Monthly Archives: June 2010

No to the Tea Party/Yes to the Beer Party

On Tuesday, June 8  I stopped at the Lemon Grove Cafe. I enjoyed visiting with some others who, like myself, had just left the Pig Iron Presses second Tuesday poetry reading. I enjoyed a lemon grass iced tea and listening to Teddy Pantelas play some cool jazz. It’s a great place in the heart of downtown Youngstown you should check out. Stop in Monday, June 28 at 7:00 PM to hear 2004 Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb. He will be talking about amending the constitution to eliminate corporate rights. It’s time we end our corporate rule so I’ll see you there.

On June 19 I attended the Oakland Center for the Arts play, “Back of the Throat.” It was an excellent play dealing with the racism and religious bias directed at people of Middle Eastern descent after 9/11. I also enjoyed the panel discussion following the play with Martha Katz, Ray Nakley, Julia Shearson, the director and cast. In light of the recent Arizona immigration law that promotes racial profiling, this was a timely play I hope you were able to see.

Along with some family I stopped at Yankee Lake Inn on Rt. 7  for dinner. I enjoyed their wings that are a great deal at $5.79 a dozen. They are available in boneless also for the same price. Also check out their onion rings or pepper rings. Great food at a great price so it’s Elecpencil friendly!

I was recently chastised by an in-law for my comments against the Tea Party. My in-law has attended Tea Party events and has  not denounced the racist signs or speakers that participated in the events. I agree with my relative that things need to change in our country. I am willing to participate in events that call for social justice and that are willing to denounce racist or violent elements in their mix. The biggest thing that needs to change is to free our politicians and courts from lobbyist and corporate control. So why would I attend Tea Party events that have corporations and their lobbyists behind the scenes pulling the strings? A Tea Party event in Warren, Ohio had enough fumes of racism in the air that a member of the American Nazi Party took the stage  thinking he was among his element.

I’d have been ashamed to be at an event where Nazis felt comfortable. I  recently saw the perfect example of an event I’d be proud to attend.  It happened in Trenton, NJ  outside the statehouse. Some 35,000 people rallied after Gov. Chris Christie (R) vetoed a plan to fix the state’s budget crisis. The plan featured creating a new tax bracket on residents making more than $1 million. A household making $1.2 million annually would have to pay $11,598 more a year. Instead, Gov. Christie wants to make cuts to public services, like $820 million to the state’s education budget. The 35,000 New Jerseyans, angry at Christie’s choice to protect the wealthiest citizens of his state rather than its schools and infrastructure, gathered to send Gov. Christie a message.

Gov. Christie was asked for a comment while at a racetrack signing  a bill. He dismissed protestors saying, “I’m here. They’re there. Have a nice day.” Of course if this had been a regular right-wing Tea Party protest the  Teabaggers would have been hesitant to protest a republican governor. At a Tea Party event in Trenton last month, only about 400 people attended. In other words when people have a real issue they will take to the streets and outnumber angry racist Tea Party events 87-to-1.

To my in-law I say, “I’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with you when you’re not surrounded by racists and have a legitimate social justice wrong to right.” The Elecpencil is always available for free beer or a cause that will make a better planet for my kids. Drop me a line about where the beer or your fight for justice is. We’ll call it the Beer Party!

Sam Seder fights bullshit: Social Security is not broke.

K’naan: Wavin Flag

K’naan: Fire in Freetown

“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.” ~ Samuel Gompers


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We’re Buying and They’re Dying.

Something you need to know about the Elecpencil is that he is a Luddite. I may be the only person left in the developing world without a cell phone. A few years back I heard a guy say that real men don’t own cell phones. I’d be willing to bet that guy now has a cell phone. I’m disgusted by the way people have to constantly look at their cell phone. I just don’t need anything in my life that has that much power over me. I also think that in a decade I will be the only person around without a tumor for an ear. I just don’t trust the technology.

