Archive for the ‘economy’ Category

Ed Asner Explains Income Inequality


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“Are you part of the solution, or are you part of the con?”


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Great article about how the corporate zeitgeist has destroyed the artistic & intellectual bent in NY.

And get your Occupied Wall Street Journal 1st edition here!

And one more hideous if not unexpected development. Right wing operatives have deliberately intervened in DC’s Occupy Wall Street protest to precipitate violence & discredit the non-violent movement: Conservative Magazine Brags of its Agent Provocateur’s Role in Provoking Police Action in D.C.

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If you are not watching the #occupywallstreet live stream, you are missing so much! The reinvention of small “d” democracy, civics, GA’s (General Assemblies), personal involvement, the Greek style chorus, reverence for “The Commons.” It’s impressive & brings tears to my eyes.

Don’t listen to the critics. Something significant is happening. And it’s spreading all over the country.

Watch, Get involved, support the protesters.

Lee Camp


Chris Hedges

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VERY. IMPORTANT. ARTICLE. By Michael Lind, Salon:

Are the American people obsolete?

The richest few don’t need the rest of us as markets, soldiers or police anymore….

I’ve actually been saying something like this for a while now, although not as articulately. I believe it is these issues that are driving the citizens’ discontent from both the right and the left. If only we could talk to each other, identify the problem and take our country back from the brink!  As long as our legislators don’t need us either, we are doomed.

This marks a historic change in the relationship between capital and labor in the U.S. The robber barons of the late 19th century generally lived near the American working class and could be threatened by strikes and frightened by the prospect of revolution. But rioting Chinese workers are not going to burn down New York City or march on the Hamptons.

What about markets? Many U.S. multinationals that have transferred production to other countries continue to depend on an American mass market. But that, too, may be changing. American consumers are tapped out, and as long as they are paying down their debts from the bubble years, private household demand for goods and services will grow slowly at best in the United States. In the long run, the fastest-growing consumer markets, like the fastest-growing labor markets, may be found in China, India and other developing countries.

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Some petitions to sign:


Call the Attorney General’s Office (Eric Holder), ask him to intervene in the Don Siegelman case (drop the charges, replace the Bush appointed U.S. Attorneys) 201-514-2001 More information at Free Don Siegelman   and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FreeDonSiegelman

Stand With Dr. Dean on Healthcare Reform

Citizens For A Public Option

We Want The Public Option

Some interesting links:

America’s Future NOW! Conference 
(formerly “
Take Back America“) 

Murder, Spies & Voting Lies  
The Clint Curtis Story

Project Expose MSM  
Sibel Edmonds’ new blog  123 Real Change

The Ugly Truth Behind Organic Food

Tomgram: Andy Kroll, Six Ways the Financial Bailout Scams Taxpayers

Life in a Real-Wealth Economy – David Korten reads a chapter from his latest book Agenda for a New Economy     

Brigid leads our local OFA chapter meeting 5/31/09

Brigid leads our local OFA chapter meeting 5/31/09

A few Saturdays ago, I went to the Boston area OFAMA meeting to discuss how best to support & implement the administration’s healthcare, education, environmental/energy reform policies utilizing the organizing structure put in place by the Obama campaign. Yesterday afternoon, my local chapter met to concentrate on healthcare. There will be a healthcare “Day of Service” on June 27th. More information to come…
Last week I met with Mark Gallagher, staff assistant to Rep. Edward Markey as part of a group sponsored by moveon.org to discuss the coming Waxman-Markey Energy Reform Bill . We were asking Markey to keep the bill as strong as possible and resist attempts to water down the bill. Contact Markey’s office with support & comments: 781-396-2900 (Medford) 508-875-2900 (Framingham) or 202-225-2836 (DC).






