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