Friday, December 26, 2014

St. Nick visits the streets

Thank you all for contributing/supporting our gifts to the Christmas open house at the coffee shop operated by the Mennonites. Photo from todays event where Jim Bridges was Santa handing out gifts to those who dropped by for some cheer.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dick Cheney - National Embarrassment

Dick Cheney
If this miserable, sick, loathsome man is allowed to continue stoking the worst in our fellow citizens than America is definitely looking at its last days as a voice for anything-
"Dick Cheney gave an unflinching defense of he CIA's post-9/11 torture program on "Meet the Press" on Sunday, dismissing criticisms of the program's forced rectal feedings, waterboarding and deaths.
"It worked. It absolutely did work," said Cheney, a driving force behind the George W. Bush administration's use of harsh tactics in response to the 9/11 attacks.
The Senate report on the interrogation program details forced rectal feedings that were medically unnecessary. But on Sunday, Cheney said the feedings were done for "medical reasons." The former vice president showed little remorse for the dozens of prisoners who were found to have been wrongfully detained, for the man who died in the program, or for people like Khaled El-Masri -- a German citizen who was shipped off to Afghanistan and sodomized in a case of mistaken identity.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/dick-cheney-torture_n_63228…

"Jesuit Wingman"

Dan Niven
Last Friday, 12 December, Seattle actor Dan Niven rocked the house at the Eclectic Theater, Seattle, with his adaptation from "View from the Tent." 
Dan focused on the relationship between Atreus (homeless gent) and a Jesuit priest he met close to where he was living in a tent. 
Gotta say its an amazing feeling to see/hear words that existed only on paper until Dan took up his readings/adaptations. The music last night was all written/composed by Jesuits--very creative 30 minutes. 
Dan is back on stage the 18th at the Eclectic--
(P.S. The fella in Rome wearing the really cool big hat is a Jesuit!!)

Yep, sleeping in toilets.

Last Friday night, while walking around Capital Hill, before Dan Niven’s performance of "Jesuit Wingman", I became a reluctant arbitrator of who got to use this dunny for sleeping. 
I was walking along, dreaming of warm beaches, when I was confronted by a man asking if I thought it was fair that the other fella standing there got to hoard the privy. Snapping my mind back to street reality I suggested they flip a coin-simple solution that surprisingly was agreed to by both gents. I gave the loser enough to duck into the local coffee shop and tune up-
There is a stand alone dunny on Lake City at the Concrete Park, 125th and Lake City, where there has been an on-going argument about one fella sleeping in it overnight….Yep, sleeping in toilets! 
We All Deserve Better!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas thanks #1

Christmas thanks...
I'd like to thank Gary Anthony Teale & Elizabeth Ann Austin for their incredible work in Guatemala towards bettering the educational opportunities for many kids, who otherwise would be left on the very edge of survival.

Their work with Avivara is incredible!
Everyday I wish we had more finances available to support their awesome work.

Read about Avivara, and Send a donation, if you can to http://www.avivara.org

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Enya sings Olche Chiun



The following is offered as music for you to enjoy versus a video. It is Olche Chiun (Silent Night in Irish) by Enya. She sang it a few times for an Irish TV program that highlighted buskers at Christmas.  
Enjoy! Happy  Christmas....





Monday, November 24, 2014

Christmas Wish List



On Christmas Day I will be delivering some goodies to a walk in coffee shop that is frequented primarily by those who are living on the streets or in shelters.
Please consider ordering an item from our Amazon Wish List so I can take a full bag of "gifts" to those who need them way more than most of us. Thanks---
See: http://tinyurl.com/qf7qkyr

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Where is the Compassion?

