Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Jon Stewart Schools Sean Hannity About History

A "Public Option" is Still Possible

by Dee Newman

I agree with Senator Baucus that there are not 60 votes in the Senate to pass a “public option.” The Blue Dogs Democrats will not vote for it. But surely, they can be convinced (for party unity) to vote for cloture and then vote against the final bill, if they must?

Once cloture has been obtain, the legislation will only need 50 votes to pass with Vice President Biden casting the tiebreaking vote. Senate vote-counters believe that there are at least 51 votes for a bill with a “public option” like the one presented on Tuesday by Senator Chuck Schumer.

At this moment, it seems the bill coming out of the Senate Finance Committee will not have a "public option." Adding a public option amendment to the bill on the floor of the Senate that will get 60 votes to shut off debate will not be easy, but it's not impossible.

The Blue Dogs Democrats must be forced to vote for cloture. If they refuse the party should then threaten to with draw support for their re-election.

There is another alternative – reconciliation. It is a legislative process that allows a contentious budget bill in the Senate to be considered without being subject to a filibuster, needing only a simple majority to pass legislation. Though it is devious and can only be used on bills that have a significant budgetary impact, it has been done before. Most recently, under the administration of George W. Bush, Senate Republicans used reconciliation to enact three major tax cuts.

There is much on the line. Both the Democrats and the Republicans know it. If a health care reform bill is passed that forces all Americans to buy health insurance and it does not include a "public option," the outrage and repercussion could be devastating for Democrats. However, if Democrats are successful in passing legislation that provides an affordable public option that will reduce health care costs, the Republican party may never recover from the defeat.

I predict that a health care reform bill with a public option will be signed by the President before Christmas.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dollar Analysis

by Jack Reeves

We are so used to repressing, suppressing and seeking distraction from the terror of life and our ultimate demise that we can look at a dollar bill and not see that the familiar symbols and words relate to mortality, specifically death. We deal with death by madness – psychosis that passes for normalcy.

Pascal captured existential truth: "not to be mad would amount to another form of madness."

He saw behind the mask of all humans.

The costs of pretending not to be mad describe the human condition . . .

 "A dollar bill is humorous because it is incongruent."


* United States of America (Union for order, welfare, protection)
* George Washington (Father of the County/protection)
* Legal tender (payment for sustaining goods, services)
* Federal Reserve (treasury for economic security)
* Washington, DC (seat of government and protection)
* Balance/scale (to resolve conflicts which threaten order)
* Signatures (authority symbols )
* Serial numbers (order imposed on chaos)

* Eagle (bird of prey)
* Arrows in talon (missiles clutched by the claw of a bird of prey)
* Pyramid (place of burial or sacrifice)
* Eye of Providence (God, divine guidance)
* The Great Seal of the USA (combines several)
* 1776 (war)
* Shield (defensive armor)
* Annuit Coeptis (He/diety approves the things which have been begun.)
* E pluibus unum (From many comes one. Unity, order)
* Flag on shield (13 stripes, 13 stars)* (Confederation) Both are symbols. Flag: identity; shield: protection

A very interesting contradiction: Novus ordo seclorum (New secular order) Motto: In God We Trust.

Deity, Death, Order, Survival, Protection  (DDOSP) = a Dollar

From The Jewish Daily Forward:

How I’m Losing My Love For Israel

By Jay Michaelson

Published September 16, 2009, issue of September 25, 2009.

To paraphrase a recent Jewish organizational tagline, I’ve “hugged and wrestled with Israel” for 20 years now. At first, it was all embrace: Zionist songs and culture nourished me like mother’s milk, and on my first trip to Israel I kissed the tarmac at Ben Gurion, as did the other USY (United Synagogue Youth) kids.

Eventually, the wrestling came to the fore, particularly as I became more conscious of Palestinians, settlements and religious-secular divides. In 2002, I wrote about being “a leftist and a Zionist” and how difficult it was to maintain those dual political identities. And for several years, I’ve argued for a more nuanced approach to Israel advocacy and education than the hail of falafel balls and the bludgeon of Taglit-Birthright.

But lately I’ve noticed that I’m becoming a candidate for advocacy myself. I’ve loved Israel for decades, lived there for three years, and studied in detail the subtleties of its society and conflicts. And so it is with the sadness that accompanies the end of any affair that I notice my love is starting to wane.

Why? There are four primary reasons.

First, I admit, it has become simply exhausting to maintain the ambivalence, the hugging and the wrestling, the endless fence sitting. My love of Israel has turned into a series of equivocations: “I do not support the expansion of settlements, but the Palestinians bear primary responsibility for the collapse of the peace process in 1999.” “The Israelis acted overzealously in Gaza, but they must be entitled to defend themselves against rocket attacks.” “Yes, the separation wall is odious, but it is also effective and necessary.” Yes, but; no, but; defend, but. At some point, the complexity and ambiguity wears one out, particularly when the visuals on the anti-Israel side are so compelling, and so stark: walls, tanks, checkpoints.

I admit that my exhaustion is exacerbated because, in my social circles, supporting Israel is like supporting segregation, apartheid or worse. I know this is a sign of weakness of will on my part, and I hope that the Times-magazine-sanctioned rise of J Street changes things, but I don’t think advocates of Israel understand exactly how bad the situation is on college campuses, in Europe, and in liberal or leftist social-political circles. Supporting Israel in these contexts is like supporting repression, or the war in Iraq, or George W. Bush. It’s gotten so bad, I don’t mention Israel in certain conversations anymore, and no longer defend it when it’s lumped in with South Africa and China by my friends. This is wrong of me, I know, but I’ve been defending Israel for years, and it’s gotten harder and harder to do so.

How much of Israel’s pariah status is fantasy and how much is reality is, of course, a complicated question, and one that I would not presume to answer in this column. In the conversations I’ve had, it’s some of each — and again a subject for equivocation. Yes, Israel’s new government is a right/far-right alliance whose foreign policy looks suspiciously like Yitzhak Shamir’s era of “Say yes and do nothing.” But on the other hand, I understand why many Israelis are fed up and voted for it, and the oversimplifications among Israel’s critics are many. For example, just because this government is expanding settlements does not make doing so an essential part of Israel’s identity.

