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Wednesday, 27 January 2016
Arts Council of Princeton Presents Down to Earth: Artists Inspired By The Elements An exhibition of artists influenced by elements


 The Arts Council of Princeton presents Down To Earth: Artists Inspired By The Elements, an exhibition of work by artists who are influenced by elements such as fire, wind, and earth. Visitors can expect original works from artists Olivia Jupillat, Paul Mordetsky, and Alice Sims-Gunzenhauser.


From working in a vineyard in Oregon, to managing a traditional wine shop in Princeton; to traveling overseas,Olivia Jupillat’s experiences have taken her work on an unexpected turn: “My fascination with root and earth structures stemmed from a brief introduction to viticulture and oenology in wine school, but fully emerged into an obsession once my studies were physically revealed in front of me and I could touch the sands, taste the dirt, and see the different strides in the rocks where ancient water once was,” explained Jupillat. 


Artist Paul Mordetsky says he is drawn to “the landscape as a forum for representing space and light within the graphic language.” Of his paintings in Down To Earth, Paul describes how fire inspires his work: “Fire and smoke in the dark of night or in an encompassing timeless gray have been prominent aspects of these landscapes, and imply states of mind, passion, and inspiration rather than some apocalyptic vision. I find the notion of light in darkness to be a powerful and poetic image.”


Alice Sims-Gunzenhauser’s work has focused on the use of line. As her work has headed more towards abstraction, her line has “metamorphosed into a more general focus on mark making.” “Though some marks may be lines,” Alice explains, “they are freed from the need to describe an observed reference and become entities of a somewhat different sort. When marks, whether linear or otherwise, move in and out of suggesting intelligible form, the work is most alive for me.”


Down To Earth will be on view in the Arts Council’s Taplin Gallery from February 6-27, with an Opening Reception on Saturday, February 6 from 3-5pmPaul Robeson Center for the Arts102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ. Parking is available in the Spring and Hulfish Street Garages and at metered parking spots along Witherspoon Street and Paul Robeson Place.


The Arts Council of Princeton, founded in 1967, is a non-profit organization with a mission of Building Community through the Arts. Housed in the landmark Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, designed by architect Michael Graves, the ACP fulfills its mission by presenting a wide range of programs including exhibitions, performances, free community cultural events, and studio-based classes and workshops in a wide range of media. Arts Council of Princeton programs are designed to be high-quality, engaging, affordable and accessible for the diverse population of the greater Princeton region.

Posted by tammyduffy at 8:25 PM EST
Sunday, 24 January 2016



 Room Service’ Serves Up Cure for Winter Doldrums at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre February 12 to 21


A treat is in store for anyone who loves theater and the people who make theater. Theater To Go (T2G) serves up a comic screwball delight with “Room Service” at Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) Kelsey Theatre in February. Dates and show times are: Fridays, Feb. 12 and 19 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Feb. 13 and 20 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, Feb. 14 and 21 at 2 p.m. Kelsey Theatre is located on the college’s West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. A reception with the cast and crew will follow the opening night performance on Feb. 12.

It’s time to laugh along as Gordon Miller, a wheeling-dealing Broadway producer, struggles to find a backer for his new show, which he just knows will be a smash hit. Holed up in a Times Square hotel with 19 hungry actors and a ballooning room service bill, he tries to forestall eviction by concocting a series of ever-more preposterous events. 

Penned in 1937 by Allen Boretz and John Murray, “Room Service” is considered by many to be the funniest play of the 1930s. Striking just the right chord in post-Depression America, it was a huge hit on Broadway under the direction of the famed George Abbot and was made into a popular Marx Brothers movie of the same name in 1938.

The talented cast includes: Charles Acosta of Levittown, Pa., as Faker Englund; Arnold Brown of Monroe as Sasha Smirnoff; Lew Gantwerk of Princeton as Dr. Glass; Stan Karuzis of Lawrenceville as Gregory Wagner; Madison Kotnarawski of Hamilton as Hilda Manney; Rob Lasky of Hamilton in multiple roles; Alfie Mannino of Collingswood as Gordon Miller; Destyne Pitts of Trenton as Christine Marlowe; Paul Rahter of Haddon Height as Leo Davis; Steven Smith of Princeton Junction as Harry Binion; and Mark Violi of Hamilton as Joseph Gribble.

The creative team includes Director Ruth Markoe, Stage Manager Hannah Knight, Sound Designer Eric Collins, Set Designer John Russell; and Lighting Designer Kitty Getlik. Props are by Amy Besselieu with costumes by Ritzzy Productions.

