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Sep 13
2010

Don't Shoot the Guitar Man

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , volunteer , teens , students , speaker , public safety , musician , music , law enforcement , jail , gangs , education , children , California , author , arts

Bruce Robinson
dont_shoot_cvr.jpg

Only a few things can transcend the histories and circumstances of the hardened inmates at San Quentin prison. Music is one of them.


 

Sebastopol guitarist and youth advocate Buzzy Martin will read from his book and talk about his experiences at Copperfield's Books in Sebstopol, Thursday evening, September 16 at 7 pm.

 
 
Apr 13
2010

Daniel Ellsberg Documentary

Posted by Bruce Robinson in war , speaker , protest , politics , news , media , journalism , jail , international , history , government , events , election , Congress , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

A single significant act of civil disobedience, one that may have changed the course of American history in the 20th century, is chronicled in the new documentary film, The Most Dangerous Man in America.

Daniel Ellsberg (seen here a in 1971 news photograph)  was arrested and faced serious criminal charges for making public the highly classified “Pentagon Papers.” But the case collapsed in a mistrial, when it was revealed that the Nixon administration had interfered in it, initially by engineering a surreptitious burglary of the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. Looking back on those events now, film-maker Judith Erlich (below)  says, it’s entirely plausible to see Ellsberg as the catalyst for Richard Nixon’s downfall.

Having spent considerable time with Ellsberg over the five years it took to make the film, Erlich says she is convinced and appreciative of the sincerity of his motives, both in 1971 and over the years since.

Daniel Ellsberg was interviewed on the North Bay Report in November, 2006, prior to an appearance in Sebastopol. Here is that archival report.

This is the trailer for The Most Dangerous Man in America, currently showing at the Rialto cinemas Lakeside in Santa Rosa.

[video://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXlmQeSpqI4&feature=player_embedded 360x240]

Jan 07
2010

"The Harvard Psychedelic Club"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in students , speaker , research , religion , protest , politics , peace , medicine , media , law enforcement , journalism , jail , history , events , education , drugs , chemicals , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

Much of the social upheaval of the 1960s can be traced back to four men at Harvard University at the beginning of the decade, contends journalist Don Lattin. His new book, The Harvard Psychedelic Club, does exactly that.

Don LattinDon Lattin, the longtime former religion reporter for the San Francisco chronicle, attributes his choice career path to his own informal psychedelic experimentation as a college student in the early 1970s. He says that experience, which was shared by thousands of his contemporaries, also inspired him to research and write The Harvard Psychedelic Club.

Timothy Leary in San Francisco in 1995, a year before his death.In his book, Lattin gives each of the four main figures an iconic title. Ram Dass (Richard Alpert) is “Seeker,” Houston Smith is “Teacher,” and Andrew Weil, “Healer.” And after some extended deliberation, he settled on calling Leary “Trickster.”

Albert Hoffman, inventor of LSDSwiss chemist Albert Hoffman (right) inadvertently synthesized LSD in 1938, and accidentally became the first person to ingest it in 1944. In the United States, clinical research into the properties and effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) did not begin with Leary and Alpert’s Harvard experiments in 1960, Lattn reports, but can be traced back to studies in the previous decade, a project secretly funded by the CIA.

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Nov 17
2009

San Quentin Adult Education Cuts

Posted by Bruce Robinson in public safety , politics , policy , Marin , legislation , jail , government , education , California , budget

Bruce Robinson

Can state budget cuts lead to an increase in crime? That’s the fear as adult education programs at San Quentin and other California prisons try to implement a 45% reduction in funding.

With a budget for adult services that has been slashed by 45%, deep cuts are inevitable, admits Elizabeth Siggins from the California Department of Corrections’ office of Adult Programs (left) . Here, she outlines the steps being taken as her department tries to get the maximum social benefit from the money that remains.

One of the programs at San Quentin that will feel the burden of the cuts is the Robert E. Burton Adult School.  Although California does not have data specific to this state, Elizabeth Siggins says studies from other sources affirm the value of inmate education as a tool for reducing recidivism.

While the precise benefits of inmate education have not been quantified in California, the Correctional Educational Journal asserts that "every dollar spent on education saves $2 for taxpayers through reduced recidivism." The cost and effectiveness of educational programs within the California Corrections Department was examined at length in a February 2008 study by the State Legislative Analyst's Office.  Included in that study is the graph below, which compares the cost-effectiveness of inmate education programs with other adult prison services.

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