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Dec. 19, 2014
Test post. Been a long time gone. Time to revamp this page. Just have to figure out how.
ITEM: And now an art break.
Took that pic about two years ago in winter. Know it wasn't last winter. Its a very steep street in Wilkinsburg. And at the bottom an online photo editing suite called Fotor, not related to Hodor I guess. Yet another pic with "drawrings" (obscure SNL Mike Myers pronunciation ) added of the very scary Rankin bridge.
Late Night Oct. 28th 2013
ITEM: Been a long time. I'm hoping people have noticed that I've been working twitter almost every day and that kind of updates the news items I'm looking at. Then there's the music and news channel so. Been plenty busy.
ITEM: Will be publishing more books on Amazon. These are two new ones and one revamped old one. I think the covers turned out nice.
I just have some initial thoughts about the tragic yet entirely predictable outcome in the Trayvon Martin case.
One, it seems that the prosecution's heart just wasn't in it. They had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the case and it showed. Two, even if it had been filmed or if there were more witnesses there's a very good chance that you would have gotten that same verdict. There have been those cases as well, although I'm thinking of Oscar Grant where his death was pretty much filmed and that cop served a whopping one year sentence. Three, even if Trayvon Martin had lived and could have presented his own version there's no evidence that would have changed the verdict either. Just take a look at the local Jordan Miles verdict where Miles was beaten to an inch of his life and we couldn't get a conviction against the cops. Four, it has become clear to me that black men are Marked for Death in this society. It's clear that we're being groomed for the prison industrial complex at best and just
I'm really not sure what can be done about any of these things. I guess more decent paying jobs for everyone would help. Perhaps more black men need to carry guns so that predators will at least know they'll be in a fight. But when I reverse the situation in my head -- where Trayvon Martin shoots Zimmerman -- every time Trayvon Martin gets convicted and for a long time. I was looking through my Facebook feed and found a number of helpful illustrations and images that explain these problems. These images made me feel a little better for some reason. So enjoy the slideshow. Related: The story about the arrest of Dennis Henderson, for, as best as I can tell, being "uppity" tells the problem from a Pittsburgh angle here and here.
ITEM: Sorry for the long delay. Working on projects.
Here's one thing I've been doing:
ITEM: Pittsburgh Police officer Jonathan Gromek should be suspended or fired. (Update: charges were just dropped because being an "uppity" black person isn't a crime, yet.)
ITEM: Check out the link to see some more pics I took at both the Three Rivers Arts Festival and the Penn Avenue Arts in Motion Festival. I'll be posting more pics of the cool artists I saw probably tomorrow. There are two more pics at the link.
ITEM: As always been very busy not just specifically here. To see how busy check my twitter feed. Yes that's less work but I'm working on some bigger items. More on that later.
ITEM: This was spawned by the Occupy Movement. They're called "Occucards" and I find them informative, especially the concept of public banking. Or the text as it appears on the back of the card:
Public banks are banks that are owned by the people through their representative governments, such as a city, county or state. They differ from private banks in that they are mandated to serve the public interest. Unlike Wall Street banks that seek short-term profits for private shareholders by investing in stocks, derivatives and other speculative markets, public banks invest in their local economies, helping small businesses and improving the long-term health of their communities.
A good model of a public bank in the U.S. is the Bank of North Dakota. Established in 1919 when North Dakota farmers were losing their farms to Wall Street, this publicly owned bank recycles state revenues back into credit for its businesses and citizens. The result has been an ongoing success. Even during the current economic collapse, North Dakota escaped the credit crisis and has maintained a budget surplus since 2008, with low unemployment, zero public debt and no bank failures.
How does public banking work? A public bank’s deposit base consists primarily of tax revenues and fees obtained in its jurisdiction, which it then leverages, just like any bank, by issuing loans. A public bank does not act as a retail bank (i.e., it does not take in deposits from individuals and private businesses) so it does not compete with local, community banks. Rather, it partners with community banks and credit unions, who administer and service the loans. Interest is then returned to the public coffers, raising money for the municipality.
In our current system banks create new money when they issue loans. This ability to loan money into existence gives banks tremendous power to influence society’s development, yet their choices for using that influence are governed purely by their short-term profit motive. Public banks, on the other hand, while still constrained as part of the banking system, can finance projects that benefit their local communities as a whole.
ITEM: There will be a march tomorrow that I hope will shame my Scrooge like Governor Tom Corbett into accepting the free $17 billion dollars in medicaid expansion. Or at least that's the headline I tried to write at the Examiner.
Not my best lead. Read the whole thing here.
ITEM: I posted this earlier but it disappeared. But now its back again. My cousin Leonce's new novel looks to be very very commercial. Still sounds like "Deadwood meets Avatar", with Native Americans and African Americans fighting The Man...The title appears to be: "I Dreamt of Heaven--The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang."
Late night March 31st
(Slightly rewritten on the 3rd. Trying to make it better.)
