The Common Good


Sojomail - August 24, 2001

                ****S O J O   M A I L****

           Promoting values at the crossroads where
           spirituality, politics, and culture meet

                 Brought to you by SojoNet
              Publisher of Sojourners magazine

++++++++++++++++++++ 24-August-2001 +++++++++++++++++++++

 Q u o t e   o f   t h e   W e e k
     *Jackie Robinson: hitting a home run in life

 B a t t e r i e s   N o t   I n c l u d e d
     *Back-to-school ruminations

 S o u l   W o r k s

 F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
     *Ed Spivey: To Grandmother's house we go

 B u i l d i n g   a   M o v e m e n t
     *Helping Palestinians at risk

 B y   t h e   N u m b e r s
     *Vehicles gone in seconds

 B i z   E t h i x
     *Compassion before profits in AIDS war

 B o o m e r a n g
     *SojoMail readers hit reply

 C u l t u r e   W a t c h
     *Pop culture quiz

 P. O. V.
     *Will you die in freedom?

 H e a r i n g   t h e   C a l l
     *Religious leaders speak out on immigration policy

 W o r d   o n   a   W i r e
     *Compassion rules

 W e b  S c e n e
     *Bicycle tour for humanity...and baseball
     *What in the heavens is going on in your neighborhood?
     *British politico disco
     *An eBay for useful things

Q u o t e  o f  t h e  W e e k

"A life is not important except in the impact
it has on other lives."

        Jackie Robinson, ex-Brooklyn Dodger who
        broke major league baseball's "color line"

Note: Jim Wallis' Hearts & Minds column will resume in September.


B a t t e r i e s   N o t   I n c l u d e d
Back-to-school ruminations

by David Batstone

My children head back to school this Monday
following a summer full of adventures. While they
aren't quite ready to focus on serious thoughts,
the moment has me all stirred up.

A strong democracy relies on its citizens to
make significant decisions in court rooms,
ballot booths, town hall meetings, army barracks,
and newsrooms. But most important of all, the
citizenry of a democracy must be sufficiently
informed to keep all powers, be they commercial,
legislative, or administrative, accountable to
the public trust. In his first inaugural address, 
Thomas Jefferson spoke:

"I know of no safe depository of the ultimate
powers of the society but the people themselves,
and if we think them not enlightened enough to
exercise their control with a wholesome
direction, the remedy is not to take it from them,
but to inform their discretion."

I am of the opinion that the United States can ill
afford to delay a radical reinvention of the
quality and delivery of its education for its
children and its workers. Since polemic can be
cheap, I offer three national proposals that are
by no means modest in scope:

1) Declare a war on ignorance, led by a commitment
to provide free quality education to all, regardless
of age or social class;

2) But how do you pay for the first proposal?
Reappropriate two-thirds of the national defense
budget to fight that war (the Cold War ended more than 
a decade ago, remember?)

3) Raise the salaries and prestige of teachers to
a level commensurate with skilled labor in other
information sectors of economy.

Let's face it, we put more faith in our weapons
to protect our democracy than we do an informed
and enlightened citizenry. Brings to mind a well-
worn adage: "A bayonet is useful for a lot of
things except for sitting."


S o u l   W o r k s

As the old man walked along the beach at
dawn, he noticed a young woman ahead of
him picking up starfish and flinging them
into the sea. Finally catching up with
the young woman, he asked her why she was
doing this. The answer was that the stranded
starfish would die if left until the morning.
"But the beach goes on for miles and there
are millions of starfish," countered the
other. "How can your effort make any
difference?" The young woman looked at the
starfish in her hand and then threw it to
safety in the waves. "It makes a difference
to this one," she said.

*Contributed by Pip Wilson of the Romford
YMCA in England


F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
To Grandmother's house we go

by Ed Spivey

Today, at age 95, Grandma has outlived two husbands,
numerous suitors, and every major appliance in her
house. And the only way she'll meet Jesus is if he
shows up at her nursing home with a deck of cards
and some pocket change he doesn't mind losing....

Grandma has lived in three nursing homes in the
last 10 years, each change prompted by management
who felt she'd "be much happier elsewhere." The
real reason, of course, is that other residents
don't appreciate the little "whoop whoop" sound
she makes every time she lays down her cards and
reminds them that they probably shouldn't have
skipped their naps that day.

