The Real Dr. Doolittle Show with Val Heart

Judith Trustone, Cats’ Secret Guide to Living with Humans | The Real Dr. Doolittle Show | Animal Talk |


Torture the New Black? How We’ve Come Accept Cruel Treatment for Anyone Perceived as an ‘Enemy’

How “enemy creep” is Guantanamo-izing America.

By Karen J. Greenberg

Just in case you thought that “political correctness” had been thoroughly discredited in the culture wars of the 1990s, it’s back — and this time it’s being treated as a stalking horse for terrorism and getting pummeled all over again.

You only had to listen to the recent hearings convened by New York Republican Congressman Peter King on radicalization and the Muslim religion to know that, if the ascending right in Washington (and elsewhere) has its way, the age of tolerance in America is over.  In the name of putting political correctness in its grave, a surprisingly sizeable contingent of politicians, judges, and other influential figures are now calling for transforming draconian behavior — that once would have made Americans blanche — into the order of the day.

Blaming Political Correctness for Terrorism

King’s hearings underscored the urgency with which a growing cast of influential characters seeks to open yet wider the door to the sort of anti-democratic (and anti-constitutional) actions that have been woven into counterterrorism policy since September 11, 2001. As chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, King made it his job to acknowledge the obstacle that — as he might put it — excessive tolerance for minorities, foreigners, or other religions and cultures can pose. “To back down [from these hearings],” he insisted when criticized, “would be a craven surrender to political correctness and an abdication of what I believe to be the main responsibility of this committee — to protect America from a terrorist attack.”

It was hardly the first time in the Obama era that political correctness has been identified as a major cause of terrorism, or at least as a major roadblock to confronting terrorism.  One need only think back to the November 2009 killing spree in which Major Nidal Hasan, a Muslim Army psychiatrist, fatally gunned down 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas. In an op-ed penned several days after the attack, Republican Congressman John Carter, who represents the district where Fort Hood is located, pointedly connected political correctness to the dangers posed to the country by terrorism, warning, “Political correctness is killing Americans and undermining the national security of the United States.”

To read the rest of this article go to:

Torture the New Black? How We’ve Come Accept Cruel Treatment for Anyone Perceived as an ‘Enemy’ | Ne

Global Kindness Revolution Teleseminar Part I

If you missed Part I of the Global Kindness Revolution Teleseminar, not to worry. You can access the complete audio file for the Global Kindness Revolution Part I using the link below:

Global Kindness Revolution

Global Kindness Teleseminar Part II

The Global Kindness Revolution Part 2

Mini Seminar

Free & Open to the Public

Led by Judith Trustone of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, Founder of Sagewriters & TrustOneKindness

Program Description— The Global Kindness Revolution is an antidote to violence and the lack of civility on both sides of prison walls. In this two-part program (the second part is on March 23) we explore the connection between spirituality, kindness, and prisons; how (and why) this touches those of us who are not in prison; and how we might open deeper places of kindness within ourselves.

Instructions—To join the live call: dial 712-432-0075. When you hear the prompt, enter access code 329574#. You’ll be announced by a chime sound. Say your name and where you are calling from, then press *6. Programs usually last about 1 hour. We record these calls and the recording is available until the next month’s Spirit Gathering. To listen afterwards at your convenience, dial 712-432-1085, access code329574#

Three Mile Island Woman

In remembrance of the upcoming anniversary of the Three Miles Island nuclear disaster and its relevance today, I’m posting “Three Miles Island Woman” which was published in a variety of places, none of which I’ve recorded. When friends who were sailing around the world stopped for a while in New Zealand, they saw the poem in a New Zealand Magazine and then took it around the world with them, for the whole world was shocked and talking about Three Mile Island, just like today.

Three Mile Island Woman
By Judith Trustone
March 28, 1979

Home again
sparkling kitchen
shag carpet hiding
paranoia … breathed
dreamed just around the edge
of every moment.
She stares at the glass
In her hand eyes searching for atomic
particles swallowing
fear she drinks
Dust dancing in sunbeams
looks menacing.
Afraid to breathe eat sleep
she covers her swollen
belly with sweaty hands.