But I’m not sure the parsing matters. I’m not sure any state with tanks can win a propaganda war against an occupied people with guns and Molotov cocktails — even if the occupied people’s leaders deserve plenty of blame. It’s exhausting to keep fighting this fight, especially as Israel’s authentically odious actions (excesses by soldiers, expropriations of land) continue to pile up, and the yes-buts grow harder and harder to maintain.

The second reason for my waning love of Israel is that the Israel I love is increasingly disappearing. It started in Jerusalem, with the exodus of the secular left and the slow, agonizing demise of the culture they created. Now, many of my sabra friends are leaving the country entirely, desperately looking for tech jobs in California or academic postings in Indiana. However worn out I may be by the matzav my friends who have lived in it are far worse. For now, Tel Aviv’s liberal, secular, life-celebrating culture continues to thrive and is even developing a spiritual aspect — but like many Israelis, I feel like I’m reading the writing on the wall.

Part of the problem here is that the Israel I love is not the Disneyland most of my fellow Americans seem to adore. Sure, I cry at Macadam and even feel moved at the kotel. But my Israel is one of shuks, cafes, shtiebels and hiking trails; of family and friends; of my alma mater on Mount Scopus and my favorite field in Talbieh (Churshat Hayareach, an open space continually threatened with destruction). Personally, I find the way many Americans strut in and out of Jerusalem for the holidays partly ridiculous and partly nauseating. So while the storybook Jerusalem remains more or less intact, I care less about it than the delicate, messy harmonies of the real ones.

Worse than that, the mythic Israel is now actively affecting — I would say harming — the real one. The handful of rich American conservatives who have influenced Israeli politics lately have tended to prefer grandiose myths to the messy realities that should govern pragmatic decision making — and eventually, all those simplifications add up to dangerous distortions in policy. The “fantasy Israel,” the one many Americans seem largely to inhabit, doesn’t compensate for the erosion of the real one. On the contrary, it causes it.

Nor am I myself immune; the third way in which my love for Israel is waning is that I’ve started to second-guess the love itself. How distant is my love of Churshat Hayareach from the sentimentality of a tourist at the Wall? (The Western one, that is, not the Separation one.) Am I not, too, an American moved, and thus partially blinded, by religious and national myth? How different am I, really, from those who value the poetry of the kotel over the prose of human rights? Am I really so different from those whose pro-Israel company I keep? It’s not that American Jews’ myths about Israel are false — it’s just that they have a way of shaping narrative, and papering over problems like, oh, the two million non-Jewish residents of Greater Israel.

This is especially the case because those problems are often rendered invisible. When my more liberal friends used to call me out about Israeli politics, I would sometimes respond that the picture they had, shaped by Western media, was a distorted one. Really, I’d say, Israel is a wonderful place — a place where doors are left unlocked and musicians play in the street, and where an almost-extinguished culture rose from literal ashes.

But, you know, a Southerner in the 1950s or an Afrikaner in the 1980s might say similar things. Yes, living within Green Line Israel, it’s possible to forget the Occupation (a term that certain Jewish news agencies feel obliged to scare quote). But maybe that’s part of the problem: The current regime of Separation (apart-ness, perhaps?) is all too effective. And so I’ve begun to second-guess even my own love of the place, wondering how much of it is built upon a foundation of deliberately constructed ignorance, a result of years of selective education. I sip my limonana, and five miles away a mother is harassed at a checkpoint. Which is reality and which fantasy?

Finally, I think my love of Israel is fading because I feel personally implicated by its injustices, even though I have chosen to live in America and have relinquished my right to have any say over Israeli policy. (If only some of my countrymen would feel similarly.) On a recent trip to Berlin, I remarked to a friend that I felt more relaxed there than in Jerusalem. Part of it was that Berlin is a liberal city, and part of it was that I didn’t have to be frisked every time I walked into a cafe. But mostly, I think, I felt relaxed because while there was certainly plenty of political baggage around, none of it was mine. I’m not implicated in Germany’s wrong decisions (to be clear, I refer more to Turks in 2009 than to Jews in 1939), whereas I do feel implicated by Israel’s.

This sense of implication is perhaps yet more fantasy — yet another American thinking he’s part of a country he doesn’t inhabit. But it comes with the territory of love, which is perhaps why I’m slowly disengaging. I understand why many Israelis feel fed up with the Palestinian problem and are ready to slam the door. But as an outsider, I no longer want to feel entangled by their decisions and implicated in their consequences. B’seder: It’s your choice to make… but count me out.

In my heart, I still love the stones and trees of Jerusalem, even though I know that love is sentimental, problematic and shared with people I mistrust. I am still awed by the tkuma, the resurrection and rebirth of my ancient people. And, yes, I feel like underscoring, I still support the State of Israel, its right to exist and the rest. Most important, it is still, in part, my home.

But especially on this side of the ocean, more and more of those who feel similarly have politics, agendas and overall experiences of Israel very different from mine. What they love is not what I love, and how they love is terrifying. And so while my love endures, my unease grows, and with it, the gnawing sense that this relationship is in trouble.

YouTube Ad: Hold Max Baucus Accountable

The following ad will be aired in Montana and Washington D.C. by the  Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy For America. The ad is aimed at Senator Max Baucus' (D-MT).

It asks the simple question, "Whose side are you on?"

My name is Bing Perrine and I live here in Billings, Montana, with my beautiful wife and baby boy. Last June, I collapsed because of congenital heart problems. I need open-heart surgery, but I have no insurance and no company will insure me.

My friends and family have been a blessing. With hearts as big as a Montana sky, they have helped with bake sales and benefits. But my wife and I still owe over $100,000 in medical bills.

None of this debt would have piled up if I had the option of buying into a public health insurance plan.
Private insurance companies need competition. They profit by denying care to people like me.

Senator Baucus, when you take millions of dollars from health and insurance interests that oppose reform -- and oppose giving families like mine the choice of a public option -- I have to ask: whose side are you on?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The following – "It's Not About Cancer" is included in a book to be published by George Ronald Publishers this coming January entitled: LOVE LIFT ME HIGHER : Meditations On Finding True Happiness by Dorothy Marcic. It is from a Journal entry written over a year ago by Andrea Seals.

It's Not About Cancer

by Andrea Seals

I have just experienced a burst of clarity. It came upon me as I was trying to fall asleep. This is odd as I usually get inspired first thing in the morning when I am about to wake up. I can now define my survival strategy for the past year.

