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« April 2009 | Main | June 2009 »

By Kelly Jacobsen on May 31, 2009

It is ironic that I learned of Dr. George Tiller’s death immediately after I got home from my Lutheran church service this morning. As a Christian, I understand the sanctity of the Church and I am deeply saddened that this special haven was tainted for Dr. Tiller’s family and friends.

My emotions on the situation are still very raw, so I will refrain from saying too much, but in this time of mourning, I want to say a heartfelt thank you to this man who acted as a last resort and life saver to many women.

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on May 31, 2009

You trample on the poor, and take advantage of him in your markets... as a result, you are rich and uncaring....

You oppress the poor as a part of your overall plan... you regularly receive bribe money and you rob the poor of justice in the courts in the name of "law and order"... because of your ways with those who are poor, you and your nation will suffer horribly....

Now understand this, God hates your Sunday worship services... God is sickened by your displays of religious fervor and piety... God detests all of your gifts and offerings and plans to give to further serve only yourself....

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on May 30, 2009

Over the years, I've witnessed it again and again: the remarkable generosity of people who have nothing really. We see it in our food distribution center in inner city East Dallas. People receive something to relieve their immediate needs, but find it amazingly easy to turn to another and share from what they have received.

I've seen guys give their last dollar to a friend who needed bus or rail fare. The poor share their clothes, pool their funds and work hard at helping each other.

I know I've reported the fact that our poor neighbors who come to us for various services like health care or legal counsel out give the churches who support us by over 2 to 1. Not really a surprise to me.

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on May 30, 2009

Dr. Michael Hinojosa, Superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District and I had dueling op-ed columns in the Dallas Morning News yesterday. Dr. Hinojosa believes that cuts in the budget of magnet schools and learning centers in DISD are required in order to avoid loss of Title I and stimulus dollars for education. He also believes its an issue of 'fairness'. Let's just say, I disagree.

I've been hoping that school board trustee Carla Ranger would be elected President of the DISD school board. She was voted 2nd VP. Adam Medrano has been elected president and Lew Blackburn is 1st VP. All should be steps in the right direction...

In the category of REALLY GOOD NEWS - Jerry Lee Evans became the 20th man freed from prison, exonerated by DNA evidence. Mr. Evans is 47 years old and has been in prison 22 years! "I’m not angry at all," said Evans. Amazing. Absolutely amazing...

Interesting read? Why Black Radio Doesn't Deserve Our Help.

Finally, what am I reading now: The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, by Robert Caro.

By James Bordonaro on May 30, 2009

Several weeks ago I was relaxing in front of the T.V. watching CNN. Scrolling at the bottom of the screen was a loop of the day’s “headlines.” I after watching for several minutes, it occurred to me that this was a random day’s news briefs which, if not statistical significant was (given the number of topics) surely somewhat more than pure anecdotal evidence of an apparent disparity (which in my personal belief continues to this day) in the positive efforts of the Obama Administration across a broad range of policy issues and the distractions of congressional Republicans as they attempt to regroup from the November elections; interspersed with a nod to the banality of celebrity and the daily numbing of personal tragedies. Thinking this might provide fodder for a blog post, I endeavored to list every headline, which crawled across the screen. Let me be clear, I’m not passing judgment on the merits of any particular actions just pointing out that at least Obama is doing something while Republicans fawn over idiotic pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on May 29, 2009

I love this story from Kevin and Jackie Freiberg's great little book, Guts! Companies That Blow the Doors Off Business-As-Usual:

When a Southwest gate agent in Austin, Texas, was approached by a very distressed customer who spoke only Spanish, her willingness to think like an owner may have saved the man's life. The customer was on his way to Houston for a kidney transplant, and he had mistakenly gotten off the plane in Austin. The gate agent spoke Spanish, too, and she was able to figure out that not arriving in Houston early the next morning meant that he could lose his chance to get the kidney. She knew there were no more commercial flights from Austin to Houston that night, but she remembered that Mark Robbins, an Austin ramp agent, was a private pilot. In entrepreneurial fashion, she explained the customer's predicament to Mark, who flew the man to Houston that night. And the gate agent went along for the ride, knowing the customer would be more comfortable having someone else with him who spoke his language. No call was made to the CEO or anyone else to ask permission. The two employees simply handled the customer's problem, knowing that the company would support them...

