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URBANICITY.info

THE OKLAHOMA TORNADO TORE THROUGH SCHOOLS, MEDICAL CLINICS, TOWNS, AND NEIGHBORHOODS.

WELCOME TO URBANICITY
SENSING URBANITY
LISTENING FOR WORDS
VIEWING IMAGES OF MYSTERY
LOVING MUSIC
READING FOR LIVING
CELEBRATING THE MIND
TRAVELING TO EXPLORE
SEARCHING THE FUTURE
MAKING A DIFFERENCE

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Photo: Tony Gutierrez, AP.

The Shame of Hunger in America
 
Years of hunger portends a future of decreased abilities to achieve.. Girls and boys who endure a childhood of hunger will battle health problems and find it harder to keep up with advanced studies-- no matter how great their teachers.
 
Our country has an abundance of food. Every day 263 million pounds of food is thrown away every day. It makes no sense.
 
Fifty million Americans live with hunger. More than 15 million children get up hungry, get through the day hungry, and go to bed hungry.
 
A third of elderly Americans find they must choose between paying for food or paying their utility bills or getting medical care.
 
You can help. Volunteer at your local food bank or make a donation.

go to Feeding America

go to Food Bank Directory

go to find Food Pantries

                                                                              

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Gary Sinise at the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in Chicago.

Gary Sinise stands in front of a sculpture made of 58-thousand dog tags, symbols of U.S. losses in Vietnam.
 
Besides being a formidable bass guitar player, Gary is the busy award-winning actor in "Truman," Lieutenant Dan Taylor in "Forrest Gump," Ken Mattingly in "Apollo 13," Mac Taylor in "CSI-New York" and numerous other films. 
 
He does USO tours with his "Lt. Dan Band," named after his "Forrest Gump" movie character-- for people the world over have seen the movie and immediately recognized him as "Lt. Dan."  He has a deep commitment to the welfare of our military, and is executive producer of the documentary "Brothers at War."
 
Seeing children in Iraq without so much as pencils in schools, Gary, along with author Laura Hillenbrand founded Operation International Children in 2004 which ships pallets of supplies to school children. American military personnel deliver the materials. Gary says he's "just helping the soldiers help children."

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Gary Sinise and Laura Hillenbrand.

go to Operation Internetional Children

more on Gary Sinise

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On the Road with Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band. click to enlarge.

                                                       

"Giving" sites to check out:

go to Guide Star Database

go to the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance

                                                         

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Rosalynn Carter

Rosalynn: Working
for Caregivers
 
The former First Lady's passion is improving mental health care-- and finding housing for the homeless who are mentally ill.  She leads the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, promoting the mental health of the disabled, ill, and aging, along with their families and caregivers.
 
At The Carter Center Rosalynn works for human rights and non-military conflict resolution. And, with her husband, she is still physically involved in building homes for Habitat for Humanity. Every day she makes a difference.

go to Institute of Medicine

go to The Carter Center

                                                      

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Melinda French Gates. Photo: Norman Jean Roy.

"We have the opportunity to create the world we want to live in-- a world in which all children are treated as if they are worth saving."
 
"Everyone agrees that the failure of our high schools is tragic. It's bad business, and it's bad policy. But we act as if it can't be helped. It can be helped. We designed these high schools; we can redesign them."
 
- Melinda French Gates

Go to Melinda profile in Fortune

go to Melinda's Wiki bio

                                               

Nearly 2.5 billion human beings live on less than $2 a day. More than 820 million suffer from chronic hunger.

go to Center for Global Development

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Elephant checks out Peace Corps quarters in Botswana.

go to the Peace Corps

                                                  

What's really going on?
 
Open Secrets shines light on our government. The Center for Responsive Politics is a guide to how $$$ influences elections and public policy.

go to Open Secrets

                                                          

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Bill Moyers.
Watch the interviews on Bill Moyer's Journal.
They're illuminating, and always get to the heart of the matter.

go to Bill Moyers Journal

                                                                

"You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but to live until you die."
- Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the hospice movement.

go to Hospice Foundation of America

                                                       

Your help for the Oklahoma tornado victims is vitally needed.