One year ago came an abrupt awareness that very little of what the future held was in my control. This was not a small thing. (Though I don’t have an “A” personality, I may have an “A minus“ one.) In my life up to that point, I believed I had modified many of the hard edges with which I was born. Working in groups enabled me to learn the art of cooperation, consultation, and compromise. Being a mother and raising 4 children I learned to demonstrate compassion and kindness and be filled with a wrenching love that will inhabit me throughout eternity. I also am daughter to an aging parent. This new relationship has provided me with ample opportunity to be conciliatory and forgiving and surprisingly objective when necessary. And lastly, a marriage, a unique combination of he and I together for over 30 years, had “rounded out my corners” as my brother-in-law once remarked. I have benefited from the giving and the taking. But most of all I have enjoyed the sharing.

I never expected to share anything that wasn’t welcomed. We had been through the inevitable difficulties that come with every life – every marriage. All these challenges we weathered, together.

Then, my strong, healthy husband was diagnosed with the dreaded C word. Definitely not welcomed. Not only does he have cancer, he was diagnosed with a rare form of a rare form of it at stage four – meaning it was all over his body.

Immediate shock gave way to action out of necessity. The attempt to control any aspect of this thing that comes flying at you is like trying to catch water in a sieve. There is nothing to prepare you for this experience. You just have to learn as you go.

Everyday is different based on ever changing facts: Adjusting to unpronounceable medical terminology and potions, medical professionals – learning who does what to whom and why, preparations and testing, symptoms, side effects. Being in the hospital, out of the hospital, in the labs, out of the labs. Meeting with Doctors, Doctors and more Doctors. Research: Internet, friends, family, phone calls, support systems. Finding out the hard way what questions to ask. Needing to check and double check everyone. Trusting and wondering if trusting was wise. Found myself writing notes about everything and keeping a calendar as a lifeline. Discerning practical information and making decisions about insurance, finances, bills, whose going to take care of the dog, the Grandma, the house? Oh and prayer. We can’t forget the ongoing prayer requests and mystical receipt of them.

Emotions run the gamut. Prayer is always a solace. Yet homework and footwork are absolute. On some days it’s perseverance and patience that fulfills our part of this mysterious process. Other days it’s picking up prescriptions and doing laundry. Whatever it is we have to do our part. It keeps us focused and hope-filled.

We’ve been at this a while now, over a year, actually. He’s not in remission yet, but the disease has been reduced to two very stubborn locations. We have highs and lows like anyone. We only aim to do one thing per day. We have discovered that this is manageable no matter what, so we always complete our list for the day!

Because some meds energize him we may accomplish more. We went to the river one day and he fly fished while I read in the shade. He got all muddy and didn’t catch a thing. We laughed about it. It was a good day.

Chemo is tough on the body. Sometimes it’s a big deal to even get out of bed in the morning. So he’ll drink a simple smoothie in bed followed by a clean toothbrush and a warm washcloth. Then we’ll look at each other and smile knowing we’re BOTH suddenly too sleepy to get up yet. So we snuggle and snooze. That’s a good day too.

My survival strategy for the past year wasn’t a strategy at all. It’s about who I have become as a result of this year’s life lessons day by day. These daily tests have become as much a part of me as loving my children, serving others and breathing. My world is what God put before me, 30+ years ago and today. I am grateful for the man I married and the path we walk along together wherever it takes us. We go willingly.

After awhile it dawned on us that this wasn’t just about cancer – Cancer merely introduced us to the alternate reality of multitudes of people who suffer as a way of life. Suddenly, when you find yourself among them they are no longer the exception, they become the rule you live by. Their comfort, their cure, their pillow, their desire, their joy, their rest, their nutrition, their spirit, their strength, their view of the world at that moment is what matters. His world is my world. His world has changed and I’m in it with him.

We bend to the task of the hour because we can, Sir.

Dan Seals died on March the 25 after a long battle with mantle cell lymphoma. He was 61. For all those who knew and loved him, he will be remembered not just as a wonderful singer and songwriter, but as a gentle, loving, kind, and generous human being. To read more about his life click here.

Dan Seals wrote the following song "One Friend" for his wife Andi.

One Friend

I always thought you were the best
I guess I always will.
I always felt that we were blessed,
And I feel that way, still.

Sometimes we took the hard road,
But we always saw it through.
If I had only one friend left,
I'd want it to be you.

Sometimes the world was on our side;
Sometimes it wasn't fair.
Sometimes it gave a helping hand;
Sometimes we didn't care.

'Cause when we were together,
It made the dream come true.
If I had only one friend left,
I'd want it to be you.

Someone who understands me,
And knows me inside out.
And helps keep me together,
And believes without a doubt,

That I could move a mountain:
Someone to tell it to.
If I had only one friend left,
I'd want it to be you.

'Cause when we were together,
It made the dream come true.
If I had only one friend left,
I'd want it to be you.

Someone who understands me,
And knows me inside out.
And helps keep me together,
And believes without a doubt,

That I could move a mountain:
Someone to tell it to.
If I had only one friend left,
I'd want it to be you.

Friday, September 25, 2009

From G20 Media

I have no idea if this video is for real. But, if it is – we have much to worry about:

September 24, 2009

An arrest that was made occurred on a side street near Baum Ave & S Millvale Ave.


The "Group of 20" is meeting yesterday and today in Pittsburgh. People have been demonstrating to counter the G20, a group of the richest, most powerful people from the richest, most powerful countries who make decisions which impact all of us.

Demonstrators went on the march through Pittsburgh without a permit, and police tactics effectively split up the group after about 45 minutes of marching. In the end only about 26 arrests were made.

Demonstrators are expected to march again today for a permitted and family-friendly rally and march, endorsed by many large organizations, which will start at Craft and Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh at 11:30 AM. Bring kids and pets! More info:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

MSNBC: President Obama Speaks to the U.N.

 "We must embrace a new era of engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect." 

From The New York Times:

Obama Considers Strategy Shift in Afghan War 


Published: September 22, 2009

WASHINGTON — President Obama is exploring alternatives to a major troop increase in Afghanistan, including a plan advocated by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to scale back American forces and focus more on rooting out Al Qaeda there and in Pakistan, officials said Tuesday.

