Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Virginia Culture Lovers, Please Help!

This just in from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, which sponsors the highlight of my year, the Virginia Festival of the Book. (Coming next month!)

Over the weekend, the Virginia House Appropriations Committee voted to cut state funding for VFH by $290,000, effective July 1, 2010, and to eliminate all state funding for VFH, effective July 1, 2011. The Senate Finance Committee recommended cutting the VFH budget by $290,000 effective July 1, 2010, but recommended no further cuts. Each House will vote on its own budget on February 25, and the difference in the two budgets will be resolved in conference committee.

VFH has already experienced deep cuts, in the last two budget years, adversely affecting every VFH program. Additional cuts will undermine such well-known educational programs as the Virginia Festival of the Book, Encyclopedia Virginia, VFH Grants and Fellowships, With Good Reason Radio programs; African American, Virginia Indian, and Virginia Folklife Programs.

Call, fax, or email your State Delegates and Senators to protest additional cuts to advocate for continued funding. Find your legislators’ contact information here.
  • Be personal. Talk about your involvement and commitment to the VFH.
  • Forward this request to your boards, membership, and address book.
  • Post a comment on your Facebook or other social networking site, asking that other Virginians contact their legislators as well.
  • Write a post on your personal blog stating how you feel about these budget cuts.
  • Email or call your local news outlets to express your dismay and describe the effect of such cuts.
Talking Points for These Contacts with Legislators and Media Outlets
  • VFH funding and programs increase the attractiveness of the state as a tourism destination by assisting museums and cultural sites to provide excellent visitor experiences.
  • VFH Grants support organizations and communities important to you and your representatives.
  • VFH increases the attractiveness of communities to new businesses.
  • VFH builds the educational capacity of Virginia's teachers by providing resources and professional development opportunities.
  • VFH provides financial and professional development support to Virginia's museums, building community social capital and pride.
  • VFH Leverages state funds with cash and in-kind matches.
  • VFH promotes a vigorous exchange of ideas, and is a leader in modeling civil public dialogue. Radio shows like With Good Reason improve our understanding of the issues we face as a Commonwealth and a nation. The Virginia Festival of the Book is a nationally recognized model of public discussion. Now more than ever, our situation requires that we approach public policy with an understanding of the past, a willingness to confront issues of the present, and a commitment to shaping a more promising future.
Click here for additional information on how VFH programs contribute to the economic and educational vitality of the Commonwealth.

Additional Sources of Information on VFH Programs and Advocacy Tips
Effects of Cuts (doc)
Program Accomplishments (doc)
VFH Programs
VFH Website
VFH Mission and Strategic Vision
General VFH Information (doc)
Advocacy Tips (doc)
The Do's and Don'ts of Legislative Letter Writing (pdf)
Advocacy Visit Report Form (doc)
About the Humanities (pdf)

Find Your Virginia General Assembly Representatives
Who's My Legislator?
Contact Information of Senators
Contact Information of Delegates

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Grandma was right: The value of "Thank You"

From a consulting client:

I was contacted by a book club that told me their library has “book kits” for book clubs, in which they have a bag that contains 10 books, reading guide questions and anything else pertinent to the book, and that their library is using my book for one of the book kits.

I promptly sent a hand-written thank you card to the head librarian. Today, I got an email asking me if I’d like to do a reading/signing at the library. They would publicize it in their newsletter that goes out to 6000 homes, as well as on their website. Never would have happened if I hadn’t sent the thank-you.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Scourge of Anti-Semantics

From a Secret Correspondent:
One of the guests at a recent dinner used to coordinate the University of Virginia's Semester at Sea--a cruise with a teeny bit of schoolwork thrown in. The standard for admission was ability to pay, so the level of intellect wasn't what this prof was used to.

One of the assignments was to write about 20th century German history. It turns out that prior to World War II there was a huge wave of anti-semantics in that country! Several students wrote this; evidently they couldn't manage to copy the Wikipedia page correctly.

"The writer has led us back to ourselves."

My friend and Charlottesville VA Literary Lady Janis Jaquith gave a terrific keynote speech in January at the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference. Read it at her website, or listen (if you have QuickTime) here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Quote of the Week

"I would go as far as I could and hit a wall, my own imagined limitations. And then I met a fellow who gave me his secret, and it was pretty simple. When you hit a wall, just kick it in."

--Patti Smith, JUST KIDS

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Le plus ça change: News from 1862

While doing research for the forthcoming Bella Terra Southeast Lighthouses Map, I came across this interesting item in a New York Times article from January 13, 1862:
Rev. Dr. Fischel, of New-York, had yesterday an interview with the President, to urge the appoinitment of Jewish Chaplains for every military Department, they being excluded by an act of Congress from the volunteer regiments, among whom there are thousands of Israelites. In the meantime the Doctor will take charge of the spiritual welfare of the Jewish soldiers on the Potomac. The President assured him that the subject will receive his earnest attention, and expressed the opinion that this exclusion was altogether unintentional on the part of Congress.