How long do you think it will be before all of these people recognize that we have a common enemy?
Helmuth Hubener was executed at the age of seventeen, for the crime of listening to a foreign radio station and distributing the news he heard to the public, a crime judged to be "treasonable support of the enemy."
The production value doesn't look that impressive, but the film's story is worth knowing about:
"...the true story of the youngest known resistance group of World War II. When German teenagers Rudi Wobbe, Helmuth Hübener, and Karl-Heinz Schnibbe listen to illegal radio broadcasts from England, they learn that the Nazis have been lying. Determined to spread the truth, Helmuth develops a plan to spread anti-Nazi leaflets throughout Hamburg. Fifteen-year-old Rudi idealistically believes their small group can make a difference. When they are arrested by the Gestapo, Rudi and his friends are unprepared for the brutality of the Nazi regime. Accused of treason, the trio must face the infamous Blood Tribunal with their lives in the hands of Nazi party loyalists."
This is the video I'm going to include in my Indiegogo campaign for the Urban Yogini web comic/graphic novel. (You can see the first episode here.)
I'll be aiming to raise money to pay some professional artists to do a better job than I've done, for all 12 episodes, which I will be writing. The basic idea is that she's an ordinary young woman who is suddenly endowed with superpowers which she is compelled to use when she witnesses injustice. The catch is that she cannot use violence.
So... any feedback on the video? Anything missing? Any questions that stand out? Anything more you'd want to know if you were considering making a contribution?
...and yes, of course I'm serious about the Super Villain perk.
I'm very happy to hear this:
Victory! 10-year-old Sarah got a lung transplant!
On June 10, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) board unanimously passed a resolution to allow children under 12 to be considered for the adult lung transplant list on a case-by-case basis by OPTN’s Lung Review Board.
Three days before, a federal judge had granted Sarah and another boy - Javier Acosta, who is also in Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with end-stage cystic fibrosis - a temporary restraining order that allowed them to be considered for an adult lung transplant based on their Lung Allocation Scores (LAS).
On June 13, we received news that adult donor lungs became available and Sarah received a lung transplant.
Sarah got lungs quickly after going to the adult list because her LAS finally mattered and she was the sickest one on the list. She had an LAS of 91 out of 100 when transplanted.
We are in the early stages of recovery and Sarah’s battle has been rough, but we’re continuing to fight.
As difficult as this process has been post-surgery, we appreciate that OPTN has now opened the door for other children in Sarah’s unique position to become eligible for adult lung transplant.
The OPTN’s decision does not mean that children under 12 will automatically go to the front of the transplant line. They will not receive special treatment, but they will now be placed on the waiting list based on the severity of their illness the same way people 12 and over are listed.
We hope Sarah’s story moves people to become organ donors, because more than any ruling, it is the heroes who donate their organs that save lives.
Since I'm on the topic of positive change in society, here's a piece I wrote back in 1998 about the changes I witnessed over a little more than a decade of economic reforms in China. The tangible benefits are fairly easy to quantify: There are all kinds of measurements to show how the standard of living for average Chinese people has shot up as free-market policies have been introduced. What is not so simple to measure or quantify are the changes to the culture, to the "spirit" and the energy of the place. When I first visited, in 1986, the city was almost literally a ghost town, grey and dismal - and so dark that I couldn't even find enough light at nighttime to read or write postcards.
Only a few years later, I saw that the city had transformed dramatically:
Most striking - and impossible to quantify - are the changes in the faces of the people walking in the streets. Gone are the dismal and vacant looks as people shuffled their way to wherever they were going. Now, the faces seem more alive, more interested, more eager to get to their destinations.
Most impressive though, were the changes I found at the Shanghai Zoo.
There was a time when children like my daughter were routinely sent away to live in institutions. To say that they were "cared for" is a gross distortion. They were warehoused until they died, often abused: physically, psychologically and even sexually, and subjected to some barbaric forms of "treatment" for their conditions. I would like to think that I would have been one of the few parents who refused to subject their children to such a fate, and I think I know myself well enough to say that I would have been, but I will never be certain of that.
There is a lot that is wrong with the world now, and it is easy for me to focus on that as I watch my country slide into a brutal, authoritarian police state and government-induced economic collapse. However there are also beautiful things happening in the world, and there are some really positive trends in our evolution as human beings. This is one of them: That it is no longer routine to send developmentally disabled children to live as zoo animals to be tormented and ignored; That there are entire industries around caring for those with autism and other developmental disabilities; And that more and more parents are beginning to appreciate the unique beauty of their own children. This photo essay is one example of that trend:
Note: Corrina (pictured above) is a friend of ours, and has the same genetic condition that our daughter has - IDIC(15).
One of my dad's best yet:
"My recent book, The Wizards of Ozymandias, was dedicated "To the memory and spirit of Sophie and Hans Scholl and the White Rose, who reminded us what it means to be civilized." These young people – most in their teens or early twenties – lived in Nazi Germany and, fearing for the future of their country, took it upon themselves to write – and publicly distribute – leaflets critical of the government. They apparently operated from the premise that what transpired in their country was any of their business. They were soon found out, arrested on February 18, 1943, found guilty of "treason" on February 22, by the People’s Court, and summarily beheaded that same day.
