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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Friday, February 29, 2008

I have got to learn how to type


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Superheroes - A Mexican Perspective

BERNABE MENDEZ from the State of Guerrero works as a professional window cleaner in New York. He sends 500 dollars a month.

America's Enigmatic Invisible Class

Dulce Pinzon - a thirty-four old native of Mexico City - moved to New York in 1995 to further her studies in Photography. Her work was featured in the New York Times back in 2006 in an article entitled, "Hombres of Steel." These are a few of her pictures.

Ms. Pinzon had an ingenious idea; create a collection of photographs featuring ordinary Mexican workers in New York City - dressed in super hero costumes - as they wrest a living. While the story plays itself out every day, from sea to shining sea, this depiction is even more punctuated as the characters are set in the Big Apple - the iconic city that never sleeps - so far away from Mexico. She conveys a sense of dignity to the Mexican people that shows their resiliency, resolve and work ethic as they struggle to survive thereby refuting the conventional psyche offered by disingenuous blowhard nativists like the
hate-mongering Lew Dobbs.

Pinzon's work is elegant in its understatement as names the individuals, accompanied by captions describing the type of work they do and how much money they send home to their families each month. Her genius lies in matter-of-fact simplicity; she lets the pictures make their gut appeal. While whimsical and provocative the vignettes simultaneously tug at the conscience as well.

NOE REYES from the State of Puebla works as a delivery boy in Brooklyn New York. He Sends 500 dollars a week.

Pinzon's work is touching on so many different levels.

There is the comical absurdity to it because, certain Americans feel threatened by these members of the servant class - people who struggle each day to earn their respective livings through menial labor. To the faux news pundits, they have become America's straw man, vilified and denigrated at every turn and why? Because they have no Constitutionally protected voice. Consequently, these living, breathing Human Beings are America's 'invisible' non-existent class.

ADALBERTO LARA from the State of Mexico works as a construction worker in New York. He Sends 350 dollars a week.

...on Earth as it is in Heaven?

There are others who do not take the illegal alien's plight seriously and thus fail to treat them with simple kindness or respect their
Humanity; they aren't 'real' so, their plight can be ignored. In short, illegals can perform the work no one else in America wants to do only to be dismissed. Like disposable comic books, they are America's fourth class; the throw-aways. They are necessary and anathema at the same time.

We don't know where they live or how they live and we don't care. We don't ask and they won't tell.

Pinzon artfully points to the idea that real heroes are everyday people who work hard and are the backbone of this country
among the noblest of America's unsung heroes.

ROMÁN ROMERO from Tlapa Guerrero works as a superintendent in New York. He Sends 800 dollars a month.

This collection clearly speaks to the reality that immigrants are an indispensable part of the American experience that is as frustrating as it is necessary. Quite frankly, America needs Mexicans as much as they need America.

OSCAR GONZALEZ from the State of Oaxaca works as a cook in New York. He Sends 350 dollars a week.

States like Colorado have implemented some of the stiffest illegal immigrant hiring laws and have suffered grave consequences. In their zeal to address the illegal immigrant 'problem' the now face the ensuing results; crops have gone fallow and construction has slowed to a crawl because there is no profitable way do the work. Colorado's lack of available labor speaks volumes about what happens when bigots stoke xenophobic fires. Quite simply put, Colorado's modern-day Jim Crow Laws are so successful that they have stymied progress and threaten to cripple their economy. The race-baiters won and the economy lost.

MINERVA VALENCIA from the State of Puebla works as a nanny in New York City. She sends 400 dollars a week.

If America wishes to maintain her standing in the eyes of the world as a beacon of economic prosperity, she cannot close her borders and while security is definitely a reason to re-evaluate the border control issue, shutting out the Mexicans is not the answer.

"Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States" - Porfirio Diaz, President of Mexico 1876-1880

The Poet Robert Frost concluded that 'Good fences make good neighbors.' However, that is really a more symbolic part for resolving migrant worker issues. There has to be something more - something that makes a neighbor respect the boundary in the first place. It is rooted in mutual respect, predicated on trust and good will.

LUIS HERNANDEZ from the State of Veracruz works in demolition in New York. He sends 200 dollars a week.

Arguably, the more prudent approach to increased national security is for The U.S. to work toward investing into Mexico's and all of Latin America's economy. Doing so makes sense as it establishes a foundation for an abiding relationship that encourages free-enterprise between good neighbors.

MARIA LUISA ROMERO from the State of Puebla works in a Laundromat in Brooklyn New York. She Sends 150 dollars a week.

