A   P-O-E-M

Let’s face it poetry is a hobby as not many can make a career of it. That might not have been true in centuries gone by but it is true now. What makes a successful poet today? Is it having a book published? Fact is most poets today self publish. I like that idea as it fits with my punk values of doing things yourself and not having to answer to someone. I have not had the time, money or know how to go about self publishing a book of poetry. I have had some poems published in different periodicals and books with compilations of poems. I have submitted a book to several universities and publishing houses who put out calls for work only to be rejected. I am usually sent copies of the book that has won their calls for work. When I see the kind of boring crap that wins I am glad I was not chosen.

I have measured my success at writing poetry by other means. After a reading at the late Book Nook in Warren, Ohio I had a group of students thanked me for what I had read. One noted, “I didn’t know you could pass political rants off as poetry.” He added, “It inspired me to watch the news and write evaluations of current events.” At a reading at Cedars Cafe in Youngstown I had someone tell me a guy was waiting outside to kick my ass for a poem I had read. I went outside to talk to the guy but he was gone. I considered that a success because my poem had caused someone to react even if it was a reaction motivated by anger. Just this month I attended a reading at the Lime Tree in Warren, Ohio. I read a poem that mention that the Keystone Pipeline had more leaks in its first year than any new pipeline’s first year ever. When I said that, I had a man from the audience yell, “That’s a lie.” For a moment I felt like President Obama when South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson yelled, “You lie.” That happened during Obama’s health care speech in 2009. I remained calm and replied, “It’s not a lie it leaked 12 times in the first 12 months.” If the man who yelled at me knew of a new pipe line that leaked more than a dozen times in its first year, I would be even more alarmed at the environmental damage these pipelines cause. Being heckled during a poem is something I can measure as another success at poetry! We all measure things differently and I was never much motivated by money.

I have been attending meetings for my job for many years. The meetings always have speakers throwing around acronyms. I find it maddening that no speaker bothers to explain them. That is what motivated me (see once again not money) to write this poem.

 

A   P-O-E-M
(Phrases of English Minimized)

I’ve been to many protests for different causes.
A good number of them were in D.C.
I’ve gone to ones sponsored by the AFL-CIO, USWA,
SEIU, ASCME, USWA, NEA, IWW and the local VCPJ.
That may have landed me on lists of the CIA, FBI and NSA
which they think under the Patriot Act is A-OK.
I went to the “Million Worker March”
with an autoworker from the UAW.
We were way short the million.
Which was happily pointed out by CSPAN,
FOX, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, PBS and NPR.
If you’re a brother union member in trouble
give me a call I’ll be there PDQ.
When it comes to polluting companies
count me down as a NIMBY.
I’ve got TLC for the NOW bunch.
I use to work for USS which was sold to CPI.
Now I work for TCESC a job with an early ETA.
I work with autistic kids, and
ones with OCD, ADD and ADHD.
This is factored into their IEP’s.
I take yearly classes in CPI, CPR
and AED all put on by the AMHA.
Most of my bosses have been SOB’s.
Which does not stand for sweet ole boy.
I pay my taxes to the IRS.
I seldom watch my P’s + Q’s
and I don’t take any B.S.
My wages are c-r-a-p.
Which means I can afford a bike by BNX
not the ultimate driving machine by BMW.
I pay cash and don’t write IOU’s
and don’t own any 401K’s.
I belong to the ACLU, AARP, AAA but not AA.
I don’t follow sports at all.
Not the NBA, NHL or NFL.
I sometimes eat at A&W, the DQ or BW3’s.
I wonder about the seven secret spices
and herbs in the fried chicken at KFC.
I shop at the A&P or independently owned IGA’s
where I buy I.C. lites, PBR, OJ and ingredients
for my daily packed lunch of PB&J’s.
I like to play my house stereo loud
with music by C S N &Y, R.E.M.
Run DMC, AC/DC, CCR, EL & P,
INXS, NRBQ, BTO and ELO.
I once saw Johnny Rotten’s PIL
in NYC at punk club CBGB’s.
I have no use for CEO’s with their MBA’s,
nor the GOP, KKK, WTO or NRA.
Hypocrite politicians are POS’s
who always make me LOL.
I’m going to keep fighting the good fight,
until I’m MIA or DOA,
it’s just in my DNA.
That’s my POV.