Life Without Parole: When You Know You’ll Spend Your Whole Life in Prison

Even prisoner advocacy groups focus mainly on the conditions of confinement, without necessarily questioning sentences that drive prisoners to despair.

By Liliana Segura

Shawangunk Correctional Facility sits on a long swath of land in Wallkill, NY, just west of the Hudson River, and about an hour and 45 minutes north of New York City. Opened in 1985, last year marked the prison’s 25th anniversary, which was celebrated at Shawangunk’s “clubhouse” by some 200 officials. The local Wallkill High School Choir sang the national anthem and the prison was bestowed with the “Pride of Ulster County Award,” a recognition of its benefit to the community.

For prisoners’ families living downstate, Shawangunk is nothing to celebrate. Getting there can be prohibitively costly, especially if you don’t drive. Buses to nearby New Paltz cost more than $40 round-trip from Manhattan and leave you ten miles away. A train to Beacon, across the river, is cheaper, but cabs have been known to charge $40 to take you to the prison. The “free bus” that brings New Yorkers to upstate prisons only visits Shawangunk once a month, and getting a spot can be tricky. Inmates must put in a request for a limited number of tickets well in advance.

Most people visit on weekends. On this particular Sunday, a piece of paper taped to the wall in the visitor’s office announces that the free bus is being suspended for the next two months.

“Where’s the ID for her?” a young, white officer asks a very pregnant African American woman as she prepares to take off her shoes to go through the metal detector. “Her” is a young toddler in pigtails, shuffling around in her snow boots. Her mother runs outside, exasperated. She’s forgotten the birth certificate in the car. It’s lucky she has it. People have been refused visits for far less.

We fill out the usual forms—name of the prisoner we’re visiting, car model and plate number, relationship to prisoner and “reason for visit.” We get a key for a small locker, where we put items we’re not allowed to bring in. Today, these include a pen, my sweater (no zippers allowed) and my knit hat. “An inmate could use it to escape,” says a guard with a sardonic smile.

Yet Shawangunk seems more relaxed than other maximum security facilities. No one is making me take off my underwire bra here (although that has been known to happen) and, today at least, no one is being searched for drugs. With the exception of the man at the desk who seems to relish his little perch of authority, the guards are respectful of visitors.

The visiting room is full. As in every other prison I’ve gone to, visitors are mostly women, most of them non-white. There’s an outside area with picnic tables available for warmer days. Like the rest of New York, it is currently covered in snow.

It’s the second time I’m visiting Nick and I’m feeling bad. He has written me many time since the summer and I have not been good at keeping up. He is serving life without parole for a grisly rape and murder on Long Island that he says he did not commit. I’ve met too many men exonerated for similar crimes in New York not to take his claim seriously. But that’s not the point of my visit; he does not expect me to help him get out. As a leader within the prison’s Lifer’s Association, he wants to talk about sentencing reform, and so do I, along with two other visitors, a woman who works for an organization that provides re-entry services, and a social worker I’ve known for years.

To read more go to:

Life Without Parole: When You Know You’ll Spend Your Whole Life in Prison | Civil Liberties

Professors: Prison fails mentally ill women

By Chris Foreman
Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rosemary Gido calls state prisons asylums for the invisible, particularly women.

A criminology professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Gido said an estimated 42 percent of women in U.S. jails and prisons are mentally ill, compared with 24 percent of men.

In Pennsylvania, the Department of Corrections reports that 44 percent of female inmates and 18.6 percent of male inmates have mental health issues.

Women are more likely to have a co-occurring disorder — meaning mental health problems combined with drug or alcohol abuse — and a history of trauma, according to Gido, the former director of program and policy analysis for the New York State Commission of Corrections.

