“As a nation we [The United States] have done a pretty good job in melding the races in the workplace. We work with one another, lunch together and, when the event is at the workplace during work hours or shortly thereafter, we socialize with one another fairly well, irrespective of race. And yet even this interaction operates within certain limitations. We know, by “American instinct” and by learned behavior, that certain subjects are off limits and that to explore them risks, at best embarrassment, and, at worst, the questioning of one’s character. And outside the workplace the situation is even more bleak in that there is almost no significant interaction between us. On Saturdays and Sundays America in the year 2009 does not, in some ways, differ significantly from the country that existed some fifty years ago. This is truly sad. Given all that we as a nation went through during the civil rights struggle it is hard for me to accept that the result of those efforts was to create an America that is more prosperous, more positively race conscious and yet is voluntarily socially segregated (Holder 2009-02-18).”

How do we as communities move towards voluntary socially de-segregated nations? Have a picnic?

On July 30, 2009 two Cambridge Massachussetts families will join the President of the United States for a picnic table summit. They represent the town and gown, but more significantly, two races, brought together in a gesture of reconciliation.

The press are stomping on the turf of the Professor’s yellow wood-frame home and the Sergeant’s Natick home and tomorrow they will be all over the White House lawn for the picnic.

Sgt. James M. Crowley, who grew up in Cambridge and now lives in Natick, Mass. with his wife and three children, has served with the Cambridge Police Department for 11 years. In 2004 he was selected by Ronny Watson, a former police commissioner (who is black) to be instructor at the Lowell Police Academy teaching colleagues how to avoid racial profiling. He was in the Mid-Cambridge district when at 12:45 p.m. July 16, he heard the call of a possible break-in at Ware Street in Harvard Square. A passer-by, Lucia Whalen, a fund-raiser for Harvard Magazine, saw two men struggling with the door of a yellow wood-frame home and called the Cambridge police. Sgt. Crowley answered the call although he was alone. When he encountered the individuals, whom he considered to be a threat, he called for assistance. He handcuffed one individual who was brought to the station for questioning, then released without any charges. He overreacted.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. moved to Harvard Square in 1991 when he joined the faculty of Harvard as Chair of the Department of African and African American Studies. Before coming to Harvard he taught at Yale, Cornell, and Duke. His autobiography entitled Colored People: A Memoir is taught in ethics courses among others. When he first moved to Harvard Square, “one of the most tolerant places on earth,” in 1991 he voluntarily introduced himself at the Cambridge Police Department hoping that he might avoid being pulled over constantly by police for being black while driving an expensive car. He is a very visible presence at Harvard University, his home. He is slight of build, small, (5’6″) and uses a cane. He is charismatic, distinguished and is impeccably dressed. He spent the week of July 9-16 on a documentary in China. Upon his arrival at Logan Airport, a Moroccan driver took him to his Ware Street resident. The door to his home was jammed. He was already fighting bronchial infection and was tired from a 14-hour flight so he asked the driver for help to force it open. When Sgt. Crowley arrived at his home asking him to prove his identity, he was confused and indignant. He refused to step outside as Sgt. Crowley requested (Hernandez, Rimer and Saulny 2009). He overreacted.

President Obama, who is a friend of Henry Louis Gates Jr., also overreacted.

We are human. We make mistakes. We apologize. And President Obama’s apology resonated.