You really have to hear these songs:

Slaid Cleaves: “Rust Belt Fields”

“Still Fighting the War”

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” ~ Francis Chan

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The Real Terror We Need to Fear

 

I don’t give a shit if the president
salutes with a coffee cup in his hand.
I haven’t paid one second of attention
to stories about ISIS or Ebola being a threat.
I’m more worried about a wealthy family
that is paid to store tons of fracking waste water
in huge containers a mile from my house.
I’m more worried about more area earthquakes
caused by natural gas injection wells.
I’m also worried about the infrastructure of our country
collapsing as it is not being updated or repaired.
I’m worried about crumbling reservoirs
like the one in New Orleans that couldn’t hold back Katrina
and caused over 1800 deaths.
I’m concerned about another BP oil spill
killing 11 and destroying 16,000 miles of coastline.
I’m petrified of Chevron who thinks they should
be allowed to pollute our rivers if they give
each resident 2 cases of bottled water
and two large Domino pizzas.
I’m frightened by the people
who want to expand the Keystone pipeline
even though it has already had more spills in its first year
than any other first-year pipeline in U.S. history.
It was predicted to leak once every seven years,
but instead it leaked 12 times in the first 12 months.
I’m scared about destroying mountaintops for coal
and the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest.
If global warming is a worldwide wake-up call,
our politician are narcoleptic.
We keep fucking up the atmosphere
without even a pause or a care
making Mother nature sacrifice
until we all pay the ultimate price.

I frightened by those racists that want to keep out immigrants
who just want to get jobs, support their families and pay taxes.
Yet, these racist support corporations
that want to leave the U.S. and avoid taxes.
If stopping Ebola is so important why did
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member
of the Armed Services Committee and other Republicans
withheld approval of funds to fight Ebola.
They wouldn’t give up any money from the defense budget
because it might means we wouldn’t have money to bomb
and kill some other countries people.
Conservative politician have decided it is better
to seal our borders to fight Ebola
than to spend funds to fight it in Africa.
I’m afraid because that is like Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death”.
Where the rich protect themselves and their friends in a secured castle
and celebrating their protection from the outside world.
If you’ve read the story you know it didn’t end well.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, a California Republican
lied to FOX NEWS and said 10 ISIS terrorist
crossed the border from Mexico into Texas.
FOX NEWS of course ran with the lie.
I don’t fear ISIS I fear representatives like Hunter
who think they represent the values of our citizens.
I also fear a media like FOX who won’t investigate
lies if they agree with those lies.
Credible reporting can’t get past security at FOX News.
I’m scared of Chickenhawk conservative writer
Wall Street types like Bill Kristol who would kill kittens
if it meant he thought it was going to lead to war
and make the military industrial complex richer.
I don’t fear ISIS terrorists on our borders
I fear gun nuts carrying guns into
theaters, restaurants, malls and churches.
I fear my loss of freedom being taken by the NRA
as they oppose all background checks
which might keep my family from being riddled with bullet holes
from yet another good guy with a Gun Gone Wild.

I fear those crazy militia dudes that showed up
at the Bundy ranch to protect his rights
to steal money from U.S. taxpayers.
They called themselves, Oathkeepers
Oafkeepers is more like it.
If I was a black man I wouldn’t worry about Ebola from Africa
I’d worry and fear being shot by white cops because I was African-American.
I’m not worried about an ISIS invasion of our country
I’m worried about the domestic threat to our country
from our police departments who are getting militarized.
I don’t fear Islamic Sharia Law taking my freedom.
The Supreme Court has already done that
by picking our presidents and letting
the wealthy buy our elections.
Sharia Law is just another name for the Patriot Act.
I fear the bad guys have a marketing advantage because
small thoughts are easier to fit on a bumper sticker.
When I think of small thoughts I immediately think
of crazy right-wing talk radio hosts.
I’m also frightened by their callers.
How do they dial in a straightjacket?
I heard one say the country has been going downhill
since schools and businesses started casual dress Fridays.
That is a mental call for help and a good reason these calls
should be traced and the callers given mental health help.

I’m not worried about our economy being destroyed by Islamic terrorists.
It’s already being destroyed by people who vote for politicians
that believes in exporting jobs and voting for bad trade policies.
I’m worried because good paying jobs are vanishing by our complacency.
Like the complacent working-class drunk man who sat
at the bar at the University Inn at Larchmont in Warren, Ohio.
He slurred verbal attacks against Giant Eagle which is one
of the few grocery stores in our area that has union workers.
He did this while downing Yuengling Beer
a brewer that busted its Teamster Union.
I fear the woman who bashed people using food stamps
but pays annually to be a member of Sam’s Club
one of the biggest corporate welfare queens on the block.
I am terrified of one disease that has affected
conservatives in much of the USA
that would be cranial-rectal inversion syndrome
not Ebola.

