Friday, October 5, 2007

Photo book raises money for Haiti : Balance : Boulder Daily Camera

Superior woman donates all profits to feeding programs
By Aimee Heckel, Camera Staff Writer, Friday, October 5, 2007

Murals in San Francisco and Baghdad

Mural in Baghdad

Mural in San Francisco admire. In a city renowned for...of these murals is in their accessibility: enjoying them is free. What makes...smells from the neighborhood, the buildings...Drescher, who was a professor of humanities...of Precita Eyes is on a guided tour...
March 28, 2007 - By MATT VILLANO - 994 words

With Fixtures of War as Their Canvas, Muralists Add Beauty to Baghdad
...visible legacy of the latest war in a city with a long history of wars. For...and sidewalk as they soften their harsh gray...soldiers working with Iraqi neighborhood...murals are part of wider beautification...organizations as part of an...dangers. Their hope, though...
August 11, 2007 - By STEPHEN FARRELL - World - 1185 words
  • Dozens of artists have been painting murals upon the miles of vast concrete blast walls throughout Baghdad. See Video of Baghdad's Blast Wall Murals

Barred From Public Housing, Even to See Family - New York Times

Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times
Hector Monsegur, 40, was barred from visiting his mother, Irma, 65, at the
Jacob Riis Houses after his drug conviction. “It’s one strike and they give me life,” he says.
Barred From Public Housing, Even to See Family - New York Times by Manny Fernandez, October 1, 2007, The New York Times

Nobody covers public housing quite like The Journal, the New York City Housing Authority’s monthly tabloid newspaper, delivered to 178,000 apartments.Irma Monsegur looking at old photographs of her children.

There are colorful photographs and cheerful stories about the agency’s youth chorus, community center ribbon-cuttings and teenage tenants headed to college.

But there is one widely read feature that residents hope they never appear in: the Not Wanted List.

It names former residents who are “permanently excluded” from Housing Authority buildings — and barred from even an afternoon’s visit to a family member. The Not Wanted are barred for a wide variety of reasons, some of them for criminal arrests and others for being nuisances.

In The Journal’s September issue, Peter Kilpatrick from Hammel Houses in Queens — “formerly associated with the second floor,” the newspaper noted — is first on the list. Next is Tyrone Taylor, “formerly associated” with the fourth floor of Lincoln Houses in Manhattan, followed by more than a dozen others.

Anyone who sees a barred person on the premises is urged to contact the complex management or Housing Authority investigators. Last year, 864 men and women were permanently excluded from Housing Authority properties, and this year, the number is at 772.

Public housing authorities around the country use similar policies, including the agencies in Philadelphia and Portland, Ore. In Chicago, exclusion from public housing is called an “order to bar.”

The practice, public housing advocates and some tenants said, splinters families, preventing the barred from seeing their parents, siblings or grandparents. And in the close-knit world of public housing buildings, they said, the public list is a kind of scarlet letter for struggling families.

“It’s degrading not only for the people on that list but for the family members of those people,” said Damaris Reyes, a resident of Baruch Houses in Manhattan and the executive director of Good Old Lower East Side, a community and tenants’ rights group. “You’re trying to keep your business private, and now the whole neighborhood knows that your son or daughter was arrested.”

Read full story at

Nassau County protests federal raid and arrest of 186 immigrants

Pool photo by Michael Schwartz (appeared in The New York Times)
Men arrested in a week of raids on Long Island. Nassau County officials
said the police there were misled into participating.

EDITORIAL; Stop the Raids
...catch of peaceable immigrants. Its agents have set...not only among illegal immigrants, but among citizens...agents fanned out across Nassau County, Long Island...him to investigate the Nassau debacle. Mr. Suozzi...that the undocumented immigrants cannot, and will not...
October 4, 2007 - Opinion

Raids Were a Shambles, Nassau Complains to U.S.
...Lawrence W. Mulvey, the Nassau County police commissioner...mistakenly drew their guns on Nassau County police detectives...resulted in the arrests of 186 immigrants on Long Island. Thomas R. Suozzi , the Nassau County executive, said yesterday...
October 3, 2007 - By NINA BERNSTEIN - New York and Region

Officials Protest Antigang Raids Focused on Immigrants
Nassau County officials today will...resulted in the arrests of 186 immigrants on Long Island. They said...than 2,000 suspects from Nassau that we vetted jointly, Mr...Lawrence W. Mulvey, the Nassau County police commissioner...
October 2, 2007 - By NINA BERNSTEIN - New York and Region

Reporting While Black - The New York Times

Photo by Chris Keane for The New York Times

Reporting While Black by Solomon Moore, September 30, 2007, The New York Times

...Last month, while talking to a group of young black men standing on a sidewalk in Salisbury, N.C., about harsh antigang law enforcement tactics some states are using, I had discovered the main challenge to such measures: the police have great difficulty determining who is, and who is not, a gangster.

