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CENTER REPERTORY COMPANY in association with JONATHAN REINIS and ROGER BEAN PRESENTS Life Could Be A Dream

Written & Directed by Roger Bean
Music Direction by Brandon Adams
Choreography by Lee Martino

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SH-BOOM! Meet Denny and the Dreamers, a fledging doo-wop singing group preparing to enter the Big Whopper Radio contest with dreams of making it to the big time! Trouble comes in the form of Lois, who arrives to put some polish on the boys. Denny falls in love, Wally falls in line, Eugene falls apart, and then the trouble doubles when handsome heartthrob Skip enters, played by Derek Keeling, star of Broadway’s Grease and NBC’s “You’re the One That I Want!” to send things spinning. The ‘60s hits say it all: “Fools Fall in Love,” “Tears On My Pillow,” “Runaround Sue,” “Earth Angel,” “Stay,” “Unchained Melody,” “Lonely Teardrops,” and “The Glory of Love.”

WHERE:
Center REPertory Company 1601 Civic Drive in downtown Walnut Creek.
DATES / TIMES / TICKET INFO:
Performances begin Friday, August 29th at 8PM. Press opening is Tuesday, September 2nd at 7:30 PM. Closes Saturday, October 5th at 8:00PM.

TICKET PRICE RANGE: $37 – $66

TICKET INFORMATION:
For more information go to CenterREP.org or call 925.943.SHOW (7469).  You can also visit the LCA Ticket Office at 1601 Civic Drive or the Ticket Office Outlets at Barnes & Noble in Walnut Creek and the Downtown Walnut Creek Library.

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What Could Possibly Go Wrong Just Did. Georgia’s Carry Protection Act in Action

That’s right. After the Safe Carry Protection Act passed in Georgia, many of us made the sarcastic remark, “What could possibly go wrong?’ Well, Saturday night something did. In the picturesque tourist town of Helen in the North Georgia mountains, a woman died as the result of a stray bullet which had already penetrated the shooter’s hand as he stood outside a bar across the street from her.

The German Alpine themed small town hosts many bars and is a popular tourist destination. The streets can be crowded on weekends and during the yearly Oktoberfest celebrations. Drinking is one popular pastime and set the scene for Saturday’s tragedy.

The shooter is a 53 year old man with a previous drunk driving conviction in 1999. He was outside a bar when the shooting occurred. He was found sitting on a bench with his injured hand. The woman his bullet found lay on the sidewalk across the street, dead at the scene, surrounded by family and friends, some of them children.

Many years ago our family visited the little town during their Oktoberfest. We noticed students in various stages of intoxication staggering into a fudge shop and joked, “What could possibly go wrong?” as we imagined the nauseating mixture of fudge and way too much beer. We never imagined the deadly new combination that would result many years later.

The man has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

By Lily O Lady, Daily Kos

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Community Members Call for Ro Khanna to Denounce Ernie Konnyu over Homphobic Remarks

Today, Silicon Valley community members led by Campbell Council Member and former Mayor Evan Low called on Ro Khanna to denounce his highest profile Republican supporter, former Republican Congressman Ernie Konnyu, over his recent homophobic remarks.

Low said: “Ro Khanna, who identifies as a Democrat, should immediately denounce the homophobic attacks of his biggest Republican Tea Party supporter, former Congressman Ernie Konnyu. His continued silence on this issue raises concerns that he may share Konnyu’s views, and I urge him to join me, Congressman Honda, and the thousands of Americans nationwide who would like to see the FDA change its views.”

Konnyu has come under fire from Bay Area press for his recent comments stating that “Gay pride is worth more with Evan Low than our citizens’ lives” and perpetuating outdated views that all gay men have AIDS. The comments were prompted by the San Jose Chamber PAC’s endorsement of Low, which Konnyu apparently couldn’t stomach.

“This kind of homophobic rhetoric has no place in our politics, from any politician of any party. We hope that Ro Khanna will quickly condemn these comments by Konnyu and denounce his support,” said James Gonzales, President of Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee. BAYMEC is a 30 year old Silicon Valley LGBT nonpartisan political organization.

Khanna’s campaign has said that it is “happy to have [Konnyu’s] support,” despite his attempts to organize the Tea Party Express to attack Democratic Congressman Mike Honda. In a message to press late last week, Konnyu reiterated his opposition to Low and Honda’s efforts to overturn the FDA’s gay blood ban, defended his efforts to bring the Tea Party Express into the race on Khanna’s behalf, and stated that his offer to stop supporting Khanna’s campaign had not been accepted.

Congressman Mike Honda has been supporting the overturn of the FDA’s gay blood ban since at least 2008, when he supported an effort by San Jose State University to bring attention to the issue by suspending blood drives on campus. His petition to overturn the ban, started last year, has been signed by over 51,000 people. He has also joined with over 70 colleagues in the House and Senate to urge the FDA to overturn the ban.

The FDA’s policy dates back to 1983 and has been in place in its current form since 1992. The lifetime ban is opposed by the American Medical Association and the American Red Cross has stated that the current lifetime deferral for men who have had sex with other men is medically and scientifically unwarrante

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Why Eating Wheat and GMOs Will Destroy Your Health

A new study indicates that wheat contributes to the growth of pathogenic bacteria in our gut, adding to growing concern that GMO foods are doing the same.

A new study published in FEMS Microbiology Ecology titled, “Diversity of the cultivable human gut microbiome involved in gluten metabolism: isolation of microorganisms with potential interest for coeliac disease,” has revealed something remarkable about the human gut bacteria (microbiome). Some of the extremely hard to digest proteins in wheat colloquially known as “gluten” (there are actually over 27,000 identified in the wheat proteome) were found metabolizable through a 94 strains of bacterial species isolated from the human gut (via fecal sampling).

This discovery is all the more interesting when you consider that, according to Alessio Fasano, the Medical Director for The University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research, the human genome does not possess the ability to produce enzymes capable of breaking down gluten.

As reported on TenderFoodie in interview:

“We do not have the enzymes to break it [gluten] down. It all depends upon how well our intestinal walls close after we ingest it and how our immune system reacts to it.”

The new study helps to fill the knowledge gap as to how humans are capable of dealing with wheat consumption at all. As we have analyzed in a previous article, The Dark Side of Wheat, the consumption of wheat is a relatively recent dietary practice, stretching back only 10,000 years – a nanosecond in biological time. We simply have not had time to genetically adapt to its consumption (at least not without experiencing over 200 empirically confirmed adverse health effects!).

If bacteria in our microbiome extend our ability to digest physiologically incompatible foods – or at least tolerate them to the degree that they don’t outright kill us – then this may explain why there is such a wide variability in responses to gluten and why the health of our microbiome may play a central role in determining our levels of susceptibility to its adverse effects.

Another provocative finding of the study is that some of the strains capable of breaking down the more immunotoxic peptides in wheat, including the 33 amino acid long peptide known as 33-mer, are highly pathogenic, such as Clostridium botulinum – the bacteria that is capable of producing botulism. As we discussed in a previous article on Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide (glyphosate) contributing to the overgrowth of this pathogenic strain of bacteria in animals exposed to GMO feed,

“[It]t only takes 75 billionths of a gram (75 ng) to kill a person weighing 75 kg (165 lbs). It has been estimated that only 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) would be enough to kill the entire human population.

There are several implications, therefore, of this finding. First, the consumption of wheat preferentially favors the growth of pathogenic bacteria in the gut. Second, given that much of the Western diet now contains Roundup herbicide contaminated food, including wheat – where Roundup is used as a post-harvest dessicant, virtually guaranteeing it is contaminated with it despite being non-GMO – there is likely an amplifying effect of this pathogenic bacteria in those who consume both wheat and GMO food. This may help to explain why the mass introduction of GMOs over the past decade has contributed to the explosion in diagnoses of gluten sensitivity.

Additionally, a recent article by Dr. Kelly Brogan, MD, discussed how the hunter-gatherer microbiome is conspicuously low in the Clostridium bacteria family, based on research into the modern hunter-gatherer Hadza gastrointestinal flora. This study indicates that for much of our evolution – the vast majority of it – Clostridium was not present in significant quantities in our bodies, likely because their diet did not encourage it.

From the perspective of our ancestral microbiome, modern humankind has become almost a new species due to our reliance on novel new ‘foods’ like wheat and agrochemical contaminated GMOs that have contributed to the development of a relationship with strains of bacteria that were alien to us, for some populations, even 100 years ago. The microbiome genome is 95% larger than our genome – containing 2 million protein coding genes versus only 23,000 for the human body alone. The shift towards pathological strains may have to do both with a radical change in the human diet to a grain-based — and particularly wheat-based diet – and, again, the ever-expanding consumption ofRoundup herbicide laden foods.

SO, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Fundamentally, this study indicates that wheat is not something that we want to eat. It forces our body to become inhabitants of strains of bacteria that we have never before needed to occupy our bodies, and which are capable of doing great harm. While some of the strains that degrade gluten are non-pathogenic (e.g. 39% were from the mostly beneficial Lactobacillus family), taken as a whole, the discovery that a variety of Clostridium strains (as well as related potentially pathogenic strains from genuses such as Klebsiella and Staphylococcus) thrive in a wheat-based diet, and adding in the fact that GMO foods further contribute to their overgrowth, it seems that the pathway towards optimal health requires the elimination of both.

