let’s talk about guns

On Friday, December 14th a horrific thing happened. So horrific, that I can’t even tell you about it. That day was actually the first time in a decade that I did not use any sort of media, save the initial way that I found out. I got a tweet sent to my phone, something about a shooting. I was at work, at my desk, so immediately I clicked on google to check the news. As my cursor hoovered over the ‘Google News’ link, I stopped. Instead, I got up from my desk, and went to the desk of our social media person. If she tweeted it, she must know about it. So, I simply asked her.

She said there’d been a shooting at a school. At an elementary school. And children were killed. She was trying not to read about it too much, so she didn’t know much more than that. That was when I decided that I also didn’t really need to know much more than that. Elementary school? That meant 5-10 year olds. I really did not need to know any more than that 5-10 yr old children were killed for no good reason.

How did it come to this? Why? How?

That day, I did not watch any sort of news. Not online, radio, or tv. I didn’t check The Facebook. I couldn’t do it.

The next day, out of habit, I clicked on my facebook app soon after waking. I initially saw posts about guns. Pro- and against. I didn’t even scroll. Just on the screen when it opened where talks of guns. I instantly turned it off. I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t discuss guns. This wasn’t the time to discuss guns. I had heard (overheard really) enough to know that there was a man, mentally unstable, who got a hold of the gun & went on this rampage.

I couldn’t talk about guns. This actually had very little to do w/ the 2nd amendment, and EVERYTHING to do w/ caring for one another. Caring. Not enabling. Instantly I was reminded of celebrities who had spiraled out of control, only to die well before their time. Rock stars w/ entourages, entire staff of ppl solely for them, and yet no one says a word as they slowly kill themselves. Let alone their family. I know I’ve written about this before.

God knows that if I gain a good 10 lbs, I’m reminded that I need to exercise & eat right. I’m reminded of my family history of diabetes. But more importantly, I’m reminded that there are ppl in my life that love me, and love having me around.

If I’m doing something wrong, I get lectured. Lectured. It’s a funny word. Such a negative connotation. But usually lectures are for the greater good, non? You attend lectures for knowledge. When your parents/elders, or siblings/equals, lecture you, it’s b/c they want to see you well. Live well.

So, this was not really the time for talks on guns. It was a great moment to call to the attention of America to look out for your fellow man. Do right by them.

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That being said…. I”m not saying there is no discussion about guns to be had at all. I’m just saying that the time for gun regulations was after the Columbine shooting. How did those boys get those guns?

Notice I said regulation, not prohibition. God forbid I insinuate taking away anyone’s right to an amendment that was conceived at a time when men forcing themselves upon their enslaved women was not considered rape. For as progressive as we think we are, we hold onto some pretty archaic truths.

At any rate, I do have friends who are licensed to carry a concealed weapon, and they do; and I have no issues with it. I’m not concerned with those licensed to carry. Statistics prove that they’re not the ones killing others in society. It’s the unlicensed carriers.

There needs to be regulations on how folks go about OBTAINING guns. Gun shows. Internet. Street solicitation. Guns are readily available. And not just small handguns, like a pregnant girlfriend of mine carries. But semi-automatic machinery, built for combat. Assault weapons.

We went after Iraq for weapons of mass destruction that they did not have. Why not stop the assault weapons trade here in our own country.

I’m not glad this happened so that we are FINALLY ready to have a conversation about this. The time for conversation about this has long gone, time & time again. The time for this conversation was in ’99, after Columbine. I understand we were stunned then. We could not imagine that something like this could have happened, or could ever happen again, as we were all on the same page that it was horrific. Other shootings happened, but they were spread out, and not like the Columbine shootings. Not by a youngster, and not at a school.

But then in 2007, an 18-yr old shot up a Salt Lake City mall. Who’d imagine, in the midwest? Two months later, Virginia Tech. This time was the perfect time to discuss gun control laws. But nothing. That same year, a couple weeks before Christmas, another midwest mall is shot up, this time by a 19-yr old w/ a semi-automatic. If 1999 & COlumbine was not the time for these talks, then 2007 most certainly was the most appropriate time. Three shootings by young men who should not have had access to those guns, shot 74 ppl.

