Monday, August 31, 2009

Unfinished poem regarding memorials to anti-capitalism

Dig a little here, Dig a little there
Victims of capital are everywhere.
Buried in a mountain,
Thrown into the sea and
Strewn across the fields of every country.

Some were shot, kicked in trenches
After digging their own graves
Some were thrown from helicopters
Into the waves
Some were raped and tortured,
Burned alive in their huts
Some were beaten to death with rifle butts.

They were burned in England,
They were burned in France.
They were burned in Germany (much more advanced.)
They were burned in Korea and in Vietnam
They are burning now in Gaza and Afghanistan.

Burned at the stake,
Burned in the ovens,
Bombs raining from the air
Dozens and dozens.

Some were plowing their fields,
Some were singing a song,
Some were putting on their stockings
For a night on the town.

Some were going to work.
Some were going to school.
Some were in the marketplace.
Shopping for food.

Some were in uniform
Many more were not
Some crouched behind the barbed wire.
Some stirred a pot.

Some were old, some were young
Some were not even born.
Their names we don’t know
But we can learn.

In Argentina, In Chile,
Honduras, El Salvador
Mothers search for the missing
And there’s more

In Spain they’re exhuming
Mass graves of Loyalists
Who were murdered by Franco
And the fascists.

We have our own missing in the US.
The ghosts of our ancestors cannot rest
Until we know the truth about their lives
Whether they lived 200 years ago
Or recently died.

But it’s not just the dead
Of our own families we seek
We need to know History.
So we won’t be weak.
We need to know the names of the people who fought
Right here on American soil for everything we’ve got.

We need to know about the Indians then and now,
To see how we are different yet the same some how.
We need to realize their struggle’s not done
There’s only one way that it can be won.

We need to know about indentured servants and slavery
And how if one is slave, the other can’t be free.
We need to see how hard people fought
In spite of odds so overwhelming it’s hard to give it thought.

We need to understand labor history
And the men, women and children who fought to keep us free
From the greed and the suffering of 7 days a week
Working 16 hour days to make ends meet.

We need to understand that the 1950’s
The Red Scare, union purges, firing commies
Is one of the reasons we don’t know today
How in the heck the world got this way.

We need to study history that’s within our reach
The Civil Rights Era and the dancing in the streets.
The joy and the pain and the subterfuge
That our government directed at anyone who moved.

We need to remember our disappeared
In the jails and the prisons
And remember that Angola used to be a plantation
Then go to the website
And tell me what it reminds you of.

We are all suffering now, some much more than others
But we have to remember that we really are all brothers
And sisters under the skin.
And if we stick together we really can win

Even if it’s just a few steps forward
Don’t let ruling class push us backward.
To the days when there wasn’t enough to go around
When we fought each other for scraps on the ground.

For we are the people each unique in our way
But we won’t have the power ‘till we stand up and say
In spite of our differences there’s one thing to be stated,
The people united can never be defeated.

We have our differences but we can get along
And make a much better world than the one we’re living in.
We just need to realize who’s the true enemy
And that we don’t need guns to fight to be free.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Fallout after watching PBS Pete Seeger's 90th Birthday

Sorry just understood why I don't like Bruce.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Obesity and HFCS

The July 29th Morning Call carried and article by Kristina Sherry titled, "Selbelius touts strategies for winning obesity fight."

The article states that "the direct medical costs of obesity total $147 billion annually" and "some of the $1 billion in stimulus money...would go toward obesity strategies." Does this direct cost include the subsidies to the corn industry ($243 million per year according to a Tufts University study) which benefit producers of high fructose corn syrup which in addition to extra calories elevates triglycerides since HFCS is processed by the body differently than sugar?

At a time when there is such a need and so much resistance to a single payer health care solution shouldn't someone be pointing out that we subsidize the Archer Daniel Midlands of the world so they can make super profits by making us sick?

Maybe if we stopped doing that we could find the money for healthcare. Maybe these people should be sued for producing and profiting from products that shorten the life of the people of this country.

Mr. Obama, how about some "personal responsibility" lectures to corporate America?

Here are a few links regarding HFCS:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


This has been a busy summer. Nora's dying, dad getting sick, Cyndy coming out. I've been really busy. Not complaining. This neighborhood is incredibly noisy during the day between the lawn maintenance and just work at the funeral home and the Scottish Rite/Masonic Temple, roadwork, traffic - it's loud.

I have to get back to walking again-I haven't done it since Cyndy came out. It was nice to see Auntie Del and Phil, nice to go into the city (although I hate the Lincoln Tunnel.)

We bought the kayaks down to Green Lane so we don't have to transport them everytime we want to use them. It's smaller than Nockamixon but I think we will use them more this way. they have to be quarantined for 10 days to make sure they are not carrying zebra mussels.

