Are energy bars healthy?

Energy bars are a convenient source of nutrition and come in a wide variety of flavors to satisfy different palates. They are often fortified with vitamins and minerals, which can help fill nutritional gaps.

But, like many foods in a specific category, not all energy bars are created equal. Those that are low in saturated fat and sugars, with a decent amount of protein and fiber, can provide a nutritious, satisfying pick-me-up. Others can closely mimic a candy bar. For example, some bars covered in chocolate contain as much saturated fat as a Snickers bar; others contain almost as much sugar.

Energy bars containing mostly fruit and nuts can serve as satisfying snacks. But if you’re looking for a meal replacement, aim for a bar with a higher amount of protein: about 10 to 20 grams. Athletes can also benefit from choosing a bar with more protein and carbohydrates, as their needs are higher.

You can afford more calories if bars are consumed in place of meals and not as snacks. But if a bar is intended only to tide you over until dinner, limit it to 150 to 200 calories.

In general, try to aim for bars with less than 3 grams of saturated fat and at least 4 grams of fiber. Palm kernel oil in yogurt and chocolate coatings will boost saturated fat. Also watch out for bars with ingredients such as brown rice syrup or cane invert syrup listed first, as they are generally higher in sugars than others and are better suited for athletes, not weight watchers.

Note that some bars contain sugar alcohols such as maltitol or erythritol, to lower the sugar content. Because they are not fully absorbed, sugar alcohols provide fewer calories than sugar — but they can also cause some gastrointestinal distress.

One last point: Don’t be fooled by the word “energy.” In the nutrition world, energy is synonymous with “calories,” and all food gives you energy because it provides calories. There’s nothing magical about energy bars in and of themselves, and they won’t give a boost in strength or focus unless you’ve been skipping meals and snacks.

Additionally, energy bars shouldn’t take the place of whole foods, especially fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts, which provide a package of beneficial nutrients that are important not only for energy but for overall health.

So stock up on a stash of healthful energy bars to keep in your bag or at your desk and enjoy them on days that don’t allow for a break to sit and eat. Just don’t make them the main staple of your diet.

Seven energy bars that meet the above recommendations:

SimplyProtein’s Maple Pecan protein bar: 150 calories; 5g fat; 0.5g sat fat; 16g protein; 7g fiber; 1g sugar

PowerBar’s Plant Protein snack bar: 230 calories, 2.5g sat fat, 10g protein, 8g fiber, 10g sugars

Kind Snacks’ Cranberry Almond + Antioxidants with Macadamia Nuts bar: 190 calories, 13g fat, 1.5g sat fat, 4g protein, 5g fiber, 8g sugar

Luna Whole Nutrition Bars’ Chocolate Peppermint Stick: 190 calories, 2.5g sat fat, 8g protein, 4g fiber, 8g sugar

Kashi’s GoLean Plant-Powered Dark Chocolate Cashew Chia bar: 200 calories, 2g sat fat, 8g protein, 4g fiber, 8g sugars

Lärabar’s Apple Pie: 190 calories, 1g sat fat, 4g protein, 5g fiber, 18g sugar

Pure Protein Plus’ Apple Pie bar: 190 calories, 1.5g sat fat, 20g protein, 16g fiber, 3g sugar (2g sugar alcohols)

The life-saving message in Logic’s hit song

“I’ve been on the low / I been taking my time / I feel like I’m out of my mind / It feel like my life ain’t mine / Who can relate?”

The opening lines of Logic’s most successful song to date are, quite literally, a cry for help. The title of the track, “1-800-273-8255,” is the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

In a series of tweets the week the song was released, the 27-year-old rapper explained the motivation behind his music. “Over the years so many of you guys have told me that my music has helped you through so many tough times,” he wrote. “Many of you have told me its even saved your life. I’m beyond humbled. But I felt I haven’t done enough. … I made this song for all of you who are in a dark place and can’t seem to find the light.”

Logic found himself in his “dark place” in late 2015, according to an interview with the New York Post.

“I was so scared because I was thought I had to work, work, work, because I thought I might only be around for five years,” Logic said. “I thought I wasn’t good enough to last.”