We also had an opportunity as a nation to have this conversation again in 2011, when Gabby Giffords was shot, along w/ 18 others.

Sigh. Let’s finally discuss guns. Please.

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  • December 11, 2012. Clackamas Town Center, Oregon. 22-year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts stole a rifle & killed 2 people along w/ himself.
  • September 27, 2012. Minneapolis, MN. 36-yr old Andrew Engeldinger at Accent Signage Systems lost his job, & killed 5, wounded 3, before killing himself.
  • August 5, 2012. Oak Creek, Wisconsin. 40-year-old US Army veteran Wade Michael Page killed 6 Sikh temple goers, injured 4, before killing himself. Religiously motivated.
  • July 20, 2012. Aurora, CO. 24-year-old James Holmes killed 12 & wounded 58 at a midnight premiere showing of The Dark Knight Rises.
  • May 29, 2012. Seattle, WA. Ian Stawicki opened fire on Cafe Racer Espresso, killed 5 & eventually himself after a manhunt.
  • April 6, 2012. Tulsa, OK. 19-yr old Jake England, and 32-yr old Alvin Watts shot 5 black men (3 died), in a racially motivated shooting spree.
  • April 2, 2012. Oakland, CA. A former student, 43-year-old One L. Goh killed 7 at Oikos University, a Korean Christian college. It was the 6th-deadliest school massacre in the US & the deadliest attack on a school since the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.
  • February 27, 2012. Chardon, OH. Thomas “TJ” Lane killed 3 fellow students at his Chardon High School, injuring 3 others.
  • October 14, 2011. Seal Beach, CA. 41-year-old Scott Evans Dekraai, killed 6 women & 2 men at Salon Meritage hair salon.
  • September 6, 2011. Carson City, NV. 32-yr old Eduardo Sencion walked into an IHOP & shot 12 people; 5 died, including 3 National Guard members.
  • January 8, 2011. Tucson, AZ. 22-year-old Jared Loughner walked into a political event at a Safeway market & opened fire, killing 6 & injuring then Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ, shot in the head). Among the 6 killed were Arizona District Court Chief Judge John Roll & a 9-year-old girl. 19 total were shot. Loughner sentenced to 7 life terms plus 140 years, without parole.
  • August 3, 2010. Manchester, CT. Omar S. Thornton, 34, gunned down Hartford Beer Distributor after he was caught stealing beer. 9 killed, including Thornton, & two injured.
  • November 5, 2009. Fort Hood army base, TX. Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire, shooting 43 people & killing 13.
  • April 3, 2009. Binghamton, NY. Jiverly Wong, 41, opened fire at an immigration center before committing suicide. He killed 13 people, wounding 4.
  • March 29, 2009. Carthage, NC. 45-yr-old Robert Stewart walked into the Pinelake Health and Rehab nursing home, looking for his estranged wife who worked there. He killed 8 people. Stewart was sentenced to life in prison.
  • February 14, 2008. Northern Illinois University. Steven Kazmierczak, 27, opened fire in a lecture hall, killing 6 & wounding 21 before killing himself
  • February 7, 2008. Kirkwood, Missouri. Charles Lee Thornton, opened fire during a public meeting at City Hall. 6 died & 2 injured, before Thornton was killed by police.
  • December 5, 2007. Omaha, NE. 19-yr-old, Robert Hawkins, walked into a department store at Westroads Mall, & opened fire. He killed 9 & wounded 4 before killing himself.
  • April 16, 2007. Virginia Tech. Student Seung-Hui Choi, shot 56 people, 32 died, in the deadliest school massacre in US.
  • February 12, 2007. Salt Lake City. 18-yr-old gunman Sulejman Talović shot & killed 5, wounded 4 at Trolley Square Mall.
  • October 2, 2006. Lancaster, PA. 32-yr-old Charles Carl Roberts entered an Amish schoolhouse, separated the boys from the girls, then bond and shot the girls. 5 young girls died, 6 were injured. Roberts then committed suicide.
  • March 25, 2006. Seattle, WA. 28-year-old Kyle Aaron Huff started shooting at Capitol Hill; 7 died, 2 injured.
  • March 21, 2005. Red Lake, MN. Teenager Jeffrey Weise killed his grandfather & grandfather’s girlfriend, then opened fire at Red Lake Senior High School, killed 9 people & injured 5 there. Weise then killed himself.
  • March 12, 2005. Brookfield, WI. 44-yr-old church member Terry Michael Ratzmann entered a church meeting at a Sheraton hotel, and opened fire. He killed the pastor, the pastor’s teenage son, and 7 others, before killed himself. 4 others were wounded.
  • July 8, 2003. Meridian, MS. Doug Williams entered a Lockheed Martin plant where he worked, and started shooting. He shot 14 people, targeting the African-Americans, & killed 7 before killing himself.
  • December 26, 2000. Wakefield, MA. Edgewater Technology employee Michael “Mucko” McDermott shot & killed seven coworkers at the office. He was sentenced to 7 consecutive life sentences. McDermott claimed he had “traveled back in time and killed Hitler and the last 6 Nazis.”
  • September 15, 1999. Fort Worth, TX. Larry Gene Ashbrook opened fire at a Christian rock concert & teen prayer rally at Wedgewood Baptist Church. He killed 7 & wounded another 7, almost all teenagers. Ashbrook then committed suicide.
  • July 29, 1999. Atlanta, GA. Mark Orrin Barton, 44, murdered his wife & two children w/ a hammer, then shot up 2 Atlanta day trading firms. Barton killed 12 including his family & injured 13 before killing himself.
  • April 20, 1999. Littleton, CO. Deadliest high school shooting in US history. Students Eric Harris & Dylan Kiebold shot up Columbine High School, killing 13 & wounded 21 others. They killed themselves after the massacre.

