Archive for August, 2008

This year I have decided to join in the Blog Action Day 2008. The main reason is that the plan for this year is to blog about poverty, or taking action against poverty. If you’ve been following my journey for very long you are probably aware that I believe we need to end poverty – sooner rather than later. So on October 15 I will be joining thousands of other bloggers in posting about the topic of poverty.

If you blog you should think about dedicating your blog to the cause on October 15. You can find all kinds of information about the event here.

Below is a video about the project. Add your voice!

Blog Action Day 2008 Poverty from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

This is a powerful video. Elite athlete Josh Cox is speaking to First Assembly Church in Maryland. The runner is Ryan Hall of Olympic Marathon fame. What do you think about what Cox has to say?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Awhile back I wrote a list of links that we had e-mailed to my in-laws so
they could pick out some places to visit on their recent week here in the Twin Cities. Around the same time Bible Money Matters wrote a post about frugal things to do in the Metro-area. Our lists had a lot of overlap.

You may know that the Republican National Convention is being held in St Paul, so naturally there is a lot of tourism buzz around the Twin Cities. This led to the New York Times writing a list of things to see during the 36 hours before the convention starts. I took a look at the list and we’ve done quite a few of these things. So here is there list:

1) MINNEHAHA FALLS – check! website we saw it in the winter and summer!!

2) INTERMISSION WITH A VIEW aka Guthrie Theater –not yet website this is a pretty cool looking theater from the outside with a cantilevered bridge that let’s you stand above the Mississippi River!

3) THAT’S SOME MEATBALL aka 112 Eatery – not yet website there are a ton of great places to eat in the Twin Cities so it may take awhile to hit them all up.

4) WAREHOUSES FOR HUMANS aka 414 Soundbar and Lee’s Liquor Loungeprobably not we aren’t big drinkers so these may be cool and all, but we’ll probably pass.

5) YOU GOING TO EAT THAT? aka Al’s Breakfast not yet sounds great.

6) A NECKLACE OF BLUE aka Chain of Lakes definitely been there! website this is a wonderful part of the city that you could just spend lots of time relaxing and enjoying the sights.

7) SPOON FEEDING aka Walker Art Center just wentwebsite we actually went while the in-laws where here. The art is very modern, the sculpture garden is a lot of fun, and the putt-putt golf course is challenging. The course is “artist designed mini-golf.”

8) AMBULATORY RETAIL aka Mall of America and beyond done Mall of America, never heard of the others. Mall of America is large and an impressive display of consumerism. The other stores listed, Bibelot, Cooks of Crocus Hill, and Dixies on Grand sound pretty interesting but may not be worth the drive.

9) THE NORTH STAR aka nightlife in Uptown. We enjoy the Uptown scene but in short spurts and we’ve never really fully indulged. They suggested Brasa Rotisserie, 331 Club, and Nye’s Polonaise Room.

10) HERE COMES A REGULAR aka CC Club Nope. See #4

11) MEETING ACROSS THE RIVER aka St Paul City Hall and Mickey’s Diner never thought to visit city hall, Mickey’s is great! We’ve been to Minneapolis’ City Hall which is quite impressive. Mickey’s Diner is a cool relic of a by-gone era. Nice greasy food in an old diner car featured in movies and replicated.

12) A HISTORIC VISIT aka Minnesota History Center Should have. The History Center has had some pretty good exhibits since we’ve been here but we never made the journey.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

It has been several weeks since I posted an update about my running. I am now almost over 25% towards my goal of raising money for World Vision. I’ve also completed my first 20 mile run – ever!! I’ve also done some races recently so it has been quite busy in the running realm.

Week 9, Week 10, and most recently Week 11 of marathon training. I raced a 10K (6.2 miles) around beautiful Lake Calhoun. 2 weeks ago I raced a 15K (9.3 miles) around a somewhat boring 3 loop course, but I PR-ed (that is setting a personal record).

I’ll leave you with this thought:

And through the 10K in 41:36 (that 5K was 21:07). That split was actually faster than last week’s 10K and only 8 seconds off my 10K PR. Wow!!

The Sudanese Government in the midst of committing genocide in their Western Province of Darfur had this to say about the recent Russian incursion into Georgia:

August 15, 2008 (KHARTOUM) –The Sudanese National Assembly lent its support Moscow in its clash with Georgia over the border region of South Ossetia.

The Sudanese legislative body described the Russian response as “legitimate” and that Moscow had “the right to defend its citizens”.

Sudan also condemned the “crimes committed by Georgian forces against innocent citizens”.

“The genocide was committed in its worst forms and did not spare even the elders or children or sick or women” the foreign relations committee said in a statement.