In a rare White House statement to the press (2009-07-24) President Obama explained, “My sense is you’ve got two good people in a circumstance in which neither of them were able to resolve the incident in the way that it should have been resolved, and the way they would have liked it to be resolved. […T]he fact that it has garnered so much attention, I think, is a testimony to the fact that these are issues that are still very sensitive here in America, and — you know, so to the extent that my choice of words didn’t illuminate but rather contributed to more media frenzy, I think that was unfortunate. What I would like to do, then, is to make sure that everybody steps back for a moment, recognizes that these are two decent people. [… B]ecause of our history, because of the difficulties of the past, you know, African-Americans are sensitive to these issues, [a]nd even when you’ve got a police officer who has a fine track record on racial sensitivity, interactions between police officers and the African-American community can sometimes be fraught with misunderstanding. My hope is that as a consequence of this event, this ends up being what’s called a teachable moment where all of us, instead of pumping up the volume, spend a little more time listening to each other and try to focus on how we can generally improve relations between police officers and minority communities, and that instead of flinging accusations, we can all be a little more reflective in terms of what we can do to contribute to more unity. [T]here are some who say that as President I shouldn’t have stepped into this at all because it’s a local issue. I have to tell you that that part of it I disagree with. The fact that this has become such a big issue I think is indicative of the fact that race is still a troubling aspect of our society. Whether I were black or white, I think that me commenting on this and hopefully contributing to constructive — as opposed to negative — understandings about the issue, is part of my portfolio. So at the end of the conversation there was a discussion about — my conversation with Sergeant Crowley, there was discussion about he and I and Professor Gates having a beer here in the White House. We don’t know if that’s scheduled yet — (laughter) — but we may put that together. He also did say he wanted to find out if there was a way of getting the press off his lawn. (Laughter.) I informed him that I can’t get the press off my lawn. (Laughter.) He pointed out that my lawn is bigger than his lawn. (Laughter.) But if anybody has any connections to the Boston press, as well as national press, Sergeant Crowley would be happy for you to stop trampling his grass (Office of the Press Secretary of the White House. 2009-07-24. The Statement by the President).”

At the Department of Justice African American History Month Program, Attorney General Eric Holder (2009-02-18), cautioned that, “Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race. It is an issue we have never been at ease with and given our nation’s history this is in some ways understandable. And yet, if we are to make progress in this area we must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us. But we must do more- and we in this room bear a special responsibility. Through its work and through its example this Department of Justice, as long as I am here, must – and will – lead the nation to the “new birth of freedom” so long ago promised by our greatest President. This is our duty and our solemn obligation. We commemorated five years ago, the 50th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. And though the world in which we now live is fundamentally different than that which existed then, this nation has still not come to grips with its racial past nor has it been willing to contemplate, in a truly meaningful way, the diverse future it is fated to have. To our detriment, this is typical of the way in which this nation deals with issues of race. And so I would suggest that we use February of every year to not only commemorate black history but also to foster a period of dialogue among the races. This is admittedly an artificial device to generate discussion that should come more naturally, but our history is such that we must find ways to force ourselves to confront that which we have become expert at avoiding. As a nation we have done a pretty good job in melding the races in the workplace. We work with one another, lunch together and, when the event is at the workplace during work hours or shortly thereafter, we socialize with one another fairly well, irrespective of race. And yet even this interaction operates within certain limitations. We know, by “American instinct” and by learned behavior, that certain subjects are off limits and that to explore them risks, at best embarrassment, and, at worst, the questioning of one’s character. And outside the workplace the situation is even more bleak in that there is almost no significant interaction between us. On Saturdays and Sundays America in the year 2009 does not, in some ways, differ significantly from the country that existed some fifty years ago. This is truly sad. Given all that we as a nation went through during the civil rights struggle it is hard for me to accept that the result of those efforts was to create an America that is more prosperous, more positively race conscious and yet is voluntarily socially segregated (Holder 2009-02-18).”

Professor Glen Loury, author of Race, Incarceration and American Values (2008) is hopeful that the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the resulting picnic table summit will illuminate hard-core issues such as the systemic crisis of “hyper-incarceration of poor black men” not end in more sensitivity training for police officers. He wants “something of lasting value” not mere moral posturing. Loury calls for deep reforms in our criminal justice system with a real investment “in helping the troubled people — our fellow citizens — caught in the law enforcement web to find a constructive role in society, and less in punishing them for punishment’s sake. We need to change the ways in which we deal with juvenile offenders, so that a foolish act in childhood doesn’t put them on the road to lifetimes in prison. We should seriously consider that many of our sentences are too long — “three strikes” laws may be good politics, but they are an irrational abomination as policy. We should definitely consider decriminalizing most drug use. We need to reinvent parole. And, most important, we should weigh more heavily the negative and self-defeating effects that our policy of mass incarceration is having on the communities where large numbers of young black and Hispanic men live (Loury 2009-07-26).”

Selected Bibliography and Webliography

Office of the Press Secretary of the White House. 2009-07-24. The Statement by the President. James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.

Child, Maxwell L.; Zhu, Peter F. 2009-07-24. “Obama Backs Off Gates Remarks After Police Ask for Apology.” The Harvard Crimson.

Editors. 2009. “Attorney general says U.S. a nation of ‘cowards’ when it comes to race“.” New York Times. Issue.

Harvard Faculty Biographies. “Henry Louis Gates, Jr Biography.”