ITEM: My black republican cousin--who shall go nameless because I don't want to out the guy who thought McCain/Palin was better than Obama, disappointing though he may be--is apparently having trouble finding paying work and openly bridged the possibility of crashing with me for awhile. I have mixed feelings about this as you can probably guess. On the one hand, blood trumps everything and that's just how I feel. (I even housed his half brother for awhile even. The same half brother who wrote me a 300 dollar check that bounced.) Yet my slightly more vindictive hand thinks: "You reap what you sow" and "There must be a god of karma". I should point out that my cousin, who's a year older than me, has three strikes against him. He's black, he seems to be slightly overweight--which as someone who's slightly overweight as well I can tell you: this disqualified me from probably as many jobs as being black--and he's pushing 50. These are things that don't help in this particular job economy.
I should also note that jobs in the private sector really aren't unionized. By not unionized, I mean its kind of hard to keep a job even if you get one. "At will" means you don't really have any rights on the job. Ever lose your temper at the job? Ever lose your temper at the job justifiably? Did you keep that job? Ever organized a union and been fired a week later? Ever had a white co worker tell you on his last day that he was working relentlessly to get you, the only black employee, fired? Ever feel that you weren't given the best leads by a boss who you were certain was playing favorites? Ever feel any real job security at an at will job? I never have. But that's for another essay titled "Why I Didn't Mind Being a 99er." And that was before the downturn. If you browse through the Craigslist listings you can see the return of just straight out rip off jobs. Jobs where you lose money by doing the work. Jobs that are clearly pyramid schemes or feature psychotic bosses or just plain bad deals. Or that offer of 7.25 an hour. How do you live on that? I feel like strangling people when I get a request to check my credit history. (Hope the EEOC does something about that...)
So I know what my cousin is up against. Yet, to return to my vindictive hand, this is the world that the Republican Party has created. It should be clear that the GOP is the party of class stratification and third world wages. Their tactics, plain to anyone who can fuckin' read, has been to sabotage the economy in the hopes that they'll make electoral gains. It worked in the midterms and it might work in 2012. Frankly, I blame the national dems for not fighting like the Wisconsin 14. That's leadership. Even if those guys lose I know they've got my back. But here's the thing: I know who my enemies are.
I've always thought that my cousin was the kind of black guy who would fight for the Confederacy and then be surprised to feel the lash upon his back. I think he's genuinely surprised that he's having a hard time finding work. But, beyond all that, beyond the God of Karma, can I forgive a guy for openly rooting for what Ted Rall once described as the most successful fascist party on the planet?
I mean, if a foreign agent did what the republicans routinely do you would consider it an act of war. Osama Bin Laden wants to cut 1 billion dollars from state public education. The fiend. Jihadists want to undercut the EPA and allow industry to pump carcinogens into your air, water and food supplies. The bastards. (They also want to cut funding for cancer research. Now that's evil...) Old fashioned commies are giving away our natural resources, subsidizing oil industries and allowing BP to drill for oil in the Gulf. O that darned red menace. Sissified French atheist abortionists want to lower your wages so that you can be paid like Mexicans (Actually, this is a bi partisan effort but you get the point...) and give all your money to corporate executives. Predictable really. A radical anarchist thinks public teachers, who work like dogs and I know because my mother was one, shouldn't get paid decently or have any say in their class sizes, (probably so they can safely declare public education a failure.). Somebody send in the troops.
Would you want this guy, who endorses all these things--if he does so knowingly he's evil and if he does so unknowingly he's stupid-- as a roommate? Would you want him to get back on his feet so he can quote Rush Limbaugh to you? I have to be honest I'm just not sure...Perhaps there are limits to even blood. Or as I told him: "If you need a job, you're an idiot to vote Republican."
Jan. 1, 2011
ITEM: I'm still here. Who knew. More writing on the way this year. I might even publish something.
Tuesday April 15, 2008
Bloom County character Oliver Wendell Jones and NPR Senior Producer Walter Ray Watson: Separated at birth? Actually, it was a closer resemblance before Walt got the dreds...
Morrissey was right. We hate it when our friends become successful. My former New Pittsburgh Courier colleague Walter Ray Watson is the recipient of a Nieman Fellowship. I think that means he gets to teach and write for a year or a summer and he still gets to go back to his job at NPR when he's done. One of the great crimes of this world would be if Walter was unable to finish a book--I mean, any book--before he leaves this plane. One of the most gifted natural stylists I've ever seen, let alone worked with. Congrats. I should note that this gives me another opportunity to take a shot at my old union busting Courier boss Rod Doss. Keep in mind that not only did Rod not hire Tony Norman, arguably the most interesting essayist in the local corporate media, he wouldn't give Walter a recommendation. True, that's because he sort of supported the union I organized down there. I guess that's the kind of thing that angers a pro life republican. But, and I do so hate giving Rod any credit at all, perhaps its best to have had a bad father than no father at all. Rod at least hired you when the white papers in this town wouldn't. I have to also confess I'm also interested in the topic he's studying which is: "will study how the new media will affect communities that lack access to the changing way news and information are delivered." Welp, as Walt used to write, I think the answer is that the new media will probably supplant and replace most of what now constitutes the mainstream media or at least that's my sincere hope. I do hope that NPR is the last to fall, however, in that they do represent excellence. One snarky point: shouldn't someone who's writing about the New Media actually have a blog or two? Then again, I suppose you could talk about my Morrissey impression among other embarrassing hijinks that we had at the Courier, which we once joked about turning into a sitcom proposal...
Keep checking out her work. Someone stole her bike recently. Goodwills and second hand shops have great cheap bikes.
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