Monthly Archives: February 2009

Aunt Sally and Uncle Walt’s B.S. B.S.

I have more than had it with your aunt and uncle. You know the ones I mean, your Aunt Sally and Uncle Walt. They are both full of B.S. B.S. yep, that’s no mistake I wrote B.S. twice. That’s because B.S.B.S. stands for, bucket seat bullshit and they are up to their silver Mercury Grand Marquis’s half black vinyl roof full of it.

At the grocery store at the dentist office or where ever I go Sally and Walt are somewhere nearby pontificating to anyone that will listen. What they are pontificating is the same geriatric diatribe I hear so many seniors expressing. I hear Walt start, “Far as I can tell the economy is humming right along.” Next comes Sally, “Saturday Walt and I were driving down (224, 442, Belmont, Elm Rd. etc.) and we noticed lots of cars at (restaurant of your choice). So I can’t see why we are suppose to buy the talk of being in a recession.”

I keep hearing this same B.S. B.S. over and over from lots of Aunt Sallys and Uncle Walters. I want to say; “Damn we need to fire all the economist in the country and all the workers at the Employment Office because Sally and Walt have done the real research.” Sally and Walt are a new breed of economist known as, “Bucket seat economists.” Or in the case of the elderly vehicle of choice the Grand Marquis, “Split bench-seat economists.” These oldster economic analysts do drive-by research while wearing a seat belt and facing an airbag no charts or graphs needed.

First off Sally and Walt, Saturday has always been international date night so if a couple is eating  out any day of the week it will be Saturday. A family will probably eat out on a Friday as it’s the end of the week. If Sally and Walt actually ask a restaurant owner how business is they’d hear that business is off a big percent. I see lots of coupon offers anymore and fancier restaurants are touting that they now have many dinners under $10. Of course just driving by a restaurant and counting parked cars is a lot easier for the Sallys and Walts of the world what with speculation being so much easier than fact.

As of late when I hear Sally and Walter’s B.B B.S. I ask them if before they drive on a bridge they take the time to look under it and see how many homeless people are living there. I ask them if they’ve stopped at the employment office, a food pantry, a soup kitchen or the Salvation Army and seen how many needy people are really out there. Sally and Walt don’t realize what’s happening as that would require removing themselves from the Grand Marquis warm dual climate control system. Even if they didn’t want to get out of the big Mercury they could do more drive-by research. That research would show the rising number of poverty pimps in the form of pawnshops, check cashing stores and Rent-A-Centers that  have sprung up. They’d see the explosion of the number of dollar stores that are being built because we are getting down to our last dollar.

I was at my doc’s office the other day when I again ran into your Aunt Sally who was waiting for Walt who was in for a checkup. Doc usually has on CNN or MSNBC but one of the patients must have wanted to watch comedy so he turned on FOX NEWS. They were doing a segment for what passes for important news on FOX about Natalie Suleman the mother who has octuplets. Aunt Sally went into a huge tirade calling, Suleman, “ A simple ass, bimbo, Angelina Jolie wannabe, baby vending machine.” Sally assumed the Elecpencil and a couple who cowered from her would nod our heads agreeing with her. She continued, “The woman is a psychopathic nut job who’s gong to be on welfare costing us taxpayers our last dollar.”

I realized the asshole magnet (check my older post about the Oakland Theater Stage review) that aliens planted in me must be on high frequency as I look over at Sally. I replied to her, “Maybe Suleman got that expression that it takes a village to raise a child mixed up and thought it took one woman to raise a village of children.” Sally was not in the mood for humor and tried to stare a hole through me. Sally had no idea that she couldn’t harm me as I wear my stare proof vest daily just to protect me from her type. Her type are the sidewalk B.S. self-appointed psychologist that diagnose everyone. Their diagnosis is worth just what it cost them to get their sidewalk degree…. zip.

I said to Sally, “Do you shop at Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club?” She replied, “I shop at Wal-Mart and I belong to Sam’ s Club but what does that have to do with anything?” I replied, “Only that you are a hypocrite who trashes a woman who worked and paid into welfare and is entitled to some back while you shop at the biggest welfare queens on the planet that have cost us taxpayers over $1.2 billion.”  I continued my rant, “The Iraq war cost us taxpayers $3 trillion, there were billions in costs overruns, millions of dollars unaccounted for and lots of corrupt non-bid contracts through out the last eight years. Did you protest, call for investigations or even scream about any of that to innocent bystanders in a doctors office?”

