AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

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Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:44 am

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Peter J. Petkas
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7/28/15

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Lee Metcalf, Democratic senator from Montana by Peter J Petkas( Book ) (Part of the Ralph Nader Congress Project, which provided biographies and vote analysis of sitting senators.]

Whistle-Blowing (with Peter J. Petkas and Kate Blackwell)

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Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:57 am

Peter J. Petkas: Reflections & Reruns
Metropolitan Jonah: Diversity in Unity (Dallas, 5 April 2009)
Saturday, April 11, 2009

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[for a video of this sermon, go to: http://video.yahoo.com/watch/4812572/12841013]

It is a great joy to see everybody here this evening from so many different communities, from different traditions. Orthodoxy is a celebration of diversity in unity, and unity in diversity. Our unity is in our one Lord and savior Jesus Christ, and our one Orthodox faith and our one commitment to living the truth, to living as Christians. Not to live according the spirit of the world, not to live according to our passions, not to live according to the desires that flit by through our minds and lead us into all sorts of trouble, but to live the truth, to live Orthodox.

And, our diversity is something we celebrate, not a diversity of lifestyles, but a diversity that reflects the whole spectrum of our community, people of all races, people of all colors, people from a multitude of different ethnic backgrounds.

And yet, there is another thing that unites us here as well: we are all Americans. We are a single community, we are a single community of Orthodox Christians, and we are the local church in Dallas, the local church in Northeast Texas. It doesn’t matter that we have all these various administrative jurisdictions, ultimately, because we gather together as one body, to pray with one mind and one heart, to celebrate the same Eucharist, to come to the same chalice. It doesn’t matter if we are eastern rite or western rite, doesn’t matter the language in the service is, but its all, we are one church, we are one local Church, and I might add, we are one indigenous Church.

Right now in world Orthodoxy there is a solution to our disunity being proposed. But I would propose there are two solutions. There’s one solution being proposed in which we all submit to Constantinople. We all submit to a foreign patriarchate where all decisions will be made there, where we will have no say in the decisions that are made. We will have no say in our own destiny. We surrender the freedom that we have embraced as American Orthodox Christians to a Patriarchate still under Islamic domination. I think we have a better solution.

And this is something of the utmost importance, and it is something imminent. It is not something where we can wait and say “Oh maybe in my grandchildren’s time there will be Orthodox unity.” I’m talking about June. And, if you think I’m kidding, there is a conference being convened in the Phanar in June to discuss exactly this - (actually, it’s in Cypress) - to subject the Diaspora to the single singular control, the so-called Diaspora, to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and thereby come into unity.

Well, that’s one model for unity. I would submit if we wanted a Pope we’d be under the real one. And I don’t think any of us want a Pope, otherwise we wouldn’t be here.

But who are we really? I think part of this comes from a total and complete ignorance and misperception on the part of the holy fathers who are the leaders of the churches in the Old World. They don’t understand that there are Americans who are Orthodox. There are Americans who have been born and bred in this land who have embraced the Orthodox faith. There are Americans who have come over here - fleeing communism, fleeing Islamic domination, fleeing oppression. Who have come to this land to embrace a new life, a life of self-determination as well as a life that is governed by the Orthodox faith. I don’t think they understand that our church here has this rich diversity but we all share a common identity.

It doesn’t matter what language the services are in, we appreciate them all. We appreciate the Arabic and the Romanian and the Slavonic; we appreciate the Georgian and the Albanian and who knows what else. But we also have to appreciate the English and the Spanish and the French, just as we have to appreciate the Klinkit and the Aleut, and the Upik and the Athabaskian, who are the true indigenous Orthodox Christians of our land.

I don’t think the holy fathers in the Phanar understand that we are a Church, albeit with separate administrations, but that has a common value of determining our own destiny. A church that is dedicated to the conciliar process, which does not ignore the voice of the laity, which does not ignore the voice of the priests, a church which is united in its common commitment. Because we are Orthodox not simply by birth, we are Orthodox not simply by our ethnic heritage. We are Orthodox because we have chosen to be Orthodox. We are Orthodox because we have committed our entire life to Jesus Christ and the Gospel. And, it is that commitment to Jesus Christ and the Gospel and our commitment to bring our brothers and sisters in our land to that same commitment of Jesus Christ and the Gospel, not to some kind of alien ideology, not to some nationalist or imperialist ideology from some forgotten empire, not the imposition of foreign customs and the submission to foreign despots.

But, to a united Church in this country, a Church in which we value the diversity and value the unity equally. A Church in which we appreciate one another and listen to the voice of one another so that no person is devalued. So the traditions that our fathers in the faith have brought to this country are valued. So the efforts and the labor and the sweat and the blood and the tears of all those who have gone before us to establish the Orthodox Faith in America for over 200 years now, 215 years to be precise, to acknowledge their sacrifice. And, it is upon their sacrifice, upon their martyrdoms, upon their sanctity, upon their sacrifice that our Church here is built.

There are those there that say that there was no canonical Orthodox Church in the North American until 1924 until the establishment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Greek archdiocese.

Excuse me. The Russian Orthodox Church established a missionary work here in 1794.
It established English-speaking churches where priests were trained to speak, to serve the liturgy, to teach the Gospel, and to bring faithful people into the Orthodox Church, from 1857 in San Francisco. They say our unity in America was a myth at the time of St Tikhon. Well yes, there were a few dozen churches that were not part of it, but what about the 800 that were? What about those 800 churches? Churches that may have had Russian clergy, or had clergy who were trained by the Russians, but were composed of Greeks and Serbs, of Arabs, of Romanians, of Bulgarians, and of converts, who have stood for the integrity of the Orthodox Faith and the integrity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the integrity of the witness, the missionary outreach which is essential to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not to make people Greeks, not to make people Russians, not to make people Arabs, but to simply bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to this land, in its wholeness and its completeness, as it was preached by the holy Apostles, in the fullness of its integrity. There are those there, in the old world, who devalue this, who say that they are the only criteria of Orthodoxy. Who are ignorant of our Saints, who refuse to recognize the sacrifice of so many of those who have come before us, in Christ, to establish the Gospel here.

I think we have a different solution.

It is imperative for us to come together. Not for all the other churches, the Antiochians and the Serbians and the Bulgarians and the Romanians and everyone, to join the OCA, but to come together in a new organization of Orthodoxy in North American that brings us all together as one Church, even just pulling together all our existing organizations so that all the bishops sit on one Synod, so that all the Metropolitans get together on a special Synod or something like that.

So we can continue our relationship with the Mother Churches, a relationship of love and support. Firm in our own identity as Orthodox Christians and making our witness to protect them from whatever evils confront them, whether it be an aggressive Islam, or whether it be Communists who now call themselves democrats (I’m not talking about Washington by the way, not at all.)

It’s very interesting. Seven months ago I was still an abbot in a monastery in northern California. Just a few months ago I was made Metropolitan and I had no idea, really, what the scope of Orthodoxy is in America. And, now I’m beginning to get an idea. Not only did I find myself the Metropolitan of the OCA, but Locum tenens of the Bulgarian diocese. Well, these are people who have fled oppression just as in so many eastern European countries. It’s the same people who were there under the communists; they just changed their titles.

It’s the same thing with the churches in the Middle East. How many hundreds of thousands of faithful Iraqi Orthodox Christians are living as refugees in camps in Jordan and Syria, ignored by the world. We need a united, powerful witness. A witness that will not only bear witness to the unity of the Gospel and our common commitment to one Faith in Jesus Christ the one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism that constitutes the Orthodox Church. We need to bear witness as a united Body, only to those issues that affect the Phanar, not only to the tragic situation in Cypress, but to those issue that affect all Orthodox Christian throughout the world. There is no witness in Congress. There has been no Orthodox voice, save one lone Serbian bishop, during the American aggression in Kosovo. There were so many hundreds and thousands of Orthodox Christians that suffered and died at our hands, and the hands of our government and our voice was muted.

We have to come together as one united Orthodox Church in North America in order to truly show people that the Orthodox Church is the One Holy Catholic Church, in order to show that truly we are the Church constituted by the Apostles of Jesus Christ. And, there is only one way to show that - not by self-righteous proclamations of our Orthodoxy it’s not by self-righteous condemnation of non-Orthodox Christians, it’s by coming together and showing people how we love one another, how we forgive one another. How we bear common witness to the Gospel. Though we have multiple churches and diverse traditions, we affirm that there is One Truth, who is the person of Jesus Christ. The Orthodox way of life is the way of the healing of the soul and the way of salvation.

It is imperative brothers and sisters, imperative on us that, we come together and with one voice, as the Orthodox Church of North America, to say to the holy fathers of the Old World, the Orthodox Church exists in North America. We are grateful for the support you have given us. We love and support your work. We rejoice in your victories and we are sad with your tragedies. But, you have to give us the freedom to take care of our own Church in our own country, in our own culture, and not to be controlled by people who have never heard a word of English much less allow a word of English to be spoken in the liturgy. We can’t allow our Church to be controlled with people who have no appreciation of our culture and have to bow to the Turkish Islamic authorities.

