Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Whole 'Nother Kind of 'Lection

Below are Statements from the Candidates for elected positions in WSSW Student Government.

Ballots will be distributed in Practice Classes Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Deadline for submitting your ballots is Wednesday, November 8, one day after those other elections you may have heard about.

Vote early, vote often.

Vice President Concurrent
Sherri Panikoff, First Year Concurrent Student

Hello Student Body,
I hope this school year is going well for you so far. As a candidate for Concurrent Student Vice President, I would like to assist in making your year even better. Having been a member of student government last year as well, I am very integrated into the Wurzweiler Community. I am able to work as an intermediary between you and the faculty to get your ideas and needs across. Last year I assisted in producing a large scale event on Human Trafficking. I look forward to advocating for the social issues most important to you this year by contributing to the production of more of these types of events. I am close with and work well with the Concurrent President, Grant Silverstein, and look forward to collaborating with him, the other members of the student government, and the staff to enhance your year and Wurzweiler experience.

Committee Interests: Graduation Ceremonial Committee and the Academic Issues Committee.

Vice President Concurrent
Rebecca Leibowitz, First Year Concurrent Student

My leadership experience comes from the variety of leadership positions that I held, most recently I was the student president of Rutgers Hillel. As our membership tripled, my leadership experience enabled me to develop my skill set as a group leader, activist, facilitator, and moderator. I dealt with a number of social issues on a leadership level, applying the skills necessary to create a positive and healthy working environment for the student board and Jewish community of 5,000 students. I developed a number of skills through my involvement in student organizational life including the ability to communicate effectively, to be objective in my decision making, to be empathic and to develop the interpersonal skills necessary to work with students, professionals, and faculty as well.

I strongly believe that the Wurzweiler Student Government is the mouthpiece of the student body. If elected, I plan to do everything in my power to maximize the student experience here in every way that I can. On a micro level, considering the Student government, I have experience writing organizational constitutions, and welcome this challenge, though it should be a process that involves the entire student body. Clearly stating our goals and objectives will increase the SGA’s ability to better serve the student body and I will work to ensure that your voices are heard. A serious assessment of what we have, what we can offer, and finding more opportunities and benefits for students to be educated and enlightened within the realm of social work and social action outside of the classroom is essential!

Anita Kahan, Second Year Concurrent Student

I have a vast amount of knowledge and experience gained from my positions in Jewish agencies such as Camp Director of the YM-YWHA in Clifton, Judaic Educator at the JCC on the Palisades, and the Director of Early Childhood. I have created innovative programs chaired and sat on many committees and boards throughout my career. In addition, I have worked as a professional in the field of higher education.

I had the opportunity to be elected as the treasurer during the 2005-6 academic year at Wurzweiler. This integral position on student government allowed me to use my knowledge and skills to bring about positive change within the school setting. All these experiences have given me a solid foundation to help build and enhance the student environment at Wurzweiler School of Social Work and look forward to continuing in this role during the 2006-7 academic year.

Committee Interests: Graduation Ceremonial Committee and the Academic Issues Committee

Robin White, First Year PEP student

I feel that I am qualified for the position on treasurer because I have experience in this field from high school. Even though this was a long time ago, I wanted to get involved in student government, but the college of New Rochelle at DC37 had no student government. I tried very hard to get one started. I also had experiences as treasurer in high school on many of the Theodore Roosevelt fund raisers. I would like to fundraise for guest speakers to give lectures here, and for may other activities.

As a member of the student government, I hope to help bring unification to the students at this university. One thing I would like to do is have a social event that includes the students, faculty, staff and other employees here so we can get to know one another and establish better communications between us.

Committee Interests: Lunch and learn committee, the academic issues committee and the social action/social justice committee.

Erica Lebowitz, First year PEP student

Almethia Middleton, Second year PEP student

Committee Interest: Graduation Ceremonial Committee and the Yearbook committee.

