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Why Don’t People Do That?

I was watching an episode of an old television show I enjoyed as a kid and heard a very interesting exchange between Eddie Corbett (portrayed by Brandon Cruz) and his father Tom Corbett (potrayed by Bill Bixby). It’s from the television series, “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father”, which aired from 1969 to 1972. Other regulars on the show were Miyoshi Umeki, Kristina Holland and James Komack. A young Jodie Foster appeared in 5 episodes as Eddie’s friend, Joey.

The scene got me thinking about how we have a serious breakdown in morality here in the United States. Twisted, dysfunctional behavior is the norm. I don’t understand how so many in our society have allowed this to happen without raising questions about why. I know how it’s happened. I just can’t understand why more people don’t see it and attempt to do something about it. This mental and emotional illness is reflected in our television and movie choices. I’m not even going into details about what has caused what. Intellectual discussions about details can be distracting. But I am concerned when I see this type of behavior spill into serious parts of life. A morally bankrupt predator who had a dysfunctional television show (so I hear, I never saw it) with low intelligence and who shows clear evidence of being a sexual predator runs the executive branch of our government. This is scary.

The following exchange is something everyone in the United States should think about:

Eddie: “Do animals have elections?”

Mr. Corbett: “Uh, no, not that I’m aware of.”

Eddie: “Then, how do they pick the ones they want to be the leaders?”

Mr. Corbett: “Well, they don’t exactly pick ’em, sport. You see, animals just naturally follow the ones that are best suited. Usually, the wisest or the most courageous.”

Eddie: “Why don’t people do that?”

Mr. Corbett: “I don’t know.”

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John T. Meyers

John T. Meyers was a full-blooded Native American from the Cahuilla Tribe, raised on the Santa Rosa reservation in Southern California. Known as a “cultured and witty” individual, he attended Dartmouth, an ivy league school, but quit to pursue a career in something quite unorthodox for someone so intelligent: professional baseball.

“The biggest regret of my life was that I didn’t complete college. I had a scholarship and was doing well. But I guess baseball meant more to me at the time.”

Being athletically gifted allowed him to become a star in baseball, but it was his charismatic flair that made him something of a celebrity. He was an outstanding catcher for nine seasons, mostly with the N.Y. Giants and the Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers). He also played a short time with the Boston Braves at the end of his playing days. His career would undoubtedly have been much longer if not for the fact that he didn’t play his first Major League baseball game until the age of 29.

He had knocked around in semi-pro baseball, mostly in California, until the N.Y. Giants purchased his contract from a minor league team located in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1908. Knowing he needed any advantage he could find to succeed in the big leagues (especially as a Native American in a blatantly racist society) he never allowed anyone in baseball to know his actual age. That is, until he reached the age of 65 and applied for social security.

He was a career .291 hitter and was purported to swing a “Big Stick”, a term that stuck with him throughout his career, but it was his fielding that set him apart. His superlative skills behind the plate were described as “supernatural” and inspired the nickname “Ironman.” (Predictably, he was also known as “Chief” during his career). He appeared in three World Series with the Giants (1911, 1912 & 1913) and in one with Brooklyn (1916) and made a respectable showing in MVP voting for three seasons.

He enjoyed a friendship of mutual respect with teammate and legendary Hall of Fame pitcher, Christy Mathewson. He caught more games for Mathewson than anyone else. They formed a formidable pitcher/catcher combination for 214 games.

“Mathewson was the perfect pitcher. He had an encyclopedic mind. He knew the strength and weakness of every batter.”

He also admired his manager while with the Giants, John McGraw, who he said did a lot to help change how baseball players were perceived by the general public in those early years.

“Back in the old days, ballplayers were considered rowdies and no decent hotels wanted them. And to make matters worse, Indians were looked upon as foreigners. Anyway, McGraw saw to it that we lived at the best hotels on the road and things started looking up. McGraw was tough, all right, but he fought for his players.”