I watched a cute movie last night with Judi Dench-The Last of the Blonde Bombshells about a recently widowed woman who had been a member of an almost all girl band during WWII. It was very nice. Today I will harvest the basil, make and freeze pesto and plant more basil. I have 3 yellow squash that I have to do something with and I have to go to Elia's for red peppers, fruit and lemons and limes. For some reason I have been off beading. I'm not sure why. We have lots of tomato's but none are ripe yet. The plants are huge. Eggplant and peppers are not so great. I think they are not getting enough sun. I'll have to move the plants on the other side to the front next year or in the fall and make more room for veggies in the back.

I cannot believe that we are not going to get single payer healthcare. I am so sick of these politicians. I haven't heard back from Jimmy since my last email. I hope he is OK. I am not sure if he's in Afghanistan yet. 53 years old and they're sending him into that muck. Why can't this country leave everyone else alone and spend our tax dollars on making life better for the people at home instead of killing them everywhere else? What is wrong with this country?

Monday, June 22, 2009


Well in the past week I've read Pearl by Mary Gordon, Harvest and The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen (internist turned mystery writer) and The Tempest Tales by Walter Mosely.

The Tempest Tales
wasn't the best but the premise of the story was interesting. A black man is killed by the police in a case of mistaken identity. When he gets to St. Peter he is told he has to go to hell because of some of the things he's done. He refuses which upsets everyone because up until now no-one has questioned a sentence. As a result an accounting Angel is sent down to earth to live as a mortal and Tempest is returned to earth in another body to convince the Angel that he should not go to hell. Everything is progressing in an interesting manner until Basel Bob shows up to add another threat to Tempest and the Angel named Joshua.

Tess Gerritsen is a former MD who writes mystery novels set in the medical community. I found her by wandering around in the fiction section looking for a mystery writer with a long line of books.(I've read all of Sara Paretsky's books including the essays and Bloody Kansas; all the Sherri S. Tepper's and Lia Matera's Roger L. Simon's and almost all the Walter Mosely's so I am desperate.) I read Harvest first because it was her first book and planned to continue in chronological order but at a Flea Market over the weekend I found The Surgeon. This is her sixth book and moved a lot faster than the first one. I am going back to the library for more today. I don't even want to tell you the plots because even a few sentences could spoil them for you.

Pearl is the story of a young woman who goes on a hunger strike and chains herself to the American Embassy in Ireland after a friend dies. The other main characters are Pearls single forceful mother and the son of Pearl's father's former housekeeper who is also the executor of his will since Maria (Pearl's mother) and her father were not speaking at the time of his death. I thought Maria was going to get the short end of the stick since she comes across as a force of nature and people are normally put off by that but I was happy with the ending. It really made me cry though. I hope I never have to see my kids in the hospital with tubes all over them near death. I'm not all that familiar with the problems in Northern Ireland but the ethnic, political and religious backgrounds of the main characters meshing in that setting make an interesting story.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

I got a phone call last week from a financial services company asking me if I was interested in coming in for an interview. Since I am currently unemployed I said yes so on Thursday morning I drove down to a strip office center about 15 minutes away not sure what to expect.

The hallway was long and dark. I found the suite number and entered a small room with a receptionist where I was asked to sign in and have a seat in another room. I entered a large room with several small offices around it. There were about 20 folding chairs set up in front of a desk and a a large pad on an easel. I took a seat and a man who turned out to be the owner of the company handed me some literature to look over. Eventually 4 other people also came in -all men. The job turned out to be sales for an insurance agency. We heard a spiel about how successful you can be selling supplemental health insurance to people over 65 since 1 person turned 65 every 15 seconds. If you make 15-20 appointments per week and get 2 sales per week you can make between $40-$60,000 the first year. Commissions range from $400 for senior life insurance policies to $9000 for annuities. You can do all this by calling 200 people a week.

We heard about the inadequacy of Medicare, the shame attached to having to go on Medicaid after having worked all your life, the uncertainty of the current stock market and how that is playing havoc with everyone's life savings. Basically you are preying on people's fear.

This is not something I care to do but it was worth going to check it out. After outlining the products we heard about the 12 agents currently working for the company who come from all walks of life; how the only limit on your earning power is you...very inspirational... then a parting remark, "Who else is calling you? How many calls did you get this week?" and a laugh. It was almost cult-like or like buying a car. We were asked to fill out a questionnaire listing 3 questions we would ask at our interview and to make an appointment for a one-on-one interview with the receptionist on the way out. She asked if I would like to come back the following day but I said, "I don't think so." "You'll call?" she asked.

You would also have to use your own laptop, buy your own business cards, calculator, map, planner, direct mail leads, stamps and envelopes and dress in suits.

It was an interesting experience.

Monday, May 04, 2009

The First Day of the Rest of My Life


I peeked out the window this morning and saw a panel truck outside. It was a plumber for someone else on the block. "I hear music..." popped into my head, "the murmur of the morning breeze up there, the rattle of the milkman on the stair..."

