Archive for January, 2010


I DO NOT RECOMMEND GIVING TO THE RED CROSS.

I volunteered as an RN and also worked for Red Cross in the 1980’s. They are not that same organization since Elizabeth Dole became the first of several questionable ‘CEOs’ in the 1990’s. ARC DOES NOT ALWAYS USE THE MONEY COLLECTED FOR THE PURPOSE IT AS DONATED! ARC controversies ensued after 9/11, Hurricaine Katrina and after the SriLankin Tsunami. ARC has a much lower ranking with www.charitynavigator.org than many other worthy service groups and relief providers.

I did medical relief work in New Orleans just after the hurricaine…and the Red Cross was shameful in it’s hands off distancing from those in need. They even refused to give aid to Latino resident hurricane victims who didn’t have their ID’s. Gathering millions of dollars in donations, ARC sent trucks to the Common Ground Relief storage, attempting to take our donated supplies which we were distributing to areas in need that Red Cross wouldn’t even go to! Some Medical volunteers who came with the Red Cross defected to other groups due to frustration with the organization’s lack of genuine assistance to the disaster victims.

Read about these scandals /problems if you are interested. Articles from the LA Times, NY Times, Wash Post, Toronto Star detailing ARC transgressions can be found at www.commondreams.org . search.

1. Partners In Health
888 Commonwealth Avenue
3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02215
tel: (617) 432-5298
fax: (617) 432-5300
EIN: 04-3567502
Mail donations to:
P.O. Box 845578
Boston, MA 02284

RANK 66.98 ****

MEDICAL care. Dr. Paul Farmer and Tracy Kidder longtime Haiti advocates recommend this group. They have operated in Haiti for 20 years.
Mission

Founded in 1987, Partners In Health’s (PIH) mission is to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care. The work of PIH has three goals: to care for our patients, to alleviate the root causes of disease in their communities, and to share lessons learned around the world. Through long-term partnerships with our sister organizations, we bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need and work to alleviate the crushing economic and social burdens of poverty that exacerbate disease. PIH believes that health is a fundamental right, not a privilege. PIH works in Haiti, Rwanda, Peru, Russia, USA, Malawi and Lesotho, and supports projects in Mexico and Guatemala.

2. Doctors Without Borders, USA
333 Seventh Avenue
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10001
tel: (888) 392-0392
fax: (212) 679-7016
EIN: 13-3433452

RANK 61.22 ****
Providing trauma and surgical care.

Mission

Doctors Without Borders, USA (DWB-USA) was founded in 1990 in New York City to raise funds, create awareness, recruit field staff, and advocate with the United Nations and US government on humanitarian concerns. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization that provides aid in nearly 60 countries to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters. In 2007, MSF-USA raised $152.1 million and sent 200 aid workers to work overseas.

Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Haiti Earthquake Response – Doctors Without Borders
donate.doctorswithoutborders.org
Your gift today will immediately support emergency medical care for the men, women, and children affected by the earthquake in Haiti. Please give as generously as you can to our Haiti Earthquake Response and help us save lives.

3. Operation USA

Disaster relief & development since 1979

International : Humanitarian Relief Supplies

Operation USA
3617 Hayden Avenue
Suite A
Culver City, CA 90232
tel: (800) 678-7255
fax: (310) 838-3477
EIN: 95-3504080

RANK 68.30 ****

Mission

Founded in 1979, Operation USA helps communities alleviate the effects of disasters, disease and endemic poverty throughout the world by providing privately-funded relief, reconstruction and development aid. We provide material and financial assistance to grassroots organizations that promote sustainable development, leadership and capacity building, income generating activities, provide education and health services, and advocate on behalf of vulnerable people. Operation USA rapidly and expertly provides on-the-ground aid by sending vital life-saving supplies and cash grants to assist communities in rebuilding. Partnering with grassroots organizations, Operation USA specializes in reaching vulnerable populations who are in the greatest need, yet who are often ignored by governments and larger aid organizations.