Member at Large
Erik Volper, First Year Concurrent student

There are three main reasons why I believe that I am qualified for the position of Member at Large of the Student Government Association at Wurzweiler: Leadership experience, relationships with students and faculty, and commitment to academic excellence. As an undergraduate I was a member of the student council and I was responsible for coordinating and planning activities for the entire student body. My commitment to academic excellence stems from the belief that knowledge and ethics inform skills in social work practice, therefore coursework is extremely important, and finally, I have built and maintained excellent relationships with students and with faculty, which I feel is important in order to meaningfully work together to identify and work on issues that impact students at Wurzweiler. Together, these experiences have given me the necessary background to be a committed, knowledgeable and effective member of student government.

I would like to work on reducing the feeling expressed by many students of being alienated from the larger University community. For this reason, I would like to see more events and activities scheduled at times when more students are available. I would also like to see students have an opportunity to give feedback and have more input into the material covered in some of the courses, and perhaps into the kinds of electives that are taught. Finally, I believe that many of the students have strong opinions and valuable ideas about how to further improve our school, but they believe that they do not have a forum to voice their views.

Member at Large
Isabel M Adon, First year PEP student

I have previously worked with Social Action and Social Justice Committees. I have been on the executive board of other organizations and I am committee to social change. I hope to be able to be a voice for students that are not in the school during the day. I wish to be able to represent their concerns and to bring back information that can support their experience while here at Wurzweiler.

Committee interests: Social Action/Social Justice Committee.

Member at Large
Demecia Woolen Irizary, Second Year PEP student

I have held many positions in the community and was the former chief of staff of a United States member of Congress. I would like to bring my interest in community practice to the academic setting.

Committee Interests: Academic Issues Committee.

Member at Large
Belkys Ventura, Second Year PEP student

I would like to assist the new students that come to YU and hopefully create more opportunities for second year students. I am willing and able to make a change.

Committee interests: Academic issues committee and on the Social Action/ Social Justice Committee

Member at Large
Sherry Pang, Second year PEP student

Committee interests: Graduation Ceremonial Committee and the yearbook committee

Member at Large
Mirko Kunstek, First Year Concurrent Student

Committee interests: Social Action/Social Justice Committee.

Member at Large
Jose Delgado, Second Year PEP student

Committee interests: Academic Issues Committee.

Member at Large
Cherece Simmons, First year PEP student

Committee interests: Graduation Ceremonial Committee, Social Action/Social Justice committee and the Yearbook committee.

Member at Large
Samuel Williams, Second Year PEP student

Committee interests: Social Action/Social Justice committee

Friday, October 27, 2006

One way

to do more than just vote (November 7, btw):

Community Voices Heard is deep into the third year of our Voter Power
Project - our effort to engage low-income people of color deeper into
the political process, using voting as an entry-point for involving
people in our ongoing organizing work. We're actively building a base
of low-income voters in order to show the politicians that we mean
business and that we want our issues addressed.

This electoral cycle we've been having personal conversations with folks
at their homes in East Harlem, Central Harlem, the South Bronx, and
Yonkers (CVH is moving into Westchester County!). As we near the end of
this month, we'll have a list of nearly 5,000 newly met low-income
voters...and then we'll need to recontact them before the election. For
this, we're looking for your help :)

We're planning on operating a phone bank every night from October 30th
through the election and we need volunteers to sign up for slots to help
us's a lot of calls to do on our own.


We're looking for folks to help us out during the following times:

1 - Monday, October 30th from 5:30/6PM - 9:30PM
2 - Tuesday, October 31st from 5:30/6PM - 9:30PM
3 - Wednesday, November 1st from 5:30/6PM - 9:30PM
4 - Thursday, November 2nd from 5:30/6PM - 9:30PM
5 - Saturday, November 4th from 10AM - 2PM
6 - Sunday, November 5th from 5:30/6PM - 9:30PM
7 - Monday, November 6th from 5:30/6PM - 9:30PM

We'll be operating phone banks out of our East Harlem office and another
site downtown. Please consider 1 or 2 nights that you can volunteer and
send me an email with the time slot and your location preference(uptown
or downtown). [We promise to train you well before having you hit the

In solidarity,

NOTE! CVH's electoral project is a non-partisan effort focused on
holding candidates and elected officials accountable to low-income
communities, not on getting anyone in particular elected.
Sondra Youdelman
Acting Director
Community Voices Heard
170 East 116th Street, #1E
New York, NY 10029

Tel 212-860-6001 x 108
Fax 212-996-9481

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sunday, October 22, 2006

"A blank check drawn against our freedom"

For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering: A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.