This, my friends, is something truly critical affecting our life and our witness. We hear of all of these scandals, all the stuff that went on in the OCA and all the stuff going on in the Antiochian Archdiocese, and all the petty little stuff that goes on in our parishes. All of that is pettiness. We have to come together. The Lord Jesus Christ is calling us together to be one Church in America, composed of all Americans, no matter where they came from, no matter how long their ancestors, or they themselves, have been in this land. Because the canonical organization of the Church, according to the Holy Apostles and all of the ancient Fathers, is not about some kind of international organization where we look 8000 miles away for some source of canonicity. But it is the local Church, the presbyters and the deacons, and the faithful people gathered around their bishop. This is the fullness of the catholic Church. This is the fullness of the Orthodox Church as it was given to us from the holy Fathers, as it was given to us by the Apostles. And, it is this that we must affirm.

That Church exists now, here, in our midst. It was planted by our Fathers in the faith generations ago, on this continent. It has grown and bears fruit. And, it subsists out of our common sacrificial commitment to Jesus Christ.

Let us give thanks to God for our unity, let us give thanks to God for our diversity. Let us affirm to our bishops that they will tell the bishops of the Old World, “There is an American Orthodox Church. Leave it alone.”
God Bless you. (transcribed from Sermon, April 5, 2009)

Metropolitan Jonah
St. Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral
April 5, 2009
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Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:14 am

Peter J. Petkas: Reflections & Reruns
http://petkas.blogspot.com/

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Sunday, August 8, 2010
Fr. Elpidophoros of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on Hellenism & Orthodoxy

The following paper contains what appears to me to be a stunning shift in the thinking of the Ecumenical Patriarchate which, however, relies on historical precedent and tradition to explain why the shift (my word) is really, "the same song, second verse" and not the breakthrough, which to this observer, it clearly seems to be. Peter Petkas

Greek Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Patriarchate,
and the Church in the USA


V. Rev. Archimandrite Elpidophoros Lambriniadis
Chief Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod
of the Ecumenical Patriarchate June 2010
at St. Vladimir's Seminary in Crestwood New York.

[For a PDF version of this document, go to http://www.myocn.net/files/Orthodoxy_He ... nglish.pdf]

[In the version that follows, footnotes appear in brackets "[...]" within the text to which they refer]

The topic that I have been asked to address today: “Greek
Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the Church in the USA.”
Beginning with the content and historical development of the phrase
“Greek Orthodoxy,” I will endeavor to explore its relationship to the
Ecumenical Patriarchate in order, finally, on this basis, to interpret the
perception of the Church of Constantinople with regard to the
ecclesiastical situation in the United States and present its vision for the
future of Orthodoxy in this land.
Read more »
Posted by Peter J. Petkas at 3:19 PM No comments:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Matsoukas comments on the Episcopal Assembly's work
Comments on the Episcopal Assembly
by George Matsoukas
Executive Director
Orthodox Christian Laity

We confess our fidelity to the Apostolic Orthodox faith and pledge to promote “common action to address the pastoral needs of Orthodox living in our region”…We call upon our clergy and faithful to join us in these efforts ‘to safeguard and contribute to the unity of the Orthodox Church of the region in its theological, ecclesiological, canonical, spiritual, philanthropic, educational and missionary obligations’ as we eagerly anticipate the Holy and Great Council.
MESSAGE: Bishops attending First Episcopal Assembly

What are the immediate accomplishments of the Assembly?

The First Episcopal Assembly of the Canonical Bishops of North and Central America took place at the Helmsley Park Hotel NYC, May 26-28, 2010. The 55 assembled bishops replaced the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops SCOBA and now all the bishops of all jurisdictions are the stewards of the Orthodox Church in the United States. They are working in a conciliar manner to develop a foundation to build a unified local Church to meet the spiritual needs of the people living in this geographic area.

The essential document to emerge from the historic Episcopal Assembly is the MESSAGE quoted in part as an introduction to my comments. The Message was collaboratively developed and approved by all the bishops. Further more the document enumerated long overdue actions including establishing:

A registry of canonical bishops

A committee to determine the canonical status of local communities in the region that have no reference to the Most Holy Autocephalous Churches.

A registry of canonical clergy

Committees to undertake the work of the Assembly, among others including liturgical, pastoral, financial, educational ecumenical and legal issues
A committee to plan for the organization of the Orthodox of the region on a canonical basis

A directory of all canonical congregations in our region.

Study this MESSAGE for it is a primary source of information and contains the practical results of the meeting.

Brotherhood and Unity are hallmarks of the first meeting

Another excellent primary source that gives us a feeling of the historical nature of this meeting was developed by Father Andrew S. Damick who was present in the meeting rooms. His report has been transmitted on many Orthodox Christian internet sites and can be read at http://www.ocl.org. Father Damick states “There was not politicking going on in the halls and at meals. There were just men working together. It was all almost routine, not particularly energetic. They were clearly comfortable with each other…. “Another priest present “interpreted this apparent brotherhood very positively, saying that this may represent another step in the formation of a mutual identity.”

Indeed the Holy Spirit is at work in this process of building up the foundation for a Unified Orthodox Christian Church in the United States through the common actions of our bishops to meet the spiritual needs of the faithful in this land and culture. We are gratefully to Lord that the bishops took positive long overdue steps to develop the blueprint for the unified, self governing Orthodox Christian Church in the United States. The bishops met in harmony and left in peace. They established positive relationships.

Leadership Noted and Commended

The work of the Holy Spirit is carried out though faithful Servants of the Lord and we commend all of our bishops who attended. We especially note the leadership of Archbishop Demetrios, a man of prayer, who personifies the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. He is wise and worthy! He successfully convened and brought to conclusion this First Assembly. We note that much pressure was put on him before hand by the Patriarchate, special interests in the Archdiocese and foreign governments. It seems he has to always be looking behind his back to get things done. May God continue to grant him good health, strength and many years! We also credit the success of the meeting to His Beatitude Jonah, born and nurtured in America, not a prisoner of Old World History and the Roman Empire, free of foreign domination. He is an example of the servant Bishop and has through humility brought the bishops of the Orthodox Church in America OCA to the discussion as canonical bishops. Archbishop Demetrios and His Beatitude Jonah, by their example of love=giving something up for the greater good, have made the assembly representative of the Bishops of America so that the first steps can be taken to develop the blueprint for a unified, multicultural Orthodox Church in America. Despite the considerations of Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey (GOA) the seating of the OCA was a non issue.

Moving Forward

Now the work begins and the details need to be worked out. The Secretariat of the Assembly elected and is headed by Bishop Basil of Wichita, KS. Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese AOCA. The work of the Assembly is on a fast track especially if the Great and Holy Council will be convened as indicated by some as early as 2013. This Great Council is a meeting of all Orthodox Bishops throughout the world. They are called together to make conciliar decisions concerning issues related to the faith. The last such meeting was held over 1000 years ago. We look forward to see how the committees developing the foundation for the unified and hopefully self-governing Orthodox Church in the United States will be organized. How will the faithful People of God, clergy and laity, participate in developing the blueprint for a unified, self governing Orthodox Church in the United States? We also would like to know how this process of continuing the work of the Assembly will be financed. We also expect that the work of the Assembly will be transparent and accountable to the People of God as well as the ancient Patriarchs and all the participating local hierarchs. We are prayerful that a transcript of the May 26-28 meeting in NYC will be released.

Communication with each other is necessary in this transitional period.

As we move ahead it is my hope that laypersons and clergy with courage will develop regional and local meetings and communicate with each other. The success of building up the Church in the United States depends on the thoughtful and active communication and participation of mature faithful people. We hope that each region’s clergy associations and hierarchs of all jurisdictions will meet together regularly during this transition period. The Pan Orthodox Meeting in Detroit in early May 2010 to discuss the conveying of the Episcopal Assembly is a model. It was highly successful and informative. Groups of laity such as OCL and others need to network and develop materials and regional forums to discuss WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A LOCAL CHURCH. We must stay focused in this transitional period and keep our eye on the prize of Orthodox Christian Unity and self governance. The grassroots faithful need to be actively involved in building up the church. They have been involved. They established all the SCOBA agencies and then when they were up and working successfully they were blessed. They established many of the Churches here before the archdioceses of any jurisdiction were in place. The faithful laity has always been as Archbishop Iakovos of blessed memory said “the wind beneath the wings” of the bishops. It is time to bring them into the process. Building the Church in the United States is the work of all the people of God in synergy with each other.

Posted by Peter J. Petkas at 6:38 PM No comments:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pentecost 2010 Springtime for the Church in the Americas!