From Earthweareone.com

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Westboro Baptist Church planning anti-gay protest outside Robin Williams’ funeral – because of late actor’s role in The Birdcage

Members of the controversial Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church are planning a protest at tragic actor Robin Williams’ funeral over his portrayal of a gay man in the movie The Birdcage.

The Good Will Hunting star passed away on Monday and while details of his funeral have not been made public, members of the church have already announced plans to picket the memorial.

A message posted on the group’s official Twitter.com page reads: ‘Westboro Baptist Church Hopes To Preach In Lawful Proximity To Robin Williams’ Funeral – To Warn The Living: Repent Or Likewise Perish.’

However, organisers at the global non-profit organisation Planting Peace have launched a fundraiser to counter the church’s plans.
A message from co-founder Aaron Jackson reads: “Robin Williams played many different roles in so many people’s lives, and giving back to others was at the top of that list.

“His appeal crossed generational boundaries. I was personally impacted when I heard of his passing. This is a small gesture to honour his legacy and the difference he made to so many,” he said.
Jackson said that when the WBC announced they were protesting the star’s funeral, “we felt like launching a fundraiser for a charity Robin loved would be the perfect way to honour him and counteract the message of hate and intolerance that the WBC continues to convey”.

The proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit St Jude Children’s Hospital, which Williams supported during his life.

Australian AP

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George Will Confirms Nixon’s Vietnam Treason

Richard Nixon was a traitor.

The new release of extended versions of Nixon’s papers now confirms this long-standing belief, usually dismissed as a “conspiracy theory” by Republican conservatives. Now it has been substantiated by none other than right-wing columnist George Will.

Nixon’s newly revealed records show for certain that in 1968, as a presidential candidate, he ordered Anna Chennault, his liaison to the South Vietnam government, to persuade them refuse a cease-fire being brokered by President Lyndon Johnson.

Nixon’s interference with these negotiations violated President John Adams’s 1797 Logan Act, banning private citizens from intruding into official government negotiations with a foreign nation.

Published as the 40th Anniversary of Nixon’s resignation approaches, Will’s column confirms that Nixon feared public disclosure of his role in sabotaging the 1968 Vietnam peace talks. Will says Nixon established a “plumbers unit” to stop potential leaks of information that might damage him, including documentation he believed was held by the Brookings Institute, a liberal think tank. The Plumbers’ later break-in at the Democratic National Committee led to the Watergate scandal that brought Nixon down.

Nixon’s sabotage of the Vietnam peace talks was confirmed by transcripts of FBI wiretaps. On November 2, 1968, LBJ received an FBI report saying Chernnault told the South Vietnamese ambassador that “she had received a message from her boss: saying the Vietnamese should “hold on, we are gonna win.”

As Will confirms, Vietnamese did “hold on,” the war proceeded and Nixon did win, changing forever the face of American politics—with the shadow of treason permanently embedded in its DNA.

The treason came in 1968 as the Vietnam War reached a critical turning point. President Lyndon Johnson was desperate for a truce between North and South Vietnam.

LBJ had an ulterior motive: his Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, was in a tight presidential race against Richard Nixon. With demonstrators in the streets, Humphrey desperately needed a cease-fire to get him into the White House.

Johnson had it all but wrapped it. With a combination of gentle and iron-fisted persuasion, he forced the leaders of South Vietnam into an all-but-final agreement with the North. A cease-fire was imminent, and Humphrey’s election seemed assured.

But at the last minute, the South Vietnamese pulled out. LBJ suspected Nixon had intervened to stop them from signing a peace treaty.

In the Price of Power (1983), Seymour Hersh revealed Henry Kissinger—then Johnson’s advisor on Vietnam peace talks—secretly alerted Nixon’s staff that a truce was imminent.

According to Hersh, Nixon “was able to get a series of messages to the Thieu government [of South Vietnam] making it clear that a Nixon presidency would have different views on peace negotiations.”

Johnson was livid. He even called the Republican Senate Minority Leader, Everett Dirksen, to complain that “they oughtn’t be doing this. This is treason.”

“I know,” was Dirksen’s feeble reply.

Johnson blasted Nixon about this on November 3, just prior to the election. As Robert Parry of consortiumnews.com has written: “when Johnson confronted Nixon with evidence of the peace-talk sabotage, Nixon insisted on his innocence but acknowledged that he knew what was at stake.”

Said Nixon: “My, I would never do anything to encourage….Saigon not to come to the table….Good God, we’ve got to get them to Paris or you can’t have peace.”

But South Vietnamese President General Theiu—a notorious drug and gun runner—did boycott Johnson’s Paris peace talks. With the war still raging, Nixon claimed a narrow victory over Humphrey. He then made Kissinger his own national security advisor.

In the four years between the sabotage and what Kissinger termed “peace at hand” just prior to the 1972 election, more than 20,000 US troops died in Vietnam. More than 100,000 were wounded. More than a million Vietnamese were killed.

But in 1973, Kissinger was given the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the same settlement he helped sabotage in 1968.

According to Parry, LBJ wanted to go public with Nixon’s treason. But Clark Clifford, an architect of the CIA and a pillar of the Washington establishment, talked Johnson out of it. LBJ’s close confidant warned that the revelation would shake the foundations of the nation.

In particular, Clifford told Johnson (in a taped conversation) that “some elements of the story are so shocking in their nature that I’m wondering whether it would be good for the country to disclose the story and then possibly have [Nixon] elected. It could cast his whole administration under such doubt that I think it would be inimical to our country’s best interests.”

In other words, Clifford told LBJ that the country couldn’t handle the reality that its president was a certifiable traitor, eligible for legal execution.

Fittingly, Clark Clifford’s upper-crust career ended in the disgrace of his entanglement with the crooked Bank of Credit and Commerce (BCCI), which financed the terrorist group Al Qaeda and whose scandalous downfall tainted the Agency he helped found.

Johnson lived four years after he left office, tormented by the disastrous war that destroyed his presidency and his retirement. Nixon won re-election in 1972, again with a host of dirty dealings, then became the first American president to resign in disgrace.

by Bob Fitrakis, Harvey Wasserman
From Common Dreams

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RNC denounces high-school history exams

When members of the Republican National Committee gather for regularly scheduled meetings, it’s not unusual for the party to vote on assorted resolutions, expressing a formal opinion on major political subjects. Occasionally, these resolutions actually make news.

We talked earlier this year, for example, about the RNC’s surprising vote criticizing domestic surveillance programs. Last spring, Republican National Committee members also generated headlines with resolutions reiterating the party’s staunch opposition to marriage equality, while also condemning “Common Core” education standards.

It came as something of a surprise, though, to learn the RNC has also taken an interest in high-school students’ advanced-placement exams. Caitlin MacNeal reported yesterday:

The Republican National Committee on Friday denounced the College Board’s new framework for the AP U.S. History exam for its “consistently negative view of American history.”

The committee adopted a resolution during its summer meeting in Chicago condemning the exam’s new framework, according to Education Week.

In the resolution, the RNC slams the College Board’s “radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation’s history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects.”
By way of an example, the RNC believes the AP framework portrays early U.S. colonists as “oppressors and exploiters while ignoring the dreamers and innovators who built our country.”

In other words, the Republican National Committee wants these advanced-placement classes to put a more positive, more deliberately patriotic spin on history.

Where are these concerns even coming from? I’m glad you asked.

Right Wing Watch explained yesterday that the RNC’s interest didn’t just come out of the blue.
The Republican National Committee recently condemned the College Board’s AP U.S. History exam framework for its purported anti-American bias, and it comes as no surprise that the resolution is identical to resolutions sponsored by Religious Right groups like Eagle Forum and Concerned Women for America that regularly assert that public schools engage in anti-American brainwashing.

Concerned Women for America’s Georgia chapter has sponsored a nearly identical resolution, as did Eagle Forum’s Alabama affiliate.
Indeed, after the RNC resolution was approved, Concerned Women for America and others wrote to the College Board, arguing that the AP classes should do more to teach high-school students that the United States is a “City upon a Hill.”

As the Education Week report added, the College Board appears to be taking the complaints seriously: “Troubled by the controversy, College Board President David Coleman released to the public a practice AP U.S. history test. Practice tests are typically only released to certified AP teachers. He also announced that the College Board will issue ‘clarifications’ about the new framework.”

Steve Benen, MSNBC
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Ro Khanna Campaign Silent Following Homophobic Rant by Republican Supporter Ernie Konnyu: Editorial

 

Ro Khanna Campaign Silent

Ro Khanna Campaign Silent

Congressional candidate Ro Khanna should  immediately take action and publically denounce the support of homophobic former Congressman Ernie Konnyu, Khanna’s highest-profile Republican endorser.

