Monthly Archives: June 2011

Chain Saws for Change

I like traveling but I’ve never found anywhere I’d like to live that suits me more than the Mahoning Valley.  In this valley we have affordable housing, a world- class orchestra, plenty of local theater, lots of clubs for musicians to play, great parks, restaurants and museums.  We can hop in our cars and in no time be in a bigger city like, Cleveland or Pittsburgh that has sports teams and where world-class musicians come on tour. I also appreciate the hard working-class ethics and compassion of residents in the Mahoning Valley.

Last week we  traveled to attend the wedding of a niece in the Village at Shirlington, Virginia near Arlington, Virginia. The trip made me realize how our children’s generation settles for less.  I’d use the word, town loosely describing, Shirlington as it is really a pseudo town. We have a lot of these anymore the closest examples being Crocker Park and Legacy both  in the Cleveland area. They are boutique shopping and dining districts of one plywood building after another. Above the shops and restaurants are over priced condos. A good wind would blow down this plywood phony town like a house of cards. We have gone from architecturally mixed, sturdy buildings in downtowns to malls and now to these town-like boring structures I’d label “Stepford Towns.”

My niece had mentioned she was getting married in a theater that she and her groom love. I imagined a theater such as our area’s much-loved Powers Auditorium. I’ve been to Radio City Music Hall and I can tell you it can’t hold a candle to the beautiful Art Nouveau Powers Auditorium. Alas, the theater my niece chose was part of the Virginia “Stepford Town.” It was a cement block structure above a library. A theater company uses the space to hold monthly plays. Over $16 million was spent to make this theater a few years ago. The walls were still cement block and it was made to look like an industrial loft. I’d say the design came out resembling a Chipotle Mexican Grill. I believe it is all part of the fact that our middle-class is disappearing and our children are not going to have it as good as us, baby boomers. They are accepting pseudo towns, taco stand looking  theaters and the fact that if they want a new car they’ll only be able to lease it as they can’ t afford to buy it. They’ve had to settle for lower wages and less job security than the boomer generation.

The main thing I want out of this life is to make a better one for my kids. I think that would be the goal of most parents also. Sadly, we have many parents that don’t seem to give a shit about their own kids let alone yours and mine. The worst part is some of these folks that don’t give a shit about their kids are the ones who have more of the means to make this a better world. I’m talking about politicians who could enact legislation to benefit our nation’s youth. Instead, they protect their campaign contributors who are getting wealthy by putting our kids at risk. We have politicians who want to eliminate environmental safety nets like the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and repeal bills like the Clean Water Act that protect our children’s safety and the environment which they will inherit. We also have politicians that start wars, push questionable dangers like Marcellus Shale drilling, nuclear energy, drilling in our nation’s parks and weakening safety and environmental laws. Our kids also suffer cuts to: education funds, college loans, nutrition, food stamps, Medicaid, Head Start, child care etc.

While children are being left behind, our politicians and the Supreme Court are making sure no corporation is left behind. Corporations are being given all manner of corporate welfare because our tax dollars are being diverted from the needy (our kids) to the greedy (corporations and the wealthy). Conservatives call those on social welfare deadbeats who should be cut off. Yet, two-thirds of all corporations pay no taxes, many of those who make huge profits get corporate welfare anyway and many U.S. companies export jobs and have no loyalty to this country. On top of that you have companies in the military industrial complex that make huge profits off of our young men and women in the military being put in harm’s way.

We can’t make a better world by patronizing businesses and voting for candidates that put profits before our children’s future. This planet wasn’t given to us to use as a toilet. Conservatives like Rush Limbaugh say, they look at a giant sequoia tree and wonder how many picnic tables it would make.  I say it’s time we appreciate the giant sequoia for the earthly wonder that it is. We should celebrate that it adds to the quality of our children’s environment because like all trees it improves our air, soil and water. Our politicians that put children’s future at risk for the sake of their corporate masters are an evil forest that needs to be cleared. It’s high time we sharpen our chain saws as we have to be the lumberjacks who’ll clear a path for our children to have a brighter future. I say we go Paul Bunyan on the deadwood in our 50 state capitals  then head to the nation’s capital. Of course I am not advocating violence as I believe in trying all peaceful means first. Instead of being like the corporate owned teabaggers waving tea bags we need to wave chain saws. I think the powers that be will get the message real quick. If not, make sure your saw has gas in it.