Sally shot back at me, “ I don’t follow all that stuff and anyway I’m talking about this woman and right now.” About this time the nurse walks out with your Uncle Walt whom is looking peaked and walking bent over. The nurse hands him a prescription and tells him to take it easy and slow down. They exit while the cowering couple next to me now sit up straight and sigh in relief. I want to ask them if like me they have been implanted by aliens with asshole magnets but I get up as I hear the nurse call, “Elecpencil.” The nurse checks my blood pressure and tells me it’s rather high. I tell her it’s Doc’s fault for allowing FOXNEWS and Aunt Sally’s B.S. B.S. in the waiting room.

Greg Brown Except You and Me Babe

Blue Car

“One reason why we think that life is good in America
is that most of the people who are describing life, the
articulate people, are on the gravy end.  The people
who can’t speak for themselves, the inarticulate who grow
in numbers every day, have no proper spokespeople.”
John le Carré


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Big Brother and Missing Joe

Congats to the Ghost Kelly Pavlik!

I had a very kind lady send me info saying that I should ask folks to use the RSS feed link I have on my site. She gave me the following RSS info

I ask that you read the info and click on my RSS link and sign on to get my blog automatically when I update. ~ Thank You ~ the Elecpencil

Also with this blog I am trying to encourage people who like myself find it hard to have the time and energy to be an activist to still continue the fight via e-mail. To do this check out my, Armchair Activist Link, which I will keep updated with the latest actions, you can take from your keyboard. Fight the power with your PC! Power to the motherboard!

Every time I post my blog I try to put some songs by musicians from the past and present that deserve to be heard more. I also have a list of singer/songwriters that do political music, which is my favorite music. Check them out!

After all my bitching about the Warren Tribune at this site two posts back, the Tribune published a letter I sent over a week ago in today’s edition. It was a letter saying, that the editor attacked Gov. Strickland on education without having his facts in order. I think they only published it because after it they had two letters attacking Strickland for talking about raising user fees.

I’m not here to just point out problems but to seek answers for them. The politicians in Warren Ohio are claiming they want to get city traffic to obey the speed limits. They’d like to do what Girard Ohio did and bring in traffic cameras. The Elecpencil isn’t a speeder but he hates Big Brother’s all seeing eye, which is where the cameras fall.

Next thing you know those cameras will take our entire private acts in public away such as this private act

I avoided Girard the whole time they had these cameras as I hear many people did. Girard merchants complained that business was off and Girard had a lawsuit against the cameras. Warren should have learned from Girard but the cameras aren’t really about slowing traffic down they are about having a “Cash cow with golden milk.” For now Warren seems to have put the idea on hold.

What is the answer to slow down traffic? Why not look at what other areas have done to see what works and use that idea. Here is something that is working in Denmark we could use. Dane speeding answer This answer could actually bring business to Warren!

I present the Elecpencil’s Sunday Show

Jail House Rock

A conservative must have

Funny new HBO Sunday show

GOP Jesus

You can’t even give money away

Top Gear on BBC can be very funny as in this episode in Alabama

Mayor tells it like it is but FOX NEWS doesn’t want to hear it

Damn I miss Joe. No not that Dick, Joe the Plumber but Joe Strummer.

Johnny Appleseed

Get Down Moses

Keys to Your Heart

“Authority is supposedly grounded in wisdom, but I could see from a very early age that authority was only a system of control and it didn’t have any inherent wisdom. I quickly realised that you either became a power or you were crushed.” ~ Joe Strummer

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More of the Same

I had someone ask me what were some of the other letters I wrote to the Warren Tribune’s Letter to the Editor,  criticizing the editor that he did not print. I wanted to move along to another subject but I will further bore you by answering the man who e-mailed me with the above question. I searched my computer files and found two other letters I wrote pointing out the errors of the editor. I know for sure the first one was not published by the editor and I’m pretty sure the second one wasn’t either.

First Letter:


On August 9, 2006 the Tribune editor printed, “ Groups are too selective in outrage.”

He stated, “ A terrorist in detention at the United States Guantanamo Bay Cuba, facility has only to grimace and international human rights organization will launch a campaign accusing this country of mistreating prisoners.”

If the editor considers putting suspects in cages, depriving them of sleep, intimidation with dogs, and other tortures that led to many suicides not to mention holding people up to three years without charges “grimacing” I suspect he thinks the Marques De Sade was a mere boy scout.

The editor goes on to say, human rights groups criticized the US over conditions at Guantanamo Bay, but are selective when it comes to criticizing other countries.