Konnyu, a one-term Silicon Valley Congressman who was voted out of office following a sexual harassment scandal, made news last week for orchestrating Tea Party support for Khanna, who is hoping to unseat longtime U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose.

But this week Konnyu took his right-wing vitriol a step further, using Facebook to publically attack the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce PAC for supporting openly gay Campbell Mayor Evan Low in his State Assembly race against former Saratoga mayor Chuck Page.

Konnyu waged his attack last Friday on a Facebook comment by former Chamber CEO Jim Cunneen, calling it “sick” that the Chamber PAC would support “a liberal so left that he wants to change the law to allow blood donations by gays. This, even though the current law forbids it since such blood has a risk of transferring the deadly AIDS virus. Yes! Gay pride is worth more with Evan Low than our citizens’ lives.”

Despite Cunneen’s efforts to prevent Konnyu from doing more damage by “counting to 10 before posting on Facebook,” Konnyu instead redirected his attack on Cunneen. “I am wiser, more experienced, and a lot older than you,” he said.

The San Jose Inside blog broke the story Wednesday but so far we’ve heard nothing from the Khanna campaign. By contrast, following last week’s news about the Tea Party’s support, Khanna’s campaign immediately responded with a “with friends like these…” shake of the head.

Konnyu is becoming a tremendous liability for Khanna, and we’re shocked that Khanna hasn’t denounced Konnyu’s misguided statements and support.

Let’s face it; Khanna doesn’t have a shot at defeating Honda, a seven-term incumbent with a proven track record of fighting for civil rights and same-sex equality.  However, that’s no excuse not to stand up and speak out against this kind of discrimination and homophobia – in his district and on his endorsement list.

 

 

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Splunk Technology Co. To Occupy 270 Brannan St.–Groundbreaking Draws Mayor Lee, SKS Partners, Mitsui Fudosan America

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Mayor Ed Lee today joined SKS Partners, Mitsui Fudosan America and more than 50 dignitaries at a ceremony today to officially break ground on 270 Brannan St. – the new 213,000 gross sq. ft. office building located in the heart of San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood.  The space is already 100 percent leased to machine data player Splunk, which has another leased office building within the block of the new development.

“Our City’s South of Market neighborhood is going through an exciting renaissance, transforming an underutilized warehouse district into a growing, modern mixed-use area with office space, housing and small businesses,” said Mayor Lee. “I am thrilled to break ground on the 270 Brannan St. office building with SKS Partners and Mitsui Fudosan America who are committed to working with the community to ensure this neighborhood thrives economically yet maintains its historic presence.”

The building is being developed as a joint venture between San Francisco’s SKS Partners and Mitsui Fudosan America. The building was designed by prominent local architect, Peter Pfau, and Charles Pankow Builders is the general contractor.

Splunk, the big data technology company, will occupy the building when it opens in Dec. 2015.

“270 Brannan is the realization of the City’s 2008 Eastern Neighborhoods plan, creating a new office building for the growing economy that respects the historical context of the South Beach neighborhood,” said Dan Kingsley and Paul Stein, the Managing Partners at SKS.

City planners have praised the design of 270 Brannan St. for incorporating the character and history of the neighborhood while meeting the needs of its tenants.

The building will include a 5,000 sq. ft. internal atrium which will connect the building’s five-story front section and seven-story rear section. The building is targeting LEED Platinum Certification by the US Green Building Council and has many environmentally-friendly features such as roof-top solar panels.  It also includes spaces for 52 bikes along with adjacent showers and lockers in its basement. Automobile parking is limited to 12 spots in the building’s underground garage.

The building’s design will feature a pattern of alternating aluminum curtain wall windows and terracotta cladding on its Brannan Street façade, consistent with the surrounding South End Historic District. The rear façade, which fronts on DeBoom Street, will feature terracotta cladding on the lower floors with a floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall on the top two floors.

“This groundbreaking is happening during a truly important time for environmental responsibility, both locally and globally. We are making real and lasting investments to improve our city, while protecting our environment and creating new jobs,” said Yukio Yoshida, President of Mitsui Fudosan America. “This building is believed to be one of the first to feature more bike parking spaces than car parking stalls in the history of San Francisco real estate developments and that, in and of itself, is a huge indication that we are opening a new chapter in San Francisco’s history of progress.”

The new 270 Brannan St. is scheduled to open in December 2015.

For more information, visit www.270brannan.com

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These Two Charts Show How The Priorities Of US Companies Have Gotten Screwed Up

If you’re looking for answers as to what has gone wrong in the U.S. economy–why so many people are unemployed, why so many Americans barely make enough to live on, why “the 1%” just keeps getting richer–here are two charts for you.

1) Corporate profit margins just hit an all-time high. Companies are making more per dollar of sales than they ever have before. (And some people are still saying that companies are suffering from “too much regulation” and “too many taxes.” Maybe little companies are, but big ones certainly aren’t).

 

 

2) Wages as a percent of the economy are at an all-time low. This is closely related to the chart above. One reason companies are so profitable is that they’re paying employees less than they ever have before.

 

 

What’s wrong with this picture?

What’s wrong is that an obsession with a very narrow view of “shareholder value” has led companies to put “maximizing current earnings growth” ahead of another critical priority in a healthy economy:

  • The happiness and well-being of employees.

What those who obsess exclusively about profits forget is that one company’s wages (costs) are other companies’ revenues.

If American companies were willing to trade off some of their current earnings growth to make investments in wage increases and hiring, American workers would have more money to spend. And as American workers spent more money, the economy would begin to grow more quickly again. And the growing economy would help the companies begin to grow more quickly again. And so on.

But, instead, U.S. companies have become obsessed with generating near-term profits at the expense of paying their employees more, making capital investments, and investing in future growth.

This may help make their shareholders temporarily richer.

But it doesn’t make the economy healthier.

And, ultimately, as with any ecosystem that gets out of whack, it’s bad for the whole ecosystem.

Our current system and philosophy is creating a country of a few million overlords and 300+ million serfs.

That’s not what has made America a great country. It’s also not what most people think America is supposed to be about.

So, with American companies earning record-high profits and paying record-low wages–and the economy continuing to sputter–we might want to rethink our priorities.

From Henry Blodget, Business Insideer

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Wife of top Texas anti-gay crusader divorces him to be with lesbian partner

The leader of an anti-LGBT group who has joined with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to ban same-sex marriage had his own marriage end after his wife began a romantic relationship with another woman.

According to court documents obtained by Lone Star Q, Corrine Morris Rodriguez Saenz was dating another woman when she filed for divorce from Jonathan Saenz in 2011. Less than six months later, Jonathan Saenz took over as the president of the state’s top anti-gay group, Texas Values.

Corrine Saenz told the court that she wanted to end her marriage on the grounds that it was “insupportable due to discord or conflict of personalities … that destroys the legitimate ends of marriage and prevents reasonable expectations of reconciliation.”

Jonathan Saenz initially asked the court to refuse to grant the divorce, and to bar “any unrelated adult, with whom the parent has an intimate, romantic, emotional, and/or dating relationship to remain in the presence of the children, including but not limited to Ercimin Paredes, a/k/a Ercilia M. Paredes.”

Paredes was reportedly Corrine Saenz’s girlfriend, and the two worked together at as teachers at Becker Elementary School in the Austin Independent School District.

Nearly two years after the divorce battle began, Jonathan Saenz filed a counterpetition for divorce in May of 2013, accusing Corrine Saenz of adultery. The petition also asked that Paredes be permanently barred from access to the children.

The divorce became final on Aug. 1, 2013, and the Agreed Final Decree of Divorce made no mention of Paredes.

The Final Decree stated that both parents had the right “to direct the moral and religious training of the children.”

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled that Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage violated the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Jonathan Saenz has been working alongside Attorney General Abbott, the Republican Party’s nominee for governor, to overturn the decision.

“There is wide support for the state’s rights and for marriage to remain between one man and one woman. That cuts across political lines, across faith lines and across demographic lines,” Jonathan Saenz said earlier this month.

From Dave Edwards, The Raw Story

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The pastor of a church in Tampa, Fla., says he does not regret canceling a funeral service because the deceased man was gay

The pastor of a Tampa, Fla., church that canceled a man’s funeral because the deceased was gay is standing by his decision, despite negative reaction from around the nation.

“I don’t hate gay people,” Pastor T.W. Jenkins of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church told Tampa TV station WFLA, which first reported the news. Jenkins said he does, however, preach against marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Julion Evans was married to his partner of 17 years, Kendall Capers. In his obituary, Capers was listed as the surviving spouse, which Jenkins said caused church members to complain. “It would have been more of a negative response to hold the funeral than to cancel it,” the pastor said.

Evans, 42, died in July of a rare illness called amyloidosis, which destroys bodily organs. As reported last week, his mother, Julie Atwood, was baptized at New Hope Missionary Baptist, and some members of her family still attend services there. While her son and his husband did not go to the church, the family requested that the funeral be held there, as  the church offered a space large enough to accommodate the crowd of hundreds expected to attend. The service was scheduled for July 26, but canceled the day before by the church. The funeral had to be moved within 24 hours. As there was not enough time to notify all of the mourners, some people missed the funeral.

