Flying Focus Portal:


Below you can read our February 2015 newsletter. Some of you on the email 
list also received a hard copy by snail mail (or are about to receive 
one). You can see it with graphics and links at

The new catalog update has also been posted online, as a pdf file 
<> and integrated into 
the online catalog at

Please consider a donation or tape order to help support our work (check 
the last article for some ideas), and thank you for your support!

--dan handelman
flying focus

3439 NE Sandy Bv PMB #248             web:
Portland, OR  97232                                    (503) 321-5051
*using video as a tool for social change*              (503) 239-7456
** Donate on line: **

Newsletter    February 2015

Look Out for GMOs!

    Foods containing genetically modified organisms are extremely
    controversial. Jeffrey M. Smith is a leading consumer advocate
    promoting non-GMO choices. His books include Seeds of Deception:
    Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the
    Genetically Engineered Foods You're Eating and Genetic Roulette: The
    Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods. Mr. Smith's
    feature-length documentary Genetic Roulette-The Gamble of Our Lives
    was awarded the 2012 Movie of the Year (Solari Report) and the
    Transformational Film of the Year (AwareGuide). "GMOs: A Risky
    Business" (VB #93.2&3) features a talk he gave in Portland in
    September, 2014 about the dangers of GMOs. A passionate and engaging
    speaker, he presents a compelling case for paying attention to what we
    are eating.

       [Jeffrey Smith image]

Activists Take on Police, Housing & Jobs

    They say you can't fight City Hall. In one recent episode of the Video
    Bus, a woman whose son was beaten by the police told off the Citizen
    Review Committee (CRC) for how they treated his complaint, and
    protestors celebrated Martin Luther King Day with a march for housing
    and jobs. Jeri Williams, the mom, spoke to CRC in June, 2014 as they
    deliberated on whether officers used too much force when they put her
    son in maximum restraints and, he says, punched him in the face.

    The January 2014 Sisters Of The Road march focused on the rights of
    houseless people, including rest area Right 2 Dream Too and sweeps by
    the police, as well as a day laborers' site whose land the City is
    trying to take away. Marchers chant, give speeches, and speak with
    FFVC along the way. Dan Handelman, who's also with Portland Copwatch,
    produced the show "Fighting City Hall: Police Accountability, Homes
    and Jobs" (VB # 92.6).

Successful Education and Its Opposition

    Curtis Acosta taught high school for nearly 20 years in Tucson, where
    in 1998 he developed and taught Chicana/o Literature classes for the
    Mexican American Studies Program (MAS). MAS grew to 43 classes serving
    1500 students. In 2011, the high school dropout rate for MAS students
    in Tucson was 2.5%, as opposed to 56% for Latino students nationally.
    66% of MAS students went on to college. MAS classes were featured in
    the documentary "Precious Knowledge" and on CNN, PBS, the NY Times,
    the LA Times and the Daily Show. MAS Curriculum has since been banned
    by the State of Arizona.

    In April, 2014, Acosta spoke at Madison High School in Portland, at
    the invitation of Portland Rethinking Schools. In
    "Curtis Acosta: Teaching and Organizing for Justice" (VB #92.2&3), he
    speaks about educational programs that can inspire hope, empathy and
    love, as well as learning. Acosta is engaging and dynamic-- not the
    stereotypical academic bore.

It's Time to Get Off Coal

    Coal is bad. It's nasty, toxic stuff that's dug up, transported to
    electric generating plants and burned. Along the way it spews
    poisonous toxicity, resulting in air and water pollution, illness,
    mercury contamination, acid rain and climate change. Though the PGE
    Boardman plant will stop burning coal by 2020, a significant amount of
    Oregon's electricity is imported from out of state coal plants. We
    have alternatives for our electricity.

    In November 2014, the Sierra Club held a forum to kick off its "Coal
    to Clean Energy" campaign to get Oregon free of coal- sourced
    electricity by 2025. In "Sierra Club: Coal to Clean Energy" (VB
    #93.10&11, produced by Allen Evans), hear from Dr. Andy Harris of
    Physicians for Social Responsibility on the effects of coal on human
    health both directly and through climate change. Amy Baird of
    Renewable Northwest shows that renewable sources can bring good things
    to Oregon's economy, and Jeff Bissonnette of the Oregon Citizens'
    Utility Board explains the issues in making the transition. Laura
    Stevens of the Sierra Club hosted.

    [coal to clean panel image]

Free the Elephants!

    Many zoos in the country are closing their elephant exhibits. In "The
    Elephant in the Room" (VB #92.8), we hear from concerned community
    members who want to see the elephants at Oregon's Zoo in Portland live
    healthy lives in a space appropriate for their size. Focusing on the
    bond measure passed years ago which promised to move the elephants to
    a sanctuary, people went to the May 8 Metro Council meeting at the
    urging of Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants. The testimony outlines
    physical and psychological effects of captivity. Local activist
    Courtney Scott introduces the show with background on the issues at

Portland Professor Paints Picture of Occupied Afghanistan

    In August 2014, Zaher Wahab spoke in Portland about the current
    situation in Afghanistan. The Portland professor has worked part time
    in Afghanistan, been witness to the US Occupation for the past 13
    years, and is currently administering the MA in Education program at
    the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul. When Afghans went to
    the polls to vote for a new President, both candidates promised to
    sign a Status of Forces Agreement with the US allowing an estimated
    10,000 American troops to stay in the country at least until 2016,
    possibly longer. Referring to the deteriorating and possibly
    country-dividing violence in Iraq, Wahab worried that what is
    happening in Iraq could happen in Afghanistan. In "Zaher Wahab:
    Afghanistan on the Brink" (VB #92.10&11, produced by Mike Brown), he
    describes a country riddled with violence and corruption, where
    poverty and unemployment clash with the security state.