Great breakthroughs and extraordinary acts of service usually happen out on the radical fringe of a clearly defined boundary.

I really believe that story illustrates how to manage for impact and success.

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on May 29, 2009

For no other reason than I enjoyed this HBO series and I enjoyed this speech, I thought I'd share it.

I think its something we ought all remember, when we are tempted to be complacent in the face of those threats that would make us less free, or settle for less freedom for others.

By Larry James on May 29, 2009

What I am about to say may sound self-evident, but I think we seldom experience the grace of true understanding when it comes to people who live in poverty.

"Poor people" hurt just like the rest of us (Note: I instinctively resist and resent using the phrase "the poor" to categorize human beings -- people aren't poor, they have the circumstances of poverty thrust upon them, often through no fault of their own, as we are learning in this present economy).

Of course, the burdens of poverty dump unusual difficulty on those who must endure that broad, often comprehensive burden. Surely, it hurts to be homeless in ways that I will not understand until I enter that state of being. It hurts to be ill without ready recourse to treatment, care and medication. It hurts to be unable to get places. It hurts to be broke. It hurts to be hungry.

But these are not the pains I have in mind today. No, I'm thinking of the pains of the heart.

Read more from this post here ...

By Tula Connell on May 29, 2009

When Brynwood Partners in 2006 took over the Stella D'oro factory in the Bronx, the Wall Street private equity firm had every reason to believe it would be easy to slash the wages, pensions, holidays and sick pay of the 136 bakery workers.

But the takeover brainos forgot one important fact: The workers are represented by a union, Local 50 of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM). And throughout their more than nine-month strike, the workers have been strongly supported by their union brothers and sisters and by members of the community as they walk the picket line every day outside the plant where Brynwood now employs strikebreakers.

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on May 28, 2009

So it looks like the job opening is filled! Once more it appears that our new president has continued to confound critics and some supporters alike by choosing - gasp - someone who doesn't march lockstep with everyone of his ideological views!

He actually found someone qualified who is basically a moderate with a mixed record. Judge Sonya Sotomayor, does indeed fit the need on the Supreme Court for diversity in life experience, gender and ethnicity. She is a moderate liberal, who has sided with business and ruled against minority lawsuit plaintiffs. So what's to complain about?

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on May 28, 2009

If my grandfather, John James, had survived, last Sunday would have been his 124th birthday. [Are we allowed to have "favorites" when it come to grandparents? Whatever, he was certainly mine.]

Born in Lampasas, Texas on May 24, 1885, "Gramps" spent most of his life working farms that he didn't own. His life as a tenant farmer and a sharecropper taught him the harsh realities of labor and justice in the business of agriculture and ranching.

Read more from this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on May 27, 2009

The last few days have been filled with music.

On Friday, we ended our After-School Academy with a fun, interactive performance with the Inner City All Stars jazz band.

Thanks to the City of Dallas's Office of Cultural Affairs, we were able to bring this group to the ASA as a finale performance. They worked with the kids on Mardi Gras masks then pulled out their instruments and put on a New Orleans jazz performance--first in the ASA, then outside for the whole community to hear.

It was neat watching people come outside to tap their feet and move to the beat. The music was so fun, you just couldn't help yourself!

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on May 27, 2009

Clearly, life deals people some pretty tough hands. Sometimes the best thing to do in some situations is to just change course. You know, turn around. Go a different direction. Take an alternative route.

Often that approach, though desirable, is not possible. People find themselves trapped, surrounded by enemies and obstacles and, well, nothing with which to work on a solution.

Read more from this post here ...

By Kelly Jacobsen on May 27, 2009

With a great sense of relief, I can finally say I’ve completed my first year of college. The idea of at least three more years in school was becoming increasingly daunting, so I’ve made the decision to quit.

As of June 6, I'll be blogging from the East Coast. But don’t fret – I’m not really quitting school. Rather, I’ve taken an internship position with the League of Conservation Voters in Washington DC until December. I’ll be working in the development department with a specific emphasis on grassroots fundraising. In this position, I’ll utilize emerging new social media sites paired with traditional outreach tools.