My reporting, however, was going well. I had gone to Salisbury to find someone who had firsthand experience with North Carolina's tough antigang stance, and I had found that someone: me.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Commercial Companies In Our Children's Schools and Minds

When we moved back to the U.S. and my daughter entered a New York City public high school, I was very surprised, and concerned, to find out that the Tampax company lectured the students on sex education and was pushing their product at the same time. A search on this subject has turned up some good articles on the onslaught of commercial companies in our schools, and the perks schools get, while corporations are pushing their products on vulnerable children in an effort to capture new consumers for their markets. Here's a look at the hundreds of corporations currently in our schools, some of the public relations firms facilitating their entry, the products being distributed to our children, the advertisers involved, how students influence their parent's consumer choices, what schools are getting in exchange, discussions on the pros and cons of this practice, and recommendations for better practices to protect our children.
  • Marketers Are Joining the Varsity by Stuart Elliott, New York Times, June 11, 2007
Athletes, if they are talented, train hard and get a break or two, can climb the sports ladder from high school to college to the pros. Madison Avenue, sensing a lucrative opportunity, is heading the other way.
Decades after marketers began selling products by capitalizing on consumer interest in professional teams, then college teams, they are becoming big boosters of high school sports.
  • Captive Kids: A report on Commercial Pressures on Kids at School
Selling America's Kids: Commercial Pressures on Kids of the 90's (Consumers Union)
Corporate-sponsored teaching materials are reaching more than 20 million students in elementary and high schools every year. Product samples and coupons are distributed to more than two million students. TV commercials and magazine ads in the classroom reach countless millions more. This report describes some current advertising messages and how they're "packaged" in order to gain entry into schools.
  • Who Advertises In Our Schools? These 234 Companies (Consumers Union)
This is a partial listing. U.S. News and World Report quotes one estimate that the total number of companies and organizations in the schools is 12,000. A few companies in this list sell equipment to schools, but the vast majority have their materials in the classroom.
(See list) at
  • RECOMMENDATIONS (from Consumers Union):

Multinationals Fuel Graft in Poor States: Watchdog -

Multinationals Fuel Graft in Poor States by Sylvia Westall for Reuters

Multinational companies and financial institutions that use bribery and tolerate illicitly gained wealth are helping fuel corruption in the world’s poorest countries, a global corruption watchdog said on Wednesday.

Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) said in its latest corruption perceptions report that while poorer countries should tackle their own graft problems, richer states are also responsible, and often to blame.
“Bribe money often stems from multinationals based in the world’s richest countries. It can no longer be acceptable for these companies to regard bribery in export markets as a legitimate business strategy,” the report said.

Division and Dislocation: Regulating Immigration through Local Housing Ordinances

DIVISION AND DISLOCATION: Regulating Immigration through Local Housing Ordinances, Summer 2007, Immigration Policy Center, A division of the American Immigration Law Foundation, by Jill Esbenshade, Ph.D. with Barbara Obrzut, Benjamin Wright, Soo Mee Kim, Jessica Thompson, and Edward O'Conner

The last two years have seen an intensified public debate over the issue of undocumented immigrant in the United States...One way in which some policymakers and activists have expressed this frustration is through support for ordinances that target undocumented immigrants. As of March 10, 2007, such ordinances had been proposed, debated, or adopted in at least 104 cities and counties in 28 states. These ordinances encompass a number of measures -- most notably prohibitions on renting to or employing undocumented immigrants and the adoption of English as the official language of the local government. Forty-three of the 104 localities have debated or passed rental restrictions alone or as part of broader ordinances. See report at

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

An 80-Block Slice of City Life - New York Times

John Casey's amazing rubber stamp store included in this New York Times guide to the Lower East Side!

An 80-Block Slice of City Life - New York Times

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Blog the Debt: ‘Economic Terrorism’: Ignoring the Debt Issue in Haiti Part 1

Public Mural in Cayes, Haiti: Yes to Life, No to the Debt! (Photo by Peter Kondrat, June 2007)

Economic Terrorism: Ignoring the Debt Issue in Haiti. Michelle Karshan, the former Foreign Press Liaison for former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, blogs her perspective on how Haiti's struggle with debt and economic recovery was ignored by the international press.

Blog the Debt: ‘Economic Terrorism’: Ignoring the Debt Issue in Haiti Part 1

by Michelle Karshan

In May 2007, while in Haiti, friends told me of the rising cost of living. As I spent what seemed like a lot of money purchasing food to cook three meals a day, I wondered how folks were feeding their families even one meal a day at those exorbitant prices.

Michelet, a young man, considerably thinner since 2004, pointed out that he had personally seen a rise in TB in his own neighborhood. He explained that with the increase in the cost of living people could not nourish themselves enough to fend off disease.

Dr. Paul Farmer has so eloquently drawn this connection between infectious disease and poverty, yet the international financial institutions have yet to re-prioritize their economic plans.

Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide often referred to structural adjustment and the debt as “Economic Terrorism”, because globalization and the way it revolves around creating and keeping impoverished countries impoverished results in starvation, disease, illiteracy and death. And, in the end millions of dollars spent on poverty reduction cannot turn a country around without debt reduction and forgiveness.

Last week, while Haiti and each Haitian there still suffers from the backbreaking debt inherited from the Duvalier regime, former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier was heard on the airways apologizing for the atrocities and corruption during his administration.