The editor stated, “At this writing there has been no international outcry concerning Mohammodia.” Akbar Mohammadi was a student activist who died recently in an Iranian prison.

I guess the editor was so busy creating spin to defend U.S. human rights violations at Guantanamo Bay that he missed the international outcry concerning Mohammadi’s death. You’d think someone in the news business would have noticed outrage by: Amnesty International, Scholars at Risk (with members on over 100 college campuses), Global Voice Online, Human Rights Watch, World Movement for Democracy, the Center of Human Rights Activists, the Liberal Party of Sweden, Medicine Without Borders, the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran, The Green Party of Iran, and the National Council of Resistance of Iran. Iran’s major rights watchdog group Kanoon-e Modafean Hogooge Bashar put out such an outcry for an investigation to Mohammadi’s death that Iran’s regime has banned them. There have been vigils and gathering by activists such as one in Toronto on August 4th.

Publication as diverse as the Guardian on the left and the National Review on the right have called for an investigation. USINFO a website that is produced and maintained by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs had this to say on August 2, 2006: “Washington – U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack joined human rights advocates around the world in condemning the death of a jailed Iranian student dissident, Akbar Mohammadi. Mohammadi, who died July 30, 2006.”

Human rights violations are equally as bad to these organizations no matter which country they happen in. The one I suspect who is selective in his outrage is the Tribune’s Editor.

Second Letter:

It came as no surprise on March 8, 2007 to see the Tribune’s editor write a column attacking unions and the Free Choice Act. The Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 800) would enable working people to bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions by restoring workers’ freedom to choose for themselves whether to join a union. The Tribunes editor is hoping that Bush will veto the bill. Considering how the Bush administration hates unions and loves seeing U.S. jobs go to China and the Third World I’m positive he will use his veto pen.

The Tribs editor states, his main concern is that workers voting to form a union will not have a secret ballot under the bill. If that’s really the Tribune editor’s main concern then the he has nothing to worry about. That’s because the bill states that, if one-third of workers want to have a secret NLRB election at their workplace, they can still ask the federal government to hold such an election. The Employee Free Choice Act simply gives them another option—majority sign-up.

Academic studies have shown that workers who organize under majority sign-up feel less pressure from co-workers to support the union than workers who organize under the NLRB election process. Workers who vote by majority sign-up also report far less pressure or coercion from management to oppose the union than workers who go through NLRB elections.

The editor mentions that the 1935 NLRB Act makes it illegal for employers to intimidate workers who are trying to form a union. The editor says that enforcing that law solves the problem not enacting the new Free Choice Act. According to a survey of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election campaigns in 1998 and 1999 by Cornell University scholar Kate Bronfenbrenner, private-sector employers illegally fired employees for union activity in at least 25 percent of all efforts to join a union. According to the same survey, management forced employees to attend group anti-union presentations in 92 percent of all union campaigns.

As far as the union, it is illegal for anyone to coerce employees to sign a union authorization card. Any person who breaks the law will be subject to penalties under the Employee Free Choice.

The Warren Tribune doesn’t support the Free Choice Act but hundreds of members of Congress of both parties, historians, academics and civil and human rights organizations, most major faith denominations and 69 percent of the American public do.

The weirdest part of the Tribune’s editorial is when they attack Rep. Steve LaTourette for voting for a bill that will benefits working Americans. They say that LaTourette should change his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat to “reflect his true colors.” That speaks volumes about how the Republican Party favors corporations over working people. I have to note that the Tribune never had a problem when former democrat Rep. Trafficant voted along with republicans 60% of the time.

Tommy Bolin Don’t Let Your Mind Post Toastee

Bustin Out for Rosey

If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.

~ Mark Twain

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Corporate Rag

The Elecpencil gets the Warren Tribune delivered to his humble abode. I like getting the local newspaper and I realize many people who don’t live in big cities make fun of their local newspapers as being kind of  podunk. The truth is most of those suburban and rural newspapers are corporate owned. One needs to look at a newspapers editorial page to really judge where a newspaper is coming from. Looking at the “Tribs” editorial page you will see mostly right-wing syndicated columnists.

The Tribune has two African-American syndicated columnists, Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell. What were the odds that they both happen to be right-wingers? Sowell is a senior fellow at the conservative think tank, the Hoover Institute. Hoover’s agenda includes wiping out public education, dismantling affirmative action, privatization of social services, tax cuts for the rich, deregulation of industry and dismissing environmental concerns. Hoover Institute played an influential role in developing President Bush’s economic policy. That in itself should show you that having one of its shills like Sowell on your editorial page makes you a joke. On the other hand the joke is on us if we think of newspapers like, the Warren Tribune of being a small town paper focusing on community news. Most of our small town papers are owned by the same corporations that fund right-wing think tanks like the Hoover Institute.