Based in Lawrenceville, Theater To Go (T2G) was founded in 1992 by Ruth Markoe, who has been acting and directing regionally for more than two decades. The company’s first production at Kelsey Theatre was “Lend Me A Tenor” in 1995; last season they performed “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." T2G has also presented popular audience participation movie sing-alongs at Kelsey Theatre, along with community and corporate performance events around the region.

Tickets for “Room Service” are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, and $14 for students and children. Tickets may be purchased online at www.kelseytheatre.net or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333.  Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking available next to the theater.  For a complete listing of adult and children's events, visit the Kelsey website or call the box office for a brochure.

Posted by tammyduffy at 7:57 AM EST
Friday, 22 January 2016
Is Hamilton the Next Flint?

 Is Hamilton the Next Flint?
In spite of directed research, lobbying and lawsuits by the lead industry, President Nixon began the slow eradication of lead from our public life with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air Act Extension of 1970. After a court battle, the TEL phase-out began in 1976. The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and EPA regulations banned lead in gasoline after 1995.


The Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act of 1971, amended in 1973, primarily addressed lead-based paint in federally-funded housing. In 1978, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the residential use of lead-based paint. Until 1977 in the US, the maximum level of lead allowed in consumer paints was 0.5%. The CPSC lowered the amount to 0.06%.


The federal Lead Contamination Control Act of 1988 ordered a recall of lead-lined drinking water coolers, which were common even in public schools. It wasn’t until 2011, however, that Congress passed the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, which didn’t become effective until January 4, 2014. As of that date, the federal law mandates the wetted surface of every pipe, fixture, and fitting sold for or installed in potable water applications not contain more than 0.25% lead by weight.


How are towns measuring this during inspections and the distribution of certificates of occupancy?


In addition, four states, California (2010), Vermont (2010), Maryland (2012) and Louisiana (2013), have enacted lead-free legislation to implement the reductions before the federal law takes effect. The EPA and state laws now require renovation contractor certification for lead-safe work practices, cleanup and disposal.


A 1994 study indicated that the concentration of lead in the blood of the US population had dropped 78% from 1976 to 1991. But it was estimated in 2002 that 38 million housing units in the US still had lead-based paint (down from the 1990 estimate of 64 million). Deteriorating lead paint and lead-containing household dust are a primary cause of chronic lead poisoning of children.


Residual lead in soil, caused by broken-down lead paint, residues from lead-containing gasoline, used engine oil, pesticides used in the past, contaminated landfills, or industry creates concern about the safety of urban agriculture. Tailpipe lead also contaminates the air we’ve been breathing.


Lead interferes with a variety of body processes and is toxic to many organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems. It interferes with the development of the brain and is therefore particularly problematic for children, causing potentially permanent learning and behavior disorders. But the most startling and profound correlations to lead poisoning in children were reported by research around the turn of the millennium.


In 1994, Rick Nevin was a consultant working for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development on the costs and benefits of removing lead paint from old houses. A growing body of research was linking lead exposure in small children with a whole raft of complications later in life, including lower IQ, hyperactivity, behavioral problems, and learning disabilities.


But as Nevin was working on that assignment, a recent study had suggested a link between childhood lead exposure and juvenile delinquency. That took Nevin in a different direction. The biggest source of lead in the postwar era, it turns out, wasn’t paint – it was leaded gasoline. And if you chart the rise and fall of atmospheric lead caused by the rise and fall of leaded gasoline consumption, you get a pretty simple upside-down U: Lead emissions from tailpipes rose steadily from the early ’40s through the early ’70s, nearly quadrupling over that period. Then, as unleaded gasoline began to replace leaded gasoline, emissions plummeted.


Intriguingly, violent crime rates followed the same upside-down U pattern, except for the time period. Crime rates rose dramatically in the ’60s through the ’80s, and then began dropping steadily starting in the early ’90s. In a 2000 paper, Nevin concluded that if you add a lag time of 23 years, lead emissions from automobiles explain 90% of the variation in violent crime in America. Toddlers who ingested high levels of lead in the ’40s and ’50s were more likely to become violent criminals in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Not only crime, but teenage pregnancy and diminished IQ patterns also followed the same curve.


In 2007, Nevin published a new paper looking at crime trends around the world, and found the same lead-crime correlation in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Great Britain, Finland, France, Italy, and West Germany. No country he studied failed to show this almost precise match.


In 2013, Tulane University researcher Howard Mielke published a paper with demographer Sammy Zahran on the correlation of lead and crime at the city level. They studied six US cities that had both good crime data and good lead data going back to the ’50s, and they found a good fit in every single one. In fact, Mielke has even studied lead concentrations at the neighborhood level in New Orleans and local police indicated that it mapped very closely to neighborhood crime rates.