Cry, Cry cry: Cold Missouri Waters

Lucy Kaplansky: Land of the Living 9/11 Tribute

Only a life lived for others is a life worth while.” — Albert Einstein

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Mere Coincidence

It’s time again for one of my poems. I try to write poetry for people who don’t necessary like poetry. I also want to try and inspire others to write poetry. That is based on the idea if I can do it anyone can.

Mere Coincidence

Between 2001 and 2010,
Ohio Republicans, who now control
both the Governor’s office and
the Ohio General Assembly,
received nearly $4 million in campaign contributions
from two men – David Brennan and William Lager.
Both men own charter schools in Ohio.
It’s probably just a coincidence that
Gov. Kasich and Ohio GOP politicians are
proposing more charter school for Ohio
while at the same time cutting public school funds.
CCA a private prison company donated
a generous contribution to Kasich’s campaign.
It’s merely a coincidence that Gov. Kasich
wants to sell five state prisons
to an as yet to be named private company.
Gary Mohr, Kasich’s new secretary of corrections,
said the buyer isn’t necessarily CCA.
Mr. Mohr coincidently used to work for CCA.
Kasich’s new casino commissioners will be paid
$60,000 a year to attend one meeting a month.
A sweet big pay little work job indeed.
They will also have a swanky expensive office
located in downtown Columbus, Ohio.
One would think you wouldn’t need an office
for just a one day a month job.
The offices by some coincidence are owned
by a Kasich for governor campaign donor.
The governor is pushing for increased oil and gas exploration
in Ohio since taking office in January.
He called Southeast Ohio’s shale deposits
a potential ‘Godsend.” and has proposed
allowing drilling in state parks.
John Kasich got a “Godsend” in campaign cash
from the energy and fossil fuels sector
to the tune of a whopping $639,000.
All a strange coincidence I am sure.
The unions for teachers, police, firemen
and other Ohio public sector workers
supported Gov. Strickland over John Kasich.
I’m sure it’s just a big coincidence
that Kasich is passing a law to weaken
Ohio union’s bargaining rights.
The wealthy supported John Kasich
while the poor voted against him.
It is merely a coincidence
that the Governors budget
had cuts to day care for children of low-income parents
cuts to work-support programs for the poor
cuts of $1.4 billion from Medicaid funding,
it also had cuts to children’s hospitals
that help ease the pain of Ohio’s poorest children.
The budget gave the wealthiest Ohioans
even more tax breaks making them
exempt from any pain in the budget.
If you are in the biggest percent of Ohioans
that will suffer under Gov. Kasich’s reign
think twice about drowning your sorrows
at your neighborhood tavern.
The Republicans in Columbus
are working on a brand new bill
that will allow concealed carry firearms in bars.
It’s probably some kind of coincidence that
the NRA contributes mostly to GOP campaigns.
Meanwhile, Kasich wants metal detectors
installed in the Columbus Statehouse.
No coincidence involved there
just outright damn hypocrisy.

Brother Ali: Us

Uncle Sam Goddamn

“A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward.”
— Franklin D. Roosevelt, radio speech, October 26, 1939.




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Regionalize This

It’s that time of year to do a little spring cleaning. Yes, I know it’s summer but we didn’t have a spring just a rainy season. The cleaning I did was on my blog’s contents. I try to stay current by posting once a week. I deleted some blogs that haven’t posted for months. I also added some new ones and am open to suggestions on local blogs, if you want to send some along. I have an area called “Exploring Other Communities” to which I have added some new links . What I wanted to do with this category is present some blogs about some of our neighboring cities like : Akron, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. I think we should all know more about our neighbors and find things worth exploring in our backyards. I have also added a category called “PEST” (Poor Economy Survivor Tools). I don’t want to just talk about the vanishing middle class I want to provided some tools for us to survive in this global economy.

Now for something on a local note. Every time I write something negative about the Warren Tribune Chronicle and it’s editorial page, I get an e-mail from a young lady who works for the Tribune. I guess her job is cruising the internet looking for any criticism of the Tribune. My comments are generally about the Tribune’s poor excuse for an editor, Frank Robinson. I am now going to make some negative comments about the Trib because I haven’t had an e-mail from their young staffer for a while and think it’s time her and I catch up.

