A Social Experiment Turns Into a Lesson On Character

This one is from the Prank Channel on Youtube. A prankster gives a homeless man $100…Then follows him to see how he spends it. What happens next will turn many people’s preconceptions upside down.

Former NFL Player Now Farms for Charity

After my last post on idiots behaving badly on a NYC Subway, it’s easy to lose faith.

Then there is this inspiring story.

Why a star football player traded NFL career for a tractor

LOUISBURG, N.C. – At one point number 60, Jason Brown, was one of the best centers in the NFL.

At one point he had a five-year, $37 million contract with the St. Louis Rams.

And at one point he decided it was all meaningless – and just walked away from football.

“My agent told me, ‘You’re making the biggest mistake of your life,'” said Brown. “And I looked right back at him and I said, ‘No I’m not. No I’m not.'”

So what could possibly trump the NFL?

You wouldn’t believe.

Jason Brown quit football to be a plain, old farmer — even though he’d never farmed a day a in his life.

Asked how he learned to even know what to do, Brown said:

“Get on the Internet. Watch Youtube videos.”

He learned how to farm from Youtube.

Thanks to Youtube and some good advice from other farmers here in Louisburg, N.C., this week Jason finished harvesting his first, a five-acre plot of sweet potatoes.

“When you see them pop up out of the ground, man, it’s the most beautiful thing you could ever see,” said Brown. He said he has never felt more successful.

“Not in man’s standards,” said Brown. “But in God’s eyes.”

But God cares about the NFL, right? There are people praying to him on the field all the time.

“Yeah, there’s a lot of people praying out there,” said Brown. “But, when I think about a life of greatness, I think about a life of service.”

See, his plan for this farm, which he calls “First Fruits Farm,” is to donate the first fruits of every harvest to food pantries. Today it’s all five acres–100,000 pounds–of sweet potatoes.

“It’s unusual for a grower to grow a crop just to give away,” said Rebecca Page, who organizes food collection for the needy. “And that’s what Jason has done. And he’s planning to do more next year.”

Brown has 1,000 acres here, which could go a long way toward eliminating hunger in this neck of North Carolina.

“Love is the most wonderful currency that you can give anyone,” said Brown.

“Are you sure you played in the NFL?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“Because I feel like cuddling you right now.”

“Don’t do that!” he said.

Brown may have left the NFL, but apparently holding is still a penalty.

Not Just “Dark Money”…Dirty Money and Republicans

The bad guy in this case was caught through the efforts of Richard Cordray, who was the Attorney General of Ohio at the time. Cordray’s nomination as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was held up by Republicans for two years…

One had to wonder whether it was in retaliation for catching one of their favorite dirty moneybags.

Thompson’s $1 million in “Getaway money”

The pics below are of fraud artist Bobby Thompson, who ran a fake Veterans Aid Charity – stealing nearly $100 million while giving nothing to the Veterans it was supposed to support. But Mr. Thompson was decidedly generous giving money to Republicans…

This guy is tied to Boehner, Bachmann (who is under investigation for dirty money of her own), and McCain – as well as a numbe of other conservative poliical figures.

Mysterious ‘Mr. X’, Alleged Vets Charity Scammer, To Take the Stand

The public, and a jury, is about to hear for the first time directly from the mysterious mustachioed man and accused con artist known at various times as Bobby Thompson, or “The Commander,” or even just “Mr. X.”

The flamboyant man, whose real name is believed to be John Donald Cody, is expected to take the stand Tuesday morning in a Cleveland courtroom. He is accused of running a bogus U.S. Navy veterans charity for years, using some of the proceeds for political donations to high-ranking politicians including former President George W. Bush and Speaker of the House John Boehner, and eventually vanishing with over $100 million in ill-gotten cash.

Prosecutors say Cody ran the whole scheme using false identities to hide his alleged crimes, and to mask his escape from Florida to Oregon, where he was finally taken into custody last May after what a U.S. Marshal called “one of our most challenging fugitive investigations to date.”

On the stand, Cody is expected for the first time to explain how he came to run the nationwide charity called the U.S. Navy Veterans Association and, according to his attorney, explain how the charity operation was blessed by the CIA as part of an elaborate plot to court political support.

Thompson schlepping with Karl Rove

 

“He’s legitimately some form of American intelligence,” Cody’s attorney, Joseph Patituce told ABC News previously, adding that his client is “not a kook.”

Cody’s biography appears to offer hints of past work with the intelligence community – he carries a degree from Harvard Law School and was documented to have done a stint in military intelligence. And when he was ultimately identified by U.S. Marshals, it was in part because he had appeared on an FBI most wanted poster in connection to a decades-old charge of espionage.

The trial has been underway for a month, but Cody’s testimony is likely to be the latest dramatic chapter in a saga of intrigue that began to unfold three years ago when questions first surfaced about the U.S. Navy Veterans Association.