Can we discuss the gun problem in the US now?

forgive student loans

I’ma put in my 2 cents too.

When you get a student loan, you sign a PROMISSORY NOTE to get that loan. PROMISSORY. You LITERALLY PROMISE to pay that money back.

Teaching impressionable, quick to jump young adults that you can just take money for free is irresponsible. If anything, we need to tackle the issue of rising tuition costs that are out of control. NOT teach our youth that you can sign a promissory note for tens of thousands of dollars & just ask them to be “forgiven”. It’s not like you ate your co-workers piece of cake. It’s TENS of THOUSANDS of dollas! And you signed a paper after “loan counseling” PROMISING to pay it back! Are we teaching STUDENTS, those who are signing up asking to learn, that reneging on your word is the way to start your independent life?!?!?!

For the record, b/c for some reason, my personal experience will be questioned & thought of as relevant — I did take out loans. I was not given a free education. I am the daughter of immigrants. I did work 80-90 hrs a week during my summers from college, & I did take 10 yrs to pay off my loans. But I did pay them off, & I’m glad I did. My student loans taught me to budget, be responsible, & helped me raise my credit score. And if I do say so myself, my credit score is pretty spectacular!

bully the movie

There’s a new movie coming out, “Bully”.

It’s gotten an “R” rating by the Motion Picture Association of America, ONLY due to the usage of the “F-word” in this film. But the words used are those of children, ages 11-17, told to other children. There are much more violent & adult-themed movies given a rating of PG-13.

But this movie, one that should prob be shown in schools, one that is teaching our youth of the real consequences of bullying, has been given an “R” rating, & will not be seen by those who need to see it most.

These kids already know these words. Geez, I am shocked by how much kids know these days. I certainly did not use any type of bad words when I was a kid. I never saw a movie that had the “F-word” in it until I was 18; and my jaw dropped when I heard it b/c I was in a large public space & there it was, coming off a huge movie screen. But these kids today? They hear bad words & see questionable content everywhere. I don’t remember songs with bad words on the radio when I was a kid either. But I hear stuff on the radio now; & even when they attempt to bleep stuff, you know what they’re bleeping.