Logic found his proverbial “light” by learning the power of one word to deal with his anxiety: no.

“I turn down really well-paid shows all over the world because I want to spend more time with my wife and myself,” he told the Post. “I could sit here and think, ‘I got all these people around me that I need to pay,’ which is true … but ain’t nobody getting paid if I’m dead.”

The first verse of “1-800” is sung from the perspective of a person who has given up on their life and is ready to end it. The second verse, fronted by Alessia Cara, showcases the response of a suicide hotline crisis worker.

“It’s holding on though the road’s long / And seeing light in the darkest things / And when you stare at your reflection / Finally knowing who it is / I know that you’ll thank God you did”

The song ends with a verse featuring Khalid, again from the perspective of the suicidal caller but who now realizes the endless possibilities of the future.

“I don’t wanna cry anymore / I wanna feel alive / I don’t even wanna die anymore / Oh I don’t wanna / I don’t wanna / I don’t even wanna die anymore”

As part of a contest to be featured on the cover of Logic’s album “Everybody,” fans submitted videos detailing how much the the rapper’s music means to them. He shared some of them on Twitter.

“When I was alone with myself, the stress was unlike any other time of the day,” said Faith Martinez, 18, fighting back tears. “I’d put my headphones in, and it would all subside, because I knew that there was someone out there that cared for their fans so much that if I took away my life the way I had thought about, he would be hurt, and somebody would care that I was gone.

“I put it on until the end, and I stood up, and I kept going,” she said. “His music helps people keep going, and I’ll forever be grateful for that.”

John Draper, director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, said, “The impact has been pretty extraordinary. On the day the song was released, we had the second-highest call volume in the history of our service.” Overall, calls to the hotline are up roughly 33% from this time last year.

“We can certainly attribute and have seen call increases relative to tragic events and alarming portrayals of suicide in the media — anywhere from (musicians) Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington’s suicides, and (the Netflix show) ’13 Reasons Why,’ ” Draper said. “But here’s what’s really important: Logic is generating calls with a song about getting help and finding hope. It’s not focusing on tragedy or suicide. In fact, he’s starting conversations about suicide prevention, as opposed to suicide.”

The video for “1-800,” released last week by Def Jam Recordings and Visionary Music Group, has racked up more than 12 million views on YouTube. The seven-minute short film illustrates the story of a young man, beginning when he is just a baby.

His happy childhood is followed by difficulties in high school — extreme bullying and struggling to come to terms with his sexual identity — which cause serious strife with his friends and family. One day, he decides he’s had enough, collapses in tears and raises a gun to his head, ready to pull the trigger — but he doesn’t. Instead, he calls the suicide hotline.

The story flashes forward to the man’s wedding, where his father is standing by his side. The plot comes full circle, ending with the birth of his own son.

The message: It gets better. It always gets better.

“In many ways, Logic’s video and song completely embody this message that everybody can take an action to prevent suicide,” Draper said. “A lot of people think that it requires a professional or even a hotline. But the fact is that while those are extremely helpful — and I would always counsel somebody to consider those options — what we also know is that most suicides are prevented by people being caring with one another.

“How, when a person in your life is in crisis, can you help them get through it?”

Logic is scheduled to perform his inspirational hit live Sunday night on MTV’s 2017 Video Music Awards.

“This past year, our audience was forced to say goodbye to musicians too soon because of suicide,” said Garret English, executive producer of the 2017 VMAs. “We want to do more than remember these artists. We want to remind people that suicide is preventable and that there are ways to get help and feel better if you’re struggling emotionally.

“Logic’s song ‘1-800-273-8255’ is not only a phenomenal track, but it has struck a chord with its inspiring message of hope, and we are honored to offer the VMA platform so it can reach even more young people.”

Draper said, “It’s not just about the calls; it’s about increasing awareness about suicide, and suicide prevention in particular. The calls don’t even begin to count the number of people who, just by listening to the song and hearing the lyrics, feel more hopeful and less alone. There’s really no measuring that impact.”

Google is offering a test for depression

Google has a new feature designed to help people suffering from depression.