Over those years, ABC News chronicled Cody’s curious case – his abrupt disappearance, the manhunt that led to his capture, and the puzzle that surrounded his identity – a mystery made all the more unsettling by his ability to gain access to the White House for an event with President Bush, and to pose for photographs with political leaders including Sen. John McCain and House Speaker John Boehner. Continue reading

Mother Antonia

Having been a part of several disaster recovery efforts and worked in Third world countries, one of the things you learn is to identify the “real deal” from the poseurs…

The incredible story of Mary Clarke, who became Sister Antonia…

Mother Antonia, 86, brought comfort to inmates of a notorious Mexican prison

Mary Clarke grew up in the luxury of Beverly Hills, where movie stars, such as William Powell, Hedy Lamarr and Dinah Shore, were among her neighbors. She spent weekends at a roomy beach house overlooking the Pacific and once had closets filled with mink coats and ball gowns.

She was married two times, raised seven children and managed her father’s office-supply business after his death. In the midst of this busy life, she devoted more and more time to charity, which she considered a crucial part of her Catholic faith.

In 1965, she accompanied a priest on a mission to deliver medicine and other supplies to Tijuana, Mexico. After several other stops, they ended up at the gate of one of the country’s most notorious prisons, a state penitentiary called La Mesa. The warden invited them inside to drop off their donations at the infirmary.

She began to visit the prison more often, attending to the needs of the inmates, guards and police, and the transformation of Mary Clarke Brenner had begun. In 1977, when most of her children were grown, she moved to La Mesa.

Although she had no formal religious training, she sewed her own nun’s habit and slept in a bunk in the women’s wing of the prison. She later lived for years in a 10-by-10-foot cell, with the walls painted pink.

She made it her vocation to attend to the needs of some of the most destitute and dangerous people in Mexico. She brought them medicine, bedding, clothing and food. She invited doctors and dentists from California to provide medical care. She worked with Mexican officials to improve conditions in La Mesa and other prisons.

When she walked through the halls, prisoners kissed her hand, and she kissed theirs. Notorious criminals confessed to her and pledged to change their lives.

In Tijuana and throughout all of Mexico, she was known as “Madre Antonia” — Mother Antonia.

She received the blessings of a Mexican bishop of the Catholic Church, was greeted by Pope John Paul II and was commended by Mexican President Vicente Fox. She went on to found a religious order for older women seeking to help the poor.

Mother Antonia went on to live in the prison for more than 30 years, improving the lives of thousands of prisoners, guards and their families. Mother Antonia was the subject of a 2005 book by Washington Post journalists Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan, “The Prison Angel,” and a later documentary film.

After years of weakening health, she died Oct. 17 at the Tijuana headquarters of the religious order she founded, Sisters of the Eleventh Hour of St. John Eudes. She was 86.

She had heart ailments and myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disorder. A daughter, Carol Brenner, confirmed the death.

“Something happened to me when I saw men behind bars,” Mother Antonia told the Los Angeles Times in 1982. “When it was cold, I wondered if the men were warm; when it was raining, if they had shelter . . . You know, when I returned to the prison to live, I felt as if I’d come home.”

Who’s Your Daddy? About Black Folks and Charity

That Christian spirit… Don’t believe it?

Check this out.

Charitable Donations: Blacks Outpace Whites

Black Emplyees Influence Corporations to Give

Reuters is reporting today on a study showing that African American donors give higher percentages of their incomes to charity than their white counterparts, with nearly two-thirds of black households make charitable donations, worth a total of about $11 billion a year. And it’s not just a little more: that number means black donors turn over a full 25 percent more of their incomes than white donors annually, according to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors research.  The results have many wondering why more African Americans don’t self-identify as philanthropists.

From Reuters:

But they don’t see themselves as big players in the charitable arena, and that presents an image problem, say experts like Judy Belk, a senior vice president for Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

“African Americans have been very uncomfortable with the title of philanthropist,” Belk said. “If you don’t see role models who look like you when people start talking about issues related to philanthropy, you start believing, ‘Hey, maybe I’m not a philanthropist.'”

Belk said she got so weary of hearing this that she helped produce a 12-minute video released in November, dubbed, “I Am A Philanthropist,” which features diverse faces, races and ethnicities of donors and grant-makers. .  .

The report cites black churches as a historically important repository of giving, but notes that other important causes are coming to the fore.

While religious giving was the largest charitable category overall, it leveled off in dollar terms in 2010, according to Giving USA, a Chicago-area foundation that publishes philanthropy data and trends. At the same time, contributions for the arts increased almost 6 percent, a trend that was consistent across all racial groups.

More Trouble for the “Sperminator” – Herman Cain

"Cornbread" is Cain's Self Appointed Nickname

Right on the tail of the Cain sexual harassment story, comes the Cain…

Campaign Finance debacle.

Moving money between a charity and a political campaign is definitely illegal, a big no-no – and should result in prosecution.