Rufus Wainwright: “Going to a Town”

“Out of the Game”

“Fear cuts deeper than swords.” ― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Election Day is Our Scariest Holiday

 

Halloween is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31.

Traditional activities include trick-or-treating,

costume parties, visiting “haunted houses.

The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries

between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased

would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness.

Trick-or-treating, is an activity for children on Halloween

in which they proceed from house to house in costumes,

asking for treats such as candy to fill up their Trick-or-treat bags.

Sadly, many adults turn off their porch lights

because they don’t want to participate in the event.

Let me tell you about a day in November

that is much scarier than Halloween.

What makes this day frightening is that

too many people don’t participate in it

which ends up costing us all more tricks than treats.

I’m talking about the Tuesday after the first Monday in November

in the U.S. it is known as Election Day.

The bags that scare on Election Day

are bags now known as Teabaggers.

Here are some of the treats they enjoy

that they hope you’ll support even though

they are toxic to any sane person.

The first poisonous morsel for your consideration

is Republican State Representative Jon Hubbard of Arkansas

who believes that slavery was a blessing to black Americans.

Arkansas state Republican Representative Loy Mauch,

said that Abraham Lincoln was a Marxist war criminal

and that the Confederate flag is a symbol of Christian liberty.

Fellow Arkansas Republican state legislator Charlie Fuqua is a big believer

in the Biblical practice of dangling the threat of death

over children’s heads in order to get them to respect their parents.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Alabama) said the real problem

facing America today is the war on whites.

Rep. Renee Elders (R-N. Carolina) said the GOP

needs to dumb down their language so women understand it.

Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) claims Jesus fought

for the death penalty up until the day he died.

Rep. Stockman (R-Texas) has links to militia groups
and appears on radio shows that deny the Holocaust.
U.S. congressional candidate Minister Eddie Zamora (R-Texas)
held a gun to his ex-wife’s head and kidnapped her
and served 5 years in a North Carolina prison for it.
New Jersey Republican Senate candidate Jeff Bell, said single mothers
are just lazy moochers who rely on help from the government.
Duncun Hunter (R-California) lied and said 10 ISIS fighter
have been caught coming across the Mexican border into Texas.
Maine Rep. Gov. Paul Le Page said, it was time
to get rid of child labor laws and put 12-year-olds to work
and pay them less than minimum wage.
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Georgia) says school kids
should be janitors at the schools to get their free lunches.
Kingston, who is currently running for Senate
had taxpayers pay $4,182 worth of lunches
for his office over the past three years,
the equivalent of about 2,000 free lunches.
Chris Collins, New York GOP State Rep. said
“People now don’t die from prostate cancer, breast cancer and some of the other things.”
If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways of shutting that whole thing down.”  -Todd Akin (R- Missouri)
“Some girls, they rape so easy”  – Roger Rivard, Wisconsin GOP State Rep.
Elected Tea party politicians in North Carolina
have tried to establish a state religion (Christian of course),
and tried to make it illegal to predict rising-sea  levels.
Rep.Dick Black (R-Virgina) believes in spousal rape.
Susanne Atanus is a Illinois Republican congressional candidate
who actually believes god
is punishing us with Autism  and bad weather
because of equal rights for gays.
Baptist pastor and right-wing radio show host Jody B. Hice
is the 2014 Georgia GOP candidate for congress and likely to win.
He doesn’t believe American Muslims should have First Amendment Rights.
He has also said women should not run for office unless they have their husband’s permission.
Kentucky state Sen. Brandon Smith (R) who owns a mining company claimed
that man-made climate change is scientifically implausible because
Mars and Earth share “exactly” the same temperature.
Remind me not to vacation in Kentucky as NASA says
the average temperature on Earth is 57 degrees Fahrenheit
and the average on Mars is -81 degrees.
State Rep. Stan Lee (R) claimed that climate-warming trends caused by human activities
– a phenomenon backed by 97 percent of climate scientists –
are nothing more than calculated scare tactics.
I am left wondering if these dumb redneck candidates
will be driven to political events by the Dukes of Hazard
in the General Lee Dodge Charger.
Why do Republicans continue to elect representatives in their primaries
who lack understanding, common sense and who hate science?
I suspect it could be because Republicans and
the Tea Party in general are  inferior to apes.
These candidates are morons and corporate stooges.
They won’t serve the Earth or humanity.
They won’t represent or serve you as  they don’t even serve
any higher purpose for the lives and futures of their own children.
They only offer more division, fear and hatred.
Don’t you expect more than that for people
who are supposed to be YOUR representatives?
Choose to participate and consider voting
as the treat that protects your rights
and get informed and don’t fall for tricks.
Get your ass out and vote.
It’s a Beautiful Day: “White Bird”
“The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed.” – Stephen Biko

