Tuesday, November 07, 2006

SERMON: "The Binding of Isaac"

by Rev. Stephen C. Butler
Sermon # 7 in the series ""Resident Aliens"
Genesis 22:1-19
McKownville United Methodist Church
November 5, 2006

The most famous highway in America may be the former Route 66, which ran from Chicago to Los Angeles. But for musicians it's Route 61, the "Blues Highway" that follows the Mississippi River up from New Orleans through Baton Rouge, Memphis and St. Louis, along past Illinois, up through Minneapolis towards Duluth, Lake Superior and the Canadian border. Several musicians have written tributes to Highway 61, including one of my favorites: Robert Allen Zimmerman, known to most of the world as Bob Dylan. "God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son." Abe says, "Man, you must be puttin'me on." God says, "No." Abe says, "What?" God says, "Do what you want but, next time you see me comin' you better run!" Abe says, "Where you want this killin' done?" God says, "Highway 61." (© 1965 "Highway 61 Revisited") Bob Dylan was born and raised in a Jewish home in Duluth, MN, just off Highway 61. His father's name was Abraham and he probably learned this story in the local synagogue, just like most of us first heard it in church. Is it familiar to you? This story of Abraham and Isaac on Mt. Moriah is the climax of the Abraham cycle of stories in Genesis. So, I've saved it for last in this sermon series called "Resident Aliens".

Everyone who considers this story has to wonder: Why is this in the Bible? Would God actually command something like this? Was it all a mistake, or what?" The Bible says, "God tested Abraham, saying, 'Take your son... and offer him as a burnt offering on the mountain that I will show you.'" Once upon a time, people actually used to do this kind of thing. The book of Exodus (22:29-30) says, "You shall not delay to make offerings from the fullness of your harvest. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to me. You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep." But in another place (Exodus 13:12-13) it explains: "You shall set apart to the Lord all that first opens the womb. All the firstborn of your livestock that are
males shall be the Lord's. But every firstborn male among your children you shall redeem (with a sheep)." So by that time, Israel proclaimed that while other nations might still be sacrificing their first children, the people of Israel should instead substitute a sheep for their first-born sons. But at the time of Abraham, 500 years earlier, this was probably still a common and well-known practice. How would you like to be Isaac saying, "Dad, we've got the fire, the wood, the knife, and we're going up the mountain. Where's the sheep for the sacrifice?" And Dad says, "Don't worry, God will provide." Finally, he takes you by the hand, ties your arms behind you, and you understand. Not a pleasant thought, is it?

Artists and sculptors have depicted this scene for over 600 years from Donatello to Raphael and Rembrandt to Chagall. The French artist Laurent de LaHire painted "Abraham Sacrificing Isaac" in 1650 showing Isaac lying on his side with his hands tied in front of him. The angel calls Abraham to stop him, and we see the ram with its head caught in the nearby tree. Rembrandt's version focuses more closely on the action. Abraham has covered Isaac's face. His neck and chest are arched upward facing certain death. But the angel has grabbed Abraham's wrist and the knife is in mid-air, falling from his hand. It's a one of the most dramatic scenes in all of ancient literature.

And after all this God says, "Now I know that you fear me, for you have not withheld your only son." God didn't know that already? Apparently not, according to this story, anyway. And also it appears this story was used as an attempt to put an end to child sacrifice in Israel, because the Bible also says in Jeremiah (7:30-34) "The people of Judah have done evil in my sight... they burn their sons and daughters in the fire--which I did not command, nor did it (even) come into my mind." So it took a long time to put a stop to this kind of thing. And Christianity affirms that Jesus Christ was the last sacrifice for all time.

And yet, children are still killed unnecessarily, and needlessly, often violently. There are those who argue that all violence against children is a form of child sacrifice. People of good will can argue many sides of every social issue from food stamps to pre-natal care, to abortion laws, to funding for public housing, to handgun control laws, to national politics nd our pursuit of warfare. As you may know, personally I'm a pacifist and I believe that all intentional killing is murder and warfare is a form of child sacrifice, where nations offer up their children because, like Abraham, we believe that's what we're called to do. Whether our children serve in uniformed armies or strap hidden explosive vests around their
bodies, their fathers in government call it heroic sacrifice. The old terminology still continues. Nobody wants to die. Everyone says they hate war. But still on opposing sides of armed conflicts in many lands, we send our children off to battle, perhaps never to return alive. Next weekend, we'll honor everyone who's served their country in armed service: many in battle, many who have died, and many more wounded and disabled. I honor them. I thank them. I hope I will always respect what they and so many generations of others have done for all of us. Yet don't we all wonder, "Isn't there a better way? Can this really be God's will? Is God on anybody's side in this, or any war?" I just feel like we've all been here before, don't you? The rhetoric sounds so very familiar once again, doesn't it? And this time around, can't we do better than last time, and the time before, and the time before that?

"Abraham!" called God. "Don't harm the boy! I know you trust me. And I will bless you." So God provided another way. And maybe God has another way for us, too.

Friday, September 22, 2006

DNA Frees NY Man

New York Times
September 21, 2006
Ex-Inmate Says Pirro Ignored DNA Evidence That Freed Him
Claims that Jeanine F. Pirro ignored pleas to review DNA evidence
that ultimately cleared a convicted murderer were the latest thorny
issue to dog her campaign for attorney general.
Those claims came on the same day that Ms. Pirro, a Republican who
is the former Westchester district attorney, abruptly canceled a
news conference at which she was to call for reinstating the death
The man who was exonerated, Jeffrey Mark Deskovic, was convicted in
1991 of raping and killing a classmate at Peekskill High School. He
was cleared of the murder charges this week after Ms. Pirro's
successor, Janet DiFiore, reviewed the DNA evidence, which linked
the crime to another man. Mr. Deskovic was released.
Mr. Deskovic made his comments about Ms. Pirro yesterday at a news
conference organized by the Innocence Project, a legal service that
seeks to free wrongfully convicted people through DNA evidence. He
said that he wrote to Ms. Pirro from prison some years ago, telling
her that he had heard about her support of motions to free wrongly
convicted prisoners, and had asked her to look into his case.
"I told her, you know, there's an old case in your files in which
there's DNA evidence that shows that a man, in this case me, is
innocent," Mr. Deskovic said.
Someone in Ms. Pirro's office wrote back a "very rude letter," he
said, declining to review the case and saying that he should not
contact the office again except through a lawyer.
"She knew I had no money for a lawyer," Mr. Deskovic said. "So, in
other words, what she was telling me was: `I've got no time for you.
It's over. That's shut. That's it.' "
In an interview yesterday, Barry Scheck, a director of the Innocence
Project, said it was "cosmic irony" that Ms. Pirro "chose to hold a
press conference in support of the death penalty on the day that, by
sheer chance, another innocent man was exonerated."
Ms. Pirro had scheduled her news conference on the death penalty for
11 a.m., at the site of the World Trade Center, and her campaign
said the cancellation was not tied to the developments in the
Deskovic case.
Anne Marie Corbalis, a spokeswoman, said the event was canceled
because of gridlock in Manhattan caused by the meeting of the United
Nations General Assembly.
Ms. Corbalis said that Ms. Pirro was scheduled to appear at a noon
rally near the United Nations in support of Israel and realized that
the traffic would not enable her to appear at both events. When she
was asked whether Ms. Pirro had considered taking the subway to
Lower Manhattan, Ms. Corbalis said that was not practical because
Ms. Pirro had an afternoon appearance on Long Island.
Her campaign staff said she supported the actions by Ms. Pirro's
successor in the Deskovic case.
"This defendant was convicted by Jeanine's predecessor, and no new
evidence surfaced while she was the district attorney," John
Gallagher, a spokesman for the campaign, said in a statement.
"Based on this new evidence, Jeanine supports the district
attorney's decision to join in the application to overturn the
conviction. Jeanine has previously worked with the Innocence Project
to free wrongly convicted defendants and she supports their efforts."
At his news conference, Mr. Scheck looked at Mr. Deskovic, standing
beside him, and said, "This is the fifth man to be exonerated in a
murder case in New York State in the past 10 months, and for all
those who are thinking that it might be a good idea to reinstate
capital punishment in the state, please, please, please look at the
evidence in front of you."
September 21, 2006
DNA Evidence Frees a Man Imprisoned for Half His Life
WHITE PLAINS, Sept. 20 — Jeffrey Mark Deskovic came of age in a
maximum-security prison, doing time for a crime he did not commit.
Sixteen years ago, Mr. Deskovic was convicted of raping, beating and
strangling a Peekskill High School classmate in a jealous fit of
rage. DNA evidence presented at his trial showed that semen in the
victim's body was not his, but the police testified that he had
On Wednesday, after he fought exhaustive legal battles and wrote
dozens of pleading letters that led him nowhere, Mr. Deskovic, 32,
walked out of the Westchester County Courthouse an overjoyed if
embittered man.
"I was supposed to finish my education, to begin a career," he
said. "The time period to have a family, to spend time with my
family, is lost. I lost all my friends. My family has become
strangers to me.
"There was a woman who I wanted to marry at the time that I was
convicted, and I lost that too," Mr. Deskovic added. "Given all
that, I ask everybody: Would you be angry?"
Among the people who Mr. Deskovic said refused to review his case is
Jeanine F. Pirro, the former Westchester district attorney, who took
office after his trial; she is now the Republican nominee for state
attorney general. The freed inmate and his lawyer expressed outrage
that Ms. Pirro had scheduled a news conference to call for the
reinstatement of the death penalty in New York just as Mr. Deskovic
was being released Wednesday morning, but Ms. Pirro ended up
canceling the event.
Ms. Pirro's successor, Janet DiFiore, agreed to run the evidence
through a national DNA databank after she was approached in June by
Barry Scheck, a director of the Innocence Project, which works to
free the wrongly convicted.
The decision to release Mr. Deskovic came after the DNA matched that
of a man who is serving time for another Westchester murder. Ms.
DiFiore declined to identify him but said he recently confessed to
killing Angela Correa, 15, the girl Mr. Deskovic was convicted of
killing, on Nov. 15, 1989.
Mr. Scheck said that Mr. Deskovic was the 184th person nationwide to
be exonerated because of DNA evidence since 1989, and that his case
highlights the importance of having the authorities videotape
interviews with suspects, as many police departments nationwide have
begun to do.
"We've learned a lot about false confessions in the past decade,"
Mr. Scheck said at a news conference. "Videotaping of confessions
and training of police officers can definitely lead to different
The case against Mr. Deskovic hinged largely on a confession he made
after six hours of questioning in a small interrogation room in
Brewster, where two Peekskill detectives took him for a polygraph
test, according to court documents.
Mr. Deskovic, a sophomore, and Ms. Correa, a freshman, were in two
classes together. Both were quiet and did not have a lot of friends,
according to his mother, Linda McGarr, and Ms. Correa's stepfather,
Pedro Rivera, who sat quietly in court to see Mr. Deskovic go free.
"I can't tell you why, but I've always had a feeling that the police
had the wrong guy," said Mr. Rivera.
Mr. Rivera met Mr. Deskovic for the first time at Ms. Correa's wake,
but saw him numerous times after that, he said. Mr. Deskovic went to
church with the family, dined at their home and took Ms. Correa's
younger sister to the movies, he recalled.
"Jeffrey cried a lot for Angela," Mr. Rivera said. "He was very
The police in Peekskill said Mr. Deskovic's behavior seemed odd. At
his trial, investigators said they grew suspicious of Mr. Deskovic
because he was late for school the day after Ms. Correa's murder and
seemed "overly distraught" about the death of a girl who was not his
close friend.
For two months, Mr. Deskovic denied having anything to do with Ms.
Correa's death. Finally, in late January 1990, he agreed to the
polygraph test, which preceded the interrogation that led to his
"Believing in the criminal justice system and being fearful for
myself, I told them what they wanted to hear," Mr. Deskovic said, by
way of explanation. "I thought it was all going to be O.K. in the
end," because he was sure that the DNA testing would show his
In convicting Mr. Deskovic, the jury effectively chose to give more
weight to his tearful confession than to the DNA and other
scientific evidence.
The conviction seemed to indicate that jurors believed the
prosecution theory that semen found in Ms. Correa's body was likely
from a consensual sexual relationship with someone else.
Many convicted criminals were compelled to give DNA samples in
recent years, and the source of the semen in the victim's body was
apparently identified that way. Until such database comparisons were
available, there was no way for Mr. Deskovic to disprove the
prosecution's theory, because there was no way to pinpoint whose
semen it was.
While in prison, Mr. Deskovic said, he lived "from appeal to
appeal," trying not to think of the 15-years-to-life sentence that
hung over him. He finished high school, and earned an associate's
He played a lot of chess and learned how to type, fix computers and
paint walls, he said. He also learned how to cook.
A year into his sentence, he converted to Islam. "It was a major
factor in surviving prison in terms of my mental sanity,'' he said.
After his release, Mr. Deskovic went with his mother, two aunts and
two uncles for lunch at an Italian restaurant here. He ate tomatoes,
mozzarella sticks, stuffed mushrooms, mussels and a dish of baked
ziti. And for the first time, he talked on a cellphone.
"That was pretty weird,'' he said afterward. "I was looking for the
little holes where you talk into, and couldn't find them.''