Below are photos of Meyers with 2 Native American legends in the world of U.S. sports, Jim Thorpe, of the Sac and Fox Nation (popularly known as the world’s greatest athlete) and Charlie “Chief” Bender, of the Chippewa tribe and star of the Philadelphia Athletics for many years.

In 1972, he was posthumously inducted into to the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame at Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas.

Moving back to Southern California after his retirement from baseball, Meyers was a frequent guest of the California Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers at their home games. He preferred watching games on television, though. As a matter of fact, he watched nothing but baseball games and news programs on television.

Why?

He didn’t appreciate the way Native Americans were portrayed on television and despised the place they were given in U.S. history. In 1933, he was appointed chief of the Mission Indian Agency of Southern California. He wanted to help make a change in the way actual Americans were treated in their native land.

During his career, whenever the Giants or Dodgers were in Chicago, he would make his way over to Field Museum in Grant Park to enjoy his favorite painting, ‘Custer’s Last Stand.’

“It’s the only picture I ever saw where the Indian is given a square deal.”

Sources:

*The Sporting News, August 14, 1971
*californiaindianeducation.org
*Baseball Reference

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Impeach trump

We need to heal as a nation.

A lot of mistakes need to be taken care of. The first is to start an impeachment process. There are quite a few crimes to choose from. And we can move forward from there.

 

Yes, I know the large photo seems mean, but to be honest, I can’t help how I feel. I’ve tried to make peace with the results of the 2016 election and, while I’ve accepted that a despicable economic terrorist who’s also an admitted sexual predator resides in the White House, I can’t respect anyone who voted for him. I understand the hatred for Clinton and the frustration, but there’s no acceptable reason for this. None. I consider it a hate crime against all life on the planet. Laugh if you will, but I offer no apology. Hatred and stupidity can be very dangerous.

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” Albert Einstein

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Random Observations While Traversing This Insane Country

San Francisco: An interesting place with things to do. It’s known as a liberal, forward thinking city, but you better think twice if you believe you can avoid the perverted mania of Capitalism. You need a car here – not to get around, though, there’s plenty of mass transit. You need a car full of money to afford anything in this incredibly expensive city. Google and the infamous bio-tech companies have thrown the economy out of touch with normalcy and created a proliferation of homelessness here in the former hippie capital of the world. How bizarrely poetic in an Edgar Allen Poe sort of way…
An interesting side thought: the most difficult ticket to get here seems to be a ferry to Alcatrazz. What does that say about us as a society?

Oakland: The birthplace of the Black Panther Party in 1966, known as a place of anarchism and art (similar to the Lower East Side in my hometown). There’s still a hint of the old Oakland here: knowledgeable people with a desire to change the status quo, walls spray-painted with colorful political statements, Black Lives Matter and Immigrants Welcome Here signs all over the place. And a lot of places with a heavy feeling of desperation and surrendering to inevitable doom. There are also areas of gentrification which is assuredly an attempt by certain elements in the area to pacify the latent Capitalist tendencies, decrease civil disobedience and bring about a more obedient population.

I had an interesting conversation with a homeless man camped out near a BART station. I gave him money, but let him know I was more interested in giving him compassion. I told him that I’m not in an ideal financial situation myself right now and understand how he feels. I expressed sadness that so many people assume homeless people are drug addicts, criminals and losers without ambition. He told me a few stories of horrible treatment and cold indifference by ordinary, hard-working people who obey the dominant culture and thrive – the “good” people. And he mentioned that it’s gotten worse in recent months. Fortunately, he also told of generosity by people that was sufficient for him to get a motel room most nights for himself and his wife. While I was happy that he and his wife could sleep in a bed most nights, I couldn’t help thinking of how inefficient this is. (We’re constantly assaulted with talk of the importance of efficiency by corporate media). That same amount of money could provide them with a more comfortable full-time home and other essentials if collected in taxes in a compassionate society dedicated to providing life’s necessities for everyone. But, along came the 2016 election …

… and we took a sick, twisted turn into a more Fascist direction which shows a callousness for fellow citizens that probably even surprised some of the architects of the election. I doubt they honestly felt confident they could pull off such a stunt of obviously violent intentions. So, homelessness will continue to increase and the price of a human life will continue to decrease.

