One reader's rave

"Thanks for the newspaper with your book review. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with this terrific piece of writing. It is beautiful, complex, scholarly. Only sorry Mr. Freire cannot read it!" -- Ailene

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Monday, February 27, 2012

"Why Me?"? Why Not?

Sent: Mon, Feb 27, 2012
Subject: "Why Me?"

I resent Dan Gottlieb's assertion that the question "Why me?" is universal and inevitable. I never ask myself this, because I wasn't brought up to believe the Universe operates on a principle of justice. Perhaps Gottlieb was, and that's why this reaction seems "natural" and "inevitable" to him. But he shouldn't project this irrational expectation of his onto those of us who were taught a non-anthropocentric concept of cosmic order.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bad News from Playgrounds for Palestine

We must share some bad news that has a terrible impact on Palestinian children. On Monday, February 12th, 2012, Israeli bulldozers arrived before sunrise and without warning to the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem to demolish a newly completed community facility. The “cultural café” was built with funds from Playgrounds for Palestine and California-based Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA). The Jerusalem Municipality and the National Parks Authority carried out the demolition with Israeli police officers closing off the street and preventing nearby families from leaving their homes while the demolition was underway.

Jawad Siyam, director of the Madaa Creative Center in Silwan, which runs the cultural café and the sports field in front of it, lamented, "This was the only place in the area to meet, to sit together. It was the only place for children in Silwan. The children in the neighborhood were very upset to see their treasured place destroyed."

This was an illegal act apparently motivated by racism and contempt for Palestinian life and liberty and we are asking you to support this communty's effort to rebuild this simple public space that offers the only place where children in this area have to play.

The community is determined to rebuild the cultural café in time for a Mothers' Day Celebration on March 21, 2012 (Mothers' Day is celebrated across Arab countries on this date). Siyam says, "We are also waiting for the bill for the bulldozers." This practice of charging owners for demolition of their property began in 2011. “But,” he continues, "We won't pay for this. Someone from the center might have to go to jail but we will refuse to pay."



For more articles and information:

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Candye Kane Seeking Help with Cancer Costs

The blueswoman (and former porn star) sent this word out to her fans. I'm sending a few dollars her way:


Hello Everyone ---
As you may know, I have been diagnosed with a recurrence of the pancreatic carcinoid neuroendocrine cancer I had in 2008.   I will be giving myself injections of Sandostatin three times a day subcutaneously for eleven days, at the end of February, graduating to one injection a month after the initial trial.  Sandostatin is used to stop the progression of this disease and the subsequent surgery will be used to remove the tumor (s) and unblock the duct that has been causing me so much pain. There are no guarantees that they will be able to alleviate all of my pain permanently, or that they will be able to remove all of the cancer but this is the best chance I have to rid myself of this cancer again and get back to a better quality of life. If they are successful, I could be in remission for many years. Of course, this is our hope.
Because so much money has already been spent on flights and deposits for this upcoming European tour, I have chosen to postpone my surgery until the last week of April, first week of May. I will likely have surgery at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles on April 27th.  My doctors agreed that it is okay for me to wait for the surgery to be performed until this time.
It is my hope that by the last week of June, I will be ready to resume my busy touring schedule. It may be sooner than that, but I am planning on making the Simi Valley blues festival my first official appearance back.
I am sorry for this interruption in our schedule. I know how many of you depend on me to be the workhorse I am. I plan on letting this disrupt my life as little as possible. I have a good chance of recovering from this surgery quickly, the same way I recovered very quickly from the whipple procedure in 2008. My doctors at Cedars Sinai think I am a good candidate for this surgery, also called a whipple revision and that I will be able to work again a month later, just as I did, the last time. If you'll recall, I had surgery April 18, 2008 and was on tour with United by Music by June 18th.
Of course, this is a scary time for me and my family and closest friends. Michael Kinsman, Janiva Magness, Joey Scruggs, Barbara Hammerman and many others have already offered their assistance with benefits for me. I will definitely need financial help to survive both during the last two weeks of february whilst I endure these injections and also during the month of May and possibly the first part of June, when I am home healing and convalescing. Any help that any of you can give me to get the word out about needing assistance would help greatly. My paypal account is
My insurance has a $2500 deductible when I am hospitalized and I am still not sure whether the injections will be completely covered. They are  between $1500 to $5000 each injection. We are proceeding as if they are covered, unless we hear otherwise but I think it wise to plan ahead in case they are not covered.
Anyway, I am scared, sad and grieve for the changes that this will make to my body. I am lucky that I have some extra body weight still, that I can afford to lose during this time. 
Please keep me in your meditations and prayers and encourage others to do the same. I will need as much of your positive energy during this time as I did before. Maybe even more so this time, because I still remember clearly the intense pain of 150 stitches and the aftermath of my recovery period. It was the most intense challenge of my life. I am up for this next challenge and I know I will emerge triumphant. I am blessed to be a role model to so many, proving that anyone can overcome adversity with sheer guts and determination. I hope to continue to be able to do my job and spread love and hope through music around the world, for many more years to come.
If you can't come to a live show, please consider joining the National Blues Foundation at Kids under 18 can join for FREE and you can join for just $25! The Blues Foundation is committed to helping promote blues music and giving aid to blues musicians all over the world with their various programs. While you are there, you can cast a vote for me! I am nominated for BB King Entertainer of the Year and Best Contemporary Blues Female. You have until March 1st to join and vote. I am honored to be nominated amongst some of the best of my hardworking sister and brother musicians.
On a personal note, in spite of this latest family crisis, my sons Tommy and Evan are doing very well. Evan is playing in several local San Diego bands and working hard teaching music at the Boys and Girls Club in Carlsbad. Tommy has graduated from UC Berkeley and is now living in Oaxaca, Mexico, teaching English and Music to students at the Liberty Language School. Both of my boys are healthy and thriving and I couldnt be more proud of them.
Thank you again for all of your wonderful emails and words of encouragement during this difficult time in my life. I can win this battle with cancer. I have done it once and I will do it again! I have cancer. Cancer DOES NOT HAVE ME. Sending boatloads of love, strength, and white light to you in your own struggles!
Big Love and Gratitude,