Hoover isn’t about academic thought it’s about being a self-servicing venue for it’s funders Chrysler, Ford, GM, Exxon,  Archer Daniels etc. Thus Sowell is a corporate lackey promoting corporate interests over national interests. Along the same lines the Warren Tribune’s editor and his editorial page’s syndicated columnists serve the corporate interests of Ogden Newspapers which owns the Tribune. The Nutting Family owns Ogden Newspapers and has newspapers in 12 states. The company is headquartered in Wheeling, West Virginia. The family also owns the Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania and the majority interest in the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team. Almost all members of the family are substantial contributors to the Republican Party.

Here’s a colorful story on the Nutting family

Warren Tribune editor, Frank Robinson doesn’t seem to care that this area is working-class and union oriented. The only time Robinson is patting unions on the back is when they are giving concessions and bending over to screw workers and benefit the CEO’s. The Tribunes editorial page features right-wingers: Sowell, Williams, Pat Buchanan, George Will, Cal Thomas, Bill O’Reilly, Dick Morris and Michele Malkin. Malkin has written a book in defense of interning Japanese Americans during WWII.  Malkin even says, that many of those interned liked the experience. Such a book makes Malkin a joke and any newspaper that features her columns thusly turns itself into a comic book. To balance these right-wingers out the Tribune features, leftist columnist, Andy Rooney. Ever turn on 60 Minutes and see Comrade Andy in a Che t-shirt? No, me neither.

To be fair if you write a letter to the editor of the “Trib” odds are 6 out of 10 times it will get printed in Sunday’s (the only day that has letter’s to the editor) Tribune. If your letter has a right-wing bent odds of it getting to print are 9.8 out of ten. I have found that if you send a letter to the editor criticizing something the editor himself has said, it probably won’t get printed unless you are some local official.

A case in point is on February 7, 2009 when the Saturday Tribune’s editor feature his weekly Saturday column, Orchids and Onions. He calls news events he approves of orchids and things he chastises onions. In that days column he featured this gem:  “ONION: Or a Duh? to Gov. Ted Strickland’s stipulation is his budget bill to ban statewide corporal punishment in schools. Does he not know corporal punishment has not been used in years? He calls these sweeping education reforms. Wow.”

I penned this the same evening and e-mailed it to the Tribune: Dear Editor~ In the Warren Tribune on February 7, 2009 an onion is given to Gov. Strickland. The editor gives him an onion because Strickland’s education reform includes banning statewide corporal punishment in schools. The editor says, “Duh doesn’t he know corporal punishment has not been used in years.” . A limited ban enacted in Ohio in 1994 prohibits spanking and other forms of physical discipline unless a school board follows several procedures before voting to allow it. Parents in those districts may refuse to have their children paddled. With this loop hole there are still school districts in Ohio that use corporal punishment. The Governor’s ban will eliminate that and join Ohio to the list of 29 states that have now banned it including the nearby state of PA. So duh, if the editor did more research instead of using political bias he could have found the facts.

I got an e-mail confirmation on Monday that my letter was received. If it was to appear it would have appeared Sunday Feb.14, 2009 but it did not. As in the past when I have corrected the editor’s misinformation my letters have not gotten into the Tribune. Granted the “Onion” I corrected was not a big deal but if I could find out the facts with 10 minutes research why didn’t the editor spend the same 10 minutes? I say it’s because the conservative editor saw a cheap shot he could take at the governor.

The Elecpencil is just trying to say corporations aren’t buying up hometown newspapers just because they care about your community. If you take a good look at a papers editorial page the agenda isn’t really very hidden.

Kevin Ayers May I

Baby Come Home

Keep in mind, the news media are not independent; they are a sort of bulletin board and public relations firm for the ruling class–the people who run things. Those who decide what news you will or will not hear are paid by, and tolerated purely at the whim of, those who hold economic power. If the parent corporation doesn’t want you to know something, it won’t be on the news. Period. Or, at the very least, it will be slanted to suit them, and then rarely followed up. ~ George Carlin


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Smokestack Zoo

The following quote is from the I Will Shout Youngstown Blog:

“A critical reality of Youngstown, unlike other portrayals in the national media, is that this region is not a monolith. Our hispters often fix their own automobiles, our steelworkers often participate in the arts, our drag queens are often the smartest people in the room, and our friends are way more extraordinary than what is seen at first glance.”

