1999 Slices
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Medium 9781608680221

37. Bike-Friendly Workplaces by Bonnie Fenton

New World Library ePub

Bonnie Fenton

I used to pretend I was Superman, twice a day. I didn’t leap tall buildings or save people or anything. But I changed my clothes in small spaces, and the Superman image always came to mind. I cycled to work, and my workplace had no changing facilities. So morning and evening I did my Superman routine, using a toilet stall for my phone booth. Most mornings, I would step into my stall in shorts and a T-shirt, pannier in hand, and emerge in a skirt and top. My commute wasn’t long enough to make sweat an issue, but still, the process wasn’t very dignified, and there was always the risk of dipping a sleeve in the toilet.

At that job, I ran downstairs on breaks and at lunchtime to make sure my bike was still safely parked in the rack on the street. I knew I liked riding my bike, that my health benefited, that I had a fuller pocketbook, and that cycling was “green,” but it didn’t occur to me that my employer was benefiting or that he should do anything to support my transportation choices. That was a long time ago, though, and many people — employers and employees alike — see a cycling-friendly workplace as much more important today.

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Medium 9781626562103

3 If Corporations Are Not People, What Are They?

Jeffrey D. Clements Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Metaphor… is the peculiarity of a language, the object of which is to tell everything and conceal everything, to abound in figures. Metaphor is an enigma which offers itself as a refuge to a robber who plots a blow, to a prisoner who plans an escape.

—Victor Hugo, Les Miserables1

I am compelled to say something about corporate “personhood.”… Human beings are persons, and it is an affront to the inviolable dignity of our species that courts have created a legal fiction which forces people—human beings—to share fundamental, natural rights with soulless creations of government.

—Justice James Nelson,

Montana Supreme Court, December 30, 20112

What is a corporation? One might expect to find a good description of a corporation in Citizens United or the other corporate rights cases, but the Supreme Court is strangely silent on that point. Instead, corporate rights decisions from the Court come packaged in metaphorical clouds. It is not corporations attacking our laws; it is “speakers” and “advocates of ideas,” “voices” and “persons,” and variations on what Justice John Paul Stevens called in his Citizens United dissent, “glittering generalities.”

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Medium 9781609941246

8 Cocreating a Better World

Ann Lee Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

So, let us not be blind to our differencesbut let us
also direct attention to our common interests and to
the means by which those differences can be resolved.
JOHN F. KENNEDY

FUTURISTS OFFER DIFFERENT PREDICTIONS about what will happen in the coming decades. George Friedman of Stratfor has speculated on the domination of the United States in geopolitics. Ray Kurzweil believes in singularity and that humans will one day achieve immortality. George Orwell and Franz Kafka wrote about authoritarian dystopias ruining everyday lives. All of them or none of them may come true. But the future begins now because what happens in the future always begins as thought in the present.

Today we have an explosion of ideas and opinions that appear on the Internet, on media airwaves, and in daily conversation. Sorting out truth and priorities can be daunting, especially when consensus is difficult to achieve. But its important to recognize that the most vital things to our lives commonly appear to be the least urgent and sometimes require the most work. For example, reconciling difficult relationships or studying for exams can offer great payoffs when the proper time and care are invested, but breaking the inertia in order to genuinely begin the hard work often becomes the biggest stumbling block. The problem is that the world cannot afford to procrastinate on solving the mounting global problems. We need to develop the political will and wisdom to work with all nations of the world to come up with agreeable and actionable solutions. That work will prove difficult to do and easy to put on the back burner, but humanity is at stake. In a hyperconnected world, it no longer will be sustainable for the minority international elite to thrive while billions of people suffer and die unnecessarily. The poor of the world will know and will not tolerate the present state of affairs. Change will happen whether we take a proactive position or not. I suspect that taking a proactive stance will help make the inevitable transitions smoother and less radical in the long run.

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Medium 9781576757611

Starting Salem in New Hampshire

Thom Hartmann Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

From The Prophet’s Way: A Guide to Living in the Now

He who helps in the saving of others, saves himself as well.

—HARTMANN VON AUE

IN JULY AND AUGUST 1978, GOTTFRIED MüLLER’S CHILDREN’S orchestra came for four weeks to the United States and toured the halls he had requested and which Louise Sutermeister and I had set up and publicized; they also took a trip to Florida. I traveled with him and the kids, and in each city Herr Müller gave speeches to groups of invited guests.

