Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Good news for a change

Office of the Press Secretary
May 13, 2010

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key administration posts:

· Thomas R. Acevedo, Member, National Advisory Council on Indian Education
· Derek J. Bailey, Member, National Advisory Council on Indian Education
· Robin A. Butterfield, Member, National Advisory Council on Indian Education
· Robert B. Cook, Member, National Advisory Council on Indian Education
· Deborah Jackson-Dennison, Member, National Advisory Council on Indian Education
· Alyce Spotted Bear, Member, National Advisory Council on Indian Education
· Irasema Coronado, Member, Joint Public Advisory Committee of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation
· Geoffrey Garver, Member, Joint Public Advisory Committee of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation
· Felicia Marcus, Member, Joint Public Advisory Committee of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation
· Diane Takvorian, Member, Joint Public Advisory Committee of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation
· Jonathan Waterhouse, Member, Joint Public Advisory Committee of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation

President Obama said, “The expertise and commitment these men and women bring to their roles will make them tremendous assets to my administration, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key administration posts:

Thomas R. Acevedo, Appointee for Member, National Advisory Council on Indian Education
Thomas Acevedo is the CEO for S&K Technologies, Inc. a company wholly owned by the Salish & Kootenai Tribes, of which he is a member. Mr. Acevedo previously served as the Chief of Staff for the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut and the Chief of Staff for the National Indian Gaming Commission. He has served on the boards of several national Indian organizations throughout his career. Mr. Acevedo is a graduate of the University of Montana and of the University of New Mexico School of Law.

Derek J. Bailey, Appointee for Member, National Advisory Council on Indian Education
Derek J. Bailey was sworn in as Tribal Chairman of the Grand Traverse Band on December 11, 2008. Chairman Bailey is the fifth Chairman since the Grand Traverse Band was federally reaffirmed in May 1980, and the youngest in the Tribe’s history. He is currently the Chairman of the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, and most recently selected as the Chairman of CORA (Chippewa/Ottawa Resource Authority). He holds a Master’s degree in Social Work, graduating from Grand Valley State University in 1998.

Robin A. Butterfield, Appointee for Member, National Advisory Council on Indian Education
Robin Butterfield is a Senior Liaison within the Minority Community Outreach Department of the National Education Association. Before working at NEA, Ms Butterfield was the Professional Development Specialist at the Center for School Improvement within the Bureau of Indian Affairs, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ms. Butterfield worked at the classroom level in tribal and public schools in Wisconsin; coordinated the Salem-Keizer Indian Education Program at the district level in Oregon; served in the position of Indian Education/Civil Rights Specialist for the Oregon Department of Education for nine years; and worked at two different regional educational technical assistance centers, Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory and the Gonzaga University Indian Education Technical Assistance Center III. She is an enrolled member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska with ancestry from the White Earth Ojibwa Tribe of Minnesota. Ms. Butterfield received her B.A in English/Secondary Education from the University of Puget Sound, her M.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin/Madison, and her Administrative Certification from Portland State University.

Robert B. Cook, Appointee for Member, National Advisory Council on Indian Education
Robert B. Cook is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe (Oglala Lakota) and serves as the Principal of Pine Ridge High School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Mr. Cook has over twenty years of teaching and administrative experience in American Indian education, serving in both tribal and public schools. He is a member of the Technical Review Panel of the National Indian Education Study, a member of the South Dakota Indian Education Advisory Council and recently completed his term as President of the National Indian Education Association. Mr. Cook graduated from Black Hills State University with a degree in Secondary Education and received his master’s degree in Education Administration from Oglala Lakota College.

Deborah Jackson-Dennison, Appointee for Member, National Advisory Council on Indian Education
Dr. Deborah Jackson-Dennison is the Superintendent of Window Rock Unified School District No. 8 located in the Navajo Indian Nation and is an enrolled member of the Navajo Tribe. She has also served as Superintendent of Schools for Ganado Unified School District No. 20 also located on the Navajo Indian Nation. Dr. Jackson-Dennison has provided over 24 years of service as an educator, 11 as a classroom teacher at both at the high school and college levels, and 13 as a school administrator, including 8 as a school district superintendent. She earned an Associates degree from Dine College in 1981, a B.A. in Education from the University of New Mexico in 1986, and both her Masters and Ed.D. degrees in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Arizona State University in 1997 and 2001.