Lead paint didn’t play a big role in the rise of crime in the postwar era and its subsequent fall, because unlike gasoline, lead paint was a fairly uniform problem during this period, especially in inner cities. In the first part of the 20th century, however, when use of lead paint did rise and then fall dramatically, murder rates rose and fell in tandem.

Recent neurological research is demonstrating that childhood lead exposure at nearly any level can seriously and permanently reduce IQ. The EPA now says that there is “no demonstrated safe concentration of lead in blood”. Not only does lead promote cell death in the brain, but the element is also chemically similar to calcium, so that it prevents calcium ions from doing their job, which causes physical damage to the developing brain that persists into adulthood.


Additionally, long-term (30-year) longitudinal studies that follow children through their lives, using MRI brain scans on exposed and non-exposed subjects, have found that high childhood lead exposure damages the parts of the brain that make us most human.


One such study found that lead exposure is linked to production of the brain’s white matter – primarily a substance called myelin, which forms an insulating sheath around the connections between neurons. When this is in deficit, neurons don’t communicate effectively, and the network connections within the brain become both slower and less coordinated.


Another study found that high exposure to lead during childhood was linked to a permanent loss of gray matter in the prefrontal cortex – the part of the brain associated with what psychologists call “executive functions”: emotional regulation, impulse control, attention, verbal reasoning, and mental flexibility.


Yet another study found links between childhood lead exposure and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), even at concentrations well below those usually considered safe. In other words, even moderate levels of lead exposure are associated with aggressivity, impulsivity, ADHD, and lower IQ: the defining characteristics of a violent young offender.


 President Barack Obama pledged to offer support for the drinking water crisis in Flint, and environmental regulators were set to provide Congress with information about their role.


Blame is swirling after a switch in the water supply to the financially strapped city of 100,000 north of Detroit led to elevated levels of lead in drinking water.

"What is inexplicable and inexcusable is once people figured out that there was a problem there and that there was lead in the water, the notion that immediately families weren't notified, things weren't shut down," Obama said in an interview with CBS.


"If I were a parent up there, I would be beside myself that my kid's health could be at risk," Obama said after touring a car show in nearby Detroit.


Facing protests, lawsuits and calls for his resignation, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, apologized to the city's residents on Tuesday and called for the state to spend $28 million on fixes. The Michigan House quickly approved Snyder’s funding request on Wednesday.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, while saying it was reviewing its handling of the crisis and could have acted faster to inform the state of what measures it should take, also blamed the state on Tuesday. It said the agency's oversight was hampered by "failures and resistance at the state and local levels."


Flint, under a state-appointed emergency manager, switched to Flint River water in April 2014 from the Lake Huron supply that Detroit uses to save money.


Complaints about the water began within a month of the move. But Flint did not return to Detroit water until October 2015 after tests showed elevated levels of lead, which can cause brain damage and other health problems, in Flint tap water and in some children. Corrosive water from the river, known locally as a dumping ground, caused more lead to leach from Flint pipes than Detroit water did. The town council voted 7 to 1 to make the switch.  The outlier on the council was concerned about what could happen. No one listened.


"This is something nobody should have to deal with. Everybody should have clean water," Flint Mayor Karen Weaver told a conference in Washington.


"They need to be much more aggressive in what's going on with Flint," Weaver said later on CNN about the EPA's response.


In a speech on Tuesday, Snyder said federal, state and local leaders had failed residents. He asked Michigan lawmakers to authorize spending on diagnostic tests, health treatment for children and adolescents, replacement of old fixtures in Flint schools and day care centers and a study of the city's water pipes. Mayor Weaver should be arrested. She knew what the risks were and she allowed it.


Snyder, who has faced questions about how quickly he acted after learning about the water contamination, released 274 pages of Flint-related emails from 2014 and 2015 on Wednesday, ranging from press releases to staff memos and planning notes.

The governor’s then chief of staff told Snyder in a Sept. 26 email, “We can’t tolerate increased lead levels in any event, but it's really the city's water system that needs to deal with it. We’re throwing as much assistance as possible at the lead problem ... The residents and particularly the poor need help to deal with it.”


Also on Wednesday, Snyder appealed Obama's denial over the weekend of a federal major disaster declaration saying Flint faces a long-term threat and that such an order could bring additional help. On the same day Obama rejected the disaster declaration, he signed an emergency order for Flint.


A group of bipartisan lawmakers including Michigan Republican Fred Upton, of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, wrote last week to EPA head Gina McCarthy, requesting a briefing about Flint.


The House committee letter mentioned reports that said people in Flint have been exposed to dangerous biological pathogens and chemicals in the drinking water. Although Flint has now switched back to Detroit's water system, lead levels in the city's water are still elevated. They did not flush the lines prior to making the switch back.


