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Dan Siegel
Dan Siegel is a writer, social entrepreneur and speaker on politics, film, philanthropy and civil society issues.

Dan's articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, Newsday, the Des Moines Register, the San Jose Mercury News, and the Oakland Tribune, among others. He worked as a writer and consultant for eight years in Eastern Europe, covering the rise of civil society movements. He was co-founder of New Visions, an organization focused on promoting effective philanthropy and innovation in the nonprofit sector.

He can be contacted at

Entries by Dan Siegel

Cuba Libre: Obama Frees a Monster in America's Head

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2014 | 12:35 PM

So with the simple stroke of a pen, Barack Obama begins the end of the U.S. Cold War against Cuba.

The presidential order to restore diplomatic relations with the island nation should have been done decades ago, by Jimmy Carter after Vietnam, or by Bill Clinton following the collapse...

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Film Review: Two Days, One Night -- The Wages of Human Solidarity

(0) Comments | Posted September 15, 2014 | 3:29 PM

The Belgian filmmaking brother duo of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne has been making documentary and social-realist fiction films since the late-1970s. While their gritty humanist features have gained praise in the independent film world internationally (twice winning the Palme d'Or prize at Cannes, a feat only...

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Leading Lights, Worldly Issues Headline Mill Valley Film Festival

(0) Comments | Posted September 12, 2013 | 4:57 PM

Bay Area cinema lovers who survived the dry summer season of Hollywood blockbusters will find welcomed relief in this fall's Mill Valley Film Festival early next month (October 3-13).

The annual Marin film fest, in its 36th year, will feature early peaks at Oscar contenders, award nights to...

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Orson Welles' Timeless Take on American Politics

(11) Comments | Posted August 22, 2013 | 3:31 PM

Hearing Orson Welles' rich-timber voice in my ear as he dishes on his life, work and times near the end of his life is a belly-pleasing feast of summer reading.

In My Lunches with Orson, readers have a rare tableside seat at Ma Maison, Welles' LA restaurant...

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Raising a Greek Cinema Paradiso

(0) Comments | Posted August 9, 2013 | 1:43 PM

When Alexander Payne stepped off the boat in late July to arrive on the Greek isle of Patmos, few locals recognized a major Hollywood writer-director in their midst -- or had a chance to see his films on the silver screen.

But the Omaha-born filmmaker of Greek descent, known for...

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Zero Dark Thirty: After Oscar Snub, the Debate Deepens

(20) Comments | Posted February 25, 2013 | 12:13 PM

Zero Dark Thirty fell far short of once-expected Oscar glory last night. The film's Academy Awards prospects dimmed after drawing sharp rebukes from policy experts for overplaying the role of CIA torture in the hunt and kill of Osama bin Laden. Nevertheless, Kathryn Bigelow's stylish film...

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Obamacare & Parental Peace of Mind

(44) Comments | Posted July 1, 2012 | 7:12 PM

Is insuring the health and well-being of your child the most important responsibility of a parent?

I would say so, and like to think of myself as a good dad. But sometimes, as I have learned alongside many parents of uninsured kids across our nation, it is simply beyond our...

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Film Review: How to Start a Revolution

(0) Comments | Posted October 19, 2011 | 1:03 PM

The sweeping changes of the Arab Spring demonstrated to the world how "the people without the guns are winning." So declares the new documentary, How to Start a Revolution, a film that profiles the ideas and impact of Gene Sharp, a Nobel Peace Prize-nominated academic who can be described as...

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I Am Review: Hollywood Director Exlores What's Right with the World

(2) Comments | Posted March 7, 2011 | 11:51 PM

As the world is transfixed by remarkable change in the Middle East, America's popcorn culture distracts us with another Nicholas Cage road rage movie and the next around-the-clock celebrity train wreck (aka, the Charlie Sheen Show).

Into this void steps Tom Shadyac, Hollywood blockbuster director (Bruce Almighty, The...

