Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A story with Heart

I was happy to hear Deputies refused to evict a 103 year old woman, MSNC reports:

Fulton County Sheriff’s deputies and a moving company hired by the bank showed up at Vita Lee’s Penelope Road home on Tuesday, according to a report on Deutsche Bank apparently holds the mortgage that is being serviced locally by Chase, the station reported. The planned eviction was reportedly the latest move in a legal battle that dates back years.
But when the men saw the frail woman, they opted to leave instead of carry through with the forced move.

"Please don't come in and disturb me no more," Lee told "When I'm gone you all can come back and do whatever they want to."

Shame on Deutsche Bank & Chase for attempting to throw an elderly woman out of her home. It is heartening the Sheriff's police & moving company decided it was not the right thing to do.

She's lived in the home 53 years, now, along w her 83 year old daughter. Vita Lee will soon celebrate her 104th birthday, hopefully in her home. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

We are the many ~ Occupy song

We are the many

Lyrics to "We Are the Many":
Ye come here, gather 'round the stage
The time has come for us to voice our rage
Against the ones who've trapped us in a cage
To steal from us the value of our wage

From underneath the vestiture of law
The lobbyists at Washington do gnaw
At liberty, the bureaucrats guffaw
And until they are purged, we won't withdraw

We'll occupy the streets
We'll occupy the courts
We'll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

Our nation was built upon the right
Of every person to improve their plight
But laws of this Republic they rewrite
And now a few own everything in sight

They own it free of liability
They own, but they are not like you and me
Their influence dictates legality
And until they are stopped we are not free

We'll occupy the streets
We'll occupy the courts
We'll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

You enforce your monopolies with guns
While sacrificing our daughters and sons
But certain things belong to everyone
Your thievery has left the people none

So take heed of our notice to redress
We have little to lose, we must confess
Your empty words do leave us unimpressed
A growing number join us in protest

We occupy the streets
We occupy the courts
We occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

You can't divide us into sides
And from our gaze, you cannot hide
Denial serves to amplify
And our allegiance you can't buy

Our government is not for sale
The banks do not deserve a bail
We will not reward those who fail
We will not move till we prevail

We'll occupy the streets
We'll occupy the courts
We'll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

We'll occupy the streets
We'll occupy the courts
We'll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

We are the many
You are the few
I did not hear about this on the news....

APEC World Leaders Dinner Gets Occupied
Within secure zone, musician sings on behalf of the many
Honolulu - A change in the programmed entertainment at last night's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gala left a few world leaders slack-jawed, though most seemed not to notice that anything was amiss.
During the gala dinner, renowned Hawaiian guitarist Makana, who performed at the White House in 2009, opened his suit jacket to reveal a home-made “Occupy with Aloha” T-shirt. Then, instead of playing the expected instrumental background music, he spent almost 45 minutes repeatedly singing his protest ballad released earlier that day. The ballad, called “We Are the Many,” includes lines such as “The lobbyists at Washington do gnaw.... And until they are purged, we won't withdraw,” and ends with the refrain: “We'll occupy the streets, we'll occupy the courts, we'll occupy the offices of you, till you do the bidding of the many, not the few.”
Those who could hear Makana’s message included Presidents Barack Obama of the United States of America, Hu Jintao of China, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, and over a dozen other heads of state.
“At first, I was worried about playing ‘We Are The Many,’” said Makana. “But I found it odd that I was afraid to sing a song I’d written, especially since I'd written it with these people in mind.”
The gala was the most secure event of the summit. It was held inside the Hale Koa hotel, a 72-acre facility owned and controlled by the US Defense Department; the site was fortified with an additional three miles of fencing constructed solely for the APEC summit.
Makana was surprised that no one objected to him playing the overtly critical song. “I just kept doing different versions,” he said. “I must’ve repeated ‘the bidding of the many, not the few’ at least 50 times, like a mantra. It was surreal and sobering.”
Makana’s new song is inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has taken root in cities worldwide. Last Saturday, eight protesters were arrested when they refused to leave the Occupy Honolulu encampment at Thomas Square Park. Occupy Honolulu has joined other groups, including Moana Nui, to protest the APEC meeting, and while Makana performed, hundreds of people protested outside.
After facing large-scale protests in South Korea, Australia, Peru, and Japan, APEC moved this year's event to Hawaii, the most isolated piece of land on earth. In preparation for the meeting, homeless families weremoved out of sight and millions of taxpayer dollars were spent on security—including over $700,000 on non-lethal weapons for crowd control. In a bitter twist, the multi-million dollar security plans backfired when a local Hawaiian man was shot and killed by a 27-year-old DC-based federal agent providing security for dignitaries.
Makana’s action was assisted by the Yes Lab and Occupy the Boardroom. In recent weeks, Occupy protesters have been showing up at corporate events, headquarters and even on the doorsteps of those in power. “Makana really raised the bar by delivering the Occupy message inside what is probably the most secure place on the planet right now,” said Mike Bonanno of the Yes Lab.
Thank you Yes lab- you creative geniuses for coming up with such fresh ideas. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pizzagate: In America Pizza is a vegetable