I walked to the Post Office today in the rain. Walking down Hamilton Street I said hello to several people including a man who gave me a ticket to heaven. He was sitting in front of a coffee shop and I smiled and said hello. He said hello back and then asked me to wait while he fished in his pocket. He said, "It's nothing bad. I'm a good christian man," handed me the ticket and said it was because of my smile that he gave it to me.

There's a new bakery/coffee shop that I didn't know was there. It's on the block before the Americus Hotel. There don't seem to be any slate sidewalks but some of the curbs are slate.

It's very different walking than driving. Even the pink and white house on Linden and 14th didn't look bad walking by. It looks like birthday cake. The landscaping is quite nice too.

I felt like I was in a movie; looking in shop windows-it looks like someone bought and is renovating Grim's Bakery on Linden. I peeked in-it's quite cute inside; hearing muted snatches of music from inside a house; saying hello to man reading the paper on his porch. I want to walk everywhere I can. Just seeing the grass and the sidewalks, waiting for the light to change to cross the street made me remember being young and having time. I even saw "oil in puddles in taffeta patterns," as described by Joni Mitchell in Michael from Mountains. I almost didn't walk because of the rain but I said to myself, you have an umbrella and I really wanted today to be be the start of something new. I would have gone to the library but I have to finish the Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana first.

It looks like rain all week unfortunately. Tomorrow I'll shampoo the carpets and the upholstery on the couches; Wednesday I'll give the kitchen and pantry a good cleaning. Today I'm going to just read and bead.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

No New Gun for Me

A security system would cost about $500 more than the $762 Bathsheba Monk spent on her 357 Magnum with ammo, and there’s a monthly fee. A dog, while being an effective burglar deterrent, is a lot of responsibility and also an expense.

Three or four trips to the vet for well care could easily add up to $762. Still if I felt I was afraid of burglars I would choose either alternative rather than buy a gun.

Years ago my husband and I thought about getting a gun. Some of our friends were getting them and would go and practice at a shooting range. It was 1975 and we were living in New Brunswick, NJ. I was just about to drop out of college and was working at the local Gino’s/Kentucky Fried Chicken while finishing the semester. I would walk home at night past a transvestite bar and a housing project thinking it was the safest route. The transvestites were loud, sometimes spilling out of the bar and onto the street, but they were not a threat to me. The project basketball courts were always lit up and adults were out there playing ball with the kids. I had worked in downtown Newark and had taken the bus home from Ohrbach’s at 9:30-10:00 at night and then walked eight or nine blocks from the bus stop under the railroad arch home to Elizabeth NJ with no problems. One night after I passed the projects and was walking past a fenced construction site that was soon to be a gas station, 2 young men came up behind me, grabbed my purse from my shoulder and ran away. At the time, all I could think of was what a hassle it would be to have to get a new college ID and driver’s license. I shouted after them, “There’s no money in there.” (There wasn’t.) They stopped running, turned around and came back. “Do you have any money in your pockets?” one asked. I pulled my hand out of my pocket. “Yeah, a nickel. Do you want that?” “No.” one of them said and they ran away. By the time I crossed the street and got up to my apartment I realized that shouting after them was probably a mistake and imagined what could have happened when they came back and confronted me. That made me a little shaky.

We never got the gun. I thought if we got one, the police could always plant it somewhere and say we committed a crime. In those days there were a lot of stories about political people being set up and sent to jail and we were political people working on celebrating the Bicentennial with the slogan, “We’ve Carried the Rich for 200 years Let’s Get Them Off Our Backs.” When 5000 of us marched in Philadelphia on July 4th 1976 there were a lot of guns, pointed at us from the rooftops along the route of the march.

Since the 1970’s real wages have declined while corporate profits have increased at a record-setting rate. American factory owners exported labor to maximize profits with no thought of the social cost of that decision, Drug use, drug arrests and prison sentences have increased, particularly among minorities. The latest economic crisis is extremely severe. More and more people will be driven to desperate acts. Should we buy guns to protect ourselves from each other? Was Jay Gould right when he said he could hire one half of the working class to kill the other half?

People have the right to food, housing, clothing, education and health care.

They have the right to do meaningful work at a living wage. Those rights were fought for and won by workers who for the most part did not fight with guns but were shot at by the police and the National Guard who acted on the orders of the factory owners. Buying a gun may make a person feel safe for a little while, but it will not protect us from the devastation that an economic system based on exploitation and oppression has created.

An organized conscious working class, a working class that includes anyone who gets or used to get a paycheck, does not need guns. Through a Facebook friend I found out that Acorn is training Home Defender Teams to allow people to stay in their foreclosed homes. Wouldn’t you rather have your neighbor in his or her home than be surrounded by vacant houses? Wouldn’t you rather see people fed, educated and healthy with your help?

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