“We have primarily put people in prison who are addicts,” said Gido, who collaborated with IUP alumna Lanette Dalley on a book, “Women’s Mental Health Issues Across the Criminal Justice System.”

“I very much sympathize with correctional systems and jails and wardens because (their facilities) are the repository for these people, and they pretty much have to make do with what they have.”

Gido and Dalley, a professor at the University of Colorado-Denver, attribute the increase in mentally ill inmates to the failures of deinstitutionalization and the “War on Drugs” over the past half-century, as well as mandatory sentencing laws. Their book includes 14 years of research on jailed women’s mental health needs.

William DiMascio, executive director of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, said women “really get short shrift” because the state system is generally geared toward the men. His Philadelphia-based organization advocates for inmates, their families and former prisoners.

He cites clothing for female inmates that often seems better suited for men because the waists on the pants are too big and the legs frequently need to be rolled up at the bottom. “It’s almost as if there’s been an attempt to take away femininity that they might otherwise have,” DiMascio said.

To read more go to:

Professors: Prison fails mentally ill women

Throwing Away the Key: Michelle Alexander On How Prisons Have Become the New Jim Crow

By Arnie Cooper

In 1998 Michelle Alexander had just been hired by the northern-California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (aclu) to head its Racial Justice Project. She was running to catch the bus to her new office when she glimpsed a bright orange poster proclaiming, “The Drug War Is The New Jim Crow.”

“Jim Crow” refers to local and state laws enacted between 1876 and 1965, mainly in the South, that mandated racial discrimination and segregation. At the time she saw the poster, Alexander considered it absurd. “I clung to the notion that the evils of Jim Crow are behind us,” she writes. But after a few years of working for the aclu on issues of racial profiling and drug enforcement, she was forced to reevaluate: “I began awakening to the reality that this criminal-justice system is not just another institution infected with racial bias, but the primary engine of racial inequality and stratification in the U.S. today.”

Alexander now believes that the “War on Drugs” was the creation of conservative political strategists who wanted to appeal to poor and working-class whites resentful of the gains African Americans made during the civil-rights era. That it resulted in disproportionate drug-arrest rates in poor communities of color may even have been part of the plan, she says. In her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (The New Press), Alexander cites some alarming statistics: for example, in 2004, 75 percent of all people imprisoned for drug offenses were black or Latino, despite the fact that the majority of the country’s illegal-drug users and dealers are white.

The child of an interracial couple (her mother is white; her father, now deceased, was African American), Alexander witnessed directly the challenges of racial integration. After her parents had married in Chicago in 1965, Alexander’s mother was promptly disowned by her family and excommunicated from her church. The newlyweds ended up moving to Stelle, Illinois, a three-hundred-person progressive intentional community, where Alexander was born in 1967. When she was eight, her father, who worked for ibm, was transferred to San Francisco, and the family moved to the Bay Area. Although he was one of the office’s top salespeople, he was unable to climb the corporate ladder and ended up leaving his job. Alexander attended many schools, both public and private, which exposed her to people from diverse backgrounds. Later, when she saw how severely black youths are treated by the criminal-justice system, she recalled how often she’d seen white teens participate in the same criminal activities.

Alexander’s maternal grandparents eventually did accept their daughter’s husband and their granddaughter. Seeing them come around gave Alexander hope that society can change. “My grandfather was extremely hostile to my mother marrying my father,” she says, “and he ended up voting for Jesse Jackson for president.”

No longer a practicing attorney, Alexander currently teaches courses on race, civil rights, and criminal justice at Ohio State University. She stays busy caring for her three children and spreading the information in her book to those behind bars and to communities affected by mass incarceration.

Cooper: In the preface to your book you say you wrote it for “people like me — the person I was ten years ago.”

Alexander: Before I began my work on criminal-justice reform at the aclu, I believed a lot of our society’s myths about drug use and crime in the black community. For example, I believed that people of color were more likely to sell drugs than whites. Not true. I believed that incarceration rates could be explained by crime rates. Not true. Only after years of working on these issues did my eyes open.