Strengthening our neighbors economies and forging solid relationships makes more sense. While the North American Free trade Agreement (NAFTA) was a good start, it needs to be re-worked and attenuated so that it is fair - not only for Mexico, Canada and US Corporations but for America's most precious natural resource as well; its blue collar workers. NAFTA may not be perfect but it definitely is a good start. The sure sign that NAFTA isn't as successful as President Bush would have us believe is because immigration northward from Mexico still continues.

FEDERICO MARTINEZ from the State of Puebla works as a taxi driver in New York. He Sends 250 dollars a week.

Prosperous economies make even greater allies. The economic pie is big enough, America just needs to share a little more of it with the rest of the planet.

PAULINO CARDOZO from the State of Guerrero works in a greengrocer loading trucks. He Sends 300 dollars a week.

Meanwhile, America can rest easy because superheroes remain willing and able to fill the voids that only an invisible class of people can - whether anyone appreciates them or not. This remains the paradoxical reality for Mexicans; forever denied a rightful place at the table they are called upon to prepare.

You can visit Dulce Pinzon's website to check out the rest of her pictures by
clicking here

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

¡Viva Obama! - Mariachi Style

Long Live Obama!

To the Candidate who is Barack Obama,
I sing this soulful ballad for one
who was born humble and without pretension.
He started in the streets of Chicago
working to achieve one vision;
to protect the working people
and to bring us all together
in this great nation

Long live Obama! (Viva!)
Long live Obama! (Viva!)
Families united, secure and this, with a plan for health
Long live Obama! (Viva!)
Long live Obama! (Viva!)
A candidate fighting for our nation

It does not matter if you are from San Antonio.
It does not matter if you are from Corpus Christi
from Dallas or Del Valle, from Houston or El Paso.
What does matter is that we vote for Obama,
because his struggle is also our struggle,
and today because we have an urgency
for a change, Let us go forward, united
with our great friend

Long live Obama! (Viva!)
Long live Obama! (Viva!)
Families united, secure and this, with a plan for health
Long live Obama! (Viva!)
Long live Obama! (Viva!)
A candidate fighting for our nation

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What a Wonderful World - American Imperialism

"Power tends to confuse itself with virtue and a great nation is particularly susceptible to the idea that its power is a sign of God's favor, conferring upon it a special responsibility for other nations - to make them richer and happier and wiser, to remake them, that is, in its own shining image."

Senator J. William Fulbright (1905-1995)


Monday, February 25, 2008

Mr Smith Goes to Washington - Jimmy Stewart

The movie, Mr. Smith goes to Washington (1939) is about Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart), a noble but naive man who is appointed to finish out the remaining term of a recently vacated U.S. Senate seat. His encounters with all manner of corruption only serves to strengthen his resolve in the face of stagnant, status-quo Washington bureaucrats who serve their personal agendas at the expense of their constituencies who put them into office. Rather than give in, Smith stages a one-man filibuster that lasts, 'twenty-three hours and sixteen minutes.' He finally collapses but not before he confronts Senator Payne, with his challenge to remember The Golden Rule.

In the end, Mr. Smith refuses to lose hope. He refuses to part with his ideals and principles in the face of frustration.

Yes, this movie is sappy and yes, Washington doesn't work that way but there is a certain romance in watching heroic battles as the one put forth by Senator Smith in the defense of social justice and simple Human decency.

Sixty-nine years have passed since Frank Capra directed this movie. It remains poignant because Washington still has its share of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. Nowadays, it appears that almost daily, the majority party faces yet another sex scandal or charge for peddling influence to the highest bidder as did Congressman Robert Ney of (R) Ohio or California's Congressman (R) Randall 'Duke' Cunningham were.

Something has to change when a respected Senator [Larry Craig (R) Idaho] is caught in a bathroom sex sting or when another [Congressman Mark Foley (R) Florida] is forced to resign after being caught soliciting sex from under-age Congressional Page boys - all this as they fought to implement legislation against sex-offenders and spoke so vehemently about the demise of family values in America as foundations for their platforms to get elected into office. It turns out the Republican Party is rife with perverts, philanderers and people on the take. There are quite a few more, like Tom Delay and Newt Gingrich who go on the attack as if their ability to use the distributed responsibility argument could stand up to the very measure they invoke as God-fearing Christians. The point is, they are corrupt - period.

No-bid contracts are the order of the day for Republican associates and cronies who break the law are ignored by the White House. Worse yet, even when they are caught red-handed breaking the law, they are rewarded for such transgressions by presidential pardon.

Maybe now is the Democratic Party's opportunity to heed the call of the people by submitting to the only special interest that matters in America, the little man, the poor, the weak and the back-bone of this country, the working class.