Separately, Representative Dan Kildee, a Democrat from Flint, said in an interview the $28 million sought by Snyder will not be enough to address Flint's long-term problems - including aiding as many as 9,000 children who may have suffered lead poisoning.

"These kids are going to need help for a long time," Kildee said. Snyder and the legislature need to "step up" and provide funding for long-term efforts beyond fixing the water system.


Kildee said the EPA may bear some blame for not blowing the whistle publicly earlier, but the state bears most of the responsibility.


Several lawsuits have been filed in the case. The latest on Tuesday asked a judge to stop Flint from issuing shutoff notices to residents who are still receiving bills for water declared undrinkable.


As the 'investigations' proceed on the Flint crisis there are a variety of related issues and questions that one ought to hope or even expect the media to attempt to cover. Whether the media is up to that challenge is of course one of those side-issues.

Are the levels and divisions of responsibility for water quality properly understood in the Flint case? How much responsibility and control does the city have, how much the state, and does the federal government have specific or just a consulting & evaluating responsibility if notified of a potential problem?

Given this highly visible news event in Flint, how many other communities in the nation are being provided with water that doesn't meet their specific state's or federal water quality requirements? Is Flint a unique and rare event or just a particularly extreme degree of events that are more common in representing a condition occurring in other locations?

Water quality for public consumption is surely a local or state responsibility, there is no reason to expect that the federal government is expected to be directly involved. In fact, doesn't the public want these responsibilities to be handled by state/local authorities who they can trust and depend on, and not be a 'big' government issue. This raises the question of should the federal government interfere and engage in assisting the state & city in addressing this crisis? After all, no one wants 'big' government inserting itself into their states' business (except when the state and/or city fails to perform it responsibilities or is unable to be prepared for matters of their own doing).

On the technical and scientific side, why wasn't there any indication and assessment of what was happening to water quality and the 'cause and effect' consequences of the situation being brought to the officials, the media and the public in a timely manner? When the media event that had a sample of water being drank to show how safe it was, who or what prevented an even a moderately knowledgeable individual from pointing out the scientifically invalid and irresponsible dimensions of that event?

Why did no one request that those in charge of providing the water be prepared to validate and verify that the water being provided was in fact safe? It was and is very easy to do. If a simple request had been made, there is an almost zero probability that this situation would have been allowed to occur and it would have had a zero probability of continuing.

The underlying failure here is a lack of problem-solving skills. Failure to govern, to manage, to evaluate, to question, to investigate, to report, to challenge, and to hold anyone accountable before and during the decision processes. This failure wasn't confined to just the governmental entities, it encompasses the media, businesses, non-profits, political parties, and the public itself. If you think the factors that lead to Flint's problems are confined to Flint, I would assert that the probability of that being true is also a near-zero probability.


Systems don't work if the people responsible for overseeing them don't bother to do their jobs, and aren't even informed and educated about the things they are supposed to be paying attention to. This is not unique to Flint. In Hamilton, NJ, Mercer County, the local government has decided to ignore the public on critical issues, they are completely unresponsive. Government and political employees have become all about face time and addressing the current polls, and are so busy primping in the green room mirror and obsessing about themselves that they completely blow off the responsibilities they are charged with carrying out. 

As long as we allow and accept this system they have created of branding, messaging, and appearances to be the way things are supposed to be then this is what we will get. Any time an elected official chooses to go along with "the system" over being their own man or woman and doing the right thing, they need to be flogged, and flogged hard.


It could take up to 15 years and more than $60 million to replace lead water service lines in Flint, according to emails released by Gov. Rick Snyder. A Sept. 28, 2015, briefing sent to the governor detailed the cost and timeline associated with replacing the more than 15,000 lead service lines in the city.


"Even if many crews were contracted, it would likely take up to 15 years to complete this work," the briefing reads. There are less than 33,000 total service connections in the city.

The average cost to replace a lead service line at an individual home costs $2,000-$8,000, the briefing claims.


The Jan 20th, there was a release of 274 pages of documents, including communications on Flint water issues, public safety and lawsuits. However, only seven emails sent by Snyder on the city's water system were included in the distribution.  Many of the documents included previously-distributed press releases, talking points and studies.

The release of the emails comes after repeated calls from the local press and others for Snyder to make all of his communications on Flint water public.


There is something terribly disturbing about the contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan. When state leaders can’t even deliver basic services such as safe drinking water, they have failed.


The background to the tragic situation in Flint is an austerity politics that saught to cut back basic government services in the name of cost-cutting.