Otis Cooper, 29, who performed the ceremony, is a pastor at New Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa. Atwood attends his church, and he had initially agreed to perform the ceremony at New Hope, then helped the family find another location, Blount & Curry Funeral Home. He told WFLA that he “can’t make a judgment call for” Jenkins, just as Jenkins “can’t make a judgment call for me.”

Capers, Evans’s husband, said he would have understood the church’s decision not to allow the service, had it given the family proper notice. Meanwhile, Atwood said getting the call about the cancellation was “devastating. I did feel like he was being denied the dignity of death.”

BY MICHELLE GARCIA, The Advocate

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Tragedy in Nigeria as hundreds of Catholics found burnt alive by Muslims

This is a brutal example of how far the struggle between Muslims and Catholics in Nigeria has reached.

Muslims are determined to impose their ‘religion’ all over Africa as well as in other continents and countries of the world. Islam has but one goal: rule the world at any cost!

And where are the International Human Rights Organizations? Christians are burnt alive in Nigeria: a horrific Holocaust right in front of International indifference! As denounced by Father Juan Carlos Martos, on behalf of the Missionari Clarettiani, via del Sacro Cuore di Maria, Rome, Italy.

By publishing this graphic document on Facebook, I have intended to make the world aware of certain terrible events totally ignored or minimized by the mainstream media; an authentic genocide so cruel and inhuman only comparable with the most hateful and vile acts in the Nazi extermination camps.

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To my great surprise, Facebook has criticized me for the publication of this graphic document as a proof of the Holocaust that Christians have been suffering in Nigeria in the last ten years. According to Facebook’s Security policy of the ‘social’ Network, this photo has been classified as ‘pornographic’, ‘violent’ or ‘inappropriate’ and hence I was disallowed to publish any picture for a week. And I was threatened drastic measures if I insist publishing any document that prove the terrible violations of Human Rights in Nigeria. This attitude by the (Spanish) Facebook Management is an attack to the freedom of expression as much as a
shameful insult to the 500 victims (only in this horrible episode) slaughtered by Islamic terror only for being christian.

I thought that this social network, originated in the United States , would not bend its knees in front of terror.
Especially, when still healing their wounds suffered in the gruesome 9/11 attack, just as our own 3/11 at Madrid railway station, all innocent victims of the wild fury and insanity of Islamic terror.

This seems even more unacceptable in Spain, a Democratic state, where the rights of opinion, expression and religion are guaranteed by the Constitution (Art. 16 and 20), if there is an attempt to limit such rights, let alone through threats and coercion thus weakening their freedom of expression by condemning as “inappropriate” a graphic document (not a photomontage) which reflects a brutal reality in all its crudeness.
Contrarily, the Administrators of Facebook Spain should welcome this public protest advocating that such a barbarian act will never be replicated and that its perpetrators will be brought to justice. This is a right and duty of every citizen: a service to society, ultimate goal, I feel, of any network that defines itself as ‘social’.

Regrettably, if the murders continue, this is greatly because truth is always hidden to the sovereign people, so that they may not be aware and ‘disdained’ by it: complicit silence by the mainstream media leads to the indifference of the international political community facing this unspeakable Holocaust! Let alone the cowardice already rooted in the western world facing the Islamic terror. A consequence of the stupid ” Alliance of civilizations”: another regrettable incident of our former Prime Minister Rodriguez Zapatero.

Can you imagine the reaction of the Islamic terrorist organization in the (impossible) case of a massacre of Muslims in a mosque, by the hands of christian terrorists? And how widely would our media cover and condemn the crime and the criminals??

Therefore, from this modest blog, I ask a favor from all people who are reading me: please distribute this photo and its comments using all the media you have. If only for commemorating these martyrs since, unfortunately, Facebook seems to be on the side of the executioners by preventing the publication of such tragic events.

Statement by Father Juan Carlos Martos cmf Secretariat of PV Clarettiani Missionaries

Posted by EU Times

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The Gorilla Foundation Announces New Focus, Key Hires and Important Organizational Changes

KoKo gorilla

Koko gorilla

San Francisco–The Gorilla Foundation announced a series of important changes today, including anticipated new management positions, potential new Board members and a certain new focus, all designed to strengthen one of the world’s leading organizations for great ape understanding, care and conservation. “We have come to a crossroads in our Foundation’s history, and we have recognized the need to do more for the cause of the great apes through building global empathy for their preservation and care”

These improvements, made after an extensive internal review with the help of the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board, Governing Board and outside consultants, seek to balance the vital goals of caring for and protecting the gorillas (Koko and Ndume) while refocusing and reinvigorating the organization’s core mission of learning about gorillas through direct communication, and applying that knowledge to advance great ape conservation and prevent their extinction through education, compassionate care and empathy worldwide.

“We have come to a crossroads in our Foundation’s history, and we have recognized the need to do more for the cause of the great apes through building global empathy for their preservation and care,” said Dr. Penny Patterson, the lead researcher behind the Foundation’s groundbreaking “Project Koko,” which is to date the longest running interspecies communication project in history and the only one involving gorillas.

“Koko and her family have taught us so much over many decades and now, more than ever, we feel it is incumbent on this organization to share what we’ve learned with people across the globe, as a way to help put an end to poaching and build compassion for enhancing the care of gorillas and other great apes everywhere,” she said.

The Gorilla Foundation was founded in 1976 by Dr. Patterson, Ron Cohn and philanthropist Barbara Hiller to expand the groundbreaking and unique work of “Project Koko,” the first-ever project to study the linguistic capabilities of gorillas through sign language. Today, after decades of research and learning, Koko is able to use more than 1,000 signs, understands as many words of spoken English, and demonstrates the amazing ability to communicate her thoughts and express her feelings through sign language.

With the goal of protecting and honoring this legacy for generations to come, the Foundation’s leadership today announced, in addition to organizational changes, a series of goals and programs that are designed to make better use of what Koko and her family have taught us over the years. These include:

RESEARCH:

1. Gorilla Emotional Awareness Study (GEARS) will provide an analysis of Koko’s awareness of her emotions (introspection) and the emotions of others (empathy), in research made possible by her unique communication abilities.

2. Digital Data Archival of Project Koko for Future Crowd-Sourced Research will involve a partnership with a major university to digitize and preserve four decades of unique Gorilla Foundation data and archive it in a form that will facilitate analysis and collaboration.

EDUCATION:

3. Koko Signing App will allow the public to learn to sign with Koko and to understand her in videos designed to advance the public’s knowledge about gorillas and learn about their need for compassionate conservation.

4. Project Koko Interactive Database will be made available to scientific colleagues and great ape facilities so that they can make use of our direct experience and data, gained through years of communicating with gorillas.

CONSERVATION:

5. Publication of new book (with video), Michael’s Dream, about the remarkable life of Koko’s gorilla friend Michael, who, on several occasions, communicated (in sign language) his memory of witnessing his gorilla mother being killed by poachers in Africa. This was documented on video.

6. Wide Distribution of Koko’s Kitten & Michael’s Dream Books and Educational Curricula throughout Africa, to strengthen compassionate conservation values and support the preservation of endangered gorillas In their homelands. This builds on our successful distribution of Koko’s Kitten (and curriculum) to over 100,000 students in Cameroon.

CARE AND WELLNESS:

7. Enhancement of Koko & Ndume’s facilities to enrich their lives, expand their options for exploration and privacy, and create capacity for a larger gorilla family.

8. Gorilla Interspecies Communication Work/Play-Station will provide the gorillas with the use of interactive computer technology (including “tough tablets”) to allow them to have fun, express their preferences and have more control over their environment.

ORGANIZATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE:

9. Expanding the Foundation’s Board of Directors to include more experts in our highly specialized field, as well as strategically selected business, finance and fundraising experts.

10. Developing a new executive team for leadership, fundraising and building strategic alliances.

These changes are being made as part of a focused process with three primary goals: 1) to ensure the care and protection of Koko and Ndume now and into the future and 2) to better apply the lessons learned by the Foundation to protect and enhance the lives of gorillas and other great apes worldwide, and 3) to allow our enlightening dialogues with Koko, Ndume and other gorillas to continue.

The Foundation’s leadership is tremendously appreciative of the contributions of its Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and its many consultants and colleagues, who were integral to the development of this new vision.

For more information about the Gorilla Foundation, visit www.koko.org.

 

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In Kansas Primaries Yesterday, The Kochs Lost. Badly. by

From The Daily Kos

The Kansas primaries yesterday taught us a great many things, but one lesson that we learned is that large money spending in races by Koch backed Americans for Prosperity and Kris Kobach backed Prairie Fire PACs backfired.

I’ll talk about the results in many races, but I want to highlight a few:

Kansas House District 122

R-J. Russell “Russ” Jennings     1,475     65%
R-Stan Rice     802     35%

Kansas House District 9

R-Kent L. Thompson     1,505     60%
R-Chad E. VanHouden     1,005     40%

Kansas House District 21

R-Barbara Bollier     1,777     59%
R-Neil Melton     1,215     41%

Kansas House District 19

R-Stephanie Clayton     2,322     68%
R-Jennifer Flood     1,107     32%

These numbers out of these Republican state Primaries should put a smile on the face of every moderate to progressive in Kansas and send a giant red flag up to the Kochs.  Why?

