Pulled From the Wreckage (Of Addiction)

Rev_tamara_lebak On Sunday, September 30, 2007, Rev. Tamara Lebak, Assistant Pastor at All Soul's Unitarian Church, in Tulsa, OK gave a wonderful sermon on addiction and the need to sometimes surrender in life entitled "Pulled From The Wreckage." She even sings a couple of times during her sermon and she has a beautiful voice.

This sermon lasts about 25 minutes and its well worth listening to. Here is part of the blurb describing the sermon from the Digg web site.

Those of us who have been touched by substance abuse are familiar with this sort of interpersonal wreckage: when those we love cannot stop themselves from drinking or using drugs. I have yet to meet a person who has not been affected by substance abuse, whether directly or through a friendship or family member. Tragically, fear and misunderstanding â the stigma we are all so familiar with â keep people from seeking care, limit public support for expanded services, and make it difficult for individuals to rebuild their lives once they are well. I believe that addiction is a disease and that the human experience in modern culture perpetuates a desire to make real contact with others and only offers cheap substitutes for that meaningful contact: drinking, drugs, shopping, video games, television. The holes in our soul cannot be filled by the idols our culture offers to us. Join me this Sunday as I explore the stigma of substance abuse and our common need for contact.

You can access it by going to the Digg web site at the link below.

Link: Digg - Pulled From the Wreckage (All Souls Unitarian Church, Tulsa, OK).


Doing business the old fashion way when a person's word still means something

Storycorps200 I love NPR's StoryCorps series. These are real stories told by real people and it has helped restore my faith in human kind. It has reminded me that the important things that happen in life happen between every day people who are kind to each other. One such story is the story about Cronig's Market and the relationship which developed between Robbie Cronig and Stever Bernier. It would be a far different world if people operated this way every where.

Robbie Cronig took over his father and uncle's market, Cronig's Market, on Martha's Vineyard which had been started in 1917. After working at the store his whole life he sold it to Stever Bernier who had worked at the store for years. It was sold on a handshake something very rare these days. Here is part of what it says on the StoryCorps web site:

Bernier says that shortly after he met Cronig, they discussed him buying the store.

"You slapped the keys in my hand and you said, 'Someday you're going to own this place,'" Bernier recalls.

"It was wonderful because [Bernier] was exactly what I wanted to take over the business and no way in the world could I refuse," Cronig says. "I didn't ask for a nickel down. I didn't ask for any paper, anything. And he was the most honest man I've ever done business with, ever."

"One of those nights, we shook hands and closed the deal," Bernier says. "There was no negotiations, there was no bickering, there was no nonsense — we just shook hands, nodded with approval and that was it. The deal was done."

To listen to Steve and Robbie tell their story click on the link below. The story is short, maybe 4 minutes or so. It is well worth the listen.

Link: NPR : A Martha's Vineyard Institution Changes Hands.


Elizabeth Eckford, a civil rights pioneer

Eckford200 Another one of my favorite podcasts is NPR's Driveway Moments. On September 4, 2007, NPR broadcast a story about Elizabeth Eckford, one of the 9 brave students who became known as the Little Rock 9 were pioneers integrating Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957.

Elizabeth was 15 at the time and is now 65 and still has trouble talking about her experience to this day. At the age of 15 she was vilified, castigated, spat upon, jeered, and harassed. We like to think of ourselves as a wonderful nation, land of the free and home of the brave, etc. but this self concept is more an idealization than a reality. We, Americans, have a long way to go to actualize our ideals.

It is important to remember, and pay tribute to the brave citizens who have helped us become a better people. Below is a short blurb from the NPR Driveway moment web site. You can listen to the audio clip by going to the web site by clicking on the link below. The clip is about 9 minutes and is well worth listening to.

A half-century ago, Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus ordered troops from the Arkansas National Guard to Central High School because the Little Rock School Board had decided to allow nine black students to attend the previously all-white school. One of those students, Elizabeth Eckford, recalls that time.

Link: NPR : One of the 'Little Rock Nine' Looks Back.


The sweetest words - "It's been really nice knowing you."

Hager_200 Another great StoryCorps story is the story which Kristi Hager told StoryCorps volunteer, Cherie Newman, about her mother, Norine. Kristi describes herself, when 9, laughing with her mother in deep and resonating ways, and when she describes her last meeting with her mom, when her mom said, "Kristi, it's been really nice knowing you," Kristi says, choking up as she weeps, "It was the sweetest thing I ever heard." I was listening in the car and it brought tears to my eyes.

This is one of the most moving mother-daughter stories I have ever heard. I highly recommend it. It takes about 4 minutes. Click on the link below to go to the NPR StoryCorps web site where you can listen.

Link: NPR : A Fit of Laughter That Lasts Today.


Psychiatric Hospital childhood friends meet again after 40 years

Weiss_200 Another great radio show is NPRs Story Corps. Listening to Donald Weiss interview Ralph Tremonte in the StoryCorps booth at Grand Central Terminal about their life together growing up as children in the children's unit at Rockland Psychiatric Center in Orangeburg, NY reminded me of all the colorful characters I met when I worked as a Psychiatric Social Worker at Kings Park Psychiatric Center on Long Island, and at Rochester Psychiatric Center in Rochester, NY from 1968 to 1976. Those were the days of deinstitutionalization when psychiatric patients were being discharged into the community. I have my professional stories to tell, but I think Donald and Ralph's is more interesting. It is well worth the 4 minutes or so to listen to it. Click on the link below to go to the NPR Story Corps web site where you can listen.

Ralph Tremonte and Donald Weiss grew up together at the Rockland Psychiatric Center in Orangeburg, N.Y., where they'd been committed as children.