Behold how good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity.
Psalm 133:1

George Matsoukas
Executive Director
Orthodox Christian Laity

During the week following Pentecost, May 26-27, 2010 sixty five Orthodox Christian bishops, who have their sees in North and Central America, have been invited to gather at the Helmsley Park Hotel. The bishops will convene as the Episcopal Assembly which is an interim-transitional governing body of the Orthodox Christian Church in this New World territory. The purpose of the Assembly is to begin the process of developing the foundation for a canonically ordered unified Orthodox Church in the Americas. The blueprint that they develop for a canonically United Church will require more than this initial meeting. This process must eventually involve the whole body of the Church including clergy and laity. The final product, fashioned through a conciliar process and representing the work of the people of God will be presented for approval by the Great and Holy Council of all Orthodox bishops. This Council is part of the process of Orthodox Christian renewal and will be convened in the near future. This first meeting of bishops is a step in the process of developing working relationships with each other, asking the appropriate questions, defining the geographic territories of the Church, identifying resources available to them and setting up the appropriate committees.

This first Episcopal Assembly is different from other meetings of Orthodox Bishops such as the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas SCOBA or other Episcopal Meetings because this meeting has the blessing of all 14 Old World Primates of Orthodox Churches. It is the result of the Synaxis of Orthodox Primates that met in Istanbul/Constantinople October 2008 in response to the call of His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. At that time the Primates declared that canonical order needs to be established in the so called Diaspora. In Orthodox Christianity all of us are in a Diaspora waiting to go home to the Lord. This unfortunate term has been used to describe people not living in traditional Orthodox lands – i.e. lands beyond the Old Roman Empire. Orthodox canonical order relates to the fact that there should be one bishop in one city. All 14 old world Primates signed the document authorizing the establishment of Episcopal Assemblies that will take place in the New World, Western Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia. The Episcopal Assemblies are meeting with the blessing of all the Primates.

In June and December 2009 representatives of these 14 Old World Primates met in Chambesy, Switzerland. These meetings were convened by the Ecumenical Patriarch and chaired by Metropolitan John of Pergamon. The results were the Rules of Operation for the hosting, conveying and carrying out the work of the Episcopal Assemblies. Hosting an Assembly is not an easy matter for the North and Central America. This Episcopal Assembly brings together 65 bishops from 14 different jurisdictions, who are of different ethnicities, cultures and nationalities spread over an enormous land mass, many of whom have not met each other before, who are mostly extensions of their mother countries and not autonomous, who are governed by church “protocol.”

Notwithstanding these challenges we are confident that the imperative to Unite will overcome any differences because these bishops are all Orthodox Christians and are guided by the Holy Spirit. They reflect the realities of a multicultural Orthodox Christian faith – the Apostolic faith established at Pentecost in Jerusalem over two thousand years ago. They are the survivors of persecution, extermination, secularism, phlytism. “Their faith, even if it is as tiny as a mustard seed will make all things possible.” Matt. 17-20. They have been charged to create Canonical order which will lead to a glorious transformation of Orthodox Christianity in the New World.

The Rules of Operation require the conveners of the Episcopal Assemblies to be the representative of the Patriarch of Constantinople and if in some land he is not represented, the Order of the Diptychs will be followed and the convener is the next in rank as a matter of Protocol. In the New World we are blessed to have such a worthy leader in the person of Archbishop Demetrios. He personifies the Fruits of the Holy Spirit and will be able to assist and inspire his brother bishops to work in a conciliar manner. His coordinator is the indefatigable Father Mark Arey SCOBA Coordinator. He is working with selected members of the SOCBA planning committee to bring the First Assembly to a successful beginning. The Episcopal Assembly will meet on May 25-27 and will decide what administrative structure will be used for their future meetings when they meet on May 26-27. The Episcopal Assembly replaces SCOBA which is now disbanded. The Episcopal Assembly will decide how to integrate SCOBA agencies in the transformational structure.

What can we expect from the Episcopal Assembly? The Episcopal Assembly is not a business meeting. It is the bishops of the Church doing the work of the Church. The bishops of the New World Territories, North and Central America, will demonstrate to the Old World Primates that they can work together in a mature manner to establish a canonically united Church. If they cannot work together, then the canonical order will be imposed by the Old World Primates. The Plan they create will be presented to the Great and Holy Council for final decisions. It should be noted that the Rules of Operation call for the agenda of the meeting to be approved by the Assembly. Matters related to canonical order will be decided by consensus and each jurisdiction will have one vote. For example if 10 bishops are representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate they will all reach a consensus amongst themselves and cast one vote on the matter before them. The whole body will meet yearly or more frequently if they decide more frequent meetings are necessary. The Executive Committee will meet every three months and whenever necessary at the invitation of the Chairman or at the written request that shows cause of one third of its members.

Between now and the convening of the Episcopal Assembly it is recommend that you familiarize yourself with the primary documents associated with the meeting. They are:

1. Press Release pertinent to the October 2008 Meeting of All the Primates at the Ecumenical Patriarchate; 2. The Two Chambesy Documents: The Decision and the Rules of Operation June 6-13 2009 and 3.SCOBA Encyclical February 21, 2010 issued on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. These documents are posted on the OCL web site http://www.ocl.org. You may also want to read the OCL publication Orthodox Christianity at the Crossroad: A Great Council of the Church-When and Why available on line at Amazon.com or at Barnes and Noble. The 1994 publication Project for Orthodox Renewal available from Light and Life includes a comprehensive chapter “Orthodox Unity.

It should be noted that 10 Bishops of the South American Church met April 16-18 in San Pablo Brazil. The host was Archbishop Damaskinos of the Antiochian Archdiocese. The meeting focused on the adoption of a Spanish version of the documents of Chambesy and presented the situation of each Orthodox Church in South America. The Assembly established an Executive Committee.

It is the duty and responsibility of the faithful – clergy and laity- to look beyond their local parish interests and be concerned with the renewal process taking place world wide in the Orthodox Christian World. The faithful parishioners – the royal priesthood -need to be aware of what when, where and how the Assemblies respond to the challenges placed upon them. They have the responsibility t ask questions of their bishops and provide them with input. The renewal of the structure of the Church impacts each and every one of us and cannot take place without our input and involvement. We are experiencing and living through the first steps of renewal of the Church in one thousand years. This is the opportunity and challenge of the laity and the clergy as well as the opportunity and challenge of the hierarchy.

What can we do? How can we help? I suggest that the first step of meaningful involvement includes praying for the Holy Spirit to enlighten our bishops to do what is best for the renewal of the Church in the New World. The petitions regarding this Episcopal Assembly that have been included in the Divine Liturgy of the Churches within the OCA are excellent prayers that we can pray everyday until the work of the Assembly is completed and the Great and Holy Council is convened. They are:

V: That the Lord may grant our Hierarchs gathering in Episcopal Assembly to grow in wisdom and strength, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and to increase in love for each other, deepening Christian fellowship so that conciliar decisions may build up a canonically united Orthodox Christian Church of the Americas, let us pray to the Lord.

R: Lord have mercy! Lord have mercy! Lord have mercy!

V: That their work may be guided by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and that the Spirit of unity and love, of compassion and mutual respect, inspiring each to contribute what will build up the Body of Christ, may move us all to rejoice in the full unity of the Church, let us pray to the Lord.

R: Lord have mercy! Lord have mercy! Lord have mercy!

V: Furthermore, we ask that God bless the work of all His People, uniting them for the building up of His Holy Orthodox Church of the Americas, let us pray to the Lord.

Posted by Peter J. Petkas at 7:34 PM No comments:

What’s Fate of Orthodox Unity and Diaspora? - The National Herald

May 7, 2010

"Behold now, what is so good or so joyous as for brethren to dwell together in unity?" PSALM 132

By Peter Marudas

Special to The National Herald

BALTIMORE- In late May, a meeting of potentially enormous significance for the Orthodox Church in America will occur in New York City when all Orthodox Bishops in good standing in North and Central America convene for a first-ever Episcopal Assembly. This unprecedented gathering has received little attention in most Orthodox circles and virtually none in the wider religious and secular media.

Nevertheless, its implications for the future of Orthodox Christianity in the Americas are both hopeful and controversial. The historic Episcopal Assembly will take place shortly after the Great Feast of Pentecost – the Kairos - when the Holy Spirit inspired the disciples to establish the Church.

Until 18 months ago, the mere contemplation of such a meeting would have been considered unthinkable in view of long-standing and entrenched official opposition to even discussing the question of closer intra-Orthodox relations. In recent years, a few Orthodox hierarchs with some support from clergy and laity openly but unsuccessfully championed unity initiatives. But with the exception of Orthodox Christian Laity, no group has consistently or aggressively pursued Orthodox unity in America. In October, 2008 the unity landscape experienced an earthquake, when His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew convened in Istanbul, a Synaxis (gathering) of the leaders of all Autocephalous (independent) Orthodox Churches; the entire leadership of world Orthodoxy.