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China, the Nobel Prize and the Road to Freedom

(14) Comments | Posted November 19, 2010 | 4:33 PM

Twenty-five years ago, a group of officials from the Soviet Union traveled to Washington DC to discuss the prospects for nuclear arms reductions with the United States. After delivering their address, the first person to rise from the audience to ask a question was I.F. Stone, the legendary muckraking journalist....

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Lakers Fans, Be Ever So Grateful!

(3) Comments | Posted June 26, 2010 | 9:56 AM

As the warm glow and gloating of the Lakers' Sweet 16th banner win over the Celtics carries us through the summer, we Lakers fans should pause before championship defense anxiety creeps into our souls. Waiting for Phil Jackson to decide to coach or not to coach, seeing where Lebron &...

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A Single Man: The Cinema of Beautiful Death

(3) Comments | Posted February 3, 2010 | 2:29 PM

A Single Man has garnered Colin Firth his first Oscar nomination, and praise for fashion designer-turned movie director Tom Ford.

Too bad the film was overlooked as a best picture contender. This movie deserves your viewing for Firth's magnificent (and indeed Oscar-worthy) performance in a wrenching yet life affirming...

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Beyond Fallen Sports Idols: Let's Celebrate the Giving Life

(0) Comments | Posted December 1, 2009 | 1:28 PM

On Monday, as the media machine swirled around Tiger Woods, New York Yankee baseball star Derek Jeter was quietly tapped by Sports Illustrated as their sportsman of the year.

Some years ago, I attended a conference in New Orleans for families involved in philanthropy, and met a cherubic-faced woman whose...

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Mr. President, Can the Ghosts of Vietnam Talk You Down?

(31) Comments | Posted November 6, 2009 | 3:41 PM

Dear Mr. President:

In these days before a fateful decision, I hope you are hearing the wise counsel of those who directly experienced the Vietnam Quagmire, who now watch you prepare to sink your presidency, like Lyndon Johnson, into the unforgiving history and terrain of Afghanistan.

It is stunning...

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Obama Year One: The Public Is A Trust, Not An Option

(4) Comments | Posted November 2, 2009 | 3:34 AM

The one-year anniversary of Barack Obama's exhilarating victory offers endless political assessments and reminders of that historic election night. For many Americans, 11/4 of last year was the hopeful antidote to 9/11, a riveting game changer for our country's political future.

But now in this fall season, many wonder...

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Michael Moore's Grapes of Wrath

(26) Comments | Posted October 6, 2009 | 1:47 PM

Michael Moore has made the most important and urgent political film of our time. In fact, he might have made the most American of films since the populist cinema of Frank Capra.

I hope that Capitalism: A Love Story gets the proper national hearing and deep respect it so...

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Calling Mr. Smith, Not Mr. Rogers

(3) Comments | Posted September 6, 2009 | 11:07 PM

Alright Barack, you warned us that it would not be easy. You told us last year that entrenched interests would battle reform every step of the way when you got to Washington. Your campaign stirred the young and awoke those tired of more of the same. You invited us all...

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American Thriller

(1) Comments | Posted July 6, 2009 | 5:25 PM

Sitting here at George's Cafe on the Aegean island of Patmos, a chill spot for Athenian Greeks, mellow Europeans and a few adventurous Americans, the Great American Ghoul Show for Michael Jackson plays out a bit more oddly, if that is possible.

CNN International is on around-the-clock MJ watch, with...

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The Power of Y.O.U.!

(3) Comments | Posted November 10, 2008 | 5:57 PM

"I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to -- it belongs to you." Barack Obama, November 4, 2008

Welcome to the Obama Revolution, brought to you by Y.O.U.!

The Obama victory was powered by something new: The Y.O.U. Movement. This movement is composed of three integral forces which...

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Paul Newman: Celebrating A Citizen Philanthropist

(3) Comments | Posted September 29, 2008 | 12:15 PM

Paul Newman's sad passing leaves me short of one true bucket list item: to meet the man, rather than the actor, to thank him for all that he has given to us as a pathbreaking citizen philanthropist.

I spend my days teaching young people and families about the power of...

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