Hernandez, Javier C.; Rimer, Sara; Saulny, Susan. 2009-07.

Hitchens, Christopher. 2009. “A Man’s Home Is His Constitutional Castle.” Washingtonpost. Newsweek Interactive Co. LLC.: Issue. /

Holder, Eric. 2009. Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department of Justice African American History Month Program.

Loury, Glenn C. 2008. Race, Incarceration and American Values. Cambridge, Mass. Massachussets Institute of Technology.

Loury, Glenn C. 2009. “Obama, Gates and the American Black Man.” New York Times. Issue.

Parker, Kathleen. 2009. “Redemption on Tap: Why Cambridge Could Use a Cold One.” Washington Post. Issue.

Warner, Judith. 2009. “A Lot Said, and Unsaid, About Race.” New York Times. Issue.

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NYT article on the at-risk lifestyles of high-speed, high-stress, high-adrenalin lifestyles of pro-bloggers chasing new improved on-line newstories 24/7.

Thanks to twitter and Steve Rubel’s lifestream for bringing this article to my attention.

“digg.com blurb: “Some professional bloggers complain of physical and emotional strain created by an Internet economy that demands a constant stream of news and comment.”

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This reminded me of an article by Kate Argyle (1996) in Rob Shields useful anthology entitled Cultures of the Internet. Argyle’s account of what happens when a member of a virtual community dies challenged notions of that Internet communities were blasé and that the Internet itself fostered  a culture of distance and indifference. See http://www.socresonline.org.uk/1/3/van_loon.html

Webliography and bibliography

Argyle, Kate. 1996. “Death on the Internet.” in Shields, Rob. 1996. Cultures of the Internet: Virtual Spaces, Real Histories, Living Bodies. Chapter 8. London: Sage. ISBN 0 8039 7519 8

Leading US advocate for homeless praised The Calgary Committee to End Homelessness’ 10-year plan business plan’s innovation, measurable benchmarks, field-tested, evidence-based & modeled on best practices in US cities which house homeless families, provide supported housing and treatment for homeless who suffer from mental illness and addictions.

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The Calgary Committee to End Homelessness unveiled its 10-year plan, “outlining the hundreds of millions of government dollars success will cost, as well as the projected $3.6 billion in eventual savings. The plan, developed by a committee 2007-2008, includes targets such as reducing the number of emergency shelter beds by half within five years, eliminating family homelessness within two years and chronic homelessness within seven, and creating more than 11,000 affordable housing units, including secondary suites and student housing [. . .] The Calgary committee has already launched two pilot projects it believes will put roofs over the heads of at least 100 people over the next year . . . A New York program is the model for Pathways to Housing, which finds supported housing for people with mental illness or addictions and then focuses on treatment. Hennepin County’s Rapid Exit program is being copied by CUPS as it matches homeless families and landlords, finding a place to live for at least six families in its first month (Guttormson 2008).”

My questions: How did structural changes over the last twenty years change the face of homelessness? When did the Canadian federal government download responsibilities regarding public health services including mental health to the provinces and the provinces to municipalities? What are the current demographic studies of the homeless, the proportion who are urban Inuit and First Nations? women? immigrants? children? families? mentally ill? relationship between mental illness and substance abuse?

Folksonomies or tag cloud

Calgary Committee to End Homelessness, Steve Snyder, Calgary’s housing prices are seriously unaffordable, Phillip Mangano, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, homeless, 10-year plan, crisis-management, end the disgrace, innovative ideas, business plan, measurable benchmarks, innovative ideas, municipalities, field-tested, evidence-based, Pathways to Housing, Rapid Exit, best practice, Calgary Committee to End Homelessness, 10-year-plan, emergency shelter beds, homeless families, supported housing, mental illness, addictions, chronic homeless population,

Timeline

2006 3,400 people in Calgary, Alberta were considered homeless, that is, living without permanent shelter (Guttormson 2008).

2007 The Calgary Committee to End Homelessness launched two pilot projects Pathways to Housing and Rapid Exit in 2007 which are anticipated to put roofs over the heads of at least 100 people in 2008 (Guttormson 2008).

2008-01-28 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey: 2008 pegged Calgary’s housing prices as “seriously unaffordable.”

2008-01-29 The Calgary Committee to End Homelessness unveiled its 10-year plan, outlining the hundreds of millions of government dollars success will cost, as well as the projected $3.6 billion in eventual savings (Guttormson 2008).