If we cannot take care of our own family, how can we begin to even consider being a beacon for the rest of the world?

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

McCain's Plan: More of the same

"The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism."

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

McCain's Plan: Bomb Iran

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein

McCain's Plan: A Hundred Years of Fortitude

Insanity: "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different results." - Albert Einstein

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I am somebody and Yes, I can - The value of Education - What Obama Means for Me - Family Ties

Back in the mid-eighties, when I was in college and my son Matthew, was just a baby. I recall a difficult fight my fellow students and me had with the Young Republicans. They were trying to disband us and silence our collective voices.

This was the time of Ronald Reagan and Michael J. Fox's popularity was at an all time high as he echoed the selfish, political economic perspectives of young Reaganites in the sit-com, "Family Ties." It was the time when waving the flag and ignoring social justice first came into vogue. The Civil Rights Movement was giving way to the
eighties when greedy themes of individualism slammed the door on any discussion regarding Human Rights.

Our battle at The University of New Mexico was at a fevered pitch because the "Students for a Better and Balanced Education (SBBE)' was nothing more than a shadow organization whose sole reason for existence was to cut funding for all minority student groups. Ironically, SBBE was led by a fellow Latino who felt that if he could walk their talk, he could escape the color of his skin. I despised him because he was what we called a 'Tio taco' - nothing more than a person of color who shared a Latino surname but spoke our oppressors agenda thereby giving their specious, cowboyed-up, smoke-screen of
self-reliance an undeserved credence. We battled it out on the campus and through the Daily Lobo campus news paper.

We won, but it was only through screaming long and loud.
Moreover, we won because we were able to reveal who the very small but well organized cadre of social misfits (numbering eighteen people) really was. After their defeat, I wrote a final editorial - which I never submitted because it frightened me too much and besides - I didn't want to confirm what those bastards already seemed to know. I wrote about the underlying racism prevalent not only at UNM but in America as a whole. I lamented what I really believed at the time; that I would never see a minority become president in my life. I ended my letter to the editor by stating that the victory was hollow because in the end, the land of the free is not so free and equality was merely an illusion; I knew I would never see my son or daughter have the opportunity to be viable runners for the presidency principally because of their ethnicity. I was disappointed but it seemed a reality in my mind. While we won that small battle, I felt like we were losing the war. The noble Civil Rights Movement had been usurped by flag-waving, money-hoarding patriots.

As a Chicano - I know it is not a word that is in vogue anymore but, that is how I define myself - I grew up at the tail end of the Civil Rights Movement so my heroes were people like Dr, King, Fredrick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, W.E.B. DuBois and
the Kennedys.

I came to know about Malcom X and Stokely Carmichael who was famous for introducing terms like "institutional racism" and "Black Power." Carmichael advocacy for equality through 'whatever means necessary.' His words were as incisive as they were impatient, "If we go to the bargaining table and nobody wants to talk, then it is time to knock the mother-f**king legs out of under that table" (I’m paraphrasing here so, this is not an exact quote). This statement remains particularly relevant because it reveals the extent to which people with no voice become violent when they are disaffected and disenfranchised.

It echoes familiar themes of the violence like the variety unleashed in South Africa during Apartheid. It is what happened in Northern Ireland and whether we want to admit it or not, it is what's happening in the Middle-east today. It has become the mantra for Palestinians and the battle cry of the Jihadists. It is the bitter fruit of injustice advocated by people when there is no hope for the future. President Jimmy Carter recently wrote about it. Like it or not, Carmichael had a point; faced with the specter of violent civil unrest, societies are apt to change more quickly when considering the dangerous chaotic alternative.

But my father told me there is another way and that way takes time.
In retrospect I realize he and Mama were right; the way to end disenfranchisement is through education. In short, education means money and money means having a voice - remember, America protects money. Money is the great equalizer. When you have money, you don't have to beg for your rights, you can hold your head up and demand to be heard.

My parents may have lacked formal education but it didn't stop them from having wisdom and foresight.

If you are a student of History, you know that our founding fathers created this country as a means of serving their economic interests. Review of the Constitution reveals what our founding fathers worked to secure the most; wealth. America is really a country whose Constitution has built-in protections guaranteed to real minority, property owners and people of wealth. Despite what we would like to believe about the lofty ideals we were taught regarding the birth of this nation, the real 'minority' in America are her prosperous citizens. I have often heard it said that three percent of the population controls 97% of this country's wealth. In short, you didn't get the whole history lesson. Whether people want to talk about it or not, there is still an underlying prejudice that is alive and well in America today and it is fueled by the haves versus the haves not.