After not seeing one another for some 40 years -- they were each released from the hospital as teenagers -- the pair was recently reunited at the StoryCorps booth in New York's Grand Central Terminal.

Link: NPR : A Sequel for Old Friends: Ralph and Donald.


Conscientious objectors serve their country by allowing themselves to be almost starved to death

Starvation I love Weekend America radio show. They have some fascinating stories covering things which I find very interesting and things which I often have never heard of before.

On the September 22, 2007 show they did a segment on the starvation project which involved 36 conscientious objectors in a year long experiment to study the effects of starvation on the human body and psyche back in the 1940s. These men served their country in a nonviolent way at great personal sacrifice for the benefit of their fellow human beings. Here is a brief description of the segment from the Weekend America web site:

During World War II, Henry Scholberg and 35 others agreed to starve for six months as part of the Minnesota Starvation Experiment. It was an avenue for conscientious objectors to serve, but not engage in battle. The experiment lasted a year: 12 weeks of prep time; 24 weeks of near-death starvation; and another 12 weeks to bulk them back up. Their experience has been captured in an American Radio Works documentary called "Battles of Belief in WWII." We talk to reporter and host Stephen Smith about this bizarre deal with starvation.

It is worth listening to and you can access it from the link below.

Link: Weekend America >> Saturday, September 22, 2007 >> The Starvation Project.


Naomi Klein interviewed on Democracy Now about her new book, "The Shock Doctrine"

On Monday, September 17,2007, Amy Goodman interviewed Naomi Klein on Democracy Now about Naomi's new book, "The Shock Doctrine". Naomi's observation is that free market capitalists wait until a societal crisis, or create a societal crisis, in order to implement their economic ideas, ideas which free and democratic people would never accept, approve, and implement had there not been a crisis. It is a fascinating thesis and Naomi makes a compelling case. She is a very articulate, and intelligent speaker and I highly recommend listening to her on this program. Below is a description of the show from the Democracy Now web site. Click on the link below to listen on line or download the show.

Pinochet's coup in Chile. The massacre in Tiananmen Square. The collapse of the Soviet Union. September 11th, 2001. The war on Iraq. The Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Award-winning investigative journalist Naomi Klein brings together all of these world-changing events in her new book, "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism." In her first national broadcast interview since the publication of "The Shock Doctrine," Klein joins us in our firehouse studio for the hour. Klein writes, "The history of the contemporary free market was written in shocks." She argues that "Some of the most infamous human rights violations of the past thirty-five years, which have tended to be viewed as sadistic acts carried out by anti-democratic regimes, were in fact either committed with the deliberate intent of terrorizing the public or actively harnessed to prepare the ground for the introduction of radical free-market reforms." [includes rush transcript]

Link: Democracy Now!: radio and TV news.


Made in America, radio show

Madeinusa I love Tom Ashbrook's show, On Point, which is produced and airs daily on WBUR Boston an affiliate of NPR. On Thursday, September 13, 2007 Tom had a great show entitled "Made In America". He discussed with guests how Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the economic impact of the corporations taking manufacturing globally is having on Americans. Manufacturing jobs have moved to China, Taiwan, Mexico and the middle class. American communities are suffering so Wal Mart can sell more stuff at lower prices, but these lower prices leave American communities impoverished as their citizens are thrown out of work.

In addition, manufacturing in other countries is done more cheaply because foreign manufacturers pollute the enviorment, exploit their workers, and engage in business practices illegal and immoral if practiced in the United States. If Americans want to hold manufacturers to higher environmental and human standards domestically how can we then purchase cheaper products from foreign countries who don't meet these same standards? Thirdly, it has become apparent with the tainted pet food, toothpaste, and toys that foreign products are not always safe and there is little accountability.

There are many good reasons to buy American but unfortunately, in many instances, the things we want to buy are no longer manufactured in the United States as American businesses have been driven out of business by cheaper prices demanded by the big box stores like Wal-Mart.

If you would like to buy American, and don't know or can't find what you are looking for, visit Stephanie Sanzone's web site, Still Made In USA, http://www.stillmadeinusa.com/. Stephanie is one of the guests interviewed by Tom on the show. To listen to the show, go to the On Point web page by clicking on the link below.

Link: On Point : Made in America - Made in America.


Military Wives

Military_wives On August 2, 2007, On Point had a show on Military Wives hosted by Jane Clayson. Ms. Clayson talks with several military wives about what life is like with their husbands away in the service. She also talks with Kristin Henderson who has written a book entitled "While They're At War" about what military wives or husbands can expect when there spouse is deployed.

This show depicts the dark underbelly of our wars of imperial conquest. It makes one wonder what our policy of pre-emptive war and so called "war on terror" is doing to us as a nation. In the preceeding article on this blog, we discussed the highest rate of suicide in the U.S. Army since the Gulf War. In listening to the "Military Wives" show you get some sense of the stress with which military families struggle.


You can listen to the show by clicking on the link below which will take you to the WBUR, On Point web page. I recommend the show. It is worth listening to.

Link: On Point : Military Wives - Military Wives.


What's the real deal with Gardasil, the vaccine for cervical cancer?

In early August, 2007, Matthew Rothchild, the editor of the Progressive Magazine, interviewed Judith Siers-Poisson about the PR push by Merck pharmaceuticals to market Gardasil, its vaccine against cervical cancer caused by HPV. Ms. Siers-Poisson provides fascinating information about how Merck has marketed this vaccine with the help of the Edleman Public Relations firm and Merck's poltical lobbyists. It is a fascinating story told in about 25 minutes. It is well worth listening to. You can download a MP3 file of the broadcast by clicking on the link below.

Link: Judith Siers-Poisson Interview | The Progressive.