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Letter to the Editor: Times Union (Albany), NY) 9/16/06

As someone whose primary modes of transportation are the bicycle and the bus, I was pleased, no, thrilled to read the August 22 story about bicycle racks being placed on all of the CDTA full-size route buses.
I have, on occasion, taken advantage of the Catch a Bikeable Bus program since it was instituted six years ago, but often, I found it frustrating as well. The original program was supposed to have racks on every bus on certain designated routes, but the truth is, sometimes a #10 or #12 bus would arrive without one, and if one were counting on that particular bus, it was most maddenening.
Let me describe as typical workday now: I take the bikeable bus and my daughter to day care near New Scotland Avenue. I ride my bike to the YMCA and play racquetball. Take a bikeable bus to Corporate Woods, getting off at the first stop, then riding to my work destination. At the end of the day, I can either ride or bike home, depending on my energy level.
It used to be if rain were in the forecast, I would just take the bus. Now, unless rain is scheduled for all day, I'll take the bike on the bus and ride when possible.
So, thanks to CDTA for a civilized solution to my transportation issues.

Roger Green

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Immigrant kids get language help

Schenectady summer program gives children instruction on reading and writing in English

By JENNIFER PATTERSON, Staff writer Click byline for more stories by writer. First published: Tuesday, August 15, 2006
SCHENECTADY -- Nearly 50 immigrant students in the Schenectady City School District have been attending a new six-week literacy program at Lincoln Elementary School to improve their English language skills.
The American Summer Academy provides one-on-one and small-group instruction to students who need to improve their English reading and writing skills but were not eligible to take English as a Second Language classes during the school year. The program is supported by a $50,000 federal grant.
"With a 5-to-1 (teacher-student) ratio, we can really focus on individual needs," said site supervisor Carol Green. "All the students continue to make huge strides."
Students in kindergarten through fifth-grade attend the program daily from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and get breakfast, lunch and transportation for free. They work in grade-level groups on reading, writing and a variety of hands-on activities and have taken class trips to the Schenectady County Public Library, the Asian Food Market, Europa Beauty School and more.
Each classroom has at least one teacher, a para-professional and an AmeriCorps volunteer. Students have been reading about Greek mythology, writing their own fairy tales and reciting oral book reports, all to prepare them for this school year.
"This is a volunteer program, but the students have great attendance records and show up every day eager to learn," Green said. The parents have been cooperative and involved in the curriculum, she added.
The program was first offered to immigrant students new to the school district. Any openings were then offered to immigrant families with more than one student enrolled in the district and to regular English as a second language students who required additional attention.
This is the first year the district has offered the program, but Green hopes it will continue in the future.
"We really do see a difference," she said.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


FACT SHEET- August 10, 2006
Contact: 202-282-8010

Raised Threat Levels:
 The U.S. threat level is raised to Severe, or Red, for all commercial flights flying from the United Kingdom to the U.S.
 The U.S. threat level is raised to High, or Orange for all commercial aviation operating in the U.S., including international flights. Flights from the U.S. to the U.K. are also Orange.

Increased Aviation Screening Procedures:
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will be implementing a series of security measures – some visible and some not visible -- to ensure the security of the traveling public and the Nation's transportation system. TSA is immediately implementing following changes to airport screening procedures:

 NO LIQUIDS OR GELS OF ANY KIND WILL BE PERMITTED IN CARRY ON BAGGAGE. SUCH ITEMS MUST BE IN CHECKED BAGGAGE. This includes all beverages, shampoo, sun tan lotion, creams, tooth paste, hair gel, and other items of similar consistency.
Exception: Baby formula, breast milk, or juice if a baby or small child is traveling; prescription medicine with a name that matches the passenger’s ticket; and insulin and essential other non-prescription medicines, which all must be presented for inspection at the checkpoint.
 Beverages purchased in the boarding area (beyond the checkpoint) must be consumed before boarding because they will not be permitted on board the aircraft.
 Passengers traveling from the U.K. to the U.S. will be subject to a more extensive screening process.

These measures will be constantly evaluated and updated when circumstances warrant.

How every passenger can assist in security:
 Pack lightly, without clutter to facilitate easier screening
 Arrive earlier than usual at the airport
 Cooperate with TSA personnel at checkpoints and with airline personnel at all gates
 Be attentive and vigilant to any suspicious activity and report it to authorities

Increased Border Protection Procedures:
 U.S. Customs and Border Protection will increase enforcement efforts in international arrival areas including the use of advanced targeting tools, special response teams including baggage and aircraft search teams, baggage x-ray equipment, specially-trained canine units, and explosive detection technology.
 DHS has also mandated that all flights from the U.K. transmit passenger manifest information for intensive screening prior to departure from the gate. In addition, passengers on these flights and all other international flights will be subject to heightened inspection upon arrival in the U.S.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Underground Railroad Conference Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals for Workshop and Panel Presentations
Sixth Annual Underground Railroad Conference
"Discovering the Underground Railroad: Uncovering the Voices of Women"
February 23-25, 2007, College of St, Rose, Albany, NY

The conference planning committee is pleased to announce that the Sixth Annual Underground Railroad Conference will focus on the voices of women – and on questions of women and gender more broadly – in relationship to the Underground Railroad, questions that have not been sufficiently addressed in the past.

We are soliciting brief proposals for workshop and panel presentations for this conference. Proposals should be made for either the shorter sessions (50 minutes), designed for one or two presenters, or the longer sessions (1 hour 50 minutes), designed for larger panels and more intensive workshops. We prefer proposals for entire sessions, but will accept proposals for individual presentations that the committee may combine with other similar presentations into session panels. We ask that all session proposals allow significant time for audience interaction. We also ask that proposals focus on the conference theme – this is the priority – although other important topics concerning Underground Railroad history will be considered.

Financial support will be available for presenters with particular needs. Unfortunately, we can no longer offer stipends to all presenters as we have in the past.

Proposals should be no more than two double-spaced pages in length, and should include information on the following:
Type of session (workshop, panel, media presentation, artistic or cultural performance, etc.) and length of session desired (50 minute or 1 hr 50 min)
Title and content, including topics of individual presentations, if any
Audience for whom the presentation(s) is (are) appropriate
Name(s), contact information (including work and home / cell phone), and brief biographical information on presenter(s)
Technological needs.

Proposals should be submitted to the planning committee by October 15, 2006 at:
Mail – URHPCR, PO Box 10851, Albany NY 12201
Email – urhpcr@localnet.com

For more information, please contact us at 518-432-4432 or at the above addresses.

Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground Committee PRESS RELEASE


Albany- On Saturday August, 12, 2006, from 11:00-2:00, The Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground Committee, the New York State Museum and the Town of Colonie will host a public meeting at the State Museum to discuss the human remains of African descent uncovered during a Town of Colonie sewer project at 590-592 Broadway, Menands on June 5, 2005.

The meeting in the Museum auditorium will address several issues including the possible identities of the remains, how it was determined they are of African descent, what else has been learned thus far and what further studies might yield. Biochemical Analysis, including DNA and isotope testing, could provide additional information on who was buried at the site and where they came from. Artifact analysis, including botanical and soil testing, may provide insight into the lives and culture of these individuals.

The meeting agenda will include an explanation of the discovery and removal of the remains and how the study of these remains can impact our knowledge of the lives of African Americans during the colonial period. Information gathered may also be used to create exhibits. There will be opportunity for public comment and a question and answer period.

CONTACT: Joanne Guilmette (518) 474-8730

Friday, July 28, 2006

Voter fraud: An Expert's Thoughts on Post-Democracy America

Once again I have been sucked into voting machine fraud issues.