Kevin Wolf/Associated Press
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The options under review are part of what administration officials described as a wholesale reconsideration of a strategy the president announced with fanfare just six months ago. Two new intelligence reports are being conducted to evaluate Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials said.

The sweeping reassessment has been prompted by deteriorating conditions on the ground, the messy and still unsettled outcome of the Afghan elections and a dire report by Mr. Obama’s new commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal. Aides said the president wanted to examine whether the strategy he unveiled in March was still the best approach and whether it could work with the extra combat forces General McChrystal wants.

In looking at other options, aides said, Mr. Obama might just be testing assumptions — and assuring liberals in his own party that he was not rushing into a further expansion of the war — before ultimately agreeing to the anticipated troop request from General McChrystal. But the review suggests the president is having second thoughts about how deeply to engage in an intractable eight-year conflict that is not going well.

Although Mr. Obama has said that a stable Afghanistan is central to the security of the United States, some advisers said he was also wary of becoming trapped in an overseas quagmire. Some Pentagon officials say they worry that he is having what they called “buyer’s remorse” after ordering an extra 21,000 troops there within weeks of taking office before even settling on a strategy.

Mr. Obama met in the Situation Room with his top advisers on Sept. 13 to begin chewing over the problem, said officials involved in the debate. Among those on hand were Mr. Biden; Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; James L. Jones, the national security adviser; and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

They reached no consensus, so three or four more such meetings are being scheduled. “There are a lot of competing views,” said one official who, like others in this article, requested anonymity to discuss internal administration deliberations.

Among the alternatives being presented to Mr. Obama is Mr. Biden’s suggestion to revamp the strategy altogether. Instead of increasing troops, officials said, Mr. Biden proposed scaling back the overall American military presence. Rather than trying to protect the Afghan population from the Taliban, American forces would concentrate on strikes against Qaeda cells, primarily in Pakistan, using special forces, Predator missile attacks and other surgical tactics.

The Americans would accelerate training of Afghan forces and provide support as they took the lead against the Taliban. But the emphasis would shift to Pakistan. Mr. Biden has often said that the United States spends something like $30 in Afghanistan for every $1 in Pakistan, even though in his view the main threat to American national security interests is in Pakistan.

Mr. Obama rejected Mr. Biden’s approach in March, and it is not clear that it has more traction this time. But the fact that it is on the table again speaks to the breadth of the administration’s review and the evolving views inside the White House of what has worked in the region and what has not. In recent days, officials have expressed satisfaction with the results of their cooperation with Pakistan in hunting down Qaeda figures in the unforgiving border lands.

A shift from a counterinsurgency strategy to a focus on counterterrorism would turn the administration’s current theory on its head. The strategy Mr. Obama adopted in March concluded that to defeat Al Qaeda, the United States needed to keep the Taliban from returning to power in Afghanistan and making it a haven once again for Osama bin Laden’s network. Mr. Biden’s position questions that assumption.

Mrs. Clinton, who opposed Mr. Biden in March, appeared to refer to this debate in an interview on Monday night on PBS. “Some people say, ‘Well, Al Qaeda’s no longer in Afghanistan,’ ” she said. “If Afghanistan were taken over by the Taliban, I can’t tell you how fast Al Qaeda would be back in Afghanistan.”

At the time he announced his new approach, Mr. Obama described it as “a stronger, smarter and comprehensive strategy,” and said “to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the same: We will defeat you.” The administration then fired the commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David D. McKiernan, and replaced him with General McChrystal, empowering him to carry out the new strategy.

But the Afghan presidential election, widely marred by allegations of fraud, undermined the administration’s confidence that it had a reliable partner in President Hamid Karzai. Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden already had raised doubts about Mr. Karzai, which were only exacerbated by the fear that even if he emerges from a runoff election, he will have little credibility with his own people.

“A counterinsurgency strategy can only work if you have a credible and legitimate Afghan partner. That’s in doubt now,” said Bruce O. Riedel, who led the administration’s strategy review of Afghanistan and Pakistan earlier this year. “Part of the reason you are seeing a hesitancy to jump deeper into the pool is that they are looking to see if they can make lemonade out of the lemons we got from the Afghan election.”

Representative Ike Skelton, Democrat of Missouri and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, sent Mr. Obama a six-page letter arguing the case for more troops for General McChrystal. “There is no strategy short of a properly resourced counterinsurgency campaign that is likely to provide lasting security,” he wrote.

Mr. Obama now has to reconcile past statements and policy with his current situation.
“The problem for President Obama is he has made the case in the past that we took our eye off the ball and we should have stayed in Afghanistan,” said former Defense Secretary William S. Cohen. But now that he is in charge of the war, Mr. Cohen said, Mr. Obama is discovering “he doesn’t have much in the way of options” and time is of the essence.

Mr. Cohen added, “The longer you wait, the harder it will be to reverse it.”

Thom Shanker, Eric Schmitt and Mark Mazzetti contributed reporting.

Rachel Maddow Show: The Matter of Choice in Health Care

A Historic Address by President Obama at the U.N. Climate Summit

President Obama acknowledged at the United Nation's Climate Summit what no other U.S. president has said before:
"It is true that for too many years, mankind has been slow to respond to or even recognize the magnitude of the climate threat. It is true of my own country as well. We recognize that. But this is a new day."

He also acknowledged that developed countries like the United States "caused much of the damage to our climate" and "have a responsibility to lead."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Letterman Interviews President Obama

Wrapping up a blitz of TV appearances on Sunday, trying to build support for his health care plan, President Obama appeared on CBS's Late Night Show with David Letterman. Though he had been on the show five times before, it was the first time a sitting president appeared with Letterman.

Watch CBS Videos Online

After the taping of the show, President Obama returned to his hotel in midtown Manhattan, emerging later in gym clothes and a baseball cap to play some basketball with his aides in the church across the street.

From Tribe of Heart

News from Tribe of Heart , Producers of PEACEABLE KINGDOM: THE JOURNEY HOME and THE WITNESS

for Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home
Festival tour continues with stops in Arkansas, California, Florida and Missouri
Join us at one of these special screenings! More details coming soon.
Dear Friends,

We are now just 5 days away from the World Premiere and film festival launch of Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home!
Meanwhile, we have learned of four additional film festival acceptances:
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
October 16-25, Hot Springs, Arkansas
Ojai-Ventura International Film Festival
November 5-8, Ojai & Ventura, California
Orlando Film Festival
November 4-8, Orlando, Florida
St. Louis International Film Festival
November 12-22, St. Louis, Missouri

We are excited to announce some of the details below. More information will be coming out about these events soon!
Warm wishes,
James LaVeck and Jenny Stein
Co-founders of Tribe of Heart
PS: DVD release coming in early 2010 along with special premiere events. Details to come.