Users in the United States who search for “depression” or “clinical depression” will now be offered a questionnaire to test their depression levels and help determine whether they should seek professional help, Google said in a blog post.

Users who search for information on depression will be shown a box at the top of their screen encouraging them to “check if you’re clinically depressed.” The clinically validated test, called PHQ-9, asks about energy, appetite and concentration levels, among other things.

The tech firm said it recognized that the information was “sensitive and private,” and that it would not store the responses.

Google said the initiative was developed in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

“The results of the PHQ-9 can help you have a more informed conversation with your doctor,” wrote Mary Giliberti, CEO of NAMI.

Clinical depression affects roughly one in five Americans at some point in their lives. But individuals with depression symptoms take an average of six to eight years before they seek professional help, according to NAMI.

“We hope that by making this information available on Google, more people will become aware of depression and seek treatment to recover and improve their quality of life,” explained Giliberti.

Research released in May found the percentage of younger children and teens hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or actions in the U.S. has doubled over nearly a decade.

Facebook quietly added new diverse family emoji

Facebook’s emoji offerings have become a little bit more diverse, but the changes may leave some families wanting.

The social media giant released a slate of diverse family emoji recently with skin tones that range from light to dark in recent months. But the update doesn’t offer an option for families with mixed backgrounds — all the members of the emoji families have the same skin tone.

The 125 new family emoji options mark the first time black families have been represented as emoji on Facebook, according to a blog post from emoji reference site Emojipedia on Thursday.

Facebook told CNN Tech these emoji have been live on its desktop site since April, and that they’ve gained attention recently because of the post on Emojipedia.

Previously, Facebook only offered yellow family emoji, which is a default standard also used by Apple.

The updated family emoji are only available on desktop for now. It’s unclear when they will roll out on mobile. Facebook declined to comment further.

Last month, Apple announced a new collection of emoji set for release later this year. The Apple offering includes icons such as a woman wearing a headscarf and a breastfeeding mom.

The Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit that sets the global standard for emoji and other software, has significantly increased the number of official emoji in recent years.

The group has approved 2,666 new emoji as of June, compared to 722 of them two years ago. It has also stepped up efforts to include diverse skin tones, flags and careers.

How artificial intelligence and robots can change your living spaces

Dutch designer Joris Laarman has built his career through emerging technologies like 3D printing and robotics.

But as a student 15 years ago, he didn’t even own a computer.

“After my graduation I got a computer, which changed everything,” he said in a phone interview. “My generation was the first to know what it was like before computers, but who also grew up with them.”

Now the 37-year-old can’t work without one. From open source furniture designs to a 3D-printed footbridge made from stainless steel, Laarman’s work lies at the intersection of design and technology.

His company, Joris Laarman Lab, pushes at the experimental edges of an industry that has digitalized rapidly since he graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2003.

Read: Shape of things to come: A peek at tomorrow from today’s top designers

“We’re trying to figure out what the design of the future will be — what it could look like,” he said.

Digital toolbox

One of Laarman’s best-known designs is the Bone Chair, which was created through algorithms that mimic bone growth. Using a large volume of computer-generated calculations, Laarman’s program systematically adjusted and strengthened the chair’s design.

“Birds’ bones have super-optimal construction — they constantly adapt themselves by taking away material where it’s not needed and adding material where it is, without losing strength,” he explained.

“To me, an algorithm is just a new high-tech version of a saw or a pair of scissors — it’s just a tool. The designs that we make are never finished objects, they’re more like programs that we can tweak into new forms and adapt themselves accordingly.”

Technology is not only changing designers’ methods, but also the type of products they can create. More than a simple efficiency measure, Laarman says that digitalization makes entirely new concepts possible.

“(The shape of the Bone Chair) could never have been invented without the algorithm. You’d need really heavy calculations for such an evolutionary process.

“If you were to do this manually, without a computer, you’d have to break the legs of the chair thousands of times to make it stronger and to know where to add or take away material.”

Design to download

The Bone Chair is set to go on display at the New York’s Cooper Hewitt, The Smithsonian Design Museum, alongside other highlights from Laarman’s career, including a set of tables made from reprogrammable molecular building blocks called voxels.