Not coincidentally, his plea for forgiveness came immediately following Switzerland’s announcement that they would extend the Haitian government’s period of time to wage their legal battle to recover the millions of dollars in Duvalier’s Swiss bank accounts.

Haitian President René Préval rightly responded to Duvalier’s maneuvers, stating that while forgiveness is good, justice must prevail. Préval made it clear that his government would continue its pursuit of the monies, and that if Duvalier chooses to return to Haiti he will certainly be brought to justice.

It was extremely frustrating working as the Foreign Press Liaison to presidents Aristide, Préval and Aristide again. All the while, the international press ignored the debt that shackled any efforts towards recovery, ignored the U.S.-led embargo against Haiti’s government, and the economic “death plan” Aristide tried to resist. The U.S. Embassy waged a campaign denying that there was any financial embargo and they harassed press who dared to call the embargo an embargo!

The international press, distracting its readers from the real talking points, lay all blame at Aristide’s door, and characterized Haiti as: “spiraling downward;” “a basket case;” “a failed state;” and “a people unable to govern themselves.”

Yet inside the storm, at the eye of the storm, was globalization, the endless debt, the imposed impoverishment of a country up against a proud nation that believes that justice — economic justice — means accessible, universal health care, schools, literacy programs, and the right to work and farm.

It will not be hard for me to begin my fast today. What has been hard is to eat, knowing that more than 8 million people in Haiti cannot eat one meal a day.

Michelle Karshan is the former Foreign Press Liaison for President Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Blog the Debt: ‘Economic Terrorism’: Ignoring the Debt Issue in Haiti Part 2

Mother and Children, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo by Evens Sanon, Copyright 2003

Economic Terrorism: Ignoring the Debt Issue in Haiti.

Michelle Karshan, the former Foreign Press Liaison for former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, blogs her perspective on how Haiti's struggle with debt and economic recovery was ignored by the international press.

Blog the Debt: ‘Economic Terrorism’: Ignoring the Debt Issue in Haiti Part 2

By Michelle Karshan

In Part One of my blog I said it would not be difficult to begin my fast but by 9:30 a.m. I had already started experiencing actual hunger pains.

At first I reflected on why I was feeling so intensely hungry after such a short period of time. I thought perhaps it was because I was starting to feel deprived, but then also realized that I had eaten very little the day before — very similar to how most Haitians actually live.

I thought of the homeless children who hang out in downtown Port-au-Prince or hide behind tombstones at the main cemetery while keeping an iron grip on plastic bottles filled with glue which they keep at their noses all day.

Apparently, glue sniffing not only gives one a dangerous buzz, but more importantly it eases the pains of hunger.

And there are the street children, boys and girls, forced to sell their bodies, risk contracting HIV/AIDS, and are subjected to brutality, just to buy a meal to eat. Other children, live in domestic servitude — as slaves — serve hefty meals to their masters, and pray that a few scraps will be made available to them.

And what of those who wear their hunger like a billboard?! The children with orange hair and distended stomachs , the prisoners with swollen bodies dying from Beri Beri, a fatal and painful illness from B vitamin deficiency, children with stunted growth, or even the average Haitian so thin that the bones in their faces protrude and many people collapse in the street from weakness and dehydration.

Why is there still hunger in Haiti if millions of dollars are pouring into the country, as the press would have us believe? In fact, contrary to press releases issued by various donors, and press stories to back them up, much of the funds we read about don’t actually get to Haiti when they say, if ever.

And, as a USAID representative testified before Congress some years ago, 84 cents on every dollar of USAID monies to developing countries actually goes to U.S. workers, consultants, companies, or materials. That means only 16 cents on every dollar actually goes to the receiving country.

Written in the early 1990s, but still relevant today, this extraordinary breakdown and analysis by the Washington Office on Haiti entitled Where Did the Money Go? “AID” Received by Haiti: October 94 – October 1995, explains:

It is not difficult to see how the large infusion of foreign “aid” had relatively little impact on most people’s lives. The economy did recover from the severe negative growth of the embargo years to a positive 4.5 percent real growth rate, but this is still quite slow a rebound from such a deep slump. The influx of foreign exchange has helped to stabilize the currency and therefore inflation. But there was very little in the way of investment in infrastructure, agriculture, soil conservation, education, credit to small farmers and employment creation – the most pressing needs that might improve the economic opportunities of the vast majority. And this is primarily because the money has not been allocated for these purposes.

Also, to understand the extent of the theft of monies and the creation of the debt accumulated by the Duvalier regime, which Haiti is still struggling to pay back today, please see the story of Duvalier, Haiti’s former dictator, and the monies he stole from the Haitian people.

The best piece for an overview and analysis on the imposition of structural adjustment on Haiti, as well as an in depth look at Haiti’s debt, is Democracy Undermined, Economic Justice Denied: Structural Adjustment and The Aid Juggernaut in Haiti by Lisa McGowan for The Development Gap.

Michelle Karshan is the former Foreign Press Liaison for President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s president in 1991, then from 1994 to 1996 and from 2001 to 2004. Aristide was the second elected leader of Haiti.