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
October 16-25, Hot Springs, Arkansas
Hot Springs Documentary FF The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival is recognized by the International Documentary Association (IDA) and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) as one of only seven national Academy Award qualifying venues. The festival's screening committee views nearly 1,000 films submitted from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, and selects 100 to be viewed each year.
The 18th annual Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival will be held October 16 through 25, at the historic Malco Theatre in downtown Hot Springs, Arkansas. In 2000, the festival screened Tribe of Heart's first film, The Witness, to a full house, with an enthusiastic audience response. We are honored to be returning to Hot Springs to screen Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home. This year, producer James LaVeck has been invited to speak on a panel with other filmmakers whose documentaries touch on environmental themes. Dates, times, and more details to be announced soon!

Ojai-Ventura International Film Festival
November 5-8, Ojai & Ventura, California
Ojai Film Festival
The Ojai-Ventura International Film Festival is accredited by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Many of the films it has screened have gone on to receive widespread distribution, recognition and awards, including Academy Awards. The festival's advisory board includes Ellen DeGeneres, Colin Farrell, Matthew Perry, Malcolm McDowell and Diane Ladd.
We met the festival's artistic director, Academy Award-winner Steve Grumette, back in 2000 at the Canyonlands Film Festival. This was our very first film festival screening, and we were thrilled when The Witness took home the award for Best Documentary. Steve was one of the festival's jurors, and invited us to submit the film to Ojai, where it was selected and screened later that year.
Now it feels like we're coming full circle, bringing Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home to Ojai for their 9th annual festival just a few weeks from now. The Ojai-Ventura Film International Festival will be held November 5 through 8, spanning two locations in Southern California, Ojai and Ventura (70 miles northwest of Los Angeles). Dates, times, and more details to be announced soon!

Orlando Film Festival
November 4-8, Orlando, Florida
Orlando Film Fest
Created as an alternative to commercial cinema, the Orlando Film Festival is known for promoting film as an art form and is "one of the most active film organizations in the country championing artists' rights of expression and free speech."
Plaza TheaterNow in its fourth year, the Orlando Film Festival has a new home at the $8 million, 12-screen Plaza Cinema Cafe in downtown Orlando. The festival will be held November 4 through 8 and will showcase more than 100 independent feature films, documentaries and shorts. All screenings are free! More details about their screening of Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home to be announced soon!

St. Louis International Film Festival
November 12-22, St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis Film Fest
Named one of the 10 Best International Festivals in the U.S. by Chris Gore's The Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide, the St. Louis International Film Festival has a special focus on American independent productions and horizon-expanding international films that would otherwise never screen in St. Louis. According to the festival's organizers, "SLIFF believes that when we learn about others' cultures and perspectives, we discover something about ourselves. SLIFF strives for inclusiveness by featuring films that thoughtfully and provocatively address issues of race, age, ethnicity, and sexual identity."
The 18th annual St. Louis International Film Festival will be held November 12 through 22. We are delighted Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home will be showing there, and we will soon provide details about a special event we are planning to accompany the festival screening.

We urgently need financial support to bring this life-changing film to the largest possible audience. Please consider making a donation today to help support our launch!

Donations can be made online or mailed to:
Tribe of Heart, PO Box 149, Ithaca, NY 14851 USA

World Premiere Weekend
World Premiere Weekend Sept. 26-27 in Boulder, CO
We invite you to join us at the Moondance International Film Festival, Sept. 26-27 in Boulder, Colorado, for an exciting weekend of events! Saturday night's world premiere screening of the film will be followed by Q&A with the filmmakers and film subject Harold Brown. Sunday's special presentation by James LaVeck (film producer) and Harold Brown on the subject of "Being the Change" will offer a sneak peek viewing of a short film in progress by Tribe of Heart, designed to be a companion piece to Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home. Tentatively titled All the Difference in the World: A Journey of Conscience, this film documents one of the largest animal rescues in US history, and underscores the importance of taking action on an individual level, even when the scale of the problem being addressed is beyond comprehension. The short film and presentations by James and Harold will be followed by a catered reception.
Here are the full details of both events. Please help us spread the word!
Listen to Boulder's KGNU on Friday, September 25, at 3:30 PM Mountain Time for an interview with filmmakers James LaVeck and Jenny Stein and film subject Harold Brown. You can listen live on the internet!

Help us stop the mass killing of Cayuga Heights deer!
Please Sign our Petition
Cayuga Heights deer
This buck, and the orphaned fawn he has been nurturing for over a year now, are two of the 150 or more deer in our community whose lives hang in the balance. We've been trying for the past 12 months to prevent their needless slaughter, and to send a message to other communities that there are non-violent alternatives to resolving deer-human conflicts.
Please learn more about how you can help, and sign our online petition! We hope to deliver this petition to the mayor and trustees of Cayuga Heights at their monthly meeting tonight if we can get enough signatures in time. So don't delay, sign now, and spread the word so others will sign. Thank you for your help!
Many thanks to Stephanie Ernst at for blogging about the Cayuga Heights bait-and-shoot deer-killing plan. She has made such a difference! Another great friend through this process has been Kris Lecakes Haley of PeaceAnimal, who has come up with so many creative ways to get the word out and support our efforts, including holding online Peace Meditations and Silent Vigils at critical moments of our campaign. Tonight, there will be another Silent Vigil at 7 PM. Please join us!
You can follow our efforts to save the Cayuga Heights deer on Facebook and Twitter.

You can help!
Please help us publicize these upcoming screenings of Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home -- and more -- by adding a widget like the one pictured above to your web site or social networking page(s). Choose from widget options here. All widgets will automatically update with the latest news and events. It's never been easier to help us get the word out!

