April 22nd, 2010
08:12 AM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Stewart Brand

Thursday is the 40th annual Earth Day, and it began as an idea by the late U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, who said he was inspired by Vietnam War teach-ins. But the environmental movement owes much of its early steam to the advocacy - and musings - of Brand.

The author and entrepreneur was born in 1938, served in the U.S. Army, and in 1968, published the original "Whole Earth Catalog." You know the photograph of the Earth that became the logo for all things environmental? Such an image of the Earth never existed before Brand thought it up in 1966 while under the influence of LSD.

He writes, "How could I induce NASA or the Russians to finally turn the cameras backwards? We could make a button! A button with the demand 'Take a photograph of the entire earth.' No, it had to be made a question. Use the great American resource of paranoia ... 'Why haven't we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?'... The next day I ordered the printing of several hundred buttons and posters. While they were being made I spent a couple hours in the San Francisco library looking up the names and addresses of all the relevant NASA officials, the members of Congress and their secretaries, Soviet scientists and diplomats, UN officials."

The buttons worked because soon after, NASA began making good color photos of Earth from distant space during the Apollo program, and the ecology movement took shape in 1970, partially as a result of those photos.

Stewart Brand's website

Eric MacLeish

The nationally known lead attorney in the Archdiocese of Boston clergy sex abuse scandal has battled severe post-traumatic stress disorder for six years. He gave up his law practice, got a divorce and got a job teaching at a New Hampshire university.

In a dramatic Boston Globe profile, MacLeish tells reporter Bella English that he finally figured out that he had been sexually abused as a child - by an older friend and by a teacher.

English reports that MacLeish conducted a nine-day deposition of Cardinal Bernard Law that led eventually to Law's resignation and that MacLeish became rich after the archdiocese agreed to an $85 million settlement with 550 abuse victims. But throughout all the years of cases against alleged sexual abusers, he never thought he was on his own crusade. That's not how he feels today, MacLeish told the newspaper.

"I never forgot what happened to me as a younger child, but I didn't place any significance on it, which was totally irrational," he said. "I thought what happened to me is nothing compared to what happened in the priest cases."

He told the paper, "In retrospect, it's totally clear why I was doing this work, representing the powerless."

The Boston Globe: The hole in the heart of a star

Gloria Steinem

The activist, feminist, author and co-founder of Ms. Magazine promoted the first Take Your Daughters to Work Day in 1993. Boys were added in 2003.

It's now Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, and according to its website, has the goal of exposing kids "to what adults in their lives do during the work day, show them the value of their education, and give them an opportunity to share how they envision their future. Through the program, children learn early on about the challenges of daily life and begin to think about the issues of balancing work, family, community and personal responsibilities."

Daughters and sons will visit workplaces across the country Thursday.

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work website

Rachel Lester

The newly elected 15-year-old is the youngest representative on the South Robertson Neighborhood Council in Los Angeles, California.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Lester beat her opponent - 144 votes to 13 - a man with two children and a college degree. Before the high school student was allowed to run for the office, her mother, Sherri Ziff Lester, made Rachel attend two council meetings so she would understand just how bureaucratic the gatherings could get.

Her two-year term begins in June, and mom will have to drive the new council member to the monthly meetings.

Los Angeles Times: Teenager elected to neighborhood council

Roger Goodell

The National Football League commissioner slapped Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with a six-game suspension for "conduct detrimental to the NFL" on Wednesday, calling it "the best step for your personal and professional welfare."

Roethlisberger, who led the Steelers to Super Bowl titles in 2006 and 2009, faced the threat of criminal charges after a woman accused him of raping her in a Milledgeville, Georgia, bar in March. The quarterback's attorney said no sexual assault took place, and prosecutors decided last week that they could not prove that a crime had been committed.

Goodell ordered Roethlisberger to undergo a "comprehensive behavioral evaluation by medical professionals" and follow their recommendations "to help him make better decisions and avoid situations that can cause legal or other problems."

CNN: NFL suspends Roethlisberger for six games

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Henry Miller

    "Al Gore admitted to using marijuana and other ILLEGAL drugs...

    Why the emphasis on the word "illegal?" Granted, taking drugs you don't need is generally kinda dumb, but that some puritanical bureaucrats somewhere have decided for you, "for your own good," that you're not allowed to take them is just an unwarranted intrusion into your private affairs. With a very short list of exceptions*, what you ingest, inhale, or inject into your own body really isn't any of the government's business.

    I'm no fan of that self-important twit, Al Gore, but what floats his boat isn't anyone else's business.

    * The exceptions include antibiotics, excessive improper use of which tends to lead to the emergence antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Unlike casual drug use, this really is a public health issue. But how many people try to get high from Amoxicillin?

    April 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. cul8errr

    "Please do something important like standing up for the most innocent of all life forms, an unborn baby."...
    HA!
    This planet of ours has too many people on it already. New birth control method...stupid people should not procreate! They make the worst parents and even dumber kids!
    SAVE THE PLANET & support pro-choice!

    April 22, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Grace Guerrero Varona

    After a sublime topic relative to mother earth, I believe need not to inform that ne was under the influence of LSD....or that Gore smoked marijuana and other illegal drugs, many students about his age did so ... at least they tried for curiosity. Let's face it, if we do not save this plane and support the issue.... our grandchildren will suffer for it. I can tell you – I was born in a under developed country border with Haiti, where at this very moment all the rivers are dry and are used for paths, or rural roads for donkeys and rurals as an alternative route. Thank you.

    April 23, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
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