4. Oxfam America
226 Causeway Street
5th Floor
Boston, MA 02114
tel: (800) 776-9326
fax: (617) 728-2594
EIN: 23-7069110

RANK 63 ****

Oxfam assigned to lead aid groups on water and sanitation Update: During the next two weeks, Oxfam will coordinate international aid groups on the ground in Haiti in the delivery of emergency water and sanitation services. Water is the most critical need in a country where this week’s earthquake left at least 250,000 people homeless.

5. United States Fund for UNICEF
125 Maiden Lane
New York, NY 10038
tel: (800) 367-5437
fax: (212) 779-1679
EIN: 13-1760110

RANK 61.55 ****

Mission

The United States Fund for UNICEF was founded in 1947 to support the work of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) by raising funds for its programs and increasing awareness of the challenges facing the world’s children. The oldest of 37 national committees for UNICEF worldwide, we are part of a global effort to save, protect and improve children’s lives. Every moment of every day, UNICEF is on the ground providing lifesaving help for children in need. We provide families with clean water and sanitation, we vaccinate against childhood illness, and we help protect children against malaria. We provide nourishment to fight malnutrition, and we care for children affected by AIDS. We protect children from abuse, and we give them an education. We are here to make sure that all children lead a healthy, humane, and dignified life.

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I received the following information in an email from the ANSWER coalition:

Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive stated today that as many as 100,000 Haitians may be dead. International media is reporting bodies being piled along streets surrounded by the rubble from thousands of collapsed buildings. Estimates of the economic damage are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Haiti’s large shantytown population was particularly hard hit by the tragedy.

As CNN, ABC and every other major corporate media outlet will be quick to point out, Haiti is the poorest country in the entire Western hemisphere. But not a single word is uttered as to why Haiti is poor. Poverty, unlike earthquakes, is no natural disaster.

The answer lies in more than two centuries of U.S. hostility to the island nation, whose hard-won independence from the French was only the beginning of its struggle for liberation.

In 1804, what had begun as a slave uprising more than a decade earlier culminated in freedom from the grips of French colonialism, making Haiti the first Latin American colony to win its independence and the world’s first Black republic. Prior to the victory of the Haitian people, George Washington and then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson had supported France out of fear that Haiti would inspire uprisings among the U.S. slave population. The U.S. slave-owning aristocracy was horrified at Haiti’s newly earned freedom.

U.S. interference became an integral part of Haitian history, culminating in a direct military occupation from 1915 to 1934. Through economic and military intervention, Haiti was subjugated as U.S. capital developed a railroad and acquired plantations. In a gesture of colonial arrogance, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was the assistant secretary of the Navy at the time, drafted a constitution for Haiti which, among other things, allowed foreigners to own land. U.S. officials would later find an accommodation with the dictator François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, and then his son Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, as Haiti suffered under their brutal repressive policies.

In the 1980s and 1990s, U.S. policy toward Haiti sought the reorganization of the Haitian economy to better serve the interests of foreign capital. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) was instrumental in shifting Haitian agriculture away from grain production, paving the way for dependence on food imports. Ruined Haitian farmers flocked to the cities in search of a livelihood, resulting in the swelling of the precarious shantytowns found in Port-au-Prince and other urban centers.

Who has benefited from these policies? U.S. food producers profited from increased exports to Haitian markets. Foreign corporations that had set up shop in Haitian cities benefitted from the super-exploitation of cheap labor flowing from the countryside. But for the people of Haiti, there was only greater misery and destitution.

Washington orchestrated the overthrow of the democratically elected Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide—not once, but twice, in 1991 and 2004. Haiti has been under a U.S.-backed U.N. occupation for nearly six years. Aristide did not earn the animosity of U.S. leaders for his moderate reforms; he earned it when he garnered support among Haiti’s poor, which crystallized into a mass popular movement. Two hundred years on, U.S. officials are still horrified by the prospect of a truly independent Haiti.