Mark Gallagher from Rep. Markey's Office meets with local moveon members 5/18/09

Mark Gallagher from Rep. Markey's Office meets with local moveon members 5/18/09



















Constituents meet to discuss Energy Policy at Rep. Markey's Office 5/18/09

Constituents meet to discuss Energy Policy at Rep. Markey's Office 5/18/09



















Markey's Office Pledges to stay strong on Green Energy Policy 5/18/09

Markey's Office Pledges to stay strong on Green Energy Policy 5/18/09

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c/p BlueMassGroup

“The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns;
the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose.” – Kahlil Gibran

Rose Art Museum

Rose Art Museum

I was utterly shocked, furious, heartsick and frankly, ashamed, when, earlier this week, I received a late night alumni email, a letter from Brandeis University President Jehuda Reinharz (himself a Brandeis alumnus -PhD’72 – so, shame on him, he should know better!) announcing that the Board of Trustees had voted unanimously to close The Rose Art Museum and liquidate the entire art collection in order to “sustain our core academic mission.” This decision seemed to have been made unequivocally, without exploring any other options and without vital input from the wider Brandeis community or the greater Arts community. The next morning, the story was on the front page of the Boston Globe (Ailing Brandeis will shut museum, sell treasured art:No other choice,  says president), the front of the Arts section of The New York Times (Outcry Over a Plan to Sell Museum’s Holdings), coverage on NPR (and a followup the next day)  with many additional articles following as word spread about the decision. I started getting phonecalls and emails from many Brandeis related friends who were as outraged and upset as I have been.

The Board of Trustees and the President do not seem to understand the colorblind implications of their rash decision. As a Brandeis graduate who has chosen to be a full time working artist (although I successfully studied both Academics and Fine Arts equally at Brandeis), and has worked at a museum in the early 1980s (in the Textile Conservation Department of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum which ironically has problems of its own, the article appearing on the very same day (!) as the article about the Rose ), I am still always stunned when the Arts are seen only as a commodity; a way to subsidize other supposedly more important or more valuable programs and commitments, rather than be recognized as the integral, priceless achievements of a civilized society. How can a University such as Brandeis, founded on the heels of the Holocaust fall into this trap? The Board of Trustees and the President have sent a message to the entire student body as well as to the larger community that the culmination of artistic pursuit is only valuable for its financial value, thereby undermining their own educational mission. Even the Nazis understood the symbolic value when they seized and preserved great works of art and Hitler famously said “No state lasts longer than the documents of its culture.”  Too bad he didn’t understand that the artists, the artwork and the culture are all intimately connected and cannot be separated. Historically, it has always been artists and their artwork, along with journalists, that are the first to be suppressed and purged from societies that are closing down and becoming less democratic.

Rose Art Museum

Rose Art Museum

One of my earliest memories is of going to the Museum of Modern Art on weekend mornings with my parents. For years, right inside the entrance, was a huge painting. I stood in front of that powerful painting many times over the years until it was suddenly gone. That painting, which decades earlier had been banned along with its painter, as a symbol of resistance to fascism and war, was returned to Spain, when after the death of Francisco Franco, it threw off the tyranny of fascism and became a democracy once again. That painting is Guernica, by Pablo Picasso. This is the real power of a great work of art, not just its dollar value.

Inside the Rose Art Museum

Inside the Rose Art Museum

FDR implicitly understood the importance of art and artists when he included them as part of the WPA plan for driving the recovery of the economy during the Great Depression. In the current economic crisis, this action by the Brandeis Board of Trustees sends a terrible message, one that I fear will be mimicked by other institutions who decide that the arts can be sacrificed.

If the Brandeis Trustees and Administration go through with this fire sale (which is what it will be in the current economic downturn given reports of plummeting art sales) it will be a tragedy that can never be righted. When I was a Brandeis undergraduate in the 1970’s, in another difficult economy, there were massive student protests, sit-ins and a building takeover to contest the seemingly unmovable budget, program and personnel cuts made by another oblivious Board of Trustees without any consultation with or involvement by the greater Brandeis community, that ultimately drove the University to reconsider and restructure their decisions toward a more creative and less drastic solution. Let’s hope that we can convince them to do the same again.

The greatest dangers to liberty lurk
in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal,
well meaning but without understanding
– Louis D. Brandeis

[Update: There’s a new blog tracking events to Save the Rose:
Speak Clearly: An Intervention for the Rose Art Museum
with videos of Town Hall Meetings, sit-ins, and new information and here’s an interview with the Rose  Chair of the Board of Overseers, Jonathan Lee ]

Sign the Petition In Opposition to the Closing of the Rose Art Museum

Write letters opposing the Closing of the Rose Art Museum:
– Brandeis University President Jehuda Reinharz <jehudareinharz@brandeis.edu>