2010 According to the Calgary Committee to End Homelessness’ 10-year plan (2008-2018) officials hope to stabilize the homeless population at the 2006 numbers 3,400) and to eliminate family homelessness by 2010.

2013 Calgary Committee to End Homelessness 10-Year Plan promises to reduce the number of emergency shelter beds by half within five years (Guttormson 2008).

Who’s Who?

Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS) is “a not-for-profit community health centre in Calgary’s downtown core. Offering collaborative and holistic services in the areas of health care, education and social services, CUPS Community Health Centre helps people make the transition from poverty to stability. Founded on the principle that all people have an inherent right to lead a life of dignity, equality and respect, CUPS is a safe, warm and welcoming environment free of judgment and rejection (CUPS website ).” CUPS is actively engaged in combatting poverty and homelessness in Calgary. They have inaugurated a pilot project which matches homeless families and landlords, finding a place to live for at least six families in its first month is modelled on the US Hennepin County’s Rapid Exit program.

Cox, Wendell a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and Hugh Pavletich, a property investment manager in New Zealand produced the survey entitled

Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey: 2008.

Frontier Centre for Public Policy’s senior fellow Wendell Cox and Hugh Pavletich, a property investment manager in New Zealand produced the survey entitled

Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey: 2008.

Kim Guttormson is a journalist with the Calgary Herald which is part of the CanWest group.

Pathways to Housing, which finds supported housing for people with mental illness or addictions and then focuses on treatment is modelled on the successful New York program (Guttormson 2008).

Phillip Mangano is executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and a leading advocate for the homeless, who praised Calgary’s 10-year plan for ending homelessness. Mangano claimed that, “If this plan is implemented the way it is written, you will see in the next few years the number of people on the street, the number of people long-term in shelters, begin to be reduced. Calgary has decided to stop managing the crisis and begin ending the disgrace.” Mangano is confident that Calgary’s “bold and innovative” strategy will accomplish the plan’s ambitious goals. “Mangano, who has read Calgary’s report, calls it impressive and says it has the key components of successful plans in other cities — it’s based on a business plan, it has measurable benchmarks and it uses innovative ideas from other municipalities. “Calgary has done a very good job of uncovering the innovative ideas that are already field-tested and evidence-based, they’re already working somewhere else,” said Mangano, who has worked with more than 300 plans south of the border. “So you know if you invest in them, they’re going to work there (Guttormson 2008).”

Steve Snyder is chairman of the Calgary Committee to End Homelessness. Snyder explained how this plan differs from past approaches where money was “thrown at the homeless issue” in that there is nothing in this plan that is pie-in-the-sky. In order to break the cycle of homelessness the committee studied best practice models in American cities where ten-year plans developed since 2003 have proven successful. “New York has closed a 1,004-bed shelter, Portland reduced its chronic homeless population by 70 per cent, Denver saw its chronic numbers drop 36 per cent and Hennepin County in Minnesota recorded a 43 per cent decrease in homeless families (Guttormson 2008).”

U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness

Webliography and Bibliography

Guttormson, Kim. 2008. “U.S. advocate for homeless raves about Calgary plan: City lauded for decision to start ending ‘disgrace’.” City & Region. Calgary Herald. January 29. B3.


CC Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2008. “Homelessness: from crisis management to ending the disgrace” >> Google Docs. Uploaded January 29.

Chester (2007) illustrates how the Google-sold media ad Green Tea Partay on Google-owned YouTube (viewed 3M times) featuring a pseudo-hiphop-for-the-conspicuous-consumer cleverly conceals an ad for Smirkoff Vodka.

A single tab (window) in Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 presented as a single ‘page’ on a computer screen resembles the classic print-version newspaper more than the classic web page from the 1990s. With Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 blogs (and even your very personal Gmail) and ad-enhanced content there is a cacophony of voices, a postmodern irony to the conflicting messages in advertisements, news, opinions, reviews, classified ads displayed within one frame. We became used to the classical (but now largely outdated) unique web pages in one frame, window or tag that presented information from an author from a specific standpoint with virtually no peripheral advertising. As powerful search engines like Google using complex algorithms to connect information seekers to information providers combine with a brilliant ad-service, the boundaries between page-frame-window author and paid-publicity have become so blurred that the argument in the content of the page can conflict with the products and services sold on the page. In one blog, for example, articles, reports, studies, entertainment, infotainment, advertisements, news, opinions, reviews and classified ads all appear to have resonance, when in reality their messages diverge completely. The confusion is even greater when the content-author is not clearly identified.