Spent all day yesterday unpacking more information. Here is the summary.
In 2000 I knew THAT it would be done.
Then in 2002 it first became clear WHERE it was being used.
Then in 2004 uncovered several ways HOW it can be done.
Now, finally, in 2006 we have some idea of WHO is doing it. And if you have seen the editorial in the NY Times, or the lengthy cover story from Rolling Stone by RFK Jr., there are finally more powerful voices than mine getting involved who are equally stunned and frightened by what this means.
Diebold has built - at the very least - three back doors into the system to allow votes to be changed. A man named [name deleted] who works for Diebold in the Vancouver BC programming center is a
specialist in tunnels and alternate access systems. He put the
systems in place allowing the election to be stolen.
In the newer models of TSX there is even an IR port installed that allows "confirmation of status" to be beamed to and from the machines while in use. I love it. Diebold is selling as a feature the fact that you can check the votes, test the system, and update the machine in place and on the fly.
None of the poll workers I have interviewed even know what an IR port is, how to use it, or how to determine if it's turned on, or off.
(The default setting is ON.)
I was able to reset a machine to zero from the passenger seat of a car and I was able to crash a voting machine by confusing the IR port with odd instructions sent from my Treo handheld.
Ken Blackwell, then Sec. of State of Ohio, and Chairman of Bush's Ohio Election committee mandated that Diebold Machines be exclusively used in Ohio voting.
Now, the question is, who used the access systems to do the stealing?
And even more amusing, Ken Blackwell is now running for Governor of Ohio. He is trailing in the polls by over 20%. On election day, I bet he trails by a huge number in the exit polls, and the voters will elect Ted Strickland. However when the Diebold machines announce the winner, Ken Blackwell will get 51.8% of the vote from the Diebold Machines. How do I know that?
George W. Bush's backers stole Ohio in 2004. The Exit Polling: Kerry 53, Bush 48 was correct. That is how people voted. But the Diebold machines manufactured a Bush win with 51.6%
Saxby Chambliss backers stole GA in 2002. Exit Polling: Max Cleland 54, Chamblis 44. That is how people voted. But the Diebold machines manufactures a Chamblis win with 52.1%
Unfortunately, Congress refuses (except John Conyers and few others) to listen to the very real information brought to them that the election was stolen, and certified it, so we get a President who SUCCEEDED in stealing an election. And a Senate that probably has 3 stolen seats today (all GOP) and I predict will have another 5 stolen seats after the 2006.
It is even drilling down into House races now. The Bilbray-Busby special election to replace Cunningham was a highly unpredictable, off-cycle, off-season race, but still...the Diebold machines produced a 51.9% GOP win.
In Ukraine, when the people realized the exit polls were 8 points different from the announced results, they took to the streets, stormed Parliament and brought the actual vote winner Yushenko and the Orange Revolution to power.
I am utterly convinced no matter how many people I prove this too, that until people take the streets and demand the restoration of democracy in the country, the machine behind the GOP will keep stealing every election it wants to.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Shout the names of wrongly executed

First published: Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Late last month, the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty in
Kansas by a vote of 5 to 4 in the case of Kansas vs. Marsh. In
concurring with the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that the
decision was justified because, in recent American history, there
has not been "a single case -- not one -- in which it is clear that
a person was executed for a crime he did not commit. If such an
event had occurred in recent years, we would not have to hunt for
it; the innocent's name would be shouted from the rooftops."

Unfortunately, Scalia is wrong. Public concern about wrongful
convictions has been growing since DNA evidence started exonerating
death row inmates in recent years -- a fact most exemplified by the
decision of then-Illinois Gov. George Ryan to declare a moratorium
on executions in 2000. Over the past few years, major media outlets
and the Legal Defense Fund, which I lead, have investigated several
questionable executions, re-examining forensic evidence and
reinterviewing witnesses. In at least four of the cases, it is now
clear that the individuals executed almost certainly did not commit
the crimes for which they were convicted.

Although none has been officially exonerated, the evidence that has
come to light since they were put to death points overwhelmingly to
their innocence, and two of these cases are being reinvestigated.
The names of the executed may not have been "shouted from the
rooftops," but the turn in their cases has been reported by major
newspapers and television networks.

Cameron Willingham, a 36-year-old white father of three from
Corsicana, Texas, was executed in February 2004 for murder by arson.
In December 2004, the Chicago Tribune reported that new scientific
knowledge proves that the testimony by arson experts at Willingham's
trial was worthless, and that there is no evidence that the fire was
caused by arson. A panel of the nation's leading arson experts
confirmed that conclusion in March. In a strikingly similar case,
Ernest Willis, a white oil-field worker from New Mexico, was
convicted on the same sort of evidence and sentenced to death for
murder by arson in Pecos County, Texas, in 1987. Willis was
exonerated and freed in October 2004, eight months after Willingham
was put to death.

Ruben Cantu, a 26-year-old Hispanic man from San Antonio, was
executed in August 1993 for a robbery-murder committed in 1985 when
he was 17. The Houston Chronicle followed up on our initial
exploration and published the results of its own investigation last
November. The newspaper reported that another defendant, who pleaded
guilty to participating in the crime but did not testify at Cantu's
trial, has signed an affidavit swearing that Cantu was not with him
that night and had no role in the murder. More important, the only
witness who did testify -- a second victim, who was shot nine times
but survived -- now says that police pressured him to identify Cantu
as the shooter, and that he did so even though Cantu was innocent.

Larry Griffin, a 40-year-old black man from St. Louis, was executed
in Missouri in June 1995 for the drive-by shooting of a drug dealer
in 1980. The only evidence against him was a witness who claimed to
have seen Griffin at the crime scene. This witness was a white
career criminal with several felony charges pending against him. In
July 2005, our investigation revealed that the first police officer
on the scene and the victim's sister both agreed that this supposed
witness -- who would have stood out in the all-black neighborhood --
wasn't there when the shooting occurred. In addition, there was a
second victim who was injured in the shooting. He knew Griffin and
says that Griffin was not in the car from which the shots were
fired, but he was not called to testify at Griffin's trial.

Also last month, the Chicago Tribune (following up on initial
inquiries by the Legal Defense Fund) published a detailed re-
examination of yet another case, that of Carlos DeLuna, a young
Hispanic man from Corpus Christi, Texas, who was executed in
December 1989 for stabbing a convenience store clerk to death in
1983. DeLuna, who was convicted on the basis of a quick on-the-scene
witness identification, claimed that the killer was a man named
Carlos Hernandez.

The prosecution argued that Hernandez was a "phantom." The Tribune
found that Hernandez (who died in prison in 1999) was not only no
phantom, but also no stranger to law enforcement. In fact, one of
DeLuna's prosecutors knew Hernandez well from an earlier homicide
investigation. Hernandez and DeLuna were strikingly similar in
appearance but, unlike DeLuna, Hernandez had a long history of knife
attacks similar to the convenience store killing and repeatedly told
friends and relatives that he had committed the murder for which
DeLuna was executed.

The court's review of Kansas' death penalty statute seemed to stir
more emotion than almost any other case the justices considered this
term. In his dissent, Justice David Souter called the Kansas
law "morally absurd," especially in light of DNA exonerations.
Souter's words prompted Scalia's response, but Scalia and those who
joined him in upholding the death penalty would do well to consider
the cases of Cameron Willingham, Ruben Cantu, Larry Griffin or
Carlos DeLuna.

It's too late to save those men -- or the victims of other erroneous
executions that have not yet come to light. But it's time to
recognize that, regardless of our views on the death penalty, any
future debates must proceed with the knowledge that we have put
innocent people to death.

Theodore M. Shaw is president and director-counsel of the Legal
Defense Fund. He wrote this article for The Washington Post

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Declaration of Independence

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for onepeople to dissolve the political bands which have connected them withanother and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate andequal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitlethem, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that theyshould declare the causes which impel them to the separation.We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are createdequal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certainunalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and thepursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments areinstituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent ofthe governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomesdestructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter orto abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundationon such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to themshall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long establishedshould not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordinglyall experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer,while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing theforms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abusesand usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a designto reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it istheir duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guardsfor their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance ofthese Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains themto alter their former Systems of Government. The history of thepresent King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries andusurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of anabsolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts besubmitted to a candid world.He has refuted his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessaryfor the public good.He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressingimportance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assentshould be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglectedto attend to them.He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of largedistricts of people, unless those people would relinquish the rightof Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them andformidable to tyrants only.He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual,uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their PublicRecords, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance withhis measures.He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing withmanly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to causeothers to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable ofAnnihilation, have returned to the People at large for theirexercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all thedangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; forthat purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners;refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, andraising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing hisAssent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure oftheir offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms ofOfficers to harass our people and eat out their substance.He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without theConsent of our legislatures.He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior tothe Civil Power.He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreignto our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving hisAssent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murderswhich they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouringProvince, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlargingits Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fitinstrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these ColoniesFor taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws andaltering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselvesinvested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of hisProtection and waging War against us.He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts burnt our towns, anddestroyed the lives of our people.He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenariesto compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, alreadybegun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled inthe most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seasto bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners oftheir friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavouredto bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless IndianSavages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguisheddestruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress inthe most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered onlyby repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by everyact which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. Wehave warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislatureto extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have remindedthem of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. Wehave appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we haveconjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow theseusurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections andcorrespondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice andof consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity,which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest ofmankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America,in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of theworld for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and byAuthority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish anddeclare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to beFree and Independent States, that they are Absolved from allAllegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connectionbetween them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to betotally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they havefull Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establishCommerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which IndependentStates may of right do. --And for the support of this Declaration,with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, wemutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

John HancockNew Hampshire:Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew ThorntonMassachusetts:John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge GerryRhode Island:Stephen Hopkins, William ElleryConnecticut:Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver WolcottNew York:William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis MorrisNew Jersey:Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham ClarkPennsylvania:Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, GeorgeClymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George RossDelaware:Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKeanMaryland:Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of CarrolltonVirginia:George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison,Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter BraxtonNorth Carolina:William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John PennSouth Carolina:Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur MiddletonGeorgia:Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Saturday, June 10, 2006

“The Ten Reasons Why I Adore and Worship GayProf”

10. Because he's bold enough to ask people to actually start one; look neat the end of this post.

9. Because he has facial hair.

8. Because he links to my blog.

7. Because he has a good heart, as one can tell by the "good causes" links on his page.

6. Because he has survived Texas with some good humor.

5. Because he has a sense of history, important in a history professor.

4. Because he regularly honors the iconic Wonder Woman.

3. Because he poses very provactive questions. I mean that in an intellectual sense.

2. Because he has a good soul.

1. Because his writing is honest.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Birth plan

Birth Plan for the baby of Carol and Roger

Primary healthcare provider: Dr. XXX and XXX OB/GYN
Other support staff: Maureen XXX, doula, to be present during labor and delivery
Name of Hospital/Center where delivery is planned: St. Peter’s Hospital
Due date: March 31 or April 1, 2004

We’re looking forward to sharing the upcoming birth of our child with you. We’ve created the following birth plan to help you understand our preferences for Carol’s upcoming labor/delivery. We fully understand that in certain emergency circumstances, these guidelines may not be followed, but it’s our hope that you will assist us in making this the experience we hope for.