Alyce Spotted Bear, Appointee for Member, National Advisory Council on Indian Education
Alyce Spotted Bear is an enrolled member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Tribes of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota. Spotted Bear, a former Tribal Chairman, has worked at all levels of Indian education, including as a teacher, principal, school superintendent, federal programs administrator, and college instructor/administrator. Ms. Spotted Bear is currently the Vice President for Native American Studies at the Fort Berthold Community College in North Dakota. She earned her bachelor and master degrees in education from Dickinson State College, and Pennsylvania State College, respectively, and completed coursework for a Ph.D. in Education at Cornell University.

Irasema Coronado, Appointee for Member, Joint Public Advisory Committee of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation
Irasema Coronado, Ph.D. currently serves as an Associate Provost of The University of Texas at El Paso. Dr. Coronado is also an Associate Professor in the Political Science Department and a faculty member in the Environmental Science and Engineering Ph.D. program. Dr. Coronado has served as Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts (2006-2008), chair of the Political Science Department (2005- 2006), and Assistant Professor of the Center for Inter-American and Border Studies (1999-2003) at The University of Texas at El Paso. Dr. Coronado was also a Fulbright Scholar at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez in Mexico (2004-2005), and a faculty member at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas (1995-1999). Dr. Coronado has held other academic and visiting scholar positions at the University of Texas at San Antonio (1998-1999), the University of Arizona (1997 and 2001), El Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Sonora, Mexico (1992-1995), and Cochise College (1991). Dr. Coronado is currently a Board member of Frontera Women’s Foundation, the Coalition Against Violence Toward Women and Children on the Border, and FEMAP (Mexican Federation of Private Associations). Dr. Coronado holds a B.A. from the University of South Florida and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.

Geoffrey Garver, Appointee for Member, Joint Public Advisory Committee of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation
Geoffrey Garver is currently an Adjunct Law Professor at the University of Montreal in Montreal, Canada. Mr. Garver also serves as an independent environmental consultant for the Organization of American States and the Secretariat for Environmental Matters for the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement region. From 2000 to 2007, Mr. Garver served as Director of Submissions on Enforcement Matters at the Commission for Environmental Cooperation for North America. From 1989 to 1993 and 1995 to 2000, Mr. Garver was a trial attorney and then became Acting Assistant Chief in the U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division. From 1993 to 1995, Mr. Garver served as a Special Assistant and Senior Policy Counsel to the Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And from 1987 to 1989, Mr. Garver was a Law Clerk to then Chief Judge Conrad K. Cyr in the United States District Court for the District of Maine. Mr. Garver holds a B.S. from Cornell University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Mr. Garver is currently pursuing an L.L.M. and a Ph.D. at McGill University.

Felicia Marcus, Appointee for Member, Joint Public Advisory Committee of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation
Felicia Marcus is currently Western Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). From 2001 to 2008, Ms. Marcus served as Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of the Trust for Public Land, a national non-profit devoted to conserving land for people. From 1993 to 2001, Ms. Marcus was appointed by President Clinton as Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for Region IX, which encompasses California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, former trust territories in the Pacific, and over 140 federally-recognized Indian Tribes. From 1989 to 1991, Ms. Marcus was appointed to the Board of Public Works for the City of Los Angeles. Earlier in her career, Ms. Marcus served as a Law Clerk to Judge Harry Pregerson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Ms. Marcus is a member of many non-profit Boards and Advisory Councils, including the Public Policy Institute of California, the Metropolitan Water District – Blue Ribbon Committee, Urban Habitat, Natural Heritage Institute, and the Center for Diversity and the Environment. Ms. Marcus has an A.B. from Harvard College and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Diane Takvorian, Appointee for Member, Joint Public Advisory Committee of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation
Diane Takvorian is currently the Executive Director and a Founder of Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), where over the past 30 years she has built grassroots campaigns to address toxic pollution, discriminatory land use, and unsustainable energy policies in the San Diego/Tijuana region. Ms. Takvorian is also a co-founder of the California Environmental Justice Alliance, a coalition working to address environmental justice issues throughout California. Prior to founding the EHC, Ms. Takvorian managed programs at Community Congress of San Diego (1978-1981), Social Advocates for Youth (1976-1978), and the HELP Center of San Diego (1974-1976). From 1984 to 2001, Ms. Takvorian served as a faculty member in the School of Social Work at San Diego State University. Ms. Takvorian currently serves on the California Global Warming Environmental Justice Advisory Committee of the California Environmental Protection Agency. In 1998, President Clinton appointed Ms. Takvorian to the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission. In 2008, Ms. Takvorian received the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award and the Environment Section of the American Public Health Association Calver Award. Ms. Takvorian holds a B.S. and an M.A. in Social Work from San Diego State University.