The city of Flint switched its water source from Lake Huron (which is where Detroit gets its water) to the Flint River in April 2014. It was a move designed to save a very economically depressed city some money. It was the wrong move. An Emergency Manager appointed by Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed off on the decision. Rather than putting the interests of citizens first, the unelected, all-powerful Emergency Manager was charged with making hard-headed “business” decisions. That approach—in Flint and elsewhere around the country—has had disastrous results.


Right away, children and residents got sick from drinking the water, even though the city managers assured them it was safe.  By August, the water tested positive for E-coli and by September 2014, citizens had been advised to boil their water before drinking it by local officials.


In January 2015, residents were lining up daily to get free bottled water and the city was found to be in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The number of children testing positive for elevated levels of lead had skyrocketed since the switch from Lake Huron. By April 2015 city officials were demanding that the water source be changed back but had no power to make it happen. State officials, led by Governor Snyder, dragged their feet and did not take the unfolding disaster seriously. It got worse.


By July 2015, the governor’s office still did nothing substantial to deliver safe drinking water to the citizens in the city. Children continued to suffer. It was only just recently, after months of delay and failed leadership, and calls from citizens for the arrest and indictment of Governor Snyder, that the Snyder administration finally declared a state of emergency.  


The state now is providing access o clean water to the citizens of Flint. Governor Snyder apologized twice to the city for his mistakes. Yet doctors say it will take years to determine the extent of damage to children in the city due to exposure to lead. The children who sustained brain damage will never recover.


The water crisis in Flint did not have to happen. The council (aka the clowncil) voted 7 to 1 to pass changing the water source and not one person in any leadership position did anything to stop it. They ignored the residents, they ignored the DEP, they ignored everyone. This behavior is not only seen in Flint. This self serving attitude is rampant in local government. It's disgraceful.


Just as Michigan did not have to cut corners on safe drinking water, politicians around the country are putting cost cutting ahead of health of thousands of citizens in their states by refusing to accept the federal funds to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.


This is no way to serve the people. The people of Flint and others deserve a government responsive to their basic needs, not one beholden to an anti-democratic ideology.


The State Of Michigan is responsible for the decision to switch to the river water because the city was under Mr. Kurtz and Mr. Early who were appointed legally by  Mr. Snyder to be emergency managers of the city. Thus, taking authority for decision making away from the mayor and city council in certain time frames when decisions were made. As for the treatment of the river water, it is believed that many from local through state government will be held negligent. Considering the long duration from when city residents started complaining about the water and state government finally coming clean and admitting the problem, the target will be on directors of the MDEQ, State of Michigan Health Department, and Gov. Snyder because the buck will stop at their  desks. The Federal EPA should be held accountable also. The large documentation of lack of response by officials will hopefully place these politicians into a life of incarceration.  They are all responsible.  


Posted by tammyduffy at 6:19 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 22 January 2016 6:46 PM EST
Academy Takes Historic Action to Increase Diversity

 Academy Takes Historic Action to Increase Diversity
In a unanimous vote Thursday night (1/21), the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences approved a sweeping series of substantive changes designed to make the Academy’s membership, its governing bodies, and its voting members significantly more diverse.  The Board’s goal is to commit to doubling the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020.


“The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.”




Beginning later this year, each new member’s voting status will last 10 years, and will be renewed if that new member has been active in motion pictures during that decade.  In addition, members will receive lifetime voting rights after three ten-year terms; or if they have won or been nominated for an Academy Award.  We will apply these same standards retroactively to current members.  In other words, if a current member has not been active in the last 10 years they can still qualify by meeting the other criteria.  Those who do not qualify for active status will be moved to emeritus status.  Emeritus members do not pay dues but enjoy all the privileges of membership, except voting.  This will not affect voting for this year’s Oscars. 



At the same time, the Academy will supplement the traditional process in which current members sponsor new members by launching an ambitious, global campaign to identify and recruit qualified new members who represent greater diversity. 



In order to immediately increase diversity on the Board of Governors, the Academy will establish three new governor seats that will be nominated by the President for three-year terms and confirmed by the Board.


The Academy will also take immediate action to increase diversity by adding new members who are not Governors to its executive and board committees where key decisions about membership and governance are made. This will allow new members an opportunity to become more active in Academy decision-making and help the organization identify and nurture future leaders.



Along with Boone Isaacs, the Board’s Membership and Administration Committee, chaired by Academy Governor Phil Robinson, led the efforts to enact these initiatives.

Posted by tammyduffy at 5:22 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 22 January 2016 5:24 PM EST
Saturday, 16 January 2016
MLK: Honor


Martin Luther King: Honor 

More than ever, I am respectful of those who paved the way for our American freedom.  I have read stirring words from the founding fathers that have inspired me to work to maintain what they had first established. 