· No students, interns, residents or non-essential personnel during labor/birth.
· Carol free to walk around, move around and change position at will throughout labor.
· We’re considering a water birth for part or all of the labor process.
· Fluids by mouth throughout the first stage of labor.
· Carol would like to wear contact lenses or glasses at all times when conscious.
· Lights in the room to be kept low during labor; we'll be bringing our own music
· Keep the number of vaginal exams to a minimum.
· No IV unless it becomes medically necessary; no Heprin lock.
· No continuous fetal monitoring or internal monitor unless warranted by baby’s condition
· No rupture of amniotic membrane artificially unless signs of fetal distress warrant.
· Carol will try changing position and other natural methods, such as walking, before pitocin is administered. She’s been practicing squatting and doing Kegel exercises
· Carol will ask for pain medications if she needs them.
· No episiotomy unless absolutely required for the baby's safety.
· Carol will choose the position in which she gives birth, including squatting, and will wait until she feels the urge to push before beginning the pushing phase, even if totally dilated
· The baby should be placed on Carol’s stomach/chest immediately after delivery. Carol should hold the baby rather than have the baby placed under heat lamps.
· The umbilical cord should stop pulsating before it is cut. Roger wishes to cut the cord.
· Carol to hold the baby while she delivers the placenta and any tissue repairs made. No routine injection of pitocin after delivery.
· If the baby must be taken from Carol to receive medical treatment, Roger or some other person Carol designates will accompany the baby at all times.
· Delay the eye medication and Vitamin K for baby until a couple hours after birth.
· If the primary care provider determines that it is indicated, we would like to obtain a second opinion from another physician if time allows.
· If a Cesarean delivery is indicated, we would like to be fully informed and to participate in the decision-making process. Carol would like Roger to be present at all times if the baby requires a Cesarean delivery.
· Carol wishes to have an epidural for anesthesia. So that Carol can view the birth, she would like the screen lowered just before delivery of the baby. If the baby is not in distress, the baby should be given to Roger immediately after birth.
· The baby should "room in" and be with Carol at all times.
· As Carol plans to breastfeed the baby and would like to begin nursing very shortly after birth, no bottles (or pacifiers) given to the baby (including glucose water or plain water).

When Carol gets contractions:
· Call Roger (if he’s not home)
· Roger will time Carol’s contractions (length, time between)
· Roger will remind Carol to drink and pass liquids
· Roger will call Maureen to give her heads-up; Maureen will arrive in due course
· Carol will call XXX OB/GYN to give them heads-up
· Before leaving for hospital, Roger will call [Carol's parents], [Roger's mother], and Emily [our Bradley instructor]
· Maureen will take Carol and Roger to St. Peter’s, elevator A, 3rd floor

Saturday, March 04, 2006


Don't know the original source, but the forward and the postscript are by friend Dan:

At New York's Kennedy airport today, an individual later discovered to be a public school teacher, was arrested trying to board a flight while in>possession of a ruler, a protractor, a setsquare, a slide rule, and a calculator.
At a morning press conference, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez said he believes the man is a member of the notorious al-gebra movement. The FBI is charging him with carrying weapons of math instruction.
Al-gebra is a fearsome cult," Gonzalez said. "They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like 'x' and 'y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns', but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, 'there are 3 sides to every triangle'."
When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes".
You know what's funny about this? Al-gebra really is an A-rab conspiracy! From Wikipedia:820: The word algebra is derived from operations described in the treatise first written by Persian mathematician Al-Khwarizmi titled: Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah meaning The book of summary concerning calculating by transposition and reduction. The word al-jabr means "reunion". Al-Khwarizmi is often considered as the "father of modern algebra", much of whose works on reduction was included in the book and added to many methods we have in algebra now.

So it's high time we activate the so-called "Patriot" Act and disappear all the al-gebra teachers into domestic Gitmos and Baghrams! Let's see how long these wimpy math teachers endure "abuse."

Friday, March 03, 2006

“What Are You Looking At?”

By Rev. Stephen C. Butler
Sermon #4 in a series: “Not For Women Only”
Job: 29:1-5, 30:24 – 31:6 McKownville United Methodist Church
February 26, 2006

In today’s Bible reading, the once rich and powerful tribal chieftain Job
complains: “What have I done wrong? How I wish for the good old days! No one abandons a friend like God has abandoned me. I’ve dedicated myself completely to God’s laws. I haven’t even looked at a young woman. If I’ve done anything to deserve this, somebody please show me!”

This is the sermon you’ve all been waiting for, or dreading! You knew we’d arrive here sooner or later, right? And here we are. We’ve been working or way through Shaunti Feldhahn’s new book on the inner lives of men. And the title of chapter five is “Sex Changes Everything.” We all agree with that, don’t we? Ms. Feldhahn says “the lack of sex is as emotionally serious to a man as his sudden silence would be to a woman, were he simply to stop communicating with you.” And why is it so important? It’s because every man needs to feel wanted. In her survey, she asked “How important is it to you that you feel desired by your wife?” 66% said “Very important” and another 31% said “Somewhat important.” Only 3% said it’s not very important. Feeling desired by a woman is important to 97% of all men. Maybe that’s not a surprise either. But it’s important to a man for different reason than for a woman. When things aren’t going well, it’s common for a woman to say, “You think sex is going to solve everything!” Most of us men have learned to keep our mouths shut at that point, but what we really want to say is, “Well, yeah! Of course!” For a man, it really does make everything right.

And in general, men are incredibly visually oriented. We are neurologically very well suited for hunting and gathering. Visual images stick in our heads and can pop up in our minds at any time whatsoever. I can be driving down the road, minding my own business and suddenly a photograph I saw two years ago behind the cashier at the Victoria’s Secret store in the mall can pop into my mind. And I certainly didn’t stare at it. I just saw it once, when Joan and I were Christmas shopping for our daughters. Now, in my mind, it’s stored forever. And I know I wasn’t the only man affected by it. I never saw so many fidgety guys looking at the floor in my life! But women’s minds don’
t work that way. Shaunti Feldhahn recounts the “Tom Cruise conversation”
she had with her husband. He asked, “After you’ve seen a movie with Tom Cruise, how many times will that attractive image rise up in your mind the next day?” “Never,” she answered. And he replied, “I must not be explaining myself correctly. How many times will a thought of what he looked like with his shirt off just pop up in your head?” “Zero times. It just doesn’t happen.” And to that, all he could say was, “Wow!”

Saratoga Gaming And Raceway, popularly known as “The Racino” has a new advertising campaign featuring an attractive young woman in a long red dress. How many women have a mental image of that woman? Probably only a few, right? And how many men? Let’s be honest here! At least half of the
men, right? Men cannot help but notice an attractive woman. And at this
point, at least half the women are saying “But that’s just an excuse!” Okay, ladies. Try this. I’m going to project a simple common phrase on the screen.
Please look at it and do your best to not react to it. (Project the phrase; “Don’t read this.”) Were any of you able to not read it? Of course not.
That’s what it’s like for a man when he sees an attractive woman. We cannot keep from noticing. We can keep ourselves from staring, but it takes all the energy we have. One of men’s greatest complaints is, “Women don’t appreciate what we do for them.” That’s one of the hardest things we do, and we do it all day every day, to not look at other women. It goes completely against our human nature and it takes all the energy we can muster. But we do that for the women we love.

What’s this got to do with church? It’s a lot easier to not look at women when you’re not around them. And there are a lot of women here every week.
So it can be hard for men to honor their wives and concentrate on the sermon when there are lots of women around. Why do you think there are so few men in the choir? Most men don’t like singing in public. But it’s also difficult for men to concentrate on singing in a choir full of women! Also, in the general population, men are less verbal than women. Yes, we do like to talk, too, but give a cell phone to a boy and he plays video games. Give one to a girl and you can’t get it way from her ear. What’s a boy’s greatest complaint about Sunday School? Sitting still and listening. The male hormone Testosterone produces activity. Women produce more Seratonin, which calms people down. It’s much easier for a woman to sit still and listen. Men need more activity. They like to stand up and walk around. That’s why they like to be ushers and take the offering. They also need more visual images to keep them from getting distracted. That’s why we use the video screen during the sermon. Our Education Team is looking at a new type of Church School curriculum called, “Station Rotation” where the children go to different Sunday School rooms each week with different activities in each room. A lot of churches are switching to it and we may, too. Everybody learns better that way, but especially boys. And it’s a lot easier on the teachers, too.

In his book, Why Men Hate Coming To Church, David Murrow states that men find excitement in greatness and heroism. Yet for the last 100 years, most American churches have developed self-appointed “Humility Police” who see it as their job to humble anyone who might get any praise or credit. (Page 98). He says, “The Humility Police hurt men, because the aspire to do great things, like God does. And the Humility Police make sure that doesn’t’
happen in church.” Doesn’t every boy want to become a hero? Don’t most of us dream of hitting the home run that wins the World Series or scoring the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl? At one time I actually entertained the fantasy that some day I might preach a sermon that was so powerful and moving that the congregation would not only rise up cheering, but carry me out of the church on their shoulders. Crazy dream, eh? But one day I told them I wasn’t moving away and they did stand up and cheer. And another time, I did deliver a sermon that helped them turn an important corner in their life. Practically every man wants to do great things. Sometimes we do succeed and when we do, it’s important to celebrate that.

Murrow also reports there are some churches that specialize in ministering to men’s needs and they found out something quite surprising. They attracted just as many women, too. Powerhouse Christian Center, in Katy, Texas was designed from scratch to teach Spiritual Fathering: walking with God and leading men by example to maturity in Christ. They found that not only do men enjoy hanging around with mature Godly men, but women do too. Single women say “Men are like parking places. The good ones are all taken and the rest are all handicapped!” Seriously, a single woman’s most common complaint is, “He’s so immature!” I think the Powerhouse Christian Center is on to something! The key is that every person is involved in a spiritual mentoring group of twelve. And each of those is responsible for eleven others. Men mentor men and women mentor women. And on Sunday evenings over 1000 family members join in co-ed study, fellowship and support groups in their homes, and everyone participates equally: men and women together. They must be meeting people’s needs or they wouldn't be drawing so many people.

