Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘2012’

For the Greater Good

Happy New Year!

G4_Thankyou2012_220x375There is perhaps nothing more satisfying — nor more motivating — than a celebration of good deeds accomplished in the name of charity. As we look back on 2012, we’re proud and grateful for all that we’ve accomplished together with you, our tireless supporters.

This past year, the largest hunger relief grants went to Feeding America to help hungry Americans in need of food bank assistance in all 50 states. Grants also went to Mercy Corps’ many hunger relief programs worldwide and Millennium Promise for their groundbreaking work in Africa.

In the spring and early fall, in response to tornadoes in the Midwest and hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, GreaterGood.org contributed to numerous local charities in the United States. And when Superstorm Sandy struck the East Coast, GreaterGood.org grants supported the emergency assistance and clean up efforts provided by Team Rubicon and the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.

Your commitment to children’s health and education was reflected in GreaterGood.org grants to Partners in Health, which focused on fighting cholera in Haiti, as well as providing vitamin A supplements and oral rehydration. Funding also supported pre-natal programs and midwifery services in Africa, Nepal, and Tibet, reducing infant mortality rates. Additional grants helped Splash’s (formerly A Child’s Right) efforts to provide clean water to schools and hospitals, HALO Trust’s work to assist in landmine removal, and Prosthetics Outreach Foundation’s surgical aid to children born with clubfoot.

Our longstanding support of vital literacy programs worldwide continued through our charity partners First Book and Room to Read. Contributions to the Nepal Youth Foundation, Community Partners International, Razia’s Ray of Hope, and Zabuli Education Center for girls in Deh’Sub helped provide girls with a valuable education. In many cases, contributions also saved children from a life of indentured servitude. Further grants also provided secondary education for young women in Africa, India, and Central Asia through nonprofits, such as Eliminate Poverty Now, CAMFED, Darfur Peace and Development Organization, and others.

Efforts to preserve or improve the health of our planet were strong in 2012. We are pleased to report that last year several of our charitable partners successfully completed projects to save endangered wildlife habitat.

With final land acquisition by the World Land Trust-US, the 6,000-acre Sierra Caral Amphibian Reserve will protect some of Guatemala’s most endangered wildlife. In Africa, the new Laikipia National Park, created by the African Wildlife Foundation and Nature Conservancy, will give wide ranging animals like elephants, lions, and zebras the ability to move safely through open habitat that is not bisected by roads, fences, or other forms of development. More than 17,100 acres of previously privately held land were protected.

Also in 2012, additional grants funded wildlife rescue and preservation programs for big cats and marine mammals, as well as sanctuaries for threatened species like the Sumatran orangutan. Along with World Land Trust-US, GreaterGood.org ended the year with a concerted effort to save an additional 332 acres in the Serra Bonita rainforest of Brazil.

Support of these programs and other humanitarian efforts at The Hunger Site, The Child Health Site, The Literacy Site and The Rainforest Site totaled over $640,000 in 2012! These funds were raised thanks to the direct actions of supporters like you via our click-to-give websites, purchases and promotions at GreaterGood Network stores, and donations through the Gifts That Give More™ program or directly to GreaterGood.org.

When you add in all the good that was achieved in 2012, GreaterGood Network and GreaterGood.org has given nearly $30 million to charity since 1999 — proof that your efforts do make a difference. Let’s use these donation figures as inspiration and motivation to make 2013 our best year ever!

Best Wishes & Continued Gratitude,

Tim Kunin
CEO, GreaterGood Network
Greg Hesterberg,
President, GreaterGood Network
Liz Baker
Director, GreaterGood.org

Books On Top of 2012

From Publisher’s Weekly
by Gabe Habash – 04 January 2013

The Bestselling books of 2012

logo-transHalf of the top 20 bestselling books of 2012 in print were either Fifty Shades titles or Hunger Games titles, and only one book not written by E.L. James or Suzanne Collins—Jeff Kinney’s latest Wimpy Kid title—cracked the one-million-copies-sold mark for the year, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks 75%-80% of print sales. Authors with multiple bestselling books extended past James and Collins, too: for print, Kinney and Bill O’Reilly had two books each in the top 20; for e-books, George R.R. Martin and Sylvia Day had two books in the Amazon Kindle top 20, further proving readers’ preference for fiction when reading electronically (No Easy Day was the only nonfiction book to make Kindle’s top 20).

What this means is that, in 2012, books not part of a successful series or brand had a much tougher time, at least at the very top of the bestseller lists. Even books from bestselling authors did not do as well as books from bestselling series, as Fifty Shades and the Hunger Games topped big-name authors like John Grisham and James Patterson, the latter not appearing on any top 20 list. One book that bucked that trend was Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, which crossed 700,000 copies sold on BookScan just before the year ended. Flynn sold over 100,000 more copies than J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, and was only a few thousand copies behind Rick Riordan’s The Mark of Athena, to make her book the #14 bestselling print book of 2012. The discrepancies between Nielsen’s top 20 and Amazon’s top 20 (both print and Kindle) remained consistent with PW’s 2012 midpoint analysis of book sales: reference and self-help books see a huge percentage of their sales from Amazon. The Official SAT Study Guide, StrengthsFinder 2.0, and the American Psychological Association’s official manual cracked Amazon’s print top 20, but did not make BookScan’s top 20. Another Amazon anomaly is Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, which snuck into the top 20 for print, despite being first published in 2010.