Sudan and Russia enjoy good relations particularly in terms of military cooperation. Moscow along with Beijing blocked tough UN Security Council (UNSC) measures against Khartoum over the Darfur conflict.

I assume the key word in this statement is “innocent” as I don’t think the Sudanese government would say any Darfuri is innocent – just my thought.

HT Sudanese Thinker

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

House, aka Hugh Laurie plays a funny song on SNL

The headline may be a little misleading, but now that you are here lets look at the facts. If you pull out statistics for only Black American’s they have a AIDS prevalence rate that would rank 16th in the world. This according to the Black AIDS Institute and reported in New York Times.

That is a little scary – WE ARE THE RICHEST NATION IN THE WORLD – how can something like this still be going on in the US? We are providing all kinds of resources around the world and are seeing HIV/AIDS dropping – then why is it still so high here? This study was released at the same time that the CDC released a report that the US has been underestimating the prevalence of HIV/AIDS by about 40%. How do you underestimate by almost half? That’s a good question!

Phill Wilson, Executive Director of the Black AIDS Institute, would say that some of the problem is within the black community/culture. Summed up in one word: Stigma.

So why do I still say, “AIDS in America today is a Black disease?” The truth is, while awareness – and lip service – about this disease may be rising, too many of us still don’t know our HIV status, aren’t in appropriate care and treatment, and aren’t taking concrete steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones from becoming infected. When it comes to this disease, we’ve got to walk the talk.

The facts remain startling. Over 50% of HIV-positive African Americans do not know they are HIV positive. For those who do get tested, it is often too late: Too late for treatment to be fully effective, too late to stop the progression from HIV to AIDS and too late to prevent significantly more AIDS-related deaths in our communities.

And there is a cruel irony here: Many of our people are dying just as HIV treatment reaches new heights. Today’s medications mean HIV can be successfully treated over the long term with just 1 or 2 pills a day. This is amazing progress compared to just a decade ago, when treatment was difficult to take and involved lots of pills. But because we’re not getting tested for HIV early and often, many of our brothers and sisters are missing out on these advances.

Behind all of this is the ongoing challenge of HIV stigma. Too many people are still too scared to take the test for fear of how others may react to a positive diagnosis. And too many people are discouraged by damaging misinformation and myths in our community about HIV. But times have changed. Today, the stigma Black America really needs to be concerned about is the shame of not getting tested, and thereby not doing what it takes to end the AIDS epidemic in our communities. It is time for each one of us to take responsibility for the health – and the future – of our community.

The Institute is taking action in a campaign called “Test One Million” which hopes to:

  • Reduce HIV rates in Black America,
  • Dramatically increase the number of Black people who know their HIV status,
  • Build an army of Black testing and treatment advocates,
  • Increase the number of Black people seeking early treatment and care, and
  • Decrease HIV stigma in Black communities.

The problem is multi-faceted and so will the ability to fix it. The Institute rails against the Bush Administration for providing development aid targeting HIV/AIDS to countries that have a lower prevelance rate than the black community. I think part of this stems from the fact that money has been invested in those countries for awhile now and have done marvelous good. In the same NY Times article a UN report is quoted as saying that the overall mortality rates from HIV/AIDS has decreased since its peak in the early 1980’s.

I think the black community has the right to be upset about this issue. In my opinion it is more of a systematic racism but it is also a big cultural issue. I don’t believe they should rely solely on government aid – this is America – we need to do some work too. But as the culture is being transformed through superstars like Oprah and even Obama (both were tested for HIV publicly) we as a citizenry and government need to make sure the resources are there to support the change. One of the main reasons anti-retrovirals, the drugs that can slow HIV/AIDS down, are available internationally at an affordable rate is because many are subsidized. Actually there are some of the drugs that are being sold internationally on the market as generics due to emergency clauses in patent laws – which will never be seen in the US.

Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation have been very active in the process of helping combat the issue of HIV/AIDS around the world and was actually a big reason for subsidies and getting the drugs sent at discount prices. On August 5, he announced that his foundation will now include doing work in the United States around this issue. He didn’t provide many specifics to his plan but simply said:

“For Americans, this should be a wake-up call,” Clinton said, addressing the International AIDS Conference here. “Even as we fight the epidemic globally, we must focus at home. And I intend to do so with my foundation.”

If you are still reading and not completely overwhelmed you can tell this is a very complex issue and one that you and I probably can’t do much about. We can continue to be aware of the problem and the issue. At some point we will need to step up and say we want the government to take action and help rid the country of this virus.

What do you think? Do you see a better/easier solution?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]