America remains the land of opportunity where people have arrived with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and have made something of themselves but there is another America as well - the land of opportunity is also a land where institutionalized racism exists and some people are more equal than others. But the Civil rights movement proved to be one of the greatest events in American History because it took up the cause abandoned shortly after where the Civil War left off. It provided people with a real opportunity to be treated as equal at least in the eyes of the law. And now, the next wave in that part of American history is revealing itself. People of color are enjoying the fruits of prosperity enough to have a legitimately recognized voice in the electoral process. They are making money and they are finding their voice.

Minorities of all colors and stripes including women have to be demonstrably twice as good in order to considered equal in accomplishment.
Yes my father's wisdom is spot-on. Today, in unprecedented numbers, people of color have entered the upper social and economic strata and the result is they are a force to be reckoned with. They are no longer ignored and cannot be relied upon to vote en masse and, while they now tend to vote according to their socio-economic class, the vast majority have not forgotten where they came from. They are unafraid to vote their conscience and they are aware that social justice is a noble cause to be pursued while still revering the American flag and all that it stands for. There is a fresh new ring to, "Liberty and justice for all" these days.

We can never forget the oppression all people of color have faced in this country. That said, we cannot bask in it because it will lead to an inertia which can only impede future advancement.

I know I sound like some beret-wearing relic of the past but it turns out that there is a ring of truth to it.

I think it is high time the glass ceiling is shattered. Now we have Blacks, Latinos and Women slowly making inroads to every level of business and government and we have a very intelligent black man who can lead this country. He comes from modest means and his humble childhood will serve him well because is the quintessential American.

I see what is happening today and I am simply stunned that miracles do happen. The incredible news I keep hearing is that college-educated people are solidly part of his base - AMEN for education for knowledge is power reflects the foresight of our fathers whose abilities were left inutile simply because they lacked education.

We have moved beyond where they were and now we have an ability to put someone like us in the White House. It has been a long haul and women like
Shirley Chisolm made the first inroads to Congress. Our colleges and universities now have professors more representative of the American population so our kids can look to them and echo the words of Jesse Jackson, "I am somebody." The theme of self empowerment has evolved into an understanding that there is strength in numbers and today, our children can look to Obama and say, "Yes we can."

Watching this primary progress gives me a measure of hope because the two front runners for the Democratic nomination are a black man and a Woman! Maybe my editorial penned so long ago was a bit premature after all. I love this country and I am equally as humbled by its greatness, its ability to change, its ability to endure despite the destructiveness of the avaricious few.

Well, we are family and the ties that bind us are Humanity and social justice.

In retrospect, I am glad I never submitted that editorial and I am glad that I held that thought private because it appears the time has come. Obama's run inspires me because it reassures me that one day it really will be possible that my son or my son-in-law or even my grandson and granddaughter just might be president one day because in the end, as Dr. King's dream will come to fruition; they will be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Obama - There is a United States of America

Obama's Speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention

Part I

Part II

E pluribus unm - Out of many, one

This is Senator Barack Obama's speech delivered at the 2004 Convention. I remember watching it and thinking to myself, "what if?"

After John Kerry's loss, I soon dismissed the thought and became even more disheartened as I watched the Democratic leadership continue to recoil under Bush's reign.

Where the head goes, the ass must follow...

I was appalled at the News media's complicity. But then again, their self-serving reticence - while cowardly, was nonetheless understandable. They found themselves systematically denied access at the White House Briefing Room and were further punished by being kept out of the daily loop if they ever dared to report anything out-of-sync with the Bush & Company party line or presented news that made the administration look bad.

I saw the rise of privately owned Faux news networks with their biased delivery of sensationalized hatred and lies as dictated by the White House. These panderers who were anything but 'fair and balanced' enjoyed a very comfortable and unlimited access to the White House. Moreover, since the deregulated cable industry gave rise to entertainment driven news, the rest had to follow pundits' lead in order to retain their market share. In short, the real news media became George W. Bush's abused housewife.

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" - The Wizard of Oz

I became frightened at how easily the Neo-conservatives - with Karl Rove at the helm - were able to damage the Constitution simply because they controlled this nation with fear & smear tactics, mis-truths, half-truths and lies.

I blogged about it and I never felt so dismayed because, logic failed in the face of fear and paranoia. I realized what it was like for patriotic Americans to be derided for questioning the insanity of a war based on lies and deception. I was reminded of the Red scare days of Eugene McCarthy and those resurrected themes used so cunningly by the Fascists of Nazi Germany. I saw people's right to privacy violated as the government actively engaged in spying on its citizens - under the auspices of 'national security.' It all turned out to be nothing more than a thinly veiled tool for the paranoid neo-cons to keep an eye on anyone who disagreed with their agenda.