At that meeting, Patriarch Bartholomew delivered a remarkable address about the dangers of division among the Orthodox in the so-called Diaspora and the pressing need for these believers to unify themselves in a way consistent with church tradition. Immediately, the assembled Orthodox leaders unanimously endorsed a communiqué calling for a process to address Diaspora issues - and to the shock of many - for the convocation of a Great and Holy Council of Orthodoxy; an encouraging announcement for those seeking greater Orthodox unity both here and abroad.

THE SWISS GAMBIT

The Church leadership further directed their individual representatives to convene two meetings at the Patriarchal complex in Chambesy, Switzerland in June and December, 2009 to formulate specific plans for implementing their declarations regarding the status of the Orthodox in traditionally non-Orthodox lands. These deliberations expeditiously produced guidelines which required the formation of Episcopal Assemblies in a number of geographical regions and the Orthodox Church in uncharacteristic fashion managed in a matter of only 18 months to move from Istanbul to New York via Chambesy and convene this unprecedented meeting whose assignment is to chart the Church's future course in North and Central America.

This sudden change of heart and mind by Orthodoxy's leaders - all centered abroad - about Orthodox unity in the Diaspora has naturally provoked ecclesiastical and political commentary. Irrespective of such speculation, we can reasonably conclude that Orthodox leaders for whatever reason clearly decided to put aside any disputes in order to reach unanimous agreement on this unity initiative. Their actions should also be measured in the context of related developments, most notably the reunification of ROCOR (The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia) with the Patriarchate of Moscow and All Russia, which ended a bitter schism generated by the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. This reunion meant that the membership of SCOBA (The Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of America) for the first time included all recognized Orthodox jurisdictions. In that respect, there is already serious talk that one likely result of the upcoming Assembly is that SCOBA, whose membership is limited only to church heads; will dissolve to be replaced by a new entity.

While local Orthodox cooperation has generally been limited, national Pan-Orthodox organizations such as OCMC (Orthodox Christian Mission Center,) IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities,) OCF (Orthodox College Fellowship,) OCN (Orthodox Christian Network) and other groups continue to flourish and build strong bridges of intra-Orthodox collaboration of bishops have never publicly commented about Orthodox unity in the Americas, although some have called for an independent American church while others have expressed strong opposition to any change in present ecclesiastical arrangements.
As the regional representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Archbishop Dimitrios will have the honor and critical responsibility of chairing this meeting. Perhaps the Assembly should be compared to our the Constitutional Congress where delegates had to organize themselves, create and adopt rules of procedure and then decide on an agenda which in this instance could be a topic of prolonged discussion and debate. Skeptics with some historic basis, but also with what some critics called hasty prejudgment, contend that the Episcopal Assemblies are merely a ploy by "Old World" Patriarchates to sidetrack any real progress toward unity.

They cite past actions by overseas Orthodox centers, which stifled efforts to seek unity and assert that the "church establishment" is deliberatively downplaying public attention on the Episcopal Assembly as a means of minimizing expectations and maximizing control. Others believe that such speculation, however, seems premature, as are more optimistic expectations that the Assembly would declare on the spot a united Orthodox Church in America, Canada and/or Central America. At this point, no one can with any certainty predict, given the unprecedented nature of this meeting, what will happen.

HOW MUCH AMERICAN INVOLVEMENT?

A wait and see attitude is certainly in order but the Bishops might give a hint about their intentions when they organize relevant committees to carry forward the Assembly's work. Under the rules, the Bishops may form committees comprised of their own membership but also open to clergy and lay participation. Whether these committees and other Assembly organs reflect legitimate, real and broad-based lay participation in the spirit of Orthodox conciliation and American inclusiveness and transparency may reveal how much. How the Bishops approach this task and what plans they have for a broader dialogue within the entire church will be crucial indicators, those close to the church believe.

Orthodox Christian Laity and other advocates of Orthodox unity (Full disclosure: I am an OCL board member) support the process established by the Istanbul and Chambesy meetings and view the Episcopal Assembly as the fullest and most tangible expression yet of a united Orthodox presence in America.

Episcopal Assemblies are merely a ploy by "Old World" Patriarchates to sidetrack any real progress toward unity.

Any results or decisions emanating from New York are unlikely to have any immediate effect on the Orthodox faithful but the meeting itself will raise questions, such as:

•Will the move towards Orthodox unity deliberately weaken ethnic affiliations and lead to the imposition of an English language liturgy?
• Will church-related ethnic language schools be abolished?

That’s a question not just limited to the Greek Orthodox. No such actions are likely but in the months and years ahead the Bishops and the entire church must be prepared to deal seriously and honestly with these and many other similar, provocative questions.

Clearly the mosaic of Orthodoxy in the Americas is dramatically different from the immigrant-dominated Church of the early Twentieth Century. Recent immigrants from Eastern Europe and the Middle East still enter the Church. But most members are descended from earlier immigrants and it is their marriages - many of them inter-faith – that have produced new members. These worshippers have also been joined in recent decades by an increasing number of Americans who have converted to Orthodoxy; sometime with families and friends. These developments pose challenges but also offer opportunities to acquaint the broader American community with historic Orthodox theology and practice.

One very current and extremely encouraging example of how Orthodoxy is preparing to engage the religious dialogue in America is expressed in the theme of the forthcoming St. Vladimir's Seminary Summer Symposium, "Hellenism and Orthodoxy (June 10-12.) Not only will Archbishop Demetrios deliver the symposium keynote but the Very Rev. Dr. Archimandrite Elpidophoros Lambrianiadis, Chief Secretary of the Holy & Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate will discuss Hellenism and Orthodox Identity in North America.

The symposium will feature an impressive array of younger and thoughtful Orthodox speakers - panelists from America and abroad who will discuss how Hellenism, a critical component of Orthodox tradition, transcends conventional and generally narrower nationalistic perceptions. The seminar represents a working Pan-Orthodoxy at the highest theological and intellectual levels and perhaps could even eventually reach all the faithful.

Clearly something is stirring in world Orthodoxy. It was evident at the Synaxis of October, 2008, which forthrightly called for a Great and Holy Council- the last was held in 1872. It was also expressed at the subsequent Chambesy meetings and now is emerging in the regional Episcopal assemblies scheduled to convene around the world. These actions, unprecedented in both scope and speed, demonstrate to some that the Orthodox peoples are finally and confidently emerging from centuries of suffering and martyrdom to engage each other in the light of God's freedom. Strengthened by their sacrifices they are now able to bring the Orthodox message to the entire Oikoumene.

As these developments unfold, it is instructive to observe that as Orthodoxy embarks on what could be an unprecedented step toward unity in America, Roman Catholicism and Protestantism - in sharp contrast – have been and are consumed with fierce feuding involving both secular and faith matters; many of them so-called hot-button issues. This should signal caution to the Orthodox as they phase out from Old World divisions and into newer realities and many believe they must remain steadfastly faithful to the Church's theological and liturgical tradition and ever vigilant to avoid the fads, factionalism and rampant individualism, which regretfully constitute much of what they believe, passes for so-called contemporary American Christianity. On the other hand, they said that the Church, as it evolves, should seek to incorporate those practices of institutional integrity and collective and individual philanthropy, which distinguishes the many beneficent aspects of American religious life.

Perhaps guidance may also be found in the sentiments expressed by the late Dr. Jaroslav Pelikan, the Twentieth Century's pre-eminent historian of Christianity who late in life left the Protestant Church of his childhood to become Orthodox. Following a lecture in 1998 at Baltimore's prestigious St. Mary's Seminary and University, he was asked why he had become an Orthodox? He initially declined to respond but then replied by stating he would provide his questioner with what he called a Western Answer: "What was de facto is now de jure," an obvious allusion to his long time sympathy for Orthodoxy and Western Christianity's preoccupation with legal definitions and theological precision. That could be an example as perhaps the Eastern Orthodox Bishops have already unified de facto by Liturgy and The Eucharist may also, in the spirit of Dr. Pelikan produce a de jure response at their May Assembly and maybe even produce the beginning of a clear path to ecclesiastical unity in America.

Posted by Peter J. Petkas at 7:21 PM No comments:

Alex Petkas Update -- 24 March 2010

24 March 2010

TO: Friends and family

Alex (with wife Emily) has spent a year in Philadelphia in a post Baccalaureate program in Classics at Penn. He finished one semester at St. Vladimir's Orthodox seminary then returned to Houston for what would have been a year and a half non-academic "sabbatical." He learned about this program just in time to get into it last fall, so his sabbatical was mercifully cut short. Penn is one of several places on the planet that has a classics faculty -- we are talking Greek and Latin -- with special strengths in 2nd & 3rd Century AD and early Byzantine literature, Alex's areas of interest.