Move over ketchup, Pizza in now joining the ranks of "vegetable" classification as well. Thanks to powerful lobbies, who fought to keep french fries & pizza prominently on school lunch menus.

Another provision in the bill the House passed, bars the USDA from changing the way it credits tomato paste, used in pizza. The change would have required pizza to have at least a half-cup of tomato paste to qualify as a vegetable serving. Current rules, which likely will remain in place, require just two tablespoons of tomato paste.

The U.S. House of Representatives dealt a blow to childhood obesity warriors on Thursday by passing a bill that abandons proposals that threatened to end the reign of pizza and French fries on federally funded school lunch menus.
The scuttled changes, which would have stripped pizza's status as a vegetable and limited how often French fries could be served, stemmed from a 2010 child nutrition law calling on schools to improve the nutritional quality of lunches served to almost 32 million U.S. school children.

All pizzas are not created equal:
Let's face it, cheap frozen pizzas have little nutritional value at all. There are some gourmet versions  of pizza that really do have full servings of fresh veggies piled on them- but that is not what they are serving up in the USDA school lunches.

Ironically, while starch & pizza as a vegetable will be served, many cash strapped schools have eliminated physical fitness programs entirely, or families need to pony up hundreds of dollars to participate in sports programs.

Due to the tanked economy a huge proportion of children qualify for the free or reduced price meals served at schools.

The problem is the obesity epidemic. In the food world, starchy, lower quality foods are generally cheaper, so low income families tend to purchase them to stretch food budgets. But each bad or marginal choice food children are served all adds up & they wind up with the host of  health problems obesity causes.

School cafeteria food is marginal anyway, I once heard it described as best in class for "accuracy & distance" (think food fight).  But for some kids the school meals programs maybe the main or only meals they get on any given day- making what is served even all the more important.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


A fun old timey feeling to this clip.
This idea of being in a stampede of people to get some sale special, because big businesses hope to create a consumer frenzy is unappealing.
Sleep in. Relax. Enjoy nature. Consider making a donation to the local food bank or favorite charity.
Donate some warm clothes, hats, gloves to the homeless shelter or local Occupy site.

Although a rerun, I still love this '09 Buy Nothing spot.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

MIC CHECK: Eric Cantor, Scott Walker, Michele Bachmann & Karl Rove

The Occupy movement uses a technique called "Mic Check", like microphone check, in lieu of a microphone, a speaker calls out a sentence, the crowd repeats it so all can hear. 
The 99% have a little somethin' to say

 Majority Leader Eric Cantor interrupted at Rice University with a Mic Check by Rice University grad students, in solidarity with Occupy Houston.

Union Busting Wisconsin Governor headed for recall:

Presidential Candidate Michele Bachmann the 99% have something to tell you

But this is classic~

Karl Rove first tells Occupy Baltimore Mic Check crowd if they support free speech to
 "Shut up & wait till the Q & A"
 Rove then yells back at people chanting *WE ARE THE 99%* "Noooo! No you're not"

The Mic Check:

"Mic Check! Karl Rove is the Architect. The Architect of OccupyIraq. The Architect of OccupyAfghanistan. The Architect of tax cuts for the 1%. The 99% think it's time to #Occupy the Architect. To #Occupy the Architecture. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gingrich: Let them clean toilets!

In an epic tumble from the top spot after rivals Cain & Perry fatally fumbled their presidential runs,
Gingrich flushes his chances altogether in one fell swoop.

Speaking at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, the former House Speaker said his system would be an improvement on current child labor laws, which he called "truly stupid."