Fear itself

Friday, October 20, 2006

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Listen to this interview with one of the authors of the peer reviewed Lancet study of the number of dead Iraqi civilians.

Then read this article by Paul Craig Roberts. He asks:
When does "collateral damage" so dwarf combatant deaths that war becomes genocide?

Yes, he's being intentionally provocative. But it seems to me a fair question.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wellstone! The Movie

Excerpts from the documentary here.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Cutting Edge

This is extraordinary, and technology I've never seen before. How to volunteer for a campaign without having to leave your chair (though I can't tell you anything about this particular candidate, except that he's got really good outreach and tech folks on staff). Expect to see a lot of this in the future, I would guess. . . .

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sunday, October 08, 2006

World Food Day

October 16. Link here. And here. And here.

Friday, October 06, 2006


Upcoming Events: Double Duty:Solutions to the Work/Family Dilemma

A talk with Ann Crittenden, award-winning journalist and lecturer, and author of The Price of Motherhood

Wednesday, October 11, 2006, 10am to noon
Lang Student & Community Center, Arnhold Hall, 2nd floor
55 West 13th Street (between 5th and 6th avenues)

Parents who combine the uncompensated work of childcare with paid employment have two jobs, yet workplaces and government have done little to accommodate their dual roles. Why is domestic work unpaid? How does the U.S. compare to other countries in terms of work/family policy? How are women across the economic spectrum—especially single mothers—affected by the American approach? And how can it be changed?

Ann Crittenden, award-winning journalist and lecturer, and author of The Price of Motherhood

featuring presentations by

  • Janet Gornick, Professor of Sociology and Political Science, City University of New York, and author of Families That Work: Policies for Reconciling Parenthood and Employment
  • a representative of Domestic Workers United


Admission is free, but you must RSVP. Call 212.229.5418 or email

Supported by the Milano Foundation

A common experience

From the Times, via The Lancet and the WHO:

"In interviews with nearly 25,000 women at 15 sites in 10 countries, researchers from the World Health Organization found that rates of partner violence ranged from a low of 15 percent in Yokohama, Japan, to a high of 71 percent in rural Ethiopia.

At six of the sites, at least 50 percent of women said that they had been subjected to moderate or severe violence in the home at some point. At 13 sites, more than a quarter of all women said they had suffered such violence in the past year.

“Violence by an intimate partner is a common experience worldwide,” the authors wrote of the findings, which are being published today in The Lancet, a medical journal in London. “In all but one setting, women were at far greater risk of physical or sexual violence by a partner than from violence by other people.”

The report says that rural areas tend to have higher rates of abuse than cities. But no area was immune.

While researchers and women’s groups have long known that domestic violence was widespread — and other, smaller surveys have supported that notion — the W.H.O. study adds an important dimension to the topic because it provides an unusual amount of quantitative, scientific data on the subject. . . "

Thursday, October 05, 2006

On Foley

From one psychotherapist:

. . . while Hastert et al. are not legally mandated to report child sexual abuse, that they could know--or reasonably suspect such an egregious violation was happening in their place of work--and not take steps to protect the victims is remarkable. That they didn't feel a moral mandate their consciences wouldn't allow them to ignore and impel them to intervene speaks volumes about their priorities and their motivations, as well as their fears.

Were I the parent or a loved one of one the pages, I would feel outraged and betrayed. Being a citizen who demands that my leaders step into their humanity and beyond self-interested politics when an issue as serious as this begs for it, I feel outraged and betrayed, yet not surprised. And, I'd be writing these same words were it a Democrat who allegedly perpetrated this abuse. Our children's safety and well-being are not the stuff of a political match. Ever.

Let's get some child abuse facts straight.

Child sexual abuse (and sexual abuse in general) usually has nothing to do with sex, but with power and control.

Child sexual abuse takes many forms and is not just about touch and penetration. You don't have to be in the same room with a child to sexually abuse him or her. Whether it is cyber, verbal or physical, it's serious and should be taken seriously. You can't possibly pretend to know how an email exchange from an older, more powerful adult will impact each kid.