 

 

 

 

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A Local Politician Dies and a Local Politician Lies

My heal spurs, said it was time to visit my podiatrist. I enjoy talking political and social issues with him, when I visit. This visit, he was telling me how Obamacare or ACA (the Affordable Care Act) has changed his business. It has brought him, new patients each week. They are poor people, who could not afford a doctor, in the past. He is happy to see them, because many are people who were in real foot pain (about half caused by diabetes) and hadn’t been treated in years. Some of the ones he is now seeing had gone to emergency rooms, when they couldn’t stand the pain any longer. Doc said treatment at the emergency room is the most expensive kind of healthcare for taxpayers and patients. It also doesn’t provide the longer term needed foot care that a podiatrist can provide. As doc sees it Obamacare is helping the poor get much needed treatment, and bringing down the cost of healthcare.

Just the day before my podiatrist visit, I had seen conservative columnist David Brooks on PBS news. He was talking about issues the GOP was going to use to run on in the November elections. Brooks stated that facts show Obamacare is lowering healthcare costs. He said that didn’t matter to Republican candidates running in the November elections. He said Republican candidates would oppose Obamacare because polls show it is unfavorable with the public. The conservative Weekly Standard was just heralding a recent poll by pollsters McLaughlin & Associates. Their poll showed 60% of voters want Obamacare to be repealed. I’m not surprised at all it was 60% against Obamacare. That is because here is the question McLaughlin & Associates asked, “Would you support or oppose repealing and replacing Obamacare with a conservative alternative that would save $1 trillion, reduce premiums, enhance access to doctors, and increase the number of people with private insurance by 6 million, but would cover 6 million fewer people overall because fewer people would be on Medicaid?” I’d be for that plan but the conservative have no such plan so that is a moot question. McLaughlin & Associates had also done polling in the past showing both Mitt Romney and Eric Cantor as winning their upcoming elections by good margins. That must have come to a shock to Romney and Cantor  who both lost. In a July poll Kaiser Health Tracking Poll asked the question, “Which would you rather see your representative in Congress do when it comes to the health care law? Work to improve the law? Work to repeal the law and replace it with something else.” Kaiser Health found—60 percent want to keep and improve the law.

Conservatives trying to repeal Obamacare and pollsters trying to rig polls against it are up against facts (though those facts don’t get out in the conservative owned corporate media). I’ve dug up some facts for you. Gallup who does polls says there are now 10 million newly insured citizens under Obamacare. And insurance companies report that 80 to 85% are paying their premiums (conservatives had claimed people would sign up but most would never pay). Medicare trustees’ report that Medicare’s solvency will extend for an additional four years, to 2030, because of savings achieved through Obamacare. The Department of Health and Human Services stated that hospitals will save $5.7 billion in uncompensated care costs — money spent by hospitals on people who go to the emergency room and aren’t able to pay their bills. States that have opted to expand Medicaid through Obamacare are benefiting the most: $4.2 billion of these savings, or 74 percent, come in states that expanded their Medicaid programs. Conservative leaders in 21 states that have refused to expand are hurting hospitals in their states that aren’t benefitting from these savings. With costs down for consumers and hospitals, more competition, and millions more people covered Obamacare is a success. Conservatives trying to repeal Obamacare and pollsters trying to rig polls against it are up against facts (though those facts don’t get out in the conservative corporate owned media).