"It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in child laws which are truly stupid," Gingrich said. "Saying to people you shouldn't go to work before you're 14, 16. You're totally poor, you're in a school that's failing with a teacher that's failing."
Gingrich then proposed a system he said would help those students rise from poverty.
"I tried for years to have a very simple model. These schools should get rid of unionized janitors, have one master janitor, pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work; they'd have cash; they'd have pride in the schools. They'd begin the process of rising."

WOW!!! Promoting Child labor AND Union busting all in one announcement. Never mind that he just said the poorest kids should  clean their own schools for pocket money & pride.  Notice he's not suggesting the upper crust have their kids clean their own schools. 
Never mind that janitorial services require the use of toxic chemicals, and special training about health & safety, including knowledge about OSHA safety requirements,  including bloodborne pathogens, and most large scale janitorial staff are also required to get immunizations for hepatitis. 

So if one master janitor is out sick or busy, will they be calling student janitors out of class to clean up overflowing toilets?
Gingrich wants to take union jobs away, &  take us back to the days of child labor.
Let's hope the proud junior janitors, and newly unemployed union janitors take solace in the fact that Gingrich had a $500,000 to $1 million line of credit at Tiffany's, that "now has zero balance, and it has been closed.”

                                                                    Newt has shown us the pig he really is!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Well said: Police in riot gear reaction to # Occupy as "normal"

By Nicholas Caleb of Portland, Oregon.Nick is a local attorney, college professor, and most recently, an Occupy protestor. Read the entire article at Blue Oregon.

Failing to use violence on peaceable assemblies should not be lauded as respectable restraint. Instead, we should be outraged that it is ever even a consideration in the first place!

"I am very, very troubled about a narrative floating around in local political discourse: that Occupy protestors are solely responsible for increased police spending and must cease their activities because they are causing the absurdly large police presence which materializes in order to monitor each protest.

This narrative implicitly assumes that police have no option but to flood the streets with officers when any large group of people gathers together. And apparently, some of the police must be dressed in full riot gear (and visible to everyone) even when there is no indication that violence will occur. The absurdity of this tactic was immediately apparent to anyone who participated in yesterday's protests, filled with citizens young and old -- college students, retirees, established labor officials, war veterans, and other concerned citizens -- marching (while happily dancing to funk music, a sign of violence if I've ever seen one) with the intent of highlighting the failures of a broken system. From the response of the police, you'd have thought that Occupy organizers had proposed a violent overthrow of the local government! Instead, police knew very well from discussions with the organizers and their own secret infiltrations of public meetings (really, what is the point?) exactly which protestors planned to enter banks and be arrested for non-violent disobedience -- sitting in the banks and thereby disrupting business.
Let me propose a different narrative: the police are implementing specific policy choices when they decide to pay their officers overtime and recruit extra officers from departments around the area. They are not forced to do so. In fact, in light of the repeated and consisted peacefulness and non-violence of Occupy protests up to this point, the police go far beyond reasonable bounds when they arrange intimidating displays on the streets. And when individual police officers (names withheld, but I'll be submitting complaints to the city) are visibly itching for a violent confrontation, pushing people around with horses and hitting women with batons, the police are the instigators of violence and not the protectors of citizens.
The first irony of the situation is that we have a Constitution granting, as its chief civil liberty, the right of citizens to peaceably assemble. Presumably, this right extends to the ability to express displeasure at the dominant ideologies of the day without having to submit to intimidation and implicit threat of violence that accompanies the presence of riot police. Scaring people during an assembly, though not as serious as actually beating them, is a form of prior restraint, of telling you that the State doesn't authorize your message.
The second great irony of this situation is that the Portland Police are going to bankrupt themselves with their adopted strategy if Occupy protests continue.Like a boxer who has just seen a cut open up over his opponent's eye, any Occupy organizer worth his salt is going to notice the vulnerability of the police to this brute economic fact and immediately organize more protests. 
In fact, the next protest should be aimed directly at the overuse of police force. Imagine the irony of the police coming out dressed like storm troopers to intimidate protestors who are trying to highlight the excessive uses of police force and intimidation. We might be treated to such a show very soon, as leaders of the police apparently cannot tame their authoritarian instincts even when self-preservation and legitimacy are on the line."

I've seen & heard lots of news coverage stating the cost of having enhanced police presence. I love the idea of protesting the police overreaction & the ironic, or would that be oxymoronic response that would create! The Occupy movements have been largely & purposefully peaceful. In fact when the Portland Oregon eviction came down, the Occupy crowds were often chanting, to the riot gear clad police, "We are peaceful people". 