Read entire article & others at Publisher’s Weekly.

Hot Off The Press

My friend Deena Metzger has won the 2012 PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles National Literary Award for Fiction!

You may know Deena from some of her previous work, which includes: Feral; Ruin and Beauty: New and Selected Poems; From Grief Into Vision; A Council; Doors: A fiction for Jazz Horn; The Other Hand; Tree: A Sabbath Among the Ruins; The Woman Who Slept With Men to Take the War Out of Them; and Writing For Your Life.

Read more about the book at: Hand to Hand Publishing.
Read more about the award at PEN Oakland

PEN Award for Fiction

It was just announced that Deena Metzger’s novel La Negra y Blanca is the 2012 PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Literary Award Winner for Fiction.

Maxine Hong Kingston (previous PEN Oakland award winner and author of China Men and The Woman Warrior) says, “Deena Metzger has used her skills as poet to understand the end of Victor Perera’s life. As we read La Negra y Blanca, the contemporary and the mythic, our selves and our ancestors, miraculously join.”

Ariel Dorfman (author of Death and the Maiden) says, “Many meetings weave in and out of this splendid, heartbreaking novel. Meetings of multiple Americas, meetings between the living and the dead, meetings where dreams and reality, history and pain, deception and hope, intersect. But above all, what we meet in La Negra y Blanca is a ravishing wager that words can still birth us into the puzzle of existence, that we can all be mothers to one another as the storm approaches.”

Ms. Metzger’s books include Feral; Ruin and Beauty; From Grief Into Vision; A Council; Doors: A fiction for Jazz Horn; The Other Hand; Tree: A Sabbath Among the Ruins; The Woman Who Slept With Men to Take the War Out of Them; and Writing For Your Life.

Read more at Hand to Hand Publishing
Available in print at Amazon.com
Available on Kindle at Amazon
Available at small press retailer BCH

2011 – Spreading Nonviolence

From Nation of Change
by Jake Olzen
29 December 2011

2012: The Year of Nonviolence?

If 2011 was the year of the protester, 2012 may prove to be the year of nonviolence. What’s the difference? It’s as great as between yes and no. A crucial awakening that envelopes humanity’s collective struggle for justice, peace and democracy is happening; it is an awakening that clarifies the circumstances we embrace with a yes and those by which we respond with a vehement no. Like many I know, I often teeter between despair and hope–stuck in a kind of uncomfortable tension resembling Wendell Berry’s poetic instruction to “be joyful though you have considered all the facts” –grasping for some measure of sanity to make sense of all that is happening.

It is tempting to succumb to despair, what with the onslaught of major media coverage telling us all the bad news, dismissing the promising news, and ignoring the good news. Consider the challenges: the unraveling violence of the Egyptian revolution, the 5,000 killed in Syria, climate change and the instability and disasters brought by extreme weather patterns and an ill-equipped global populace with inadequate leadership, the threat of random violence and terrorist activity–Norway, Belgium, India, the US, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq–and state and cultural violence against immigrants, women, refugees, the poor, GLBTQ persons, and people of color. So where is the hope? Well, in 2011, the fires of our hope were stoked by the global protest movements–the Arab Spring, the Indignados, Occupy Wall Street–of millions of people rising up to say: كفاية …Basta…Enough! Resistance was in the streets and occupations in city squares. A resounding “no” echoed around the world–what Bernard Harcourt has perceptively termed “political disobedience”–signifying contempt, dissatisfaction, and rejection of entrenched governments and status quo economics. Dictators were ousted in Egypt and Tunisia. Revolutionary fervor was sparked by nonviolent action in Libya, Syria and Yemen. South Korean activists are poised to possibly shutter the building of a controversial US naval base with profound geopolitical implications. Afghan youth are getting organized–an incredible feat considering all the challenges they face. Palestinian nonviolent resistance and the Free Gaza movement is growing as are Israeli protests for social justice. In the US, activists and organizers in Wisconsin and Ohio occupied their state capitals to protest budget cuts and GOP anti-unionism. Undocumented students–DREAMers–took it to the streets and Senators’ offices. Environmentalists, farmers, ranchers, students and citizens staged sit-ins at the White House to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline–whose fate is still TBD but the resistance is growing. And then there was Occupy Wall Street. The movement propelled American activism back into public purview and is proving to be the era where a generation of young people–equipped with the tools, knowledge and experience of the civil rights and anti-war generations–are cutting their teeth in nonviolent social change. We are telling ourselves that there is reason to hope because we incarnate it.