I’ll tell you who does trust the technology and who’s  very being revolves around having the newest phone on the market. That would be the 600,000 who ordered the Apple iPhone 4 in one day. AT&T the exclusive iPhone 4 carrier in the U.S. stopped taking orders, saying it had to focus on fulfilling orders already received. AT&T also had more than 13 million visits to a Web page where current customers can see if they’re eligible for a subsidized upgrade to the new phone. The price of the phone starts at $199 if you qualify for the upgrade. Those customers who aren’t eligible for upgrades will pay $200 more.

I won’t be buying an iPhone 4 as I have no desire to be part of Apple’s “cool club culture” that have the need to buy Apples latest disposable devices. I’d instead refer to them as Apple’s consumer sheep. Do you know who else won’t be buying an iPhone 4?  Sun Tanyong, a 25-year-old who worked at the Foxconn factory in the Chinese town of Shenzhen. The Foxconn factory makes most of the parts for Apple’s iPhone, and the iPad along with products for Nokia, Hewlett-Packard and Dell.

Sun won’t be buying an iPhone4 because like Foxconn’s other 400,000 workers at the huge factory he made only a base salary of $132 month which is the legal minimum wage. While Foxconn pays minimum wage they earn profits of $565 million per quarter. Sun no longer works at the huge factory because he is one of thirteen employees who jumped from the company dormitories in suicide attempts during a five month period in 2010; only three survived and are in critical condition. All of the deaths have been of young men and women between 18 and 25 years old. The suicides have been happening for a few years but have increased dramatically this year.

The Chinese state-run media have said that working conditions are harsh at Foxconn factories, with extraordinarily long hours, crowded dormitories, and strict enforcement of discipline on the assembly lines. Activists have argued that Foxconn is one of the worst factories in terms of its high-speed assembly line and 70 hour work weeks. Workers are forced to work standing the whole time with no breaks. These young workers are far from their homes living in dorms with armed guards, with no social life, no friends and no time to think for themselves . They have no free time beyond sleeping and eating. All they have is work and they are being worked to death. Recently a young worker died from exhaustion after working 36 hours nonstop.

Why am I picking on Apple instead of  Nokia, Hewlett-Packard and Dell? It’s because for 5 years Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) have been after Apple to stop the abuses at Foxconn. Until just a few days ago Apple CEO Steve Jobs had been denying Foxconn was a sweatshop and dismissing the suicides as insignificant. CEO’s like Steve Jobs waste their time asking the executives running Foxconn how things at the plant are going. If these CEO’s really wanted the truth they’d ask the workers.

One stupid idea to stop the suicides was a company plan to install safety nets to catch the workers who jump from the tall dormitories. They have also invited Buddhist monks to pray for the factory and set up a help phone line. Still no one has asked the workers what can be done.

The other problem I have with Apple is their “cool culture club” consumers that have to have the latest electronics and wanted them delivered yesterday. I’m talking about those sad sack sheep that line up for hours to get the latest Apple electronics. Their demand for the latest product to fulfill their empty soulless existence is creating a “death club” for China’s young workers. Do you iPhone 4 buyers think you’re buying a quality product when the workers making them hate the life they are leading?

When we buy goods that others have suffered for, we are prolonging that suffering. Do you care about the working conditions of our working-class brothers and sisters? Or do you only care about owning the latest disposable idevices?

Here is what you can do to help.

Timbuktu and Chords: “Appetite for Consumption

The iPhone Song

Consumers have not been told effectively enough that they have huge power and that purchasing and shopping involve a moral choice. ~ Anita Roddick

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Candy Thrill and Oil Spill

First off let me mention a treasure in the heart of downtown Youngstown. I visit this place any time I am in Youngstown with my daughter, the Mac. It is one of her favorite places. It’s also one of the reasons I refer to her as the “Candy girl.” I’m talking about  Touch the Moon Candy Saloon located at 8 S. Phelphs St.

