Archive for November, 2005

The Texas Observer interviews a Heretical Preacher

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

In their most recent issue, the Texas Observer sat down to interview Reverend Davidson Loehr about his sermons and his new book. When interviewer Ameni Rozsa asked how many of his sermons are “political in nature,” Reverend Loehr delved into the absurdity of drawing a hard and fast distinction between religion and politics…

DL: I think that if what religion is what we’re supposed to be talking about—the values that run our lives and world and the values that should run our lives and world—then there is no line to draw. If you’re only going to focus on yourself, then when society is in a malevolent period (and I think ours is), you become an accomplice to the malevolence. I was raised with the stories about the “good Germans”: all the Germans who knew what was going on and didn’t say anything. The phrase as it was used to me growing up meant cowardly, evil people who were accomplices to immense evil.

Karl Bart, an early twentieth century theologian, said that every Sunday, the preacher had to enter the pulpit—figuratively—with the Bible in one hand and the morning newspaper in the other. My translation is just that you need some source of wisdom, perspective and insight—he used the Bible but we have to draw more broadly than that now—and you have to have some sense of what’s going on in the world. You need to talk about how we’re living compared to the values we call ultimate.

Read the whole article on

Farewell, Carolyn!

Friday, November 18th, 2005

With great sadness (and general nervousness about what comes next) we say goodbye to our extended summer intern Carolyn Ramsden today. To commemorate Carolyn’s time here, we have established a modest poetry contest soliciting works that honor Carolyn and her role at Chelsea Green. By all accounts the contest was poorly publicized and underfunded, but below is the sole and winning entry: A Haiku for Carolyn

Who will follow up
With this important project?
Let’s ask the intern.

G’bye Carolyn. We will miss you!

Unembedded Photo Display

Thursday, November 17th, 2005

In a 2003 speech called “Independent Media In the Time of War,” Amy Goodman claimed that, if American’s were exposed to the atrocities of war for ONE WEEK, then war would be eradicated. The experiment would mean replacing all video-game images of fighter planes in American media with actual documentation of human suffering. This week, DailyKos is running that experiment, with a week-long feature of photos from Unembedded: Four Photojournalists on the War in Iraq. Kos is showing a new image from the book every day, and readers are encouraged to respond. So far the most interesting discussion of the book has been on, where Bill Foster brought up the difficulty of photographic poignancy in a media-saturated age.

Bill Foster Patron, nov 16, 2005; 05:27 p.m Thanks for the great links. It’s definitely on a par with the Vietnam photojournalism … but, back then, these sort of images were new. There was a shock value that gave them so much more impact.

Having just returned from an exhibit of the roving Bhopal Photographs, I think Bill underestimates the power of photographs. Maybe their impact is lessened in the clutter of the internet, but in a quiet place–an art museum, or a library–the images in Unembedded are hopefully as close as any of us will ever come to the atrocities of war.

Manhunt heats up in Bridgehampton

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

After resolving to hunt Warren Anderson down, Diane Wilson faced several tactical problems. The disparity between her own financial resources and those of her adversary put Diane at a significant disadvantage. How could she hope to track Warren down, when nobody could tell her whether he was at home in the Hamptons, or vacationing in Vero Beach?

Never one to be deterred in the face of an unlikely victory, Diane traveled to Bridgehampton yesterday with embedded journalists Leslie and Michael in tow. Before heading out to Long Island, Diane had the opportunity to speak at several colleges and community events in upstate New York, where she found some promising leads and resources for her manhunt. One student suggested she contact television’s Mad Dog Hogan, who might be able to help her track Warren down.

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

Saturday, November 12th, 2005

When you open the official community web page for Vero Beach, Florida, you are confronted with soft focus image of a stretch of Atlantic Beach. Clean, white sand in the foreground is accented with seagulls and a healthy amount of seaweed, and the sky in the background is blue. Underneath the photo a cation reads: “Discover our Lifestyle Choices.”

Vero Beach is a resort community on the East Coast of Florida. It distinguishes itself from other resort communities on the East Coast of Florida through its “priorities on art, education, culture, and unequaled lifestyles.” And really, life in Vero Beach does seem to be pretty nice.

Among its almost 20,000 residents are seven national merit students, forty-six volunteers for the elderly, and one international criminal wanted for the culpable homicide of over 8000 people in India.

On the road with Diane Wilson

Friday, November 11th, 2005

Diane Wilson is on the fourth leg of her long (indefinitely?) author tour. After leaving Boston early yesterday she took the train to New York, where she met up with the producers of PBS NOW to film an interview, which will air on December 9. According to Diane, the interview went real well but Penn Station could use some help. Diane missed her train to Bard College, where she was to give a talk to the Human Rights Project last night. She made the event by the skin of her nose.

