Ed Cone: "There's nothing funny about an economic downturn, but the current deleveraging crisis has yielded some moments of grim humor -- if you find it amusing to watch people speak out of both sides of their mouths. Even as the free-market fundamentalism that helped get us into this mess is exposed as a recipe for disaster, its proponents still try to run their game. They oppose regulation of the powerful machinery of capitalism but beg for taxpayer support when their bets go bad. "Privatize profit and socialize risk" could be their motto." Read the whole thing.
Naked Capitalism excerpts Robert Kuttner's congressional testimony pointing out the parallels between today and the 1920s, before the Great Depression.
I was part of a panel at the NC Center for Nonprofits 2008 Public Policy Forum in Raleigh, along with Lynn Bonner of The News and Observer, Terry Zurowski of News 14 Carolina, and moderated by Trisha Lester, vice president of the NC Center for Nonprofits. Great turnout, lots of interesting questions, and lots of interest in new media. If anyone wants to post an additional question here, feel free.
I recommend engaging young people, who are already familiar with many online tools, in service learning to build your online presence and social networks. I had a handout of online resources, but didn't get a chance to distribute it, so I'm posting it below. If you can think of or recommend additional online resources, add them in the comments section.
Michael Stein, one of the original pioneers in use of the Internet by non-profit organizations, has a great blog on Internet strategy for nonprofits. I first heard Michael speak on this topic in DC in the mid-1990s. Some of his recent topics:
Martin Marty, renowned religious historian, theologian and Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago Divinity School, wrote in The Chronicle of Higher Education: "I've been too impressed by the way Wright preaches the Christian Gospel
to break with him. Those who were part of his ministry for years —
school superintendents, nurses, legislators, teachers, laborers, the
unemployed, the previously shunned and shamed, the anxious — are not
going to turn their backs on their pastor and prophet."
Chris Caldwell of the conservative Weekly Standard, writing in the Financial Times: Obama offers "a more intimate relationship among the races, a less
instrumental use of them by US politicians and a breaking of the
monopoly on interracial dialogue that has until now been held by elite
Rick Martinez, News and Observer: "Whether president or not, in 2009 Obama has the opportunity to use his
family history and experience to lift American race relations out of
the quagmire. It's an opportunity I hope he doesn't pass up, because
it's the type of meaningful change only he can bring about."
On Good Friday, Daddy suggested we drive over to the Cary, NC Senior Center to see former President Bill Clinton, who was in town campaigning for Hillary Clinton to be President. I wasn't sure whether Hillary Clinton was his sister or his wife, but Daddy assured me that Hillary is Bill Clinton's wife. I really didn't want to go that much. But Daddy said he would buy me Legos if I came. Standing in the crowd, I was a little bit scared, because recently we saw the movie, "Vantage Point" about the attempted assassination of a President, from the perspectives of eight different people.
While waiting outside at the senior center, we ran into Daddy's friends Rog and Amy Bates. Rog is a comedian, so that made the wait seem shorter. When President Clinton arrived, he talked about why his wife would make a good president, because she's very caring and wants everyone to be able to afford health care insurance, has good ideas on how to respond to global warming and create jobs that help the environment. He also said Hillary would encourage automakers to build cars that get 100 miles to the gallon. My dad's car, born the year I was born, 1997, gets about 20 miles to the gallon, he says, and gas prices are going way up.
As he was leaving, he passed by everyone, and I got to shake his hand. His hand was cold, but he warmly said to me, "thank you for coming." There was a secret service man right behind him who scared me because he stared at everyone who shook hands with the president. We watched as President Clinton was whisked away in a big black SUV with lots of police cars around.
Next week with the Boy Scouts I am going to Washington to tour the White House.
Nobody's got perfect judgment on foreign and domestic policy. Looking back, I was probably wrong to support the nuclear freeze movement of the early 1980s, which was an attempt to halt Western escalation of the nuclear arms race. Turned out just a few years later, the Soviets gave up, gave in, realized they could not compete with the West. Indeed, the Soviets spent so much on arms that their society collapsed from within, from internal rot.
I was also too negative in my assessment of Ronald Reagan when he was president. In retrospect, he did some good things.