Flying Focus Video Bus Celebrates 23 Years of Programming

    Flying Focus' annual retrospective for 2014 features five producers
    highlighting shows about the environment, racial and economic justice,
    education, war and peace, nuclear issues, media literacy, labor
    struggles, animal rights and creative "reuse" recycling.

    Part 1 of the "Twenty-Third Busiversary" (VB #93.6&7) includes clips
    from Barb Greene, PC Peri, Mike Brown and Dan Handelman which focus on
    brownfields, Latinos' experiences in Oregon, what's wrong with "Common
    Core," the efforts to end war, and the ongoing US presence in

    Part 2 has Dan, Allen Evans, videographer Joe Anybody, and Barb
    talking about Hiroshima Day 2013, police accountability and housing
    rights, stories being exposed by Project Censored, protests against
    Walmart, the health risks of genetically modified organisms,
    Portland's zoo elephants, and "getting your junk fixed" at the Repair

    The 14 sets of clips are taken from 24 episodes produced between
    December 2013 and October 2014. Flying Focus uses its yearly review
    not only to present a summary of the year's work and issues, but to
    de-mystify the experience of making television.

       In 2014-15, the documentaries "Aftermass" and "Arresting Power"
               solicited and/or used footage from Flying Focus.

    [Repair Cafe image]

Don't Toss It, Fix It!

    Do you have appliances that don't work? Clothes with ripped seams or
    broken zippers? Hate to throw them in the landfill, but don't know
    where to get them fixed? You might want to try a Repair Cafe, where
    you can meet other community members who are on hand to (hopefully)
    fix items as well as teach participants how to fix things on their
    own. Take broken items along with patience and a DIY attitude. "Get
    Your Junk Fixed" (VB #92.14) covered a Repair Cafe in action in North
    Portland and shows one way to help save the environment. The video
    shows mechanical, electrical and fabric-related repairs underway.

Finding Funding for Future Filming

    OK, so, we use video and not film, but the alliteration was too much
    fun to pass up. Plus, we at Flying Focus wanted to get your attention
    about ways you can help ensure we keep bringing important and varied
    voices (as you can see from the shows in this issue of the newsletter)
    to the public. While we've been able to put some of our shows and
    clips on line, our friends at Labor Beat in Chicago put it bluntly:
    "electronic communication doesn't magically solve income problems."
    That's one reason why we ask you to consider sponsoring the online
    streaming of one of our shows-- $75 will get one program (even if it's
    two parts) on line (or $125 if you're with a large institution). You
    can also order a program or two on DVD. Or, just donate to FFVC--
    money, DVCAM or mini DV video tapes, hard drives, blank DVDs/DVD-RAMs,
    and postage stamps are among the items we always need.

    We have applied for a grant from Mt Hood Cable Regulatory Commission
    to acquire hard drives and tapes to allow us to produce for 2-3 more
    years. Even if we are awarded that grant, we need help to produce
    shows from now until June, plus we have expenses related to our day to
    day operations as an all- volunteer group. Fortunately, we did get a
    donation in response to our request in the last newsletter and have
    purchased a USB3 card for our Mac Pro Tower! Now we just need the hard
    drives to plug into it. We so appreciate the community's support for
    our work and hope you value it enough to give.

Beginning this week on the Flying Focus Video Bus, a two-part episode 
documents a February 2013 panel at Portland Community College on the 
death penalty.

In part one, Capitol Defense Attorney Jeff Ellis  and political science 
professor Dr. Michael Sonnleitner conduct a wide ranging discussion of the 
death penalty, focusing on the overrepresentation of the poor, people with
mental illnesses and people of color on death row.

Ellis discusses the factors that result in the imposition of the death 
penalty on those inmates who clearly display mental disorders, and how the 
system is stacked against this most vulnerable of prison populations. He 
also discusses multiple studies which prove that race is an important 
factor in the decisions that juries make regarding who lives and who 

Dr Sonneleitner broadens the discussion with a basic question about why 
the United States has the largest percentage of its population in prison 
of all countries in the world. He explains this as the result of four main 
factors: a culture based on fear, our war on drugs, the recent economic 
downturn, and the pernicious effects of racism. He concludes Part One with 
Martin Luther King's observation that what our country needs is a 
revolution of values. 

In part 2, forensic psychologist Michelle Guyton adds more insight into 
the issue of people with mental illness being sentenced to death.

"Race, Mental Illness and the Death Penalty" plays back on the following 

Part 1:
(first playback was this morning at 12:30 AM);
Wednesday, May 1 at 11 PM on Channel 23 Comcast and
Friday, May 3 at 9:30 PM on Channel 11, Cable Access Network,

Part two plays back the following week:
Tuesday, May 7 (late night Monday May 6) at 12:30 AM on
     Comcast Channel 22
Wednesday, May 8 at 11 PM on Channel 23 Comcast and
Friday, May 10 at 9:30 PM on Channel 11, Cable Access Network,

The Flying Focus Video Bus, now in its 22nd year, has aired weekly since
November, 1991.

This show was taped and edited by FFVC member Daniel Webb, and prepared 
for the Video Bus by Dan Handelman.

DVD (or VHS) copies of the show will be available in early June for a
suggested donation of $11 plus $4 postage. Streaming rights to the shows are 
available for $75 to individuals/non-profits or $125 for large 
institutions.(Check our streaming videos page at .) Donations of any size are 
always welcome to help support our work.

Please call or write back if you have any questions.
Thank you
Daniel Webb and Dan Handelman
--for Flying Focus

3439 NE Sandy Bv PMB #248             web:
Portland, OR  97232                                    (503) 321-5051
*using video as a tool for social change*              (503) 239-7456
** Donate on line: **