Archive: Social Justice

Peoria Perfect

Peoria is my kind of town. All the women are beautiful (including my 5-7-9 granddaughters and their mom) and all the men are handsome (well, most of them).  Your don’t have to be in the 1% to own a nice home in an Andy Hardy neighborhood — kids playing across wide green lawns, dogs romping off-leash, dads coming home for dinner at a decent hour.  Despite its share of recession and too many pervasive pockets of poverty, it’s a great place to live and work and raise a family. Provided, of course, that you have the grit it takes to fight for your public school. (More)

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My 7/4 USA Birthday Wishes

I wish we could switch to “America the Beautiful” as our National Anthem and that  fireworks were allowed only in South Carolina.  I wish people would stop saying “this economy, this country, this President” and go back to saying “OUR economy, OUR country and OUR President” (dudes, we have only one of each, and they all belong to all of us).  I wish the media would restore the 4th estate’s parenthetical prism, i.e., “Rep. Issa, who in the 1970s was twice arrested for auto theft, today accused Attorney General Eric Holder of lying to Congress.”  I wish Jerry Sandusky would just shut up.  I wish for Eric Cantor a case of hives. (More)

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Obama Comes Out

President Obama didn’t just exit his self-imposed closet yesterday, he rattled all the shelves on the way out.  And you could feel the ground move.

 I had just driven back from Annapolis after visiting my friend Joe in a rehab center where he’s struggling courageously to recover from pioneering surgery, the severity of which the rest of us can imagine only in a nightmare of the most abject kind. (More)

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December 5, 2011

Occupying Teddy Roosevelt

Max and I are taking a romp in Central Park this morning when we overhear a super-spandexed lady of a certain age chatting up a much younger man walking three dogs.  “The first act was stunning and the stage went dark and there was, you know, like a long pause.  Then suddenly a rich baritone voice boomed out from backstage, ‘Occupy Wall Street!’ The audience loved it, but I don’t think it was actually part of the play.”  I give her a thumbs up and Max breaks into a dog-grin.   Is this a great city or what? (More)

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November 7, 2011

Herman the Hypocrite

I’ve been looking for God for a long time, so far finding only ephemeral shards of him or her.  But I’ve always been a non-believer who believes in believers and even in some of their beliefs.  I’m making an exception for Herman Cain. (More)

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September 8, 2011

9/11: a Poem

/I was in Lower Manhattan on 9/11/.  I wrote this poem two days later./

                                                                      Body Parts

                                                                by Ray Abernathy

 A hand lies trembling in the street.

             It has no mouth, it cannot speak;

             It cannot run, it has no feet.

Up they went,   hats and boots and legs and heads.

             Down they came, no shouts or screams, already dead.

Bodies was dropping everywhere, Daria said.

Me and someone else saw a shoe under a piece of car,

so we lifted it up  and there was a leg with nothing else attached.

There were strollers with babies in them, turned on their side.

I saw a rescue worker with his arm and shoulder blown off.

He was screaming and running and the policeman

was trying to stop him to help him, but he was panicked

because the blood was coming out of him.

I saw so many people jumping and falling out the building.

One couple took each other’s hands as they jumped.

Up they went, young and strong and full of heart.

             Down they came, broken picks and body parts.

A hand lies decomposing in the street.

            The living stare, but rarely weep.

            The dead look down, but never sleep.

/Scroll down for 9/11: True Stories./

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9/11: True Stories

Taken from video interviews I taped in March 2002.         

Bobby Gray, an operating engineer, was working on a project in Midtown Manhattan when the attack took place.

I was working as a tower crane operator about 50 stories in the air on Forty-third at Eighth and actually saw the first plane hit.  I know my perception was off a bit, but it actually looked like it was going to hit the tip of the boom [of his crane].  My first reaction was: “Why is this guy so low?”  Then, before I could even get that out, I was like: “And why is he over Midtown?” (More)

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August 29, 2011

Seven good days

What a fortuitous week! Libyan rebels stretch the Arab spring deep into summer. An earthquake rumbles, but fails to roll.  In Washington, Hurricane Irene has the good manners to visit only briefly.  The awful weather cancels a monumental dedication, but black Americans finally have a seat at the table of history on the National Mall.  However, for me all the big strokes were topped by a small show of human kindness that I witnessed, a grace note that resonated with hope for the weeks to come. (More)

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Who’s the sole survivor, John Lewis or Joe Lowery?

On Sunday, The New York Times tagged Rev. Joseph Lowery, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as the last living member of the contingent surrounding King on stage as he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial forty eight years ago.  In a lead Outlook article in the Washington Post, Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) wrote that he’s now the last man standing.  I do recall that Lewis, chair of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), caused far more commotion than King that day with his “black power” speech, but I haven’t been able to reconcile whether he or Lowery is the sole podium survivor.  Anybody got a clue?

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August 1, 2011

Snagging Barack Obama

July was the hottest month on record for Washington, DC, jointly caused, in my opinion, by global warming meeting up with rancid hot air bubbling up from the bowels of the United States Capitol  and the White House.  As a result, retro forces won out over progressive voices in the debt ceiling debate with a solution that cuts vital programs without raising taxes on the rich.  Now it’s up to us to turn up the heat on the new Congressional “Super Committee” being created to add additional cuts and/or revenue increases by the end of November.  We have to convince President Obama to join us.  If he doesn’t, we should take him on in the primaries next year. (More)

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