But the thing that caught my eye was near the bottom of the article – where it is reported that Cain paid $100,000 to speak to a black conservative organization. In the strange world of black conservative front organizations – “Cornbread“, didn’t get paid to speak as you would normally expect…. Cornbread had to pay a black conservative group $100,000 to listen to him!

Herman Cain campaign’s financial ties to Wisconsin charity questioned

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain, whose candidacy is under siege followingsexual harassment allegations, also faces new questions about financial ties between his fledgling campaign and a private charity launched by two of his top aides.

Citing interviews and internal financial documents, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reportsthat a Wisconsin tax-exempt charity called Prosperity USA footed the bill for about $40,000 worth of iPads, chartered jet services and other expenses as Cain’s campaign got off the ground this year.

Expenses totaling $37,372 are listed in the group’s financial records as “due from FOH,” or Friends of Herman Cain, the name of his campaign committee. It is not clear whether Cain repaid the alleged debts, which are not listed in his personal or campaign disclosures.

Such payments are forbidden under federal tax and election laws, because nonprofit charities are not allowed to participate or donate money or services to political campaigns, according to election-law experts.

“It looks like a law school exam on potential campaign-finance violations,” said Lawrence H. Norton of Womble Carlyle, former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission. “Many of these payments would be prohibited contributions under federal election law.”

Prosperity USA was founded by Mark Block, Cain’s chief of staff, and Linda Hansen, deputy chief of staff. Block launched Prosperity USA and a related group after he had headed the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a tea party-aligned organization based in Washington.

Looks Like the Cornbread is Getting Burnt

Block said Monday that the campaign has requested an independent investigation of the allegations. He did not provide further details.

“As with any suggestions of this type, we have asked outside counsel to investigate the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s suggestions and may comment, if appropriate, when that review is completed,” Block wrote in an e-mail…

Cain began taking donations for his then-quixotic presidential campaign in January. Bank records cited by the Journal Sentinel show Prosperity USA paid for $15,000 for a trip to Atlanta, $17,000 for chartered flights and $5,000 for travel and meeting costs in Iowa, Las Vegas, Houston, Dallas and Louisiana. The newspaper also said the Cain campaign was billed $3,700 for iPads purchased Jan. 4.

Records obtained by the Milwaukee newspaper also appeared to show a $100,000 payment to the Congress on Racial Equality, a conservative black group, shortly before Cain served as the keynote speaker at the group’s annual dinner, the newspaper said. The expense was apparently covered by $150,000 worth of loans to Prosperity USA by unidentified supporters, the report said…

"You welcome to stop by anytime, Cornbread. Just bring more money!" (Herman Cain and Niger Innis)

Bill Russell – Mentor Golf Challenge

Guys are still kickin’ it – and seem to be doing well. Bill Russell, Jim Brown – two of their respective sorts most accomplished heroes. This event was for Bill Russell Mentoring, part of the Bill Russell Legacy Project which is supporting the National Mentoring Foundation focused on youth mentoring.

Bill Russell Legacy Project Includes Grants for Youth Mentoring

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 – The Mass Mentoring Partnership, a MENTOR affiliate, is partnering with the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation and the City of Boston on the Bill Russell Legacy Project, which includes an annual grants program for youth mentoring organizations in Boston so that more local children have access to quality, structured mentoring.

At an event last week, Russell and more than 400 supporters and community leaders were at Fenway Park, along with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino; Boston Celtics Co-owner and Managing PartnerPresident of the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation Stephen Pagliuca; Boston Celtics LegendTommy Heinsohn; and Founder of the Sager Family Foundation and Chairman of PolaroidBobby Sager to discuss the Legacy Project.

In addition to establishing the Bill Russell Mentoring Grant Program, which Mass Mentoring will administer, the project will erect a statue of Russell in Boston to celebrate his achievements as the greatest champion in the history of professional sports, as a national leader in human rights and as a dedicated advocate for youth mentoring.

“We are so proud to play a role in this effort that Mayor Menino and the Celtics have made so reflective of Bill’s lifetime of activism, as well as his many iconic accomplishments in Boston,” Mass Mentoring Partnership’s Chief Executive Officer David Shapiro said. “They have created a living legacy of Bill’s catalytic social justice leadership that will inspire future generations of our city’s youth through the proven impact of mentoring.”

As part of last week’s event, the Mass Mentoring Partnership presented Russell with a Lifetime Achievement Champion of Mentoring Award and the Boston Celtics with its 2011 Champion of Mentoring Award, which honor individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to youth mentoring and have championed the strategic growth of high-quality mentoring throughout Massachusetts.

“We are delighted that Bill Russell’s many accomplishments are being recognized in this way,” said MENTOR President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Larry Wright. “Bill has been an active member of MENTOR’s board of directors since 1996, so the collaboration to make youth mentoring grants in his name is particularly meaningful.”

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