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Monday, January 18, 2010

Numbers double in Haiti

The staggering scope of Haiti's nightmare came into sharper focus Monday as authorities estimated 200,000 dead and 1.5 million homeless in the heart of this luckless land, where injured survivors still died in the streets, doctors pleaded for help and looters slashed at one another in the rubble. 120,000 US Troops are involved in providing aid to Haiti, with more than 70,000 fed by the US so far.

Looting is on the increase, with some neighborhoods torched. The UN is calling for more peacekeepers. US troops are dedicated to relief and restoring infastructure. Tens of thousands of dead bodies are being buried in mass graves, trucked in by dumptrucks and collected by bulldozers.  Dead are collecting by the sides of the roads and still buried in the rubble.

The CIA World Factbook report on Haiti.

See previous coverage of Haiti on this blog for some important questions to consider.

Photo is from the Wall Street Journal, map from National Geographic.

SAG Award this Saturday Night

SAG Awards January 23 on TNT/TBS

Do not forget to cast your ballots! 

I strongly suggest mailing them tomorrow, Tuesday, to make sure they arrive at Integrity Voting Systems by noon on Thursday.

On a President's Shoulders

Photo: Christian Science Monitor "Martin Luther King Jr Day: Obama's impact on race in America."

The US Presidency carries great weight. 

In our "slings and arrows" 24 hour attack society that weight is multiplied by constant attack and unnecessary hatred.

Obama faces two wars (we are not entirly out of Iraq and we are fighting in the Philippines and elsewhere), inheriting the largest federal deficit in history, a split and non-compromising congress and a nation use to attacking their president rather than respecting them and supporting even the most basic decisions. He also walked into a recession so large it threatened to become the next Great Depression, bank failures, a crisis in American manufacturing no other president has ever faced (Detroit is only one part of the manufacturing melt down), high unemployment, an increasing class divide and strong mistrust of the US in the world community. Add a war that is not a war between nations, but one of conflicting ideals and terrorism, natural disasters and a generational character change unseen since World War II, and this started out and will be an historic presidency in ways far beyond skin color or his relatively young age.

When he came in many expected a new Camelot, as we remember through rose colored gasses what was actually a very divided and often unpopular Kennedy administration. Change was going to come fast and in positive ways. Unrealistic positive expectations, shaped by our personal wants, needs, dreams and beliefs swept the new president into office.

President Obama came into the presidency a world class scholar, published in academic and non-academic circles, a constitutional expert and with a strong social counscience. He came in an experienced negotiator, instrument of compromise and consensus.

And, of course, not everyone agrees or even feels he is taking the nation on the right track.

He does not, as the health care debate probes, control his own party or the congress.

With all this in mind, how does it impact the man and his faith?

The president spoke at a Sunday morning worship at Speaking  at Vermont Avenue Baptist Church, a 144-year-old congregation near Logan Circle where King often preached.

From the Washington Post:

"There were those who argued that, because I had spoke of a need for unity in this country, that our nation was somehow entering into a period of post-partisanship. That didn't work out so well."

"There was a hope shared by many that life would be better from the moment that I swore that oath."

And he acknowledged his own inner turmoil. "Folks ask me sometimes why I look so calm. . . . I have a confession to make here: There are times where I'm not so calm," Obama said, adding, "There are times when the words that are spoken about me hurt. . . . There are times when it feels like all these efforts are for naught, and change is so painfully slow in coming, and I have to confront my own doubts."

"But let me tell you -- during those times it's faith that keeps me calm . . . that gives me peace," the president added.

Obama returned to the theme of hope, saying that he expected the U.S. economy to recover and for progress on his agenda to be realized -- eventually.

"Let us hold fast to that faith, as Joshua held fast to the faith of his fathers, and together, we shall overcome the challenges of a new age," he said. "Together, we shall seize the promise of this moment. Together, we shall make a way through winter, and we're going to welcome the spring. Through God all things are possible."

Extended coverage and video available at

Kim Russell reprises Sojourner Truth

Kim Russell will perform her one-woman show as Sojourner Truth during African History Month, February, at area libraries. Performances include:
Feb 6   —West Charleston Library, 6301 W Charleston, 2 p.m.
Feb 20  —Spring Valley Library, 4280 S Jones, 2 p.m.
Feb 27  —Las Vegas Library, 833 Las Vegas Blvd., 2 p.m. 

Russell has been researching, refining and performing tributes to Truth and other historic characters for over two decades. Performances are free.
SAG Conservatory members know Kim as one of the key players during the 1990's, working publicity, public relations and assisting the Conservatory Committee to build and grow Nevada's successful conservatory. She worked for the House of Blues foundation building programs for children and adults to understand African-American history through the concert hall and clubs' extensive art collection and specific performances geared toward the community.
Along with running her own booking agency, Russell is actively involved in the development of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Las Vegas. Russell may be contacted at:
Photo credit: Sojourner Truth from Abraham Lincoln: The War Years Vol. 2, Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc (photograph circa 1862) © Russell from Las Vegas Sun