Jonathan Waterhouse, Appointee for Member, Joint Public Advisory Committee of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation
Jonathan Waterhouse is the Director of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC), a non-profit organization made up of 70 Tribes and First Nations, created to preserve and protect the Yukon Watershed and Native cultures. During his tenure at YRITWC, Mr. Waterhouse worked to develop the BackHaul Program that removed millions of pounds of recyclables and hazardous waste from the Yukon watershed. Prior to joining YRITWC, Mr. Waterhouse had oversight over management, operations, and financial matters for Green Connection (2003-2004), Alaska Airlines (2000-2003), and Pavlof Services, Inc. (1995-2000). From 1997-2000, Mr. Waterhouse served as City Councilman for the City of Cold Bay, Alaska. In 1995, Mr. Waterhouse retired from a twenty year career in the United States Navy as a decorated Chief Petty Officer. Mr. Waterhouse is an Advisory Board Member and Community Development Director for the Alaska-Sudan Medical Project, which focuses on building medical clinics and installing clean water systems in Southern Sudan.


Added value

Well, it’s the end of April, which means that if you’re like me, you’ve left your taxes until the last minute and are now staring at a screen full of incomprehensible formulae and sweating tiny drops of blood from your forehead. Outside the sun is shining and people with more organizational skills, or possibly their own accountants, are playing frisbee in the park. I am strongly tempted to just go back to bed and give up this whole “responsible adult” thing as a bad idea.

So, in a futile effort at procrastination, here are some interesting tax-related links for y’all:

You probably already know about Conscience Canada, which supports a Peace Tax Trust Fund, allowing people “to divert the military portion of their taxes, to be held in trust until there is a law respecting conscientious objection to military taxation.” They have things you can send in with your taxes if you just want to make a symbolic objection, or if you actually want to withhold money from the government. Either way, a good cause.

Here’s a breakdown of the US Federal Budget for 2009 from PhD Comics, for those Americans who are interested in where their money actually goes. (For instance, some of it goes to the National Helium Reserve, which is $1.6 billion in debt. Feel proud!)

The Green Party explains how a carbon tax would work. This is a lot clearer than most explanations I’ve run across.

I tried to find something amusing to end with, but you know what, all the tax jokes on the internet are deeply sad, so never mind.


Here is a different link to the Guggenheim Forum that may be more useful. Remember, live chat this Thursday!

Drunk with power

Do you ever just marvel at the sheer amount of stuff available? I don’t mean just weird stuff, like that Slap Chop thing the guy’s always yelling about on TV, or salt shakers shaped like the Statue of Liberty, or Don Cherry’s Rock’Em Sock’Em Hockey videos. I mean just normal stuff.

So I’m at this exhibition of outstanding McGill researchers (this is the actual present tense rather than the narrative present, btw; I’m writing this on the backs of grocery receipts while I wait for coffee [sweet, sweet coffee] to become available) and while I was setting up Peter Brown‘s display table, I managed to tear an embarrassingly large hole in the crotch of my jeans. Hurrah.

As this blog is not the place to discuss conventions of sartorial modesty, I won’t, but I will point out that everyone here is dressed much more nicely than I even without holes in my clothing. In any case, I didn’t want to sit for the next five hours with my underwear peeking out every time I moved my legs, so I went looking for a sewing needle. This is, of course, the one day I forget to bring my sewing kit with me. I’d have made a terrible Boy Scout. (Actually, I was kicked out of Girl Guides for fighting. I’m not a very sociable person. Y’all may have noticed.)

So I found a convenience store and bought one of those little $2.99 sewing kits they have by the cash register. Took it into the washroom, fixed my jeans, and now I’m sitting out here just marvelling at this thing.

Measuring tape. Two safety pins. Four straight pins. Four snaps. Eight buttons. Three needles in a little plastic tube. Threader. Tiny scissors. Ten spools of thread (no white, oddly enough). All in a little plastic box with a latch.