We can no longer say that “the media is the message” because the rhizomic media network of Web 2.0 sends mixed, often conflicting messages.

Unfortunately, in the one area where conflicting ads are absent — academic journals — the exclusive, proprietorial nature of most of these require registration or pay-per-use. They are not easily accessible and are relegated to the realm of the deep Web or Internet (once called the Invisible Web).

The solution will probably not come from more policing of Google-like service providers. In an ideal world readers might be compelled to become increasingly sophisticated in distinguishing sources and might engage in more robust critical thinking. In a dystopic highly materialistic world-view we are only one click away from buying more of what we don’t need.

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Related entries on Speechless

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Synset, Semantic Web, CBC and Alberta Oil.” September 28.

Filed in Blogosphere, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Learning from users, New generation social marketing, SEO, Web 2.0, collaborative, energy, ethnoclassification, ethnoclassification: faceted tagging, findability, folksonomy, folksonomy:faceted tagging, search engine optimization, semantic web, social bookmarking, tagging

Joshua Bell is one of the world’s greatest violinists. His instrument of choice is a multimillion-dollar Stradivarius. If he played it for spare change, incognito, outside a bustling Metro stop in Washington, would anyone notice?

Do you stop and listen? Do you hurry past with a blend of guilt and irritation, aware of your cupidity but annoyed by the unbidden demand on your time and your wallet? Do you throw in a buck, just to be polite? Does your decision change if he’s really bad? What if he’s really good? Do you have time for beauty? Shouldn’t you? What’s the moral mathematics of the moment? (Weingarten 2007)

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Webliography

Weingarten, Gene. 2007. “Pearls Before Breakfast: Can one of the nation’s great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour?” Washington Post. April 8. Page W10.

The Baroque, Neoclassical and Romantic periods in Europe coincide with the period of colonization in what was called the New World. When we admire artistic creations from these periods how can be also remember colonial activities and their implications for everyday life in 2007.

Freeman (2000a 127) describes one of the distant relatives of the 17th century as a fur trader, interpreter and man of public affairs whose influence increased in 1643 with the formation of the United Colonies of New England (Plymouth, Connecticut, Massechusetts and New Haven). His name was connected with almost every Indian transaction on record.

Selected webliography and bibliography

Freeman, Victoria. 2000. Distant Relations: How My Ancestors Colonized North America. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart.

Freeman, Victoria. 2000a. “Ambassador to the Indians.”Distant Relations: How My Ancestors Colonized North America. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. pp.127-147.

From one of the tops on my blogroll http://www.readwriteweb.com reports on reporter Todd Bishop at Seattle P-I newspaper, who used a ‘gizmo’ to generate this tag cloud of Bill Gates’ address to the International Electronics Show. Readwriteweb provides the link to the full talk

ReadWriteWeb is delivered to my PC through my gmail every morning. I chuckled when I read the article and Dugg it immediately.

One of the things that I really appreciate about your way of working is the strenuous efforts you make to provide all relevant references. So I read Bill Gates’ key note address and I used ClearForest Gnosis
to tag cloud Gates’ article and I came up with a different cloud.

I am quite sure that I learned about Gnosis from your blog? Anyhow I think the device of tag clouds, that is also a feature of deli.cio.us and my favourite feature in WordPress, is one of the best conceptual tools being explored on Web 2.0. (I inserted my delicious tag roll or tag cloud into my Blogger page, which is very much work-in-progress inuitartwebliography). I haven’t yet been able to figure out how to insert it into the widgets on my two (free) WordPress blogs. However, WordPress use of Featured Tags has been particularly kind to my 2 blogs speechless and papergirls and they actually generate reliable tag clouds with each of these Featured Tags. This will actually help me in writing articles since the tags clouds themselves become the article.

I have been using tag clouds as a thumbnail image of my own work and for complex texts.

For complicated texts like a book on Western political philosophy I prefer to generate my own using a pencil and paper. For this one of the Fraser Institute, a think tank in Canada similar to the Cato Institute in Washington, I used a cut and paste method while reading through their web site and annual reports. This is the tag cloud imageproduced in Adobe Photoshop and hosted on my Flickr account.

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