The exhibition, titled “Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age,” encourages visitors to interact with technologies that may soon become commonplace, said the show’s curator Andrea Lipps.

Read: ‘Bioneers’ and techno-organic ‘Globjects’: Karim Rashid’s post-analog world

“(Experimental) designers often end up creating things that are so completely foreign that they become almost indigestible,” she said. “What’s interesting about Joris’ work is that there’s a familiarity to it that makes it feel less threatening. These designers are the early adopters — they’re taking our hand and leading us into the future.”

While Lipps wants the exhibition to be an “interactive, participatory experience,” visitors won’t get a chance to sit on any of Laarman’s chairs. They will, however, be able to download some of the design blueprints.

“You can download one (of the chairs) for free and make it yourself — or have it produced by your neighbor if they have a 3D printer,” Laarman said. “There are now platforms that show where the 3D printers in your neighborhood are.”

The ‘next industrial revolution’

This tools used by Laarman are just some of the digital methods transforming the design industry. Robotics, 3D printing and virtual reality are all changing the way products are made — from super-strong digitally fabricated materials to cars designed in thin air using VR goggles.

Read: This new virtual reality tool could transform how we design cars

According to research by the consulting firm McKinsey, the cost of 3D printing fell 60 percent between 1990 and 2014, while the price of industrial robots fell by 5 percent every year between 2000 and 2012.

This move from industrial to digital production represents a fundamental shift in the economy of design, said Laarman, comparing the transition to the industrial revolution.

“Modernists in the early 20th century were developing new form languages for the dawn of a new industrial period. It was very much dependent on standardization and geometric shapes.

“Right now, you can see digital fabrication is taking off and this leads to a completely new type of form language. It’s still very early, but everybody sees the potential. Digital design, biotechnology, AI and robotics are going to completely change everything in the world, at every level of society. It’s very important to start working on it.”

“Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age” will be exhibited at Cooper Hewitt, The Smithsonian Design Museum from 27 September 2017 to 14 January 2018

Young artist paints her way to college

— When Chavela Bell (also known as VelaRae) isn’t painting, she is active at her Bay Ridge Christian Church where she teaches Sunday School, singing and leading youth group programs.

Perhaps, though, it’s Bell’s art that may make her a household name.

“I have always enjoyed creating art as far back as I can remember. I can pinpoint my official discovery of my artistic talents to the time when my artwork was featured at the St. Johns College Mitchell Gallery in Annapolis,” Bell said. “It was at that point in my freshman year of high school, that I realized that what I simply enjoyed as a pastime was of much greater talent and value. Seeing my own artwork framed and displayed sparked a desire in me to paint more and explore a career in art.”

A photograph of Chavela (VelaRae) Bell's artwork. The art of Chuck Close has been kind of model for Bell, particularly the way he uses many colors to make a face while still showing fine detail and personality in his work.

Courtesy Photo

A photograph of Chavela (VelaRae) Bell’s artwork. The art of Chuck Close has been kind of model for Bell, particularly the way he uses many colors to make a face while still showing fine detail and personality in his work.

Now, Bell wants to attend college for further training to an already unique body of work. She says she is literally trying to paint her way to college, even establishing a Go Fund Me page seeking tuition and other assistance.

And, if one picture is worth a thousand words, Bell’s art has told millions of stories.

She is already the recipient of the Distinguished Merit Scholarship for the School of Art Institute of Chicago where she plans to enter this fall.

Being the youngest of 11 siblings, Bell says she has worked diligently to make her voice known through expressions of art.

In 2015, she received the Sheriff’s Citation and recognition as Maryland Masters Award presented by Governor Larry Hogan for her artwork.

In consecutive years, she has earned the high school “En plein air” competition held by the Maryland Fine Arts Association and her oil pastels and self-portraits have been featured in St. Johns College gallery and the Walters Museum in Baltimore.

Bell has been lauded for her ability to capture emotions, expressions and beauty in exploding color and her talent has provided her access to paint murals for the Annapolis Children’s Museum and Eastport Elementary School and to design sets and logos for her drama department at Glenn Burnie High School.