"This isn't Kansas anymore Toto..."- Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz

I was disgusted by the hijacking of religion. It became a time when God and Apple pie were wrapped in the flag and crammed down the throats of anyone who dared to disagree. I saw good people alienated, discriminated against and silenced by 'God fearing' Bible-thumpers whose agenda was to make this one Nation under their perverted interpretation of God's word.

They could cry for an unborn child while simultaneously condoning another Human Being's torture and state-sanctioned execution. I've never understood how such seemingly decent people could cry for the rights of the unborn and yet turned a blind eye to the reality that 18 million American children go to bed every night with hunger pangs in their stomachs. Such is the world of the color-by-numbers evangelicals who pick and choose biblical chapter and verse while simultaneously ignoring the demands for social justice as set forth by the New Testament's messiah.

Because of what I have seen over the past seven years, I am convinced George Bush will go down in the History books as the worst president ever. For those who do not agree with me I say time will tell and I ask Dr. Phil's famous question;

"How's that working for you?"

We have gone from being a country that had a surplus when Dubya entered office only to watch us incur a phenomenal debt - from an unjust war; a war that our children and grand children's generations will be burdened with paying off. We have seen unprecedented abuses of power where, with one stroke of the pen, this president issues 'findings' that brazenly side-steps congressional legislation. In doing so, he undermines our founding fathers prescription for checks and balances and the separation of power. He ignores and even condones flagrant violations of the law and then pardons cronies despite their having been tried & convicted. By doing so, he ignores the very Constitution he swore to uphold. The world is more unstable than it ever was before; our planet is over-heating; the price of fuel has sky-rocketed; people can no longer afford to buy a home; children continue to starve; unemployment is on the rise; jobs are being exported; tax breaks are being given to the rich and America's standing in the world is in a downward swirl and the list of egregious violations goes on and on.

There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not? - Bobby Kennedy

Three years have passed and I am beginning to see hope where there once was none. It is no longer unfashionable to be a Liberal and I am proud for what Obama has dared to do. He has stood out, ahead of everyone and shown that Democrats are Human Beings and issues we care about really do have value and moreover, there is nothing wrong with caring for our fellow Human Beings. There is nothing wrong in working for social justice.

We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness... The Declaration of Independence

I admire Senator Obama for his resolve and I thank him for offering hope where there once was none.

There is not a Liberal America and a Conservative America. There is The United States of America. - Barack Obama

I recently found myself asking once again, "what if?" and the answer that keeps coming back is, "why not."

Highlights of the speech

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another Republican Pervert is Busted

According to a Washington Post article that appeared this Saturday, 16 February 2008, Maryland Delegate Robert McKee resigned his position Friday, two weeks after authorities seized evidence including a couple of computers and child pornography in the form of videotapes and 'printed materials' from his home in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Beware of wolves in shepherd's clothing....

ronically, McKee was instrumental in formulating and passing laws aimed at protecting children from sexual predators.

McKee also resigned as Executive Director for Washington County's Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter where he worked for 29 years. Wow.
According to blogger, "Down with Tyranny," 'He's been very active in the Little League and, predictably, was a chaplain for the First Christian Church...'

Et tu Brutus?

Well, McKee joins
long list of distinguished Republicans who have been involved in sex scandals. The party of Family Values which includes some heavy hitters like the
US Senator Larry Craig whose penchant for random sexual liaisons with men in airport bathrooms was revealed in a police sting, or the lecherous sexual predator and pedophile Florida Congressman Mark Foley and his pursuit of Congressional Page boys just to mention a couple. The list of sex scandals linked to these lawmakers and their deviances grows every day leaving their once solid constituency baffled, confused and disgusted with each new revelation.

Personal character isn't what you do when everyone is watching, it is what you do when no one is watching.

The extent to which legislators like McKee, Rep Foley, Senator Craig and the host of other Republicans ring their morality bell as they target homosexuals branding them as perverts and sexual predators is ironic, even comical in light of their own scandalous tendencies.

An emerging reality is taking shape as these kinds of nasty revelations are brought to light; being highly active in implementing anti-gay legislation seems to be reciprocally related with unresolved, closeted behaviors when it comes to self-proclaimed, morally upright Republican legislators. It begs the question; who better to write such laws than the child molesters and closet homosexuals themselves?