Anyway, I’ve signed this petition. It was started by a Katy Butler, a high-schooler in Ann Arbor, MI. I heard about this on the Ellen show today (it was a previous episode on my dvr); and I had to post about it. Katy has started this petition to change the rating to PG-13 so that this movie can be seen by those who need to see it most.

Pls sign this petition: MPAA: Don’t let the bullies win! Give ‘Bully’ a PG-13 instead of an R rating!

You may also want to contact the Motion Picture Association of America: ContactUs@mpaa.org
Phone & Fax # for offices in major cities: http://www.mpaa.org/about/contact

Trailer for the movie:

219 slaves

I know everyone’s talkin about taking the N-word outta Huck Finn. Just a reminder to those who think it’s no longer going to be offensive, there will still be 219 instances of the word “slave”. If I read 219 instances of the word “slave” w/in 300 pages, it’s still going to make me sick to my stomach.

They’re taking out the “n” word & the “in” word (that’s nigger & injun to those of you who haven’t heard yet). There are 219 instances of these words in the text, if you include the Table of Contents.

Here’s why I don’t mind it.

First, it’s ONE publishing company offering up ONE different version for a targeted demographic audience. Some of these students would actually prob not ever read this book if not forced to do so in school. We’re talking the deep South. Highly conservative ppl who likely have convinced their boards of education to not teach evolution. But I think we all remember some lumps of mass that we went to middle/high school with, & how they did nothing in class.

We live in a capitalist society, & I’m all for capitalism. Someone down in Alabama (a liberal prof, actually) found a need to push a product that can generate demand. He’s a smart dude. His daughter’s African-American friend felt uncomfortable being in a classroom w/ other kids reading the n-word here & there.

I don’t know if you remember your pre-teen & adolescent years, but they’re not easy for those who feel “different”…. & for the record, everyone feels different.

I despise censorship. But I also feel that if 12-17 year olds are reading this in a mixed class…. and I don’t mean “mixed” in ethnicity, but I mean it in terms of “mixed tolerance”…. then, some of those punks are going to emphasize that word w/ the mentality that they’re getting away w/ calling someone that. I can see some 16-yr old boy, raised by bigoted parents, sneering at someone else in the class as he e-nun-ci-ates the word clearly & deliberately.

This one publisher offering up this one edition of the book, targeted toward middle/junior-high schools is not censorship. It’s an opportunity for the text to be offered up to a greater audience. They can always pick up a copy of the actual text, then or in the future, from a bookstore/online/library.

I remember being 6 yrs old, & having a picture book of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn & Tom Sawyer. My parents bought me tons of “learner books” of stories & tales, so that I would read more & learn English. [You have to remember, I did not speak English when we first moved to the States when I was almost 5 yrs old]

There were picture books of it, then the original text by Mr. Twain. This new version is like a “stepping block”.

You know I’ve complained about the TX Board of Education stripping their curriculum… taking out Thomas Edison & wanting to teach more about country music!

Part of me is just scared of the direction some schools in the South are taking. It is my hope that this new edition limits the excuse that the book should be banned altogether in some schools, & that the students will learn upon entering the world (or from their parents) that it was not the truest version of what Twain wrote.

It is & will always be available in the uncut form everywhere else. I’ve watched edited versions of rated R movies on tv when I was 14. & I like that they play “radio edited versions” of certain songs/raps on the radio, b/c I don’t want some 8 yr who’s not going to understand it to hear it. I’m happy w/ letting my kids read the unedited (uncensored), rawest form of the book…. when they’re at an age when it’s appropriate for them. Even now, as an adult, I have an edited version of the Bhagvad Gita… b/c I don’t understand the old text, & I want to be able to read it, but need a version that I can comprehend.

