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Author Topic: News Stories of Possible Interest, or.. Is There Really A World Outside of Kiva?  (Read 122668 times)
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« Reply To This #430 on: July 22, 2011, 10:36:10 AM »

Just came across this article.  
Coincidentally, my seeing it was literally within hours from the time I'd just winged a modest donation, myself, to the International Rescue Committee for this very purpose.

Somali Militants Will Block Aid to Famine-Stricken Areas

I don't know what kind of world this is that we're living in.  I just read, too, about the explosion rocking Oslo *, Norway, of all places, this very day.  There has to be a better way.  There just has to be.

EDIT: *More on the story about the bombing at the government headquarters in Oslo:
“…It was the deadliest bombing ever in Oslo, normally associated with the Nobel Peace Prize that is awarded there…”

As I’ve commented many times here, one of the best, and as with any caring relationship between other humans, one of the sometimes painful aspects of our being connected so much more with the world thanks to Kiva and KivaFriends, is that when something like this happens somewhere else in the world, our minds quite naturally turn to people we now “know” in those places, people whom we’ve learned to care about.  

Particularly among those of us who have been around here for a fair amount of time, I’d bet that most of us almost immediately thought of our Kiva Friend, Charmaine, as soon as we saw this story about Norway.  I winged her a quick note, myself, after seeing the first news story, but I’m close to positive she lives somewhere outside of Oslo.  Anyway, can’t help but think “thanks, again,” to Kiva and Kivafriends for giving me so many many more people to care about and to enrich my life.

« Last Edit: July 22, 2011, 12:31:01 PM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #431 on: September 12, 2011, 04:30:36 PM »

I saw this very sad article today about a gasoline pipeline break that then exploded in a slum in Nairobi, Kenya.  It is very sad because of all the deaths and suffering the explosion caused, but sad still on another level:  when the pipeline broke, rather than run away like most people where I am from would not think twice about, most people ran towards it, to collect the fuel because they can barely feed thier families and "a bucket of fuel could pay a month's rent."

Read more:
« Last Edit: September 12, 2011, 04:32:45 PM by charity » Logged
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« Reply To This #432 on: September 16, 2011, 08:48:56 AM »

There is so much injustice in the world.  It’s hard to know where to devote your time and energy and heart without becoming absolutely overwhelmed, demoralized or consumed by it.  Or, for that matter, paralyzed.

If the truth is told, I don't have any intimate or first-hand knowledge about this particular case, personally.  For that matter, I can't even say that I've spent a whole lot of time either worrying about it or thinking about it since it first was brought to my attention. Still, what I do know is that Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed this coming Wednesday if enough people don’t make their voices heard.  I know that a tremendous number of people, big names and little, are convinced that justice has been perverted in this case, as, unfortunately, justice has been perverted in so many others.  

I know that while I have absolutely no relation to this man that he just as easily could have been someone in my family or in my circle of friends or acquaintances.  I know that if that had been the case (Donne’s bell tolling consciousness present as ever), I’d sure as hell wish that people would at least try to learn a little about what happened, and that they’d speak up if they, themselves, had any doubts or skepticism about how the system here worked (or didn’t work) if after educating themselves, they felt any.  

I also know that taking these few minutes to post about it, and to post about the known inequities and imbalances and pretty undeniable racism and classism in our criminal justice system isn’t too much for me to ask of myself if I purport to care about my fellow human (and other) beings. The really hard part is that innocent people are being imprisoned and/or executed all over the world without having the benefit of anywhere near the kind of publicity that this case has long been getting.  Still, there’s that starfish again…..,2736.msg65970.html#msg65970

Troy Davis' death row case in Georgia goes global

The documentary, Deadline, is an enormously thought-provoking, compelling film that may well strike you as worth your time even if the morality of the death penalty has never numbered among the top most one thousand important issues in your life. And, just in case anyone would be interested, here’s a worthwhile book by the former prosecutor, best-selling novelist, Scott Turow.
Ultimate Punishment: A Lawyer's Reflections on Dealing with the Death Penalty

UNRELATED: As long as I'm here, I want to thank Charity, publicly, as I did lender message-privately, for having the caring to post the article she'd posted, just above, about the totally avoidable tragedy that recently occurred in that Nairobi slum.  Happily, I finally heard back from Irene (of Action Now: Kenya) and learned that she and her two little boys are ok. As it happens the Sinai slum where this sad deal occurred turns out not to be one of the slums in which ANK does its wonderful if often thankless work.