As karma would have it, they just keep getting caught with the proverbial planks in their eyes. It all has an Alice in Wonderland quality to it; things just seem to be getting 'curiouser and curiouser.'

To be of service or to be serviced, that is the question...

With his sexual appetite for children revealed, McKee's resignation letter expressed how the exposure was, 'deeply embarrassing to me' and further characterized his behavior as, a poor reflection on his, 'service to the community.'

Amen brother!

There is poetic justice to it all; Mark McKee will get to witness first-hand how effective the predatory laws he helped to write are.

The investigators haven't yet revealed whether his preference is under age boys or girls.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

This Land is Your Land

This Land is your Land
Words & music by Woody Guthrie
Performed by Los Lobos, Bob Weir & Jerry Garcia
This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me

As I was walking a ribbon of highway
I saw above me an endless skyway
I saw below me a golden valley
This land was made for you and me


I've roamed and rambled and I've followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me


The sun comes shining as I was strolling
The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
The fog was lifting a voice come chanting
This land was made for you and me


As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin'
But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!


In the squares of the city - In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office - I see my people
And some are grumblin' and some are wonderin'
If this land's still made for you and me.

Chorus (2x)

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Happy President's Day - Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

Delivered 19 November 1863 on the battlefield-Cemetery near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

"Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war. . .testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated. . . can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . . we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. . .that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth."

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Tribute to Fallen LAPD Officer Randall Simmons

A Tribute to Fallen LAPD Officer
Randall Simmons

In the early morning hours of 7 February 2008, LAPD's SWAT officers responded to an armed suspect barricaded inside a residence call. Officer Randy Simmons did not go home at the end of his shift. He sustained a mortal gunshot as he and other fellow officers attempted to breach the barricaded residence. His wound proved fatal and the offender - a troubled man - also died in the exchange of gunfire. Randy's memorial service was held on Friday 15 February 2008.

While we can glean the headlines for information, such facts rarely tell the whole story about a person. Randall Simmons was a profoundly religious man. He is survived by his wife Lisa, daughter
Gabrielle, and son Matthew.

The above video was created by a fellow
police officer who identified himself only as 'Manny'.

In lieu of attending the funeral, Manny patrolled the streets of L.A. as his way of honoring his fallen comrade.
Thank you to Manny for the video vignette of this good, decent man - you have revealed a side of him that most of us would never have known. Thank you also for donning that badge - your commitment to your community makes this world a better place to live in. You and your Department are loved and appreciated. I'm sure you can never hear it enough.

Rest in peace Randall Simmons. God bless you Manny along with all the other men & women who daily put their lives on the line to ensure our safety and security.

May Officer Simmons killer also rest in peace - I'm certain Officer Simmons would have wanted it that way.

Note: you can scroll your cursor through the pictures below in the YouTube Screen when the video is done to view related videos. All you have to do is click on the picture.

Jesus is Love
Lionel Ritchie

Father Help Your children And don't let them fall By the side of the road, mmm...mmm...

And teach them To love one another That Heaven might find A place in their hearts

'Cause Jesus is love He won't let you down And I know He's mine forever Oh, in my heart

We've got to walk on Walk on through temptation 'Cause His love and His wisdom Will be our helpin' hand

And I know the Truth And His words will be our salvation Lift up our hearts To be thankful and glad

That Jesus is love He won't let you down And I know He's mine Deep down in my soul

Jesus is love Oh, yes, He is He won't let you down And I know He's mine, He's mine, He's mine, He's mine, all mine Forever, oh, in my heart Help me, heart, heart Ooh...ooh...

(Deep in my heart) I know, I know, I know, I know Ah, 'cause His love's the power (Power) His love's the glory (Glory) Forever (Ever and ever)

Ooh, yeah (Yeah, yeah) Ooh, yeah (Yeah, yeah) Ooh, yeah, yeah (Yeah, yeah)

I wanna follow your star Wherever it leads me And I don't mind, Lord I hope you don't mind

I wanna walk with you And talk with you And do all the things you want me to do 'Cause I know that Jesus

(Jesus is Love, I know) 'Cause I know, Lord (And if you ask, I'll show) (Love is the word forever) And ever and ever

Who can bring you love (Jesus) Who can bring you joy (Jesus) Who can turn your life around (Jesus), oh

Ooh, yeah (Yeah, yeah) Yeah (Yeah, yeah) Hey

Who will pick you up (Jesus) When you fall (Jesus) Who'll stand beside you (Jesus) Who will love us all

Hey, hey, Jesus (Yeah, yeah) Jesus (Yeah, yeah) Oh, yeah (Yeah, yeah)