I hope Msgr Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, the Vatican official who called Maynard’s decision to end her life ”reprehensible” reads the following letter from her mom.
Its too bad the Pope chimed in to condemn actions that people take to ease and support those they love---
"I am Brittany Maynard’s mother. I am writing in response to a variety of comments made in the press and online by individuals and institutions that have tried to impose their personal belief system on what Brittany and our family feel is a human rights issue.
The imposition of “belief” on a human rights issue is wrong. To censure a personal choice as reprehensible because it does not comply with someone else’s belief is immoral. My twenty-nine-year-old daughter’s choice to die gently rather than suffer physical and mental degradation and intense pain does not deserve to be labeled as reprehensible by strangers a continent away who do not know her or the particulars of her situation.
Reprehensible is a harsh word. It means: “very bad; deserving very strong criticism.” Reprehensible is a word I’ve used as a teacher to describe the actions of Hitler, other political tyrants and the exploitation of children by pedophiles. As Brittany Maynard’s mother, I find it difficult to believe that anyone who knew her would ever select this word to describe her actions. Brittany was a giver. She was a volunteer. She was a teacher. She was an advocate. She worked at making the world a better place to live.
This word was used publicly at a time when my family was tender and freshly wounded. Grieving. Such strong public criticism from people we do not know, have never met – is more than a slap in the face. It is like kicking us as we struggle to draw a breath.
People and institutions that feel they have the right to judge Brittany’s choices may wound me and cause me unspeakable pain but they do not deter me from supporting my daughter’s choice. There is currently a great deal of confusion and arrogance standing in the way of Americans going gently into the good night. I urge Americans to think for themselves. Make your wishes clear while you are competent. Make sure that you have all the options spelled out for you if you are diagnosed with an incurable, debilitating, painful disease. Do your own research. Ask your family to research and face the harsh reality with you. Ask your doctor to be brutally honest with you. Then make your personal choice about how you will proceed. It is YOUR choice.
The “culture of cure” has led to a fairy tale belief that doctors can always fix our problems. We have lost sight of reality. All life ends. Death is not necessarily the enemy in all cases. Sometimes a gentle passing is a gift. Misguided doctors caught up in an aspirational belief that they must extend life, whatever the cost, cause individuals and families unnecessary suffering. Brittany stood up to bullies. She never thought anyone else had the right to tell her how long she should suffer. The right to die for the terminally ill is a human rights issue. Plain and simple.
Debbie Ziegler
Brittany’s Momma

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Helping Troy

Other than what he is wearing today you are looking at all Troys worldly processions. 

Imagine, just for a moment, that thats you!!!

Circumstances have put him on the margins trying his best to keep it all together. 
If you want to help see our donation offerings on Universal Giving http://tinyurl.com/nowx9ke 
or our Wish List on Amazon. Thanks for helping out!! 
http://tinyurl.com/qf7qkyr

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Phone call for those on death row...

One of Let Kids Be Kids projects, which we fund monthly, is to donate funds to those on Washington states’s death row, so they can make a few phone calls to family per month. Todays Seattle Times (below) has a very supportive editorial to why this small bit of humanity is vital. 
DONATE to Let Kids Be Kids and we’ll get your donation to the sanctioned state rep to handle the funds.
"One out of 28 children in the U.S. has a parent in prison or jail, a rate so astonishing, and growing, that Sesame Street felt the need to add a fuzzy little blue-haired character, Alex, to talk about his locked-up dad…"
Keeping the Alexes of the nation — 2.7 million children — connected with an incarcerated parent is vital.
Maintaining family bonds between inmates and their kin has been shown to be one of the best ways of reducing recidivism. That’s why smart state and local prison systems — including those in Washington — have strong family-focused policies.
Yet, prisons and jails across the country — including in King County and around Washington — artificially raise the cost of telephone calls from behind bars. Contracts between detention facilities and telecom providers commonly include a “commission” paid back to the prison or jail.
Washington’s contract with prison phone provider Global Tel Link required a 51 percent commission on gross revenue, guaranteeing the Department of Corrections at least $4 million a year. King County’s jail has a 58 percent commission.
These are kickbacks, most commonly paid by inmates’ families for doing the very thing that research suggests will lower crime: staying in touch.
In a little-noticed announcement last week, the Federal Communications Commission took aim at the sky-high rates of prison phone calls. It soon will begin taking public comments on the cost of in-state calls, as part of a comprehensive reform proposal. A cap on commissions is among the proposals.
Prison administrators defend commissions as a revenue source that pays for amenities behind bars such as education, a legal library or, in the case of King County Jail, staff for the jail commissary. A quarter of state DOC commissions goes to the crime victims’ compensation fund.
Regardless of those intentions, inmates’ families should not be taxed to stay in touch. That is a clear example of public policies being at cross-purposes: short-term revenue gained at the expense of long-term recidivism.
This is not a new issue. A petition filed by the grandmother of an inmate has been before the FCC since 2003. In February, the regulator moved to cap costs of interstate calls from prison, and call volume across state lines went up 70 percent in some facilities.
But since then, “already outrageous costs” for in-state calls inched up, as prisons and jails jacked up their commission rates, according to FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.
“In my 16 years as a regulator, this is the clearest, most egregious case of market failure that I’ve seen,” he said in a statement.
There is no rationality in costs for calls from jails in Washington state. A 15 minute collect call from the Stevens County Jail, in Northeast Washington, costs $18.24, the highest in the state, according to the nonprofit Human Rights Defense Center. A similar call from Snohomish County Jail is $13.39; in King County, it’s $3.50.
The difference is not on quality of service. It is how much profit localities want to suck from the families of inmates.”
http://www.universalgiving.org/…/prisoner_support…/id9750.do