To read more of Ed Spivey's visit to Grandma as
it appears in the July/August issue of Sojourners
magazine, go to:


B u i l d i n g   a   M o v e m e n t
Offering help to Palestinians at risk

Christian Aid - which unequivocally condemns
violence on all sides - calls for international
force to protect Palestinians as fears grow of an
Israeli invasion of occupied territories. "The
Israeli army has moved tanks, armoured vehicles, and
infantry into the settlement of Gilo, which
overlooks Beit Jala, near Bethlehem," said Nader
Abu Amsha, director of the Christian Aid-funded
YMCA Rehabilitation Centre in Beit Sahour. The
centre provides rehabilitation and counseling
for Palestinian children disabled and traumatised
by the conflict.

Christian Aid and its Palestinian partners are
therefore urgently calling for an international
protection force to be dispatched to the occupied
territories at once. Forty-two Palestinians have
been killed and more than 200 injured and 160
houses demolished since the so-called cease-
fire began. Amnesty International, Human Rights
Watch, and EU foreign ministers are also calling
for some form of international observers to
safeguard Palestinian civilians.

To speak to Christian Aid's Israel/Palestine
programme office in the U.K., contact Sue Turrell 
at (+44) 020-7523-2066 or, after hours, at 
(+44) 020-8556-6896. Or check out the Christian Aid
Web page at


Read the cover story of the September/October issue
of Sojourners magazine, "Against Impossible Odds,"
about an interfaith nonviolent movement taking
root in Palestine. Go to:



B y   t h e   N u m b e r s
Vehicles gone in seconds

80  Percentage of the top 20 most stolen vehicles in
    the U.S. in 1999 that were either Toyotas, Hondas,
    or Acuras.

1   Rank of the 1997 Ford F-150 4x2 pickup as the most
    stolen U.S.-made vehicle in history.

90  Percentage of all vehicles stolen in Texas in 1999
    that were pickup trucks.


B i z   E t h i x
Compassion before profits in AIDS war

by Matthew Yi
San Francisco Chronicle

On Feb. 6, Yusuf K. Hamied dropped a bombshell
on the prescription drug industry with the
announcement that his company, Cipla Ltd., would
offer a combination of three AIDS drugs at a
bargain-basement price.

The company is still waiting for its first buyer,
but the offer highlights part of a worldwide
movement to provide affordable generic or
patented AIDS drugs for millions of people at
risk in developing countries.

Cipla's three-tier pricing scheme per patient
per year for his triple-drug AIDS therapy set
prices at $1,200 wholesale, $600 to governments
and $350 to humanitarian groups such as Doctors
Without Borders that promise to dispense them
free to patients. Under the initial offer, these
prices were available only for Cipla's export
market. On Feb. 27, Hamied slashed the price of
the combination drug for the Indian market by
about half, to $600.

Since then, a second Indian firm, Hetero Drugs
Ltd., has offered the same three-drug cocktail for
$347 a year. Hamied, an organic chemist, says his
offer is not about undercutting competition, but
rather doing what's in his heart. AIDS is a
"humanitarian problem, not a money problem," he said.

To read the entire feature on good business practice
in the AIDS war, go to:

**************  COLD FUSION PROGRAMMER NEEDED  ******************

Call to Renewal and Tikkun Magazine, two organizations that are
hosting with Sojo.Net, are looking for help in developing their
Web sites.  Each organization is looking for someone who can
work offsite about 100 hours over a 3-to-4 month period as a
volunteer or for modest compensation.

For more information, contact:

Bob Sabath:        or (202) 328-8842 x233
Call to Renewal:
Tikkun Magazine:


B o o m e r a n g

Holly Reed of Westerville, Ohio, wrote:

Thank you SojoMail for Linda Martindale's article,
"Reconciliation work in South African Townships."
It was an inspiration. The article has caused me
to do some reflecting on my life.


Dave Pruett of Lake Village, Arizona, wrote:

I am an admirer of William Stringfellow, and
a new SojoMail subscriber. SojoNet has become my
favorite online site.
I did purchase Pura Vida coffee and hope all
the Gevalia and other coffee sites will not be
offended, but it was a great cup of coffee.  I
love the idea of combining one of life's
pleasures with a ministry of helping, and though
much more expensive than the supermarket brand,
plan to purchase more.
Please keep it up, and keep SojoMail free, so
that folks who don't have a lot of money have
access to resources that promote the dignity
of all humans.

Nathan Braun of Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, wrote:

Andrew Schleicher revised SojoMail's excellent
"online commandments" to "instead" actually
glorify information and its medium of transmission
(in this case, the Internet).  He said he doesn't
"want to follow" his version, and yet I found it
profoundly moving - indeed, satisfying.  I think
it parallels the original more closely than he
gives it credit for....