Visit our new official web site for
Peaceable Kingdom:The Journey Home

PK web site

Tribe of Heart logo Tribe of Heart is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that produces award-winning, life-changing films about the journey of awakening conscience and the ethics of the human-animal relationship.
facebook Twitter

Monday, September 21, 2009


9/12 DC Tea Party: March Footage with Interviews

View the Ignorance

On 9.12.2009, we went to Washington DC to document the Tea Party protests against, well, a lot of things, including health insurance reform, the IRS, abortion, global warming, and our "socialist/communist/fascist/Nazi/Muslim " president, Barack Obama. Some of them called for a return to McCarthyism, while others called for Glenn Beck to run for office--indeed, it seemed the only thing that everyone agreed on was Fox News.


This NEW LEFT MEDIA film was produced and edited by Chase Whiteside (interviewer) and Erick Stoll (camera operator).

Some users have pointed out that White House "Czars" existed long before Ronald Reagan. As it turns out, Donald Nelson, appointed under FDR as a "Wartime Production Czar", was the first. The Republican Gov. of Colorado, John A. Love, was later appointed under Nixon as an "Energy Czar". We appreciate this correction, though such an oversight does not dilute our point. The current outcry against Czars is merely alarmist propaganda perpetuated by Glenn Beck and the rest of the right-wing media.


You can make a difference in the health care debate without leaving your bedroom. So stop typing that narcissistic Facebook status, pause your Mafia Wars game, and actually do something in reality to advance the cause you support on Facebook by calling your representative. This is so easy. Many people are timid about making phone calls, but a phone call to your representative now could save you a series of phone calls to an uncooperative insurance company in the future. Too lazy to look up your representative's number? This website makes it even easier--it will find the number, call it for you, and then call your cell phone to connect you. Tell your representative's office that you support comprehensive health care reform, and urge them to support the public option.

"We can do this. At this point, all that stands in the way of universal health care in America are the greed of the medical-industrial complex, the lies of the right-wing propaganda machine, and the gullibility of voters who believe those lies."
- Paul Krugman, The Swiss Menace
Category:  News & Politics

Friday, September 18, 2009

From Daily Kos:

O’Reilly Backs Government Health Insurance Option
Posted Sep 16, 2009, 5:40 PM PT by Jed Lewison • First broadcast: Sep 16, 2009 

by Jed Lewison

Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 09:16:03 AM PDT
File this one under things you never expected to hear:


O’REILLY: The public option now is done. We discussed this, it’s not going to happen. But you say that this little marketplace that they’re going to set up, whereby the federal government would subsidize insurance for some Americans, that is, in your opinion, a public option?

OWCHARENKO: Well, it has massive new federal regulation. So you don’t necessarily need a public option if the federal government is going to control and regulate the type of health insurance that Americans can buy.

O’REILLY: But you know, I want that, Ms. Owcharenko. I want that. I want, not for personally for me, but for working Americans, to have a option, that if they don’t like their health insurance, if it’s too expensive, they can’t afford it, if the government can cobble together a cheaper insurance policy that gives the same benefits, I see that as a plus for the folks.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


For decades, Ethiopia has been affected by famine and conflict. During 2009, there have been various reports of internal displacement resulting from conflicts and human rights violations perpetuated by the army and groups opposed to the government. The ongoing conflict in the Somali Region between the army and the Ogaden National Liberation Front, and in the south and southwest of the country with the Oromo Liberation Front, both pose serious security, humanitarian and protection challenges. The impact on civilians has been likened to that of Darfur.

Jack Reeves, the author of the poem below, Ecce Resurrectio!, lived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1989-91; he was there during the revolution which overthrew the oppressive and brutal communist government. He obtained the first amateur radio license (ET2A) issued in the country since Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown in 1974.

by Jack Reeves

Oh Cush! Ancient land,
Time-sculpted, in time frozen;
Rugged, majestic land--
Land of man’s first dim dreams.

Burnt-face, sensual-eyed seductress.
Your stars, brilliant, burning in heaven’s pitch canopy,
Glint ‘round Axum’s hallowed steles,
Penetrating to the altar of Lalibela’s rock soul.

Long Entoto’s hills ululate Meskel’s message:
The True Cross has been found!
Alas, Addis--beautiful flower, must you chant only the dirge
of death? “Ecce Homo, Ecce Homo.”

Blue Nile, Bale Mountains,
That awesome rift rending the land are guardians,
Imprisoning your grave sacrament,
Revered only by a forgotten people forgetful of time.

Oh Ethiopia! My mad mistress!
Come down from your cross!
You’ve lived death too long!

Beyond your suffering,

Ecce Resurrectio!

1. Cush. The ancient name of Ethiopia.
2. Land of man’s first dim dreams: The early humanoid “Lucy” was
   found in Ethiopia.
3. Burnt-face. The name Ethiopian derives from the Arabic-Amharic
   (related to Hebrew and Aramaic) word for “burnt-face.”
4. Axum’s hallowed steles. The sacred Coptic Christian center in
   northern Ethiopia, marked by steles or obelisks.
5. Lalibela. The sacred shrine/church hollowed out of rock at
   Lalibela, near Axum.
6. Entoto. The hills outside Addis Ababa.
7. Meskel. The Easter season, celebrating also the finding of the
   True Cross.
8. Addis Ababa. The capital, often called Addis, meaning
   “beautiful flower.”
9. Ecce Homo. From the Latin/Vulgate translation of the New
   Testament. Pontius Pilate (Roman procurator of Judea; tried and
   condemned Jesus) delivered Jesus before the crowd and said,
   Ecce homo, “Behold the man.”
10. Blue Nile, Bale (Bah-lay) Mountains, awesome rift (the Great
    Rift Valley, where northeastern Africa is breaking away from
    the continent).
11. Ecce resurrectio! Behold resurrection!


From the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Website

Physician Views on the Public Health Insurance Option and Medicare Expansions

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation survey shows physicians support reform plan that includes both public and private options.

September 14, 2009
By: Keyhani S, Federman A and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

A RWJF survey summarized in the September 14, 2009 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine shows that 62.9 percent of physicians nationwide support proposals to expand health care coverage that include both public and private insurance options—where people under the age of 65 would have the choice of enrolling in a new public health insurance plan (like Medicare) or in private plans. The survey shows that just 27.3 percent of physicians support a new program that does not include a public option and instead provides subsidies for low-income people to purchase private insurance. Only 9.6 percent of doctors nationwide support a system where a Medicare-like public program is created in lieu of any private insurance. A majority of physicians (58%) also support expanding Medicare eligibility to those between the ages of 55 and 64.

