Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Community Disorganizer

COMMUNITY, n. : 2. A society of people, having common rights and privileges, or common interests, civil, politcal or ecclesiastical; or living under the same laws and regulation.

This definition is from the American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828.
...so let's start with definition.

If we define a community as a society of people under the same laws, then suppose we define what a community organizer does, because if this society of law-abiding citizens needs organizing as the 2008 Presidential election showed; then shouldn't we know what's in store for us all?

From "The Community Organizing Toolbox"

"Organizers challenge people to act on behalf of their common interests."

America has long been a country defined by individual interests, with our Constitution and the Bill of Rights laying the boundaries within which we pursue our version of what makes us happy.
Communities within our nation are made up of people who have a common interest:
rich communities, poor communities, religious and secular, liberal and conservative.
The individual American decides what his definition of happiness is and gravitates to the communitiy which shares his views, ambitions (or lack thereof), and ethics.

To me, this defines America's common interest as one of liberty...freedom.
Which makes community organizing rather useless on a national scale.

"Organizers motivate people to act by creating experiences to challenge those feelings which inhibit action, such as fear, apathy, self-doubt, inertia and isolation with those feelings that support action such as anger, hope, self-worth, urgency and a sense of community."

Now this is interesting.

So the CO will motivate me to act by:
replacing my fear with anger; my apathy with hope, my self-doubt with self-worth; my inertia with urgency and my isolation with a sense of belonging.
One person has the capability to change my very soul!

...wait! didn't Jesus already do that?

Actually, this tactic has a name with its own definition: manipulation.
Again, I must point out, that to organize a community of individuals by manipulating emotions...well, it flies in the face of liberty, does it not?

"Organizers work at constructing communities which are bounded yet inclusive, communal yet diverse, soladaristic yet tolerant. "

I can only offer this challenge to anyone who is a community organizer or thinking of joining:

If you can explain with credible logic what "bounded yet inclusive", "communal yet diverse" and "soladaristic yet tolerant" mean without bringing on an aneurysm or speaking in a Martian dialect...I will shave my head and pass out daisies on the nearest street corner while wearing a placard promoting community organizing...amen.

'Reveille for Radicals' by Saul Alinsky

"A People's Organization is not a philanthropic plaything or a social service's ameliorative gesture. It is a deep, hard-driving social force, striking and cutting at the very roots of all the evils which beset the people."

"A People's Organization is dedicated to an eternal war...A war is not an intellectual debate, and in the war against social evils there are no rules of fair play."

'Rules for Radicals' by Saul Alinsky

"Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future."

"the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom – Lucifer."

Saul Alinksy: Community Organizer, radical Marxist.
President Obama absorbed Saul Alinsky's teachings during his formative years, when his ideology became entrenched.

Community organizing is not an action...it is an ideology.
It produces no work; it foments rebellion; it gives the illusion of freedom while taking it away.
It uses whatever means necessary to achieve its ends.

I think I'm ready for a little disorganization.

How about you?



Sunday, May 3, 2009

Truth in Baking

When I first started baking, I made all kinds of complicated doughs: natural sourdough starter doughs; brioche; flatbreads with three different kinds of flour; french bread with four different proofing stages and sponges so delicate they evaporated with a sneeze.
Some of them turned out great...others not so great.

But, one day when I tried my hand at the simplest dough of all--pizza dough--I got stuck.
Pizza dough is merely flour, yeast, water, sugar, salt and a little oil.
You just put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix; an hour later a nice, large pouffy bowl of risen dough should be the result.
...not for me.

I tried the same recipe for two weeks straight and all I could get was a lump of the same dough I started with.
It refused to rise.

I became obsessed. I went over that recipe with a fine-toothed comb. I tried different combinations at different times. I thought the water was too warm or too cold; I thought I kneaded it too much or too little; I tried bringing my bowl of dough over to my neighbor's house to rise, because I thought the temperature or humidity in my house was the culprit.
I must have thrown away a hundred pounds of dough.

Finally, I just gave up. I walked away from the recipe for a couple of days because I would cry every time I read it.
Six simple ingredients, and I couldn't handle it. My ego was severely bruised.

But I learned something from this...humility was the most important ingredient of all.
You see in baking--the truth is absolute.
You can play with flavors, but when it comes to measurements...there is no room for mistakes.

I took another look at the recipe a few days later and saw something different.
The recipe called for 4 tsp. of salt...that means teaspoons.

Now, salt is vital in giving giving the dough texture and support. Without it the dough would be a flavorless mass of nothing. But too much salt will turn dough into a hardened lump which would bake into a teeth-breaking loaf.
Too much salt prevents the dough from rising like it should.
...I had been using 4 tablespoons of salt.

For some reason, my eyes saw this: tblsp.
But, the real measurement was this: tsp.

And for two weeks I went insane trying to fix something a little dose of humility would have caught right away.
I knew the rules of baking; I knew if you got a measurement wrong it wouldn't turn out.
But, I was convinced I had gotten all the measurements correct...I kept reading the stupid thing day after day.

I just refused to see the truth.

The truth is irrefutable. We all arrive at the truth through different means, but it takes the same dose of humility to recognize it.

This is a link to an article by a columnist for the Chronicle Hearld: Andrew W. Smith.

Think of it as a recipe for President Obama's first 100 days:
From the article:

"•Obama’s first two major bills alone, the "stimulus" and "omnibus," cost nearly twice as much as was spent on Iraq over six years – $1.2 trillion vs. $650 billion.

•Obama abandoned his campaign promise of "a net spending cut," his first annual deficit – not counting bailouts – being three times the worst deficit under President George W. Bush.

•Obama’s objective in his first G20 summit – commitments to spend our way to prosperity with massive stimulus boondoggles across the G20 – was rejected out of hand.

•Obama’s objective in his first NATO summit – commitments to combat troops for Afghanistan from "our European allies," which Obama and his party imagined were ready and willing to fight if only someone "enlightened" like him were running things – was predictably refused, with some more European non-combat contingents offered as a token.
•Obama’s Defence Department announced cuts of $1.4 billion to missile defence, the day after North Korea test-fired its long-range, multi-stage ballistic missile.

•Obama’s "tax cuts for 95 per cent" turned out to mean $13 a week from June to December, to be clawed back to $8 a week in January – as compared with President Bush’s 2008 tax rebates of $600 to $1,200 plus $300 per child, which were notably scoffed at during the election campaign by Michelle Obama.

•Obama abandoned his campaign promise to reform earmarks, signing the omnibus bill which contained 8,816 of them.

•Obama took more money from AIG than any other politician in 2008 – over $100,000 – and signed into law the provision guaranteeing the AIG bonuses which later had him in front of the cameras "shaking with outrage" and siccing the pitchfork crowd on law-abiding citizens who had fulfilled their end of a contract and had their payment upheld by Obama’s own legislation. "

Now look carefully at that recipe and ask: if America were the dough, do you think it would rise?


Friday, May 1, 2009

Churchill in May

Today is the first day of May.

I just wanted to use this day to spread my gratitude.
To see what is beautiful in the world.

The truth is beautiful, like sunshine--and like sunshine it can be a little harsh at times.

But, today I just want to pull back the curtains gently and let a little sunshine in.

Did you know the sun has antibacterial qualities?

So, here's some quotes from a man who deserves to be quoted...and a little sunshine to brighten the first day of May!

From Winston Churchill:

"The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is."

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."

"Continuous effort--not strength or intelligence--is the key to unlocking our potential."

"Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others."

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

God Bless!