You’d think, it would be hard to ignore these facts about Obamacare but Republican candidates running in November are running against Obamacare. They are hoping the corporate owned media has dumbed down the public enough to oppose Obamacare. One area politician has featured no reason to vote for him in November other than that he opposes Obamacare. That would be Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH-6) who wants re-elected. Bill has a degree in computer science but knows little about science. He denies climate change which earns him big donations from the gas and oil industry. When Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) more than 130 Republicans in the House voted against it. Rep. Bill Johnson was one of those 130 Republicans that opposed the Violence Against Women Act. Bill was asked by someone at his Facebook Town Hall on the very day of his vote against the VAWA, why he voted against it. Bill said, “Please make sure you have the facts right. I DID vote in favor of VAWA today,” Huffington Post asked a Johnson spokesman about Bill’s vote. The spokesman stated that Bill Johnson had indeed voted against the VAWA. If Bill Johnson is your representative and you are anti-healthcare, anti-environment, and anti-woman you’ve got the perfect representative. If you like someone who represent big oil and gas and not the public, vote for Bill Johnson. If you like someone who is either a liar or so senile he can’t remember how he voted on a bill then you need to vote for Bill Johnson. If you’re in Ohio District 6 vote Bill Johnson if you think we just don’t have enough lying, corporate owned politicians in D.C.

R.I.P. Rep. James Traficant. I didn’t always agree with him but I thank him for coming to my community to support our local school levy. Jim did a lot of such things for our valley.

Chet Falker: “Drop the Game”

“Terms and Conditions”

“Since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word.”~ Charles De Gauelle

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Broken Pieces but No Peace

I found a few things in the Warren Tribune the last few days I found appalling. I’m talking other than the corporate tool editor’s right-wing B.S. opinions.
I call this poem:

“Broken Pieces but No Peace”

The annual Peace in the Valley Celebration
will be Sunday September 21 in Warren.
The peace walk will begin at 1:30 p.m.
at Courthouse Square and go to the
Warren Community Amphitheatre.
There the top three student essay writers,
will read their prize-winning essays on peace.
The topic of the essay is “If I Could Talk Face to Face
with My Elected Officials, Here is What I Would Like
to See Them Do to Bring Peace to Our Valley.”
A neighborhood peace event
had already started a few days before
on Friday September 12th.
Oddly enough it started in Warren
on a street named, Peace Street.
A resident of N. W. Peace Street known as Saylor
decided to sail over to his next door neighbor’s house
and spread some peace and love to his neighbors.
Saylor knocked on their door and
when they answered he professed his love.
Sadly, his need to spread his love
was fueled by his ingestion
of many illegal substances.
The neighbor woman’s boyfriend
thought Saylor was not there
to spread peace and love
but trying to spread his love seed
by trying to get a piece
of his girlfriend who Saylor
has been leaving love notes for.
He had tucked them in her door’s crack.
It does seem as if Saylor was on crack
and trying to get a crack at
his neighbor guy’s girfriend’s crack.
Saylor turned from a peaceful missionary of love
to an angry violent man attacking the boyfriend.
A neighborhood man named, Christian
lived up to his name and broke up the fight.
The police arrived and arrested Saylor.
The police didn’t want Saylor’s Peace Street home
to be broken into so they secured it.
If you or I secured someone’s home that would mean
we got the key and made sure the doors were locked.
When the police secure your home it means
they ransacked it looking for any contraband.
In this case they found marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Because Saylor was high from illegal drugs
he was transported to Trumbull Memorial Hospital
where he was given legal drugs and is resting peacefully.
Peace Street made the local news again
two-day later on Sunday September 14th.
A Chevy Cruze cruising Peace Street
shot several times at a Ford Explorer
that was exploring peace Street.
A 21 year-old man was shot during
the vehicle chase and gun fight.
Resident’s homes and vehicles
on Peace Street suffered bullet holes.
As I type this on September 17th
the Warren Tribune’s front page
shouts out that on September 16th
three men were shot just before 6 p.m.
on Burton Street S.E. in Warren.
The police are on the lookout for
two gray cars involved in the incident.
The definition of an incident is an event that
disrupts normal procedure or causes a crisis.
It appears that shootings and violence
in Warren, Ohio shouldn’t be considered
an incident because it is normal procedure.
The 22 year-old suspect in the
Burton Street shooting of three
has a tattoo that says, “God.”
I don’t think that means he believes in God.
I suspect that means that he thinks he is God.
I don’t like to hear anyone trash talk
any community in our county or valley.
That being said I still have to say,
I’m sorry Warren but having an annual Peace March
and having our young generation write peace essays
isn’t going to bring peace to Peace Street
or any other street in Warren, Ohio.
It’s going to take a 24/7 zero tolerance to violence
by the citizens of Warren to set an example
for our younger generation’s future.
The name Warren has the word war in it
but that is no excuse to turn the city
into a daily battleground.
Our nation thinks we should be the “cops of the world”
but the truth is we can’t even police our own streets.
People of Warren do you have to sink so low
that you have to jump up to reach the bottom
before you speak out or do something?