In every region of the country, a majority of physicians supported a combination of public and private options, as did physicians who identified themselves as primary care providers, surgeons, or other medical subspecialists. Among those who identified themselves as members of the American Medical Association, 62.2 percent favored both the public and private options.

The survey was conducted between June 25 and September 3, 2009 by Salomeh Keyhani, M.D., M.P.H., and Alex Federman, M.D., M.P.H., of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. While the survey was conducted in several “waves” over a tumultuous summer for the health reform debate, no statistically significant differences were identified in physician responses throughout the summer.

From Paul Hipp: "We're Number 37"

Channel Icon
September 09, 2009
Here is a little song celebrating our position at #37 in the world in healthcare.

"We're Number 37"

Come one, Come all
Down to the hall
We're gonna make noise
We're gonna bust balls
We're gonna disrupt
We're gonna jump in the fray
I got a list of all the things that were supposed to say
We're gonna get real rowdy
Have a barrel of fun
But were the USA so by the way be sure to bring a gun
And buddy

We're Number 37
We're the USA
We're Number 37
And were so proud to say
We got old people crying at the pharmacy
Pay your deductible
This aint the land of the f-f-f-free Grandma
We're Number 37
We're the USA

People of the town come on down
And if you got a crazy rumor you can spread it around
I kind of like my insurance and I like my health
The other 47 million can go treat themselves
To some prayer in chapel
Fold your hands and pray
Because we are a Christian nation and that is the Christian way
And brother

We're Number 37
We're the USA
The big Number 37
And were so proud to say
We're #1 one in tanks
We're #1 in planes
We're #1 in war with #2 for brains
We're Number 37
We're the USA

I drew a Hitler mustache on the president
Yea! Aint that neat
My brother had a hernia operation last year
And now hes living out on the street

We're Number 37
We're the USA
The big Number 37
And we want to keep it that way
Be sure to bring the kids
All of the boys and girls
Because the #1 health care system in the world.

Is inFrance???

We're Number 37
We're the USA
We're Number 37
And we got something to say
We pay more for less
40% in fact
Lets bite some fingers off
Shout at the handicapped
Cause buddy
We're Number 37
We're the USA

We're Number 37
We're the USA
We're Number 37
We're the USA

From Harpers:

Why Are Jews So Liberal?

Last week, the New York Times Magazine ran an intriguing interview with the longtime editor of Commentary, Norman Podhoretz, which was closely attuned to his new book Why Are Jews Liberals? The question is posed in a predictably negative way, and the interview helps us understand why. Podhoretz argues that America’s right is now friendlier to Israel than America’s left.
Whereas the right was once full of anti-Semites, since the Six-Day War of 1967, the right — and especially the religious right — has become more pro-Israel, and the left — as exemplified by intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal and a magazine like The Nation — has become more hostile.
This answer might provide a summary for Podhoretz’s book, but it raises a number of questions. Why, for instance, does Podhoretz assume that because the religious right takes political positions supporting Israel they are no longer anti-Semitic? Axiomatic support for the most aggressive posture on the territorial rights of Israel is certainly a new pillar of the religious right. But behind those views we sometimes hear explanations that suggest the old animosities–for instance, that a powerful Israel and the rebuilding of the temple are steps to the second coming, when Jews will be cast into hell. Podhoretz’s castigation of liberals is also odd, starting with his conflation of “liberal” and “left.” Why would a self-described “anarchist libertarian socialist” like Noam Chomsky be trotted out to speak for American liberals? Chomsky is clear enough–just like Podhoretz, he views America’s liberals as part of the problem.

A typical American liberal today may well like Israel’s Labor Party, read Ha’aretz, and make contributions to J Street to lobby in support of Israel. He may support a two-state solution and also be very critical of the current Likud government and many of its policies. But the Podhoretz view appears to be that unless you support Likud, read the Jerusalem Post, and make contributions to AIPAC, you don’t really love Israel. His my-way-or-the-highway attitude was accurately described in Leon Wieseltier’s thoughtful review essay on the Podhoretz book in the paper’s Book Review yesterday. “This is a dreary book,” Wieseltier writes. “Its author has a completely axiomatic mind that is quite content to maintain itself in a permanent condition of apocalyptic excitation. His perspective is so settled, so confirmed, that it is a wonder he is not too bored to write.”

If the book has a strong side, it is in the voice of ridicule that Podhoretz and his neoconservative cohort have patiently mastered over the last several decades. They use it to show the comic possibilities latent in a number of figures on the stage of the American left. But in Wieseltier’s view, this also falls flat:
The spectacle of all this tendentiousness is sometimes comic. In his new book, Norman Podhoretz has some fine exasperated fun with the wildness of interpretation on the Jewish left, and of course spares the Jewish right any culpability for the same sin. So it is worth recalling that a few years ago he published a book about the prophets in which they emerged as the neoconservatives of ancient Israel. Their castigations of the sacrifice of children prompted a reflection on the “pagan practice” of the entry of women into the work force.
The core of Podhoretz’s book focuses less on “liberalism” than on the historical alignment of American Jews with the Democratic Party. Podhoretz argues that Jewish immigrants went for the Democratic Party because “it represented the closest American counterpart to the forces on the left that had favored Jewish emancipation in Europe.” But I suspect Podhoretz is seeing only what he wants to see. The Democratic Party actually claimed fewer ties to the mid-century European reformists and revolutionaries than the Republicans–as witnessed by the brigade of veterans of the ‘48 risings who crossed the Atlantic to take a stand along side Abraham Lincoln. What was appealing about the Democrats was not their leftist proximity to European radicals but rather their friendly attitude towards immigration—keeping the door open for the extended families of those who had already crossed.

