Category: Things We Can Do

  • Rejecting “Us versus Them” in the Aftermath of Paris

    Rejecting “Us versus Them” in the Aftermath of Paris

    The day after the attacks on Paris, I had a spaghetti dinner in Prenzlauerberg (a neighborhood in the former East Berlin) with a German man I am just getting to know. We talked about our concerns that these deaths would lead to more escalation in political violence, especially actions by the U.S. and member states of the EU that could lead to more deaths. But we are an unusual pair of people to be having this conversation. He is a former member of the Red Army Faction (RAF), and I am an American whose only brother was killed by the Red Army Faction in 1985 as part of an attack on the US airbase on Rhein-Main (my dinner partner was already serving time in prison for other deaths at the time). For the two of us, the pain of families in Paris, Beirut, Syria, and many other places in the world torn by political violence is not abstract.

  • Pleading for a father’s life after a mother’s murder

    Pleading for a father’s life after a mother’s murder

    I felt such a sense of horror when I read about a 14-year old girl who petitioned the state of Missouri asking them not to execute her father for the gruesome murder of her mother and sister. Her petition was turned down, and the state executed Richard Strong this week. The state willfully orphaned her, saying that this is what “justice” looked like, with the vocal support of some of her relatives. It’s like a scene from some movie about a king or queen executing a peasant to show how powerful he is, and a child begging for mercy to no avail. Except that this is real.

  • No one Should Kill or Die for my Smartphone

    Even though I have a fair amount of gadgets (MacBook Pro, G1 smartphone, Lumix camera, Flip, the list goes on…), I have not done a great job tracking the impact of buying and using them. Well, it’s time for me to make sure that my enjoyment of these things doesn’t cost other people their lives. […]

  • I Almost Bought the Story of Stuff at Powell’s Last Night

    What a treat to see Annie Leonard at Powell’s last night talking about the new The Story of Stuff book. Powell’s ran out of copies for sale, so I left empty-handed even though I was all set to buy it. I’ll have to trot down there later for a copy. Leonard’s approach to engaging people […]

  • The folks who brought you the 40-hour workweek…

    I was pleased to see Larry Kleinman’s Op-Ed in the Statesman Journal this weekend, about how Oregon’s minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage, and he explains the role of Oregon’s unions in keeping us ahead of the feds. But, as Larry explains, the point here is that the unions don’t just wind […]

  • Another Portland-Iran Solidarity Rally Tuesday

    Got this from Gabi’s blog: Local folks are calling for another vigil in solidarity with the people of Iran. This vigil will be Tuesday, June 23 at 7 PM in Pioneer Courthouse Square. Thanks also, Gabi, for posting this LA Times article about the death of Neda Agha-Soltan, who was killed on the street in […]