Greg Robbins: “Not Again” - A Song Dedicated to the Victims of Gun Violence.

“All violence is the result of people tricking themselves into believing that their pain derives from other people and that consequently those people deserve to be punished.” ~ Marshall B. Rosenberg

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Color Our World Blue

I enjoyed some good Barbecue while I was on vacation. I went to some of the most popular BBQ joints in Memphis, Nashville and Austin. Truth is I’d put Youngstown’s Royal Oaks raspberry BBQ ribs and Austintown’s Barry Dyngles baby back ribs ahead of any ribs I ate on vacation. Austin especially market’s itself as a foodie town. Given the great variety of restaurants we have in this valley we could easily do the same. Austin has areas where food trucks gather for lunch and are met by long lines of customers. I see Akron now doing occasional events with food truck gathering at local parks. I’m wondering if we have enough food trucks in the valley to pull off such an event.

Tennessee and Texas are both red states. I have to say, I was impressed with the work liberal thinking people are doing in places like Nashville, Memphis and Austin. In an anti-union state like Tennessee it was great to hear that a judge ordered Kellogg Co. to end a nine month lockout of union workers. The workers had been locked out after turning down a contract that lowered many of their wages by $6 an hr. and took away benefits. The judge ruled that,”To allow the lockout to continue would place significant hardship on employees… .”

Memphis now has what they call, “The Green Machine Mobile Food Market.” It is a bus that travels to senior housing and poor neighborhoods selling fresh produce. Its first customer in 2013 was a 103-year old former school teacher in a wheelchair. The areas they service do not have full service grocery stores. The bus has been a big hit and served over 15,000 customers. Another hit, has been changes to the city’s waterfront that includes a pedestrian and bicycle boardwalk.

Young professionals in Memphis started an organization called, Undercurrent, a year ago. The monthly gathering at various venues has about 250 attendees each month. They make no speeches or have no agenda. They have connected more than 2,500 creative individuals for networking, making new friends, dating and finding new jobs. They have also produced Ignite Memphis, an event series that enlists presenters to make timed, slide-based presentations on a range of topics.

In 2011 Visible Music College started a downtown campus in Memphis. Music business and music production bachelor degrees are offered at the college. The school also houses Madison Line Records where the students will have hands on training mixing, mastering and distributing actual label releases. Students will also learn about promoting and booking the label’s musicians. Memphis like Nashville has turned into a music recording hub and now it is branching out. This fall Visible will have a satellite Chicago campus. In the fall of 2015, Visible will add a Dallas campus.

I spent less time vacationing in Nashville so I don’t have as much to say about it. I did note that lots of bars and restaurants in Nashville had musicians and singer-songwriters performing. They sang at all times throughout the day and night. Most were playing for tips so the exposure was worth more than the money. It was sad that most of the singer-songwriters were being made to play classic songs instead of their own material. Nashville had lots of free buses to transport visitors and locals. I was glad to see Nashville had an active peace and justice center. It was good to read that Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said Nashville is a little splash of blue in a pool of red.

In Austin it was nice to see a “Texas Stands With Gaza” rally. The Texas Freedom Network was showing a film, “Roe at Risk: Fighting for Reproductive Justice” and discussing it. Roe is at risk in Texas because of the passing of House Bill 2.  House Bill 2’s restrictions have already close half of Texas’s abortion-care clinics. There is a big progressive movement in Austin and other parts  of Texas to get Wendy Davis elected as the next Texas governor. She has been the victim on a nasty smear campaign and is down 17% in the polls against GOP candidate Greg Abbott.

A U.S. magistrate judge denied motions to dismiss the case filed by Antonio Buehler against the Austin Police Department. Bueler is founder of Peaceful Streets Project. Austin police arrested him Jan. 1 2012 for videotaping a woman being investigated for a potential DUI. He was also arrested for filming officers in action in August and September of 2012. Buehler is looking forward to his court date where he says he will prove police crimes and corruption. I think this is an important case in light of some of the deaths we are seeing at the hands of police across this nation. I also love this action taken by activists in Austin to help the homeless.