Since his tragic murder in 1968, our nation has remembered Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Since 1983, when his birthday became a federal holiday, we have formally commemorated his legacy on the third Monday of January. The first MLK Day featured events all over the country, and a bust of Dr. King was dedicated at the U.S. Capitol.

Over the years, we have all had different ways of celebrating the man and his message. 

Today, we tend think of the battle over “civil rights” as a fight over money and privileges. Forgotten in much of the contemporary rhetoric is the fact that the early days of the Civil Rights Movement were simply about demanding that everyone recognize the full humanity of African Americans. In fact the striking sanitation workers in Memphis—the very event where King would speak the night before his death—were carrying signs that simply read: “I am a man.”

The Americans who marched with Dr. King wore the cleanest, neatest clothes they could afford because they were championing the idea that they were worthy of respect and equal protection under the law. Freedom, as the founders of our country and the Civil Rights leaders understood it, was not a license to behave any way they chose. It was indeed the right to pursue happiness as they saw fit, as long as it did not harm or encumber others. But it was taken for granted that such pursuits would be grounded in self-respect, as well as respect for others. They knew that to be the only way that freedom does not give way to chaos.

Yet since all the legislative gains bought with the blood of Dr. King and many others, it seems there is a movement to diminish the humanity of Americans again. From obscene song lyrics and videos to sociopathic behaviors featured on the evening news, dress and conduct that would have horrified Dr. King and his followers has been romanticized as what it means to be authentically “black.”

How ironic, that African Americans fought so hard to be respected as equals, only to have so many voluntarily degrade themselves. In his famous I Have a Dream Speech, Dr. King urged, “We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: ‘For Whites Only.’” Yet today, too many of our children are casting their dignity aside. And of course these problems extend far beyond the black community. 

On the day we remember Martin Luther King Jr. and his importance to our society, we should reflect on him as not only a man of perseverance and soaring oratory but as a moral philosopher who led souls.

His majestic words are chronicled in the widely quoted “I Have a Dream” and “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” but the accuracy of his moral compass was evident long before in lesser-known speeches, sermons and writings.

The year was 1960, and King’s speech to a conference of the National Urban League revealed an introspective moral tone that served notice of the universality of freedom and human rights. The “struggle for human dignity is not an isolated event,” he said in an address titled “The Rising Tide of Racial Consciousness,” delivered to an overflow crowd. “It is a drama being played on the stage of the world with spectators and supporters from every continent.”

To King, the liberation movements that had begun to end colonialism in Africa and Asia, and the still-to-come March on Washington, the Selma and Birmingham campaigns, and Mississippi Freedom Summer were all part of a larger, unified human milieu. Embodied in each was the awakening of the self-respect that allows a person to toss off the yoke of oppression and “come to feel that he is somebody.” It knows no color or border, King would say, and it inspires people “with a new determination to struggle and sacrifice until first-class citizenship becomes a reality.”

With heads held high, millions would march and sacrifice blood and sweat for voting rights, fair public accommodations and educational opportunities. Buttressing those political goals were loftier spiritual truths. “The primary reason for our uprooting racial discrimination from our society is that it is morally wrong,” King would remind the audience that day and marchers every day. “It relegates persons to the status of things. Whenever racial discrimination exists it is a tragic expression of man’s spiritual degeneracy and moral bankruptcy. Therefore, it must be removed not merely because it is diplomatically expedient, but because it is morally compelling.”

Generations have lived and died since King delivered those words, their meaning still searingly resonant. In those words was the riveting truth that no one is truly free until everyone is free. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” he said, and “no American can afford to be apathetic about the problem of racial justice. It is a problem that meets every man at his front door.”

King’s voice could capture a spirit and was filled with ideas for the good not only of black Americans in Southern fields or Northern factories, but of all people in all hemispheres. It is the reason his voice will live forever as a great American and leader of humanity.

Full text to the "I Have A Dream" speech:

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Posted by tammyduffy at 4:32 PM EST
Saturday, 9 January 2016
New Sculpture Exhibition at HAM Engages the Poetic Eye