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on May 27, 2009

I had a great privilege of meeting with a group of students from Abilene Christian University who are a part of a fellowship program that spent the week with us at Central Dallas Ministries. On Thursday, I was explaining to them how our permanent supportive housing program works. It's called Destination Home. When one of the students asked where we get referrals to this program from. I explained that we get some from the Bridge, Dallas' homeless assistance center. Then I said that we also get some referrals from the Veteran's Administration Hospital. Then something struck me and I guess I was musing out loud...

The country, pro-Iraq war and anti-Iraq war, take great pains to say how much we love our troops. And how every American should be proud of them, their sacrifice and that of their families. And they are all absolutely right!

But we have a habit of not treating our veterans well after the wars are over, and it dawned on me...

Read more from this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on May 26, 2009

I know it can be frustrating being a teacher, but what an amazing profession!

Teachers have such an opportunity to impact children and completely change their perspective on life. It was obvious that the three orchestra/band teachers at Lang have done just that with quite a large group of kids. Somehow, they have made orchestra cool for lots of kids--boys and girls alike.

Mrs. Poquette-Drews, Mr. Covey, and Mr. Woods deserve lots of accolades. What an amazing ability to teach kids how to play an instrument, concentrate, work in conjunction with others, and so much more.

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on May 26, 2009

The stereotypical image of homelessness is a disheveled man, clutching a bottle of cheap wine in a brown paper bag and shuffling along the sidewalk. But that is an old image now and fails to reflect the growing reality of homelessness.
Jim Wallis, leader of Sojourners community, published a helpful summary of the challenges facing the homeless in the United States in a Washington Times. Wallis makes it clear that the "profile" of America's homeless is changing.

Much of what he says is not new to us in Dallas, but his words are helpful in understanding a wide range of issues and possible solutions. The latest "point-in-time" census among the homeless here in Dallas was conducted in January. According to the poll, our homeless population had declined from the same time last year, unlike other major cities.

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on May 26, 2009

Growing up in a black, Pentecostal family in Cleveland, Alysa Stanton never imagined the day when she would be preparing to be ordained as a rabbi.

But that day will come June 6 for the single mother who will be ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, becoming the first African-American female rabbi in the world.

There are times when its hard to express what you are thinking in ways that others can understand. So I want to say this carefully:
This falls in the category of something I never thought about seeing!

Congratulations, Rabbi Stanton! Wow, talk about about making strides!!!

Read more from this post here ...

By Pamela Jean on May 25, 2009

I've written about Mabel Rawlinson (My Fallen Hero: Fly Girl from Kalamazoo) before. I wrote about how she was one of just 1,857 women selected (out of the more than 25,000 women that applied) to enter pilot training during World War II. Moreover, Mabel was one of only 1,102 phenomenal women who actually passed that rigorous training and received Army Air Corps wings. Through hard work and determination, she earned her rightful place among the elite Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).

When Mabel tragically died while flying her Air Force plane, she became one of the first members of an even smaller and more elite group. Mabel was one of only 38 female pilots that died while serving in WWII. Not only did these brave and talented women face blatant prejudice and receive lower pay, they were also not even given full and rightful military status until 34 years after the war. Our government did not even pay to transport the lifeless bodies of these fallen female patriots back to their home towns for burial. Overt discrimination was ubiquitous in the military then - and persisted for decades afterward. Recognition for the service and sacrifices of the women pilots has been painfully slow in coming, and long overdue.

Now, I bear such wonderful news just in time for Memorial Day! I can now report that this year, 66 long years after Mabel's ultimate sacrifice for her country, she and her fellow WASP will be singled out by our current Congress with the highest honor available to Congress - the Congressional Gold Medal!

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on May 25, 2009

Clyde Erwin was my father-in-law. He died in December 1997. He was a veteran. And, like so many others, very much worthy of our remembrance on this day of memory as a nation.

Nothing needs to be said about Nazi Germany, the result of the complete metastatic malignancy that destroyed an entire national community -- economy, values, vision, humanity, soul and all.

Clyde spoke very little about his experiences in World War Two. But he did tell me about December 1944.

Read more from this post here ...