The protests of 2011 are the harbinger of what we’ve already known–what we’ve been waiting and working for–that neoliberalism’s carte blanche as signed by the Washington Consensus is on the way out. The days of political regimes that are not truly democratic (and, apparently, equitable) are–at the very least in ideological terms–numbered. In the 00s, there was an explosion of social commentary on globalization: Thomas Freidman, Naomi Klein, Paul Hawken, Vandana Shiva. Paul Kingsnorth, a British journalist, penned a book whose title has stayed with me: One No, Many Yeses. The catchy, chant-like title offers a simple way to reflect on the the historical moment we are experiencing. As symbolized by Time‘s “Person of the Year,” there is a global “no!” to anti-democratic governments and unfettered capitalism. But at the same time, that singular no of protest is united by the multitude of “yeses” whose global resonance signifies the arrival of a comprehensive vision of nonviolence.

This yes to nonviolence signals the awakening consciousness that summarily connects us to that which is most important in our lives and our communities: the desire to be connected, to live without fear, to be healthy and be in healthy relationships, to be free to have self-determining and mutually-supporting ways of living, working, parenting, learning, teaching, creating, and, yes, even dying. Never before have we witnessed the acute, raw, powerful desire for life in such a way that so many diverse peoples are willingly struggling for that way of being.

Read entire story at Nation of Change.

2011 Top 10

Gabriel,

2011 is almost over, and that means everyone’s making Top 10 lists. I decided to get in on the action too. Here’s my compilation of the 10 Worst Republican Actions of 2011.

Which do you think is the worst? Click here to vote:

Bring Back “Pre-Existing Conditions”: Health care reform is one of President Obama’s signature achievements. No longer can children born with health conditions be denied insurance. No longer can insurance companies deny care for “pre-existing conditions.” About 2.5 million young adults who lacked health insurance now are covered by their families’ plans. So what did Republicans do? Try to repeal “Obamacare” and put control back in the hands of insurance companies.

Kick Grandma Off Medicare & Give Her a Coupon: Republicans all lined up in favor of Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s extreme budget plan earlier this year that would kill Medicare as we know it and turn it into a voucher program. Thank goodness the Democratic Senate was there to stop them and keep our promise to seniors.

Hand Over Cash to Corporations and the Wealthy: Another part of Paul Ryan’s plan: Give huge tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy. While the middle class struggles to get ahead, Republicans tried to make things worse by reducing taxes on the wealthiest – and sticking everyone else with the bill.

Rip Away Workers’ Rights: When Republicans won the governorships in Wisconsin and Ohio, among other states, one of the first things they did was go after public workers, including taking away the rights of teachers and prison guards to bargain for better pay and benefits. Bad move. They clearly overstepped their bounds, and voters will remember at the ballot box in 2012.

Prevent You From Voting: Republicans this year decided that when it comes to elections, if you can’t beat, then cheat. From Florida to Wisconsin to Ohio, Republicans passed laws that will have the effect of suppressing Democratic turnout in these crucial swing states. The Brennan Center for Justice estimates that more than 5 million voters will be affected by these laws – a number higher than the margin of victory in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. Senate Democrats are holding hearings on the Florida laws in January.

Declare War on Women: It was bad enough that Republicans tried to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood and other family planning programs. Then they tried to change federal law to redefine rape and to allow hospitals to deny lifesaving care for pregnant women. So much for the Republican promise to have a “laser focus” on jobs. The Republican War on Women is alive and well.

Shove Gay Soldiers Back Into the Closet: It was a huge victory for civil rights and basic human dignity when President Obama signed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell into law. Finally, all Americans could serve openly in the military. Or not. This year, Republicans tried to bring back the policy, and some Republican presidential candidates have said reinstituting discrimination is one of their top policy priorities.

Launch Assaults on Sesame Street and Lake Wobegon: I don’t know what Republicans have against Big Bird and Garrison Keillor, but they will do almost anything to shut off their microphones. In fact, earlier this year, Republicans vowed to shut down the federal government if NPR and PBS weren’t defunded. Luckily, Senate Democrats were there to stop the nonsense, and “Sesame Street” and “A Prairie Home Companion” were given a reprieve – for now.

Let Consumers Fend For Themselves: One of the most important reforms passed by Democrats in decades was the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to prevent big banks from ripping off their customers with dangerous financial products – some of the same products that contributed to the Great Recession. But Republicans hate anything that puts customers ahead of corporations. So they’ve fought the bureau – and people chosen to lead it – tooth and nail.

Increase Taxes for Middle Class Families. And last but certainly not least, this week House Republicans refused to support tax relief for the middle class, even as they demand it for billionaires and huge corporations. If your taxes go up next year, you’ll have nobody but Republicans to blame.

These policies and positions are simply awful — so awful, in fact, that I couldn’t choose the worst. That’s your job. Click here, vote, and tell us what you think is the No. 1 Worst Republican Actions of 2011. The Democratic Senate has been the firewall stopping most of these measures dead in their tracks. With only a four seat majority, it’s never been more important to protect the Senate.

From all of us here at the DSCC, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a great – and blue! – 2012.

Guy Cecil
Executive Director, DSCC

Tag Cloud