The Republican primary has long been the deciding ground for many races within Kansas.  In 2012, unhappy with the level of moderates in the Kansas Republican Party, Sam Brownback engaged in an effort to sweep them out by running primary opponents against them who would be lock step with his issues.   This campaign against moderates was largely successful, and we ended up with the current slate in the Kansas Statehouse.

Last night, however, the same tactic failed miserably.

Kris Kobach spent significantly in mail pieces and an ad campaign against Thompson and Russ Jennings.   He did so on the back of a single issue:  Kobach wanted Turn Gay Away legislation and they voted no.

But Kobach and Chamber of Commerce spending was all for naught, as the moderate Republican walked right through.    The real story of the night came out of Johnson County proper, where Stephanie Clayton – a moderate Republican who has been under fire, whipped her opponent, a hand picked Koch candidate who stood with them and against Stephanie on significant issues like Renewable Energy, education, etc.

Clayton faced a high money campaign against her, with mailpieces from Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity and door knocking campaigns going on to oust her from office.

What happened?   Clayton walked away with 68% of the vote in a clear rebuke of all the money spent.   Clayton couldn’t match AfP or Chamber in dollars, but her performance at the League of Women Voters and her ability to reach out to her constituents and explain the issues proved to be the ultimate trump card – and despite the big money spend, she was never in any real trouble it seems.

This is a huge rebuke of the way Koch, AfP and the Chamber of Commerce have done business in Kansas.

Numerous races in Kansas last night went much farther than they should have, and resulted in some odd moments.

Sam Brownback, facing a significant protest vote was ON VIDEO declaring that the reason why Pro-Pot Jennifer Winn garnered so much of the vote was because of Obama.  That’s right.   Obama caused people to vote for Jennifer Winn.

In Western Kansas, Tim Huelskamp went down to the wire, giving up 47% of the vote to “Not Tim Huelskamp” LaPolice in a primary.   People have written off District 1, but the momentum behind “Not Huelskamp” is in fact pretty real.   The question is, can Democrats capitalize on that?   We’re going to have to find out.

Margie Wakefield Had to have a wry smile as Lynn Jenkins found herself with a protest vote that also went over 20% – what makes that troubling for Lynn Jenkins is that Jenkins spent significant money in the last few weeks going up with ad buys in the Pittsburg/Joplin area and out of Topeka.   This was not an expected result, as most felt that Jenkins wouldn’t be sullied by the Brownback problem as part of the Republican leadership and unconnected with the Huelskamp fiasco, but she also couldn’t escape getting hit with some of the debris.

The one dark spot  For all the good news, there was one race in Kansas that had a pretty troubling result.  Kansas House District 30, Olathe Kansas had a potentially scary result in that Randy Powell, anti-choice, anti-gay minister managed to be one of the very few tea conservatives who cleared through the primary.   He’s in a district that is fairly divided and where a Democrat last ran with a micro-campaign netted 47% of the vote.

Randy Powell is one of those candidates that has a real shot to cause real damage in the state house, and Liz Dickinson’s campaign becomes much more important for Democrats to win and overturn.   Powell, who is openly committed to re-advancing Turn Gay Away legislation and ‘anything’ that can stop choice, birth control, etc. makes for a dangerous potential candidate.   The upside is that he won a divided Republican primary where the moderates split away and left him a thin margin win.

It is now pretty important that Democrats actually commit to helping Liz Dickinson win if we want to not just flip a house seat but we have a desire for sanity.

 

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Animal rights activists smash Star Grocery windows

The window that was vandalized at Star Grocery on Claremont Avenue. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

The window that was vandalized at Star Grocery on Claremont Avenue. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

Two FBI agents visited Star Grocery on Claremont Avenue on Monday to investigate a broken window the government believes was smashed by animal rights activists.

The large plate glass window of the market, which has been run by the Pappas family since 1922, was smashed around 2 a.m. on Sunday, July 27, according to Nick Pappas, the store’s owner. He wasn’t aware of the animal rights connection until the FBI contacted him a few days later, he said.

“They told us we were attacked,” said Pappas. “We didn’t know. We thought it was vandalism, a couple of broken windows.”

The FBI apparently had been monitoring the website of “Bite Back” an animal liberation organization based in Florida. The site posted pictures of the broken windows of Star Market in its “Direct Action” section. The magazine received news about the windows from someone who calls himself “veganarchist lone wolf.”

“On the night of June 26th two windows were smashed at Star Meats in Berkeley CA, a butcher shop that boasts about its organic and locally sourced meat,” according to the article. “Cage free, organic, murder is murder and death is death. This is a continuation of last years actions in which windows were smashed out of Waylands Meat Market in Oakland and windows smashed in an East Oakland Burger King.”

 

From Nosh

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Passengers Move Car Blocking Muni

by DEVIN HOLT, Bold Italic
movecar980

Photo by Kim Lianthamani

Today in things to make you smile: SF Weekly is reporting that a group of passengers moved some fool’s car that was blocking the Muni last night. It happened at Carl and Arguello, right on the border between Cole Valley and the Inner Sunset. An N Judah driver pulled up to make the sharp turn on that corner and discovered an Infiniti parked in the red zone with its trunk blocking the train’s path. Instead of slamming the accelerator and smashing the car into a heap of metallic memory (which is what I would have done) the driver parked the train and opened the doors so anyone who wanted to could start walking. But some folks wanted to do more than the Muni-just-kicked-us-out-again shuffle.

Passengers quoted in the SF Weekly story (one of whom took the photo above) said it took 10 or 15 men about a half-dozen tries to move the car off the tracks. They described it as “a real community moment,” complete with high fives and a feeling of shared accomplishment. Muni passengers 1, anonymous bad parkers 0.

I just happen to live nearby and ride the N Judah with a regularity that would make Metamucil jealous. I’ve seen cars block the train several times — it’s a busy area with three difficult turns between the UCSF stop and the 9th/Irving corridor — and I’ve often fantasized about forcibly removing them. But I’ve never actually done it. So now this small group of civic doers can consider themselves my personal heroes.

My other N Judah fantasy is to block the street with a group of stranded passengers who have watched three “out of service” trains go by in the last half hour. Any takers?

 

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Elizabeth Warren slams banks for cruel treatment of parents of deceased daughter with student loan

Elizabeth Warren showed her disgust with banks in the manner in which they handle student loan issues with those afflicted with financial problems. She provided the following story reported by CNN Money.

When his 27-year old daughter Lisa died suddenly of liver failure five years ago, Steve Mason was as devastated as any father would be.He and his wife Darnelle immediately took in Lisa’s three children — ages 4, 7 and 9 at the time — even though they knew it would be a huge struggle to support them. Steve earns less than $75,000 per year as a pastor, while Darnelle earns even less as a director at the same church.

Then the student loan bills started coming.

Mason had co-signed on the $100,000 in private student loans that his daughter took out for nursing school, and the lenders wanted their money.

Unable to keep up with the monthly payments on top of all of the other mounting expenses, the $100,000 balance ballooned into $200,000 as a result of late penalties and interest rates of as high as 12%.

“It’s just impossible on a pastor’s salary raising three kids to pay $2,000 a month on loans,” said Mason, who has been searching for a second job.

Elizabeth Warren grilled Richard Hunt, President and CEO of Consumer Bankers Association about the banks being inflexible in working with situations like Mr. Mason. When he attempted to use smoke and mirrors to make it appear that banks were doing something about it, Warren would have none of it.

“They have not provided adequate relief,” said Elizabeth Warren. “… And I don’t know how many other families are in these circumstances. … So far what that bank has said is no, “The banks have not forgiven those loans. They have not provided adequate relief to this family and I don’t know how many other families are in those circumstances. … There really is no substitute for bankruptcy protection. But banks went out and lobby to make sure that they were going to be exempt from the bankruptcy laws. And now they won’t even provide the modest relief that is provided on federal loans for people who end up in terrible financial circumstances. I think this is wrong.”

 

Source:  Daily Kos

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Way too many people still believe these hideous stereotypes about Israelis and Palestinians

By Jill Jacobs

My heart jumped when I saw the poster at the entrance to the Muslim community center in Central Java, Indonesia, in 2009. I didn’t need to speak Indonesian to understand the photo of dead and injured Gazan children. Still, I asked for a translation. Uneasily, our group’s translator explained that the poster reported the amount of money the community group had raised in relief funds after Operation Cast Lead, just a few months before, and prayed for the health and safety of all Muslims . . . and for an end to “the Zionist entity.”

I had come to Indonesia with a delegation of U.S. faith leaders, organized by Legacy International and sponsored by the State Department, to speak at universities and community centers about religious pluralism in America. It wasn’t my turn to present that day, so I enjoyed a brief respite as I debated how and whether to address the poster with these members of Muhammadiyah, one of the largest Muslim organizations in Indonesia. In the end, I had little choice. “I have a question for the rabbi,” began one attendee during a Q&A session: “Why do Jews kill Muslim children?”

