"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded.
And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager

With Ya, my Ga tutor in Mallam
The Rev. Mike Kinman
Executive Director
Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation
Age: 38

Check out Forsyth School ...
where Robin teaches and
the boys attend.

Since you're already blowing time surfing,
why not do some cool stuff

  • Watch the Make Poverty History videos
  • Watch Sara McLachlan's "World on Fire" video
  • Take a seat at Oxfam America's Hunger Banquet
  • Look at the "Eight Ways to Change The World" photo exhibition
  • See how rich you are on the Global Rich List
  • Make a promise to do something cool -- and get people to do it with you
  • Use your computer to fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases

    While you're at it, do these things
  • Join the ONE Campaign to Make Poverty History
  • Join the Episcopal Public Policy Network
  • Join Amnesty International
  • Subscribe to Sojourners Online newsletter about faith, politics and culture
  • Sign the Micah Call and join other Christians in the fight against poverty
  • Subscribe to a great new magazine about women and children transforming our world

    People who show us What One Person Can Do
  • Liza Koerner (Teaching soccer and doing mission work in Costa Rica)
  • Erica Trapps (Raising money so Tanzanian children can go to school -- check out her photo gallery)

    What's happening in Sudan might
    surprise (and shock) you

  • Episcopal Diocese of Lui
  • South Sudanese Friends International
  • The Sudan Tribune
  • SudanReeves -- research, analysis and advocacy
  • Save Darfur
  • Darfur: a genocide we can stop

    For your daily fix on the irreverent...
  • Jesus of the Week
  • The Onion

    Interesting People Who Are Great To Read
  • Beth Maynard's excellent U2 sermons blog
  • Global Voices Online
  • Neha Viswanathan - poetry, commentary, humor, reflections

    Some interesting organizations and programs
  • Borgen Project - poverty reduction through political accountability
  • CARE
  • Center of Concern
  • DATA: Debt, AIDS and Trade in Africa (Bono's site)
  • El Circulo de Mujeres/Circle of Women
  • Engineering Ministries International
  • Episcopal Peace Fellowship
  • Episcopal Relief and Development
  • FreshMinistries
  • Global Campaign Against Poverty
  • Global Ministries
  • Global Work Ethic Fund -- Promoting philanthropy and fundraising in developing and transition countries.
  • Karen Emergency Relief Fund
  • Magdalene House
  • The M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
  • Natural Capitalism
  • NetMarkAid - Humanitarian Entrepreneurs
  • North American Association for the Diaconate
  • Peace Child International
  • People Building Peace
  • Project Honduras
  • Results - Creating political will to end hunger
  • St. Paul's Institute
  • Stop Global AIDS
  • TakingITGlobal -- connecting youth for action in local and global communities
  • Tanzania Educational AIDS Mission
  • TEAR (Transformation, Empowerment, Advocacy, Relief) - An Australian Christian anti-poverty movement
  • Working For Change
  • Xigi.net -- an open-source tool to aid discovery in the capital markets that fund good.

    Some Episcopal churches and dioceses doing cool things
  • Companions of Swaziland - Diocese of Iowa's Companion Relationship
  • International Development Missions -- St. Paul's Church, Sparks, NV
  • The Malaria Villages Project - St. Paul's Church, West Whiteland, PA

    Must-read books and websites about them
  • What Can One Person Do: faith to heal a broken world -- Sabina Alkire & Edmund Newell
  • The End of Poverty -- Jeffrey Sachs

    Learn more about things you really should know more about
  • UN Millenium Development Goals
  • The Millennium Campaign
  • AIDS Matters - a resource for global AIDS professionals
  • Christian Aid's in-depth report: "Millennium Lottery: Who lives and who dies in an age of third world debt?"
  • Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Poverty Mapping
  • Solutions for a water-short world
  • Transparency International: The global coalition against corruption
  • UNICEF's State of The World's Children report 2005

    General cool and/or goofy stuff
  • Alicebot chat robot
  • Bono Quotes -- but what's really wild is that it's from a page on Boycottliberalism.com!
  • Buffy Slanguage
  • Big Bunny

    Useful web tools
  • Gcast - make your own podcast
  • Podzinger - podcast search engine
  • Orb - streaming digital media

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    Listed on Blogwise
  • Thursday, February 01, 2007
    Daily Affirmation with Senator Smalley

    Al Franken is running for Senate in 2008.

    Perhaps the most sobering thing about that news was my first reaction to it:


    Not cool in the same way that it was "politics as entertainment" cool when Jesse Ventura ran for governor of Minnesota (after all, outside of Minnesota, what harm could that do?). No, this was honest excitement ... as in "finally a voice of reason in the Senate" kind of excitement.

