Heroes are people who improve the quality of life for all
by Burr Williams
Midland Reporter-Telegram
Published: Friday, March 26, 2010 8:12 PM CDT

One person CAN make a difference. Matt Hanson started the Downtown Midland Farmers Market a couple years ago.

Such an endeavor adds to the quality of life for Midlanders. During the growing season, between 200 and 300

people come by on each of the every-Saturday events. Matt also has arranged to use the yard behind the yellow

house at the Scarborough-Lineberry Historical House as a community garden (which will have spaces available by

the end of May for vegetable gardening enthusiasts to have their own plot.) Now, in conjunction with Oglalla

Commons, a community-building non-profit agency based out of Nazareth, Matt is the driving force behind the

"Local Foods Conference" next Monday and Tuesday.

On the evening of Monday the 29th, at the Sibley Nature Center, a get-to-know everybody "soiree" will begin at

7 p.m. The cost is $10. The conference the next day will be at the Atmos building just west of the Midland

International Airport. The cost is $35. To register and pay online, go to www.ogallalacommons.org, click on

"Events," then click Rebuilding Locals Food Systems.

Among the local folks present will be Dave and Marta Beard, beekeepers, and Bunny Leavitt, bread maker and

flour miller. Susan Leibrock, the Community Relations director of the Sustainable Food Center in Austin and a

Midland native, is the featured speaker at the soiree. Upon graduating from the University of Texas at Austin

with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, Leibrock lived in New York City for seven years, working in both

the restaurant industry and for five years at the flagship office of J. Walter Thompson (JWT), the global

advertising agency. She realized as she researched supermarket industry trends that she wanted to help solve

the issues surrounding food marketing in the U.S. Leibrock attended the French Culinary Institute and read

many books on local food systems and sustainable agriculture before returning to Austin in summer '07 and was

hired at the Sustainable Food Center.

The Farmers Market gives local growers direct access to urban residents in demand of freshly harvested

produce. In the future, with programs such as farm-to-cafeteria, farm-to-school and farm-to-work, local

farmers can connect with hospitals, universities, schools, and worksites to provide fresh produce and

strengthen the local economy. A Farmer's Market affects positive change by involving farmers and consumers in

a broad effort to promote reliable and nourishing local food sources while helping to sustain our environment.

The market increases weekend traffic to the downtown area and builds a sense of community.

Author Wendell Berry is one of the "grandfathers" of the "Local Foods movement." He neatly summarizes why it

is important: "Eating ends the annual drama of the food economy that begins with planting. Most 'eaters' in

America, however, are no longer aware that this is true. They do not think of themselves as participants in

agriculture. They think of themselves as 'consumers.' They buy what they want -- or what they have been

persuaded to want -- within the limits of what they can get. They pay, mostly without protest, what they are

charged. And they mostly ignore certain critical questions about the quality and the cost of what they are

sold: How fresh is it? How pure or clean is it, how free of dangerous chemicals? How far was it transported,

and what did transportation add to the cost? How much did manufacturing or packaging or advertising add to the

cost? When the food product has been manufactured or 'processed' or 'precooked' how has that affected its

quality or price or nutritional value? In the food industry -- as in any other industry -- the overriding

concerns are not quality and health, but volume and price. For decades now the entire industrial food economy,

from the large farms and feedlots to the chains of supermarkets and fast-food restaurants has been obsessed

with volume. It has relentlessly increased scale in order to increase volume in order (probably) to reduce

costs. But as scale increases, diversity declines; as diversity declines, so does health; as health declines,

the dependence on drugs and chemicals necessarily increases."

Folks who contribute to the "quality of life" of their town are heroes of mine. Their importance far exceeds

that of any Hollywood star, rock star or pro sports figure. Come to the soiree and seminar and become involved

in improving the quality of life in Midland.

Read more: http://www.mywesttexas.com/articles/2010/03/27/news/opinion/columns/burr_williams/burr_williams.

Pamelia Kurstin plays the theremin | Video on TED.com

Pamelia Kurstin plays the theremin Video on TED.com

Nathaniel's Story

: Violinist
Violinist Robert Gupta joined the LA Philharmonic iat the age of 19 -- and maintains a passionate parallel interest in neurobiology and mental health issues. He's a 2010 TED Fellow.
.Why you should listen to him: .Violinist Robert Vijay Gupta joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the age of 19. He made his solo debut, at age 11, with the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta. He's got a master's in music from Yale. But his undergraduate degree? Pre-med. As an undergrad, Gupta was part of several research projects in neuro- and neurodegenerative biology. He held Research Assistant positions at CUNY Hunter College in New York City, where he worked on spinal cord neuronal regeneration, and at the Harvard Institutes of Medicine Center for Neurologic Diseases, where he studied the biochemical pathology of Parkinson's disease.

Gupta is passionate about education and outreach, both as a musician and as an activist for mental health issues. He has the privilege of working with Nathaniel Ayers, the brilliant, schizophrenic musician featured in "The Soloist," as his violin teacher.

