Archive for March, 2009

darwina1If I could remember everything packed into this tight little beauty, I would be proud of my tired old brain. That didn’t happen but to my surprise for once I enjoyed reading about evolution. My normal behavior is to avoid the topic because of all those long words difficult to pronounce and spell. I just don’t botter. Then Jerry A. Coyne gets all of evolution into less than three hundred pages in Why Evolution Is True, an evolved accomplishment.

I don’t need to persuade you on the topic as that is Coyne’s task. I want to persuade you to read the book so here is a tiny nibble from the middle and the end of the book. “If the history of science teaches us anything, it is that what conquers our ignorance is research, not giving up and attributing our ignorance to the miraculous work of a creator. . . . Human beings may be only one small twig on the vast branching tree of evolution, but we’re a very special animal. . . . We are the one creature to whom natural selection has bequeathed a brain complex enough to comprehend the laws that govern the universe.” Well said my good professor. Charles Marlin

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mary1To celebrate Founders Day March 13th, the Clarion County Community Foundation placed flowers on all the memorial donor graves. Here is Mary E Shaner’s in Salem Lutheran Cemetery later on March 30th with the Founders Day flower covered with a dusting of snow. Mary created the Mary E Shaner Scholarship Fund through a bequest in her will for scholarships at Keystone High School in Knox. She was both a teacher and librarian in the district for many years. Charles Marlin

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picture-112aA number of years ago I found these paper, cotton and chenille Cigarette Smoking  Bunnies in a thrift store.   Even though they are only three inches tall,  they are my favorite Easter decoration and have a place honor on the center of the mantle.

Happy Easter.  John Hink

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William L. Iggiagruk Hensley has written a wonderful autobiographical romp through Inupiat history, Alaskan statehood, and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act establishing Alaska Native rights to 44 million acres and a billion dollars.  Maybe chump change in retrospect but for the time a wonderful victory.  You will enjoy his life and career in Fifty Miles from Tomorrow: A Memoir of Alaska and the Real People, and learn what we should have been shown as children in school.

His Inupiat childhood had much to tell the rest of us about family, community, living with an environment, and respecting culture, not to mention their food.  Pass a bowl of akutuq and save some utraq for latter.  Their deprivation caused by naluagmiut and Federal policy could have shown us lessons of immeasurable grace and tolerance in our national and world affairs.

This is a politician’s story that does not end in disgrace or embarrassment.  His flaws do not involve greed or incompetence.  Good story, well told.  Charles Marlin

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Book lovers immerse themselves in the look, feel, and carry of a book even before they begin to taste the content.  They often forget it was packaged to encourage impulse buying, and that the author wrote to be paid, and that not every interesting idea is worth a book.

Tom Watson created a new word CauseWired, then birthed Causewired: Plugging In, Getting Involved, Changing the World around the word.  The book is about a tribe of American millennials who are so deeply involved in online social activism that they are the new tomorrow.  When they click a cause onto their page they are baptized into a philanthropy that will change America and the world into a shining city on a hill or something like that.

Most of the book is stories of people using the internet to finance and elect political candidates, finance relief efforts involving poverty and natural disaster, and stop the crime of Darfur.  Only in the last pages do we find Watson hedging his prophetic vision with caution that tomorrow may be late arriving.

Buy the book now if you want it because I don’t foresee a second edition.  There, prophesy is not so hard to do.  Charles Marlin

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Old-Fashioned Science like his sister Old-Fashioned Religion often got things wrong but they filled the gap until enlightenment found better replacements.  The same is not true of Andrea Barrett’s Servents Of The Map: Stories although she does use old-fashioned science as context for her warm, aching stories.  The stories have science and characters connecting one to the other, yet they don’t need those connections to stand on their own as novellas.

You will leave each story with a longing for one or more of the characters to find peace, love, happiness, or some sense of completeness.  You feel that each character once lived in their forgotten time and place and if you had been there you might have been of some help.  And that is what I call a rich reading experience.  Charles Marlin

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bo3mmbgkkgrhgoh-cqejlll1c88bjwvec4dew_11Al Pina is a principled man of action who chairs the Florida Minority Community Reinvestment Coalition, and in the past has been best known as an agitator for minority banking services. He has changed course now that he is aliened with the Greenlining Institute and is going after fat white Florida foundations for a big chunk of their grant monies. Critics are writing his prior racial advocacy has become a campaign for racial supremacy.

When confronted with a messy situation I like to break it into lists and then tally a score, a little like your mother telling you to count your blessings. My four lists may not be to your total liking, but you’re free to edit them in any way you like. I know my readers are all clever and fair.

Actions Proposed

1. Large white controlled foundations should relinquish mission control of grant monies on an escalating scale to coalition rules.

2. Coalition rules shall redirect large shifts of grant monies to racially identified nonprofits.

3. To qualify nonprofits must be controlled by boards with racial minority control and administered by racial minority staff.

4. All grants shall be approved on the basis of racial minority control and administration, and on the basis of a majority of clients being a racial minority.

5. Uncooperative foundations will be punished by legislative and street action.

Actions Avoided

1. The coalition does not propose to increase philanthropic giving by racial minorities.

2. The coalition does not propose to increase or strengthen racial minority foundations.

3. The coalition does not propose to increase accountability and efficiency of racial minority nonprofits.

4. Issues beyond the insular minority community are not of interest to the coalition.

5. The coalition does not propose any self-evaluation of actions vs mission statement.

Principles Assumed

1. Coalition goals take precedent over donor intent.

2. Coalition goals may abridge foundation trustee stewardship.

3. The coalition world view is the accepted standard.

4. The poor are racial minority poor.

5. Racial minority nonprofits hold a superior claim to grant monies.

6. Racial minority community development is insular.

7. Any objections to coalition actions are a rebuke of Al Pina’s relationship with God.

Side Effects

1. Nonprofits previously supported by affected foundations will suffer significant reductions in support.

2. Nonprofits in order to qualify and remain so by coalition rules must cleanse their boards and staff of whites if such exceed fifty percent.

3. Nonprofits must structure and locate their services so they avoid attracting a white majority of clients.

4. Philanthropic support of foundations does not respond to coercion. Charles Marlin


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