Needless to say, he did extremely well, impressed the faculty, and recently received rather generous offers to join the PhD programs at Penn, Princeton, and the University of California at Berkeley, the latter two also having special strengths in his areas of interest. Though he loves Penn and was much more impressed with Berkeley than he expected, when they flew him west for a rather intensive meet and greet, he made his choice official today by notifying Princeton of his acceptance of their offer. All three offered what amounted to 5 or 6 years of tuition waivers plus a generous stipend and summer subsidies. For us this means that Alex will be (at least officially) off our payroll while he works on his PhD and for him it will mean he will be more or less free of debt at the end. And for Emily it means she will be able to work somewhere else than Starbucks and, at some point along the way, go to law school.

To say that Martha and I – and Belle too – are proud of him would be an understatement, especially given his on-line gaming detour (and resulting academic stumble) during the first couple of years of high school. Emily has done quite well on her first run at the LSAT – well within the range of students at top law schools -- and hopes to do even better next time

Alex can be reached at alex@petkas.com or apetkas@gmail.com or on his cell at 713-2031529. Emily can be reached at emily@petkas.com or emilybower6@gmail.com or on her cell at 281-610-0657.

Posted by Peter J. Petkas at 4:21 PM No comments:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Right" to Life for the Born and the Unborn


This is one issue on which Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who has taken a very Orthodox and nuanced stance on questions of human life and human sexuality, and I are on the same page. We cannot become agitated about the right to life of the unborn, until we get clear on the right to life of the born – universal health care, the end of capital punishment, removing cancer-inducing chemicals in our food and in the air we breathe, preventing our children (and discouraging our friends) from eating themselves to death at McDonald’s and other fast food venues, dealing with drug and alcohol addiction, etc., etc., etc., etc. Let’s make life for the born at least as much a priority and with at least the same fervor, if not more, as life for the unborn. Stated another way, if we insist on bringing every fetus into the world, let us work hard to make the world safe for them and the rest of us – grant them a right to live as well as right to life. Or maybe, “If we grant those who have been born the right to live, then maybe we can figure out a way to perfect the right to life for the unborn.”

I should add that speaking of these profound issues in terms of "rights" is a peculiarly Western and American way of thinking about values and obligations. There seems to be a Western compulsion to view even complex philosophical and theological questions in legalistic terms. By thinking this way we of the West tend to obscure nuances, subtleties, and mysteries, on the one hand, and force our thinking into narrow, rigid, and sometimes formalistic channels, on the other. By seeking to draw up "rules and regulations" about what is True and False, what is Good and Evil, we can lose track of the Big Picture, of the Truth of God, of the Mysteries of Life.

The Patriarch says it well and in a truly Orthodox way. In his 2008 book, “Encountering the Mystery: Understanding Orthodox Christianity Today” (p. 150), he writes:

I also encounter many and diverse issues related to the sanctity of life from birth through death. Those issues range from sensitive matters of sexuality to highly controversial questions like the death penalty. In all such social and moral issues, it is not one or another position that the Orthodox Church seeks to promote in a defensive spirit. Indeed, we would normally refrain from expounding a single rigidly defined dogma on social and moral challenges. Rather, it is the sacredness of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God, that the Church at all times seeks to underline.


Those who would demand that our hierarchs and Patriarchs spew forth moral diktats and involve themselves in political controversies are, quite unintentionally I believe, pushing our Churches to become Eastern versions of the Church of Rome. If we as Orthodox Americans feel deeply about such issues as state-sanctioned abortions, or for that matter, safe workplaces, healthy diets, capital punishment, and clean air, to cite a few examples of issues laden with moral and theological implications, then we should exercise all the tools of citizenship in this great country to influence the debate and shape the outcome. We ought not drag the Church into these conflicts and thereby undermine both its moral and its doctrinal authority while re-defining its role in ways alien to Orthodoxy.

Posted by Peter J. Petkas at 1:34 PM No comments:

An Evening in Beaumont 11/28/09

Last night Belle and I spent the evening at ”THE THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT / CURED PARTY” for Charlene Bourque at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Engineers Hall on Spindletop Road in Beaumont, Texas, about 80 miles east of Houston. Charlene has been one of several cancer patients at MD Anderson Cancer Center here whom we’ve leant the use of our garage apartment for extended or intermittent stays during their treatment. Charlene is a friend of a friend of Belle’s daughter Amy. She suffered from acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and went through horrendously difficult chemotherapy for the better part of the 8 or 9 months (for her story go to http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/charlenebourque).

Charlene and her husband Scooter (yes, Scooter) invited us to stay with them in their home in Lumberton Texas (about 9 miles north of Beaumont) last night after the big party at the IBEW Hall. Charlene and her family and her extended family are deeply religious. She called the 350 or so people who gathered for the celebration – of her apparent cure – her “prayer warriors.” You might think these folks must be Southern Baptists or Evangelicals. No, Roman Catholics. They are also deeply “West Louisianan” “coon-asses” (they call themselves that – proudly) -– Cajuns from that southeastern corner of Texas that, though west of the Sabine River, is culturally, ethnically, and every-otherwise-an extension of Louisiana Cajun country. For these people, family is bigger than faith, though faith is pervasive. The admixture of old French and more recent Italian, Greek, and Lebanese immigrants who worked – and still do – in the refineries and petrochemical plants and rice and cattle farms of the upper Texas and Louisiana coastal plan was, until last night, something I vaguely knew about, but had never experienced. (My dad grew up in Alexandria, Louisiana, whose culture now and in my Dad’s era, is a fascinating combination of the Red Neck South and Acadiana.

Listen to the names of some of the families at the party last night: Paladino, Garrod, Perello, Hebert (“a bear”), Pampolina, Gaspard, Restrepo, Boudreaux, Carizano, Begnaud (“beg no”), Pillitere, Guilbeaux, with a few Richeys, Davises, Smiths, and Murphys thrown in for good measure. Half the Italians had “Cajun” middle names and visa versa. The food was Texas Barbeque and potato salad and Cajun red beans and rice (“dirty rice” we call it – dark with filet gumbo seasoning) chased down with wine or Bud or Miller Lite. Local music impresario and cousin of Charlene’s, Phillip Pampolina, supplied the country & western, Cajun, and classic rock sounds as the women “line danced” and couples (like Belle and I) just danced to. And this was a family affair – kids of all ages infants to 83 (or more) – joined in the celebration.

A side note about Scooter Bourque whom I got to know a bit more last night: He grew up in Port Arthur, Texas (down the road a piece from Beaumont) and Brussels, Belgium, where he became fluent in real, not Cajun, French. His dad was a chemical engineer for Texaco. He spent 25 years as what Charlene called “a shift worker” at the North Star Steel mill in Vidor, Texas and then up and left and started his own now very successful business supplying air filtration equipment to schools, hospitals, and businesses in this corner of Texas. You can tell by his name, he’s a “coon ass.”

An evening to remember and cherish.

Posted by Peter J. Petkas at 11:30 AM
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Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:32 am

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W. Harrison Wellford
Retired Partner
by Latham & Watkins
https://www.lw.com/people/W-HarrisonWellford

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


PROFILE

Harrison Wellford retired from Partnership on June 30, 2006. He was a partner in the Washington, D.C. office, where he also served as co-chairman of the firm's energy practice. In the 1980's, he was a leading advocate for the creation of the competitive power industry and was a founder of the largest trade association for the independent power companies. He served as outside counsel, strategic advisor and investor in two of the leading independent cogeneration power companies created during that time, Intercontinental Energy Corporation and Sithe Energies. From 1995-1998, he was Chairman of the firm's International Practice, directing Latham's expansion in Asia and other parts of the world. From 1998 to 2000, Mr. Wellford was Vice Chairman of Sithe Energies, Inc., one of the world's largest merchant power generation companies. Since 2000, in addition to ongoing work in mergers and acquisitions and energy project finance, Mr. Wellford has assisted a number of renewable energy, energy efficiency, resource recovery and environmental technology companies with private equity financing, project financing, and mergers and acquisitions.

Mr. Wellford holds a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University where he was a Danforth Fellow and Teaching Fellow and a Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law School. He was a Marshall Scholar at Cambridge University and valedictorian of his graduating class at Davidson College.

Mr. Wellford has advised Democratic President-elects, Presidential nominees and Senate Committees on Presidential transition planning for over 20 years. In 1976-77, he was head of the Government Reform Task Force for President-elect Carter's Transition Team and prepared the White House staff organization plan for the new President. In 1980-1981, he served as Presidential Transition Director for Executive Departments and Agencies during the Carter-Reagan transition. In 1992, Mr. Wellford served as White House transition advisor to President-elect Clinton and served on the Economic Policy Group of the Transition Team with responsibility for planning Congressional budget strategy. In 2004, he chaired Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry's pre-election transition team responsible for organizing the transition of the White House Staff and the Executive Office of the President.