Emeryville, California: I call this town LipstickOnAPigville. It’s a worn out looking place along the interstate with factory buildings and hotels, obviously a stopover between the cities of San Francisco and Oakland for many years. Someone got the idea to give it a superficial makeover and turn it into a pre-fab Disneyesque shopping area with apartment complexes. The problem is that it’s a small, boring place where Greenwich Village rents are charged for apartments in old, poorly constructed buildings with infrastructure from the 1960s. Old vent fans and heating ducts that wake you at night, low budget plumbing, faucets that wobble, locks that break too often, laundry rooms with dryers that are hot some of the time, hallway carpeting that’s rarely vacuumed – everything seems to be given a quick fix, typical of scam artists. (Of course, I didn’t go inside every apartment, but still…)

The people in the office who answer phones and deal with prospective clients are basically pickpockets who would have sold snake oil in the late 19th century. A couple of tenants told me about them stretching the truth quite long. Hearing one of them speak one afternoon I wondered if he puts his smile on a night table before going to bed at night.

For my ride back east, I checked prices on alternatives to flying and received a good price to go with Amtrak. I liked the idea of seeing places around the country I’ve never seen before and had never before been on an Amtrak train.

Amtrak: Nice views and comfortable seats, but no access to the internet and the food, snacks and drinks are extremely limited. I only ate one meal in the dining car: a small breakfast of tasteless scrambled eggs; average tasting potatoes; an ordinary biscuit and weak, below average tasting coffee with artificial creamer for $12 plus an expected tip. The alternative to the dining car was the “cafe car” which is a tiny room crammed with pre-packaged hot dogs, cheeseburgers and sandwiches (all of which had pig and/or cow meat), a variety of chips, warm water and soda and weak coffee without actual milk or cream. There was an adjoining room with two tables. And the prices were obscene: $4.50 for a small bottle of WARM water and a tiny bag of popcorn that goes for 50 cents in a deli. Also, for those in the coach section, alcohol brought on board couldn’t be consumed, but alcohol purchased from Amtrak could be.

The highlight of the trip east was on the train from Chicago to New York. It was a cool conversation with a guy by the name of Claude, an old school dude from St. Louis who works out of Chicago. He ran the cafe car. We talked a while about music: throwing around names like Jimmy Nolan, Gil Scott-Heron, Jimi Hendrix, Richie Havens, Santana, Public Enemy, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Brothers Johnson, Stanley Clarke, Bootsy Collins and Run DMC. Yeah, we talked a while and we both dig bass…

We also discussed the sad (in our opinions) transformation of television over the years from shows like Kung Fu, Sanford & Son, Barney Miller (great bass in the theme song) and Good Times to vampires, zombies and wildly popular shows glorifying serious dysfunction. Laughing with Claude for a half hour or so made the obscene prices of crappy food less painful.

I saw a lot of beautiful scenery in eastern California, part of Nevada and a bit of Utah.

Colorado: I saw incredible scenery – snow-capped mountains and impressive rock formations similar to New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. I knew about the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains, but was surprised at the sensational red rock mountains. I didn’t know that type of scenery existed so far north. It was very enjoyable.

Denver: A mix of rain and snow and only 25 minutes at the train station made it difficult to see much or to enjoy the little I could see: a noisy, crowded bar that served food, an over-priced coffee shop with pre-packaged sandwiches and deli salads and two gift shops inside the station and a brewery and a few restaurants and bars outside the station.