In one city only two people showed up to hear him. He knocked himself out, giving a powerful and enthusiastic speech about Salem, the coming times, and the work he was doing. He was dramatic, dynamic, and moving.

Afterward I asked him why he’d gone to so much trouble for just two people; he could have just sat with them and talked.

“When only a few people show up, then you know it is the most important speech you must give,” he said. “Just as when a person donates only $1 to Salem, that is the most important donation.” It reminded me of the story Jesus told in the Bible about the widow who could afford to give only a few mites (pennies) and how her contribution was more important and spiritually powerful than those of the wealthy elite. Similarly, one person has often been at the pivot point of world changes. If that one person happened to be in an audience that had only a few people—or even only that one person—giving that speech may be the event that could eventually lead to the transformation of the world.

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Medium 9781576754467

CHAPTER 2: Educate Every Child

Shannon Daley-Harris Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Small children are the most powerful learning engines in the known universe.

— DANIEL QUINN, MY ISHMAEL

January 1 marks the New Year on our calendars, but doesn’t September feel like the real start of the year? Maybe it’s because we remember our own first day of school, stomach filled with butterflies instead of the breakfast we were too nervous to eat. Or perhaps it’s a more recent experience of seeing children head off for their first day of school, backpacks full of newly sharpened pencils and blank notebooks. Going off to school fills a child with promise and unlimited possibility.

It’s hard to believe that children in the United States didn’t always go to school. Children of slaves were forbidden to learn to read, and farm children were needed for work. (Our school calendar still reflects this history of keeping children out of school when they were needed to harvest crops.) Children once worked in sweatshops to help support the family, and disabled children weren’t guaranteed a public education until 1975. Today all children in the United States are guaranteed a public education, although we still have much work to do to make it the best education possible for every student.

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Medium 9781609940775

13 Building a Mission-Driven Global Business

Paul Polak Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Just try building a business with only a terrific product and the will to win. You won’t get far without an organization of committed people and the structure to make the most of their talents.

Read as much as you want about leadership, organizational development, and management, and then boil it down to its essence. Chances are, you’ll come up with some version of three primary conditions for organizational success: a lofty vision, confident leadership, and inclusive management — all of which add up to inspiration. Shelves-full of excellent books have been written about these concepts, including dozens released by our publisher. We won’t presume to redefine those terms.

However, you know we’re not writing this book about business as usual. We won’t be content building companies that are successful simply in traditional terms, in that they make money — even buckets of money. Our goal is to build large, sustainable, transnational businesses that will help reduce poverty worldwide and on a large scale. Vision, leadership, and management, no matter how brilliant, won’t do the trick. They’re all necessary but insufficient. We contend that two additional conditions are needed for a business to succeed quickly in numerous countries on a truly big scale — and thrive into the future. One is an organizing principle. The other is a commitment to stakeholder-centered management.

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Medium 9780253018557

The Sweet Tooth of Slavery

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

THIS PAST SPRING and summer, in an installation by artist Kara Walker, a sugarcoated sphinx gazed upon visitors with a blank and inscrutable stare in the defunct Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn. At the entrance to the installation, thirteen statues of brown children, made of resin and coated with molasses, toted the sugar to construct the giant statue. This display drew upon stereotype and caricature—the sphinx sporting a headkerchief and exaggerated lips and butt, the children’s swollen heads copied from racist figurines—but this grotesquerie did not mitigate, but rather heightened, the unease that the installation inspired. Through the contrast between these figures, one monumental and thirteen diminutive, one dusted with refined sugar and the baker’s dozen oozing molasses, Walker suggested that the empire that erected and displayed the sphinx also excreted wounded black bodies.

Both works insist upon the centrality of sweetness and sugar to the exploitation of black bodies in the pursuit of white pleasure. The slave body becomes a kind of candy.

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Medium 9781936227037

4. Raymond Procunier and Robert H. Schnacke

William Turner Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Ray Procunier deserved to be considered a First Amendment villain. He authorized and defended the oppressive California prison censorship rules in Procunier v. Martinez. But he got a chance to redeem himself, and he rose to the occasion.

The occasion was provided by Robert Schnacke, a federal district judge in San Francisco. Schnacke, like so many judges, was a former prosecutor. While a U.S. Attorney, he had even prosecuted a sedition case in the McCarthy era, charging writer John Powell with having accused the U.S. military of using germ warfare in the Korean War. Schnacke was a crusty, conservative Republican known to be hostile to civil liberties cases. But he had a maverick streak as well, perhaps evidenced by his being caught in a noontime police raid of the Market Street Cinema adult theater in the Tenderloin.