Men and women are different. We have different needs and we express them in different ways. Churches all around the world have neglected men’s needs for a long time and all of Christianity is suffering as a result. We’ve gotten pretty good at attracting and keeping women. My prayer is that we’ll become just as effective at attracting and keeping men once again as well.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.
Here are this year's (2005) winners:
1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the
subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.
2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly. [ oops, Appalachian-American]
5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the
person who doesn't get it.
9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
10. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.
11. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra
12. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.
13. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day
consuming only things that are good for you.
14. Glibido: All talk and no action.
15. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter,
when they come at you rapidly.
16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
17. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
18. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

(2) Also Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words. The winners are:
1. Coffee (n.) the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.) appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3. Abdicate (v.) to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.) to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly (adj.) impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.) describes a condition in which you absent-mindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
7. Lymph (v.) to walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle (n.) olive-flavored mouthwash
9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash (n.) a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle (n.) a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude (n.) the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon (n) a Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster (n.) a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms
15. Frisbeetarianism (n.) [back by popular demand]: The belief that, when you die, your Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent (n.) an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

MLK '06 Event

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the national Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. On Monday, January 16, 2006, the New York State Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Observance will be held at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany starting at 8:30AM with a musical prelude by the King Interdenominational Choir. The live satellite program will begin promptly at 9:00AM. This year’s program will feature a presentation by the State University of New York at Albany’s Department of Africana Studies.

Over the past six years, the State University of New York has co-sponsored the live satellite broadcast working with cable television systems throughout the State of New York. As a result, citizens throughout NYS have been able to view this tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

2006 Partners in Cable

Albany / Saratoga / Troy / Schenectady / Amsterdam / Glens Falls
Time Warner Cable – Capital Division
Channel 3
Approximately 48 hours after the live event this programming will be available through Cable on Demand.

Columbia, Greene and South Albany County Mid-Hudson Cable
Channel 11

Saranac Lake
Adelphia Communications – Saranac Lake
Channel 2

Syracuse, Watertown and Surrounding Areas
Time Warner Cable – Syracuse Division

Channel 98

Channel 99

Channel 13

Channel 2

Channel 99

Channel 99

Fulton/Oswego/Central Square
Channel 96

Channel 98

Utica/ Rome
Adelphia Communications
Channel 3

Auburn – Cayuga County
Adelphia Communications – Auburn
Channel 11

Oneonta, Otsego, Chenango, and Delaware
Time Warner Cable - Oneonta
Channel 23

Time Warner Cable – Binghamton
Channel 12


Rochester and Surrounding Counties
Time Warner Cable – Rochester Division
Channel 98

Buffalo and Surrounding Communities
Adelphia Communications of Western New York

Buffalo, all the Suburbs and in Niagara Falls, NY
Channel 13

East Aurora
Channel 96

Channel 9

Channel 15

Channel 98

New York City
Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island and parts of Westchester and Rockland Counties*
Channel 25
*Broadcast may be available in parts of Westchester and Rockland Counties.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Underground Railroad Conference

The Underground Railroad History Project of the (New York) Capital Region, Inc.

"The Underground Railroad: Connecting Pathways To Liberty"

A Conference On The Underground Railroad Movement In New York State (For more information and to register: www.ugrworkshop.com)

Friday, Saturday, Sunday - February 24, 25, 26, 2006
To be held at Russell Sage College in Troy, New York

Featuring Speakers:

David Blight, PhD - Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition of Yale University
Erica Ball, PhD - Assistant Professor of History at Union College in Schenectady
(See their photos at www.ugrworkshop.com)
Earl White - The leading, and award winning, African American Old Time and Appalachian fiddle player in the country featuring music in the spirit of Solomon Northup
a tour of Troy Underground Railroad sites and features
35 workshops featuring young people, teachers, scholars, musicians, drummers, dancers, archeologists, historians, and independent researchers...including...

Mayeesa Mitchell, student presenter
Amy Murrell Taylor, Assistant Professor of History, SUNYA
Don Papson, Vivian Papson, Rev. Fred Shaw, independent researchers and re-enactors
Students from New Covenant Charter School, Albany
Dr. Elaine Hadley, Empire State College
Neil B. Yetwin, independent researcher and educator
Stephen Marc, Prof. of Art, Arizona State Univ
Fergus Bordewich, author
Binod Sundararajan, Doctoral Candidate, Literature and Communication, RPI
Greg Mosley, Music artist, Operation Unite Education and Cultural Arts Center
Julia Killey, Meghan Vacca, Zippy Gilmore, Alexandra Ktenas, Regina Morgan, RSC Student presenters
Prof. Jennifer Ball, Adjunct Professor, Russell Sage College
Vibetta Sanders, clinical social worker, school administrator, multi-cultural consultant, independent researcher
Dr. Mary Nell Morgan-Brown, Associate Professor, Empire State College
Norman K. Dann, Prof. Emeritus of Social Sciences, Morrisville State College
Maren Stein, Assoc. Prof. Emeritus, Russell Sage College
Billie Luisi-Potts, Executive Dir., National Women's Hall of Fame
Walter Gable, Seneca County Historian
Dr. Judith Wellman, Historian and Director, Seneca County UGR Railroad Resources
Dr. Milton Sernett, Professor Emeritus, Syracuse University
Harry Bradshaw Matthews, Associate Dean and Director, US Pluralism Programs; Executive Director, USCT Institute
Wanda Webster, Artistic Director, UGR Players
Elena Mosley, Dance artist, Operation Unite Education and Cultural Arts Center
Hugh C. Humphreys, retired Madison County judge and adjunct professor at Syracuse University
Jane Williamson, Director, Rokeby Museum
Scott Christianson, researcher and author
Kevin Cottrell & Jessica Thrope, co-owners, Mo Better Buffalo
Robert K. Wallace, Regents Prof., Northern Kentucky Univ.
April L. Harris, Adjunct Faculty, Sonoma State Univ., Syracuse Univ.
Clifford Oliver, independent researcher, artistic photographer
Nancy Marie Payne, storyteller
Lisa Anderson, Bioarcheologist
Corey McQuinn, archeologist
Cordell Reaves, Heritage NY
Paul Stewart, URHPCR
Edward Shaughnessy, Prof. of Sociology and Law, John Jay College, CUNY
Oscar Williams, Asst. Prof., Africana Studies, SUNYA
Sheri Jackson, Northeast Regional Coordinator, National Park Service Network to Freedom Program
Donald Hyman, educator, writer, actor, singer
Steve Tyson, independent researcher
Amy Godine, independent scholar, curator, and author

Organized by Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc., dedicated to researching, celebrating, and preserving the Capital Region's Underground Railroad story, with an emphasis on African-American Abolitionists and Freedom Seekers.

URHPCR, Inc. - P.O. Box 10851 - Albany, New York 12201 -
(518) 432-4432 - www.ugrworkshop.com

“Stand Up for Truth!” by Rev. Stephen C. Butler

Romans 12: 9-21
McKownville (NY) United Methodist Church
January 15, 2005

On the evening of January 27, 1956, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., could not sleep. He was in the middle of a struggle he did not begin, leading a movement he did not design, in a city where he was not a native
son. King had come to Montgomery, Alabama less than two years previous
to that day, and after about a year of successfully pastoring in the Dexter Ave. Baptist Church, he found himself chosen as the leader of the Montgomery Improvement Association, which had begun a bus boycott. As you may know, the boycott began after Mrs. Rosa Parks had decided that she would no longer put up with the local segregation laws. When the bus driver told her to give up her seat a white person, she refused. The driver called the police, she was arrested, and at her trial she was quickly convicted and fined $10.
But the case didn't end there. Over the next year, it went all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court. In the meantime, African Americans in Montgomery, who were the great majority of bus patrons, staged a boycott. Under the auspices of the Montgomery Improvement Assoc., they met regularly in mass meetings, strategized in small groups, kept the legal battle going, and formed car pools to pick up people each day at various churches to take them to work and back home again.

None of this set very well with those who wished to keep things the way they were. Dr. King and his family received numerous death threats and obscene phone calls. He was only 27 years old at the time, married less than five
years, and had a one-year-old daughter. When the city police began
harassing anyone who participated in the car pools, one of the first to be arrested was Martin King. After spending the night in a filthy jail cell he returned home, but the experience left him quite shaken. So, the next night, he couldn't sleep. And later on, he described that night in the following words.

“The first 25 years of my life were very comfortable years, very happy years.... I had grown up in the church, and the church meant something very real to me, but it was a kind of inherited religion and I had never felt an experience with God in the way that you must, and have it if you're going to
walk the lonely paths of life... It was around midnight. You can have
some strange experiences at midnight. (That night, a phone caller had told
him.) ‘We're tired of you and your mess now, and if you aren't out of
this town in three days, we're going to blow your brains out, and blow up your house.’ And I thought about a beautiful little daughter who had just been born... And I started thinking about a dedicated, devoted, and loyal wife... And I discovered then that religion had to become real to me, and I had to know God for myself. And I bowed down over that cup of coffee. I never will forget it... And I prayed out loud that night. I said, ‘Lord, I'm down here trying to do what's right... But Lord, I must confess that I'm weak now. I'm faltering. I'm losing my courage. And I can't let the people see me like this because if they see me weak and losing my courage they will begin to get weak.’ And it seemed at that moment that I could hear an inner voice saying to me, ‘Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And lo, I will be with you, even until the end of the world.’ I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on.
He promised never to leave me alone. No, never alone." (Bearing the Cross, David J. Garrow, © 1986, p. 57-58.)

That night in the kitchen was a turning point for Martin King. From then on, the pattern continued. Although he became known as the foremost of leaders in the fight for human rights for people of all colors in this nation, he was often swept into events that he did not plan to become involved in.
About a year after the bus dispute was settled and Montgomery's segregation laws declared unconstitutional, there was still the task of applying the same standard to hundreds of cities and states all around the country. In the 1950s, virtually everything was segregated: schools, busses, trains, restaurants, transportation terminals, rest rooms, city parks, movie theaters, even the water fountains were labeled "Whites Only" or "Colored Only". Perhaps you’ve heard of the "Freedom Rides". King didn't start these. Some college students started them to see whether Interstate busses and depots would be open to integrated groups. And often they were not. A lot of people got arrested and went to jail. There was s short skirmish in Albany, Ga. that didn't gain much for the movement, except a lot of experience in how not to run a protest.

But then there was "Bull" Connor, the police commissioner of Birmingham, Alabama. It's been said more than once that he did more for the Civil Rights movement than any other person up to that time. It was his use of police dogs and high-pressure fire hoses to disperse the demonstrators that got the protests on the front pages and the network news shows. The protest in Birmingham started for equal employment and access to downtown department stores. By the time it was over, they made some small gains there, but the Southern Christian Leadership Conference suddenly became a household word.

As I’ve studied the American Civil Rights Movement, one thing I've been impressed with is that it was not a unified project. Many, many people worked to desegregate America and start more equal treatment for people of all kinds. And there was plenty of conflict among all those who participated. The NAACP had been around for a long time before Martin King began his work. They were mainly a legal defense organization, dedicated to pursuing equal rights through the courts. King, and his organization the SCLC, had decided that direct, non-violent action was much quicker and more effective. There was also the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE), and the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee. SNCC began as an offshoot of the SCLC. Some had argued that the students should have been organized as a junior arm of the SCLC. But King and a few others believed that college students should be allowed to go on their own. After King's death, they became quite radical, as you may recall. And when riots broke out in the "Long hot summer" of '68, it was hard to believe that this was the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee. But then, I'm getting ahead of the story.