Also, I am of the belief that Mr. Clemens wrote this book for adults. His fellow adult citizens of this country which, even after the Civil War, did not accept the end of slavery. So, it makes sense that a version w/out (what we consider) expletives is offered to a younger audience, just as is done w/ music on the radio or tv. Explicit versions of other media are still easily accessible for the youth via other venues (home/internet/library/stores).

Lastly, I certainly hope no one thought he was racist. He wrote a formal letter, asking to be able to pay tuition of a gifted young African-American, saying he was ashamed that this bright man was held down all his life & could be someone great one day, w/ his financial help.

“We have ground the manhood out of them, and the shame is ours and not theirs, and we should pay for it.”

This was from a letter to Francis Wayland, Dean of Yale Law School; written the same year that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published. In this letter, Twain offered to pay the tuition of a black student at law school. He also paid the costs at a Southern school of a black student who became a minister.

You can’t give Texans power

What happens when you allow Texans to decide on what’s best for the children of tomorrow? They decide to re-write the history books. They will take out some of the Hispanic heritage information, & to put in more stuff about Country music instead. Here’s the article I read on Yahoo News. I’ve copied it below since Yahoo links don’t work after a certain period of time.

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U.S. history textbooks could soon be flavored heavily with Texas conservatism
—Brett Michael Dykes is a national affairs writer for Yahoo! News

The nation’s public school curriculum may be in for a Texas-sized overhaul, if the Lone Star state’s influential recommendations for changes to social studies, economics and history textbooks are fully ratified later this spring. Last Friday, in a 10-to-5 vote split right down party lines, the Texas State Board of Education approved some controversial right-leaning alterations to what most students in the state—and by extension, in much of the rest of the country—will be studying as received historical and social-scientific wisdom. After a public comment period, the board will vote on final recommendations in May.

Don McElroy, who leads the board’s powerful seven-member social conservative bloc, explained that the measure is a way of “adding balance” in the classroom, since “academia is skewed too far to the left.” And the board’s critics have labeled the move an attempt by political “extremists” to “promote their ideology.”

The revised standards have far-reaching implications because Texas is a huge market leader in the school-textbook industry. The enormous print run for Texas textbooks leaves most districts in other states adopting the same course materials, so that the Texas School Board effectively spells out requirements for 80 percent of the nation’s textbook market. That means, for instance, that schools in left-leaning states like Oregon and Vermont could soon be teaching from textbooks that are short on references to Ted Kennedy but long on references to conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly.

Here are some of the other signal shifts that the Texas Board endorsed last Friday:

- A greater emphasis on “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s.” This means not only increased favorable mentions of Schlafly, the founder of the antifeminist Eagle Forum, but also more discussion of the Moral Majority, the Heritage Foundation, the National Rifle Association and Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America.

- A reduced scope for Latino history and culture. A proposal to expand such material in recognition of Texas’ rapidly growing Hispanic population was defeated in last week’s meetings—provoking one board member, Mary Helen Berlanga, to storm out in protest. “They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist,” she said of her conservative colleagues on the board. “They are rewriting history, not only of Texas but of the United States and the world.”

- Changes in specific terminology. Terms that the board’s conservative majority felt were ideologically loaded are being retired. Hence, “imperialism” as a characterization of America’s modern rise to world power is giving way to “expansionism,” and “capitalism” is being dropped in economic material, in favor of the more positive expression “free market.” (The new recommendations stress the need for favorable depictions of America’s economic superiority across the board.)

- A more positive portrayal of Cold War anticommunism. Disgraced anticommunist crusader Joseph McCarthy, the Wisconsin senator censured by the Senate for his aggressive targeting of individual citizens and their civil liberties on the basis of their purported ties to the Communist Party, comes in for partial rehabilitation. The board recommends that textbooks refer to documents published since McCarthy’s death and the fall of the Soviet bloc that appear to show expansive Soviet designs to undermine the U.S. government.