 New Sculpture Exhibition at HAM
Engages the Poetic Eye

Ceramic artist Jury Smith’s new exhibition at the Hunterdon Art Museum is a calling to home, of sorts.
“Some of the forms and patterns are rooted in personal references -- old white churches in long hollows, chopped bits of wood, echoes of the past, moments of clarity and moments of beautiful darkness,” Smith said.
The exhibition, walking shadow: recent work by jury smith, opens on Sunday Jan. 17 from 2 to 4 p.m. with an opening reception that features a gallery talk by the artist. All are welcome to attend. The show runs until Sunday, May 8.
Smith’s ceramic sculptures invite contemplation and resonate subtly with mystery. They are deceptively simple. With multiple planes at first they appear to offer geometric tranquility, but even as they balance they disturb the viewer’s equilibrium and tease one visually, noted exhibition curators Ingrid Renard and Hildreth York.
“The monochromatic black and white forms do not permit the eye to rest; a black form will announce a shape, an edge or a turn, an unanticipated variation in contrast to the white planes,” the curators noted.
The show’s title signifies the artist’s intent to shift her work toward a poetic interpretation. “The work has a strong formal foundation from which to engage the poetic eye. And there is somewhat of a severe edge to this work -- a bold statement and fierceness -- and the title makes clear those intentions.”
Each work has undergone traditional and demanding ceramic processes, from the use of earthenware clay and bisque firing, to the glazes and stains that become permanent with final firing.
Smith is an assistant professor of ceramics at St. Joseph’s University and studied visual arts at the University of Arizona, the Sanbao Ceramic Art Institute in Jingdezhen China and elsewhere. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at such venues as The Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia, Jingdezhen University in China, Artists Space in New York City and Blutenweiss Gallery (Germany). She is a native of Rochester, New York.
Smith said she initially became interested in working with clay because of its soft mutability and nostalgic quality.
“Of course, as anyone with experience knows, working with this materially is actually kind of brutal,” Smith said. “It is strict, demanding and unyielding. Through the years, I’ve grown to truly appreciate clay for those qualities. It’s bossy; you have to pay attention, and I like that.”

Posted by tammyduffy at 5:49 PM EST
Self Taught Artist Expands into Stipling



Self Taught Artist Expands into Stipling 


From her birthplace in Brooklyn, NY, Tenisha Parker is a self taught artist.  Her mother has been a strong inspiration in her artistic development.  Her gift for creating many different art mediums (painted wine glasses, paintings, embellished shirts, stilpings and art prints, allows her to celebrate life in all phases of her art.


Parker comes from humble beginnings. She graduated from high school, and attended City College of New York where she majored in Art and History.  Today, Mrs. Parker is the president and CEO of The Expressions of Tani’s World ( TEoTW).




Mrs. Parker has created a Facebook fan page as an open display of her numerous artistic mediums.  The name of the page is, The Expressions of Tani’s World.  She showcases her unlimited creative hand doing what she does best; painting beautiful art for people to purchase and hang up on their walls at their place of business or at home.


Mrs. Parker devotes her time and energy to meaningful art for people. In some of the pictures you see an array of styles creatively crafted. In one picture, she has successfully drawn a beautiful red flower. In another picture, she has painted a successful image of herself, as you see her daughter alongside her mother’s hand crafted art painting and smiling.


Mrs. Parker continues to inspire people with her awesome and artistic hand worked products. Get to know Mrs. Parker and be inspired by her unique art and related products.


Painting is her first love. There are  pieces available for sale and you can see them on display at the Fusia Dance Center, in Pocono, PA. You can contact Mrs. Parker at orders@teotwbrand.com.  Prints will be available soon.

Posted by tammyduffy at 5:44 PM EST
Thursday, 7 January 2016
Promoting the Wrong People Creates Disaster


Promoting the Wrong People Creates Disaster
 There is a huge amount of focus on hiring the right people in most organization, but an area that is just as important yet often gets little attention, is promoting. Time and time again leaders who may be great at hiring, marginalize their leadership by promoting the wrong people. In fact, promoting the wrong person can result in even worse repercussions than hiring the wrong person. The main reason?

It’s effect on the team

Hiring the wrong person generally impacts a small part of the organization. You also have ways of recovering from it through extra training, flexibility in duties, or just hiring someone else if it comes to that. When you promote the wrong person into a leadership role, it has a far wider effect on the organization and can have disastrous effects. Nowhere is that more apparent than the effects it has on your team:

Insulting – Your best people generally want to move forward in their careers. They want the recognition, the development and the money that goes along with it as well. They have a lot invested in seeing that promotion from a practical and emotional perspective. When you promote an inferior candidate over them that emotion can easily take over and result in them being insulted. The feeling is that you do not recognize, appreciate or care about their efforts.

Lack of Trust – If they feel that you have made the wrong decision on something as important as selecting leaders, then how many other poor decisions have you made? This may put the first crack in the foundation of trust and as they take a closer look at past and present decisions from the emotional standpoint noted above more cracks are likely to be created (rightly or wrongly).

