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Derrick Kikuchi
Derrick Kikuchi
Derrick Kikuchi co-founded Reach and Teach, a peace and social justice learning company.

Guilt by Proximity


by: on August 16th, 2010 | 8 Comments »

It’s amazing how insensitive some people can be.

There are at least six theaters within a few blocks of Ford’s Theater, Ground Zero in Washington DC where Abraham Lincoln was shot. One would think that any self-respecting actor would have the sensitivity to realize that Americans don’t want to be constantly reminded of that other actor John Wilkes Booth who assassinated a President.

And what religious insensitivity would result in a Buddhist Temple less than 1 mile from Ground Zero at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (ignore the fact that it has been there since 1902)? Human decency would have dictated that the place should have been closed down and moved to a new location after 12/7/1941.


Imagining a Time When the Eco-Crisis is Over: A Response


by: on December 10th, 2009 | 2 Comments »

I’ve decided to take Dave Belden up on his challenge Imagine a Time When the Eco-Crisis is Over: Then Tell Us How We Got There? and address one aspect of how necessary behavioral change was achieved. Imagine if we got to a point where the realized threat of climate change to our own personal health and well-being and the health and well-being of our children was so ingrained in us that we would even consider a carbon footprint tax as a realistic revenue source for California? What if we got to a place that our understanding of ecology was such a given that a carbon footprint tax would even be popular and acceptable to the bipartisan leadership of this country with almost 1/2 of the Republicans supporting it?


Turning Boys Into Monsters


by: on December 9th, 2009 | 5 Comments »

monsterhitmanFriend and colleague, Amy Jussel wrote a wonderful article titled “Turning Boys Into Monsters: Energy Drink Leaves A Foul Taste (Again)” today on her blog ShapingYouth.org.

Amy writes, “With everything from motocross and macho madness to the thumping, screaming, over the top rebel yell, Monster ‘packs a vicious punch’ by creating lil’ monsters out of the male middle-school set without a clue (or a care) as to the impact of the jolt and crash ‘kick ass flavor’ to their adolescent bods. Wow. I feel like I got a testosterone infusion just reading the freakin’ label…”

Besides writing about the obvious health implications of energy drinks on developing adolescent or even adult bodies, the article primarily focuses on the hype and specifically male gender-targeted marketing and messaging that is being used.


The US Wealthiest Are Not As Wealthy This Year


by: on October 1st, 2009 | 2 Comments »

Forbes 400 graphic

The Forbes 400 list of the richest people in the United States just came out for 2009. No real surprises. The Waltons are still comfortably in the top 10 but George Soros made it into the top 20 this year, mostly because a number of folks fell off the list. In fact, the total worth of the 400 wealthiest in the United States fell by $300 billion to $1.27 trillion and the worth of the top 20 dropped by nearly 14%. But before you shed too many tears over this, I correlated a list of the top 20 wealthiest in the United States to countries with the closest GDP as I had also done in 2008. Bill Gates still has an equivalent worth equal to the GDP of Cuba (based on 2008 CIA Factbook data).

The net worth of the 20 wealthiest Americans for 2009 ($374.3 billion) is equivalent to the GDP of Belgium. And despite significant losses in the values of their portfolios, the 400 wealthiest Americans for 2009 still total $1.27 trillion which is the GDP of Canada or the combined total GDP of Chile, Ghana, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia or 9% of the $14.15 trillion GDP of the United States.

Please go to justlists.wordpress.com to find the rest of the list of the wealthiest people in the United States (and equivalent country GDPs).

Watch the Number of US Healthcare Casualties Grow Here


by: on September 18th, 2009 | 2 Comments »

“Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year — one every 12 minutes — in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday.” — Reuters, September 17th, 2009

At this rate,  from the beginning of 2009 to the moment you are reading this article,

414,741 people in the US have died for lack of health insurance.

Remembering September 11th and September 14th


by: on September 11th, 2009 | 4 Comments »

Rep. Barbara Lee

Rep. Barbara Lee

As we rightfully remember September 11th, 2001 and the tragedies of that day for the United States, my thoughts also move forward to September 14th of that same year and a courageous but lone vote made by Rep. Barbara Lee to oppose the use of violent force in retaliation. In explanation Lee said, “There must be some of us who say, let’s step back for a moment and think through the implications of our actions today — let us more fully understand its consequences… Far too many innocent people have already died.” This voice of reason was drowned out by a country ready to proceed with the fervor of a Holy War. The voice was outnumbered 420 to 1.

A funny thing about holy wars… In my own understanding of my faith tradition, I don’t believe we’re ever asked to battle against evil at all, only to stand against it – to withstand it. Yes, we have armor but it is there only for our protection (more about that in a bit).


Psalm 73 (interpreted through a gay man’s eyes)


by: on August 31st, 2009 | 13 Comments »

Back in 1996, I never really intended to speak out as a gay Christian; certainly not at a San Jose Presbytery meeting, the legislative gathering of Presbyterian churches in our area. But there was going to be a debate, the very first of many, about whether Gays and Lesbians could be ordained, an action that my own church, First Presbyterian Palo Alto, had already boldly done in electing me as first a Deacon and then an Elder. The Presbytery couldn’t find any openly gay folks to testify. So I was asked.


Quality End-of-Life Not About “Death Panels”


by: on August 14th, 2009 | 3 Comments »

Photo credit: gowish.org

Photo credit: gowish.org

When your life work is focused on projects that one presumably assumes will help make the world a better place, it is nevertheless rare and therefore most precious to actually see or hear directly the positive results of your work. So it was on a project that my partner Craig and I were working on with Coda Alliance while creating an online version of a wonderful game that they had developed exploring end of life issues. In the process of moving the game “Go Wish” to an online environment, we had more than a few opportunities to work with groups of people to facilitate the use of this game.

By way of explanation, Go Wish presents a deck of cards with very specific concerns listed on each card like: “To be free from pain”, “Not being short of breath”, “To have my financial affairs in order”, “To die at home”, etc.


Stop Scaring the Children!


by: on July 22nd, 2009 | Comments Off

Photo: Elise Amendola, AP

Photo: Elise Amendola, AP

Apparently an anonymous East Coast donor has funded “Recession 101″ billboard signs that have been popping up all over Rhode Island to reduce our anxiety over the current state of the economy ( http://tinyurl.com/recess101 ). One such sign suggests, “Stop obsessing about the economy, you’re scaring the children.” It’s got me thinking whether this might have application in other areas that seem to be currently troubling us as a nation. So I’d like to try using this sign as a template. Maybe you’d like to add to the list.

“Stop obsessing about (fill in the blank), you’re scaring the children.”

  1. Sarah Palin
  2. whether President Obama is really a US citizen
  3. Rush Limbaugh’s idiotic comments
  4. diminished support for a public healthcare option
  5. Nichola Torbett having not blogged for over a week

Doesn’t this make you feel better and less scared? It does? I’m now truly scared.