- Language that qualifies the legacy of 1960s liberalism. Great Society programs such as Title IX—which provides for equal gender access to educational resources—and affirmative action, intended to remedy historic workplace discrimination against African-Americans, are said to have created adverse “unintended consequences” in the curriculum’s preferred language.

- Thomas Jefferson no longer included among writers influencing the nation’s intellectual origins. Jefferson, a deist who helped pioneer the legal theory of the separation of church and state, is not a model founder in the board’s judgment. Among the intellectual forerunners to be highlighted in Jefferson’s place: medieval Catholic philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas, Puritan theologian John Calvin and conservative British law scholar William Blackstone. Heavy emphasis is also to be placed on the founding fathers having been guided by strict Christian beliefs.

- Excision of recent third-party presidential candidates Ralph Nader (from the left) and Ross Perot (from the centrist Reform Party). Meanwhile, the recommendations include an entry listing Confederate General Stonewall Jackson as a role model for effective leadership, and a statement from Confederate President Jefferson Davis accompanying a speech by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.

- A recommendation to include country and western music among the nation’s important cultural movements. The popular black genre of hip-hop is being dropped from the same list.

None of these proposals has met with final ratification from the board—that vote will come in May, after a prolonged period of public comment on the recommendations. Still, the conservatives clearly feel like the bulk of their work is done; after the 120-page draft was finalized last Friday, Republican board member Terri Leo declared that it was “world class” and “exceptional.”

heads of state

I’d written about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before. He had said then that he wouldn’t do Oli Stone’s doc b/c he wants nothing to do w/ the US b/c anything to do w/ the US relates to “the Great Satan”.

Sooooo…. um, isn’t Columbia University in the US? So, why’d he do that? You know what I really wanna know that I can’t seem find out? How much did they pay him to appear & speak?

You know what I mean? Seriously, even if you wanted Carrot Top to come to your school to speak, you’d have to pay him, & put him up in swanky digs & stuff. So, how much? And the students are ok w/ having contributed to his income?

Y’all remember the tasering that happened at John Kerry’s todo at the University of Florida last week? I mean, they freakin tasered him! He just didn’t agree w/ Kerry. I mean, his tuition & fees helped bring Kerry there, so he’s got a right to say what he wants. I think The Idea of Progress did a great post on it. Yes, he got carried away, & shoulda been removed b/c he was getting in the way of the others who also contributed & actually did want to hear what the Ker-ster had to say. But to TASER him; that’s just sickening. I’ve written about another tasering at a sunny school before too; & so y’all know I’m just pretty anti-tasering.

But the Columbia president paid Ahmadinejad to come to speak there, & then just bent him over & spanked him? If we’re going to taser anyone who is adamantly against whoever we pay to come speak at the school, shouldn’t that be consistent?

The kid paying tuition & fees gets tasered. The president who collects his income from the tuition & fees doesn’t. I’m not saying he shoulda got tasered. I’m saying the kid shouldn’t have.

I hate inconsistencies. Ahmadinejad saying he wants nothing to do w/ the US, then coming here to speak. Someone getting tasered for causing a scene at a lecture, & someone else being commended for it (even though he himself paid big money to the offender?). What’s up w/ all dat yo?!?!

Oh, yeah, & then Evo Morales spoke at Cooper Union on Monday, & said that capitalism is “the worst enemy of humanity”. He got thunderous applause from the 200 students that came to hear him speak. So, don’t tell me it has anything to do w/ denouncing our way of life. Maybe it’s just cause they’re such a hippie school.

Sidenote: don’t think I’m anti Evo, cause I’m not. I think it’s cool that a poor farmer w/ no “formal education” can become president. I put “formal education” in quotes not b/c I love quotes so much, but b/c I don’t think a person’s intelligence or common sense comes is relative to the level of his degree. There are so many ppl among us who may not have formal training, but may be smarter or more qualified than those with a doctoral degree. But that’s a post for another day. Or not (you know how lazy I can be about posting).

a call for more lazy protesting!

I think I may be supporting the wrong causes. I dragged myself out of bed this morn, & dragged myself in & outta the shower to get ready. As I got out & was getting ready, it hit me that I completely support the wrong causes in my life.

