Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy 43rd Kwanzaa

Happy harvest to those who celebrate Kwanzaa. To those who don't, the principles include ideas we can all benefit from:
  1. Unity
  2. Self-determination
  3. Collective work and responsibility
  4. Cooperative economics
  5. Sense of purpose
  6. Creativity
  7. Faith

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

This is a message to our readers who celebrate Christmas: Merry Christmas, peace and goodwill to all.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Hanukkah

The festival of lights starts today, and goes for eight days, from now until December 29th. Peace and goodwill to all.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

How to avoid Genocide

Study genocides that have happened, and vow not to let it happen again.

Here's an article from that talks about the ordinary people that served as concentration camp guards and doctors, often former neighbors or colleagues. These weren't murderers or sociopaths, at least not initially. They were regular people manipulated by their governments into thinking in an "us or them" mentality.

Below is a video of a survivor of the Bosnian Muslim Genocide from the early 1990s. It's not for the faint of heart. I urge you to watch it, and other like it.

It touches directly on a situation in my own background. My grandparents were escaped Jews during WWII, and they lost many close family members to the Holocaust, so it's a topic that has always been a part of my life. I've often wondered if I would be strong enough to survive the horrors that took the lives of so many of my relatives and people like them. But then, I try and turn it around, and wonder if I could be one of the heartless ones who did the killing. And the answer to both questions is "I don't know." I'd like to think I'd be strong enough to survive. And I'd like to think I'd be moral enough to not be party to genocide. But the undeniable truth is that you never know what you are capable of, until you are actually in the situation.

It's probably a fruitless wish, but may we never again need to be in either position. That's my wish for the world.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

UNICEF -The United Nations' Children's Fund

Find info about UNICEF activities in your country. When I was a kid, my church distributed Unicef "friend at my table" boxes, and every evening at dinner we would transfer any loose change in our pockets to the box on the table. I didn't find that same program, but there are others. They sell Christmas Cards among other things. Why not buy your cards from Unicef this year, and help a child in need while doing it?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Food Force - the Game

Check out the United Nations World Food Program game - Food Force. I love the idea of making helping others and solving problems FUN.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It

I found a recommendation for a book called "The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It" in an article from the Economist, which had this to say:
THIS slip of a book is set to become a classic of the “how to help the world's poorest” genre. Its author, Paul Collier, an Oxford economics professor, has spent 30-odd years puzzling mainly over sub-Saharan Africa and trying to work out why so many of its 48 countries have become basket cases. Crammed with statistical nuggets and common sense, his book should be compulsory reading for anyone embroiled in the hitherto thankless business of trying to pull people out of the pit of poverty where the “bottom billion” of the world's population of 6.6 billion seem irredeemably stuck.

The book seems to be well-respected at, where it's been given 4.5 stars out of 5.

There's also a Kindle Edition for those who prefer that format.