Editor Robinson, loves the idea of regional collaboration, merging and combining things like fire departments, police departments and schools. The services once combined will end up being inadequate but it meets Robinson’s main goal. That is some people will be losing their public sector jobs. When the service to the taxpayer is diminished,  Robinson can claim the government can’t do it’s job. To a conservative like him that means you get rid of things like the police and hire  a private company, like Blackwater, to  police your community.

The terrible record Blackwater has earned in Iraq will be ignored just like the terrible record of  CCA (Community Corrections of America) was ignored when they opened a private prison in Youngstown. I joined some prison ministry folks to do prison visitation at CCA when it opened in Youngstown. The ministry really wasn’t about religion as much as giving prisoners some hope because they were shipped to Youngstown from D.C. Most were from poor families who couldn’t afford to come visit (yes, I also care deeply about the victims of crime). Every week I visited I was given new rules to follow as the place was totally unorganized. I wasn’t surprised when prisoners escaped and in the first year, 20 prisoners were stabbed and two were murdered. There was little in the way of corrections as rehabilitation is a dirty word when your business is based on filling up cells. It would be like you owning a McDonalds and teaching your customers to be vegetarians. Youngstown’s Mayor McKelvey told reporters after the 1998 escape, “Knowing what I know now, “I would never have allowed CCA to build a prison here.” Had the ex-Mayor done a little research he would have known CCA’s dismal history. Ohio’s Gov. Kasich has taken political contributions from the private prison industry, so he wants to privatize many prisons here in Ohio. Here is a comment about that plan.

 It doesn’t matter to conservatives like Editor Robinson how many dogs die from contaminated food, how many babies die in faulty cribs, how many people die from food poison, faulty Firestone Tires, exploding Ford Pintos, unintended accelerating Toyotas and cancer causing cigarettes. No matter how many recalls of deadly products conservatives still believe government is bad because it hinders the private sector with regulations to protect consumers.

I’m for the regionalization of private sector companies and we can start in the Mahoning Valley. For example, do we really need an Applebee’s, a TGI Fridays, a Ruby Tuesdays and a Chili’s? They are all decorated the same and have pretty much the same boring menu. If you were taken into any one of them blindfolded and had the blindfold removed you’d have no idea which one you were in. Then we have interchangeable breakfast chains like;  IHOP, Waffle House, Perkins and Denny’s.  I prefer to go to a local restaurant like the Golden Dawn and have an omelet with a frosted schooner of Genesee for breakfast. You can’t get that combination at a chain restaurant.

We also need to regionalize our two valley newspapers into one as two are just not needed in this area. The Warren Tribune just confuses me way too much. I don’t like how they have now put the comic page on the editorial page. Though I will admit Frank Robinson’s editorials are a hoot, even if they aren’t meant to be. With a merging of the Youngstown Vindicator and the Warren Tribune Chronicle only one editor would be needed. Mr. Robinson would have to be let go. I’m not totally heartless as I  have found him a new job he will be perfect at. It’s at Ape Entertainment who is publishing a new series of Richie Rich comic books. Considering the way Robinson represents the views of the wealthy I’m sure he’d be perfect for the job. He’s probably already been researching homes for sale in Richie’s hometown of Richville.

I know the Vindy has some real issues about not representing our area citizens. We need a newly combined newspaper that represented the views of our communities working class. When we have one local newspaper the ideal name would be “The Valley View”. Go green, save the trees and campaign for one area newspaper! That’s regionalization we could all benefit from.

Richard X Heyman: Baby Boom

Call Out the Military

“A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier.” H.L. Mencken


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Stopping the Spin Offs and Reruns

I can’t quit talking about the class war because it’s so evident everyday. For instance, I just heard Heinz is laying off people and closing a couple of factories. We middle class love our Heinz ketchup because it disguises the taste of the cheaper cuts of meat that we eat. Now a days we can’t afford to buy as much meat even when it is the cheaper cuts we buy. Because of the economic slump Heinz is cutting back on production. The Elecpencil has become quite skilled at making cheaper cuts of meat taste good. That is because I have mastered the art of using the poor man’s gourmet cooking utensil, known as the crock pot. While we poor and middle class have had to cut back on luxuries, like ketchup, the rich are flaunting their wealth. One way they flaunt wealth is by purchasing expensive jewelery. Tiffany & Compay jewelery has had a 20% rise in profits. It’s because of their wealthy clients like, Newt Gingrich.