"Modern-day voices of fascism, American style, have been urging the same kind of "due process" for such individuals as Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and now Edward Snowden, who have had the "arrogance" – in the words of a few of their critics – to do what members of the White Rose did in the early 1940s: to make public the wrongdoings of the American government including such intelligence agencies as the NSA. Political, legal, and media hacks have been stumbling over one another to get in front of network cameras to denounce these men, and to demand the same kind of swift punishment as was meted out to the Scholls and other White Rose members. This vicious reaction has been so void of intellectual reflection as to lead some of the babblers to insist that Assange be tried for "treason," overlooking the technical detail that Assange is not even an American, but an Australian! But in an age of a presumed worldwide American empire, such a matter can be overlooked, along with all the other moral, legal, and constitutional niceties that have been dumped into the memory hole."
Read the rest here.
We're not anti-religion. I even believe in "something" - just don't try to pin me down on what it is. I think that most religions are seeking understanding about our spiritual reality - but that no one religion has the whole story right yet. There are a few people in our son's life who are religious and who talk to him about their beliefs, and we just tell him that everyone has their own beliefs and this is what those people think. Anyway, I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised to see the cover of his latest book:
What do y'all think?
Sibelius, as those of you who read the news know, is the one who is forcibly preventing this ten-year-old girl from having a life-saving lung transplant. (Brace yourself for some actual reporting in this CBS piece.)
UPDATE: Yes! ("Judge Orders Girl Added to Adult Lung Transplant List") Maybe now I won't have to make that video after all. Of course the real issue is not who gets to be on what list, but why a bunch of a**hole bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. get to decide how organs may and may not be donated or exchanged. Of course there should be a free market in human organs, as Stephanie Murphy argues so eloquently.
(Photo courtesy of Dane Shitagi, The Ballerina Project.)
So, as I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm finding it really difficult to refrain from posting anything at all political, as promised in my New Year's Resolution. Maybe this says something about me, maybe it says something about the world I live in. I write about my garden and it's political. I write about air travel and it's political. I write about my daughter's genetic condition and it's political. I write about overthrowing the state through crypto-currency and it's political. There's no winning. So I'm revising my resolution a little, so I don't have to completely gag myself.
First though, I want to give myself a big pat on the back for mostly sticking to my resolution. I have a) stopped reading the news; b) stopped surfing the Internet (except a little on weekends); c) only gone on social networks on the weekend; d) refrained from commenting on political posts; and e) refrained from getting into political debates. This last one in particular I think should garner me some extra special recognition. I was thinking a parade. And it's all made a huge difference in my Getting Things Done.
So the one revision I'm going to make is this: I DO get to post - on my blog - things that are political in nature, as long as they are somehow related to the projects I am working on or researching (many of which are political - I'm casting myself a very wide net here.) I will also add that I can surf the Internet on weenends, since that kind of goes along with being on social networks. However I will still not be writing "political" articles (with the possible exception of the two I mentioned back in January that I had already started), and I will stick to the rest of my resolutions:
1) To not read the news;
2) To not surf the Internet (except on weekends);
3) To only be on social networks on the weekend;
4) To not comment on political posts or get into any political debates;
5) To not share political posts (except my own blog posts, as described above);
6) To not write "political" articles (with the exception of those mentioned above).
And for anyone who's keeping tabs on me: If you see posts from me on FaceBook or Twitter, etc. during the week, it's because anything I post on my blog automatically gets posted to Twitter and FB. I don't even have to be logged on. I did log on to FB this morning, in order to retrieve the photo above, and I'll allow myself little log-ons like that for a specific purpose as long as I don't read anything or post anything. ...just for those of you keeping tabs.
The picture, by the way, is from one of my favorite photographers: Dane Shitagi. I have several prints from his Ballerina Project, which you can also see here and on Facebook and Twitter. If you love ballet or New York City - or better yet, if you love both - then I really recommend checking him out.
Anyway, thanks for listening, and (some of you) for being my own personal AA of the InterWebs.
This looks FANTASTIC.
"Drawing and writing in real time from inside the courtroom, artist and WikiLeaks activist Clark Stoeckley here captures first-hand the extraordinary drama of The United States vs. PFC Bradley Manning, one of the most important and secretive trials in American history."
Here are a few exerpts:
The book is scheduled for release in September. You can pre-order here.
The fabulous Amanda Billyrock is now making "handmade cartoons" to explain basic economic concepts. Here, she zips through the first chapter of Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson. And all I have to say is "Halleluja!!!" This is exactly what the world needs. Simple, fun, entertaining little snippets to get across basic concepts that you'd think were common sense but then you look around and realize that they've just never occured to most people. Amanda's new website will be launching this coming Saturday, June 8th.
"Evolution acts to optimize fitness (the scientific term for how many babies you leave behind), not health (how physically fit and free from disease we are). ...there is even some correlational evidence that people we might currently describe as “less healthy” have more children and therefore might have higher fitness. Evolution doesn’t really care about health past the point where you’re healthy enough to make a baby. And if our goal is to achieve a modern ideal of health, recreating the conditions to which our ancestors were putatively adapted may not help us get there."
Read the rest here.