Adolescents, even if on the cusp of stepping into their sexual selves or if already there, can be profoundly psychologically impacted by sexual abuse. Same with adults.

Child sexual abuse cuts across all strata of the population.

Having said that, studies show that men sexually abuse children more then women and most child sexual abuse is perpetrated by straight, not gay, men.

The majority of child sexual abuse happens not by the stranger on the street your mother tells you not to talk to, but by someone you know--a trusted family member, a neighbor, a congressman down the hall.

"No one left to supervise"

Colbert on the NLRB

From Case to Cause: I

How does public policy -- so far away, so abstract, so dry, so dull -- affect you and your clients? Does it really matter? Why should you bother with this -- you want to serve clients, not write policy papers for some think tank, right?

But perhaps understanding how the individual client sitting before you fits in with the larger policy world can actually improve your ability to serve that client, to negotiate bureacracies for them, and to even work toward making your voice heard with policy-makers so that future cleints will fare better.

With that in mind, take a listen to this two-parter from National Public Radio.

A reminder

to the Social Action Committee. We agreed that between now and our next meeting we'd all check into the site at least twice a week and post a comment, or a comment to a comment; at least once a week pass on something to CrankyDoc that might be appropriate for posting; and to review the topics and links on the right-hand column and forward suggestions to C-Doc. Think of the fun! No, seriously, think of it. Are you thinking of it? That's better.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

And presto!

The unionized workforce grows smaller. From The Washington Monthly:
In a move that surprised exactly no one, the NLRB voted along party lines yesterday to reclassify 8 million workers as "supervisors" who will no longer have any protection under U.S. labor laws.
This is no change in policy for the National Labor Relations Board, established with the New Deal's NLRA, but another in a series of decisions that continue to erode the power of workers and unions.

For some of the best data and analysis around on the topics of working Americans, check out The State of Working America, an annual or bi-annual volume that is, for geeks like me, required (and eagerly anticipated) reading. Pre-order the 2006-07 edition now!

Weighing outrage

From Reason Magazine, no bastion of wild-eyed radicalism. . . . . .

In a meadow near Windsor one fine day in 1215, King John, under pressure from disgruntled nobles, affixed his royal seal to the Magna Carta, clause 39 of which provided:
No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or outlawed or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go or send against him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.
The War on Terror is often framed as a clash between western champions of modernity and the medieval mindset of Salafis. Yet these days our own commitment to even medieval guarantees of due process often seems, at best, half-hearted.

At best. There's more, and it's a good synthesis of some of the key legal issues.

But: Not to diminish (now former-) Congressman Foley's actions (abuse? sexual harrassment? exploitation? what do we call it? and why are there no genuine social worker-type experts on abuse and abusers on TV discussing this?), but it is fascinating, if perhaps not surprising, to weigh the public and elite outrage and outcry over Foley against the (relative) quiescence about the virtual repeal of habeas and the continued extention of (unprecedented?) power to the Executive. Curious, no?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Registered to Vote?

Here's an easy way.

Race vs. Class?

Economist-blogger Brad DeLong:

Teaching California Teenagers About Ramadan

A week or two ago, in preparation for the virtual drinking party at the Valve next week, I was thinking about this paragraph from Walter Benn Michaels's The Trouble with Diversity:

American Prospect Online - The Trouble With Diversity: So with respect to race, the idea is not just that racism is a bad thing (which of course it is) but that race itself is a good thing. And what makes it a good thing is that it's not class. We love race -- we love identity -- because we don't love class. We love thinking that the differences that divide us are not the differences between those of us who have money and those who don't but are instead the differences between those of us who are black and those who are white or Asian or Latino or whatever. A world where some of us don't have enough money is a world where the differences between us present a problem: the need to get rid of inequality or to justify it. A world where some of us are black and some of us are white -- or bi-racial or Native American or transgendered -- is a world where the differences between us present a solution: appreciating our diversity. So we like to talk about the differences we can appreciate, and we don't like to talk about the ones we can't...