This is a shot outside Denver while snow was falling (yes, crappy quality):

image

Mt. Pleasant, Iowa: Trees, farms, trucks, tractors, buildings shaped like hangars, trailers, a couple of baseball fields and a big U.S. flag

Chicago: There was steady rain for hours, the entire time I was there. I struck up a conversation with a cool local woman in the station. She agreed with my comments about the current political climate and about political correctness – enough to laugh heartily and give me a pound. I asked her if a restaurant I enjoyed my first time in Chicago was easy to get to. This friendly black woman said to me:

“Oh, that’s on the west side of town. YOU don’t want to go to that neighborhood alone. I don’t even go there alone. You know what I’m saying?”

I replied, “I went there with a couple of people my first visit to Chicago. I liked it. Great food.”

“And nothing happened to you? You must have been with Black people.”

“Uh, yeah, I was.”

A chuckle, then a serious expression and, again, with a hand on my arm, “Don’t go there by yourself.”

I was disappointed by the woman’s admonition. I was looking forward to a delicious meal at a place called McArthur’s I had eaten at years ago with a friend and a Chicago acquaintance we’d befriended in a hotel lobby.

Upon entering the waiting room at the station, I saw a sign that stated Amtrak offers free wi-fi to customers. I figured I’d look up directions to the restaurant anyway. Shit, it wasn’t even dark yet. However…

Terms and Conditions of Use
Amtrak assumes no responsibility for the safety of equipment. Access and use of this system is restricted, monitored and recorded. By using Amtrak owned and supported computer systems I acknowledge that I [have read], am subject to, and bound by, all of Amtrak’s policies regarding computer usage, information security and records management and specifically Amtrak Policy 3.1.x Computer Security & Usage. I acknowledge that all Electronically Stored Information created or utilized through Amtrak’s computer systems are considered property of Amtrak and may only be used and distributed in accordance with Amtrak policies.
Disclaimer

I acknowledge that connecting to the Amtrak network through personal computer equipment is a privilege granted by Amtrak and that there is reduced expectation of privacy for such use and privilege. Abuse of such privileges may subject my personal computer equipment to legal holds and/or physical possession by Amtrak. Amtrak has a right but not a duty to monitor and access all electronic communications. Access or use of this system without authorization and/or in violation of Amtrak’s policies may lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination, possible criminal prosecution and potential personal liability for your actions.

Agreement

By entering “I agree” below, you are entering into a binding agreement.

Wow. Just to temporarily use their wifi. Now, of course, only a delusional, paranoid conspiracy theorist would be concerned about giving up rights to privacy to be able to get online for a few minutes.

I ate at a nearby fast food coffee joint, went back to the station (drenched from the rain), took out a book and read until my train boarded.

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May Day Rally at Foley Square NYC

I attended the May Day Rally at Foley Square in Manhattan Monday and intended to write something about it, but things happened that prevented me from doing so. I had to take care of a sick cat, feed homeless cats and walk a few rescue dogs. Also, there is a horrible internet connection where I’m staying so I didn’t have time to do more than give a brief description and add a few pictures.

I hope everyone enjoyed their May Day this year.

Mayor de Blasio, Public Advocate Letitia James, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and City Comptroller Scott Stringer were among the speakers at the rally, but the emcee for the event was an intelligent and powerful speaker, Linda Sarsour. She is a Palestinian Muslim activist from Queens and she did an amazing job of firing up as well as educating the crowd and announcing the other speakers and the musical guests.

The music was diverse and amazing. Performers were M.A.K.U (a band of Colombian immigrants), The Peace Poets (from the South Bronx), Institute of Flyer Learning (from Brooklyn), Bodega Dream, The Resistance Band, Fogo Azul (an all woman band of drummers from around NYC) and Flor de Toloache (a Mariachi band of 3 women from NYC).

The evening ended with unexpected comedy. A group of about a dozen trump supporters brought a U.S. flag and started chanting “America, America…” and were immediately drowned out by a chant of “No ban, no wall” by a small portion of the crowd. Most people were too busy dancing to notice the embarrassingly pathetic group of counter-protesters (I’m struggling for the proper words in an attempt to be civil toward seriously uncivilized beings). It was akin to a fly buzzing by your face that you wave away with your hand.

