Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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Wonking Class Hero — The Exonerator

Advocates for innocent people in prison are few, partly because lawyers are trained to honor the sanctity of the finality of court decisions. Advocates courageous and idealistic enough to proceed on behalf of an imprisoned innocent count themselves successful if they help achieve one exoneration during a lifetime of trying.

That McCloskey — who is not a lawyer — has directed investigations resulting in dozens of exonerations is, by any measure, astounding. Those prone to biblical language use a stronger word: miraculous.  Wonking Class Hero — The Exonerator


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Quote:

“It’s enormously significant to me that the only description in the Bible about salvation is tied to one’s willingness to act on behalf of one’s fellow human beings. The ones who will be deprived of salvation–the sinners–are those who’ve turned away from their fellow man. People responsive to the great human condition, and who’ve tried to alleviate its misery–these will be the ones who join Christ in Paradise.”

~ Sen. Edward Kennedy, True Compass: A Memoir


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Amazon Native Leaders Assert Forest Stewardship for Climate Rescue

CHACLACAYO, Peru, December 8, 2009 (ENS) – As government government officials gather in Copenhagen to negotiate a global response to climate change, Amazonian indigenous leaders are concerned about how the resulting agreement will impact their people and ancestral lands.

Among the expected results of the two-week UN climate change conference is approval of an international regime for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, REDD, which holds both promise and challenges for the forest peoples….

Amazon Native Leaders Assert Forest Stewardship for Climate Rescue


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Drones and Dishonor in Central New York

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Drone aircraft are being stationed to patrol the US borders with Mexico and Canada. (Photo: Tom Tschida | wikimedia.com)

If war becomes unreal to the citizens of modern democracies, will they care enough to restrain and control the violence exercised in their name? Will they do so, if they and their sons and daughters are spared the hazards of combat?
– Michael Ignatieff, Virtual War (2000)

Drones and Dishonor in Central New York


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Buddhist Body Snatchers

Bangkok’ s Buddhist Body Snatchers

[T]he Por Tek Tung Foundation [is] Bangkok’s largest provider of emergency medical services. Created by Chinese immigrants in Thailand’s capital more than 100 years ago, Por Tek Tung began by offering free funeral services for the city’s poor, and now specializes in quick-response rescues. You can spot its staff—over a thousand, nearly all unpaid—by their distinctive blue jumpsuits as they drive around in packs, on the lookout for road accidents.

If this sounds a touch morbid, consider that last year alone a motorist was killed in Bangkok every 36 minutes. The city has five and a half million registered vehicles; drivers scorn speed limits and traffic rules, and unhelmeted motorcyclists carelessly zip in and out of congested lanes. The result is regularly lethal.

Por Tek Tung also handles murders, airplane crashes, collapsed buildings, and boating mishaps. But whatever the tragedy, the foundation’s main duty is “body-snatching”—rushing the still-living to hospitals and ferrying the dead to morgues. …

They are all volunteers.


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Narrative Medicine Heals Bodies and Souls

Narrative Medicine Heals Bodies and Souls

As a doctor, Mehl-Madrona helps patients discover their own stories of illness and create ones of healing that pull them forward toward recovery. These stories help create hope and a path to wellness—features often lacking in the “story” that patients get from mainstream medicine based on statistics and life ­expectancy tables.

Mehl-Madrona’s efforts to bring narrative medicine into mainstream practice seem to be making headway. This fall, Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons began offering a master’s degree in narrative medicine. Mehl-Madrona is currently an associate professor of psychology at Argosy University in Hawaii.


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Army’s 1st Buddhist chaplain

“The question that arose in my mind is, ‘Why is there so much suffering?’ Christianity did not have a satisfactory answer,” said Thomas Dyer, a former Baptist minister. Dyer is now the first Buddhist chaplain in the U.S. Army.

Army’s 1st Buddhist chaplain


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World at Gunpoint

World at Gunpoint | Derrick Jensen | Orion Magazine

A FEW MONTHS AGO at a gathering of activist friends someone asked, “If our world is really looking down the barrel of environmental catastrophe, how do I live my life right now?”

The question stuck with me for a few reasons. The first is that it’s the world, not our world. The notion that the world belongs to us—instead of us belonging to the world—is a good part of the problem.

The second is that this is pretty much the only question that’s asked in mainstream media (and even among some environmentalists) about the state of the world and our response to it. The phrase “green living” brings up 7,250,000 Google hits, or more than Mick Jagger and Keith Richards combined (or, to look at it another way, more than a thousand times more than the crucial environmental philosophers John A. Livingston and Neil Evernden combined). If you click on the websites that come up, you find just what you’d expect, stuff like “The Green Guide: Shop, Save, Conserve,” “Personal Solutions for All of Us,” and “Tissue Paper Guide for Consumers.”

The third and most important reason the question stuck with me is that it’s precisely the wrong question. By looking at how it’s the wrong question, we can start looking for some of the right questions. This is terribly important, because coming up with right answers to wrong questions isn’t particularly helpful. More…


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Climate Change and Conservatives

Climate Change and Conservatives | Bill McKibben | Orion Magazine

…some people believe libertarians and other conservatives have punted on climate change simply because they’re in bed with the fossil fuel companies—that they’ve taken lots of money from dirty energy and now do the bidding of their masters. This is undoubtedly true of plenty of individual politicians, but one hopes—fervently—that it isn’t true of the millions of thoughtful people and groups that need to be a part of a crucial debate. …


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Green News

273 Whole Foods Stores Earn Organic Certification

Rubber Sidewalks Give the Bounce to Concrete

Illegal Pangolin Trade Threatens Rare Species

Ocean current switch due to warming could be slower than feared

Book Review: Andrew Winston’s Green Recovery

Hydrofluorocarbons, Once a Solution, Now a Problem?

Fertilizer’s Contamination Legacy

Mystery of Los Angeles Methane Emissions Probed


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Buddhist monk returns to life after four years in retreat

Buddhist monk returns to life after four years in retreat -Times Online

There are things you expect a Buddhist monk to say when he emerges, blinking, after four years of selfimposed retreat from the world. And there are things you don’t.

“It was a bit like Big Brother without the cameras,” said Gelong Thubten. “What did I miss? I missed my Mum and ice cream.”

What he found to replace them, it seems, was a profound inner happiness and an almost tangible aura of stillness and calm.


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Microlending taking off in U.S.

Cassidy: Microlending taking off in U.S., too – SiliconValley.com

“There have been people practicing microfinance in California for years,” Weaver told me. “And maybe there is not a lot of awareness that it is happening here.”…

…Turns out microfinance is big in the United States, though not as big as Weaver and many others would like it to be. Opportunity Fund says there are at least 20 million U.S. microbusinesses, which generally means businesses employing fewer than five that borrowed less than $35,000 — often much less — to start up….