    It's come to this.

    Al Franken does have opinions with which I largely agree. He's also articulate in expressing them, clever and witty in debating opponents and uses humor well to make a point. He might just make a darn good senator -- who knows? He's running in the right state for this kind of campaign and because of the nature of his media image he's likely to be one of the few Democrats not to cower in the corner saying "please, don't hurt me" when the political pressure heats up.

    But still, the main reason we know this guy is because he sat next to a mirror on SNL and said, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me." (which , incidentally, was probably his rationale for running for Senate). Most recently, he's been the left's answer to Rush Limbaugh on Air America Radio (which was doomed to either failure or embarrassment because truly dealing with the nuances of situations is considered bad radio and Democrats trying to act like idealogue tough-guys is just pathetic).

    So why does this bother me?

    Well, first of all, we are a nation of brilliant and creative minds in a world of brilliant and creative minds. And yet fewer and fewer of those people seem to find their way to public service. I think the reason is similar to the reason why St. Louis as a city has such a hard time retaining good, young, creative people. St. Louis is a city of old money and as such is very conservative and phobic where change is concerned. There are too many barriers for creative people with new ideas and ways of being to breach for many of them to stay here. Most get frustrated and leave. (This is the theory of several friends of mine in their 30s who have worked extensively in the city and it completely jives with my experience).

    Same thing for politics. You have to jump through so many hoops and become beholden to so many people to even get on the state stage, much less the national stage, that most creative people realize that they can have much more freedom, money and fun in the private sector. We end up with a lot of candidates who are basically picked by the larger (on the national level, usually corporate) interests that dominate parties -- candidates picked by their willingness to shill and/or their marketability.

    So the fact that I'm happy because a smart, creative guy like Franken is running for office is really an indictment of how bad it's gotten. It's a microcosm of Obamania. I don't know if Barack Obama has what it takes to be president. Frankly, he doesn't have any kind of a track record to prove it either way. But he's got this American Idol-type thing going for him which is completely apart from any substance he might or might not have.

    Joe Biden is getting nailed today for his idiotic remarks about Barack Obama -- as well he should (particularly the "articulate" crack, as if it's an anomaly to have an articulate black person). But really he should be getting nailed for saying in his fumbling "what I really meant" on the Daily Show that what he really meant to say was that Obama had fresh, new ideas. WHERE? I haven't heard any! I've heard commentary on what others are doing delivered very charismatically and enthusiastically by him but I haven't seen any broad new vision for America. I haven't heard him say one thing that I haven't heard others say many times before.

    So the first reason it's sobering that I'm so excited about Al Franken is that in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king. And Al looks like he's got one good eye.

    The second reason is that it's just one more piece of evidence that our elections really are a lot more like American Idol and Survivor than serious discourse and discernment. Of course, this is nothing new. But it's still disheartening. It's like the Biden thing again. He gets scrutinized for attacking Hillary and John Edwards about their Iraq policy. And all the attention was on the fact that he attacked them -- not on the substance of what each said and who might be right about the best way to proceed in Iraq! It reminds me of a moment midway through the Dean campaign when Howard said that the war in Iraq had made America less safe. He got slammed from every side for being unpatriotic and not supporting the troops ... with little or no attention paid to whether or not he might actually be right (which, BTW, he was).

    This has devolved into a full-on rant, which isn't where I meant to go with it. I need to learn more history because I'm sure part of it is just idealizing a past I don't know enough about. I'm sure a certain amount of this is just the 21st century, public and tabloidized version of the smoke-filled room.

    But it still bugs me.

    Oh well, gotta get some work done.
    Mike at 2/01/2007 09:42:00 AM

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    Episcopalians for
    Global Reconciliation

    EGR is an organization resourcing a grassroots movement of spiritual transformation in the Episcopal Church to end extreme poverty on this planet.

    The structure for this movement is the Millennium Development Goals -- 8 goals committed to by all member nations of the UN and a unique partnership of governments and civil society to:

    *End extreme poverty
    *Achieve universal
    primary education

    *Promote gender equalty
    *Improve maternal health
    *Reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
    *Promote environmental sustainability
    *Build a global partnership for development

    EGR resources and connects the church to embrace what one person, one congregation, one diocese and one church can do to make this mission of global reconciliation happen.

    Want to find out more ... check our our website at www.e4gr.org.

    "Christ's example is being demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy, which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here. If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't, it will be irrelevant."
    - Bono


    What I'm Reading
    Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
    by Doris Kearns Goodwin