As you can see we have some activist in the red states adding some blue color! I thank all of them for their efforts to get this nation painted a soothing blue instead of an angry red. I admire red state activist for fighting against such odds. It should inspire blue state activist who aren’t so outnumbered. I realize I’ve spent the last year being a “slacktivist” and need to step up my game. How about you?

Bahamas: “Stronger Than That”

“Caught Me Thinking”

“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.” ~ Rosa Luxemburg

 

 

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How Little Peace in the World

I was going to report on some progressive things I found while traveling to some of our red states, while on vacation. I’m putting that on the back burner for now. That is because I have been focusing on the shooting of unarmed, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown is African-American and the police officer who shot him six times is white. This article’s comment section, will give you some insight on how black and whites differ on the shooting. I am left wondering where is the NRA on this issue? They are telling people how they may well end up needing guns to fight against an encroaching police state. Is the NRA not concerned if a police state is harassing and shooting black America citizens? After every school shooting there is an outpouring of sympathy and caring for victims of gun violence. Where is that out pouring when the victims are black youths gunned down by police and would be vigilantes? When it is a black victim, there always seems to be a rush to prove the black victim did something that warranted his being beaten, choked to death, or shot half a dozen times.

In the case of the Ferguson shooting, rioting erupted. What if instead, the black community would have heavily armed themselves and stood toe to toe with the police and National Guard? In the case of white rancher, Cliven Bundy in Nevada armed white men from around the country showed up to aid Bundy. They were defending someone who had been stealing taxpayer money for over twenty years, by poaching on government land. Bundy made racist remarks that had the right-wing media flee from supporting him. The right-wing militia guys did not flee and faced down the armed agents of the Bureau of Land Management. These white right-wing militias are opposed to the U.S. turning into a police state. Why did these militias not show up in Ferguson to aid those protesting a police state? I guess many whites are OK with black Americans suffering from a justice system that makes them second class citizens.  I’d like to leave on the good things that are happening in Ferguson.  

Now for a poem I just wrote about how little peace we have in this world:

The Good Examples are too Few
We have protests in Ferguson, Missouri

over an unarmed black teen’s death

shot six times by a white policeman.

As always the police said they

are going to investigate themselves.

65% of Republicans expressed confidence

in the investigations into the incident.

About the same percent of 7 year olds

say they still believe in Santa Clause.

All over the world, tensions are high,

including unrest over self-rule in the Ukraine.

Practically every country is at war

— in some way or another.

The latest study from the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP)

says just 11 countries aren’t embroiled in conflict right now.

The ranking takes into account

everything from foreign involvement

to unrest on the home turf.

The U.S.is not in the top 100 most peaceful nations

as we come in at 101 on the list.

The 11 countries with the lowest rates of conflict were

Switzerland, Japan, Qatar, Mauritius, Uruguay, Chile,

Botswana, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Panama and Brazil.

They were detached from wars in other countries

and free of internal conflict in their own nation.

Eleven countries is pretty damn pathetic.

But even those countries aren’t home free.

The data from the 2014 report only goes up to the end of 2013,

so events like the protests at the World Cup festivities in Brazil

will change next year’s ranking removing Brazil from the list.

I’m not sure how it got on the current list

as it is ranked number 2 on the earth

in highest sex slave trade for women

and men are also sold as slaves for labor.

As for Switzerland how did it get on the list?

This is a country where “blood” diamonds,

and hard currency passes through Swiss banks

in order to be “laundered.”

There’s no telling how much suffering and violence

people suffered so others could earn these profits.

As far as Qatar is concerned this is a country where

immigrant workers from India and Nepal die

due to unbearable working conditions,

and how many others workers never received any pay.

The violence that is in Botswana is caused by drought

and Aids/HIV which infects a quarter of its population.

Some of these 11 peaceful nations manufacture weapons

and sell them to countries in conflict.

The world is faced with too much greed,

too much fighting over limited resources

including jobs which leads to the cheapening of life

then war and conflict.

I’m not sure I believe in evolution,

maybe it shouldn’t be taught in schools.

After not learning anything from

centuries of war and conflict

can man really claim he has evolved?

 

Akron’s Jacob Arthur: “Robin” (a tribute to Robin Williams).

“We Stand as One”

“Pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudice. Divide and conquer! We must not let that happen here.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

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