The unstable, makeshift dwellings imposed upon Haitians by Washington’s neoliberal policies have now, for many, been turned into graves. Those same policies are to blame for the lack of hospitals, ambulances, fire trucks, rescue equipment, food and medicine. The blow dealt by such a natural disaster to an economy made so fragile from decades of plundering will greatly magnify the suffering of the Haitian people.

Natural disasters are inevitable, but resource allocation and planning can play a decisive role in mitigating their impact and dealing with the aftermath. Haiti and neighboring Cuba, who are no strangers to violent tropical storms, were both hit hard in 2008 by a series of hurricanes—which, unlike earthquakes, are predictable. While more than 800 lives were lost in Haiti, less than 10 people died in Cuba. Unlike Haiti, Cuba had a coordinated evacuation plan and post-hurricane rescue efforts that were centrally planned by the Cuban government. This was only possible because Cuban society is not organized according to the needs of foreign capital, but rather according to the needs of the Cuban people.

In a televised speech earlier today, President Obama has announced that USAID and the Departments of State and Defense will be working to support the rescue and relief efforts in Haiti in the coming days. Ironically, these are the same government entities responsible for the implementation of the economic and military policies that reduced Haiti to ruins even before the earthquake hit.

On March 20, thousands of people will march in Los Angeles to to oppose the wars and occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. Tens of thousands more will march in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco at the same time. We will also demand an end the foreign occupation of Haiti and reparations to Haiti for the vast wealth that has been looted from the country by foreign imperialist countries.

Alexandra Fulton

Alexandra Fulton on the set of Eight-ish, my first festival submitted film.

I had a thought after listening to Tim Westergen on The Workbook Project talk about Pandora Radio and The Music Genome Project , and how that should be applied to films. Many filmmakers are frustrated with the rejections they get from film festivals. Arin Crumley and Susan Buice really shed a lot of light on this process with Four Eyed Monsters and the accompanying vlogs where they talk about the festival and marketing processes they went through. So add 2+2 and what you get is this: a gnome film festival.

If you’re not familiar with Genome, listen to Tim on the Workbook Project’s This Conference is being Recorded archives. The Genome project categories music, one track at a time into about 400 attributes with ratings in each one (as I understand it). As Tim says, this translates into a truly democratic form of music promotion based on these categories and based on comparing the music that a listener wants to hear with other music that has the same characteristics.

So there would really be no direct all encompassing human judgment factor on rating an entire film. It’s more on these individual traits. In film you could have categories like acting, actor, directing, director, photography, DP, genre, running time, locations, production company, on and on.

This makes so much sense for film festivals where fairness really is an important issue and one that is now clearly forsaken over branding, theme, diversity and other marketing factors that really are what drive film festivals.

Of course the Genoming [sic] of thousands of films submitted to festivals would be a monumental undertaking. So I think it would have to be something of a universal service for all festivals (like Withoutabox, which in fact already does this on a very small scale of non-merit factors), where you have a company categorize films and then you’d have festivals look at that database and select what they want. But again you could end up with festivals choosing films based more on marketing factors than quality or originality or other more merit type factors, and you’d also have to deal with devising a good objective way to rate acting, writing, directing and artist type performance.

Perhaps there could be a new wave of festivals that would choose film solely on the merit and quality categories, or at least those could be the primary factors with marketing playing a secondary role.

Another important point here is that filmmakers need and even crave objective feedback. This would give them that feedback and could even serve as a marketing information database for the entire industry. Filmmakers, studios, distributors and anyone involved with film production or distribution should be willing to pay at least something for such a service.

I’m both a filmmaker and an experienced data-driven software project developer and I think his would be really not a big deal to make happen. But it would cost. It would take a lot of labor to categorize films, and ongoing labor to maintain it; plus coming up with categorization strategies would also be a major hurdle. But probably Tim and the Gnome Project could help out with some insight on that.