Cooper: You’ve written that “nearly a quarter of African Americans live below the poverty line today, approximately the same percentage as in 1968.” The poverty rate among black children is actually higher now than it was during the civil-rights era. What went wrong?

Alexander: What happened is the movement of the 1960s was left unfinished. People assumed that mere changes to the laws would produce a major social transformation, even if our underlying consciousness didn’t change. Martin Luther King Jr. repeatedly reminded us that there were going to be black mayors and legislators and other elected officials, but these developments in and of themselves would not produce the necessary social change. We need a radical restructuring of our economy and our society in order to ensure that poor people of all colors gain equal access to opportunity, jobs, housing, and healthcare.

The energy and passion of the civil-rights movement dissipated once lawyers took over and attention shifted to the enforcement of antidiscrimination laws and the implementation of affirmative action. A sprinkling of people of color throughout institutions of higher learning and in positions of power created the illusion of greater progress than had actually been made. It also helped distract us when the backlash to the civil-rights movement gave birth to the “get tough on crime” era and the rise of mass incarceration.

Cooper: But you do agree that reform had to begin with changes in the laws?

Alexander: We certainly needed antidiscrimination laws. Absolutely. It’s not as if the laws in and of themselves were a mistake. What was a mistake was the abandonment of the poor-people’s movement that King and others were launching at the end of his life. Civil-rights activists didn’t anticipate that the right wing and former segregationists would build a new system of control that literally locked up those who were left behind.

Cooper: You’ve said that a racial caste system — slavery — was written into the original Constitution.

Alexander: The Constitution was largely a compromise struck with the Southern states, which wanted assurance that they’d be able to retain their slaves as property. So the “three-fifths clause,” which counted each slave as three-fifths of a human being, was included in the Constitution. Without that compromise we would not have emerged as a unified nation. That racial caste system has remained with us in some form or another ever since.

Cooper: What do you say to those who view the Constitution as the final word on our freedoms?

Alexander: I believe in the Constitution as a living document. The original Constitution denied the right to vote to women, slaves, black people, and even white men who didn’t own property. That document isn’t much to be proud of, except that it contained the seed of an egalitarian democracy. It’s this seed that is deserving of our reverence and respect. But a blind loyalty to the original document amounts to a commitment to preserving the wealth and political power of a few.

Cooper: People are generally familiar with the term “Jim Crow,” but I’m not sure they know its origin.

Alexander: Jim Crow laws were state and local laws enacted after the Civil War mandating “separate but equal” status for African Americans. The most infamous example was the segregation of public schools, public restrooms, public transportation, and so on. These laws authorized discrimination in employment, housing, education — virtually all aspects of life.

The phrase “Jim Crow” is typically attributed to “Jump Jim Crow,” a song-and-dance caricature of African Americans performed by white actors in blackface in the early nineteenth century. The laws themselves were part of an effort by the political and economic elites in the South to decimate a growing coalition between poor whites and former slaves and their descendants during the agricultural depression of the late 1800s, when the Populist movement was born. This movement challenged the corporate power of railroads and the plantation owners. It was one of the first major, meaningful political alliances between poor whites and blacks in the country, and it was having amazing success. The white ruling class was alarmed and proposed laws that would disenfranchise blacks. It waged campaigns that appealed to racial biases, resentments, and stereotypes of black people — essentially persuading poor whites not to align themselves with poor blacks, because whites were “better than that.” Poor whites also feared that the disenfranchisement laws aimed at African Americans could be aimed at them as well if they failed to distance themselves from their black allies. So many poor whites joined the effort to secure the Jim Crow laws, believing that removing blacks from politics would help facilitate economic reforms.

To read more go to:

The Sun Magazine | Throwing Away The Key

Group of formerly incarcerated people visit area, discuss prison reform

They have turned around their own lives, and now they want to turn around the di rection of the U.S. prison system.