On Good Friday, Andrew Sullivan, a conservative supporter of the war in Iraq, wrote an essay atoning for his support for the war in Iraq. He committed four cardinal sins, he said: historic narcissism, narrow moralism, unconservatism, and misreading Bush. "I had no idea he was so complacent - even glib - about the evil that men with good intentions can enable." It's a thoughtful essay and well worth a read.
I tried to read Bush’s speech on the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, but it seemed so filled with
spin and propaganda and he makes me so angry that I abandoned the effort. Perhaps if I
were paid to read it I would. I got stuck on this line:
“The men and women who crossed into Iraq five years ago
removed a tyrant, liberated a country, and rescued millions from unspeakable
What about the unspeakable horrors Bush perpetuated on the
families of 4,000 U.S. dead, or the 30,000+ wounded, or the 100,000+ Iraqis
dead, or the tens of thousands of Iraqis wounded, or the instability in the
region or the rebuke of our allies, or the way the American people were misled
into the war in the first place?
I’m sorry, the man just has no credibility with me anymore.
I often gave him the benefitof the doubtthrough 2004, and praised his efforts in a number of areas, but right now it seems he will rank as one of the worst presidents ever. I will look at independent analysis of the war effort, but it takes enormous effort to listen to him with any kind of open mind.
The entire UNC-Chapel Hill community and alumni around the world mourn the death of Eve Carson, a brilliant scholar and the dynamic student body president who was murdered senselessly in an armed robbery. I did not know her personally, but one only needs to watch the Youtube.com video of her welcoming new students (above), or her online presentation of her summer trip to Ecuador, in which she reflects on "the gifts of poverty" to get a sense of her wonderful spirit. She spoke of friends, and friends she had not yet met, so as a Carolina alumni, like thousands of others, I count her as a friend.
I'm also impressed by the number of tributes and memorials to her posted on YouTube.com and the photosharing on Facebook.com. This may be the way the next generation expresses its grief, spreading the spirit and words of a person and preserving great memories with online tools. They're giving their friends and loved ones a touch of digital fame if not digital immortality.
University Chancellor James Moeser said Carson "personified the Carolina spirit -- excellence with heart." An estimated 10,000 people, including many from rival universities, gathered for her memorial service. Here's the video. Perhaps the most poignant and inspiring words come from Eve's father, in a statement read at her funeral in Athens, GA, at the UNC memorial service and published by N&O columnist Ruth Sheehan:
Carson described the senseless murder of his child as "sadness defined,
unfathomable and bottomless." Even in the face of that pain, however, Carson
expressed hope that his daughter's peers will be the ones to solve the most
pressing problems of the times.
"I see a stunningly beautiful convergence of talent and caring in this, our
children's, generation. ... I believe that these kids, along with their peers
around the globe, can reach reasoned solutions for mitigating violence and
tackling many of the inequities of poverty, prejudice, inadequate health care
and under-education. This is no pie-in-the-sky wish! These kids are smart!
They're so capable.
"They're more productive because they collaborate and communicate like no
generation before them. And what is even more wonderful is their generosity.
Isn't that tremendous?"
I'm reminded of the words my mother wrote five years after the death of my cousin Phil Secrest from leukemia at the age of 21. "Not even death can separate us from those we love."
I'm also reminded of John Gunther's book about his son, who died of a brain tumor at age 17. It was called "Death Be Not Proud," taken from the immortal poem by John Donne (1572-1631):
DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
David Schraub offers a fascinating critique of black conservative ideology, and how Barack Obama's former pastor, Dr. Jeremiah Wright, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas fit into it:
Black Conservatives essentially tell Blacks they can only rely on themselves to get ahead in America -- counting on White people to be moral or "do the right thing" is a waste of time. Politically, this means building tight-knit communities that emphasize the patronizing of identifiably Black institutions, with the end result being social independence from White America. In this, it mixes at least partial voluntary self-segregation with a significant aversion to external dependency, with Whites and White institutions being defined as outsiders who can't be trusted. Every dollar that flows out of the Black community and into the hands of White America is a dollar that is in the control of a group that, at best, has a unique set of interests that can't be counted on to converge with those of Black people. Contained within this school are thinkers as far-ranging as Derrick Bell, Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, Clarence Thomas, Huey P. Newton, and Malcolm X. Black groups and leaders who were/are not Black Conservatives include W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King, the NAACP, Thurgood Marshall, and yes, Barack Obama. Read the whole thing. (Hat tip to AndrewSullivan.com)