Monthly Archives: March 2009

Why Van Won’t Return My Calls

Amazing news: the founder of Ella Baker Center and Green for All, Van Jones, just landed a gig at the White House as Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. White House press release here.

Van’s vision for the future of the world and the people in it is perhaps best summed up in his book “The Green Color Economy : How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems“:

When commentators evoke the “future green economy” or the “green jobs of the future,” our minds sometimes start conjuring up images at the fare edge of our imaginations. Perhaps we envision a top-secret California laboratory, where strange and mysterious geniuses are designing space-age technologies to save the world… Let’s be clear, the main piece of technology in the green economy is a caulk gun.

If there’s a better book on a more important subject (or, for that matter, two more important subjects) then I don’t know of it. If there is a voice in America that reaches each out more and compromises less than Van then I’ve haven’t heard it. (The book is available for $9.99 for Amazon’s iPhone Kindle app, and if you can’t afford I’ll send you my hard copy.)

This is extremely good news indeed and I forgive Van, in advance, for not getting back to me.

Van starts talking about 13:00min in.

“Paranoia runs deep…”

One of my all-time favorite hippie lyrics is by Buffalo Springfield as sung by Stephen Stills “Paranoia runs deep, into your life it will creep…”

So my Dad’s been in the hospital for over three weeks and it looks like he will finally be released tomorrow. It’s pretty obvious that when he comes home his life will be very different from the 93 years that came before. His mind is as clear as ever, but his body has taken a real beating. Emotionally it’s been a crazy time – ups and downs, tension, drama, a lot of “what next?” and fox-hole-religion-soul-searching.

He’d been in the same two-bed hospital room for so long that we got to see quite the parade of broken, sick old men as his room mates. Many tried to make the best of it, cracking wise with the staff and dealing with the pain. Just as many were bitter, angry and belligerent, making it nearly impossible for the nurses to help them.


From the behind the drawn curtain in the other half of the room I heard the patient yelling, at the top of his lungs “Don’t touch me or I’ll sue you! I’ll sue you and everybody here! You don’t have jurisdiction over me, you can’t touch me if I don’t say it’s OK! … and if you kill me with that murder weapon you’ll go to jail! Call the police! I’ll sue, I’ll sue!”

“Did he used to be a lawyer?” one the nurses asked the personal care-giver who was called in to be a buffer between the patient and the staff.

“You have to understand,” the care giver replied, “he used to be the chief council for 20th Century Fox.”

“It starts when you’re always afraid, You step out of line, the man come and take you away…”