From 1977-1981, Mr. Wellford was Executive Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Executive Office of the President. He was in charge of management, reorganization and regulatory policy for OMB. He served for four years as Executive Director of the President's Reorganization Project which prepared and advocated before Congress executive agency reorganization plans for the Executive Office of the President, the Dept. of Energy, the Dept. of Education, the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency (FEMA), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and several other agencies.

In the US Senate between 1972-76, Mr. Wellford served as Chief Legislative Assistant to the late Senator Philip A. Hart, chairman of the Antitrust and Environment Subcommittees in the Senate. Between 1969-1972, he was a public interest advocate, serving as Executive Director of the Center for Study of Responsive Law (popularly known as "Nader's Raiders"), and advocating environmental and consumer causes before the Congress and Executive agencies.

He has written two books, Sowing the Wind, a study of government regulation of environmental hazards, and Unfair Competition? The Challenge to Charitable Tax Exemptions. His articles have appeared in Harpers, Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Monthly, the Outlook Section of the Washington Post and other national and professional publications.

Mr. Wellford served on the Board of the Center for Sustainable Development in the Americas, a NGO whose mission is the mitigation of Greenhouse Gases through the trading of carbon credits. He was Secretary Treasurer and a founding board member of Friends of Art and Preservation in Embassies, a nonprofit that uses donations of art and garden landscaping to enhance the cultural ambience of American embassies throughout the world, and a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and the Center for Excellence in Government. He has also served as a Trustee of Davidson College and has served on the boards of public companies including Vivendi North America, Sithe Energies and the General Nutrition Corporation.

Bar Qualification
District of Columbia

Education
JD, Georgetown University Law Center, 1976
Ph.D., Harvard University, 1976
MA, Cambridge University, 1963
BA, Davidson College, 1962
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Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:35 am

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FIELD NOTES – Neil G. McBride
(compiled May 28, 2010)
Interviewee: Neil McBride
Interviewer: Jessica Wilkerson
Interview Date: May 27, 2010
Location: Oak Ridge, TN

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YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


THE INTERVIEWEE. Neil McBride was born on December 12, 1945 in Dallas, Texas. He received his J.D. from the University of Virginia in 1970. After graduating, he worked for a year as the Southern Director of the Law Students Civil Rights Research Council in Atlanta, GA. He then worked for a year as a staff attorney on Aviation Consumer Action Project, established by Ralph Nader. From 1973 to 1978, he worked as a staff attorney for the East Tennessee Research Corporation, a rural public interest law firm funded largely by the Ford Foundation that provided legal and technical assistance to community organizations in East Tennessee. From 1978 to 2001, he served as director of Rural Legal Services of Tennessee. He is currently General Counsel to the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed McBride to the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors.

THE INTERVIEWER. Jessica Wilkerson is a graduate student in the Department of History at UNC-Chapel Hill, currently conducting research for her dissertation which will explore social justice activism in southern Appalachia, with special attention to women’s activism, from the late 1960s through the 1990s.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INTERVIEW. I met Neil McBride at his office in Oak Ridge, TN. The first couple of sentences of the recording were cut from the audio, but nothing of significance was lost besides the introduction. Mr. McBride willingly shared his history as a public-interest advocate in East Tennessee and gave a good overview of the types of community activism that he has helped to support in the region. There were no interruptions during the interview.

CONTENT OF THE INTERVIEW. Neil McBride discussed his work with Ralph Nader; involvement in setting up the East Tennessee Research Corporation; describes the work of the East Tennessee Research Corporation; the Tennessee Valley Authority Public Participation Project; starting the Coal Employment Project; influences on his work Tennessee; the relationship between the East Tennessee Research Corporation and community-based activism in Appalachia; Vanderbilt Student Health Coalition; Save Our Cumberland Mountains; gender and women’s issues in Appalachia; economic justice campaigns in East Tennessee; race relations and civil rights in East Tennessee.
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Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:52 am

Sen. Bob Corker says the TVA Board of Directors has only one member with “any corporate board experience,” raising questions about its “entire governance structure"
By Tom Humphrey
August 26th, 2012
http://www.politifact.com/tennessee/sta ... as-only-o/

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-- Neil McBride, an Oak Ridge lawyer and adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee School of Law who is also general counsel for the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands.


Back in 2004, Bill Frist, then Senate majority leader, spearheaded congressional passage of legislation that eliminated the Tennessee Valley Authority's three-member, full-time board of directors and replaced it with a panel of nine part-time directors. Sen. Bob Corker, who succeeded Frist in a Tennessee Senate seat, now says the board isn't working out.

Corker first questioned TVA's governance structure and the qualifications of board members in an August news release. He elaborated in subsequent interviews, telling the Chattanooga Times-Free Press: "As you look at TVA today as an $11 billion-a-year company with tremendous challenges, it has a board of directors with the qualifications that I think would cause most Tennesseans to be very concerned. . . . We have only one person on the board, to my knowledge, who even has any corporate board experience."

We understand that picking TVA board members involves a political process -- they're nominated by the president and must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. But has that really left governance of a governmental agency with $11 billion in revenues and almost $30 billion in debt to folks without appropriate corporate management experience?

As a starting point, it should be noted that the board, authorized for nine members, currently has just six and two of those have terms that will expire at the end of this year. President Obama nominated Peter Mahurin of Bowling Green, Ky., as a new board member in February, but there has so far been no Senate committee hearing scheduled on his confirmation.

It's thus at least possible the TVA board could lack a quorum of five members for meetings by the end of the year. That, setting aside qualification questions, would raise concern for whether the board could even function.

The one board member who Corker counts as having corporate board experience is Bill Sansom, the chairman. He is the longtime chairman and CEO of H.T. Hackney Co., a Knoxville firm in the wholesale grocery and furniture manufacturing business.

The other five sitting members:

-- Marilyn A. Brown of Atlanta, a professor of energy policy at Georgia Technological Institute and a "distinguished visiting scientist" at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

-- William Graves of Memphis, who retired in 2010 as presiding bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and who served on the board of Memphis Light, Gas and Water.

-- Barbara S. Haskew of Chattanooga, an economic professor at Middle Tennessee State University who previously served as dean of the College of Business Administration and worked for eight years as a TVA manager.

-- Richard Howorth, founder and owner of Square Books, an independent bookstore with two affiliates operations who is a past chairman of the American Booksellers Association. He served eight years as mayor of Oxford, Miss., and chaired the Oxford Electric Authority.

-- Neil McBride, an Oak Ridge lawyer and adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee School of Law who is also general counsel for the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands.

Brown and Graves are the board members with terms expiring this year.

Of this group, it would appear that Howorth might come closest to Sansom in business management background. In a telephone interview, Howorth declined to address Corker's comments directly, but said he does believe his background has provided ample executive experience to oversee TVA's operations.

"If I didn't, I wouldn't have agreed to take the job," Howorth said.

He spent 11 years on the board of directors of the American Booksellers Association, including two years as president and chairman, Howorth said. The association, a non-profit corporation, had a $40 million budget and the position "required a great deal of engagement," he said. Serving as a city's chief executive officer and as chairman of the electric board could also be viewed as the equivalent of corporate board experience, he suggested.

There's also the pending nomination of Mahurin, who is chairman of Hilliard Lyons Financial Services and who serves on five other corporate boards of directors, according to the White House press release announcing his nomination. Hilliard Lyons has 400 financial consultants operating in 12 states, according to the company website.

And some might see Graves' service on the board of MGLW, which serves some 430,000 customers, as providing an appropriate boardroom background though the ministry has been his primary profession.

A call to Corker's office for elaboration on his comments brought a return call from the senator himself.

"This is no way an attempt take shots at anyone," he said. "It's really about the federal process."

For presidents of both political parties, he said, appointment of TVA directors is "a hassle and to some degree an annoyance" that at times seems to involve "just crossing "Ts" and dotting ‘Is’ for political considerations."


"TVA is not that important overall to the federal government and certainly not to administrations of either ilk," he said. "It is extremely important to Tennessee. A big part of our economic future depends on TVA."

Corker said there is a need to "come up with a remedy" that meets needs all people in the TVA valley and indicated he will be engaged in that process, though declining to be specific about what reforms are in order.

The senator did not retreat from his contention that the board today is short on the corporate board experience needed for running an enterprise holding a regional monopoly in power production, though he repeatedly emphasized he was not criticizing anyone individually.

"Who knows? We may have four of five of the most stellar people on earth put forward to run TVA," he said. "But that hasn't happened before."

Corker expressed doubt about whether running a bookstore or even a national booksellers association counts as corporate board experience. As for the pending nomination Mahurin, Corker said "it sounds like he does have some experience" and that he hopes to learn more about the nominee's qualifications and background.