Heart pounding, I stood up. I spoke of my pain at the loss of life among Gazan civilians, tragically including so many children. And then I took a deep breath. “I noticed the poster in the entranceway,” I began. I praised the group for raising money for humanitarian relief. But, I continued, “When you call for an end to the Zionist entity, I want you to know that you’re talking about my family and my friends and my people.” I spoke of my own commitments to Israel, of the significance of Israel to the Jewish people, and of my firm belief that a two-state solution will allow both peoples to live securely and peacefully.

To my shock, the audience applauded. Afterwards, many of those present told me that they had never before thought about who might live in Israel. That they had never thought a two-state solution to be possible. That they had believed that Jews wanted only to kill Muslims. And they crossed out the final line of the poster.

This incident did not transform Israeli-Palestinian or Jewish-Muslim relations. It did not drastically shift the perception of Jews in Indonesia. I did learn, though, that a little empathy goes a long way. Hearing my own concern about the death of Muslims, the group could be open to imagining the suffering of Jews.

During the current war between Israel and Hamas, we desperately need radical empathy. By this, I mean opening ourselves to the pain of the other exactly at the moment when we are terrified of this other, and exactly at the moment when fear for our lives and for our loved ones pushes us inward.

This is not a new idea. As far back as the first century CE, in the shadow of the destruction of Jerusalem, Rabban Gamliel, one of the most important rabbis of his time, taught that “Anyone who has compassion for other human beings will merit compassion from above.”

Today, we suffer through increasingly vitriolic language from both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian partisans, and — even more frighteningly — violent protests in Europe, Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories and even the United States. Strident voices ignore or deny the painful narrative of the other.

The pro-Palestinian side places all blame on Israel and the occupation, dismisses or justifies rocket attacks on major Israeli cities, and allows criticism of Israel to slide into ugly anti-Semitism. “Rocket attacks from Gaza are a desperate response to these injustices [of occupation],” Waleed Ahmad writes in Mondoweiss. “No people would ever tolerate an oppressive occupation and an unjust siege, so why should the Palestinians?” Protesters in London, Paris and Berlin have held signs saying “Hitler was right” and encouraging the reading of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

On the pro-Israel side, too, many respond callously to the soaring numbers of Palestinian casualties or even deny the veracity of these reports, place sole blame on Hamas for the deaths of civilians, and take Hamas’s actions as permission to demonize all Muslims. In the Wall Street Journal, Thane Rosenbaum wrote, “you forfeit your right to be called civilians when you freely elect members of a terrorist organization as statesmen.” A prominent settler rabbi justified killing innocents, and even destroying Gaza.

This lack of empathy does not confine itself to Israel and Gaza. Already, we have witnessed a synagogue firebombed in Paris, German protesters calling for gassing Jews, and protest signs that showcase classical anti-Semitic images. In Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, right-wing Jewish mobs, some wearing fascist T-shirts, have marched through the streets shouting “Death to Arabs,” and beating up Palestinians and Jewish leftists. In Brooklyn, worshipers at a mosque have suffered harassment.

This is what we need to hear instead: pro-Palestinian voices that empathize with the Israelis racing for shelter, that denounce terrorism and rocket attacks, and that refuse to tolerate any anti-Semitic tropes masquerading as criticism of Israeli policy. In one powerful and much-circulated op-ed, for instance, a Palestinian-American student calls for pro-Palestinian protesters to utterly reject anti-Semitism.

And we need to hear pro-Israel voices expressing authentic grief at the deaths of Palestinian children, calling for protection for civilian populations, acknowledging the damage inflicted by 47 years of occupation, and denouncing any language that dehumanizes Palestinians or Muslims. I’m proud that T’ruah, where I serve as executive director, was the only organization to issue a rabbinic opinion discrediting Rabbi Lior’s claim that Judaism permits murdering innocents. In Israel, organizations including B’tselem and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel humanize and protect Palestinians while remaining steadfastly committed to the security of Israel.

We have seen a few examples of radical empathy: the families of the kidnapped and murdered Israeli and Palestinian teens consoling one another in their houses of mourning; Jews and Muslims fasting for peace together; religious leaders who have reached across the divide.

Such empathy will not bring about a peace agreement tomorrow. Nor even a cease-fire. But radical empathy does force us to see the humanity of the other, to reject hate speech and violence, and ultimately to demand a political solution that protects the human rights of Palestinians and Israelis.

 

Rabbi Jill Jacobs is the Executive Director of T’ruah, which mobilizes 1,800 rabbis, cantors, and their communities to protect human rights in North America, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories. Her most recent book is “Where Justice Dwells.”

 

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Third Highest Winner At Twin Pine Casino Slot Machines

The second largest jackpot ever at Twin Pine Casino & Hotel was won on August 3rd, 2014. The lucky patron hit a slot machine jackpot of $3,060,857. The winning pull was on an IGT progressive “Mega Bucks” machine. This is coming off of a July win, which was the 3rd highest jackpot payout month at Twin Pine Casino & Hotel. This is also the second time that a “Mega Bucks” machine at Twin Pine has created an instant Millionaire. Back in December of 2012, a lucky guest hit a staggering 8.4 million dollar jackpot. In the last 5 years alone, there have been 3 winners of up to $8 Million and 3 of up to $600,000K with lots of other big winners in between. They call Twin Pine Casino the Home of the Big Jackpots.

The lucky winner was from the East Bay. He and his wife had only been here for a short time when fortune came calling. The gentleman repeatedly asked staff “is all of this real?” He is a regular patron at Twin Pine Casino & Hotel and knew that the Home of the Big Jackpots would someday call his name. With a big smile he said, “my daughter is going to college and I will be paying her tuition”.

Twin Pine Casino & Hotel is owned and operated by the Middletown Rancheria of
Pomo Indians of California, located in Middletown, California.

image006

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Child Migrants Have Been Coming to America Alone Since Ellis Island

And no, we didn’t just send them packing.

It's hard to say exactly how many of Ellis Island's child migrants were unaccompanied, but Moreno says they were in the thousands.

It’s hard to say exactly how many of Ellis Island’s child migrants were unaccompanied, but a leading historian says they were in the several thousands. National Archives

An unaccompanied child migrant was the first person in line on opening day of the new immigration station at Ellis Island. Her name was Annie Moore, and that day, January 1, 1892, happened to be her 15th birthday. She had traveled with her two little brothers from Cork County, Ireland, and when they walked off the gangplank, she was awarded a certificate and a $10 gold coin for being the first to register. Today, a statue of Annie stands on the island, a testament to the courage of millions of children who passed through those same doors, often traveling without an older family member to help them along.

Of course, not everyone was lining up to give Annie and her fellow passengers a warm welcome. Alarmists painted immigrants—children included—as disease-riddenjob stealers bent on destroying the American way of life. And they’re still at it. On a CNN segment about the current crisis of child migrants from Central and South America, Michele Bachmann used the word “invaders” and warned of rape and other dangers posed to Americans by the influx. And last week, National Review scoffed at appeals to American ideals of compassion and charity, claiming Ellis Island officials had a strict send-’em-back policy when it came to children showing up alone.

Col. Helen Bastedo posted bond for 13-year-old Osman Louis, a Belgian stowaway, February 1921

Col. Helen Bastedo posted bond for 13-year-old Belgian stowaway Osman Louis, February 1921. Augustus Sherman/National Parks Service

That’s not true, according to Barry Moreno, a librarian at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and author of the book Children of Ellis Island. The Immigration Act of 1907 did indeed declare that unaccompanied children under 16 were not permitted to enter in the normal fashion. But it didn’t send them packing, either. Instead, the act set up a system in which unaccompanied children—many of whom were orphans—were kept in detention awaiting a special inquiry with immigration inspectors to determine their fate. At these hearings, local missionaries, synagogues, immigrant aid societies, and private citizens would often step in and offer to take guardianship of the child, says Moreno.

In Annie’s case, her parents were waiting to receive her; they’d taken the same journey to New York three years before, looking for work. But according to Moreno, thousands of unaccompanied children came over without friends or family on the other side of the crossing, many of them stowaways. Moreno doesn’t know of an official count of how many children were naturalized this way, but he says it was fairly common. And he can point to at least one great success story, that of Henry Armetta, a 15-year-old stowaway from Palermo, Italy, who was sponsored by a local Italian man and went on to be an actor in films with Judy Garland and the Marx Brothers. “He’s one of the best known of the Ellis Island stowaways,” Moreno says.

Eight orphan children whose mothers were killed in a Russian pogrom. They were brought to Ellis Island in 1908. Augustus Sherman/National Parks Service

Other children journeyed to Ellis Island alone because they had lost their parents, often to war or famine, and had been sponsored by immigrant aid societies and other charities in America. The picture above shows eight Jewish children whose mothers had been killed in a Russian pogrom in 1905. The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society had obtained “bonds” to sponsor their immigration, and they arrived at Ellis Island in 1908. As Moreno notes in his book, thousands of orphans came over thanks to such bonds, and after landing, many would travel on “orphan trains” to farms and small towns where their patrons had arranged their stay.