17th Annual Business Ethics Awards honor South Mountain Company

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

John Abrams and the South Mountain Company have won Business Ethics’s annual award for Workplace Democracy. Marjorie Kelly at Business Ethics annouced the award this week. What’s Right, What’s Wrong, and It Depends noticed the award, and posed this question: “Do most companies now “preach” about ethical behavior but don’t really act on it? Or do we just not hear about all the good that companies do because the news media wants to focus on the corrupt and greedy because it makes a better story?” The other three winners of this year’s BE awards were Intel, for CSR management, New Leaf Paper, and the Weaver Street Cooperative food store in Carrboro, North Carolina.

Here’s the full scoop on South Mountain Company’s recognition:


W. Tisbury, Mass. – On Thursday, November 3, the South Mountain Company was one of four companies selected for the 17th Annual Business Ethics Awards when they received this year’s Workplace Democracy Award for “using employee ownership as the foundation of a life-enhancing company.” The Business Ethics Annual Awards are a salute to four companies, large and small, leading the way in ethics and corporate social responsibility excellence. Each year, the Awards are presented by Business Ethics magazine, an 18-year-old publication focused on ethics and corporate social responsibility.

South Mountain Company, a design/build firm located on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., shares honors with Intel of Santa Clara, Calif., who received the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Management Award; New Leaf Paper of San Francisco, who received the Environmental Excellence Award; and Weaver Street Cooperative of Carrboro, N.C., who received the Living Economy Award. “South Mountain was a run-away favorite of all judges this year,” said Business Ethics Editor Marjorie Kelly. “This selection was the easiest I’ve seen in 17 years of awards.” South Mountain describes itself as committed to creating buildings and settings that are enjoyed for generations and that stand as worthy expressions of a humane, well-crafted, environmentally-sound architecture. The company’s goal is to serve their several constituencies at once—employees, clients, community, and region—in an exemplary and responsible way that nurtures and strengthens all.


Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

The following video came to us yesterday, by way of Chelsea Green editor-at-large Jennifer Nix. Nix created the short video with David Olson, a producer with Speakeasy Productions. You will need Quicktime to view it.

Dear Citizen,

In the wake of Scooter Libby’s arraignment, the nation’s attention is finally returning to the dubious “marketing” of the War in Iraq, and to mainstream media’s failure to expose the false claims that led America to war. Can we rely on mainstream media this time around, or will they once again let us down?

-New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s unsubstantiated reporting of WMDs in Iraq

-Fox News’ relentless repetition of false Bush Administration claims about Saddam Hussein being linked to Al-Qaeda

-Mainstream media’s lack of skepticism about the military-embedded journalism program

These are just three of the more egregious examples of their poor performance.

Setting aside too few exceptions from corporate media, it has been independent media providing the necessary investigations and reportage—and variety of viewpoints—about Bush Administration claims. Often operating on shoe-string budgets, independent media have offered the healthy skepticism that democracy demands. But with corporate media’s stranglehold on distribution, too few Americans see independent media’s contributions.

We invite you to watch this short video and to share it with other concerned citizens. (You will need Quicktime.)

This video is free to post on blogs and web sites. Please also forward the URL via email, so word about independent media’s important coverage of the war—and backroom shenanigans in D.C.—can reach more Americans. No individual or organization asked or paid to be part of this missive, and this project was created on volunteer time.

Michael Ratner Honored

Tuesday, November 8th, 2005

More news for Guantanamo author Michael Ratner this week. We learned today that Ratner will be honored by Jews for Racial and Economic Justice in this year’s Risk Taker Awards. The theme for this year’s award is risk takers who speak out against the war, at home and abroad. Details are still coming from the group.

Michael Ratner and Phil Donohue: At the Goodman Symposium

Monday, November 7th, 2005

Michael Ratner joined former talk show host Phil Donohue this week at Stony Brook University’s seventh annual Goodman Symposium, to speak on terrorism, war, free speech and civil liberties today. The Goodman Symposium is held at the school each year in memory of George Goodman, a former professor of opthamology at the school, and Amy Goodman’s father.

“Guantanamo and Abu Gharib are iconic symbols of what this administration is doing,” said Ratner. “…We are now living in an outlaw state.” Ratner attributed the success of many of the ongoing policies of the Bush administration to the lack of a progressive movement to oppose those policies, closing off his speech by saying: “This is not a time to sit on our hands. It is not a time to be summer soldiers, it’s a time to be winter soldiers, and to really get out there and end torture at Guantanamo and really bring this administration down.”

Phil Donohue compared the democratic response to a deer in the headlights.

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