Mac doesn’t really care for chocolate candy as she loves retro candies like:  Necco Wafers, Candy Buttons, Juju B’s, Candy Cigarettes, Pixie Sticks, Space Ships etc. Touch the Moon is the only place to find these treasures. Jim Sutman is the owner and you can usually find him in the store. He started the store to train disabled adults to work retail. Jim gives 100% of the profits to the disabled  in our community and believes in the revitalization of downtown Youngstown. What other reasons do you need to patronize such a “Good and Plenty” cool place? Oh yeah…… that great candy you remember as a kid.

Have you listened to Dan Rivers on WKBN radio in the past year? His favorite topic is bashing illegal immigrants. Callers to his show like to talk about the huge amount of violence illegal aliens are causing at our borders. Truth is violence has been down at the border for some time now. Truth isn’t something you’re bound to hear from Dan or his callers. Here are some facts from Sam Seder to set the record straight.

Here is a video about America’s first illegal immigrants. These folks were some cruel scumbags that should have been destroyed the second they set foot on American soil.

Our nation has been attacked by terrorists again. This time it was by British Petroleum (BP). Eleven are dead so far because of BP’s refusal to listen to workers. The first thing that needed to be stuffed in the leaking hole was BP executives. We then needed to add politicians who favor deregulating industry. This cartoon says it all.

Ten things you should know about the BP oil spill. Ten more things you’ll wish you didn’t know about the spill. I am sadden by number nine and outraged but not surprised by number ten.

BP’s has had another spill after the gulf one.

Do you prefer oil or manure in your drinking water? Here is info on a manure spill that was twice as large as the Exxon-Valdez oil disaster, yet it was not reported to any extent by the media.

Support drilling in the Palin family swimming hole.

A poem I wrote last week:

OIL ARMAGEDDON

Jimmy Carter said,

we need to get

green baby green.

He put solar panels

on the White House

solar baby solar.

He dared tell Americans to

turn down their thermostats

conserve baby conserve.

He was ahead of the times

so next election he

lost baby lost.

Reagan removed the solar panels

and sold us out to

big business baby big business.

The Earth and everything on it

existed for shareholders PROFIT

profit baby profit.

Big business writes the laws

for our so called, representatives

deregulation baby deregulation.

Now the Foxes were in charge

of running the chicken coop

slaughter-house baby slaughter-house.

Greed became good and

too much was not possible

greed baby greed.

A petroleum cartels dream

two Bushes and Dick Cheney

crude men baby crude men.

A lie about weapons of mass destruction

sends our young to die for oil extraction

oil war baby oil war.

Moron for Boron

bimbo Sarah Palin says,

drill baby drill.

More BP off shore drilling

led to Mother Natures killing

spill baby spill.

Attacked on 9/11 by terrorists

now 11 dead from corporate terrorists

unregulated free market baby unregulated free market.

Conservatives believe in ‘personal responsibility’,

but not ‘corporate responsibility’

corporate puppets baby corporate puppets.

Who pays for corporate irresponsibility and destruction?

We the People, and also

brown Pelicans baby brown Pelicans.

Conservatives want to control a woman’s body

even in the case of rape and

rape Mother Nature baby rape Mother Nature.

If you want to break the oil addiction

and want clean: air, land and water

you’re a socialist baby socialist.

The rich get richer

and the poor poorer

it’s Trickle Down economics baby Trickle Down economics.

Witness the death of everything

you have a urine stained front row seat

because the trickle is piss baby piss.

The Gulf of Mexico is now

the gulf of Texaco and

the Reagan Memorial baby the Reagan Memorial.

McCann & Harris: Compared to What

Compared to What:  Concerning Iraq

Eddie Harris: Tired of Driving

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.  ~Cree Indian Proverb

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Cash, Wine, Smoking Toddlers and Mystery

How would you like some cash? Most consumer tips can save you money. Instead,  I have one that will pay you some cash. The only item you will need to get this cash is a riding or push mower made after 1994. If you have a push and rider you can claim both. The cash is from a settlement where mower engine makers lied about horsepower ratings. Owners of a push mower can claim $35.00. Owners of riding mowers will be paid, $75.00. Here is the info for you to apply for the settlement. Use the cash locally to help stimulate the community!