Earlier posts in this month:

Youth Civic Entrepreneurs, May 25, 2009
Introduction to Australia - 101, May 25, 2009
Memorial Day - Let us Not Forget, May 24, 2009
We Can All Spare An Hour Monday, May 24, 2009
The World As it Should Be; The World As it Is, May 24, 2009
Memorial Day - Remember the Fallen, May 24, 2009
Restore What?, May 23, 2009
Justice at Last!, May 23, 2009
Risk vs. Ambiguity, May 22, 2009
The Truth About Corn-fed Beef, May 22, 2009
A School AND a President with Class: How 'Bout That?!, May 22, 2009
Shouldn't Voter Registration be Easy?, May 22, 2009
Take the Pledge: Buy America, May 22, 2009
Global Warming's Not a Hoax, So Cool It, May 21, 2009
Class Counts, Well, Not Everywhere, May 21, 2009
Health Care Challenges Concern Communities, May 21, 2009
For Those Who Would Change the Wind, May 21, 2009
The case for single payer, May 20, 2009
Short Term Gain vs. Long Term Return, May 20, 2009
Testing vs. Graduation: You Mean We Can't Have Both?, May 20, 2009
We need more Carla Rangers!, May 20, 2009
Big Churches May Have Something to Think About, May 20, 2009
GOP Shrinkage..., May 19, 2009
Graduating SUCKS, May 19, 2009
Reversing Environmental Decline, May 18, 2009
Public Murals at the Mission District, San Francisco, May 17, 2009
President Obama at Notre Dame, May 17, 2009
Talking About My Generation, May 16, 2009
Clean Indoor Air: The Time is Now, May 15, 2009
The Art of Bike Commuting, May 15, 2009
Virtual Student Foreign Service Initiative, May 15, 2009
Education 2.0, May 15, 2009
Because of the joy, May 14, 2009
59th Annual Armed Forces Day, May 14, 2009
Talent Does Not Excuse Misogynistic Behavior, May 14, 2009
The Stars Align for Employee Free Choice Act, May 14, 2009
Seeing 'Green' in Australia, May 14, 2009
Ignorance Running Rampant, May 14, 2009
A Prophetic Film, May 13, 2009
Hunger, Health, Housing, Hope, May 13, 2009
Wayne Coyne Speaks In Struggle Arts Class, May 12, 2009
Men's Rights? Just Another Name for Sexist Dogma, May 12, 2009
Gospel Radio Icon Passes, May 12, 2009
Reframing the Debate On Gay Marriage, May 11, 2009
Getting Things Done for America, May 11, 2009
Recognizing the Presence of Adult Illiteracy, May 11, 2009
For Those Who Would Change the Wind, May 11, 2009
Class or Race? Both Are Problems, May 10, 2009
It Takes a Village - No, Really, May 9, 2009
Mental Illness, Hard Streets and Public Policy, May 9, 2009
The New Mayor of Motown, May 9, 2009
A Signing Day All of Us Can Celebrate!, May 8, 2009
From the Society of Tea-Party Poopers, May 8, 2009
A Reprise: Sean Tevis and Option 4, May 8, 2009
Hunger in America: 1 in 8 Americans Faces Food Insecurity, May 7, 2009
Class Matters, May 7, 2009
Oh No! Here We Go Again!, May 7, 2009
Dallas Votes on Saturday: City Hotel a Good Thing, May 7, 2009
Dreaming of a Healthy Community, May 6, 2009
I Wish This Was a Practical Joke!, May 5, 2009
Interview with World Vision’s Richard Stearns, May 5, 2009
A Troubling Unity, May 4, 2009
Van Jones and Green Jobs, May 4, 2009
Church too conservative, say those who left, May 4, 2009
More on Torture: Interesting Interview on PBS, May 3, 2009
For Those Who Would Change the Wind, May 3, 2009
Torture and Faith: Go Figure, May 2, 2009
Out of Line and Out of Bounds, May 2, 2009
What's the prescription?, May 1, 2009
The Boondocks and Dissent in Cartoons, May 1, 2009
Economy: Source of Fear and Anxiety Among Youth, May 1, 2009
Applause But No Standing 'O', May 1, 2009
Speak Now for Kids: Please Join the Campaign, May 1, 2009

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