While she expects to receive a $6,000 AACC Merit Scholarship and an additional $6,000 through federal student loan programs, it still leaves Bell a balance of about $25,000 that she is trying to raise for tuition and room and board.

“I am a self-taught artist, for the most part. My older sister, an art major, was the first to teach me about art history and encouraged me to explore drawing and painting, when I was in 7th grade,” Bell said.

“I admired her work and tried to emulate what she was doing. By time I reached high school, I was bored with the beginning classes and found myself experimenting with new mediums because I finished all my work so quickly,” she said, noting that it was then that she found oil paints and began using them and experimenting.

“I looked for help. I applied to the Gifted & Talented Program in 11th grade and was accepted. I also attended Anne Arundel Community College for art classes,” she said.

“Finally, I was given instruction and encouragement to continue pursuing my passion.”

The art of Chuck Close has been kind of model for Bell, particularly seeing how he uses many colors to make a face and still show fine detail and personality in his work, she said.

“I would sit for hours watching videos of him creating huge, massive, masterpieces. He helped me see the many minute details and how color is in everything,” she said, while also noting that she gets inspiration from Monet, particularly his brushstrokes.

“My favorite pieces to date are my self-portraits because they come from a place within and hold a special meaning for me,” she said of her own work. “My portraits are less about the medium and more about expressing the emotions I was feeling at the time. For instance, the piece ‘Daisy Eyes’ was during a period of growth in my life where I was insecure and uncertain about my talent. It now serves as a reminder to me to always press through insecurities.”

For more information about Bell and her works or to contribute to her college fund, visit

New associate rector joins St. Anne’s of Annapolis

— The Reverend M. Dion Thompson has joined St. Anne’s of Annapolis as the Associate Priest for Pastoral Care.

Reverend Thompson received his M.Div. from The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York City in 2007. He was ordained to the diaconate that same year and to the priesthood in January 2008.

He served for eight and a half years as the rector of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Covenant in Baltimore City and immediately prior to coming to St. Anne’s, he served as interim rector of Grace Memorial Episcopal Church in Darlington, Maryland.

Before becoming a priest, Dion Thompson enjoyed a twenty-year career in journalism, working for The Baltimore Sun, The Miami Herald and The Hartford Courant.

In Hartford, he started as a night police reporter and went on to cover a variety of beats, including the Connecticut state prison system, the neighborhoods of Little Haiti and Liberty City in Miami, and the state legislature in Maryland.

Born in Los Angeles, California, he holds a B.A. in English from California State University, Long Beach and an M.F.A. in Professional Writing and Publishing from the University of Southern California. His novel, “Walk Like A Natural Man,” was published in 2003. Recently, he has written articles for Episcopal publications.

Reverend Thompson is St. Anne’s first African-American clergy member in more than 100 years. In 1886, Reverend Southgate hired The Reverend Joshua Massiah as an assistant to work with what was then the St. Philips mission church of St. Anne’s. He left in 1889.

Reverend Thompson and his wife, Jean, also a former journalist, have been married 31 years and have one son, Tevin. They live in Baltimore.

Rambling Rose: Baltimore’s Premiere Celebration of Veganism and Culture

— Hello everyone! Hope you have enjoyed your summer so far as much as I have, but it is not over yet. I first want to give my condolences to my fans, friends and family who have lost a loved one this summer; know that they are in a better place and hopefully the family can heal soon. I believe you can do this by going out and enjoying good music and live entertainment with people who are dancing, laughing and having fun. Life is so short, live it like there is no tomorrow in a positive way.

Now, let’s talk about this Vegan SoulFest. Have you ever been? Honey child it is awesome! It takes place on Saturday, August 26 from noon to 7 p.m. at the Baltimore City Community College located at 2901 Liberty Heights Avenue in Baltimore. It’s free and open to the public. You can check out some of Baltimore’s retail vendors for delicious food and great local vegan products; speakers and demonstrations, entertainment for the whole family. The festival will also feature vegan food, nutrition experts, vegan cooking demonstrations and giveaways. Animals are prohibited on campus, so leave them at home!

