Art imitiating life

I am at a lost for words to describe how it feels to hear the decision of juries for the Mike Brown and Eric Garner cases. Hurt, anger, fear, shame, sadness, indifference and grief all at the same time. This is some traumatic kind of living.

“For his part, director Spike Lee took the video of the incident, which went viral, and intercut scenes of Radio Raheem’s death sequence in his seminal 1989 film, “Do The Right Thing,” essentially holding up a mirror to reality, emphasizing how much his art seemingly imitates (or maybe I should say, reflects) real life – still, some 25 years later, since that film’s releaseway.”

h/t Shadow and Act

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The Social Nonprofit: How to Gain More Support From Your Followers

I’m famous! The Chronicle of Philanthropy retweeted me and included my tweet (5th tweet from the bottom) in their Storify. Life is good!

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DIY modified toy cars to help children get around

A DIY solution to help make them the coolest kids on the playground. #LOVE

h/t Upworthy

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No New Years Resolutions

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Last year I made a lot of resolutions for this blog.

And, now that 2014 has arrived, I’m faced with the dilemma of making new resolutions or continuing to work on the ones I made last year. Some bloggers make it a requisite to make new years  resolutions. That’s what works for them. But I’ve realized that grandiose resolutions don’t work for me. Instead, I am better at assessing what worked, what could have been done better and then proceeding to make ongoing change.  In short, resolutions are too static and don’t allow for the dynamism of real life.

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Confronting Homelessness in New York City

New York Times photographer, Ruth Fremson’s, photo of Hada making a face in a stairwell.

I finally finished reading and watching, Invisible Child: Dasani’s Homeless Life. It is the largest multimedia investigative endeavor that the The New York Times has undertaken. So, I am wondering how much it cost to produce this bit of journalism?

Andrea Elliott did a superb job at capturing the complex life Dani and her family lead. For many parts of the article, as a reader I felt like I was right there with them. Despite, Elliott’s journalistic capabilities, the article was really difficult to read. The feelings it stirred inside left me haunted and disturbed for a few hours. Of course, it doesn’t compare to the suffering that Dani and her family endure, but nonetheless I am human and empathize with them.

Scratch that, the 5-part series left me with a deep pang of sadness inside.  If I can feel like this, how did the writer and photographer feel throughout the 15-month period of creating this piece?

Seeing a person in need moves me. Sometimes I feel anger. But, the more I evaluate what feelings this investigation aroused, I discover frustration and dose of annoyance. As Ruth Fremson, the staff photographer so eloquently wrote, “I wonder what it says about our society that in one of the wealthiest cities, in one of the wealthiest countries on earth, the city’s own sanctuary provides shredded, rotting mattresses for children.”

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A Nudge in the Right Direction

A few days ago, a colleague shared Katrin Bennhold’s NYTimes article, Britain’s Ministry of Nudges, with me. In it, Bennhold shows how Britain is using American behavioral science experiments to improve public policy, reduce unemployment, and increase tax revenue.

I laughed.

While I am thrilled about this reinvention of government services, the ethics of such experiments baffles me. Why does the world of academia always choose to experiment on the poor and unemployed without their consent? In this case, the experiments yield favorable results, but what if they did not? Who would be at fault – the scientist or the unsuspecting participant?

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Only 741 people enrolled in N.J.’s health insurance exchange?

Moral of the story: DIYNew Jersey’s federally run health insurance exchange only enrolled 741 people in the month of October according to an editorial in the Star-Ledger.

It’s disconcerting to see that New Jersey had the opportunity to create their own specific health exchange with $100 to $200 million from the federal government. The funding would have covered the creation of the marketplace and funded it through the first year.

So, I am patiently waiting to hear how the re-elected governor explains this terrible fumble to the people he built relationships with.

 

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Medicaid Accountable Care Organizations in NJ for the Win

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When I read Dan Goldberg’s article, New Jersey hospitals reach out to patients to reduce ER visits, I did a happy dance. In the midst of all the bad press that the Affordable Care Act implementation has been getting, this piece offers a glimmer of hope. It’s such a well-written article showing how doctors and hospital systems in New Jersey are really trying to address the cost issues in our sick care healthcare system. Not only are they sharing data, they’re providing better patient care AND saving money.

So, yes the Affordable Care Act is changing the system for the better.

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Well, of course walkable cities are better than the suburbs

Jeff Spek, tells us why designing a city for walkers rather than cars makes it a nicer place to live. We probably didn’t need a TED talk to tell us that, but Jeff uses data and pictures to explain it, so you should watch it anyway. Then, you might want to befriend your local city council and encourage them to adopt a complete streets policy.

 

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