Mr. and Mrs. Elecpencil went wining and dinning with friends Friday to help stimulate the economy in Trumbull County. We went to Cortland, OH. to eat at Locos Amigos. This Mexican restaurant is located at 105 South High St. Mrs. Elecpencil had an excellent frozen Margarita. I had an ice tea that was kept filled by the very efficient staff. Our friends, John and Patty got fajitas along with Mrs. Elecpencil and I. The price was $20.00 for two fajita dinners and included a very generous amount of food.  Great food, great service and great company. What more could you ask for?

After the meal we headed down the road to the  Greene Eagle Winery.  It is located at 2576 Davis Peck Road Cortland, OH. The winery is in a  beautiful 18th-century timber Cape Cod building. Inside you sit on Windsor chairs at tavern tables. There is also a deck in front of the structure for you to enjoy the outdoors. There is a beautiful fireplace that would be great with a fire on a cool evening.

We sat inside and got a deck of Uno cards from the game shelf after getting our wine. They feature eight different wines. They can be bought by the glass for $4.oo or by the bottle for $19.50. This seems to be the going rate for most wineries in our area. I prefer sweet wines which according to wine snobs makes me a bohemian. I sampled three of Green Eagle’s sweet wines and enjoyed all of them. A truly beautiful place right here in our community!

You’ve probably seen this disgusting video in the last week. It is of a two year-old Indonesian boy who smokes two packs of  cigarettes a day. The parents said if he doesn’t get his cigarettes he throws a tantrum. A note to the parents; that is what two year-olds do for no reason. The “terrible two’s” means it’s a bad age,  not that he should smoke two packs of “ciggies.”

My daughter, the Mac, was furious at the parents when she saw this on the news. I really wasn’t that shocked by it. I pointed out to Mac that I saw something like that in our own neighborhood. It involved a young neighbor woman with a college degree and a very good paying job. She was nursing her young male baby while she was smoking. I consider it worse than the Indonesian two year-old smoker. The neighbor’s child was even younger and had no  choice about inhaling smoke. He also was getting smoke through the mother’s milk. She might as well have just handed him the cigarette. This is an educated woman in our country versus someone who is poor and living in the Third World which makes it even worse.

I remember going for birthing classes with Mrs. Elecpencil when she was several months along with our first-born, Adam. There were a dozen others parents in the class. All the mothers were several months pregnant. I remember one mother asking the nurse instructor, “Do you think it is safe for my baby if I drink diet soda?” The nurse replied, “Those artificial sweeteners could be dangerous, we just don’t know enough about them.” Upon leaving that night the same mother was standing on the sidewalk waiting for her husband to pull the car up. She stood sucking on a cigarette so hard I thought her eyes were going to explode. The jury might have been out on artificial sweeteners but everyone knows smoking was not something an expecting mother should have been doing. It is sad that any idiot can have a child.

One young man in the birthing class introduced himself to all of us the first day. He and his wife were both wearing jackets that read “Coon Hunters of Trumbull County.” He stated very seriously, “We better be having a boy because I want to take a son coon hunting.” I was a good ten years older than this guy and all I could think was the guy had a lot of growing up to do.

We did not want to know the sex of either of our two children as we cherish the surprises in life. I’ve come to realize that there are two kinds of mothers. The first is like Mrs. Elecpencil, willing to embrace the mysteries of life. The other type is the kind that just have to know the sex of the child. This type of mother is a controller that has no sense of adventure. I’d say this type is in for a lot of heartbreak because things just don’t always work out as you planned. At least that’s the way I see it.

Sadly, we have more and more parents that just have to know the sex of their child. We should move away from trying to harness the mysteries in life and just jump on bareback and see where the ride takes us. Happy trails ~ The Elecpencil

Thanks to Sue A. for reminding me about Funky Poodle.

Cleveland’s Wild Horses: Funky Poodle

Cleveland’s Alex Bevan: Skinny Little Boy From Cleveland Ohio

“Mystery is at the heart of Creativity. That, and surprise.” ~ Julia Cameron


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