Look at John & Yoko… They supported causes that made them stay in bed ALL DAY LONG! Now, whatever type of cause wants you to rally like that, I can get behind. I could TOTALLY do that!

How come no one ever has rallies like that anymore?

I’ve mentioned here how I went to Kent State. Y’all know Kent State, right? You’ve heard of it in the song “(4 dead in) Ohio”. About when our government’s military force opened fire on their own kids. Yeah, & you wonder how I ended up so paranoid & cynical. I remember in college, we didn’t have classes on May 4th in remembrance of the Kent State shootings. There were tons of vigils, & musicians (nationally famous hippie musicians, & local hippie musicians) would come & play on Blanket Hill. We would hang out on the grass & listen to ppl sing or speak. There was this one guy on the May 4th Task Force that was also there in the shootings, & he would speak & re-tell his story every year.

But one year that clearly sticks out in my mind is the year we all spread out & laid on the entire expanse there. Hundreds of ppl came that year. Everyone met at Blanket Hill, & laid down on the hill (careful not to hurt the daffodils*), over the hill next to Taylor Hall, & partly in front of it.

Anyway, the point of this all was that I did attend a rally where ppl laid down on the grass on a temperate, beautiful sunny day surrounded by flowers, & just thought of the injustices that happen in the world. News crews were there to take pics, so the word could be spread. So, there’s proof positive that you can have a successful rally & be laying around.

I wish there were more things like that. Either that, or I need to go to bed earlier. But since I didn’t get to sleep until about 2 am last night, y’all get a big long rambling post b/c it takes me forever & a day to get to a point.

Assorted May 4th sites: official site of May 4th Task Force | may41970.com | may4.org (they have a great timeline of events) | FBI investigation | A million other links

*The pic is of Blanket Hill, the 2 granite structures are part of the May 4th memorial (they only built 7% of what was proposed), & the building in the back (that kinda reminds you of the Pantheon) is Taylor Hall. There are 58,175 daffodils planted on Blanket Hill; one for each of the US servicemen & servicewomen who died in the Vietnam conflict war. When I was in school there, I’d heard that you get fined $500 per daffodil that you picked b/c it’s technically defacing a memorial (or something like that). I never did find out if that was true, or just an urban legend; but I never did pick a single daffodil. I did pick the black-eyed susans that were in front of the Student Center all the time though.

there’s another hurricane brewin in Louisiana

Do you guys remember the story of Hurricane? Mr. Rubin Carter? I know a lot of you have prob seen the movie (w/ Denzel). I’ve never seen the movie. I know the story b/c I’m a big Dylan fan. One of my fave songs is “Hurricane”; if you’ve never heard it, please do yourself a favor & listen to it. It will give you chills; it still gives me chills & I listen to it all the time.

Here’s a synopsis: Rubin Carter was unjustly imprisoned for 2 consecutive life terms by an all-white jury. He was charged w/ a triple murder; one of the victims, on his death bed told the police that Carter was not the right man. But 2 robbers, who were also in a lot of heat testified against him. That year was 1967.

1967 folks. 1967.

Dylan wrote “Hurricane” to raise awareness for Rubin Carter (in ’75, after Carter had sent him a copy of his autobio, The Sixteenth Round which he wrote while locked up). On February 9th, 1976, Carter was sentence to 2 consecutive life terms (this was his 2nd trial; which they had fought for). Dylan never performed Hurricane live since that happened (last live performance of the song was January 25th 1976 in Houston). It wasn’t until November 1985 that he was released on parole, & 1988 that the original indictments were dismissed.

Why am I bringing this up?

Because it’s 2007, ppl, & we should NOT be dealing with stuff like this in 2007. Or, at all in my lifetime, & I’ve been around for a lil bit now.