Wow! That was powerful stuff facing down baton wielding, in your face, throngs of riot police. Such a Gandhi moment. 

The sad commentary is the masses have been so quiet & complacent, law enforcement & municipal authority figures are startled to suddenly hear the roar of the discontent & realize there are so many. 

Imagine if the Occupy movement grows to a point where they realize there is no way they can send floods of police to try to have an intimidating presence at every event peaceful citizens opt to exercise their Constitutional right to assemble freely. 

I'm loving the peaceful revolution & hope the police calm down & learn this is  the new normal, and understand it is a constitutional, legal right to freely assemble. 
Granted the free speech is at a roar, but it is long overdue. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

An open letter to Sherri Neet

The headline story in today's local Register Guard newspaper is the local #Occupy protests at multiple banks, they quoted this comment:

"Sherry Neet, who watched outside Chase Bank, said the movement had attracted too many people who were looking for a free meal and place to sleep rather than actual working people trying to effect change."
"It's the bums and the drug addicts that are running with them," Neet said when asked why she didn't agree with the protest. "It's not the working man that's standing up for any of this."

An open letter to Sherri Neet:

Dear Ms. Neet: Lucky for you your life is so neat that you have not experienced the hardship of job loss or being unemployed.  My "working man" husband who has raised two children and provided for all their needs in the decades of their lives will soon, according to you, be in the "bum" category. 
You see, the company he worked for for the last 13 years went belly up in bankruptcy and a few thousand workers lost their family wage jobs & health insurance. 
But the company was bought & sold & reopened. He was able to get rehired, and according to your perspective, will no longer be a bum. 
But due to bad economic times, the company is restructuring, and once again closing the factory, in order to take advantage of another States corporate welfare tax incentives. 
So once again, he will be in the "bum" category. 
What you fail to recognize, Ms. Neet is a reality check:

"The number of long-term unemployed nationwide, defined as those jobless for 27 weeks or more, has been unprecedented in this recession, economists say. In February, 6 million unemployed workers were in this category, accounting for nearly 44 percent of the unemployed. That figure remains near the high of 45.6 percent last May. That share of the long-term unemployed is one of the highest on record, the bureau reported."

Read more:

Statewide Oregon's unemployment rate is 9.6%.
Right here in Lane County, unemployment stats look like this:

Nationwide unemployment rates, not looking so good either:

Also note a "job" is not an apples for apples comparison. A family wage job with affordable health care for all family members is not the same as a minimum wage job w no benefits, or pays so low as to not be able to afford the health care insurance. To have a job and live at or near poverty level is not the same as a Wall Street Banker who gets a $700,000 annual bonus. 
It is widely recognized that the numbers do not reflect the true # of unemployed, because those who fall off the official ranks are no longer counted. 
I just want to be clear that unemployed bums may not have a choice to be employed.
They certainly don't stay awake at night worrying about how they will invest or spend
hundreds of thousands in bonus money. Although they do need to keep a close watch on the bank that the State contracted to distribute Unemployment funds on a Visa debit card- the fees and fines they can assess those struggling through unemployment. 

So Ms. Neet, before the Occupy movement began, we had Tent cities right here in the USA. Not a fun camping jamboree, but destitute people who had no other housing options. In fact about 1.5 million people are homeless in America. 

The fact that the Occupy movement recognizes and is inclusive of all- those who are employed, working poor, unemployed, homeless, students facing underemployment and huge college debt, or perhaps facing foreclosure, or medical debt bankruptcy. Those "bums" include Veterans, the elderly, disabled people, and minor children. The "bum" label & stereotyping you wield is disrespectful, assumptive & degrading all at once. 

The fact that this government spends in excess of 60% of the entire national budget on military and wars means we don't fund health care, housing,  & education. 

The media may tell you we are in a recession, but take a look around, it's looking more like a depression. If you should happen to join the ranks of the unemployed, you could become a bum in the blink of an eye. 

So to all you Sherri Neets in the world- wake up. When employable people with college degrees apply for hundreds of jobs over the course of 2 or more years and can not get work, it is not because they lack motivation, so park your judgement & consider being part of the solution. Name calling & passing judgement makes you a part of the problem. You may be one pink slip, or medical bankruptcy away from joining the ranks of the occupy movement. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I can't join the "Occupy" movement's day of action/march today, but in solidarity, here are some of the issues they have posted re various banks strongholds & unfair/predatory practices.