That is part of the message being presented by a group of formerly incarcerated people from across the country that employs the slogan “serving our country after serving our time.”

Dubbed the Formerly In carcerated & Convicted Peo ple Movement, the group met Monday through Wednesday in Montgomery and Selma.

It is the first time the group has gathered in one location, and the choice of Montgom ery and Selma was no acci dent.

“It is like our path was cut in the civil rights movement, and we are just bringing it back where it started,” said Dorsey Nunn, a rights advo cate and former inmate from San Francisco who helped organize the meeting.

The group met Monday in Montgomery to discuss strategy.

Members marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma on Tuesday and met with state leaders at the State House on Wednesday.

The Rev. Kenneth Glas gow of Dothan helped orga nize the gathering. Glasgow is the founder of The Ordinary People Society, an out reach group for inmates and former inmates.

Glasgow said group mem bers Wednesday spoke with legislators, Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb and Gov. Robert Bentley.

Glasgow said the formerly incarcerated bring a valuable voice to discussions about prison reform.

To read more go to:

Donate to Help Make this a Kinder Gentler World!



Our Story

My vast experience leading Healing Circles for a variety of populations around the country through the decades has given me the opportunity to see the power of bringing people together for soothing and nurturing their spirits. The enthusiastic response by thousands of people, especially in prison, all hungry for simple acts of kindness, as well as the disgust of the general public for our culture’s violence and lack of civility, has convinced me that we must try a fresh, unique approach to Kindness as an antidote to violence and meanness.

This is how I see it working. In order to change public perceptions and therefore public policy regarding human rights, a massive public education effort is required. I want to compile a workbook about how to do kindness projects for every population, from homeless shelters, to schools to corporations. I hope to reach as broad an audience as possible, and will do this through my extensive network of organizations, individuals and religious groups committed to social change, Each group will have a specific chapter geared to their needs, tried and true techniques they can incorporate, with specific exercises. Once completed, I will approach corporations as part of their community give-back to purchase the workbook in volumes for distribution to non-profits working with low-income and poor populations which will generate some income to keep the project going in the future. I or one of our supporters will be available to each group to help them design and implement kindness projects specific to their needs and populations. I’ll promote workshops and panel discussions about programs to use kindness as an antidote to violence like they’re doing in Kansas City with gangs.

As a companion to the workbook, I want to produce a training DVD demonstrating how to start your own Kindness Circle. I will write accompanying articles about the various kindness projects, the responses by the different populations, especially in prisons, which should help change the public’s attitudes toward prisoners to awaken compassion to seek alternatives to incarceration. I’ll also provide research about kindness, will create a national network of the many other kindness projects in this country, and attempt to work with them to expand their focus to prisons and families of prisoners. Once that is established I want to connect with the kindness projects now underway in 91 countries around the world. I will do a regular Kindness Hour local TV show where I interview those giving and receiving kindness. People are sick of the violence, the high costs of incarceration and the lack of funds for  education and health care as a result of burgeoning prison budgets, and the lack of civility in our culture that is unfortunately becoming the norm.

The Impact

Science has proven that individuals, both those giving and receiving kindness raises their serotonin and oxytocin levels, the hormones that create feelings of happiness, compassion and love of mankind, which explains why Kindness Circles have such a powerful, healing effect. It also raises levels in those seeing acts of kindness, those hearing about it or even those reading about it. By contributing to this campaign you could be making a significant contribution towards making this a happier, safer, kinder world.

What We Need & What You Get

DVD- $9,000
filming, production, editing , equipment, studio time, cover design, duplication, distribution

Book- $7,000
setup, cover design, duplication, distribution

Printing and Mailing Costs for Kindness Cards- $2,000

Promotion- $2,000
Flyers, Newspaper Ads, Readings, Travel

Other Ways You Can Help

Please share this campaign with your friends, family, colleagues, social media networks and anyone else you think might be interested. Every donation helps and increases your happy hormone!

To make a donation go to:

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