EDIT: For those to whom music and videos may speak a little louder than my undoubtedly sometimes seemingly endless inundation of words, you might want to check out this 2 minute plus video from January of 2009 put out by

Also, tangentially related, if you’re curious, as I had been, after having a look at this other article, you can go to I-Tunes and preview “Black Robes and Lawyers” by William Michael Dillon who, himself, finally was released from prison after being held there for 27 years for a murder he apparently had not committed.

EDIT #2:
Interesting article…..
Digital Age Drives Rally to Keep a Georgia Inmate From Execution

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« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 09:17:49 PM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #433 on: September 16, 2011, 02:00:44 PM »

Speaking of injustice…..

Palestinian Leader Will Ask For Full U.N. Membership

Palestinians to seek full U.N. membership: Abbas

I’m not pretending for a second that these 2 articles are in any way definitive, comprehensive, or possibly even, for all I know, all that accurate.  I’m simply posting them here to raise the issue that concerns not only 2 (actually, including the United States, 3) Kiva countries, and as far as I’m concerned any and everywhere else in the world where fairness should rule, even if it doesn’t and hasn’t for a long long time.

I’m more aware than you might imagine what a sensitive issue this is, (read, super HOT), which, by itself, would make it reason enough for people to want to stay away from it, particularly, for instance, here at a Forum whose main reason for being is to concern itself with Kiva and microfinance and issues that seem more related, say, than something like this.  But different from a number of you, probably from most of you, I think that it’s all related, and that a worldwide Forum that concerns itself even with some questions of equity and of trying to help those in need is a perfect place for at least thinking about things like this, even if we won’t come even close to offering any all-that-helpful resolutions.

Truth be told, I am and I have been afraid to talk too much about this particular issue here as I’ve feared the very strong reactions I know a lot of you undoubtedly would have.  And might post.  And that actually would hurt me, personally (even though they wouldn't be intended to).   Different, probably, from many of you, I have long felt a tremendous sadness, confusion and conflict inside about all of this in large part because of the religion and family I was born into, the cultural identification I feel with the people of Israel (if definitely not with their blankety-blank government and the radicals among them), the different kind of exposure, that as a result, I’ve had and the reading that I’ve done, and my ability (and sometimes curse) to try and look at it from both sides.  All of that has made me understand that there isn’t anything close to an easy or facile solution, and that anyone who seems to suggest that there is, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t have a lot of regard for their intelligence or for their intellectual or other kind of honesty.  

All that said, the more I learn, the more impatient I, myself, have become for something that looks like even like a step, at least some kind of progress towards fairness.  I don’t know how long it’s reasonable to ask a people to wait.  For me, it feels like we’re way way Way past that time, here, with the Palestinians.

I’d still recommend, among many others, the documentary, Budrus, and the book, Letters From Palestine, a description of which you can find if you punch those words into the KivaFriend search term place.

I don’t know what I hope is going to happen at this confrontation that seems rather inescapable.  I’m afraid for both sides, I’m afraid for the United States and other western countries given the implications of their predicted intended negative votes, and I can only hope (and keep hoping) for peace and equity and fairness for all.

EDIT: This article alludes to the dilemma, probably more accurately, the quagmire in which the United States finds itself regarding this issue.

And then there’s this one:
Q+A: The implications of the Palestinian U.N. drive

« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 09:14:02 PM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #434 on: September 19, 2011, 09:05:23 AM »

Came across this story and thought it was pretty neat.  
Am thinking that possibly there’s all kinds of potential for a future of meshing gaming and science, for having ordinary citizens perhaps be able to contribute usefully in the search for answers to some of science’s and society’s most intractable problems.  Wouldn’t that be great, and because many of those problems are, in effect, all of our problems, somehow just really fitting and “right"?  

Anyway, if nothing else, chancing upon these articles will, at the very least, give me pause whenever I’m tempted to think of people as “frittering away” their time when playing games on their X-Boxes, on their Wiis (sp?) and on the Internet.  Anything that might give us hope, right….?

Videos Gamers Solve Microbiology Puzzle

U.S. Gamers Crack Puzzle in AIDS Research that Stumped Scientists for Years
Gamers Decode AIDS Protein That Stumped Researchers For 15 Years In Just 3 Weeks
“… You no longer need a Ph.D to make an incredible scientific breakthrough….”

As long as they’re at it, anyway, maybe they could take on world peace, poverty, the environment, the Mideast, cancer and a couple other things next?

