Monthly Archives: August 2014

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 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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The Elecpencil Goes Red State

I am now home from my car trip to visit my son who works at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. Many of the roads in Texas have 75 and 80 mph speeds. Even with that our hybrid sedan averaged over 39.5 mpg for the whole trip! I want to talk about some of the positive things I found in a few of the red states I stopped in. I will do that next post but put some vacation photos on this post.

I arrived home to find that my parents were in a car accident. They are both in their 80’s and were both bruised up with my dad suffering neck and shoulder pain. They were driving their bright red 39 Ford hot rod. Such an old car has no air bags and many hard metal surfaces. They were stopped with a turn signal on to turn left into an antique car show. They were rear ended by a woman in a Kia going over 55 in a 35 zone. The woman never braked at all before hitting my parents. The Kia driver claimed she never saw them. She was fine as her air bag deployed. Witnesses who were standing at the car show and a driver behind the woman said there was a reason she never saw my parents. That is because she was talking on her cell phone. The car my parents built and loved for 27 years is totaled, but at least my parents are alive. If you are someone who talks on a cell phone while driving, please stop before you kill someone.

I want to mention a couple of guys whose negativity I had to witness, as I returned to my valley, in this blue state. I arrived to hear; Regional Chamber President Tom Humphries claim that the Community Bill of Rights Committee has “a radical anti-development, anti-business agenda.” What the Community Bill of Rights Committee actually has is a common sense agenda. That agenda will protect the very existence of Youngstown’s citizens against earthquakes and polluted air and water from fracking.

Then I learn that Warren Tribune editor Frank Robinson is censoring one of the community writers that he hired to write columns. The writer wrote a column supporting activists fighting against fracking in our area. Frank didn’t run the column telling the writer, “Er um. I didn’t mention that there are some topics that we won’t run, particularly if they stand in such opposition to our point of view as yours does.” Imagine a newspaper not publishing columns because they don’t reflect the editor’s view. So much for the First Amendment. No wonder print media is becoming obsolete.

Now some photos:

memphis 3

My daughter and I walk in the land of the Delta Blues on Beale St. in Memphis.

Blues music poured from various bars as we walked with the “ghost of Elvis.”

This is the original music hall for the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

These guitars were for sale in a clothing store in Nashville. The store was called, “Two Old Hippies.” This old hippy could not afford the $150 shirts or $180 leather belts sold there.

This window is in one of several bath houses located in a row in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The bath houses now serve other purposes but were places where you went to experience the healing power of the hot springs water. I brought home a few gallons and it is the best water I have ever tasted.

Here is one of the hot springs pouring down into a park in downtown Hot Springs. The water is a natural 140 degrees and steam rises from it.


You know you’re in the Lone Star State when your hotel’s breakfast included waffles in the shape of Texas.

A photo of Austin, Texas from Austin’s botanical gardens.

This is Austin’s statehouse.

Austin’s beautiful botanical gardens.

We spotted this horse getting some fresh air as my wife, daughter and I hoofed it back to Ohio!

Thanks to my daughter Mackenzie for being the family photographer.


Marc Cohn: “Walking in Memphis”

“Silver Thunderbird”

Vacation: a period of travel and relaxation when you take twice the clothes and half the money you need.” ~Author Unknown


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