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

"Pro-Life" Hypocrites Scuttle Breast Exams

I learned today that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has caved to right-wing pressure and stopped funding breast cancer screenings for poor women at Planned Parenthood facilities. Emergency donations are being solicited to make up the difference. I'm making one and you can too by following this link:

Follow-up: After several days of widespread protest, Komen reversed its decision:

Dear Eric,

Today, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation announced that it will continue to make grant funds for breast health and education available to Planned Parenthood health centers.

It's terrific news, and we are gratified that Planned Parenthood's partnership with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation will continue to make this care available to women in need. We are also grateful for the simply astonishing outpouring of support for women's health this week.

In the past few days, millions of Americans have rededicated themselves to protecting women's health and expanding access to lifesaving breast cancer screenings to every woman. This compassionate outcry of support for those most in need rose above political, ideological, and cultural divides, and will surely be recognized as one of our nation's better moments during a contentious political time. I am so proud and so grateful for each and every person who has contributed to elevating the importance of breast cancer prevention for so many women in need.

Over the last three days, Planned Parenthood Federation of America's Breast Health Fund has received more than $3 million from thousands of people across the country. Every dollar we received for this fund will go directly to breast exams and diagnostic services, as well as breast health outreach and education so that more women can receive this critical care.

Our first priority is to fill any gaps in service in the 19 communities where Komen Foundation grants support Planned Parenthood health centers' breast care programs. The extraordinary generosity will also allow us to help expand Planned Parenthood breast health services nationwide far beyond what we ever thought possible. Planned Parenthood provides nearly 750,000 clinical breast exams each year at health centers across the country, but we know there are hundreds of thousands of women who need these services but still don't have access to them. The Planned Parenthood Breast Health Fund will enable us to reach these women and ensure they have access to affordable, quality clinical breast exams.

In short, this outpouring of public support will lead more women to detect breast cancer earlier, and will save more women's lives.

We are enormously grateful that the Komen Foundation has clarified its grantmaking criteria, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Komen partners, leaders, and volunteers. What these past few days have demonstrated is the deep resolve all Americans share in the fight against cancer, and we are proud to be a leading source for women seeking preventive care.

Thank you for standing with Planned Parenthood, and for being a crucial part of the movement to protect and promote women's health. 


Cecile Richards, President
Planned Parenthood Federation of America

 P.S. We've heard so many inspiring and deeply moving stories from Planned Parenthood supporters this week. If you'd like to share your story on women's health, click here

I'm going to be tutoring a friend in calculus. Fortunately, although it's been a long time since I studied it, I've used it recreationally fairly often and believe I have a pretty good recollection of the basic derivations.