Helping Let Kids Be Kids...

KOMO TV photo
Two mornings a week we hangout at a cafe that welcomes anyone from the streets that may enjoy a shower (sign up required), a washer/dryer (sign up required), some coffee, snacks and a stove where they can prepare a meal. About thirty or so people, who are living on the streets, in tent shelters or wherever they can lay their head, come in for a bit of cheer. 
Help us distribute hand warmers etc. that are listed on our Let Kids Be Kids Amazon Wishlist. Click the following to help us help them-thank you. http://lnkd.in/b2W8V4z

Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

Join Let Kids Be Kids , with a donation, as we support the great work of the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. Not only does WTBBL create books, digitally and in braille, for thousands of residents who are blind, WTBBL also provides library services state-wide, at the library and by mail, to any Washington resident unable to read standard print material due to blindness, visual impairment, deaf-blindness, physical disability (cannot hold a book or turn pages), or reading disability.
Photo: Michael Barrett Miller, Let Kids Be Kids, Danielle Hennessy Miller,WTBBL Program Manager, William Hennessy Miller, Headmaster/Seven Hills - Walnut Creek…

Veterans Day

Veterans Day!! The best way to honor veterans is to refuse to create anymore--
Just heard on Thom Hartmann a "Republican" radio shill refer to veterans as "moochers and takers." Yep, elections have consequences....
Apparently 58% of veterans voted Republican. Apparently they don't understand what the Republicans have not done for them...
Under the leadership of Mitch McConnell filibustered a bill that would have boosted VA funding by $21 billion, expanded benefits, and repealed a provision of the Murray-Ryan budget deal that slashed military pensions.
Back in 2012,, GOP senators blocked a $1 billion jobs bill would have helped millions of unemployed veterans find work. And in that same year, Republican opposition also blocked a bill - the so-called Veterans’ Compensation Cost of Living Adjustment Act - that would have kept veterans’ benefits on par with rising expenses.
The list goes on. Before that, GOP lawmakers killed the Wounded Veteran Job Security Act, the Veterans Retraining Act of 2009, the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization Act of 2009, the Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act of 2009, the Veterans Business Center Act of 2009, and the Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Eradicate the Death Penalty!