How true that really is especially when I think about how many talents the steelworkers I formerly worked with possessed.

I worked at a small barrel plant with just a day shift of about 125 employees that closed in 1999. The plant was like a small city and other than buying gas and groceries I had in house access to most of the goods and services I needed. We had guys who brought in produce to sell, a guy that rented us pirated VHS tapes and two guys who ran a veritable flea market of used goods. If you needed some weed or a hot TV that was also available. We were a shopping mecca we referred to as, “Small-Mart.”

The factories: carpenter, plumber and electrician were all available to work at your house on off hours.  A tow motor driver who had a math and science degree did most of the workers taxes. One guy sold stocks and insurance and another was a realtor. We had two ministers and a former boxer. Not to forget, Mac the maintenance man who had a psychology degree and was an independent candidate for governor of PA

My buddy and co-worker, Willie was also a bartender who owned several rental homes. I attend many auto auctions with him on Saturdays. Willie sold used cars, made extra keys for people, was a notary, a mechanic, a welder, fixed air conditioners, and restored motorcycles.

Everyone in that plant was multi-talented which made each one very interesting and worth getting to know. With only 125 employees we were like a family and really did get to know each other and utilized each other’s talents. I miss guys like Willie who could always fix those terrible auto and home nightmare problems that baffle me. Willie moved to Texas to be a maintenance man in a condo community.  Most of my former work mates have also moved which makes me realize our community did not just lose steelworkers but multi-talented good neighbors.

This a poem I wrote a decade ago about my Brother and Sister workers:

Smokestack Zoo

The characters in this story
are pretty much the same
factory to factory.

Blue-collar, white collar, hot under the collar
cool heads, hot heads, knuckle heads, prevailing heads.
Guys just putting in their time,
guys who live for overtime.

The guy who still has his First Communion dough,
the guy whose ticket out is the lotto.

The card player, the bricklayer, the soothsayer,
the bullshitter, the home-run hitter.

Gardeners and philosophers,
vets from three wars,
guys with scars and secondhand cars.
Musician, sports fan,
a guy who spends all day in the can.

Storyteller, joke teller,
junk seller.

Practical jokers, chain smokers,
part-time insurance brokers.

Bigots full of hate
and a gubernatorial candidate.
A guy who never had a date,
a cheapskate
and a guy who’s always first out the gate.

The dreamer,
the schemer.
Fence mender, mind bender,

Blacktop sealer,
used car dealer.
Artist, linguist and

Whether single divorcee or gay,
they all are living pay to pay.

What all the creatures have in common is:

they all hate the boss

and all have a hearing loss.

A nice story on the Youngstown Incubator

Roy Zimmerman America

My Conservative Girlfriend

Defenders of Marriage

What does labor want? We want more schoolhouses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures, to make manhood more noble, womanhood more beautiful, and childhood more happy and bright. ~Samuel Gompers

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Shining a New Light

Over the years Youngstown has been called, “Murder Town” and the “Armpit Of Ohio” etc. by various U.S. publications. Youngstown has a story to tell about rebirth but when the outside media comes to town all they want to film is boarded up buildings. That is the image most people expect so the media doesn’t disappoint.

If someone listened to conservative callers on our local talk radio they would get an image that we are a strong union area and that is why businesses won’t locate here. The facts dispute that because the IUE  at Delphi has voted for three tiers of wages and barely stopped the fourth from being established. The UAW at GM’s Lordstown facility also has lower paid second tier wages. These are not strong unions these are the best friends the CEO’s could ever want. These jobs paid good wage and were the backbone of our area once the steel plants closed. Now with the jobs held mostly by lower tiered workers that backbone is ruptured.

Because Youngstown is a city that lost it’s industrial base it gets portrayed along with Gary, Detroit and Flint as cities 30 years behind the times. Fact is as other cities are losing more and more jobs we were thirty years ahead of the times. Explorers sent on fact-finding missions from other struggling cities in America and through out the world are coming to Youngstown to see how it survived. The message we heard after the steel industry folded up tent was, ‘”Last one out turn off the light.” Lots of people cut and ran but many stayed behind to change that bulb and see if a new light couldn’t shine on the city.

As a young boy I remember Youngstown as a shopping mecca while today it is an entertainment and cultural mecca. I don’t blame the outside media for not seeing how beautiful Downtown Youngstown is as many in our surrounding suburbs haven’t been downtown in years.