During the early 1960's as you may recall, President John Kennedy and his brother Robert, were sympathetic to supporting racial equality, but afraid that they couldn't get the votes in Congress to pass any significant civil rights legislation. The Kennedy Administration did help out several times, making sure things didn't get out of hand in several cities. More than once, phone calls from Bobby Kennedy or even John himself helped support King or ease the tensions. So, Dr. King and his allies began to see it was not the Kennedy's who needed convincing, but the Congress. So, the 1963 March on Washington was designed to put pressure on the legislature to pass a meaningful national civil rights bill.

It was there, of course that the crown of 250,000 people gathered before the Lincoln Memorial, Mahalia Jackson sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and Martin Luther King delivered his most famous speech, "I have a dream." He ended that speech with the words of that famous Spiritual, "Free At Last, Free at Last, Thank God almighty, we’re free at last." And those words are written on his tomb in Atlanta, Ga. For as we all know, the enemies who circled around him finally got their chance in April of 1968. King had been threatened before. Earlier in his career a mentally unstable person stabbed him in the chest with a letter opener. Had he not remained calm, it could have severed his aorta and killed him then. At various times, his home had been shot at or bombed. Once the whole front of the house was blown off.
How he survived as long as he did is a miracle in itself. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be 75 years old today had he survived. Many have said he could have been elected president. That’s something we may never know. But we do know that when he found himself in a position where he could be helpful in establishing justice, dignity and freedom for all, he did not back down. He stood up for truth.

Perhaps we, in a much smaller way, can do something along the same lines.
What is there today that must be known or done? How can each of us stand up for truth wherever it may be helpful or honorable to do so? These words of Martin Luther King Jr. are still with us today: "Stand up for righteousness.
Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth.” And Jesus Christ continues to say, “I will be with you, even until the end of the world.”

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Count 'em all

Rep. Maloney Says Constitutional Amendment to Remove Non-Citizens From Census Is Counter to American Ideals and Impractical

WASHINGTON, DC - The Government Reform Subcommittee on Federalism and the Census held a hearing on a constitutional amendment to remove non-citizen residents from the Census count. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) acted as the ranking Democrat and made the following statement in opposition to the amendment:

"Unfortunately, before us is a truly reckless constitutional proposal, which on one hand runs counter to our American ideals and on the other hand makes little practical sense. Were it to become part of the Constitution, it would be the second Amendment in our history which did not expand individual liberties - the other was prohibition. This Amendment shrinks liberty and deliberately blinds the national government to the needs of millions upon millions of Americans.

"This Amendment reverses the explicit intent of The Framers - that representation in the House should be based on population and that a periodic count of residents is the only legitimate means to assure equitable representation in a changing nation.

"The Census Act of 1790 - introduced by James Madison and signed into law by George Washington - called for an enumeration of the - quote - 'inhabitants' of the United States. This was deliberate. We were then, and have always been, a nation of immigrants.

"Indeed, seven signers of the Declaration of Independence and eight signers of the Constitution were foreign born. Non-citizens fought for liberty in the Revolutionary War, and for America in every war since. Today, 35,000 non-citizens serve on active duty and 8,000 more enlist every year. Most non-citizens are here legally. They are legal permanent residents and visa holders, who pay local, state and federal taxes.

"The Framers decided that only citizens would have the right to choose their representatives through the right to vote. They just as firmly intended that 'all inhabitants' of the country be counted for purposes of apportioning the seats in Congress.

"They mandated a decennial census of the entire population to prevent the 'manipulation' of political power and taxation. The Census is itself one of the many and vital 'checks and balances' imbedded in our Constitutional form of government which are at the root of why it has endured so long.

"This Amendment, however, turns the Census into a political gadget. As we will hear in testimony today, the Census has become a weapon in today's political debate on immigration. Proponents of this Amendment will point to recent growth in the percentage of foreign-born residents to make a fallacious case that this has somehow "diluted voting representation" of non-border states. The truth is that compared to the post-Civil War counts, for instance, this percentage is historically low.

"As we will hear today, this Amendment is a management nightmare. It requires that the Census Bureau first count everyone, then for the first time in our nation's history, ask everyone for proof they are a citizen, only for the purpose of going back and removing people from the count.

"That will be a huge cost in time and taxpayer money. Imagine when proponents of this amendment demand that residents show proof of citizenship. The end result will be a National ID card.

"And let's not sugar coat the effects of this amendment: it will discriminate. It will disproportionately exclude Hispanics - who make up the lion's share of our most recent immigrants. To politically manipulate the count and generate undercounts in border states to benefit interior states is also discrimination.

"Some our friends on the other side of the aisle profess to prefer a limited federal government. So why would they propose a big-government, expensive, time consuming, invasive and, last but certainly not least, discriminatory amendment to our Constitution?

"It's simple: this amendment is about shifting power by artificially altering the population in certain areas. The consequence, of course, is an inaccurate, insincere census count, a government that sends its resources to the wrong places, skewed representation and a loss of faith in leadership.

"This is about sacrificing 210 years of Constitutional practice and history, merely to increase short-term power - at the expense of millions of Americans and those that will soon be Americans."

