Empathy Surplus Project

A Caring Citizens' Congress Federation.

Prayer for Building a Caring Society

HRLogoTextCMYK_0.jpgWritten by Rabbi Michael Lerner

Our Father and Mother energies in the cosmos, the rock of Israel and our salvation,

Bless all the peoples of the Middle East with peace, security, environment sanity, and a sense of being genuinely cared for by the world and by the God/dess of all flesh, however they conceive of this God or Goddess, whatever names or language they give to the ultimate source of love and meaning in the universe

In this hour of occupation, violence, and pain, we reaffirm the humanity and decency of all the people on our planet, and our ability to see the humanity and God-presence in the Palestinian people, the Israeli people, and all people on the planet. We understand that each of the many sides of the conflicts tearing our world apart today have their own legitimacy, but we also know that violence cannot be the path to a peaceful and safe world. We may be outraged at the behavior of privateers and their enabling accomplices inside governments, political parties, or groups acting in hurtful ways, but we will not accept any attempt to generalize that righteous indignation into generalities about all people of a certain nation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other such grouping. 

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Crown Thy Good With Brotherhood

244363_s.jpgAt church this past Sunday Karen Francis and I reflected on the remarkably different kind of care that she and her new friend, Josh Cluxton, received when they broke their necks, i.e. C1, Josh and C2, Karen. Karen’s care, funded by Workers Comp at Ohio State University Medical Center, Dodd Hall, included in patient rehab for 4 weeks and at-home nursing care and rehab for two more months, followed by 4 months of outpatient rehab. Josh has received nothing close to this kind of treatment - - and his pain management has been negligible. Karen, on the other hand, received carefully monitored pain management throughout the 9 months of recovery. 

We conclude that because the legal healthcare metaphor is that it’s a “product” versus a “human right,” Josh is being denied the high level of care Karen received, BECAUSE - - Josh has no insurance and can’t pay for that kind of care. 

In anticipation of Independence Day, Karen and I also joined our congregation and sang “America the Beautiful,” a vision of an abundant landscape occupied by a compassionate people. I love this vision:

O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain,for purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain! America! America! God shed his grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.

So, how do we achieve this vision of compassion and human dignity, where we treat each other like Josh treats total strangers? Josh's injury, if you remember, was sustained during a heroic act to save the life of a stranger on a TN interstate. Josh is a nurse, who is now worried about being able to continue his calling. As a nurse, he more than likely took the Nightengale Pledge, similar to the doctor's Hippocratic Oath. Here's the last phrase:

With loyalty will I aid the physician in his work, and as a missioner of health, I will dedicate myself to devoted service for human welfare.

When Josh stopped to help that accident victim, he was acting on his oath. Josh was paying it forward - "crowning thy good with brotherhood." How do we Americans create the ideal caring citizenship experience, where such heroism is an everyday occurrence and freedom from fear of healthcare denial is abundant?

How do the Josh Cluxtons of America (and they are legion, despite the Affordable Care Act) get the kind of care that Karen and I get? We believe we have to change the legal metaphor of our healthcare from a “product” to a “human right.”

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Book Review of Agnotology by Proctor and Schiebinger

Joe Brewer, founder and director, Cognitive Policy Works is the change strategist consultant to the Empathy Surplus Project. A portion of every dollar contributed to the Empathy Surplus Project goes to support his work in cognitive science.

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Book Review of the Social Conquest of Earth

Joe Brewer, founder and director, Cognitive Policy Works is the change strategist consultant to the Empathy Surplus Project. A portion of every dollar contributed to the Empathy Surplus Project goes to support his work in cognitive science.

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Pray for Josh Cluxton

HRLogoTextCMYK_0.jpgI call caring citizens everywhere to pray for Josh Cluxton. You may remember Josh as the young nurse who was seriously injured while heroically saving the life of Jonathan Ferrell, an accident victim on a slippery Tennessee highway. Pray for his doctors and other caregivers that they may discern and carry out the best course of treatment to restore this vibrant young man to health. Pray, also, the he will be led to an attorney who will have his human dignity at heart.
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Clinton County Conversation on Compassion and Human Rights

Thank You Clinton County Commissioners

As one of the co-founders of the Empathy Surplus Project, I want to thank the Clinton County Commissioners for receiving an in-person presentation and invitation to engage in a three gathering conversation with delegates of our emerging Caring Citizens' Congress on how to become a UN Global Compact County. Our first conversation on Wednesday, May 28, was productive. We will be requesting our next conversation be in late June or early July. All the commissioners were present as well as Mary Ann Foland, Clinton County Administrator.