Wieseltier offers a very eloquent response to Podhoretz’s question:
It is not a delusion, not a treason, to vote against your own economic interest. It is a recognition of the multiplicity of interests, the many purposes, that make up a citizen’s life. When, in the Torah of Judaism, Moses commands the Jews to perform acts of social welfare, he sometimes adds the admonition that they were themselves strangers and slaves. The purpose of this refreshment of their memory is plain. The fact that we are no longer strangers and slaves is not all we need to know. We may not regard the world solely from the standpoint of our own prosperity, our own safety, our own contentment.
I would have a similar answer to his question about why Jews are liberals. It might start with a reading from Isaiah: “and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry / and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, / then your light will rise in the darkness, / and your night will become like the noonday.” This text, which observant Jews read every year at Yom Kippur, is as succinct a liberal credo as ever was uttered. Jews among all peoples of history were the first to learn that real wisdom has its roots in questioning and questioning again. Wisdom is tied to learning to ask the right questions, and then being cautious about the sources one is willing to accept for answers. What comfort would the people of Maimonides and Moses Mendelssohn find in a political party dominated today by Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck?

From Tribe of Heart:

Peaceable Kingdom World Premiere Weekend!
Join us in Boulder, Colorado, Sept. 26-27, at the Moondance International Film Festival

Dear Friends

We are thrilled to be announcing the premiere screening and film festival launch of Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home!
Moondance Film Festival
We invite you to join us in Boulder, Colorado for the Moondance International Film Festival, which takes place Sept. 25-27th, and where our film is an award finalist (winners to be announced mid-September).

The festival will be hosting the world premiere screening of Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home on Saturday night, Sept. 26th, followed by Q&A with people who participated in the making of the film. On Sunday the 27th, a special presentation called "Being the Change" will feature talks by Tribe of Heart co-founder James LaVeck (film producer) and former farmer Harold Brown (film subject), as well as a screening of a short film by Tribe of Heart titled All the Difference in the World: A Journey of Conscience, designed as a companion piece to Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home. The talks and screening will be followed by a reception.

Complete details can be found here.

As we prepare to release this project so long in the making, we are overwhelmed with gratitude for all those who have made it possible: for the film subjects who opened their lives and their hearts to us; for the gifted members of our creative team, each of whom have put such incredible dedication into their work; for all of you in the Tribe of Heart community who have demonstrated your vision and faith by donating your resources, time and talents to help sustain our efforts during this challenging creative period; for each and every person who has encouraged us to keep on climbing the mountain; and especially, for the animals themselves, who continue to teach and inspire us every day.

This film, more than anything we have ever created, is testimony to the vision, commitment and wisdom not of any one individual or small group, but of a global community of caring people of all ages and backgrounds. While what we can accomplish alone can often be so very limited, by working together, we can not only climb the steepest mountains, we can move them.

Warm wishes,
James LaVeck and Jenny Stein
Co-founders of Tribe of Heart

PS: DVD release coming in early 2010 along with special premiere events. Details to come.

Moondance Banner
The Moondance International Film Festival's mission is "to entertain, inform, inspire, encourage and educate." Festival director Elizabeth English says, "We honor those artists who, through their creative work, actively increase awareness, provide multiple viewpoints, address complex social issues, and strengthen ties between international audiences."

From the Moondance web site:

The Moondance International Film Festival is one of the premier venues for the exhibition and promotion of independent feature and short films in the US, and one of the leading indie film festivals in the world. Dedicated to celebrating and sharing with international audiences the absolute best in the world of films and screenplays, film scores, and some 25 other genres, the festival features special presentations, retrospectives, workshops, pitch panels, a gala awards reception and ceremony, and many of the world's top indie film screenings. Learn more

From Southern Studies:

Real 'Norma Rae' dies of cancer after insurer delayed treatment

crystal_lee_sutton.jpgThe North Carolina union organizer who was the inspiration for the movie "Norma Rae" died on Friday of brain cancer after a battle with her insurance company, which delayed her treatment. She was 68.


Crystal Lee Sutton, formerly Crystal Lee Jordan, was fired from her job folding towels at the J.P. Stevens textile plant in her hometown of Roanoke Rapids, N.C. for trying to organize a union in the early 1970s. Her last action at the plant -- writing the word "UNION" on a piece of cardboard and standing on her work table, leading her co-workers to turn off their machines in solidarity -- was memorialized in the 1979 film by actress Sally Field. The police physically removed Sutton from the plant for her action.

But her efforts ultimately succeeded, as the Amalgamated Clothing Workers won the right to represent the plant's employees on Aug. 28, 1974. Sutton later became a paid organizer for the union, which through a series of mergers became part of UNITE HERE before splitting off this year to form Workers United, which is affiliated with the Service Employees International Union.

Several years ago, Sutton was diagnosed with meningioma, a type of cancer of the nervous system. While such cancers are typically slow-growing, Sutton's was not -- and she went two months without potentially life-saving medication because her insurance wouldn't cover it initially. Sutton told the Burlington (N.C.) Times-News last year that the insurer's behavior was an example of abuse of the working poor:
"How in the world can it take so long to find out [whether they would cover the medicine or not] when it could be a matter of life or death," she said. "It is almost like, in a way, committing murder."
Though Sutton eventually received the medication, the cancer had already taken hold. She passed away on Friday, Sept. 11 in a Burlington, N.C. hospice.

"Crystal Lee Sutton was a remarkable woman whose brave struggles have left a lasting impact on this country and without doubt, on me personally," Field said in a statement released Friday. "Portraying Crystal Lee in 'Norma Rae,' however loosely based, not only elevated me as an actress, but as a human being."

Field won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival for her portrayal of the character based on Sutton. The film in turn was based on the 1975 book "Crystal Lee: A Woman of Inheritance" by New York Times reporter Henry P. "Hank" Leiferman.

Sutton was only 17 when she began working at the J.P. Stevens plant in northeastern North Carolina, where conditions were poor and the pay was low. A Massachusetts-based company that for many years was listed on the Fortune 500, J.P. Stevens is now part of the WestPoint Home conglomerate.

In 1973, Sutton, by then a mother of three, was earning only $2.65 an hour. That same year, Eli Zivkovich, a former coal miner from West Virginia, came to Roanoke Rapids to organize the plant and began working with Sutton, who was fired after she copied a flyer posted by management warning that blacks would run the union. It was that incident which led Sutton to stand up with her "UNION" sign.

"It is not necessary I be remembered as anything, but I would like to be remembered as a woman who deeply cared for the working poor and the poor people of the U.S. and the world," she said in a newspaper interview last year. "That my family and children and children like mine will have a fair share and equality."

For more on Sutton's life and work, visit the website of the Alamance Community College's Crystal Sutton Collection.

(Photo of Sutton speaking in Minnesota in 1988 from the Crystal Sutton Collection.)