While Schleicher does not want to "love
information," his own informational transmission
betrays itself. "The two greatest commandments
that Jesus pointed out are all that is necessary
for [Schleicher]," precisely because Christ's
commands, presumably, represent remarkably
accurate information (i.e., about how to live
our lives)....

Devotion to God is approximately equivalent
to devotion to information (particularly, true
information). "You shall know the truth, and
the truth shall set you free" (John 8:32). Indeed
it shall.


Boomerang is an open forum for all kinds of
views. Want to make your voice heard? Send
Boomerang e-mails to the editor:



C u l t u r e   W a t c h
The SOL O. MANN Top 10

How well are you at discerning the "salt and light"
in the news and pop culture?

1. On June 1, Hank Ketcham, the creator of Dennis
the Menace, died at age 81. Who wrote the foreward
to his 1983 book, "Dennis The Menace: Prayers And

2. On June 3, two-time Oscar winner Anthony Quinn
died at age 86. In what film did Quinn portray the
thief and murderer whose life was spared by Pilate?

3. French vineyards plan to sell a non-alcoholic
red wine extract to pharmaceutical companies in
Europe and North America. Studies have shown
anti-oxidant polyphenol compounds in red wine may
have certain health benefits. Who recognized the
health benefits of wine and advised Timothy:
"Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine
because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses."

4. In Venice, France, two exhibits celebrated the 50th
anniversary of his murals and stained glass for the
Chapel of the Rosary, which he considered his
masterpiece. Name the artist.

5. On the execution of Timothy McVeigh, what former
talkshow host told R. Albert Mohler Jr. (president
of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) on "Larry
King Live": "It is true Tim McVeigh was guilty, but
as I'm sure you know, Reverend, more than 90 people
have been removed from death row after having been
found innocent. Your faith - the faith to which you have
devoted your life - was founded by a man who was
wrongly executed."

6. A new archaeological find suggests this structure
was built with the spoils of the sack of the Jewish
temple in Jerusalem. Name the structure.

7. Ecclesiastes 3:4 mentions "a time to dance." On
June 18, Larry King said that Michael Flatley has
been certified by the Guinness Book of Records as
the world's fastest dancer. How many taps can
Flatley do in one second?

8. After years of speculation, it's finally been
confirmed that the statue of Michael the Archangel
on top of Trondheim's Nidaros Cathedral was modeled
on him. Who?

9. What "Saturday Night Live" alumnus was master of
ceremonies at the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago
testimonial dinner? Eddie Murphy, Bill
Murray, or Dana Carvey?

10. In what film did Professor Allen Hobby (William
Hurt) ask: "But in the beginning, didn't God create
Adam to love Him?"

Answers given below after "Webscene"

Copyright © 2001 SOL O. MANN PRODUCTIONS. All rights
reserved. SOL O. MANN is an avid collector of trivia
from a Judeo-Christian perspective, To suggest questions,
SOL O. MANN can be reached by email at


P. O. V.
Will you die in freedom?

by Margaret C. Crosby

The California Supreme Court's decision in
Robert Wendland's tragic case [Mr. Wendland,
49, died last month of pneumonia after a
six-year battle in which his wife wanted to
let him die and his mother fought to keep him
alive] is both a victory and a defeat for the
right to die. It also highlights a problem, and
it should spur each of us to take action to
protect our families.

The problem: while many people discuss their
preferences in case of medical catastrophe, few
have the foresight to put their wishes in writing.
Today, less than 20 percent of Americans execute
advanced directives - although most of us,
according to national surveys, do not want
indefinite sustenance through artificial feeding
tubes. Requiring written documents may frustrate
many genuine treatment desires.

The lesson: We must protect our fundamental rights.
California forms - to designate a partner to make
health-care choices and to specify treatment
options - are available online. Sign them:

The ACLU believes that every individual has the
fundamental right to accept or refuse heroic medical
care at life's end. We support the right to die, in
the courts and in the legislatures. But abstract
legal rights alone do not enhance our freedom. We
each need to exercise our rights to make them

Margaret C. Crosby is lead counsel for the American
Civil Liberties Union of Northern California

To read more on the California State Supreme Court
case on Robert Wendland, go to:


H e a r i n g   t h e   C a l l
Religious leaders speak out on immigration policy

In mourning the recent deaths of 16 migrants in
the Arizona desert, 20 religious leaders called
on the U.S. government to legalize economic migration,
saying: "As people of faith, we cannot stand by and
watch as our government continues to implement a set
of policies that result in the brutal, invisible
deaths of people engaging in an ancient human practice -
a search for a better life."

A cabinet-level working group established by President
Bush has recommended a limited plan that would allow
more than one million Mexican immigrants to apply for
permanent legal status.