Our ruling

Corker’s point holds up, though we did find some other board members with experience they believe is equivalent to the corporate board experience the senator wants. Since that context was missing, we rate this statement Mostly True.
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Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:39 pm

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In 1969 Haseltine became privy to information suggesting that government officials were suppressing information about the teratogenicity (a cause of bith defects) of 2,4,5-T -- the compound that comprised half of Agent Orange. During the fall semester, Haseltine ran a lecutre series in his department at Harvard, where he hosted Anita Johnson, a young law student and a member of "Nader's Raiders," Ralph Nader's consumer advocacy group in Washington, D.C. In the summer of 1969, Johnson had received a secret report titled "2,4,5-T: Teratogenetic in Mice" from Dr. Marvin Legator, chief of the Genetic Toxicology Branch of the Food and Drug Administration. In September Johnson passed the report to Haseltine, who shared it with Matthew Meselson, professor of molecular chemistry at Harvard and soon to be director of the AAAS Herbicide Commission. Haseltine recalled thinking, "If this stuff causes teratogenesis in animals, it's probably very bad for people. If we can get this story out, maybe that will stop the use [of Agent Orange." With this straightforward logic, Haseltine helped end the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

-- The Invention of Ecocide: Agent Orange, Vietnam, and the Scientists Who Changed the Way We Think About the Environment, by David Zierler
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Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:02 am

Nader's Raiders Finger Six Dyes as Health
Page 62, The Citizen, Ottawa, Wednesday, January 12, 1977

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WASHINGTON (UPI) - Ralph Nader's health researchers Tuesday demanded a ban on six more food colors, including those used to dye the skin of oranges, hot dog casings, soft drinks, baked goods and ice cream.

Citing potential safety questions ranging from cancer to allergies, the Health Research Group said the impact may be especially bad for children, some of whom "eat as much as one-quarter pound of coal tar dye each year."

The group, in a petition filed with the Food and Drug Administration, also demanded the agency review non-coal tar dyes in use, most of which are from natural sources such as cottonseed flour or carrot oil.

Coal tar dyes come from petroleum distillates and are "a suspect family of chemicals, some of whose members have already been banned by the FDA for their ability to cause cancer and other injuries," the petition said.

"Approximately 4 million American children, 10 per cent of children ages one through 12, will have eaten over one pound of coal tar dyes in food by the time they are 12 years old. Some will have eaten as much as three pounds," it said.

Those figures include Red Dye No. 2, once the most widely used food coloring in the U.S., which was banned early last year. But Anita Johnson, counsel for the HRG, said other dyes have filled the gap since the ban and there has been no real drop in the amount of dye in the food supply.

One of the six dyes which the group asked be banned is Red 40 -- the last remaining widely used red dye still approved. It is now the second most widely used food coloring.

The Centre for Science in the Public Interest has already asked the FDA for a ban on Red 40, contending it caused lymph gland cancer in test animals.

The other coal tar dyes on which the group requested a ban are:

Yellow No. 5, the most widely used food dye in the U.S., found extensively in baked goods, candy, ice cream and pet foods.

Citrus Red 2, used only to color some Florida oranges to make their skins look as bright as California oranges.

Blue No. 1, used in beverages, candy and baked goods. The group said it has not been proved safe.

Orange B, used extensively to color the casings of hot dogs and sausages.

Red No. 3, used in drugs, cosmetics and some foods.
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Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:05 am

An Open Letter To Ralph Nader
by Naders Raider's For Gore
November 7, 2000

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Dear Ralph:

For 35 years, you have stood for the principle that only informed and active citizens can ensure the strength and integrity of our democracy. The hundreds of idealistic young people you brought to Washington-whom the press dubbed "Nader's Raiders"-became the vanguard of these "public citizens." Using skills from law, medicine, economics, and other professions, our mission was to dig hard for facts and speak truth to power. You uniquely personified the idealism and integrity of this effort and are the public trustee of our ongoing legacy.

In this context, we ask you to review the facts and premise of your campaign for the Presidency. To ask voters to support your candidacy on the basis that there are no major differences between the Republican and Democratic Parties is a serious misstatement of fact. No Nader Report would support that assertion. There are major differences between the parties on the environment, social security policy, health care reform, tax policy, and reproductive rights, to name just a few.

The next President will make over 5000 Executive Branch political appointments. Mr. Bush's appointees, unlike Mr. Gore's, will much more likely oppose the full, active enforcement of environmental, consumer protection, and occupational health and safety laws which Nader's Raiders worked so hard to enact. Mr. Gore has a long and distinguished record of commitment to these goals. George W. Bush does not. We are especially concerned about Bush's appointments to the Federal judiciary where so many of the battles over enforcement of these laws are decided. Please remember that President Nixon appointed Mr. Rehnquist to the Supreme Court 30 years ago and his conservative hand still grips American jurisprudence. Please consider that 48% of President Reagan's 379 federal judgeship appointees are still serving today and that George W. Bush, if elected, will have an immediate 64 vacancies to fill as early as January 21, 2001. Bush judicial appointments likely to serve as long as 30 years will be far more likely to deny standing to consumer complaints, to deny or limit discovery, and to limit remedies to expose or rectify corporate errors and abuses. In addition to its influence in the Federal judiciary, the Republican Party currently controls both the House and the Senate. If the White House also reverts to Republican control, the checks and balances against partisan extremism on environmental and consumer issues will be the weakest in 20 years. Executive branch enforcement of environmental and consumer laws and regulations may be passive.

With full respect for you and profound concern over these looming threats to the Nader legacy, we ask you to reassess your candidacy. The attached opinion polls now show that you are drawing between 3 and 8% of the total vote in each of nine states · Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin, a level of support which is equal to or more than the present differences in support for Al Gore and George Bush. More importantly your candidacy has reduced Al Gore's support to between 42 to 45% since most of your likely voters would be in the Gore camp if you were not on the ballot. In an early August fundraiser, in response to a direct request that you withdraw in light of the likely election train wreck you would cause, you declined for three reasons. First, you predicted that Pat Buchanan would reduce the Bush vote by a comparable number. You were wrong. Second, you said you would campaign only where your candidacy would not hurt Gore's ability to carry the state. You now have broken that pledge to us as you have campaigned in Florida and Michigan among other states. Third, you suggested that only "clairvoyance" could predict your impact on the race. It no longer takes clairvoyance. It is now clear that you might well give the White House to Bush. As a result, you would set back significantly the social progress to which you have devoted your entire, astonishing career. You have sacrificed for the benefit of the common good your entire adult life, as we, you friends and colleagues, know well. There have been countless occasions where you stayed in the background when that helped achieve the maximum benefit for others. It is time for you once again to step aside in the best interests of our nation. It would be a cruel irony indeed if your major legacy were to erase the victory from the candidate who most embodies your philosophy, Al Gore, and to give the Executive Branch to the party which has consistently resisted your progressive ideals.

We urge you to ask your supporters, as we do now, to honor your ideas and to vote for the man who is most likely to put them into action - Al Gore.

Sincerely,

Image

Former Nader Raiders, Colleagues:
Gary Sellers, Nader's Raider 1969-73
Michael L. Charney, MD, Nader's Raider 1969
Beverly Moore, Nader's Raider 1969-73
James S. Turner, Nader's Raider 1969-72
Peter Petkas, Nader's Raider 1970-74
Harrison Wellford, Nader's Raider 1969-72
Neil G. McBride, Nader's Raider 1972-73
Joe Tom Easley, Nader's Raider 1969-72
Anita Johnson, Nader's Raider 1979-84
Miles Rappaport, Nader's Raider 1979-84
James Dickson, Nader's Raider 1976-78
Ron Plesser - Nader's Raider 1972-74
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Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:13 am

"An Open Letter to Ralph Nader Voters"
by Nader's Raiders
October 22, 2004

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Dear Voters,

Many of us - former Nader's Raiders and leaders of his organizations - voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. Many did not.

This November, none of us will vote for Ralph. We believe there is nothing more important than defeating George W. Bush.

Ralph argues that he is creating an independent political voice. In 2000, when he ran as the Green Party candidate, that may have been true.

In 2004, as the candidate of the increasingly reactionary, anti-immigrant Reform Party, and the recipient of financial and political support from right-wing funders and operatives, it is not credible. Unfortunately, Ralph is party to a disingenuous effort to split the progressive vote in key states.

With the major party candidates in a dead heat, Nader is poised to tip the election to Bush - again.

We do not agree with Ralph that there is little difference between the Republicans and the Democrats. We know that the country cannot afford another four years of Republicans controlling the White House, both chambers of Congress, the Supreme Court and the entire federal Judiciary. The price of a protest vote is too high for families who live from paycheck to paycheck, for those concerned about the realities of war, for those who lack decent jobs and access to health care, and for the environment.

While Ralph has pursued politically expedient alliances with the right wing, truly progressive leaders - from peace activists to unions to former Dean supporters - have made substantial progress organizing within the Democratic Party.