Umpqua Bank 
1.  Umpqua Bank accepted a $214-milllion-dollar 
bailout they admitted they didn't need, but they did not 
pay back. 
2.  Chairman Allyn Ford is the owner of Roseburg Forest 
Products a company that clearcuts old-growth forests. 
3.  Chairman Ford is responsible for massive pesticide 
spraying in Oregon. 
4.  Peggy Fowler, the Director of Umpqua Holdings Corp. 
(owner of Umpqua Bank),  is on the board of the Federal 
5.  Despite the recession, Umpqua Bank is making 
record profits this year. 

Click here to see the revised logo/name of

The National Consumer Law Center recently released a report on unemployment benefit cards, in which Oregon received a “thumbs down” ranking for the overdraft fees associated with the U.S. Bank-issued ReliaCard.
According to, Richard Davis, head of U.S. Bank, says the company expects to recoup about half of potential lost profits from swipe fee reform by nickel and diming the unemployed through prepaid cards and related products.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rewriting the Constitution?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Anti Federalism:

Opposition to the ratification of the Constitution was partly based on the Constitution's lack of adequate guarantees for civil liberties. To provide such guarantees, the First Amendment (along with the rest of the Bill of Rights) was submitted to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789, and adopted on December 15, 1791.

Free speech zones

Free speech zones are areas set aside in public places for political activists to exercise their right of freedom of speech as an exercise of what is commonly called "TPM" or "time, place, manner" regulation of speech. Free speech zones are set up by theSecret Service who scout locations near which the president is to pass or speak. Officials may target those displaying signs and escort them to the free speech zones before and during the event. Protesters who refuse to go to free speech zones could be arrested and charged with trespassingdisorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. In 2003, a seldom-used federal law was brought up that says that "willfully and knowingly to enter or remain in any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting" is a crime.  (My comment: Ahhh the Bush 2 era).

See photo of what was dubbed "Freedom Cages". The designated so-called "Free Speech Zones"were located several blocks away from the venue protesters were wanting to get their message  to. 
You'd halfway expect this @ the Republican Natl. convention, but this was done at the Democratic Natl. convention. 

The United States constitution explicitly provides for 'the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances'" in the First Amendment.

The First Amendment of the Constitution* does not have asterisks that state:

* Some restrictions apply. 
* Limited to posted hours of operation of local park municipalities. 
* The right to peaceably assemble cannot involve tents & sleeping bags.
* Politicians have the option to send in riot police to disassemble the crowd, and use brutal force.

NY daily news reports:
"Retired Supreme Court Judge Karen Smith can’t believe what she saw this week. At the urging of her son, who joined the Zuccotti Park protests weeks ago, Smith had volunteered to be a legal observer in case of mass arrests.
She received a text message early Tuesday that a bust was imminent, so she got to Zuccotti around 1:30 a.m. As she exited the subway at Broadway and Dey St., she met a wall of cops in riot gear who were preventing people from getting anywhere near the park.
“There was a black woman standing next to me,” Smith said. “She kept frantically telling the cops her daughter was in park and she wanted to make sure the girl was okay.”
“All of a sudden, a cop takes his baton and cracks her in the head,” Smith said. “She hadn’t done a thing. Then they started chasing people down the street.”
Smith’s efforts to get police to recognize her as a legal observer proved futile. Likewise, several reporters who were arrested while covering the protest found their press credentials worthless.
Our mayor repeatedly says he is a defender of free speech. But the First Amendment, Bloomberg notes, “does not protect the use of tents and sleeping bags to take over a public space.” Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Michael Stallman bought the mayor’s argument and ruled in the city’s favor.
Amazingly, even as cops cleared Zuccotti Park of the rebel tent camp, other tent structures, complete with generators, were going up at other parks, with City Hall’s blessing.
At Union Square Park, for example, rows of tents have already been erected for the annual holiday market so vendors can sell their trinkets through Christmas.
A second tent market will soon spring to life at Central Park near Columbus Circle. Pay the city rent, and tents are fine. But tents and generators so people can protest Wall Street greed? That’s an unhealthy idea that requires immediate police action."

This is a slippery slope we are on my friends.
Once it is allowed to start making random interpretations of the Constitution, backed up with baton, tear gas, pepper spray wielding, riot geared police, we have lost so much more than park space in NYC, Portland Oregon & Oakland CA. (Not to mention Atlanta, Dallas etc).We are losing the right to peacefully assemble & free speech.