How staggering is it that we live in a place where you can buy this kind of thing in any corner store for less than half an hour’s pay at a minimum wage job? I would want one of these in my lifeboat or my space shuttle or my time machine to the Jurassic. They’re so incredibly useful. (Except the scissors. They couldn’t cut butter.) How much would this have been worth to a pioneer housewife two hundred years ago? How strange is it to realize that it didn’t even occur to me that I might not be able to find one? Of course I would. You can get them everywhere.

How strange is it to think that we live in a place so dependent on imports from other countries? This one is made in China – it could be Thailand or India or Bangladesh or Mexico as easily. How far did it travel to get here? How much more would it cost if it were made here, under our labour and environmental laws?

Who put it together? Who mined the steel and grew the cotton and drilled for the oil, and where? Where were all the pieces spun and molded and forged and dyed? What were the factory conditions like for the workers? How many hours of wages does $2.99 represent for them?

How many people live on less than that every day? How many people die for lack of that much money to buy medicine or water filters or rice? What does it mean that instead of spending that money to help them, I spent it on not being embarrassed at a public function I don’t really want to be at? What does it say about society? What does it say about me?

What am I doing here, sitting in this exhibition hall in my mended jeans while poeple in suits drink wine and eat little nibbly bits of fish on fancy crackers? What’s this all for? What are we contributing here? Events like this should be either useful or fun. Is this fun? I can’t see a single person smiling. Would they be happier if they had more stuff? Would I? Does this cheap sewing kit make me happy? It makes me less embarrassed; is that the same thing? Have I bought $2.99 worth of happiness?

Time to have some wine, I think. Can’t think like this all the time; I will go mad.

The word of the day: praxis

I read an article today on “The Religion of Sustainability”, in which the author calls for less theory and more practical work.

Oh for the day when we all cared about the environment and the human race and that was our single mission. When we didn’t spend most of our time in meetings and forums discussing the issues, rather we were out in the field working on the problem. How many trees have died to produce position papers and minutes from meetings only to be filed away?

I don’t think I was around during this purported Golden Age, but I’m sure it was very nice. (Although, parenthetically, this sounds a lot like the complaints I’ve heard from certain groups of feminists decrying the fragmentation of the feminist movement and wanting a return to the good old days when feminists were much more united in purpose, ignoring the fact that that comparative unity [if it existed] was largely due to the systematic exclusion of Black women, trans women, lower-income women, etc. As you gain a diversity of viewpoints, of course you’re going to have different ideas of what should take precedence, and people are going to argue about them. That’s what people do. Likewise the environmental movement, which has grown enormously and brought in people who weren’t talking each other about this stuff until recently [insert “Twitter will save us all” rant as appropriate].)

So I’m not sure I agree with this article, but it got me thinking about the divide between theory and practice.

Here’s the thing. We’re basically theorists here at the Moral Economy Project. Our core group is largely academics; our mission is largely the promulgation of ideas. I’ll admit, this took some getting used to for me. The main thing I’ve had trouble with is that it’s a lot harder to quantify progress, with theory. When you’re doing concrete physical work, there are benchmarks. Planting ten thousand trees. Reducing energy usage by thirty percent. Preventing fifty tons of electronics going into the landfill. That sort of thing.

How do you do that with ideas? Sure, there are things you can count, if you feel so inclined. Number of books sold, number of people who sign up for your mailing list, that sort of thing. But it’s really, really hard to know exactly what effect you’re having on the minds of the people who hear you. Except when they contact you directly, of course, and only a fraction of readers, listeners, etc. will ever do that.

Which I think is part of what leads to perspectives like in the article above: the idea that because physical work is more quantifiable, it’s accomplishing more, and that theorizing is therefore a waste of time, resources, etc. And I think we’ve all known people who seemed to be “all talk” and had the urge to tell them that if they were really serious they’d push off and go plant trees someplace far, far away.

But one of the main things we’re striving for, in our re-envisioning of the world, is balance – a balance between rights and responsibilities, between pessimism and hope – between our obligations to others, to the world, to God, and to ourselves (insofar as those four things can ever be separated in any meaningful way). That sense of balance has to apply to the blend of theory and practice that makes up our movement as well.

I’m not strong on theory – that’s why all of this has undoubtedly been said before, and better. But I can’t help but appreciate its value. In their own way, the seeds of ideological reform grow into beautiful trees too.