Increase Peace Corps and International Volunteers!

Lately, I’ve been reading articles and policy briefs arguing the need to increase the number of American volunteers abroad. The argument is basically that volunteers serve a more important role in establishing peace and stability, as well as promoting a positive image of Americans, than the military does with weapons. Additional benefits to volunteering include increased volunteer connections and participation in the community, knowledge of local community challenges and personal growth through strengthened habits of citizenship and service. I am in complete agreement with the authors of these documents because, from my experience, the Peace Corps was a great tool to allow Armenians to understand the altruistic side of Americans, and for me to understand the humanitarian and hospitable side of the Armenians. I am more aware of the community I live in and, when graduate school allows, offer my services to community causes.

Today, we continue with human suffering based on intolerance and misunderstandings. We see images on television or internet displaying the worst acts of human aggression because we choose to remain ignorant, and steadfast in our irrational ideologies rather than listening and trying to understand the differences that make each of us unique. Volunteering your time abroad, even if for a short period, can make a difference in your life and the lives of the host nationals in which you encounter. I would encourage you to read the following articles that offer policy recommendations for Congress to support funding that will expand the number of Peace Corps volunteers, and develop a Global Service Fellowships Program that supports a wide array of non-government organizations, faith-based entities, corporations, and universities seeking to put more American volunteers abroad in the name of global peace and stability.

Young and old, we all have something to contribute to a more stable and peaceful world! Contact your congressman today and ask them to support increased funding for international volunteer programs.

Great power and great wealth do not necessarily produce greater respect or greater security… [An] effective foreign policy in the age of global politics must combine power and cooperation.

–Daalder and Lindsay in Agenda for the Nation

Putnam privileges primary interpersonal ties above all other forms of social and political activity, because he believes such interactions uniquely foster trust and cooperation. The more face-to-face group interaction a nation has, the healthier its people and the more efficient its government and economy will be.

–Skocpol in Diminished Democracy


I received on a listserve I am part of at the university. There are great tips listed here that I am glad to see Laura and I have been practicing for years. Not only do you help contribute to reducing the effects of global warming, but you save money. Taking care of the environment makes economic sense.


Please unplug all plugs from outlets while you are gone for the holidays. Save energy while you’re gone!


Did you know that many appliances continue to draw a small amount of power when they are switched off. These “phantom” loads occur in most appliances that use electricity, such as VCRs, televisions, stereos, computers, and kitchen appliances. In the average home (and office), 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. This can be avoided by unplugging the appliance or using a power strip and using the switch on the power strips.

Nationally Phantom loads make up about 6% of our entire residential electricity consumption! A decrease of 1% of industrial energy use would save the equivalent of about 5.5 million barrels of oil per year, worth about $1 billion. (UC Berkeley)

Unplugging your electronics when not in use, or using a power strip to shut them down, can eliminate as much as 500 pounds of greenhouse gases each year and trim your electric bill, and that’s just for one power strip! (Seattle Power and Light) =============================================================


  • Surge protectors
  • Printers and photocopies
  • Computers
  • Office Equipment
  • Stereos, lamps
  • Space Heaters
  • Micro-waves/coffee pots, rechargeable items unplugged
  • Thermostats set back to 55 degrees
  • Hallway lighting kept to minimum
  • Windows tightly closed and locked
  • Blinds drawn/closed
  • Lighting and computer monitors and cpu’s off when unoccupied
  • Personal refrigerators emptied, cleaned, shut off and left open

Have a safe and pleasant holiday!

Dick is right!

Dick said it himself. I wonder what changed between what he said in 1994 and the invasion in 2003? The outcome is still the same.  I guess this time around, Dick and the others feel that Saddam is worth a much higher number in American casualties.

Did we forget how to question?

A couple weeks ago, I received the following unsolicited email. Usually I delete this emails because, well, they are junk mail. The subject heading was “who is saying the holocast did not happen?” It was forwarded to me which means this must have been really important to the sender. I opened it and read the following…(All subject and email spellings are as I received them).

another sign that then end times are nearing …

Subject: In Memorium
Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2007 09:42:00 +0000

Recently this week, the UK removed The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it “offended” the Moslem population which claims it never occurred. This is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving into it. It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended. This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated with the German and Russia peoples looking the other way! Now, more than ever, with Iran , among others, claiming the Holocaust to be “a myth,” it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets.

This e-mail is intended to reach 40 million people worldwide! Join us and be a link in the memorial chain and help us distribute it around the world. Please send this e-mail to 10 people you know and ask them to continue the memorial chain.

Please don’t delete, it will only take you a minute to pass this on.

Wow! I am sure news like this would have been in the New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, or the USA Today. Any word out there on it? I read the BBC website multiple times each day and never saw this headline. Of course, I could have missed it while sleeping so I thought I would do a little research.

With a key word search in Google and 2 minutes of my time, here is what I found at BBC. This email stated that the news occurred recently as “this week”, when in reality this was some chain email started last April. It also states the holocaust has already been removed from curriculum. False. Click here to read the report that this email is basing its claim on. Here is the Historical Association’s website, they wrote the report, and what they say about teaching historically controversial subjects. Anyways, the email is false and misinforming and ignorant people somehow believe this crap.

The point here is DO YOUR RESEARCH, and QUESTION, QUESTION ,QUESTION!!!! When individuals choose not to question, they forget to seek the truth in any manner. They begin to develop hatred based on lies, only slowing down humans ability to live in harmony. This email was a rather small matter and fairly easy to question. But, in the grander scheme of things, some important people forgot to question and now we have ourselves a little mess in Iraq.

I just watched the movie “Jesus Camp”. Talk about brainwashing the children. No questioning. Accept it all at face value. These adult evangelical extremists are as bad as any other extreme group out there. It is really sad when you have to create a lie so that others will hate with you.

How can any truth be sought without questioning?

Teddy Roosevelt had it right…why can’t all Americans?

For many Americans, it unpatriotic to speak out against the actions of America. It does a disservice to Americans when you criticize the actions of the President. I don’t understand the reasoning behind this logic. America sets itself apart from many countries because we have an opportunity for free speech. All Americans should support free speech, especially when we criticize the people who serve us! The President has to answer to us. This is our form of government. We currently have a President and Administration who say that polls don’t mean much, even when the polls show that a majority of the Americans oppose their policies and actions.



Theodore Roosevelt said it best in 1918.

“The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.”

“Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star”, May 7, 1918

We must continue to criticize and speak out against our government when it is deemed necessary. This is not a bipartisan issue.  Let’s take these words and continue the fight to make sure that the government continues to be of the people, by the people and for the people.