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The devastating hurricane in New York leveled whole towns and cut residents off from basic information. With no electricity people were desperate for help. While water flooded the subways, tunnels, and even the memorial museum at Freedom Tower-- heroic men and women risked their lives to help, and New York City showed the world how to respond to disaster with amazing expertise and empathy.

                                                             

go to Global Giving

go to Shelter Box

go to Americares Disaster Relief

go to Save the Children

go to more ways to help

"Everybody can be great because everybody can serve."
- Martin Luther King. Jr.

                                               

Disaster Relief Agencies

American Red Cross

America Cares

Catholic Relief Services

CARE

Doctors Without Borders

UNICEF

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Kids--the biggest victims of the foreclosure mess.

Children Foreclosed

In the endless opinion blogging and reports of America’s financial meltdown, a central question is where to place blame. It’s foolish to exonerate predatory banks pushing foolish mortgage loans. It’s silly to consider no-money-down homeowners as villains. But this controversy is irrelevant to the homeless children who are the innocent victims of the fiasco.

Children are collateral damage. More then two million children have been foreclosed on (i.e. shut out). Even children in rentals have been thrown to the streets when landlords didn’t inform their parents of the pending property foreclosure.

Most are living in motels and shelters. The main thing they have to look forward to is school– but they often have to change schools mid-year. They absorb distress. In an environment of instability, frustration, worry, and low-spirits, dislocation has emotional consequences. Parents are haunted by the horror of seeing their children victimized.

More than 300 school districts report an alarming spike in homeless students. Teachers see the tears and fears first-hand. Some districts are helping families by setting up homeless stores where kids can get clothes and school supplies.

Older kids are often called upon to watch over their siblings while their parents scramble for income.They deal with grown-up concerns. Many lose their health insurance because of parents cut-backs to squeeze out mortgage payments. Some foreclosing banks seize cars, stocks, and children’s college savings accounts. Even the IRS gets involved by garnishing their parents wages. Family pets are left behind. For kids, the pain doesn’t stop.

go to National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth

First Focus is an advocacy group for children in federal policy and budget decisions.

go to First Focus

                                                             

Our Torture Calamity
 
Abhorrent torture methods of the Soviet State Polical Directorate (GPU) differ only slightly from the "Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape" (SERE) program of the U.S. Military.
 
Hideous SERE procedures, considered "crude but effective," have occurred with regulatiry on "high-value detainees" at "black sites" on foreign land.
 
Torture is deemed illegal by Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Supreme Court. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has investigated and reported U.S. torture crimes in detail.

go to the ICRC Report on Torture

The ICRC is an independent, neutral organization ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and other situations of violence.

go to International Committee of the Red Cross

                                                        

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Michael J. Fox, a tenacious optimitist.

Michael J. Fox was 30 when diagnosed with Parkinson's, a disease that typically occurs to those over 60. Now, at 50, he has a new book out: "Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist." This follows his "Lucky Man," in 2002.
 
In spite of severe debilitation, his demeanor is still boyish-- albeit with an old man's wisdom.
 
So why does he think he's so lucky? Because he's completely alive, has a great family-- and his celebrity has drawn attention and funding to Parkinson's research. His overwhelming desire is the discovery of a cure. And he's still acting, with a role in the top-rated "Good Wife."
 
His foundation focuses on one thing: the eradication of Parkinson's through direct donations to research. Until now, funding has been steady. He says "All these Wall Street guys grew up idolizing Alex  P. Keaton (his "Family Ties" character). So in a way their help with the foundation was a way of giving back.
 
"We see subtractions when we're ill. They're not just subtractions. I'm not minus anything. I'm me-- plus this experience.
 
"The disease has changed my path, the way I look at things and what I do. I started the foundation, wrote two books, and have met people and traveled as I otherwise never would have done.
 
"People react to my message that we can change things-- not out of panic-- but out of hope and a sense of purpose."
 

go to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research

                                                     

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Smiles for Relief International

In the Gaza Strip a million and a half residents are dealing with the brutal effects of military conflict.
 
Relief International is providing food, water, sanitary supplies, blankets, candles, and medicine. More help is needed for the most vulnerable, homeless, and injured.

go to Relief International

                                                        

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Kampung in Jakarta

Mercy Corps Indonesia works to improve living conditions in the Penjaringan slums of North Jakarta.