United, progressives can build a base for a transformed party funded by small donors, imbued with progressive values and energized by a vision of a democratic majority. Divided, we will give four more years to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Ashcroft. The progressive vote can be the key to this election.

We know Ralph Nader better than anyone else. We were inspired to public service by his vision and his integrity. Now we are disappointed and saddened to see him embrace the support of reactionary forces who oppose everything we and Ralph have fought for and whose real agenda is to reelect George Bush.

Join us. Cast your vote for a progressive future and support John Kerry.

The progressive leadership that led the movements into the Kerry camp was broader than the liberal intelligentsia in the opinion-shaping universities and media. It also included the institutionalized "professional liberals," the paid staff and leaders of the unions and the big environmental, peace, civil rights, women's, gay, and community organizing groups. Selling out to the Democratic Party pays off for the professional liberals in the form of career opportunities and funding. These material benefits flow through social and organizational networks that connect the professional liberals in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to their peers in Democratic administrations and the corresponding party organizations that are built from the top down by Democratic patronage and preferment. Corporate funding -- grants for the NGOs, universities, and progressive media, and campaign cash for the Democrats-- cements it all together, co-opting institutionalized progressivism into the service of the corporate-dominated Democratic coalition. [56]

For the rank and file of the labor, community, people of color, women's, gay, and environmental movements, Kerry and the Democrats offered nothing of substance -- not one single progressive program or policy on any front that progressives could rally around. Seeking swing voters, Kerry ran to Bush's right as a war hawk and a deficit hawk, vowing to send more troops to Iraq, to increase forces in the Army and Marines, to increase the military and homeland repression budgets, and to do all that while bringing the federal budget back into balance. His Bush-like sound bites, such as promising "to hunt down and kill the terrorists," made militarism a non-issue in the Bush-Kerry horse race. Given his militaristic priorities and the tax proposals he advanced, a Kerry administration could balance the federal budget only by slashing social spending. Given these parameters, all the professional liberals could offer in support of a vote for Kerry was a defensive apology that Bush would be even worse.

The leaders of the big liberal organizations have been delivering their constituencies to the Democrats for decades.

-- Independent Politics: The Green Party Strategy Debate, edited by Howie Hawkins


Nader's Raiders,

Image

Brian Ahlberg - Former MN PIRG
Judy Appelbaum - Public Citizen's Congress Watch, Summers 1974, 75
Sheila Ballen - Former Executive Director, PA PIRG
Samuel Boykin - Field Director, NJ PIRG 2000-03
Michael Berg - Congress Project 1972
Robert Brandon - Director, Public Citizen's Tax Reform Research Group 1972-77
Mike Calabrese - Former Director, Public Citizen's Congress Watch 1980
Marc Caplan - Executive Director, Connecticut Citizen Action Group 1974-80
Michael Caudell-Feagan - USPIRG 1985-86; Nat'l Assoc. for Pub Interest Law 1986-91
Nancy Chasen - Lobbyist, Public Citizen's Congress Watch 1973-75
Sarah K. Chiles - Former Northeast regional coordinator, Americans against Political Corruption
Elizabeth Collaton - Research Director, Public Citizen's Congress Watch 1985
Karen Croft - Staff, Center for the Study of Responsive Law1979-80
Gina Collins Cummings - Organizing Director, NJ PIRG, 1984 - 1994
Beth DeGrasse - Former Director, PIRG Voter Registration Campaigns
James Dickson - Director of Organizing, Connecticut Citizen Action Group 1976-78
Angela Di Leo - Staff, Florida PIRG 1984 - 86
Whayne Dillehay - Critical Mass Energy Project 1978-80
Kirsten Dunton - Organizing Director and Staff Attorney, State PIRGs 1989-2003
Joe Tom Easley - Center for the Study of Responsive Law, 1969-74
Larry Eason - Director, Training and Media Center, PIRG 2000-2001
Donna Edwards - Public Citizen's Congress Watch 1990s
David Eppler - Staff Attorney, Public Citizen's Congress Watch 1989-92
Sherry Ettleson - Former Staff Attorney, Public Citizen's Congress Watch
Andrew Feinstein - Attorney, Public Citizen's Congress Watch 1975-79
Curtis Fisher - Executive Director, NJ PIRG, 1996 - 2002
Mark Floegel - Former USPIRG; Public Citizen's Congress Watch 1980s; VT PIRG Communications Coordinator 2002-2004
Arthur L. Fox - Public Citizen's Litigation Group 1972-90
Pamela Gilbert - USPIRG 1984-89; Staff Attorney, Public Citizen's Congress Watch 1989-94
John Gilroy - Nader Difference in '84 Campaign; Organizer, Citizen Utility Board 1985; Executive Director, VT PIRG 1988-92
David Hamilton - National Field Director, USPIRG 1987-90; Energy Lobbyist, USPIRG 1990-92
Stephanie Harris - Center for the Study of Responsive Law; Public Citizen's Health Research Group 1970s
Joan Holt - NY PIRG 1979-88
Anita Johnson - Attorney, PIRG; Public Citizen's Health Research Group 1971-77
Richard Kirsch - Public Citizen 1974-77
Ann Krumblotz - Staff, Center for the Study of Responsive Law 1978-80
Rob Leflar - Public Citizen's Health Research Group 1978-81; Coordinator, Nader's Speaking Tour of Japan 1989
Mindy Lubber - Program Director, Mass PIRG 1976-81
Mark Lynch - Former Staff Attorney, Public Citizen's Congress Watch
Bill Magavern - Staff Attorney, USPIRG 1988-92; Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy Project 1992-97
Tim Massad - Center for the Study of Responsive Law; Wisconsin Citizen Utility Board 1978-81
Neil McBride - Aviation Consumer Action Project 1971-72
Steve McCarthy - Executive Director, OR PIRG, 1972-74
Rich McClintock - Former Executive Director, CO PIRG
Chris McGinn - Deputy Director, Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch 1991-98
David Moulton - Former Staff Attorney, Congress Watch
Michael Pertschuk - Former Chair, Federal Trade Commission
Donna F. Parsons - Director, Connecticut Citizen Action Group 1981-87
Peter Petkas - PIRG, Corporate Accountability Research Group 1970
Ronald Plesser - Director, Freedom of Information Clearinghouse 1972-75
Rick Plunkett - MN PIRG 1976-81; CA Campus Organizer 1979-80
Tom Powers - Florida PIRG Organizing Director, FFPIR Nat'l Campus Program Director, PIRG work 1986-1995.
Nancy Rader - CalPIRG 1983-87; Public Citizen 1988-90
Miles Rapoport - Executive Director CCAG 1979-84
Neal Ritchie - Former Executive Director, Minnesota PIRG
Marty Rogol - General Counsel, Connecticut Citizen Action Group 1971-73; Director, Nat'l PIRG 1974-78
Adam Ruben -Field Director, USPIRG 1999-2002
Leslie Samuelrich - PIRG 1985-91 - Organizer, Conn PIRG; Director, National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness
Samantha Sanchez - Attorney, Public Citizen's Tax Reform Research Group 1973-75
Kerry Schumann - Former Director, Wisconsin PIRG
Gary Sellers - OSHA Project Center for the Study of Responsive Law 1969
Megan Seibel - Former Executive Director CO PIRG
Bob Shireman - Chairman, CalPIRG 1981-83; Legislative Advocate 1984-86
Lucinda Sikes - CalPIRG 1983-86; USPIRG 1989-92; Public Citizen's Litigation Group 1993-89
Daniel Silverman - Former Nat'l Field Director, USPIRG; Former Vice-Chair, Board of CalPIRG
David Stern - Former Executive Director, Nat'l Assoc. for Public Interest Law
Gene Stilp - Center for the Study of Responsive Law 1980-81
Rob Stuart - Program Director, NJ PIRG, 1984 - 91; Executive Director, VT PIRG 1991 - 93
Tom Subak - State Campaign Director, CalPIRG 1995-98
Andrea Sullivan - Organizing Director, NJ PIRG, 1983 - 84
Thomas D. Sutton - ETS Study Group 1970s; Public Citizen's Congress Watch 1979-81
Michael Totten - Critical Mass Energy Project 1982-83
James Turner - Center for the Study of Responsive Law 1968-72
Ken Ward - Executive Director, RI PIRG 1981-82; Executive Director, NJ PIRG 1983-96
Bill Wasserman - Organizer, CalPIRG 1981-86; Organizer, Public Citizen's Congress Watch 1986-89
Kathleen Welch - Former Executive Director, Nat'l Association of Public Interest Law
Harrison Wellford - Center for the Study of Responsive Law, Food and Environmental Safety Project 1969, Executive Director 1970-71
David Wood - Former General Counsel, Public Interest Research Groups
Frances A. Zwenig - Former Attorney-Advocate, Public Citizen's Congress Watch

*Organizations for Identification Only
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