"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
  • Wednesday, September 26, 2007
    Holy Cow ... a new post!!!

    It's been more than three months, and I've been meaning to get back to posting but haven't had the time. I just wrote the following in an email to my friend Rand, who sent me an editorial (excerpted below) from yesterday's NY Times. I decided to put it up here too ... mostly because I think my brother will fall out of his chair seeing that I've actually posted something....

    Here's the editorial that started it:

    The Center Holds

    In the beginning of August, liberal bloggers met at the YearlyKos convention while centrist Democrats met at the Democratic Leadership Council’s National Conversation. Almost every Democratic presidential candidate attended YearlyKos, and none visited the D.L.C.

    At the time, that seemed a sign that the left was gaining the upper hand in its perpetual struggle with the center over the soul of the Democratic Party.

    But now it’s clear that was only cosmetic. Now it’s evident that if you want to understand the future of the Democratic Party you can learn almost nothing from the bloggers, billionaires and activists on the left who make up the “netroots.” You can learn most of what you need to know by paying attention to two different groups — high school educated women in the Midwest, and the old Clinton establishment in Washington.

    In the first place, the netroots candidates are losing. In the various polls on the Daily Kos Web site, John Edwards, Barack Obama and even Al Gore crush Hillary Clinton, who limps in with 2 percent to 10 percent of the vote.

    Moguls like David Geffen have fled for Obama. But the party as a whole is going the other way. Hillary Clinton has established a commanding lead.

    Second, Clinton is drawing her support from the other demographic end of the party. As the journalist Ron Brownstein and others have noted, Democratic primary contests follow a general pattern. There are a few candidates who represent the affluent, educated intelligentsia (Eugene McCarthy, Bill Bradley) and they usually end up getting beaten by the candidate of the less educated, lower middle class.

    That’s what’s happening again. Obama and Edwards get most of their support from the educated, affluent liberals. According to Gallup polls, Obama garners 33 percent support from Democratic college graduates, 28 percent from those with some college and only 19 percent with a high school degree or less. Hillary Clinton’s core support, on the other hand, comes from those with less education and less income — more Harry Truman than Howard Dean.

    Third, Clinton has established this lead by repudiating the netroots theory of politics. As the journalist Matt Bai makes clear in his superb book, “The Argument,” the netroots emerged in part in rebellion against Clintonian politics. They wanted bold colors and slashing attacks. They didn’t want their politicians catering to what Markos Moulitsas Zúniga of the Daily Kos calls “the mythical middle.”

    Read the whole thing here.

    This article rings pretty true to me ... speaking as one who falls into the affluent, educated intelligentsia category and has worked for Paul Tsongas and Howard Dean and is now supporting John Edwards (unless Al Gore gets in).

    The thing is, I think Brooks misses the key point here ... and that's what media is shaping what group's opinions.

    The netroots are largely confined to the smaller demographic group of the "affluent, educated intelligentsia" because that is the group that has both the continual internet access to read/participate in those online discussions and the time to do it. Many of them are people (like me) who spend a decent amount of their work time online and who use that time reading and writing about politics online. They are probably more likely to listen to NPR than Rush.

    The broader demographic is shaped by the mainstream media. They listen to talk radio. They watch CNN and Fox News and the rest.

    I don't think this is about one type of media giving more favorable coverage to certain candidates than the other ... after all, Oprah, who is the queen of influence and mainstream media, has vigorously endorsed Obama. It's about the broader message that comes from these two very different types of media.

    Mainstream media deals in generalities, broad brushstrokes and sensationalism. They have discovered that drama ... and melodrama even better ... draws viewers. One leve of this is when OJ breaks into a hotel room in Las Vegas, everything stops. But it also means that they buy right into fear-mongering, because fear creates drama in the mind and heart of the viewer. Fear gets the adrenaline going. Fear is seductive and makes you keep tuning in because you want to be informed and you don't want to miss anything.

    Fear also encourages us to think in the same black-and-white, broad brushstrokes that 24-hour cable news is built for. Fear and anxiety also make people long for the secure and familiar. For Democrats or anyone who is leaning that way, that's Hillary. Obama is black and inexperienced ... people can get excited about new ideas and inspired to hear him, but new ideas are risky, and when you're talking about a huge demographic that has been baptized into the fear culture, risk isn't something you're really interested in.

    Edwards isn't risky in that way, but he's risky in another in that he is so deeply colored by his past failure. It used to be that you could run for president and lose and come back again later (without having been VP in the interim). Not anymore. There is risk in supporting Edwards because that roll crapped out last time.

    Is there risk to Hillary? Well, she's a woman and for some people that's a risk ... but compared with the other candidates, she is definitely the safest bet. She is a Clinton, and for most Democrats/liberals/centrists, the Clinton era is looking better and better every day. She's also turned into a real hawk, part of which is to counteract the possible perception that she would be soft because she's a woman but (I think) mostly because it sells to exactly the group of people that Brooks is talking about and that she is capturing. Hillary is blowing away the competition because she is a known quantity and she makes people feel secure. And when you have people who are shaped by a media that trades on making them afraid, the candidate who makes you feel secure is the one you're going for.

    That's also the only reason Giuliani is polling as well as he is. The guy is an absolute lunatic (there was an excellent article in Harper's called "a Fate Worse than Bush" about Rudy. Read it here - http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/2007/Giuliani-Worse-Bush1aug07.htm.), but he's got this iconic status because of 9/11.

    Most people are shaped by mainstream media so most people are going to go with the candidate that makes them feel more secure. People who are more educated and affluent not only have more inclination and time to be reflective ... because of their wealth they are more likely to feel insulated from fear and more likely to want their leaders to take risks. They are more likely to go for the risky candidates -- and are thus more likely to support candidates who just don't appeal to mainstream America.

    What could shake this all up is a significant shift in who actually goes to the poll and votes.

    Because there is a much larger group. A group of people who don't watch CNN or listen to NPR. They don't read Daily Kos or listen to Rush. Many of them work multiple jobs and many of them have no jobs. What ties them all together is that they will not go to the polls because they are convinced it doesn't matter ... or at least that it's not worth the piece of their overburdened time it would take to be an informed voter.

    These people don't go to political rallies or post online. They don't call into Dennis Miller and they don't write letters to the editor of the NY Times. And when they talk to their friends, the only politics they generally talk about is local ... unless it's in broad, largely critical terms.

    If there was ever a candidate that could ever rouse this mass of people it would change the face of American politics. The problem is, for any candidate to be financially viable on the national stage they have to be sufficiently removed from the reality of this mass of people to render them unappealing to that group. Who is the last candidate that the lower middle-class and below actually believed cared about them. Bill Clinton had it a little bit, but before then? It hasn't been in my lifetime -- and, the more I think of it, I'm not sure it's ever been. I'd have to learn a lot more about electoral history before I could say.

    The funny thing is, might not even know a candidate was doing this until the votes were cast. Because most of the polls were of likely voters, and as Amy Gardner said to Josh Lyman about when a third-party candidate might ever win the presidency "it's going to be the unlikely voters who do it." Josh calls them the people who are "too lazy-ass stupid to even raise their hands." I (using my own broad brush) call them people who have been completely convinced that raising their hands makes no difference whatsoever.

    That will be something if that happens. But I'm not holding my breath.
    Mike at 9/26/2007 10:21:00 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