At that moment the Daily Bulletin from the sixteen-year-old's high school hit my inbox. It said, in part:

RAMADAN & YOM KIPPUR: Leadership is very interested in helping the students celebrate and/or observe the religious holidays of Yom Kippur and Ramadan. If you observe either of these and are interested, please stop by B-1 sometime and let Mr. Petrocco know. The hope is to set up some displays in the library. Be aware in the future the Leadership Class will be displaying other religious holiday materials as the holidays occur...

Now normally--in my usual mind--I am an enthusiastic supporter of what I take to be Walter Benn Michaels's central point: that we have collectively gotten ourselves off balance because we are responding to the fact that celebrating diversity is easy and doing something about upward mobility and the intergenerational reproduction of economic and social inequality is hard.

When I am in my usual mind I grumble that the $400,000 a year that we at Berkeley are about to start spending on an Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity would be better spent hiring ten full-time outreach coordinators and on-campus tutors to make the idea of equality of opportunity less of a joke, and to make the population that does attend Berkeley a little bit more like the population that could benefit from attending Berkeley--if only things had broken right for them before they reached college age.

But I must be outside my usual mind. Because my reaction right now is that we love identity not just because we don't like to think about economic and social class, but because loving identity is a genuinely good thing in a diverse world, especially for America and Americans if we are to become who we are.

Some of us are rich and some of us are poor. Some of us send our children to high schools where they will take two years of calculus. Some of us send our children to high schools where they will still be shaky on their multiplication tables when they leave. Some of us send our children to high schools where they teach five sections of AP European History to tenth graders. Some of us send our children to high schools where they don't. And as a card-carrying child of Adam Smith and company, I think that is the most important polarizing dimension in America today.

But it is also true that some of us are black and some of us are white; some of us are Muslim and some of us are Mormon; some of us have grandparents who speak Spanish and some of us have grandparents who speak Cantonese. These dimensions of difference are important also, perhaps especially so because we as a nation are pretty good at dealing with them.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

This sounds about right

From TIME:
Sunday, Oct. 1, 2006
Campaign 2006: The Republicans' Secret Weapon
You think the GOP is sure to lose big in November? They aren't. Here's why things don't look so bad to them

The polls keep suggesting that Republicans could be in for a historic drubbing. And their usual advantage—competence on national security—is constantly being challenged by new revelations about bungling in Iraq. But top Republican officials maintain an eerie, Zen-like calm. They insist that the prospects for their congressional candidates in November's midterms have never been as bad as advertised and are getting better by the day. Those are party operatives and political savants whose job it is to anticipate trouble. But much of the time they seem so placid, you wonder whether they know something.

They do. What they know is that just six days after George W. Bush won re-election in 2004, his political machine launched a sophisticated, expensive and largely unnoticed campaign aimed at maintaining G.O.P. majorities in the House and Senate. If that campaign succeeds, it would defy history and political gravity, both of which ordain that midterm elections are bad news for a lame-duck President's party, especially when the lame duck has low approval ratings. As always, a key part of the campaign involves money—the national Republican Party is dumping at least three times as much into key states as its Democratic counterpart is—but money is only the start. "Panic results when you're surprised," says Republican National Committee (r.n.c.) chairman Ken Mehlman. "We've been preparing for the toughest election in at least a decade."

Thanks to aggressive redistricting in the 1990s and early 2000s, fewer than three dozen House seats are seriously in contention this election cycle, compared with more than 100 in 1994, the year Republicans swept to power with a 54-seat pickup in the House. Then there's what political pros call the ground game. For most of the 20th century, turning out voters on Election Day was the Democrats' strength. They had labor unions to supply workers for campaigns, make sure their voters had time off from their jobs to go to the polls and provide rides to get them there.

Now, though, Democrats are the ones playing catch-up when it comes to the mechanics of Election Day. Every Monday, uberstrategist Karl Rove and Republican Party officials on Capitol Hill get spreadsheets tallying the numbers of voters registered, volunteers recruited, doors knocked on and phone numbers dialed for 40 House campaigns and a dozen Senate races. Over the next few weeks, the party will begin flying experienced paid and volunteer workers into states for the final push. The Senate Republicans' campaign committee calls its agents special teams, led by marshals, all in the service of the partywide effort known as the 72-Hour Task Force because its working philosophy initially focused on the final three days before an election. . . .

There's more. Worth reading.