-VP of Development, Myles Weisenberg <weisen@brandeis.edu>

Send copies of letters to:
the petition sponsors

students organizing in protest:
Rebeccah Ulm <rulm@brandeis.edu>
Maarit Ostrow <
Brian Friedberg <bfriedbe@brandeis.edu>
Penelope Taylor <penelope@brandeis.edu>

Make a Pledge at SavetheRose.org website

Student Activism/Support – Innermostparts website

Facebook Group to Save the Rose Art Museum

Facebook Group monitoring pledges to Save the Rose

Letter defending decision by Board of Trustees member & president of the Alumni Association Allen Alter ’71

UPDATE: There will be a featured segment about this issue on Thursday morning, February 5th on the Jeff Santos Show on WWZN 1510AM Boston, 6-9am.

More Articles About the Rose Art Museum decision:

Ailing Brandeis will shut museum, sell treasured art, Boston Globe, 1/27/09

Outcry Over a Plan to Sell Museum’s Holdings, New York Times, 1/27/09

Brandeis to Sell All of Its Art, Inside Higher Ed, 1/27/09

Brandeis to close Rose Art Museum, Daily News Tribune, 1/27/09

Rose Art Museum backers seek halt to selloff, Boston Globe, 1/28/09

Hawk this gem? Unconscionable, Boston Globe, 1/28/09

Crisis raises questions on Brandeis campus, Boston Globe, 1/28/09

Brandeis students organize events to save Rose Art Museum, Daily News Tribune, 1/28/09

Brandeis on the Brink, The Daily Beast, 1/28/09

Brandeis Shutters Art Museum, the Boston Phoenix, 1/28/09

Museum Backers Seek Halt to Selloff

Brandeis may keep art, says president: Reaffirms need to close museum, Boston Globe, 1/29/09

Brandeis Woes Put President on the Line

Faced With Economic Troubles, Brandeis to Close Rose Art Museum, PBS, 1/29/09

War of the Rose, Boston Globe Editorial, 1/30/09

A Crime Against the Arts, Daily News Tribune, 1/30/09

A lesson for Brandeis: Include your students, Boston Globe, 1/31/09

A betrayal of trust at Brandeis, Boston Globe editorial, 2/1/09

Campus museums, galleries vow to safeguard collections, 2/12/09

Quick Takes: Brandeis Art Debate Continues

First-timers, old friends visit Rose: As news of closure spreads, many are drawn to modern art collection

Museum Director Assails Brandeis’ Plans

Letter: Brandeis President Apologizes for Handling of Museum Issue

Brandeis President Issues Apology: Laments Museum Announcement

Statement of the Rose Art Museum Board of Overseers

UPDATE : Rose Art Not for Sale, Maybe for Rent 5/27/10

My friend and colleague Richard Rockford ’69 writes, Here are some of the real questions to ask:

1.  What is the role of Brandeis’s endowment?  Is it an emergency fund?  An income earner?  How much of it is used for what?  Is it a part of yearly budget, or is it a fund that is tapped only for capital projects, like new buildings, etc?
2.  Is the school loosing operating money on a regular basis?  In other words, does it yearly spend more than it takes in from tuition and grants, etc?  Can the school operate without a deficit if it adds no facilities or staff in any given year?
3.  What about all this other stuff that was looked at–expanding into summer sessions, less faculty, raising tuition, combining programs/disciplines/departments, etc?  What were the numbers there?  Why would a “slow, careful, and deliberate” sale of art help out? ( NOT that that was the original idea or that that concept reached the media–it was more like “come get all the art–now!).  Did anybody forsee the uproar and bad publicity in the art sale?  What will this situation cost the University?  If all universities are suffering the effects of the economy and scandals in personal fortunes, why is Brandeis the only one known to have an art “fire sale” as a remedy?
4. And, in the irony department, why did the school drop this bomb on the alumni and the public (who seems to have certainly noticed the event!) without floating the reasons and the other choices and discussions beforehand?  If we learned anything at Brandeis in my day, it was that important issues dropped on the relevant bodies by a hierarchy beyond our influence was a recipe for…..well….let’s not be too radical here….”undemocratic, usually unfair, and paternalistic control”.  (And to think I actually was a very conservative student relative to many in my Brandeis days!).
5.  By the way, what exactly is the type, amount, and cost of “aligning” Brandeis with the 21st Century?  Where is the college going, and is it upward in standards and quality?

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