I'm bursting with pride! Mercer Island School District's Superintendent, Dr. Gary Plano, and Education Association President, Mike Radow, wrote this terrific article about our District's 2020 Vision, our strategic blueprint to prepare our students for the 21st Century. In the current test-centric environment, Mercer Island could have easily coasted along, satisfied with its routinely high scores. Instead, we've come together as a community to create schools for the future - today!
Annie Leonard "spend(s) a lot of time thinking about
stuff: where it comes from, where it goes, why it is designed the way
it is and stuff like that." She is so fired up about this topic that she made a 20 minute movieThe Story of Stuff to share what she's learned with the rest of us.
After I viewed the movie, I sent it to my 13-year old daughter and her friends.
To quote Leonard, "It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever."
Given that a company called Simply Self Storage is the #1 fastest growing business in America, according to Entreprenuer Magazine, proving that we have WAY TOO MUCH stuff . . . that's a very good thing.
I just watched the documentary "The Corporation" based on the book "The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Power and Profit" by law professor Joel Bakan. I'm so glad they made a movie version! I'm not sure that's a book I would've picked up, even given my devotion to non-fiction. And yet it presents a truly mind-shifting thesis: that we have afforded corporations the status of a person with all the comensurate rights, yet if you evaluated the corporation through the lens of a person, it would be diagnosed as a psychopath.
"The Corporation" is a must-see now that it's out on DVD. You will learn a lot while being entertained. Check out the website: www.the corporation.com.
It's a pretty balanced film too. The co-director said she approached every scene with the question "What would my Dad think?" (who's a businessman) -and her effort to have the movie speak to a broad audience shows.
I'm going to host a house party to show the movie sometime this summer - it's that important. If you live in the Seattle area, stay tuned for date and time.
Here's a brief summary of the movie (and book, if you're so inclined):
"One hundred and fifty years ago, the corporation was a relatively
insignificant entity. Today, it is a vivid, dramatic and pervasive
presence in all our lives. Like the Church, the Monarchy and the
Communist Party in other times and places, the corporation is today’s
dominant institution. But history humbles dominant institutions. All
have been crushed, belittled or absorbed into some new order. The
corporation is unlikely to be the first to defy history.
complex and highly entertaining documentary, Mark Achbar, co-director
of the influential and inventive "Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky
and the Media," teams up with co-director Jennifer Abbott and writer
Joel Bakan to examine the far-reaching repercussions of the
corporation’s increasing preeminence.
Based on Bakan’s book The
Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, the film is
a timely, critical inquiry that invites CEOs, whistle-blowers, brokers,
gurus, spies, players, pawns and pundits on a graphic and engaging
quest to reveal the corporation’s inner workings, curious history,
controversial impacts and possible futures. Featuring illuminating
interviews with Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Howard Zinn and many
others, "The Corporation" charts the spectacular rise of an institution
aimed at achieving specific economic goals as it also recounts
victories against this apparently invincible force."
I've been flattened by the latest super-virus. What is it with these recent colds? I was OK with the seven day variety but these tend to drag on for weeks . . . It's given me a perfect chance to watch movies, however, and I've missed so many great ones at the theatre that I've had plenty to choose from.
Hotel Rwanda is an incredibly important movie. Based on a true story, the film depicts the heroic actions of Paul Rusesabagina,
who risked his life to save over a thousand Tutsis and Hutus marked for death
during the Rwandan massacre. Using his connections as a four-star hotel manager,
Paul cajoles, bribes and blackmails military and government officials in his
frantic efforts to rescue 1,200 people.
As I watched what was essentially genocide unfold (over a three month period 800,000 Tutsis were murdered by the Hutu majority), I wondered what I was doing as this was happening, and the painful answer is . . . nothing. My daughter was a baby and I'm certain I was completely swept up in her young life. I don't even remember being aware the massacre was taking place, beyond some very vague awareness of Hutus and Tutsis. It makes me wonder what is happening right now that I will look back on later and wonder how I could be so unaware.
I just started reading a book about Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch called We Wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families - Stories from Rwanda. It was the Non-fiction Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Scott Sutherland writes a fabulous review of the book in Salon. Check it out here.
“One is tempted to call Paul Farmer’s passionate sensibilities and loving ambitions otherworldly, but only in sadness that there are far too few of him in the world.”
-Bob Shacochis, author
This inspiring book tells the true story of Paul Farmer. Doctor, Harvard professor, the recipient of a MacArthur genius grant, world-class Robin Hood, Farmer was brought up in a bus and on a boat, and in medical school found his life’s calling: to diagnose and cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most.
What spoke to me was his conviction that “the only real nation is humanity” and his inability to turn his back on the suffering in the world. The book also shows time and time again how radical change can be fostered in situations that seem insurmountable and underscores the difference one person can make. Paul Farmer criss-crosses the planet, from Boston to Haiti, Peru, Cuba and Russia changing minds and practices that ultimately benefit all of humankind.