From left to right next to me in the photo below, Miriam Speaight, delegate; Anita Dobrzelecki, co-founder and delegate; and Kathryn Palmer, delegate joined me. 


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We Support the UN Global Compact

Norman__OK_Reunion_Photo_-_Version_2.jpgGC_Endorser.jpgPress Release - May 2014

Chuck Watts, Rotarian since 1981, and a two-time Paul Harris Fellow, is the co-founder of the Empathy Surplus Project (ESP), accepted as a United Nations Global Compact participant on 03/21/2014. ESP is a start up non-profit and supports the ten  principles of the UN Global Compact with respect to human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Click on logo for information.

Chuck is shown here with Ron Burton, Rotary International President, at the annual 2013 Rotary International / United Nations Day. 

Breakfast_on_RI_UN_Day_-_Version_2.jpgWatts and Rotarian Jason Hillard (in his trademark bow tie to the left) were introduced to the UN Global Compact while attending the 2013 Rotary International / United Nations Day last November. Watts hopes to speak to Rotary Clubs in Ohio about the Empathy Surplus Project partnership with the UN Global Compact and help clubs and Rotarians find ways to partner with the ESP. 

Jason is a member of the Springboro, OH, Rotary Club.

“In addition to advancing the ten principles within our spheres of influence,” said Watts, “ESP has also pledged to participate in and engage the UN Global Compact and occupy compassion in the following ways:

  • Screenshot_2014-04-30_17.25.15.jpgCharter Caring Citizens’ Congresses
  • Partner with Rotary International
  • Invite local businesses to join our Healthcare Is a Human Right Collaboration by promoting the Caring Citizen Freedom Survey on Healthcare and Human Rights 
  • Invite local businesses & cities to join the UN Global Compact.”

Please share this with a Rotarian in Ohio.

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Engage the Battlefield of Ideas for Good

By Joe Brewer and B. Laszlo Karafiath. First published at Culture2Inc

Changes in societies are driven by “culture wars” and the battle of ideas.  Epic idea battles arose between capitalism and communism, religious fundamentalism and secular humanism, pro-choice and pro-life, emos and goths, etc.  Great advances have been made along the way in the realms of public health, human rights, representative government, trade and business, and the development of technology.

The road to human progress is often presented as a continuous path.  Reality simply doesn’t work that way.  History is rife with conflict and tension, collaboration and resistance, competing agendas that battle for supremacy.  Progress is not linear.  It moves in cycles and waves, pulses and push-backs, tension and release.  Culture is a complex system made up of many actors with diverse relationships among them.  Change is emergent from the countless interacting parts.  And memes are always at the center of the action.

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Republicans & Democratic Party Members Cooperating Around Human Rights

IMG_2904.jpgIn our democratic republic when should Democratic and Republican Party members cooperate around compassion and human rights?  

Caring Citizens’ Congress delegates say, “Always.” 

IMG_0161.jpgMark Hess is a candidate for Union North B precinct representative to the Clinton County Republican Central Committee. He wants his party to ratify healthcare as a human right. And his candidacy is contested. Hess has allies in compassion and human rights: Democratic Party neighbors, Miriam Speaight and Chuck Watts. Mayor Randy Riley of Hess’s own party comes to mind, also

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Thank You for Your Article: "My Son, Josh Cluxton."

Karen_with_Halo.jpegby Karen Frances

Thanks to the delegates of the Monday Evening Caring Citizens’ Congress of Wilmington, OH, for promoting their policy direction that healthcare is a human right. Without their concern for healthcare human rights I might never of seen the story about Mike Cluxton’s son, Josh, on the Empathy Surplus Project blog. 

If healthcare were a human right, American residents, like the Cluxtons, would not have to resort to fund-raisers. As Josh’s dad wrote, “I wouldn’t ask for me, but this is my son.” The photo of Josh in an orthopedic halo—a very misnamed appliance, by the way—haunted me for over a week.  The haunting was accompanied by a gentle inner nudge to track him down and give him a call.

Halo photo: In my halo and other orthopedica with a rehab nurse at Dodd Hall Rehab Hospital at The Ohio State University Medical Center.  I was one of her research subjects for an article that she published in a nursing journal on the role of music and imagery. (2005)

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