Procunier and Schnacke were two curmudgeonly old-timers who found themselves on opposite sides of a very difficult First Amendment issue: whether prison officials can prohibit news organizations from televising executions. No American execution has ever been televised.

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Medium 9781576752760

CHAPTER 14: Crisis of Questions

Don M. Frick Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

No matter what you do, this darkness and this cloud is between you and your God and because of it you can neither see Him clearly with your reason in the light of understanding, nor can you feel Him with your affection in the sweetness of love. Be prepared, therefore, to remain in this darkness as long as must be, crying evermore for Him whom you love. For if you are ever to feel Him or to see Him, it will necessarily be within this cloud and within this darkness. And if you will work with great effort as I bid you, I trust in His mercy that you will achieve it. 1

MEISTER ECKHART

When conceits are silent and all words stand still, the world speaks. We must burn the clichés to clear the air for hearing.

Conceptual clichés are counterfeit; preconceived notions are misfits.

Knowledge involves love, care for the things we seek to know, longing, being-drawn-to, being overwhelmed. 2

ABRAHAM JOSHUA HESCHEL

By the late 1950s, Bob Greenleaf was getting restless. He was successful, secure, and admired in his job at AT&T, in his endeavors with outside companies and universities, and in the work he and Esther pursued with 204 the Quakers. He was still deep into an era of seeking—meeting unusual people of accomplishment, reading mind-expanding books, preparing for an end that he could not quite yet fathom. Time was passing, though; he was in his fifties. Bob had a crisis of questions: What was his personal greatness? Did he have the courage to claim it? How could he best design the remainder of his life to make his contribution to individuals, organizations, and society? Should he stay at AT&T until age sixty-five or take an early retirement? Several shadows of his psyche still held him back, but what were they, and what could he do about them? Precisely at this moment in his life, when he was open to answers and new questions, the right people, ideas, and experiences appeared to nurture the unfolding path of his life.

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Medium 9781576753972

Two: Constitutional Rights In Public and Private

Bruce Barry Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

IN A SPEECH IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES on June 9, 1789, proposing that a bill of rights be added to the Constitution, James Madison cautioned:

The prescriptions in favor of liberty, ought to be levelled against that quarter where the greatest danger lies, namely, that which possesses the highest prerogative of power: But this [is] not found in either the executive or legislative departments of government, but in the body of the people, operating by the majority against the minority.1

Madison had a point, as history has confirmed on so many tragic occasions. But the bill of rights that Madison offered, and the one we ended up with, restrains what government can do to individuals, not what individuals can do to one another. The First Amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights safeguard the powerless from the powerful in public life, not, for the most part, from the powerful in private life.

Yes, we learned all this back in secondary school, but apparently it didn’t stick. We like to celebrate (and self-congratulate) our vigorous collective allegiance to individual rights—free speech among them—as the heart and soul of the American experiment. Alongside this civic pride, or perhaps because of it, we harbor some serious misconceptions about the reach of our rights, especially where the workplace is concerned. Americans cling to a stubborn, if noble, delusion that a right to speak freely trumps an employer’s right to control the expressive activity of its workers. In a national opinion survey on rights in the workplace commissioned in 2001 by the AFL-CIO, fully 80 percent of respondents said that it is illegal to fire an employee for expressing political views with which the employer disagrees.2 Unfortunately, those respondents were wrong—some states have laws protecting employees from being punished for political activity, but most workers enjoy no such protection. In any event, for the person whose neck is on the business end of a falling workplace ax, it is difficult to prove that political views are the reason. Employers, it turns out, enjoy what one labor law expert calls “nearly untrammeled power to censor and punish the speech of their employees.”327

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Medium 9780253017314

3 From Passivity to Eternal Vigilance: NSA Surveillance and Effective Oversight of Government Power

David P Fidler Indiana University Press ePub

LEE H. HAMILTON

Like most Americans, I cherish privacy on personal matters, and I do not like it when my privacy is invaded. But the threats against our country and the vulnerabilities of our government are real and need to be taken seriously. Our government has legitimate reasons to monitor cyberspace for national security and foreign policy reasons. Our democracy needs intelligence agencies that operate with a fair amount of secrecy. The disclosures made by Edward Snowden, however, demonstrate we have not had nearly the checks and balances on programs of the National Security Agency that we should have had and will need in the future. NSA surveillance programs should not be abolished; they are a vital national security tool. But they must be reformed and made subject to active, sustained oversight by Congress and the courts in order to ensure that such programs serve our national interests and keep faith with the privacy and civil liberties of the American people.