Journalist and playwright Ursula V. Battle, returns for encore Dinner Theater performances of her play, a romantic comedy “For Better or Worse” on Saturday, August 26, 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. and August 27 at 3 p.m. at the “One God One Thought Center for Better Living,” located at 3605 Coronado Road in Windsor Mill, Md. For ticket information, call 443-531-4787.

Journalist and playwright Ursula V. Battle, returns for encore Dinner Theater performances of her play, a romantic comedy “For Better or Worse” on Saturday, August 26, 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. and August 27 at 3 p.m. at the “One God One Thought Center for Better Living,” located at 3605 Coronado Road in Windsor Mill, Md. For ticket information, call 443-531-4787.

The Whatnauts, a Baltimore National recording 70’s R&B singing group is back! The group’s whose hits include: “I’ll Ease Away Your Pain,” “Why Can’t People Be Colors Too?” and many more will perform in concert on Saturday, August 26 at 8 p.m. at the Patapsco Arena, 3301 Annapolis Road in Baltimore. The original members Carlos “Billy” Herndon, Garnett Jones Ray Mitchell and Tommy Fraling. For ticket information, call 410-262-6604 or contact T-Shirt Brian.

Let me tell you my friends, there is nothing like a good festival especially when there is live entertainment included. I try to go to as many as I can to support the communities. One musical festival I attended recently just blows my mind because of the acts. There were musicians and singers that I have not seen in years. I had the pleasure of booking and managing many of them back in the day. If you are not over 60-years-old, you may not know how much these groups controlled our lives in a positive manner from the doing the 40s through the 70s. The line-up looked like this: Barbara Washington; The Young Bucks; The Dynamic Superiors; Winfield Parker; Ronnie Dove; The Swallows; The Orioles; The Clovers; The Crests; The Limelites; The Charts; The Dubs; Peaches & Herb; and The Drifters, just to name a few.

The show was going great and everyone was having a good time until suddenly before the last six acts were introduced on the stage, the sound man, the musicians started packing up their equipment in the middle of the show. The show was produced by this “so called” promoter Peter Lemongello, Jr. and his father and a local “so called” promoter Mildred Russell, the widow of the lead singer Albert “Diz” Russell of “Sonny Til’ & the Orioles out of Washington, D.C. sneaked out of the Lamont’s Entertainment Complex in Indian Head, Maryland where the event was held with a State Trooper escort without paying the artists and the soundman. Terrible situation! I have a lot more to say on the subject, but not enough space. I am so furious that these “so called” promoters take advantage of our musicians.

One more thing I want to mention, the Jazz Expressways Foundation Breakfast Fundraiser is coming up on Saturday, September 9, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Forest Park Senior Center, located 4801 Liberty Heights Avenue in Baltimore, with live entertainment featuring Anthony “Swamp Dog” Clark, a down home blues band doing a mixture of some R&B and Jazz; a full buffet breakfast, free set-ups, BYOB, dancing and vendors. If you are interested in being a vendor for this event or want tickets please call me.

Well my dear friends, I have to go, but I am only a phone call away; call 410-833-9474 or email me at UNTIL THE NEXT TIME, I AM MUSICALLY YOURS.

Jeremy Zuttah back with the Ravens and pushing to be starting center

— The Baltimore Ravens traded center Jeremy Zuttah to the San Francisco 49ers in March of 2016. Zuttah had been a starter at center for the Ravens for three years and was named to the Pro Bowl the same year he was traded.

Zuttah became available after the 49ers released him earlier this month. He had options but chose to re-sign with the Ravens. He is happy to be back in Baltimore.

“It’s cool,” Zuttah said after practice last week. “[I’m] just getting out here, getting back with some of the guys I haven’t seen in a while— like Marshal [Yanda]— getting back into the flow of things, learning the offense, and we’ll go from there.”

Zuttah cited his familiarity with the organization as a deciding factor in his return. He also appreciates the fact that the organization is equally as familiar with him. It will allow the change of teams to be a smooth transition.

Having been with the organization before, Zuttah knows what is expected of him. They haven’t told him that he will be the starting center.