EDIT: Two more stories that might give some of that hope and pleasure stuff:
Guatemalan Schools Built from Bottles, Not Bricks
People Are Awesome: L.A. Writer Shaves Head to Raise Cash for Struggling Nonprofit

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« Last Edit: September 19, 2011, 03:11:35 PM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #435 on: September 20, 2011, 06:08:33 PM »

YouTube: Airman tells dad he is gay as ‘don’t ask’ policy disappears

A fair amount of the audio in the video clip at that link is pretty indecipherable, but there’s still way more than enough to be touched by the poignancy of it all.  We most of us could only partly imagine what all this had to have felt like – felt like on either end of that telephone.  It’s a pretty complicated if often wondrous thing being human, sometimes.  Just think about how important it was (is) to most of us to have our parents think well of us (no matter what), and think about the relief this young guy had to have felt after all this time……

Found myself flashing on the really superlative book, My Own Country: A Doctor's Story by Abraham Verghese.  Thinking about how so very many young people, especially but for sure not only young southern males here in the United States, who could never even consider broaching this subject with their parents or with any members of their families, for that matter.  And that was true, and sadly, undoubtedly, in some cases still is true, even when the terrified and lonely secret-keeper was dying of AIDS.  
Crazy world.

« Last Edit: September 20, 2011, 06:11:24 PM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #436 on: September 23, 2011, 08:34:11 AM »

This story, for a bit of balance and hope…..
Japanese return cash recovered after tsunami

Three things  struck me about this story in particular:

1- The thought that if even only some of this is attributable to cultural training, how different the world might be if our society (-ies) elevated compassion for the poor and hurting, nonviolence, cooperation and working together* to achieve a common good to a level where they were regarded as the values we most wanted to reflect and the values that we most wanted to inculcate in our children.

2- The 2003 study by the University of Michigan law professor alluded to in the article

3- The last 2 paragraphs of the article that very much brought to mind the time my grandparents’ home was completely destroyed in a fire that remains one of the more traumatizing memories of my youth.

*including with other cultures and other countries
« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 08:49:33 AM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #437 on: November 27, 2011, 11:08:15 AM »

I just watched a showing of Common Dreams.  Part of the CNN Freedom Project.  This particular special focuses on Restaveks in Haiti.  Worth of watch, you can check the tv schedule for both US and international CNN for times.

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« Reply To This #438 on: January 22, 2012, 08:08:42 AM »

An especially fun video to start or continue your Sunday morning (afternoon, evening) with.  

Have less than no idea whether this, ultimately, is going to pan out or not, but even just the possibility, particularly with the story behind it, is quite wonderful and a giant smile.
I just truly love stuff like this.

I mentioned the book, Changing Lives, by Tricia Tunstall, in an earlier post.  For whatever reason, I’ve been reading it incredibly slowly, as though I want to savor every single  little part of it.  I can’t think of any book I’ve ever read in my life that has given me more pleasure, that has touched me so much, or given me the kind of hope it has and filled me with something that really feels like joy.  

I was reading it on a plane the other day and tears just kept streaming down my face.  Even though I was embarrassed and more than a little self-conscious, I’m not sure I could have stopped them if my life had depended on it.  

EDIT: As long as I was going to be here, anyway….
Since I, personally, often enjoy reading posts a lot more when they have pictures accompanying them, I decided I’d tack on a small pic of some recent guests at Splashdown.

And just as irrelevant, when I was “home,” recently, my sister surprised me by taking me to what ended up being this fantastically dynamic, music-dance-body wiggling-rich musical, Fela, which I’d heard about when it was setting Broadway audiences on fire.  It was tremendous.  I’ve been blasting one of my favorites from it, “,”*** ever since I’ve been back.  You might want to give it a listen, yourselves.

*** The horns, after about 5 and a 1/2 minutes into it, particularly if you’re blasting the music, and if you'll close your eyes and'll sit in a quiet room in the dark, well, they’re especially wonderful.

Just came across these.  I love Roadside Attractions.  The more whimsical, outlandish and outrageous, the better. (Click on the two I chose to post here.  The jolly green giant is especially jolly and a whole lot more GIANT!).

EDIT #2:  Rep. Giffords To Resign From Congress This Week
Was very sorry to read it but feel certain it's the conscientious and responsible thing for her to do and can only wish her the very very best.

Just found her resignation video and found it deeply poignant.

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« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 04:25:59 PM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #439 on: February 19, 2012, 09:26:38 AM »

There is no place like home.,0,156428.story
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