One thing I wanna say Who can heal your body (Jesus) Who can make you strong (Jesus) Who can help you to hold out (Jesus) A little while longer

Ooh, yeah (Yeah, yeah) Yeah (Yeah, yeah) Jesus loves you (Yeah, yeah), Jesus wants you If you call Him, He will answer

(Jesus) Call him in the mornin' (Jesus) Call him in the evenin' (Jesus) Call him in the midnight hour

Hey, hey (Yeah, yeah) Yeah (Yeah, yeah) Yeah, yeah (Yeah, yeah) Yeah, y'all say it for me

(Jesus is love)

No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child


Saturday, February 16, 2008

¡Si se puede! - Yes We Can - Obama for President

There's something happening in America...

While he lost New Hampshire to Senator Hillary Clinton, I am convinced History will prove Barack Obama's Concession speech to be the pivotal event in his run for the White House.

I must say however, I do admire Senator Clinton and I would not hesitate to give her my vote come November should she come out on top in the Democratic primary. I very much appreciate both what she and President Clinton have contributed to America. This country owes them a great debt of gratitude.

That being said, I believe Obama is that kind of Human Being, who is equally capable and unafraid to face the onslaught presented by fear-baiting, overly-pious hypocrites of the opposing party. He has no historical baggage to contend with. Moreover, his fresh outlook stands in direct contrast to their game plan fraught with paranoia, negativity and control. Their demagoguery ran this country's global standing into the ground.
The snake-oil peddling fakes and liars will go down in History as the ones who perpetrated the biggest lie on America ever ; they wrapped themselves in the flag and trampled all over the Constitution. Their deceit of the good people who elected them into office will not soon be forgotten and rightly so because in-violable religious beliefs and family values should never have been co-opted by a few neo-conservative charlatans who - in the past seven years have fattened their wallets at the expense of America's constituency.

The end result has been a dark sense of demoralization in America as the cost of living continues to skyrocket, the American Dream slips further and further out of reach and we witness our Nation's respected reputation in the world called into question. We need a leader who can set the course for reestablishing what has been squandered by the current leadership.

I have played and replayed this video and am touched by its powerfully moving yet simple messages; hope and an abiding faith that change is possible. It serves as a reminder of all that is good in this country. It sparks my memory of Martin Luther King's, "
I Have a Dream" address, given at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It echoes the spirit of connection made by President John F. Kennedy in his oratory,
"Ich bin ein Berliner." Obama's song-like address reminds me of the folksy tunes of Woody Guthrie. It resurrects idyllic words of a past president who was silenced long ago by the assassin's bullet, Abraham Lincoln.

Obama hearkens a resolve reminiscent of a time in America's past - when idealism and reassurance were dominant themes for confronting the trials and tribulations of the time. In a world where American politics have supplanted social consciousness with fear-mongering, hatred and fanatical fundamentalism, Senator Obama's voice offers us a chance to look to the past and live in present with our eyes squarely fixed on the future. I suppose this is why he reminds me of Bobby Kennedy who spoke words of hope and future focus that fateful night in L.A. during his bid for the Democratic party's nomination in 1968 - the night when he was assassinated.

I trust my fellow Americans are beginning to recognize that a great Human Being is in our midst. Barack Obama stands out among all the others - Democrat, Independent or Republican alike. He is the one to lead America in these troubled times. Obama offers up the same sense of reassurance which President FDR famously delivered at his first inauguration in the "Nothing to Fear" speech.

Indeed, many of our past leaders have failed to 'make it to the mountain top' - but that shouldn't stop others from trying because it is with such resolve that greatness is achieved and changes for the common good are accomplished. We cannot change this beloved country's course in History without being fully cognizant of the deep personal sacrifices we are called upon to make. The tasks ahead are challenging and by no means easy but we owe it to our children to at least try. Yes, we must and yes, we can.

Barack Obama is a winner.

I believe in Obama because he believes in us.

Transcript of Obama's 8 January 2008 New Hampshire Primary victory speech:

.... Awe thank you, New Hampshire.

I love you back!

Thank you.

Thank you.

Well, thank you so much.

I am still fired up and ready to go.

Well, first of all, I want to congratulate Senator Clinton on a hard-fought victory here in New Hampshire. She did an outstanding job. Give her a big round of applause.

You know, a few weeks ago, no one imagined that we'd have accomplished what we did here tonight in New Hampshire. No one could have imagined it.

For most of this campaign, we were far behind. We always knew our climb would be steep. But in record numbers, you came out, and you spoke up for change.