Their project is called "Healthy Places; Prosperous People,"  or "Lingkungan Sehat Masyarakat Mandiri."

Target issues are water supply, sanitation, and solid waste. Working in neighborhoods, Mercy Corps initiates programs and then lets the locals figure them out among themselves. Once slum residents understand the benefits of change, they are happy to engage in group efforts. Joining together with a purpose, they are upgrading their maintenance and trash disposal habits.

One initiative is a program for organic and non-organic recycling to create compost and fertilizer.

Residents see this as a big step up– because, as one woman said, "It makes something from the garbage." Neighbors working on projects together has also generated a welcome boost in economic activity.

go to Mercy Corps Indonesia

                                                           

In Africa, people yearn for the capacity to feed themselves. Food security is everything.

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Africa is a continent of farmers (70%), yet food is scarce. A third of the people in Sub-Saharan Africa suffer from malnutrition. While food production has increased during the last thirty years, production per capita has dropped by ten percent.

Obvious reasons are population growth and the erosion of natural resources. Most Africans suffer from severe water shortages.

They lack the wells, canals, reservoirs, pumps, and irrigation infrastructure needed to make use of the potential water supply that could make them successful farmers.

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Sustainable, i.e. "smart" agriculture brings rewards.

With prices rising, aid organizations can’t keep up with daily food needs.

People already living on the edge will continue to suffer until production rises. Along with food insecurity comes a range of other health problems, environmental degradation, and poverty. When food security improves, most facets of rural Africa life improve as well.

go to Africare

                                                               

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Cholera epidemic in Haiti. From the field: "If she doesn't drink, she will die."

                                                                

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Devastating 8.9 earthquake hits Japan followed by tsunamis-- with more to come. You can help.

go to see satellite photos of before and after the earthquake and tsunami

                                                                 

Incoming mail usually includes donation requests. Before you give, check to see how your money is used (and that includes regular or long-standing recipients of your generosity).
 
Some charities are bloated with high administrative salaries, drowning in overhead and debt, or suffering losses from inefficient fundraisers or advertising. They are off-track.
 
The Charity Navigator is a reliable guide. It evaluates the efficacy and financial health of institutions and has a one-to-five-star rating system. Counting stars makes for a more sensible philanthropic marketplace, and more thoughtful donations.

go to Charity Navigator

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Most children born in Africa die before their 5th birthdays-- from malaria, polio, respiratory infections, and diarrhea. Many are born HIV-positive. And millions of AIDS orphans are called 'the silent crisis.'

go to Global Health Facts

                                                       

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"Newman's Own"
"We are such spendthrifts with our lives... The trick is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster.... I'm not running for sainthood.
 
"I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer who puts back into the soil what he takes out."
- Paul Newman (1925-2008)

go to Newman's Own Foundation

Newman attributed his good fortune to random luck.

When he saw random bad luck he was passionate  about giving a little "uplift."  He started the "Hole-in-the-Wall Camps" for children with serious medical conditions-- from which more than 40 thousand kids have benefited.

"I wish I could recall with clarity the impulse that compelled me to help bring this camp into being. I’d be pleased if I could announce a motive of lofty purpose.  I’ve been accused of compassion, of altruism, of devotion to Christian, Hebrew, and Moslem ethic, but however desperate I am to claim ownership of a high ideal, I cannot.

"I wanted, I think, to acknowledge luck-- the chance of it, the benevolence of it in my life, and the brutality of it in the lives of others, made especially savage for children because they may not be allowed the good fortune of a lifetime to correct it.” - Paul Newman

go to Hole-in-the-Wall Camps

                                                               

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Jimmy Carter on construction site.

He builds it!
 
Besides his prolifiic writings and his role as international peacemaker, Jimmy Carter is known as the biggest booster for Habitat for Humanity. Just give him a hammer and some nails and he'll help build a home for a family in need anywhere in the world.
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go to Habitat for Humanity

                                                  

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Choose a challenge.
 
Make your move. You will help put the world back in order.

go to 'Our World,Your Move'

                                                    

Superb links

Remain curious.