December 6, 2005 Contact: Afshin Mohamadi

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


a service of the Foundation Center =========================================
December 30, 2005
Volume 6, Issue 51
The RFP Bulletin is a publication of the Foundation Center. To search or browse the Bulletin on the Web,
visit: http://fdncenter.org/pnd/rfp/
To subscribe or unsubscribe, or to change your e-mail address, visit: http://fdncenter.org/newsletters/
This week's PND Poll wants to know: Were you more willing to donate to charity in 2005 than in previous years?
To vote, visit: http://fdncenter.org/pnd/
::::::::::::::::: PND E-MAIL ALERTS :::::::::::::::::
New from Philanthropy News Digest! Receive e-mail notification of the latest news and jobs posted to PND. It's easy and it's free!
To sign up, visit:
****************** ANNOUNCEMENT *********************
REGISTER NOW for Our Five-Day Grantseeker Training Institute in San Francisco.
Sharpen your grantseeking skills with five days of comprehensive training by the Foundation Center's experts, February 6-10, in San Francisco. Join non- profit professionals from across the nation. In just one week, you'll learn how to prepare a fundraising strategy, enlist your board's involvement, find and prioritize funding prospects, and write effective proposals. As a participant, you will receive a free, one-month subscription to the new Foundation Directory Online Professional.
Limited to 20 participants -- register now!
1) American Music Center Invites Applications for Aaron
Copland Fund for Music Performing Ensembles Program
2) Nominations Invited for National Awards for Museum and
Library Service
3) Washington State Artists Invited to Apply for Grants
for Artist Projects Program
4) Hitachi Foundation Opens Youth Community Service Awards
Nomination Process
5) VSA arts Invites Entries From Students and Teachers for
Playwright Discovery Award
6) National School and Business Partnership Awards Program
Accepting Applications
7) Teachers Invited to Apply for ING Unsung Heroes Awards
8) Competition Opens for Canon National Parks Science
Scholars Program
9) National Forest Foundation Accepting Applications for
Matching Awards Program
10) New Grants Program to Help Coastal Counties With
Marine Habitat Restoration
11) Arts Journalists Invited to Apply for USC
Annenberg/Getty Arts Fellowship Program
12) ADA Foundation Invites Grant Applications Focusing on
Dental Literature
13) Association of American Medical Colleges Seeks
Applicants for Caring for Community Grant Program
14) Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Announces
Distinguished Clinical Research Award Competition
15) Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Invites Applications
for Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development
1) American Music Center Invites Applications for Aaron
Copland Fund for Music Performing Ensembles Program
Deadline: June 30, 2006
A program of the American Music Center ( http://www.amc.net/ ), the Aaron Copland Fund for Music Performing Ensembles Program seeks to support organizations whose performances encourage and improve public knowledge and appreciation of serious contemporary American music.
Funds are available for general operating or project support to professional performing ensembles with a history of substantial commitment to contemporary American music and with plans to continue that commitment.
Applicants must have nonprofit tax-exempt status; a per- formance history of at least two years at the time of application; at least 20 percent of the ensemble's programming (in terms of duration) for the preceding two seasons consisting of contemporary American music; and demonstrated commitment to contemporary American music.
Individuals, student ensembles, festivals, and presenters without a core ensemble are not eligible. Grants will not be made for the purpose of commissioning composers.
In general, grants range from $1,000 to $20,000.
See the American Music Center Web site for complete program guidelines.
RFP Link:
For additional RFPs in Arts and Culture, visit:
2) Nominations Invited for National Awards for Museum
and Library Service
Deadline: February 15, 2006
The Institute of Museum and Library Services'
( http://www.imls.gov/ ) National Awards for Museum and Library Service honor outstanding museums and libraries that demonstrate an ongoing institutional commitment to public service. The awards program is the sole national award to recognize the public service record of America's museums and libraries.
Recipients exhibit innovative approaches to public ser- vice, reaching beyond the expected levels of community outreach and core programs generally associated with libraries and museums. These national awards pay tribute to museums and libraries that make a real difference in individuals' lives, improve communities, and make our nation better. Each award recipient also receives $10,000 and is honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.
All types of museums -- from anthropological to zoo- logical, fine art to folk art, urban and rural, large and small -- may be nominated for the award; nominations of libraries of all sizes are encouraged.
Any individual may nominate a museum and/or library in the United States and its territories. Nominated insti- tutions must be open to the general public for at least 120 days per year. Federally operated institutions are not eligible for this award.
See the IMLS Web site for complete program information.
RFP Link:
For additional RFPs in Arts and Culture, visit:
3) Washington State Artists Invited to Apply for Grants
for Artist Projects Program
Deadline: February 24, 2006
Artist Trust ( http://www.artisttrust.org/ ) is a nonprofit organization whose sole mission is to support individual artists working in all disciplines in order to enrich community life throughout Washington State.
The trust's GAP (Grants for Artist Projects) program provides support for individual artists' projects. The program is intended to help artists develop new ideas and directions for specific projects.
Artists working in all disciplines are eligible for GAP support. Artist projects may include, but are not limited to, the development, completion, or presentation of new work; publication; travel for artistic research or to present or complete work; documentation of work; advanced workshops for professional development; etc.
GAP applicants must meet all of the following criteria:
be a practicing artist and submit only one application per year; be 18 years of age or older by February 24, 2006; and be a resident of Washington State at the time of application and when the award is granted. The appli- cant must not be a graduate or undergraduate matriculated student enrolled in any degree program. Applications must be made in the name of an individual artist. Applications made in the name of collectives, companies, bands, groups, and ensembles will not be accepted.
GAP recipients will be awarded the amount they request, up to a maximum of $1,400.
See the Artist Trust Web site for complete program information.
RFP Link:
For additional RFPs in Arts and Culture, visit:
4) Hitachi Foundation Opens Youth Community Service Awards
Nomination Process
Deadline: April 1, 2006
The Hitachi Foundation ( http://www.hitachifoundation.org/ ) presents the Yoshiyama Award for Exemplary Service to the Community each year to ten high school seniors from around the United States on the basis of their community-service activities.
The award is accompanied by a gift of $5,000, dispensed over two years. Recipients may use the award at their discretion. (The award is not a scholarship.)
Yoshiyama Award selection is based upon service and the opportunity for longer-term social change rather than on academic achievement or extracurricular activities. Grade- point averages, SAT scores, and school club memberships are not considered in the selection process.
To be eligible for the award, candidates must be gradu- ating high school seniors in the U.S. or U.S. territories (nominees need not be college bound); individuals whose activities impacted a socially, economically, or cul- turally isolated area; nominated by someone familiar with their service (clergy, school official, teacher, service agency representative, etc.); individuals whose activities created longer-term, sustainable social change; individuals whose service has surpassed what is ordinarily expected of a socially responsible citizen; individuals who have demonstrated self-motivation, leadership, creativity, dedication, and commitment in pursuing their service; and individuals who have made a conscious effort to involve and inspire others to participate in community action.
Students must be nominated for the award. Self-nominations and nominations from family members are automatically disqualified.
Visit the Hitachi Foundation Web site for complete program guidelines and nomination procedures.
RFP Link:
For additional RFPs in Children and Youth, visit:
5) VSA arts Invites Entries From Students and Teachers for
Playwright Discovery Award
Deadline: April 14, 2006; and July 1, 2006
As part of its mission to help create a society where all people with disabilities learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts, VSA arts ( http://www.vsarts.org/ ) administers awards and events that recognize the artistic achievements of young artists with disabilities, as well as the leadership of cultural institutions and educators for excellence in inclusive arts programming.
The VSA arts Playwright Discovery Award invites middle and high school students to take a closer look at the world around them, examine how disability affects their lives and the lives of others, and express their views through the art of playwriting. Young playwrights with and without disabilities are encouraged to submit an original one-act script that explores any aspect of dis- ability. Entries may be the work of an individual student or collaboration by a group or class of students. Authors must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.
and must be a middle or high school student (i.e., grades six through twelve). Winning playwrights receive a $1,000 award and a trip to Washington, D.C., to attend the VSA arts Playwright Discovery Award Evening and see a profes- sional production or staged reading of his/her play at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
(Deadline: April 14, 2006.)
The VSA arts Playwright Discovery Teacher Award was established to recognize middle and high school teachers who creatively bring disability awareness to their classrooms through the art of playwriting. A panel of theater professionals and educators will select one middle or high school teacher for this award. The selected teacher will receive national recognition, funds to purchase playwriting resources for the class- room, and a trip to Washington, D.C., to be honored at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Teachers must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. and must teach students in middle or high school (i.e., grades six through twelve). Teachers may self-nominate themselves for this award, or they may be nominated by a middle or high school colleague.
(Deadline: July 1, 2006.)
Complete program guidelines and application forms are available at the VSA arts Web site.
RFP Link:
For additional RFPs in Disabilities, visit:
***************** ANNOUNCEMENT **********************
NEW! Foundation Directory Online Professional Top-tier Intelligence on Grantmakers and Their Grants
Only Professional lets you text-search across our entire database of 250,000+ IRS 990s for grantmaking organiza- tions -- explore unique funder portfolios with the latest foundation news, RFPs, key staff affiliations, and full-color grant distribution charts -- and search our most comprehensive database, updated weekly: 80,000 funder profiles, half a million grants, and 360,000 trustee, officer, and donor names, fully-indexed. Only Professional can help you work smarter, work faster to find the funds you need.
Subscribe today:
6) National School and Business Partnership Awards Program
Accepting Applications
Deadline: January 30, 2006
A program of the Council for Corporate & School Partner- ships ( http://www.corpschoolpartners.org/ ), the National School and Business Partnerships Award recognizes exemplary partnerships between schools and businesses around the United States. Partnerships involving kindergarten through 12th-grade public schools and/or school districts and businesses are eligible to apply.
The council presents six awards per year. Those selected for the award receive national recognition and their schools or districts receive $10,000 to support partner- ship efforts.
Applications are judged using a number of criteria, including the strength of the partnership's foundation, as evidenced by shared values and the school and busi- ness partner's ability to define mutually beneficial goals; the success of the partnership's implementation, as evidenced by such factors as the management process and determination of specific, measurable outcomes; the partnership's sustainability, based on such factors as support by school and business leaders and by teachers, employees, students, and other constituents; and the partners' ability to present a clear evaluation of the partnership's impact, as measured by evidence that the partnership was developed with clear definitions of success for all parties and that it has resulted in improvements of the academic, social, or physical well- being of students.
Partnerships between kindergarten through 12th-grade public schools and/or school districts and businesses are eligible to participate in the program. The following partnerships are not eligible: nonprofits (except business foundations and organizations established by businesses to support community involvement), faith-based organizations, governmental agencies, universities, independent schools, or international schools.
Visit the Council for Corporate & School Partnerships Web site for complete program information and application procedures.
RFP Link:
For additional RFPs in Education, visit:
7) Teachers Invited to Apply for ING Unsung Heroes Awards
Deadline: May 1, 2006
Created as a way for financial services company ING ( http://www.ing.com/ ) to demonstrate its commitment to the education community, the ING Unsung Heroes awards are given to K-12 educators pioneering new teaching methods and techniques that improve learning.
Each year, educators submit applications for an ING Unsung Heroes award by describing projects they have initiated or would like to pursue. Each project is judged on its innovative method, creativity, and ability to positively influence students. The awards program selects one hundred finalists to receive a $2,000 award, payable to both the winning teacher and his or her school. At least one award is granted in each of the fifty states. Of the one hundred finalists, three are selected for additional financial
awards: $25,000 for first place; $10,000 for second place; and $5,000 for third place.
All K-12 education professionals are eligible to apply.
Applicants must be employed by an accredited K-12 public or private school and be a full-time educator, teacher, principal, paraprofessional, or classified staff with an effective project that improves student learning
Visit the ING Web site for complete program information and an application from.
RFP Link:
For additional RFPs in Education, visit:
8) Competition Opens for Canon National Parks Science
Scholars Program
Deadline: May 3, 2006
The Canon National Parks Science Scholars Program is a collaboration among Canon U.S.A., Inc.
( http://www.canon.com/ ), the American Association for the Advancement of Science ( http://www.aaas.org/ ), and the U.S. National Park Service ( http://www.nature.nps.gov/ ).
The program awards scholarships to Ph.D. students through- out the Americas to conduct research critical to conserv- ing the national parks of the region.
Awards are made in four categories, broadly defined: bio- logical sciences (including such disciplines as botany, ecology, or conservation biology); physical sciences (including such disciplines as geology, hydrology, and atmospheric sciences); social/cultural sciences (including such disciplines as economics, sociology, anthropology, and archeology); and technology innovation in support of conservation science (including such fields as informatics, remote sensing, photomonitoring, and radiotelemetry).
The program will award eight scholarships based on two separate competitions. Four Canon National Parks Science Scholars will be selected from students studying at universities in the United States (i.e., one winner in each of the four program categories). Four Canon National Parks Science Scholars will also be selected from students studying at universities throughout the Americas but outside the U.S. (i.e., one winner in each of the program categories). In addition, four Honorable Mentions will be selected from throughout all of the Americas.
Each winning student will be awarded a Canon National Parks Science Scholarship of $80,000.
Proposals can be considered only from currently enrolled Ph.D. students at an accredited university within the Americas who are citizens of a country in the Americas.
The Americas include Canada, the United States, Mexico, the countries of Central and South America, and the Caribbean. At least some portion of the student's proposed research must take place in -- or be significantly and specifically relevant to -- one or more national parks in the student's country of citizenship.
