priority", said UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman who champions the campaign. What's more, it will help provide critical resources for local initiatives that are supported through the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women - whether it is working to prevent human trafficking, assisting survivors of domestic violence or helping implement laws against rape."
People can sign on to the campaign at www.sayNOtoviolence.org
"The more people join, the stronger the message that there is an ever-growing movement of people who are demanding decisive action to put a
stop to what is probably the most pervasive human rights violation", added acting UNIFEM Executive Director Joanne Sandler. "This generous donation will provide an additional strong incentive for people to sign up to the campaign."
The "Say No to Violence against Women" campaign was launched November 26, 2007. To date more than 18,000 people worldwide have signed the call that urges an end to violence against women and encourages support to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. This Trust Fund, managed by UNIFEM for the UN system, supports innovative initiatives by governments and non-governmental organizations to end violence against women. Since its establishment in 1996, it has helped fund some 250 initiatives in 120 countries.
"Each day, each hour, each minute, a woman in the world is a victim of
violence," said Wirth. "Taking this simple step, signing on to the campaign,
sends the message that enough is enough and the cycle of violence must stop now."
For more information about the campaign visit www.sayNOtoviolence.org
Tuesday, 15 January 2008
Jaime Leigh Jones and Louise Slaughter
I've written in the past about issues of sexual abuse and exploitation perpetrated by military forces against local people, and the problem of holding those accused of sexual abuse accountable. Here is a case of abuse from Iraq, perpetrated by an entity for which no lines of legal accountability have been established. This case is horriffic, and if US government contractors in Iraq are able to treat their employees this way, how do you think they're treating Iraqi civilians?
I need your help.
Two years ago, 20 year old Jamie Leigh Jones was drugged, assaulted, and viciously gang raped on the job by her fellow coworkers. Learning of the attack, her employers placed her under armed guard in a shipping container for 24 hours without access to food or water.
Two years later, these horrific acts of unspeakable violence, as well as, the unbelievable reaction by her employers have gone unpunished and justice has not been served.
Why? How this could this happen? Because the 20 year old victim was a government contractor at KBR in the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq.
Jamie Leigh Jones, an American citizen, while employed by KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton was brutally gang raped by fellow KBR employees two years ago while stationed in Iraq. Army doctors performed a medical examination which showed that she had been raped both anally and vaginally. However, the rape kit was turned over to KBR and portions of the rape kit have vanished. Jamie was then ordered by her KBR employers to remain in a shipping container under armed guard for 24 hours without access to food or water until she was rescued after her Member of Congress demanded action by the State Department.
After two years, not only has the Justice Department not brought any criminal charges, but ABC News recently reported that they could not confirm that any federal agency was investigating the case at all.
There are over 20,000 Americans employed by US government contractors in Iraq. These individuals have the same right to treatment, services, and proper investigations when they are the victims of violent crime as those of us here at home. Their offenders, who are paid with American taxpayer dollar, should be held accountable.
Since Jamie has gone public with her story, it is clear that this is not an isolated incident; many women working for US Government contractors face sexual assault and harassment. Yet, the perpetrators of these violent crimes are not held accountable and justice is not served.
The current state of affairs is absolutely unacceptable. Action is required.
This is where I need your help.
I, along with Congressman Ted Poe and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, am taking the first step to ensuring accountability by sending letters to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanding answers in the KBR rape cases and asking them to clearly define the steps they are taking to ensure that what happened to Jamie will ever happen again.
I need your help to get your Member of Congress to sign on to these letters. It’s been two years and it is obvious that the Departments of Defense and State are not taking this issue seriously. We need to show them that the House of Representatives demands action.
Please call your Member of Congress as soon as possible and ask them to contact me, Louise M. Slaughter, to sign on to the letters to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanding answers about the KBR rape cases and how they plan to prevent these occurrences in the future.
With your help, we can take the first step to preventing what happened to Jamie from ever happening again.
Louise M. Slaughter
Member of Congress
Rep. Slaughter only specifically mentions American citizens, but contractors should face justice for any allegations of sexual abuse or harassment against any person in Iraq.
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