Violin Therapy


Gwynne Dyer

Gwynne Dyer: The lawless Roman Catholic Church
By Gwynne Dyer
Publish Date: March 23, 2010
The Biblical formula “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” is generally taken to mean that people should recognize the authority of the state in secular matters, but that is not necessarily what Jesus meant by it. It is certainly not the current practice of the Roman Catholic Church, although the rule in modern democracies is very clear: the law applies equally to everyone, even priests.

It’s more than two decades since evidence of widespread sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic clergy began to surface in the United States, Canada, and Ireland, and still the revelations continue. A “tsunami” of allegations of child abuse in Catholic schools and orphanages is spreading from Ireland across the rest of Europe, and at the same time the extent of the coverup is becoming clearer. Even the Pope may have been involved.

The priests who abused and raped the children were individuals, and such people exist in other walks of life too. But the decision to cover up their crimes was a greater crime, for it was made by men whose main concern was protecting the reputation of the large organization which they served, the Catholic Church. They were able to act as they did only because they genuinely believed, and still believe, that the Church is above the law.

No other organization makes this claim. Consider, for example, what would have happened if any other large organization had discovered that some of its members were exploiting their positions and their power to have sexual relations with children.

The organization in question might be a welfare department, or a boarding school, or a longterm care centre for severely handicapped children; it could be in the U.S., or Chile, or France. It makes no difference; the response would be the same.

The people in charge would immediately suspend the individual against whom the accusation has been made, so that he or she has no further contact with children until the matter has been fully investigated. If there was any actual sexual contact, they would immediately report it to the police, because that is a criminal offence. Not to report it would be a criminal offence on the part of the managers, and they could go to jail for it.

Well, a lot of child sexual abuse has been going on in the Catholic Church, and offences of this sort have been coming to the attention of the abusers’ superiors on a quite frequent basis for decades now. What did they do about it?

They hushed it up. They tried to swear the child victims and their parents to silence, exploiting their loyalty to the Church. They moved the pedophile priests to other schools or institutions where they generally still had contact with children, perhaps after some perfunctory “therapy”, perhaps not. And they didn’t report them to the police.

A few of the worst offending priests did go to jail in the end, but that was usually because those cases got beyond the Church’s ability to control. And no bishop, cardinal, or pope ever went to prison for his part in this massive coverup of grave crimes.

This is the really shocking thing about this scandal: not the evil actions of some priests, not even the fact that the Church was more concerned to protect those men than their victims, but the sheer contempt for “secular” law that permeates the entire Catholic hierarchy.

At a relatively low level, you can see it in the ignorant remarks of Monsignor Maurice Dooley, one of Ireland’s leading experts in canon law, who explained to Irish radio last week why priests did not have to report child abuse to the police. “Priests are not auxiliary policemen,” he said. “They do not have an obligation to go down to the police.” But they do: they are Irish citizens, and that is the law in Ireland.

Even Pope Benedict XVI doesn’t get it. In fact, he especially doesn’t get it. In 2001, when he was still known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and serving as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he sent a letter to Catholic bishops around the world instructing them to report all abuse cases to his office at the Vatican for confidential handling.

This was taken by most bishops as meaning that they should NOT report abuse cases to the police. Vatican sources now claim that that’s not what Ratzinger really meant by his letter, but they would say that now, wouldn’t they? His more recent statements and writings as pope certainly suggest that he still doesn’t understand that bishops and even cardinals must obey the laws of the country they live in.

As a head of state, Pope Benedict XVI is now truly above the law, so he need not fear the policeman’s knock at the door. But there are still many priests who committed horrendous crimes but have been protected by the Church. There are also a good many bishops who should face trial for covering up those crimes, but it will never happen. A dog-collar is as good as a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Gwynne Dyer is a London-based independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries.


Source URL: http://www.straight.com/article-299205/vancouver/gwynne-dyer-lawless-roman-catholic-church


Bible Verse: Peter 1, 5-8

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Profiting From Recession, Payday Lenders Spend Big To Fight Regulation

The influential $42 billion-a-year payday lending industry, thriving from a surge in emergency loans to people struggling through the recession, is pouring record sums into lobbying, campaign contributions, and public relations - and getting results.
As the Senate prepares to take up financial reform, lobbyists are working to exempt companies that make short-term cash loans from proposed new federal regulations and policing. In state capitals around the country, payday companies have been fighting some 100 pieces of legislation aimed at safeguarding borrowers from high interest rates and from falling into excessive debt.
Last year, as the U.S. House drew up a financial reform bill, some lawmakers who were courted by the companies and received campaign contributions from them helped crush amendments seeking to restrict payday practices, a review by the Huffington Post Investigative Fund has found.
The failed amendments would have capped payday interest rates - which reach triple digits on an annualized basis -- and would have limited the number of loans a lender could make to a customer. Working largely behind the scenes, the industry ended up dividing the Democratic majority on the 71-member House Financial Services Committee.

Payroll Loans

GRAPHIC: Paying for Influence »
Over the last decade, lenders specializing in short-term loans, along with company executives and others associated with them, have spent millions of dollars to win influence in Congress, according to an analysis of campaign finance data and lobbying records.

Huffington Post-Keith Epstein First Posted: 03- 2-10