But if you haven’t heard about Jena 6, please go to the Color of Change website & read about it. Print the letter to fax or email it. They also give you the option of writing out your own note. I did opt to do that b/c I figured (hopefully) they’re gonna get thousands of letters from everywhere. There is HUGE media coverage about what’s going on in Jena, LA globally (China, France, England). It’s unfortunate that the national coverage isn’t as much as it is overseas. What the world must think of the big, bad, ole US of A, huh?

To read more, you should also check out Aquababie’s and/or V’s sites. They’ve put up very thoughtful, in-depth posts; much more so than I have.

So, please go to the ColorOfChange.org website, & send a letter. You can also sign up to stand with the families if you will be in the area from July 31st to mid-August.

Again:
Sign the letter – Color of Change.org
Sign the online petition asking for the US Department of Justice to get involved

There is also a man named Michael David Murphy who went to Jena, LA & took pictures & has a photo journal; he’s got two sites w/ pics & links: www.michaeldavidmurphy.com/jena/ & While Seated.

I’ve also posted the lyrics to Hurricane below in it’s own special post.

Person of the Week: Joe Pa

UPDATE (Nov. 10, 2012): I am now taking back this post. I’m leaving it up, b/c I once was compelled to hold his man to a higher standard. But for obvious reasons, I now take back this post. Original post:

I’ve decided that every week, I’m going to have a person that kicks ass. I’ll likely post this at the end of the week; Thurs, Fri, or Sat. But I’m not promising. I can’t handle that kind of commitment.

I thought of this b/c I read these stories about ppl who I think just rule in the best way possible.

Our 1st Person is Joe Paterno. Joe Pa, as he’s called, is not gonna stand for any BS. He is the coach of the Penn State football team. A couple of his guys were punks; so he decided that the whole team’s gonna clean up Beaver Stadium after each home game. Everyone. B/c they’re a team, & he will not have them called trash.

“We’re all going to do it, everybody. Not just the kids that were involved. ‘Cause we’re all in it together. This is a team embarrassment. I wouldn’t call it anything much other than that.”

“I just thought that, hey, we had 14, 15 kids – I don’t even know how many – that were involved in something embarrassing, and I think that we need to prove to people that we’re not a bunch of hoodlums.”

In addition to cleaning up the humongo stadium, they’re also gonna build a house for Habitat for Humanity, & volunteer over SUMMER for the Special Olympics.

Most football coaches let things slide. “Boys will be boys.” That sorta thing. But if you just let boys be boys, then how will they EVER become MEN?!

This is a man, a real man, to admire. He has character & principles & ideals. He knows right is right, & wrong is wrong. He will not have ppl talk trash about HIS ppl. He’ll chase down a ref if he thinks he’s wronged his ppl.

He will teach his ppl to rise above. And that makes him good ppl in my book.

Um, did I also mention that he’s 80, has been the coach or assistant coach there for 57 years. AND, Penn State has never been under NCAA probation, and has never been under any serious investigation for wrong-doing since he’s been there. Why? Uh, b/c he RULES!

actors & hookers

You know what I was thinking about last night? I was thinking about how actors & prostitutes are pretty much the same.

I mean, they both do & say as they are told. There is someone there to “direct” their actions. The prettier ones make a lil more moolah. They both get paid just for showing up & doing/saying what they’re told.

Then I started thinking about Will Smith. I think I was thinking about all this b/c I saw some commercial for that new movie of his before I went to bed. I wasn’t watching tv, but you know how if the tv’s on, it’s in the corner of your eye?

So, then I was thinking how Big Willie started out mostly in music, & is now mainly acting. And his wife was mostly acting before, & now she’s mainly singing (she’s always on tour w/ her band whenever I hear about her). Funny, huh? (ironic-funny, not haha-funny).

UPDATE: After I wrote this, I remembered when I was in school. I went into my undergrad to study architecture & sociology. I recalled that in my 2nd year of studio, we were told that architects are like whores, b/c you have to ‘put out’ whatever the client wants. Only a very select few will ever get to design what they truly want. I eventually switched outta arch, & just finished w/ a major in Sociology, which I love.

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