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Medium 9780253007452

1 Introduction: “Message” Is the Medium

Michael Lempert Indiana University Press ePub

“Message” Is the Medium

If the genius of the Clinton campaign was its disciplined focus on message—“The economy, stupid”—the Clinton transition stumbled slightly out of the gate.

Although it harnessed masterfully the new prestige of the president-elect with Clinton’s symbolic reaching out to common people during his walk on Georgia Avenue last week, it has also endured a torrent of stories about such “off message” matters as homosexuals in the military and the role of Hillary Clinton.

Washington Post, 22 November 1992

In their professional jargon, political insiders call it simply—and to many outsiders, misleadingly—“message.” It is the politician’s publicly imaginable ‘character’ presented to an electorate, with a biography and a moral profile crafted out of issues rendered of interest in the public sphere. In this book we examine the ways in which modern electoral politics in the United States revolves around contests over “message.”

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Medium 9780253015693

2 The Spatialization of Human and Environmental Rights Practices

Omolade Adunbi Indiana University Press ePub

THIS CHAPTER FOCUSES on NGOs’ culture of engaging in practices that create human and environmental rights awareness both within and outside resource-rich communities. NGOs devise programs intended to provide relief for communities whose human and environmental rights have been violated by the state. They present themselves as able to “rescue” the communities from the marauding state. In creating awareness of and promoting human and environmental rights, they not only rely on the language of international human rights declarations, but also use local narratives. In many oil-rich communities, there are narratives that emphasize that oil is a source of wealth promised by the ancestors. In an attempt to gain access to such communities, NGOs have devised ways of inserting this belief into the practice of human and environmental rights. They thus connect local communities to national NGOs, who are in turn connected to the transnational network of NGOs promoting human and environmental rights.

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Medium 9780253019264

4 Participatory Empire, 1855–1881

Charles R. Steinwedel Indiana University Press ePub

4

PARTICIPATORY EMPIRE

1855–1881

MUKHAMETSALIM UMETBAEV, SON of a Bashkir canton head and translator for the Orenburg Muhammadan Ecclesiastical Assembly, recalled February 4, 1877, as a day of celebration. The akhund presiding over prayers that Friday at Ufa’s main mosque called the attention of those present to Mufti Salim-Girei Tevkelev, the great-grandson of Kutlu-Mukhammad/Aleksei Tevkelev. When Tevkelev turned to face the crowd, the crowd was struck by the extraordinary red ribbon with stars he wore. The emperor had awarded Tevkelev the Orders of St. Stanislav and of St. Anna, first class.1 The mufti then spoke.

Muslims! I thank the Most High for his favor; preserve our Sovereign in the future. I convey my thanks to all of you. No way can I think that this honor belongs to me alone; I am obliged, Lord, to the Muslim community of the entire empire. I hope, in the future, that your descendants, too, will forever enjoy peace and pray for the tsar with thanks, and that your love and good feeling will belong to him.

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Medium 9780253019271

Part I: Beardstown: A Place in the World

Faranak Miraftab Indiana University Press ePub

BEARDSTOWN IS LOCATED AT THE EDGE OF THE ILLINOIS RIVER, 250 miles southwest of Chicago and fifty miles west of Springfield (see figure 1.1). It became a major shipping port and blue-collar industrial town soon after it was founded in 1829. By the mid-nineteenth century, Beardstown was the largest center of meatpacking in the United States and gained its title of the “Porkopolis” (Schweer 1925, 10). From the late nineteenth century to the first half of the twentieth, Beardstown was the seat of several heavy industries, a place where men worked in well-paying union jobs with benefits and security. Today Beardstown locals take pride in being “the watermelon capital of the nation,”1 the home of Beardstown Ladies Investment Club,2 and the site of Lincoln’s 1858 debate with Stephen Douglas as well as his Almanac Trial.3 But before looking at Beardstown’s history, I would like to take you on a brief tour to introduce the places and institutions that are important for establishing the local context.

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