Productivity – With the demoralizing feeling of being insulted and the creation of a lack of trust it opens the door to sometimes dramatic productivity decreases. If they feel that their hard-work isn’t being recognized or rewarded, then they may wonder why they should bother to put forth the effort. Couple this with the fact that you now have an inferior leader in your department and you have the worst of both situations: a poor coach and poor players.

Turnover – The final and costliest result of poor promoting is when team members decide to leave because they feel they have better prospects elsewhere or they have lost faith in your leadership. This costs you in losing their expertise, shaking up the team dynamic, the time and money to hire a new person, and the time and effort to train the new person

The first key to stopping this is of course to promote the right people. Focusing on getting a clear understanding of the role you are promoting into, the skills required to be successful, and not bowing to outside pressure from people who aren’t as informed as you. The second, and most important thing, is to talk it through with each of the candidates who did not get the promotion. You may be lucky enough to have several great team members who would do well in the role, but you could only choose one. It’s important that they know what went into your decision and where they need to improve so that they get the next promotion. You don’t need to justify your decision; you simply want to be transparent with them so that they don’t mistakenly go down the road noted above.

So take your promotions just as seriously, if not more seriously, than your hiring decision. Their impact on your existing operation can be immense.

Posted by tammyduffy at 7:24 PM EST
Monday, 4 January 2016
Acts of Kindness Gone Awry in 'Arsenic and Old Lace' at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre Jan. 22 to 31


 Acts of Kindness Gone Awry in 'Arsenic and Old Lace' at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre Jan. 22 to 31

Introducing the Brewsters, from left, Aunt Abby (Linda Cunningham), Teddy (Kevin Hallam), Jonathan (Eric McDonough) and Aunt Martha (Liz Wurtz)


Never take candy from strangers. Or, as is the case in “Arsenic and Old Lace,” beware of elderberry wine offered by sweet, little old ladies. M&M Productions brings this American comedy classic to the stage at Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) Kelsey Theatre on Fridays, Jan. 22 and 29 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Jan. 23 and 30 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, Jan. 24 and 31 at 2 p.m. 

Kelsey Theatre is located on the college’s West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. A reception with the cast and crew follows the opening night performance on Jan. 22. 

Welcome to Brooklyn circa 1940 and the warped, wacky world of the Brewster family. Aunt Abby and Aunt Martha, who are known throughout the neighborhood for their many acts of kindness, are a bit misguided, while their nephew, Teddy – a.k.a. Teddy Roosevelt – is downright batty. Enter Mortimer – the “normal” nephew – an author who has just gotten married and is hoping to announce his good news to the family. Before long, Mortimer is caught up in the craziness with no clear exit plan. 
First a hit on Broadway, this fast-paced black comedy became an instant classic when the film version was released in 1944. It was directed by Frank Capra, with Cary Grant in the role of Mortimer.

Starring as the Brewster clan are: Linda Cunningham of Yardley, Pa., as Abby Brewster; Liz Wurtz of Levittown, Pa., as Martha Brewster; Kevin Hallam of Hamilton as Teddy Brewster; Tim Moran of East Windsor as Mortimer Brewster; Eric McDonough of Point Pleasant as Jonathan Brewster; and, as the family’s newest member, Stephanie Moon of Pennington as Elaine Harper. 
Also featured are Matthew Cassidy of Morrisville, Pa., as Dr. Einstein; Dennis Hagen of Pennington as Lieutenant Rooney; John Hughes of Burlington as Rev. Dr. Harper/Mr. Witherspoon; Chris Schmalbach of Palmyra as Officer O’Hara; Stephen Stern as Mr. Gibbs; Tristan Takacs of Trenton as Officer Klein; and Shan Williams II of Trenton as Officer Brophy.
The production team includes producers Michael Almstedt and Mike DiIorio, director Sheldon Bruce Zeff and stage manager Chris Vorel Szemis. Costumes are by Louisa Murey.
Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for senior citizens, and $14 for students and children. Free parking is available next to the theater. Tickets may be purchased online at www.kelseytheatre.net or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333.  Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking available next to the theater. 

Posted by tammyduffy at 7:14 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 4 January 2016 7:14 PM EST
Sunday, 3 January 2016
TRENTON NJ: 15 Miles of bike trails


TRENTON NJ: 15 Miles of bike trails 



Did you know that there are 15 miles of marked bike path in the city of Trenton. There is a wonderful gravel/paved/dirt path that takes you behind the scenes in Trenton. Then you enter the city. The city does a GREAT job of marking the trail, keeping riders safe from vehicles, keeping pedestrians safe as well and giving one a great tour of the city at the same time. Trenton has done an outstanding job of developing this trail system and focusing on pedestrian/runners and bikers safety. WAY TO GO!!


Photos of trail 




Video of trail





Posted by tammyduffy at 5:05 PM EST

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