If you haven’t noticed the less ketchup vs. more jewelry class war connection, you should have noticed how the rich are rubbing our noses in the fact we are losing the class war, by watching TV. Our growing middle class poverty is being contrasted against the rich and their decadent lifestyle. It’s readily viewable on shows like, “The Housewives of (insert rich location here).” The wives don’t work and spend all day getting sloppy drunk, trashing their “friends” and all evening shopping. When not shopping they are attending fashion shows to see what to shop for next. It only takes a minute of watching these shows to realize these “ladies” are white trash, back stabbing foul-mouthed lushes. They are either mean and crazy or the “reality” show director keeps telling them to crank up the crazy and they respond. Then we have the rich trashy Kardashian family of foul-mouthed lushes. “Millionaire Matchmaker” shows us why millionaires are single and can’t get a date. It’s because the millionaires are egotistical weirdos that only have two loves,  money and themselves.

On the Home and Garden Channel we have, “House Hunters Intrenational.” While we middle class are having record numbers of our houses being foreclosed on, the rich are looking at vacation homes in other parts of the world. The wealthy house hunters go look at beach front property in places like Nicaragua. They are looking to buy ocean side where the citizens of Nicaragua could never afford to buy a house. The wealthy Americans are looking to buy million dollar beach front homes and only spend a couple of weeks a year in them. They think they can hire some poor Nicaraguans who live inland in squalor to do upkeep and cleaning the rest of the year. They wonder why the average Nicaraguan doesn’t jump at the chance to work as peons for the wealthy Americans. It seems Nicaraguans and other Latin Americans know their history better than Americans. The Latin Americans know the U.S. has invaded almost all of Latin America to protect U.S. corporate interests. The U.S. presidents have trained Latin American dictators’ death squads at Ft. Benning, Georgia for decades. These death squads have helped “disappear” over 100,000 Latin American priest, nuns, union organizers, environmentalist and other activist. The wealthy U.S. vacation home buyers are unaware of this part of U.S. history but Latin Americans have learned it the hard way. Therefore, they aren’t happy to see the finest pieces of land in their country  bought by rich Americans. They see it for the class war that it is. We are seeing  our politicians cutting social programs and giving tax breaks and subsidies to corporations and should recognize it for the class war it is.

Even cable stations like the Speed Channel have shows celebrating decadent wealth. Their show, the “Barrett-Jackson Auction” has wealthy bidders buying exotic automobiles and muscle cars for hundreds of thousands of dollars. We middle class watch the show and ponder how we’ve been driving our twenty year-old Chevrolet Cavalier  with the check engine light on for 3 years because we can’t afford to find out what is wrong with it.  Reverse gear in it doesn’t work but we’ve got a circular drive and park where you don’t have to back up because it would cost more to fix than it is worth. Our kids are afraid to ride in the car and have taken to calling it, the “Chevy Cadaver.” Here you are sitting on your second-hand couch watching the auction and wishing you could afford to buy that 1970 Plum Crazy Hemi Cuda that just went for half a million. The people buying these cars are the ones who support politicians that think you are the one who makes too much money.

To be fair the rich have provided some shows that reflect what has become of  the middle class. There is: “Auction Kings”, “Pawn Stars,” “Hard Core Pawn,” “Operation Repo” and “Repo Games.” They even have shows that will show what jobs our children will have if the average Americans don’t win the class war. Shows like: “Dirty Jobs” or “Swamp Brothers” which shows the best our kids can look forward to is capturing crocs, gators and snakes. If the ruling class have their way the middle class will all end up on: “Jail,” “Man VS. Wild” or “Survivor.” Do we fight to reprogram what is happening to the disappearing middle class or do we let the wealthy do spin offs and reruns of their programs?

A great group of local folks have been protesting the Iraq War every Friday  since it started. It isn’t over yet so join them for their Friday vigils from: 4:30 – 5:30PM at the following locations: 


3RD  COURTHOUSE  Youngstown



24TH BOARDMAN (RT 224 & GLENWOOD)                           

Holly Near and Emma’s Revolution:  I Ain’t Afraid

Emma’s Revolution: Who Lies

When we can’t dream any longer we die. ~ Emma Goldman

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