New York, N.Y. Children's Colony, a school for refugee children administered by a Viennese. German refugee child, a devotee of Superman.

A German refugee child and Superman devotee at the New York City Children’s Colony, a school for refugee children run by Viennese immigrants  Marjory Collins/Library of Congress

Ellis Island officials made several efforts to care for children detained on the island—those with parents and those without—who could be there for weeks at a time. Around 1900 a playground was constructed there with a sandbox, swings, and slides. A group of about a dozen women known as “matrons” played games and sang songs with the children, many of whom they couldn’t easily communicate with due to language barriers. Later, a school room was created for them, and the Red Cross supplied a radio for the children to listen to.

And of course, many of those kids grew up to work tough jobs, start new businesses and create new jobs, and pass significant amounts of wealth down to some of the very folks clamoring to “send ‘em back” today.

From Mother Jones

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Crowdfunding Campaign Is Launched to Keep the Music Playing at the Castro Theatre

David Hegarty, long-time Castro Theatre organist, and his nonprofit foundation SFCODA
turn to Indiegogo for further funding of the groundbreaking CASTRO SYMPHONIC THEATRE ORGAN
 
In keeping with the long tradition of organ music at the Castro Theatre dating from 1922, and the evolving functionality of the venue—now including the performing arts, an instrument of momentous artistic merit has been designed to replace the soon-to-be-removed Wurlitzer that was installed over 30 years ago by a private owner.
An equivalent theatre pipe organ has been donated by another nonprofit theatre foundation, and additional classical pipes will be added. The remaining portions of the instrument will take advantage of cutting-edge twenty-first-century digital technology resulting in a greatly expanded theatre organ—equivalent to the famous San Francisco Fox Theatre Wurlitzer, combined with a magnificent classical/symphonic organ, capable of every style of organ and orchestral music.
This will be the largest pipe/digital hybrid organ in the world. The stunning seven-manual console is already being built, and SFCODA is launching an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for the next phase of its construction—an intermediate goal of $60,000. Total cost of the project is approximately $700,000.
Major sponsorships by individuals and corporate foundations will be rewarded with significant name recognition at a venue that serves over 150,000 patrons every year.
To learn more about the project, visit the SFCODA website: www.sfcoda.org
To contribute to this project, the Indiegogo campaign can be accessed here:
Or Google: Indiegogo Castro
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Language School Blogger Fired for Writing About Homophones

A social media specialist for a Utah language school that teaches English to non-native speakers says he was fired for writing a blog post about homophones—words that sound the same, but carry different meanings—because his boss was afraid readers would think it was about “gay sex.”

Tim Torkildson told the Salt Lake Tribune that shortly after his lesson went up, Nomen Global Language Center owner Clarke Woodger fired him, complaining “now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality.”

“I had to look up the word” Woodger said, according to the account Torkildson published on his personal blog, “because I didn’t know what the hell you were talking about. We don’t teach this kind of advanced stuff to our students, and it’s extremely inappropriate. Can you have your desk cleaned out by eleven this morning? I’ll have your check ready.”

It seems too ridiculous to believe, but Torkildson’s former employer confirmed the incident of homophonia actually happened.

“People at this level of English,” Woodger told the Tribune, ”may see the ‘homo’ side and think it has something to do with gay sex.”

Torkildson disagrees. He wrote that homophones are “one of the first subjects tackled when teaching ESL,” and said his piece about them was very straightforward. The Tribune points out the Nomen blog published another post on the topic in 2011, apparently without incident.

Torkildson, a 60-year-old who enjoys taking quirky selfies, had only worked at Nomen for three months. Although he claims Woodger told him he’s only suited for “clerical work,” he’s now seeking another social media job.

Posted from Gawker.com

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Iowa’s Ernst dabbles in nullification extremism

In 2010 and 2012, Republican primary voters nominated some pretty outrageous candidates who were so extreme, they alienated the American mainstream and helped deliver key victories to Democrats. The names are as familiar as they are infamous: Todd Akin, Sharron Angle, Richard Mourdock, Christine O’Donnell, et al.

There’s a sense that the GOP learned valuable lessons from these fiascos, and made a conscious, concerted effort to nominate fewer extremists for statewide contests in 2014

Iowa’s Joni Ernst is a notable exception.

As Rachel Maddow noted on her show last month, Ernst has said she would ban abortions and many forms of birth control; she would privatize Social Security and abolish the minimum wage; she would back an anti-gay amendment to the Constitution; she’s open to impeaching President Obama for unknown reason; and she believes there’s secret information that Saddam Hussein really did have weapons of mass destruction.

Yesterday, Ben Jacobs ran a report that’s arguably the more alarming revelation to date: the right-wing U.S. Senate candidate “appears to believe states can nullify federal laws.”

In a video obtained by The Daily Beast, Ernst said on September 13, 2013 at a forum held by the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition that Congress should not pass any laws “that the states would consider nullifying.”

“You know we have talked about this at the state legislature before, nullification. But, bottom line is, as U.S. Senator why should we be passing laws that the states are considering nullifying? Bottom line: our legislators at the federal level should not be passing those laws. We’re right … we’ve gone 200-plus years of federal legislators going against the Tenth Amendment’s states’ rights. We are way overstepping bounds as federal legislators. So, bottom line, no we should not be passing laws as federal legislators – as senators or congressman – that the states would even consider nullifying. Bottom line.”

Jacobs’ report added that Ernst, during her brief tenure as a state senator, hasn’t sponsored pro-nullification legislation, but she did back a resolution that says “the State of Iowa hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States.” It was introduced in response to “many federal mandates [that] are directly in violation of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”

I can appreciate why issues like nullification may seem esoteric to everyday concerns on the minds of Iowa voters, but it’s important to appreciate how this fits into a simple truth: the more the picture of Ernst comes into sharper focus, the more radical she appears.

In this case, Ernst didn’t explicitly call for the nullification of a specific law, but that’s not really the point – Ernst seems to have a general belief that states can nullify federal laws they don’t like, which puts the right-wing Iowan on the furthest fringes of modern American thought

To be clear, this is not in a legal gray area. This isn’t a judgment call. It’s not a question that could go either way if tested in the courts. Rather, the question of whether states can invalidate federal laws they don’t like was decided in the middle of the 19th century – in something called the Civil War – and it was a dispute the nullification crowd lost.

That a competitive U.S. Senate candidate is making comments like these, out loud and on purpose, is pretty scary, to put it mildly. We’re not talking about the usual Democrat-vs.-Republican, left-vs.-right debate; this is settled American law vs. looney tunes.

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A Bit of SF History –SF MUNICIPAL ORGAN

SAN FRANCISCO THROWS A PARTY!

PPIE

Having risen from the ashes of the great quake and fire of 1906, The City was ready to invite the world to a party.

To celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal and the rebuilding of the city, San Francisco played host to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915. Many architecturally rich, though temporary structures were built for this world event. One such structure, Festival Hall, was a large dome-shaped auditorium and served as the first home of the Exposition Organ.

The search for the perfect pipe organ befitting the fair’s tradition of exhibiting the latest advances in technology began in 1913. The new organ was to have a four-manual movable console, 7,500 pipes and not to exceed $50,000 (the equivalent of roughly $1.5 million today). Thirty-one American organ builders vied for the honor of constructing the instrument.

Competition among these prominent builders was fierce, but in March of 1914 the Austin Organ Company of Hartford, Connecticut was awarded the contract. The Austin firm had only eleven months to build and install one of the largest pipe organs in the world. The organ was so technologically advanced that its reputation alone attracted attention and brought notoriety to the Exposition.

San Francisco’s Felix F. Schoenstein & Sons, longtime installers of Austin organs, took on the heroic task of installing this monumental pipe organ. Eventually, four generations of Schoensteins would care for the instrument over several decades.

The organ was shipped in five large railroad cars and arrived in San Francisco in late October, 1914. A team of horses and a flat body truck were needed to move the material from the train and through the mud of the unfinished fairgrounds. Actual installation began on November 7, 1914. With carpenters, plasterers and painters still constructing Festival Hall, installation was frenzied. Pandemonium reigned in the huge structure as the various contractors took an “every man for himself” attitude. The fair had attached a $100 per day fine for unfinished exhibits to each of their contracts.

The Schoensteins had only three and a half months to finish the installation and eventually worked in double shifts: during the day they assembled the mechanical parts of the organ and during the quiet of night tuned each of the 7,500 pipes.

A WORLD’S FAIR

On the morning of February 21, 1915, whistles were blowing and spirits were high; it was opening day of the World’s Fair. Seated at the Exposition Organ’s console was the fair’s official organist, Wallace Sabin. With a large chorus and orchestra, Sabin opened the Panama-Pacific International Exposition with Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.

A lavish nine month program of musical entertainment followed. In addition to orchestral programs featuring the organ, daily recitals were given by some 60 of the nation’s leading organists. But none was more legendary than world famous Edwin H. Lemare.