I hear many in the suburbs say disparaging things about Youngstown as if they didn’t realize it’s their neighbor. They don’t seem to know that “common unity” makes up the word community. Truth is the larger suburbs are not unlike most of America’s suburbs that have sold out their neighborhoods to franchised stores and chain restaurants. It’s hard to get residents of Big Box America to see the beauty of old historical buildings in cities.

Now that the economy is the worst it’s been in years it could be the perfect time to realize that Youngstown and the suburbs make up the Mahoning Valley and what’s good for the goose could be good for the gander. I don’t really care to talk about what image of Youngstown outsiders now have. I think it’s better to make our whole area a role model of what can be done to make a better community and let that image speak for itself. Many volunteers have come forward to make Youngstown and the area better but much still remains to be done.

The first thing we need to do is empower everyone in our area with the fact that they are the solution to making our valley a better place to live. That could start with setting up New England style town hall meetings. This style of meeting has each citizen being a legislator which makes for some real democracy. This form of government would end corruption and cronyism in local government.

Money is always an issue but what can the citizens of our area do to get money to improve the area? If you were around in the late 70’s when Sheet & Tube was closing maybe you remember the “Save our Valley” campaign. This was a bank account that area residents put money into that would be used towards the purchase of the mill, in exchange for stock in the mill. In November 1978, “Save our Valley” accounts held $4,014,927. Of course Sheet & Tube was not bought because the owners did not really want to sell to the employees and a federal loan to help did not come through but it still shows you how people self empowered themselves to raise over $4 million dollars.

I think a good idea might be to start our own area credit union where the money would give us interest but also be available to benefit the area. The credit union could give very low interest loans to area college students. Money could be available for mortgages on new homes that meet green standards or for remodeling that includes solar panels or other green technology. Low interest car loans could be given for hybrid or fuel-efficient vehicle. Also low interest loans for people or businesses that are buying local made products.

As far as jobs, money could also be loaned to people who want to start area businesses. We also need to learn that making and buying local is best for our economic well-being.  Studies have shown for example that for every $100 spent at a local bookstore $45 stays in the local economy. On the other hand for every $100 spent at a chain bookstore only $13 stays in the community. That’s over three times the money circulated in the local economy to create more jobs and wealth. Our community also spends way too much money on corporate welfare in the form of attraction and retention for the chain big box stores that locate in our area. That’s money that could go to starting local businesses.

We need to think about localization as we are getting more environmentally concerned about where our food is coming from. Access to local produce and other area goods makes for a safer and more financially secure community.  Our area could also work at being a recycling and green community that could be a role model for others. We already have in place Youngstown and Warren FreeCycle websites that keep products out of landfills by people posting items they want to give away free. Another community people-to-people organization is the Mahoning Watershed TimeBank which offers free labor that is paid in the form of time dollars that the laborer can spend for a service he needs. These are organizations providing  goods and services that build relationships because they are community based.

Education is at the heart of every community and something we need to work on. We need to make sure every student graduates from high school. We don’t need more mandated tests and talk about raising standards. We need to raise our expectations, which means raising our belief in students’ ability to succeed and insuring that they have the resources to be a success. The number one thing students need to learn is how to use their brain to think independently and  how to express their ideas. We also need parent follow through at home on the importance of education.

To make a better community we need to stress community service. Our children should see us doing it in our daily lives but it should also make up a part of education. I’m not talking about just planting flowers or participating in student government but in working in food pantries, homeless missions and nursing homes. It’s a good way for students to learn about social justice and what a community is. Students need to learn they can grow up to be anything they want but they should also learn they need to be an activist through out their lives. Pupils are taught history but are never truly taught about the history that they have the chance to make.

If our valley citizens along with doctors, clinics and area hospitals established a health care plan covering all our residents we could be a role model for cities of the future. If we had valley people of every color and race sit down and dialogue together we could go a long way towards ending racism.

So while the outside media may throw sticks and stones and call us names they can’t hurt us because we are survivors. If God judge’s people by their scars Mahoning Valley residents are heaven bound.  As for now we need to pull together to make our valley a heaven on Earth. That would truly be an image the countries media could not ignore. ~ The Elecpencil

David Rovics:  What if You Knew

Beyond the Mall

We the people are constantly told to look to politicians and officials as the force for change. We are encouraged to be passive consumers, not informed actors shaping society. But to make real change, we must look to each other and ourselves as the source of political power. ~ Nelson D, Schwartz


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