And with your voices and your votes, you made it clear that at this moment, in this election, there is something happening in America.

There is something happening when men and women in Des Moines and Davenport, in Lebanon and Concord, come out in the snows of January to wait in lines that stretch block after block because they believe in what this country can be.

There is something happening. There's something happening when Americans who are young in age and in spirit, who've never participated in politics before, turn out in numbers we have never seen because they know in their hearts that this time must be different.

There's something happening when people vote not just for party that they belong to, but the hopes that they hold in common.

And whether we are rich or poor, black or white, Latino or Asian, whether we hail from Iowa or New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina, we are ready to take this country in a fundamentally new direction.

That's what's happening in America right now; change is what's happening in America.

You, all of you who are here tonight - all who put so much heart and soul and work into this campaign - you can be the new majority who can lead this nation out of a long political darkness. Democrats, Independents and Republicans who are tired of the division and the distraction that has clouded Washington - who know that we can disagree without being disagreeable, who understand - who understand that if we mobilize our voices, to challenge the money and influences that stood in our way and challenge ourselves to reach for something better. There is no problem we cannot solve. There is no destiny that we cannot fulfill.

Our new American majority can end the outrage of unaffordable, unavailable health care in our time. We can bring doctors and patients, workers and businesses, Democrats and Republicans together, and we can tell the drug and insurance industry that, while they get a seat at the table, they don't get to buy every chair, not this time, not now.

Our new majority can end the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas and put a middle-class tax cut in the pockets of working Americans who deserve it.

We can stop sending our children to schools with corridors of shame and start putting them on a pathway to success.

We can stop talking about how great teachers are and start rewarding them for their greatness by giving them more pay and more support. We can do this with our new majority.

We can harness the ingenuity of farmers and scientists, citizens and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil and save our planet from a point of no return.

And when I am president of the United States, we will end this war in Iraq and bring our troops home.

We will end this war in Iraq. We will bring our troops home. We will finish the job We will finish the job against al-Qaida in Afghanistan. We will care for our veterans. We will restore our moral standing in the world.

And we will never use 9/11 as a way to scare up votes, because it is not a tactic to win an election. It is a challenge that should unite America and the world against the common threats of the 21st century - terrorism and nuclear weapons, climate change and poverty, genocide and disease.

All of the candidates in this race share these goals. All of the candidates in this race have good ideas. And all are patriots who serve this country honorably. But the reason our campaign always has been different - the reason we began this improbable journey almost a year ago, is because it's not just what I will do as president.

It is also about what you - the people who love this country, the citizens of the United States of America can do to change it. That's what this election is all about. That's why tonight belongs to you. It belongs to the organizers, the volunteers and the staff who believed in this journey and rallied so many others to join the cause.

We know the battle ahead will be long. But always remember that, no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics - they will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks and months to come.

...Yes we can...

We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

For when we have faced down impossible odds, when we've been told we're not ready or that we shouldn't try or that we can't, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people; Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can.

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation - Yes, we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail towards freedom through the darkest of nights - Yes, we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness - Yes, we can.

It was the call of workers who organized, women who reached for the ballot, a president who chose the moon as our new frontier, and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the promised land - Yes, we can, to justice and equality.

Yes, we can, to opportunity and prosperity. Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can repair this world - Yes, we can.

And so, tomorrow we take the campaign south and west and we learn that the struggle of the textile workers in Spartansberg is not so different from the plight of the dishwasher in Las Vegas, and the hopes of a little girl who goes to public school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of a boy who learns on the streets of L.A.

We will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggest - that we are one people. We are one Nation and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast - from sea to shining sea;

Yes We Can!

Thank you, New Hampshire.

Thank you.

Thank you.

The speech has taken on a life of its own. Check out the following Youtube music video montage recently created by Will.I.Am, lead singer of the Black-Eyed Peas. How fitting it is that his words sound like Abraham, Martin and John.


¡Si Podemos!

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Dear Mr. President - Pink

Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President,
Come take a walk with me.
Let's pretend we're just two people and
You're not better than me.
I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly.

What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street?
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep?
What do you feel when you look in the mirror?
Are you proud?

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Can you even look me in the eye
And tell me why?

Dear Mr. President,
Were you a lonely boy?
Are you a lonely boy?
Are you a lonely boy?
How can you say
No child is left behind?
We're not dumb and we're not blind.
They're all sitting in your cells
While you pave the road to hell.

What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away?
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay?
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine.

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Can you even look me in the eye?

Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
You don't know nothing 'bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work

How do you sleep at night?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Dear Mr. President,
You'd never take a walk with me.
Would you?

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