Let Kids Be Kids supports the total eradication of the death penalty in the United States of America.
"The exoneration of two North Carolina men who spent 30 years in prison — one on death row — provides a textbook example of so much that is broken in the American justice system. And it is further evidence (as though more were needed) that the death penalty is irretrievably flawed as well as immoral.
In late September 1983, an 11-year-old girl named Sabrina Buie was found murdered in a soybean field in Robeson County. She had been raped, beaten with sticks and suffocated with her own underwear.
Within days, police got confessions from two local teenagers, Henry Lee McCollum, 19 at the time, and his half brother, Leon Brown, who was 15. Both were convicted and sentenced to death.
The crime was so horrific that it has echoed for decades through North Carolina politicsand beyond. In 1994, after Justice Harry Blackmun of the Supreme Court announced that he opposed capital punishment in all circumstances, Justice Antonin Scalia cited the Buie murder as a case where it was clearly warranted. “How enviable a quiet death by lethal injection compared with that!” he wrote.
On Tuesday, a state judge ordered both men freed after multiple pieces of evidence, some of which had never been turned over to defense lawyers, proved that neither Mr. McCollum nor Mr. Brown was responsible for the crime. DNA taken from a cigarette found at the crime scene matched a different man, Roscoe Artis, who is already serving life in prison for a similar murder committed just weeks after Sabrina Buie’s killing.
Virtually everything about the arrests, confessions, trial and convictions of Mr. McCollum and Mr. Brown was polluted by official error and misconduct.
No physical evidence linked either man to the crime, so their false confessions, given under duress, were the heart of the case the prosecutors mounted against them. Both men’s confessions were handwritten by police after hours of intense questioning without a lawyer or parent present. Neither was recorded, and both men have maintained their innocence ever since.
Equally disturbing, Mr. Artis was a suspect from the start. Three days before the murder trial began, police requested that a fingerprint from the crime scene be tested for a match with Mr. Artis, who had a long history of sexual assaults against women. The test was never done, and prosecutors never revealed the request to the defense.
It was not until 2011 that the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, an independent state agency that had taken on the men’s case, discovered the old fingerprint request. The commission also found that multiple statements in the two confessions were inconsistent with each other and with the facts of the crime. In July, the commission finally got the full case file and matched the DNA to Mr. Artis.
None of these pieces mattered to the prosecution in 1984. The prosecutor on the case, Joe Freeman Britt, was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “deadliest prosecutor” for the nearly 50 death sentences he won during his tenure. Almost all have since been overturned.
Mr. McCollum and Mr. Brown, who are now middle-aged, have a hard road ahead. In addition to the difficulties of adapting to life after three decades behind bars, both are intellectually disabled. (Since their conviction, the Supreme Court has banned the death penalty for both juveniles and those with intellectual disabilities.)
Cases of capital prosecutions based on flimsy evidence or marred by prosecutorial misconduct, not to mention racial bias, are distressinglycommon. Yet, even as death-penalty supporters insist that only guilty people are sent to their death, it is now clear that Justice Scalia was prepared 20 years ago to allow the execution of a man who, it turns out, was innocent.
How many more remain on death row today? Can the American people be assured that none will be killed by the state? 
For this reason alone, the death penalty must end.”

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Universe Gets it Right!

                                                  Sometimes the Universe gets it right!
Caroline (left) and Megan worked together in a Seattle Public School for three years serving the needs of "very special needs kids". Due to budgets etc. Caroline & Megan were broken up at the end of the school year and sent out to look for positions in the Seattle School District. After a summer of frustrations Megan (literally the night before the first day of teacher prep) was re-united with Caroline at a new, for both of them, Seattle Public School. Together they will teach/serve some severally challenged kids in a wonderful school supportive of all the kids needs. These kids have a terrific team----couldn't be more proud and thankful that Megan and Caroline are together again helping these kids....
Thank you Universe for paying attention-

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The hour of kids...


If you ever wondered why I named our non-profit Let Kids Be Kids its underscored by the humor/creativity shown in this photo-
 (I call my company Let Kids Be Kids to honor that spark of childhood awe that could/should be honored in and by all of us.)

Never Destroy a Generous Impulse!

Recently I was with a man, who I’ve known for years, who has been fighting the scourge of AIDS for decades.His KS ( Kaposi’s sarcoma) is back, phase five of meds aren’t working any longer and he’s gotta come up with $15,000.00 for meds and unpaid expenses-What did he do while we were shooting the breeze??He walked across the room returning to hand me a sparkling new hundred dollar bill. He told me it was a donation in support of my HIV/AIDS Care Teams-As I was about to object, knowing his financial situation, I remembered the old adage,"Never Destroy a Generous Impulse."I accepted it with as much grace as I could muster, as I was temporarily rocked back on my pins.
What a reminder of the goodness of people-

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Louise McDowell - Sculptor

"Giving & Receiving"- photo by M Barrett Miller
 It has been my honor to have worked with Louise, in various studios, since the day we all crossed trails at Bellevue Community College, where Ray Jensen was overseeing sculpting and casting.

Louise left Bellevue College, after some time, to take over as Director of the Pratt Fine Arts Metal/Fabrication Foundry in Seattle. We followed - helping her construct one of the most productive artist foundries on the west coast.

Artists Lawney Reyes, Bob Cooke, Georgia Gerber, Bob Herdick, Marvin Herard, Val Laigo and other accomplished professionals cast on a bi-weekly basis under the watchful eye of Louise, who always wanted everyone's castings to turn out perfectly.
Many pieces of sculpture, now on public display, across the country, were cast in the Pratt facility when this eclectic group of artists came together for a few years.
Louise has had a studio in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle for the last ten years where she has created a number of commissioned pieces.