Is your check from George W. Bush (or from the 
Social Security trust fund, depending how you look 
at it) in the mail? We have a great idea for how to 
use this money. Show your opposition to Bush 
administration policies that punish the poor and 
endanger the environment by making a donation to 
Sojourners - Working Assets and GiveForChange will 
match contributions (up to $1 million).

Here's How It Works:
Just donate exactly $300 or $600 to Sojourners in one
transaction through before November
1, 2001, and your donation will be matched. Please
note: Your individual contribution will be matched up
to $600 only.

You can even send President Bush a gift card to thank
him for the rebate and to let him know about your
donation. Just enter "President Bush, 1600 Pennsylvania
Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20500" in the gift card fields.

As always, your online transaction is fast, easy,
and tax-deductible - simply click to donate. Thank
you for your generous support!

To choose Sojourners as your rebate designee, click on:

To get more information about Working Assets and
GiveForChange's campaign, see


W o r d   on   a   W i r e
Compassion rules

by Michaela Bruzzese

Readings for August 26:

Jeremiah 1:4-10; Psalm 103:1-8; Hebrews 12:18-29;
Luke 13:10-17

It's no coincidence that the parable of the
mustard seed follows Jesus' healing of a
lame woman. The religious leaders' criticism
of Jesus lays bare their lack of compassion and
limited understanding of God. Jesus' act of mercy
speaks of the grandness of God, unbound by
human laws, requirements, or restrictions. As
always, God reserves the right to work above and
beyond our limited perceptions. Read this week's
entire reflection at:


W e b  S c e n e

*Bicycle tour for humanity...and baseball

Two dedicated supporters of Habitat for Humanity
are taking a six-month bicycle journey across North
America to raise awareness and funds for the
international charitable organization. Tom Glick and
Peter Eash Scott are bicycling more than 10,000 miles to
attend a baseball game in every major league baseball
city in the United States and Canada. Follow their
progress at:


*What in the heavens is going on in your neighborhood?

When the sun is down and the sky is clear,
there's no better time to marvel at the
heavens - and learn something in the process.
Every month, this site offers a map of the sky
in your region of the world that you can down-
load for free, print, and take with you to
locate stars, constellations, planets, and
other celestial bodies. Go to:


*British politico disco

Absolutely superb political humour for the Brits!
If you just love to wind up politicians (virtually,
or not), have a go and have fun!!!


*An eBay for useful things

In 1995, Craig Newmark started an email list
aimed at helping San Francisco Bay-area residents
find local events. Today, craigslist is a nonprofit,
ad-free Web site that brings its community focus to
15 additional metropolitan areas in the United 
States. Read or post listings for jobs, apartments, 
goods and services, personals, and more. Go to:


Answers to Sol O. Mann Top 10 pop culture quiz (see
"Culture Watch" above):

1. Billy and Ruth Graham
2. Barabbas (1962)
3. St. Paul
4. Henri Matisse
5. Phil Donahue
6. The huge Roman amphitheatre known as the Colosseum
7. 35 taps
8. Bob Dylan
9. Bill Murray


......................... E D I T O R I A L ......................

  David Batstone                               T 415.422.6660
  Executive Editor                         

  Jim Rice                                     T 202.328.8842
  Managing Editor                              

  Molly Marsh                                  T 202.328.8842
  Assistant Editor                            

  Ryan Beiler                                  T 202.328.8842
  Web Editor                                 

....................... A D V E R T I S I N G ....................
  Larry Bellinger                              T 202.328.8842
  Advertising Manager                     

......................... T E C H N I C A L ......................

  Bob Sabath                                   T 202.328.8842
  Chief Technologist                        

  Susannah Hunter                              T 202.328.8842
  Internet Assistant                         

........................... S 0 J O N E T ........................

  Sojourners                                  T 202.328.8842
  2401 15th Street NW                          F 202.328.8757
  Washington, DC 20009          

  For more information, e-mail us:

...................... L E G A L   N O T I C E S .................

  Copyright (c) 2001 Sojourners. All Rights Reserved.

  SojoNet material may be freely distributed, as long as it
  bears the following attribution:

  Source: SojoNet 2001 (c)

.......................... A R C H I V E S .......................

              For a history of SojoMail, visit

..................... S U B S C R I P T I O N S ..................

     SojoMail is published weekly. Subscriptions are free.

                     SUBSCRIBE online at:
               or by e-mail:

                    UNSUBSCRIBE online at:
              or by e-mail:

            ---- SOJONET IS A SPAM-FREE ZONE ----
  (SojoNet won't trade, sell, or give away your address.)