Lemare’s contract with the Exposition Company forced him to leave his pregnant wife behind in Liverpool just days before the birth of his daughter. In the midst of the Great War, Lemare braved a U-boat infested Atlantic ocean and arrived in America mid-August.

Despite the urgency to reach San Francisco on time, Lemare’s first recital was heard by only 400, a mere 10% of Festival Hall’s capacity. Attendance however soared once word spread that the greatest living organist was performing. Soon the concerts were sold-out affairs. The front rows were filled with organists who paid the 50-cent admission to the fairgrounds just to hear Lemare play. His wife, son and new born baby would soon join him in San Francisco.

Nearly every day Lemare played at noon and again at 8:30 in the evening. Each performance with a different repertoire. At every concert Lemare improvised on themes sent up by the audience. His concerts became so popular that fair officials approved the expansion of seating in Festival Hall. By closing day, 18.5 million people had come to the fair and Lemare had played 121 concerts to almost 150,000 people.

Unlike most world fairs, the Panama-Pacific International Exposition closed with profits. The Exposition Company decided to donate these unexpected funds to the City of San Francisco. A large building called Exposition Auditorium had already been erected in the city’s Civic Center. It, along with the Exposition Organ, were deeded to the city. Felix F. Schoenstein & Sons was contracted to dismantle and reinstall the instrument in the new Civic Auditorium. The dismantling process began two days after the close of the fair. Lemare was contracted to supervise the revoicing and reinstallation.

SAN FRANCISCO’S MUNICIPAL ORGAN
SF-Municipal-Organ

Several months after the fair ended, Lemare was honored with the position of San Francisco’s first Municipal Organist in which he was contracted to perform two concerts weekly. San Francisco had become home.

Lemare’s salary was ten times that of the average worker and was guaranteed, regardless of ticket sales. Lemare was one of the highest paid organist in the world. But his impressive salary did not go unnoticed. City supervisor J. Emmet Hayden–earning a modest 15% of Lemare’s annual wage–publicly attacked Lemare’s salary and performance, encouraging city officials to reconsider the musician’s value to San Francisco.

When the time came to renew Lemare’s contract, the city offered a mere 60% of his original earnings. After heated negotiations, Lemare agreed to a salary that was only slightly better. This was to be only the first of many political battles to come.

Angrily clutching a handful of Lemare’s concert programs, rival Hayden questioned why a competent musician would play the same piece at every concert: “There it is in black and white,” he exclaimed, “Improvisation!”

The final blow came from the city elections of November 1920. A proposed ordinance submitted by Supervisor Hayden and the Board of Supervisors, would reduce the salary of the city’s municipal organist to $3,600, a far cry from the $10,000 salary originally paid to Lemare. Despite opposition by The American Guild of Organists and then Mayor James R. Rolph, the voters approved the ordinance. On Sunday, June 26, 1921, Lemare performed his 190th and last official concert on the organ he had come to cherish. Feeling rejected by the city he loved, Lemare accepted a position as the municipal organist for Portland, Maine and, later, Chattanooga, Tennessee. He eventually retired in Hollywood, California.

Throughout the 1920s and early 1930s the Civic Auditorium and organ would remain the cultural focal point of San Francisco. Both the symphony and the opera would perform in the auditorium until the new Opera House opened in September of 1932. Historically significant concerts by world famous organists and composers including Marcel Dupre and Camille Saint- Saens would over time be featured on the historic Exposition Organ.

civic-auditorium

Throughout the 1940s and ’50s the Exposition Organ was used occasionally for conventions, graduation ceremonies and large religious events. But for the most part, the popularity of organ recitals and interest in municipal organs began to decline. New sources of musical entertainment such as phonographs and radios, the growing popularity of big bands, distractions and restrictions during World War II and a tendency among professional musicians to disregard the artistic limitations of “average concertgoers” began the downward momentum.

In 1962 a $20 million bond issue was voted in by the citizens of San Francisco. These funds allowed for the rehabilitation, reconstruction and modernization of the Civic Auditorium. Considered a part of the building, the Exposition Organ was entitled to a small portion of these funds and underwent a thorough cleaning, releathering and installation of a new console. But the windfall proved to be a double-edged sword as the ill-conceived remodeling robbed the auditorium of its good acoustics, dampening the sonic character of the organ. Furthermore, a “casino-style” curtain was hung in front of the Exposition Organ muting its tone and concealing the great instrument from public view.

As a result of cost overruns on the Civic Auditorium reconstruction/modernization project, the city stopped appropriating funds for maintenance of the instrument and it fell into disrepair. Now cloaked in a curtain of darkness, the once distinguished Exposition Organ faded into obscurity.

DISREPAIR AND TRAGEDY

In 1984 the Citizens Committee to Preserve the San Francisco Municipal Organ was formed. Spearheaded by organ historian Charles Swisher, the committee began an effort to renovate the instrument. Over a period of several years Schoenstein & Company (formerly Felix F. Schoenstein & Sons) began working pro-bono to restore the instrument to playing condition.

loma-prieta

Just as the restoration was nearly complete and the Exposition Organ was ready to be brought back into the spotlight…tragedy struck. The wrath of the 1989 Loma-Prieta earthquake caused the back inner wall of the Civic Auditorium to crash down on the fragile pipework. Four feet of plaster and debris covered the floor of the huge pipe chamber. Unplayable and suspended in silence, the great Exposition Organ lingered in uncertainty…behind the velvet curtain.

Two years of political discourse ensued as the fate of the historical instrument was debated in City Hall. The Civic Auditorium needed major repairs, so it was determined that the organ would have to be removed. FEMA funds had been secured and the Citizens Committee persuaded San Francisco to go forward with repairing the organ rather than selling it.

A complete overhaul of the organ would be necessary. So in late 1991, the instrument was sent back to the Austin organ factory in Hartford, Connecticut. Seventy-five years after the great Exposition Organ was born, almost all of the 40-ton instrument was loaded into three tractor-trailers and moved nearly 3,000 miles back to its place of birth.

The staff at Austin Organs, Inc. was very excited to undertake the restoration of this important legacy from their past. Work began right away dismantling windchests, stripping reservoirs, revoicing reeds and repairing and replacing damaged pipes.

While work on the organ continued expeditiously, the large formerly occupied space in the Civic Auditorium was beginning to look quite useful to the city for other purposes. Several months after refurbishment had begun, a cease-work directive was received in Hartford. All organ components, whether whole or in pieces, were to be packed and shipped back to the West Coast for storage. The reason for the city backing away from the project was a combination of cost overruns on the Civic Center repair project along with the realization that the organ was occupying space that might be put to other purposes. The order was a bitter blow for the Hartford staff whose enthusiasm for the project was high.

The shocking news was also felt throughout the nationwide organ community. Here was a historic instrument on the verge of a rebirth–having survived physical abuse, a major earthquake and the indignity of changing tastes–now to be relegated to certain oblivion.

San Francisco historians and citizens were concerned as well. The San Francisco Fox Theater, considered to be the most elegant and opulent of all the Fox Theaters was lost to the wrecking ball in late 1963. The City of Paris Department Store, a beaux arts architectural master piece with its genuine Tiffany Dome, was lost in 1980 and The Fitzheau Building, the Train Station and several landmark hotels were also gone.

 

A TREASURE WITHOUT A HOME

treasureIn late 1997 the City of San Francisco began the last phase of the Embarcadero reconstruction project. The Embarcadero looked nothing like it did before the Loma-Prieta quake. A beautiful tree-lined boulevard and rail system now replaced the ugly two tiered freeway. A new pier, wider sidewalks and new outdoor public spaces had also enhanced the waterfront.

In April of 1998 an article appeared in the newsletter of the San Francisco Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. It said “Flash! The City of San Francisco (with help from SF/AGO) is developing a likely new venue for the 1915 Exposition Organ (Austin Opus 500). Recent meetings with Mayor Willie Brown and Supervisor Sue Bierman have advanced the project…”

The site under consideration was a half-block of open space, bordered by the Embarcadero, Market, Steuart and Mission Streets. It was being developed as part of the Mid-Embarcadero Waterfront Transportation Project.

By mid-1999 the City of San Francisco had approved plans to install the Exposition Organ in a proposed pavilion at the waterfront. The project became known as the Embarcadero Music Concourse and Organ Pavilion. It would provide a large open space where downtown workers, tourists, waterfront visitors and ferry and streetcar commuters could take a break and enjoy free daily organ recitals, special concerts and even silent movies. The Music Concourse was designed to provide outdoor seating for 3,000, becoming the center for many community events.

By the early 2004, a ballot measure to raise funds for the organ and several other projects had been put before voters of San Francisco. It was defeated. Also numerous businesses surrounding the proposed Music Concourse site protested the idea for a music pavilion because they feared the volume of the organ would be too loud and disrupt their businesses. The Music Concourse faded into oblivion.

THE FRIENDS OF THE EXPOSITION ORGAN
Determined not to let the Exposition Organ linger and perhaps be destroyed, The Friends of the Exposition Organ was formed to keep the fire alive and to safeguard the instrument from neglect and destruction.
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