Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid"

Jimmy Carter ex president appeared on the Diane Rehm show on 11-28 to discuss his book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid". Certainly a timely and important read from, I believe, a vastly underrated president. The library has an extensive number of books on the subject Palestine

That Growling in Your Stomach

Is NOT, repeat NOT hunger, according to the Committee on National Statistics. Instead, 35 million Americans last year experienced “low food security” and 10.8 million experienced “very low food security” per the 2005 Household Food Security in the United States report by the USDA. “Hunger” has been banished from the federal government lexicon as “too amorphous.” The U.S. Conference of Mayors, however, continues to count hungry people as “hungry.” Look for their new report in early December. Speaking of banished words, check out the annual lists of banished words from Lakes Superior State College.

Who You Gonna Call? 211

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Beginning November 1, 2006, residents of Washtenaw, Livingston and Monroe counties will have one phone number to call – 211 -- for easy access to community services. Whether it’s helping with basic needs like food, shelter or rent assistance, employment services, help with child care, respite care, disaster relief or hundreds of other services vital to your well-being, 211 will direct you to the right agency. Use a land line, cellphone or a pay phone to make this toll-free call.

Washtenaw County Counts What Counts

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The Community Collaborative of Washtenaw County has published
Community Needs Assessment 2006
, a comprehensive look at the socio-economic well-being of county residents. Data on unemployment, health care, child poverty, homelessness and more are presented in the report. A Plenary Session for the public to discuss the findings will be held on Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 7:30 a.m. – Noon at the Morris Lawrence Building, Washtenaw Community College.

Domestic Violence in the Spotlight

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October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Sponsored by a number of organizations, it is designed to raise awareness of the effort to end violence against women, children and within families. It is estimated that 20% of violent crimes against women are committed by their partners. Locally the effort to support and protect victims is led by the SafeHouse Center. Family violence, spouse abuse, and child abuse are all pervasive problems in American society which need our serious attention. If you are a victim, call the SafeHouse hotline at (734)995-5444 for assistance.

International Day of Peace

On September 21, 2002, the United Nations declared that day International Day of Peace, a time "devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples." This day would be observed by all nations committing to a global ceasefire and non-violence. Vigils, speeches, music and other activities mark the day in cities throughout the world.

There are many peace groups working on a national and local level. Families for Peaceful Tomorrows is a group of people who all lost a family member in the 9/11 tragedy. They have come together to work for peaceful solutions to terrorism.

On the local level, Michigan Peaceworks is a grassroots organization that was organized in response to 9/11 and has grown into a significant activist group working for changes in national policy.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #32

Playwright and actress Pamela Gien was commissioned by Random House to turn her 2001 Obie-Award for Best Play The Syringa Tree into a novel.

Set in her homeland of South Africa during the turbulent 1960s, Gien tells the story of 6 year-old Lizzie, a child of privilege, her Xhosa nanny, Salamina, and their fierce devotion to each other. As the meaning of apartheid unfolds, Lizzie takes her worries to sit in the welcoming arms of the large lilac-blooming syringa tree in her backyard, trying to make sense of the violence, the injustice and racism amidst the intoxicating beauty of the land.

Moving and illuminating, it will interest readers of social issues and modern history.

Fresh Air Picks from the Week of July 10th, 2006

Publishers Weekly calls Edmund White "a prolific essayist, novelist, biographer (of Proust and Genet), travel writer, critic and all-around man of letters." On Tuesday, White discussed his new autobiography My Lives, described by PW as a collection of "…gracefully written pieces...[that] engage the intellect, the emotions and even that part of us that responds to name-dropping." Click here to listen to the piece.

Maureen Corrigan, an author on the subject of books and reading, reviewed Elisabeth Hyde’s new title The Abortionist’s Daughter on Wednesday’s show. Anita Shreve, reviewing this title for Publishers Weekly, wrote "Were it not for its fully realized characters and crisp prose, one might be tempted to see The Abortionist's Daughter as just another legal thriller for the beach. The elements are all there…[y]et it is precisely Elisabeth Hyde's arresting prose and astute observations about family life that elevate her fourth novel to domestic tragedy." Listen to Corrigan's review on Fresh Air here.

On Thursday, philanthropist and investor George Soros discussed his new book, The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of The War on Terror. Fresh Air describes Soros this way: “Soros, whose worth has been estimated at over $7 billion, has directed his philanthropic efforts toward defeating George W. Bush in 2004, overthrowing communism in Eastern Europe, helping black students attend university in apartheid South Africa and repealing drug prohibition laws internationally.” In his new book, Soros - “legendary financier-and founder of the Open Society Institute - offers crucial insight into the real meaning of freedom, and how societies can best promote it” (publisher comments). Click here to hear the piece on Fresh Air.

A Marriage Made in History

Modern marriage may seem to be in flux, but most of what we see today has been seen before, according to Stephanie Coontz whose book Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage is featured this week in five-minute e-mail chunks at DearReader.com. The book came out in hardback a year ago and in paperback in February. Coontz also wrote the popular 1992 book The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap.

What's With all the Gossip?

So the first book in the Gossip Girl series by Cecily Von Ziegesar was published 4 years ago and the 9th book in the series Only in your dreams just came out, but after Naomi Wolf wrote a scathing editorial in the New York Times about this series and their read-alikes Clique and The A-List everyone has been talking about it. Yes, they are basically Sex and The City for teens filled with consumerism and fun without consequences. Are they any worse than anything as popular that came before them? No. Are they flashier and better marketed? Definitely. Any teen who is reading these books - as opposed to watching the rampant fun without consquences on TV or online - is a teen I wouldn't worry about. Because *reading* is what separates the teens you worry about from the ones you don't.

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