At first I thought it was just a few misguided people trying to show patriotism in accordance with the idea of immigrants coming to the U.S. to make a better life. I couldn’t see them and only heard them for a few seconds before their voices were drowned out. After the rally, they started a shouting match with one overzealous person who’d attended the rally, then a young man who wanted to make peace with them attempted to engage them in civil discourse, but that didn’t work as they are inherently uncivilized people who base their ideology on hate and fear. I saw one of them yell “trump is president. Get over it!” He tried to look brave, but I saw fear in his eyes. NYPD hurried in to keep the peace and started to circle the entire group of people from both sides while a strange discussion continued as I left.

Below are a few pictures:

 

Here’s my favorite picture from the event, a surprise guest:

image.jpg

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Can Mumia Abu-Jamal Receive Justice In A Judicial System Rife With Corruption?

Mumia Abu-Jamal went to court yesterday (Monday) for a hearing on his Post Conviction Relief Act petition in Pennsylvania state court. The hearing was to decide whether to overturn appeals that have been denied by the corrupt Pennsylvania Supreme Court between 1995 and 2008.

It is common knowledge there is ample evidence showing Philadelphia police and prosecutors manufactured false evidence implicating him while also suppressing evidence which could have proved his innocence. He was convicted of murdering a Philadelphia police officer and given a death sentence simply for political reasons. Having been a member of the Black Panther Party and a vocal supporter of the MOVE organization was considered dangerous to the powers that be. The fact that he is a charismatic and highly intelligent person with opinions that don’t align with the dominant culture made him a marked man during his time with the Panthers. That, combined with the fact that he demanded to be treated with respect and refused to be intimidated by police harassment, made the confrontation leading to his arrest inevitable.

The petition brought into Pennsylvania Supreme Court is based on a recent Supreme Court case, Williams v. Pennsylvania, in which it was ruled that an appellate judge can’t participate in a case which he or she had a significant role in during prosecution.

Ronald Castille was the District Attorney in Mumia’s 1989 appeal. In 1994, he won an election for the position of State Supreme Court justice. He based his campaign on the fact that his office had prosecuted and sentenced to death 45 men – including Mumia Abu-Jamal. As a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice, Castille denied appeals every time Mumia appeared before him.

An interesting side fact is that Castille has been honored by the Fraternal Order of Police, the same racist, right wing organization known to violently oppose the Black Panther Party and which enthusiastically endorsed Donald Trump for president.

The issue of political prisoners being targeted by law (order) enforcement officers around the U.S. is something that needs to be given more attention in corporate media. The U.S. judicial system is as rampant with corruption as police departments. Judicial brutality is as much a problem as police brutality.

From the MumiaNYC website: “Our ultimate goal is to win Abu-Jamal’s release as well as freedom for other politically targeted political prisoners, virtually invisible in the modern day concentration camps we call prisons.”

A decision on Mumia’s petition is expected to be made at a later unscheduled date.

Oh, one more thing: yesterday Mumia turned 63. He has spent 36 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit.

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THIS IS HOW YOU RESIST!

Are you disturbed by the increased policing powers being given to order enforcement officers in the Divided States of America?

Are you apathetic and complacent enough to allow the U.S. Constitution to be used as toilet paper while an economic and sexual predator makes a complete farce of the electoral process of this fake democracy?

Are you content to sit on your pathetic ass and watch mindless trash on television or pay obscene amounts of money to watch movies and other entertainment events while the democracy you thought you were enjoying is burned at the stake of corporate consolidation of power?

If not, I advise you to find a way to help reverse the Nazi Capitalist direction the U.S. has taken since the White Supremacy-tainted 2016 election.

Here’s a video that might influence and embolden some people to take a stand for civil rights the way donald trump influenced and emboldened mindless automatons to stand up for hate and ignorance:

https://www.topbuzz.com/article/i6306777315611247107?app_id=1106&c=fb