This is what Louise says about her work;

"...I am a figurative artist. My work explores the dynamics of living things as well as abstract compositions. As a sculptor I create environments and focal points within environments.
My work creates a sense of movement, an energy going in different directions at the same time. It is all about movement and transformation. Interaction with the work happens on a personal level. I seek to inspire observers and stimulate imaginative thought, as well as to affirm the human experience.
I believe that art can be a force for transforming society. Art plays a key part in our future, drawing attention to the environment, to social justice, and to the love of life. I would like people to think about the future of the world, our connection within it, and our ability to affect real positive change..."

See Louise's website. 

Louise, even if we're "Done", it has been a great run!!
Thank you-


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Barry Bell - A Great Rotarian!

Barry Bell
Not too long ago a friend, Barry Malcolm Bell, OAM, left us to pursue yet another grand adventure in the great backabeyond.
I hoped to get back down to Geelong, Australia, before he lost his struggle with the reaper. I didn’t make it.
I first met Barry when a group of us headed up to the Pennefather, north of Weipa, to help the Mapoon construct a new water system. Barry had been instrumental in organizing the financing, and supplies, through his personal contributions, and those of Rotary in Geelong. This was nothing new for Barry, as he had been visiting, volunteering and orchestrating projects, his entire life, to people in need throughout the South Pacific.
After successfully completing our stay with the Mapoon we pushed off to join the Lamalama, northeast of Coen. Rotary had helped to fund a community facility. We were invited to help put some final touches on the facility and an expanded water system that supplies the facility. The Lamalama were going to host a major gathering and wanted everything to be perfect.
When we left their “country” we left knowing we had played a small role in making everything “just right.”
I returned to the states not making it back downunda for a couple of years. When I did I was invited by Barry to stay in his home in Geelong. He wanted to be my guide, showing me everything in the area, before I jumped off for an adventure along the Great Ocean Road.
While staying with Barry and his family he received formal notice from the Queen that he was to receive the Order of Australia. It was a great moment for me to share the joy and recognition for what he had done for so many since he was a teenager. He told me he reckoned he had spent a month a year, as far back as he could remember, being somewhere reaching out a hand to those in need.
The order of Australia is an order of Chivalry established by Elizabeth ll, Queen of Australia, on 14 February 1975 “for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service.”
No one deserved the honor more than Barry.
The following comments, which seem to say it all, come from a contingent of Rotary people from Koroipita, Fiji, who attended Barry’s funeral.
“…A fine gentleman, Barry Bell from Geelong, Australia, was such a friend of Fiji, with his inspiring Donation in Kind work, especially for the development of Koroipita, the new village named after Peter Drysdale of Lautoka…”
“…over 700 people came to pay tribute to an outstanding life of commitment to family, community, overseas projects in the South Pacific, and indigenous projects within Australia…”
“… He was an intelligent but humble man with a vision that humanity can be served by helping others, sending practical gifts in containers, by working alongside strangers to put up houses, kindergartens, water projects…”
“…
Vinaka vakalevu Barry for a fine life of compassion and service for others…”
Barry Malcolm Bell, OAM, 9 March 1933-27 January 2012
Thanks Barry, for the memories.  Ya follow?
Have questions? Contact letkidsbekids@mac.com





Monday, June 30, 2014

Supreme Court ruling on Hobby Lobby

"That some religious people believe the Hobby Lobby decision to benefit people of faith misses the underlying scandal: that corporations, legally fictitious person, have been given rights to restrict the behavior of actual persons. 
The owners of Hobby Lobby, or any other corporation, should be free to exercise their religious beliefs; but the corporation, as such, has no religious belief, and should be treated in that way--regardless of the sincerity of the owners. 
The consciences of the employees ought to be respected, in a benefit they earn by their employment. 

Sincerity is not a replacement for the common good--i.e., the good of reason. Those who closed the counters at Woolworth sincerely believed blacks were the children of Ham and should be kept from eating with whites, but such is not a right in a wisely governed country. But, in fact, the majority on the Supreme Court has based its decision not on precedent nor on law, but on a predetermined bias in favor of corporate identity. That is why they should be removed."
 John D. Whitney S. J.