Complete program information is available at the National Park Service Web site.
RFP Link:
For additional RFPs in Environment, visit:
9) National Forest Foundation Accepting Applications for
Matching Awards Program
Deadline: January 27 and July 28, 2006 (Pre-proposals)
The National Forest Foundation
( http://www.natlforests.org/ ) supports projects that address community-based forest stewardship, watershed health and restoration, wildlife habitat improvement, and recreation issues in proactive ways by completing innovative on-the-ground conservation work in partnership with other community groups.
The NFF Matching Awards Program focuses on "action- oriented" projects that serve to demonstrate and evaluate measurable outcomes. The program provides challenge cost- share grants, on a competitive basis, to community-based nonprofit organizations to engage in on-the-ground conservation initiatives benefiting National Forests and Grasslands. The Matching Awards Program doubles the money available to forest conservation projects by providing matching federal funds to private, non-federal dollars.
During the 2006 MAP, the NFF will concentrate its efforts in five geographic areas: Southern Appalachians (TN, NC, SC, GA), Oregon Coast and Central Cascades (OR), the Selway-Bitterroot (MT, ID), Central Colorado Rockies (CO), and Central Sierra (CA). For the 2006 MAP, approx- imately 80 percent of available funds will be allocated to projects within the five current geographic priority areas, while the remaining 20 percent will be made avail- able for projects outside these areas. Groups nationwide are eligible to apply.
The NFF will accept applications from non-governmental, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations working on or adjacent to National Forests and Grasslands. Applications cannot be accepted from federal agencies, regional, state, or local governmental entities.
All grants awarded by the NFF require a cash match through non-federal donations. Donations must be sent to the NFF for at least a 1:1 match ratio. In-kind contributions may be noted to show leverage for a project but cannot be matched by NFF funds.
Over $2.6 million in matching funds is available in 2006, with no average grant award. Past awards range from $500 to over $100,000, with most awards in the $20,000-$40,000 range.
Project funding is for one year, with two award decision cycles per year. The submission dates for the 2006 Matching Awards Program are as follows: Round 1 Pre- proposals -- January 27, 2006; and Round 2 Pre-proposals
-- July 28, 2006.
See the NFF Web site for complete program guidelines and application materials.
RFP Link:
For additional RFPs in Environment, visit:
10) New Grants Program to Help Coastal Counties With
Marine Habitat Restoration
Deadline: February 24, 2006
The National Association of Counties
( http://www.naco.org/ ), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation ( http://www.nfwf.org/ ), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Community-based Restoration Program ( http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ ), have announced the creation of a new grant program targeting marine habitat restoration in coastal counties.
The Coastal Counties Restoration Initiative will provide financial assistance on a competitive basis to innovative, high-quality, county-led or -supported projects that support wetland, riparian, and coastal habitat restoration projects.
The initiative is currently accepting applications for its first annual grant awards. The program will disburse grants in the range of $25,000 to $100,000. Grants that are community-based in nature and include partnering with NOAA will be given special consideration.
NACo (http://www.naco.org/) member counties, or public or nonprofit private agencies, institutions, and organizations, educational institutions, and any form of local government (i.e., departments, townships, cities, villages, boroughs, conservation districts, planning districts, utility districts, or other units of local
government) working in partnership with a NACo member county are eligible for funding. All applicants must include a letter of support from their chief elected county official. Non-county applicants should ensure that the letter demonstrates a substantial county partnership in the project.
For more information and to access the full RFP and/or application instructions, visit the NFWF Web site.
RFP Link:
For additional RFPs in Environment, visit:
***************** ANNOUNCEMENT *********************
Ready to ship: 12 new GRANT GUIDES
Do you know who's giving grants -- and who's getting them
-- in your field? Strengthen your search for funds with the Foundation Center's newest Grant Guides. Each Guide provides descriptions of thousands of grants of $10,000 or more within a particular field of interest. Easy-access indexes help you find the most relevant information quickly by subject, types of support, geographic location, or by recipient.
Order the Grant Guides for your fields of interest through our online Marketplace. Only $75 each:
11) Arts Journalists Invited to Apply for USC
Annenberg/Getty Arts Fellowship Program
Deadline: January 27, 2006
Funded by a grant from the J. Paul Getty Trust ( http://www.getty.edu/ ), the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Fellowship seeks to establish a new standard of excellence in arts and culture coverage. The program's philosophy is guided by a core belief in first-hand encounters with artists, arts administrators, and journalism colleagues.
The three-week residencies in Los Angeles are designed to familiarize the fellows with the city's vibrant cultural scene as a means to strengthen their intellectual and analytical journalism skills, fill them with new story ideas, and make them consider their hometowns in new lights.
Six distinguished arts journalists will be selected as
2006 Fellows for the program, which will be held from April 22 to May 13, 2006.
Applications are accepted from arts journalists from around the world. To apply, editors/critics/reporters must submit three articles published within the last year.
Broadcast journalists must send one audiotape, videotape, or CD that includes three complete or sampled stories. All material must be dated and have aired or been published within the last year.
Visit the USC Annenberg Web site for complete program information and application materials.
RFP Link:
For additional RFPs in Journalism/Media, visit:
12) ADA Foundation Invites Grant Applications Focusing
on Dental Literature
Deadline: January 30, 2006
With a goal of integrating and consolidating existing scientific research relating to evidence-based dentistry, the ADA Foundation's ( http://www.adafoundation.org/ ) Request for Proposals for 2006 focuses on available dental literature addressing four specific clinical questions.
Applicants are asked to choose one question for a systematic literature review: 1) At what frequency is dental prophylaxis effective in preventing periodontitis in individuals with and without known risk factors?
2) Does correcting malocclusion in children and adults reduce the risk of periodontal disease? 3) What are the clinical, biological, psychosocial, and/or economic out- comes of treating a pulpally involved (periodontally
sound) single tooth through endodontic care, extraction and implant placement, fixed partial denture, and/or extraction without implant placement? 4) What are the longitudinal beneficial and harmful effects of endodontic services compared to extraction and implant placement?
A systematic literature review reduces large quantities of information into palatable pieces for greater under- standing, integrates critical pieces of available bio medical information by various decision-makers to formulate guidelines and legislation concerning the use of certain diagnostic tests and treatment strategies, and provides an efficient evaluation technique that is less costly in the long run than embarking on a brand-new study.
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be affiliated with a dental school or advanced education program accred- ited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, a dental specialty organization, or a national dental-related organization; should be knowledgeable and experienced in systematic review; should have a demonstrated track record in research; and should have published studies in clinical dental research.
The foundation will award grants of up to $50,000 through this program.
For program details, visit the ADA Foundation Web site.
RFP Link:
For additional RFPs in Medical Research, visit:
13) Association of American Medical Colleges Seeks
Applicants for Caring for Community Grant Program
Deadline: March 13, 2006
The Association of American Medical Colleges ( http://www.aamc.org/ ), with the support of the Pfizer Medical Humanities Initiative ( http://www.positiveprofiles.com/ ), is offering an institutional grant program to encourage the development of student-initiated services and programs to the community.
As part of the Caring for Community Grant Program, medical schools conferring the M.D. or D.O. degree are eligible to receive support for community service- oriented projects that explore new ways to serve their local communities. Eligible programs may range from those that promote awareness about sexually transmitted diseases, to vaccination and literacy programs, to any program that fulfills an unmet need within the community.
Grant awards will also be offered to eligible service programs that are currently under way.
The unique aspect of the Caring for Community Grant Program is its focus on projects initiated, developed, and run primarily by medical students. While faculty and institutional involvement is integral to sustaining community service efforts, the ultimate goal of the program is to encourage students to identify untapped avenues of community service. Caring for Community will also help students to translate great ideas into meaning- ful service by contributing needed start-up funds.
Grants are available in the following categories:
New project grants will be provided to institutions for new student-oriented community-service projects. Grant support will be provided on a sliding scale for a period of not more than four years. The maximum amount available per year in this category is as follows: Year One - $12,000, Year Two - $9,000, Year Three - $6,000, and Year Four - $3,000.
Supplemental grants will be provided to institutions to support existing community-service programs initiated and operated by students. Grants will supplement existing program activities and provide funding for potential expansion of the services offered. Grants will be provided on a sliding scale, not to exceed four years. The maximum amount available per year in this category is as follows:
Year One - $8,000, Year Two - $6,000, Year Three - $4,000, and Year Four - $2,000.
Non-continuous grants of up to $15,000 will be provided for short-term (less than one year in length) community- service initiatives. An example of a one-year program would be a community influenza-vaccination program for the elderly.
AAMC will present up to ten grant awards annually.
Visit the AAMC Web site for complete program information and application procedures.
RFP Link:
For additional RFPs in Medical Research, visit:
14) Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Announces
Distinguished Clinical Research Award Competition
Deadline: February 14, 2006
A program of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation ( http://www.ddcf.org/ ), the Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award recognizes outstanding mid- career physician-scientists who are applying the latest scientific advances to the prevention, diagnosis, treat- ment, and cure of disease and who are wager to support and mentor the next generation of physician-scientists conducting clinical research.
In 2006, up to five grants of $1.5 million each will be awarded to mid-career physician-scientists conducting translational clinical research in any disease area.
Awards must be used over at least a five-year period.
All nominees must have received an M.D. from an accred- ited institution in the United States (holders of M.D./ Ph.D. degrees are also eligible, as are holders of M.D.-equivalent degrees from non-U.S. institutions); have a full-time university faculty appointment at the level of associate professor or above as of February 14, 2006; have been appointed to their first full-time, faculty- level position no earlier than February 14, 1991 (all full-time post-fellowship instructor-level positions will be considered full-time faculty-level appointments); and have an established translational clinical research pro- gram (in any disease area).
Nomination packages will be accepted from U.S. academic medical centers and other U.S. nonprofit research institutions.
Visit the DDCF Web site to download the 2006 Request for Nominations and/or an eligibility FAQ.
RFP Link:
For additional RFPs in Medical Research, visit:
15) Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Invites Applications
for Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development
Deadline: March 20, 2006
An initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ( http://www.rwjf.org/ ), the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program ( http://www.amfdp.org/ ), formerly known as the Minority Medical Faculty Development Program, was created to increase the number of faculty from historically disadvantaged backgrounds who can achieve senior rank in academic medicine and who will encourage and foster the development of succeeding classes of such physicians.
The program offers four-year postdoctoral research awards to physicians from historically disadvantaged backgrounds who are committed to developing careers in academic medicine and to serving as role models for students and faculty of similar background. The program defines the term "historically disadvantaged" to mean the challenges facing individuals because of their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or similar factors.
To be eligible, applicants must be physicians who are from historically disadvantaged backgrounds (ethnic, financial, or educational); are U.S. citizens or permanent residents at the time of application; and are now completing or have completed their formal clinical training. (Preference will be given to physicians who have recently completed their formal clinical training.) Successful applicants will demonstrate that they have excelled in their education; are prepared to devote four consecutive years to research; are committed to pursuing academic careers; and are com- mitted to serving as role models for students and faculty from historically disadvantaged backgrounds and/or to improving the health status of the underserved and decreas- ing health disparities.
Up to twelve four-year awards will be funded in this grant cycle, with scholars receiving an annual stipend of up to $75,000, complemented by a $26,350 annual grant toward support of research activities.
Applications for this program must be submitted online.
Visit the RWJF Web site to download the Call for Applications.
RFP Link:
For additional RFPs in Medical Research, visit:
::::::::::::::: THIS WEEK IN PND ::::::::::::::::::
NPO SPOTLIGHT: Architecture for Humanity
Through competitions, workshops, educational forums, partnerships with aid organizations, and other activities, Architecture for Humanity creates oppor- tunities for architects and designers to help communities around the globe where resources and expertise are scarce.
To read the complete profile, visit:
::::::::::::::::: ON THE BOARDS ::::::::::::::::::
The PND message boards are open, and we're talking about calculating taxable income from auctions, anti-poverty initiatives, budget templates, tips for interviewing candidates for a major gift officer position, and more.
Stop by and share your thoughts. Or start a new thread:
:::::::::::::::: PND ON THE WEB ::::::::::::::::::
* Classifieds
* Conference Calendar
* Connections
* Job Corner
* Message Boards
* Newsmakers
* NPO Spotlight
* Off the Shelf
* On the Web
* RFP Bulletin
::::::::::::: ADVERTISING INFORMATION ::::::::::::
The RFP Bulletin is mailed every Friday to more than 78,000 subscribers. For information about ad rates and availability, call or e-mail Mitch Nauffts at
212-807-2433 mfn@fdncenter.org
:::::::::::: FOUNDATION CENTER ONLINE ::::::::::::
Have a question about foundations, philanthropy, or fundraising? Visit our online reference service at:
::::::::::::: SUBSCRIBE/UNSUBSCRIBE ::::::::::::::
To leave this list at any time, send a message to LISTSERV@LISTS.FDNCENTER.ORG with the words
in the body of your message, or visit our subscription management page at:
To rejoin the list at any time, send a message to LISTSERV@LISTS.FDNCENTER.ORG with the words
in the body of the message, or visit us on the Web at:
If you have a question or would like more information about the list, send an e-mail to the list administrator
Copyright (c) 2000-2005, the Foundation Center. All rights reserved. Permission to use, copy, and/or distribute this document in whole or in part for non- commercial purposes without fee is hereby granted provided that this notice and appropriate credit to the Foundation Center is included in all copies.