Head coach John Harbaugh is glad to have Zuttah back in the fold. It creates competition at center with current starter Ryan Jensen.

Zuttah fully understands how the Ravens approach football as a meritocracy. He knows the starting job won’t be handed back to him. It has to be earned once again.

“The role for right now is to come out, work hard and earn playing time,” Zuttah explained. “They said to go out there, compete, and we’ll see where we’re at. That’s honestly where we are.”

Harbaugh expects him to pick up where he left off but pointed to some scheme changes that will take a subtle adjustment.

“Jeremy obviously gets right back into practice. It is good to have him back. He did a good job. It was a good start, and it helps us,” Harbaugh said last week. “There are some changes with the run-game scheme that are really different in the sense of calls, terminology and even the blocking patterns that he will have to learn and get up to speed on, but he is a veteran player.”

With so little time left before the start of the season, the starting center job is up for grabs. Zuttah has previous experience as a starter but Jensen has the inside track since he was around for the complete off-season. It will be interesting to watch the battle unfold.

Should I go to that Neo-Nazi rally to fight back?

When we hear that the Neo-Nazi movement is coming to our town, most of us naturally feel called or pushed to some kind of action. But not every action is going to be effective, especially if we are walking into a situation where the level of dehumanization is extreme— where people are prepared to harm or kill others. How then can we draw from the power of nonviolence in a situation of escalating violence?

First, we have to understand that nonviolence is strategic, principled, and revolutionary. It answers to the violence around us by offering, in a disciplined manner, its opposite. Nonviolence is by no means passivity. It is not inaction. And, we would include, it should not be shortsighted, reactive action. When using this power we should know what we are taking on and be prepared for encountering hatred without the fear of being overcome by it. Remember, the power of nonviolence comes from not opposing the real well being of anyone, even— or especially— when we have to oppose their actions.

When we choose to go against our “fight or flight” response, we can find creative, nonviolent ways for responding to “Unite the Right” rallies that do not escalate violent tensions with more violence— whether defensive or offensive. The real answer to violence is not counter-violence, however strongly we’ve been conditioned to believe that, but the demonstration of a counter-force. Human nature is such that even though we may not see the effects of such a demonstration in the short term, it always works under the surface to change the hearts and minds of our opponents— even those deeply conditioned by hate (and feeling deeply inadequate, though they themselves may not be conscious of it).

Here, then, are some of the things we can do:

  1. When a hate group is coming to town, instead of directly confronting them and falling into the trap of chaos they want to create, instead of providing them the publicity that blows their importance out of proportion, we can engage in other activities and get the media pointed at those, such as a pro-peace concert or dance contest at the same time as their meeting. Failing such an alternative, just plain ignore them— the way the good people of Montgomery just ignored a normally terrifying Klan ride in 1958. It shows that we are reclaiming our spaces with humanity and safety while acting together as a mature, loving community.
  2. Another creative solution that can deflate the vehemence of a hate rally is to gather the community to donate money to a group like the Southern Poverty Law Center for every square foot covered by the hate group. Turn their gatherings turn into nonviolent, anti-fascist, pro-peace fundraisers.
  3. In all this, though, it’s important to not unthinkingly imitate past sensational nonviolent actions or tactics. Each situation is different and we need to explore what is at stake and plan for a variety of possible outcomes. Maybe we’ll get arrested by the police, but what happens if we don’t? How will we take care of each other if we do? What if someone is hurt? If we don’t ask these kinds of questions, we leave the door open to violence, which can only add fuel to the fire.

Make no mistake: nonviolent action takes courage, planning and intelligence. It’s the best, and quite possibly the only way to really counter these manifestations of hatred and ignorance that are disfiguring our society.

Stephanie Van Hook is executive director of the Metta Center for Nonviolence, co-host of Nonviolence Radio, and author of Gandhi Searches for Truth: A Practical Biography for Children; and Michael is professor emeritus at UC Berkeley and co-founder of their Peace and Conflict Studies program, co-host of Nonviolence Radio, and author of The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide for Practical Action. They both write for Peace Voice.