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On May 21st, Rep. Alan Grayson (FL-8) introduced bill H.R.5353, “The War Is Making You Poor Act”. And it’s an important bill. Created in response to the $159,000,000,000 requested in next year’s budget to spend on our wars in the Middle East, this bipartisan legislation would take that extra money and give it back to you and I.

In my opinion, Grayson is a pretty cool dude. He’s from the Bronx (cool). He worked his way through Harvard as a janitor and night watchman (cool). He’s smart too (not cool…just kidding…but seriously), graduating from Harvard summa cum laude in three years, and then in four years earning a law degree from Harvard Law, a masters in public policy from the JFK School of Government and completing the course work and passing the general exams for a Ph.D. in government. He was even a cool lawyer (if such a thing is possible). In 2006, a Wall Street Journal reporter described Grayson as “waging a one-man war against contractor fraud in Iraq” and as a “fierce critic of the war in Iraq” whose car displayed bumper stickers such as “Bush lied, people died”. Cool. Oh, and he had the balls to introduce the Public Option Act, talk lots of shit to Republicans, vote for various civil rights bills, and otherwise take crap from no one. Cool. And with this latest bill, Rep. Grayson keeps the ass kicking coming.

Grayson’s bill, which is currently being co-sponsored by Reps. Ron Paul (R-TX), Walter Jones (R-NC), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) Barbara Lee (D-CA), John Conyers (D-MI), and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), does three things.

1. It eliminates separate funding for the occupation of Irag and Afghanistan.

2. It eliminates federal income taxes for everyone’s first $35,000 of income (which a third of the country would qualify for).

3. It pays down the national debt by $15.9 billion.

GRAYSON: So I believe that the thing we need to do is to take that $159 billion that the President has set aside – we’re not saying he has to stop the war, we’re not giving a cut-off date for the war – we’re simply saying you need to fund that out of the base budget of $549 billion. And we take 90 percent of that and give it back to the American people.

With the country’s current obsession over the size and scope of government, it’s absolutely ridiculous that no one talks about how much we spend on our military. We spend as much as the rest of the world combined, and most of the other big spenders are our allies. Worried about the national debt and the economic crisis? Yeah, me too. Maybe we should talk about the role the trillions of dollars we’ve sunk into Iraq and Afghanistan have played in these issues.

If you like what you’re seeing, here’s a petition that you can sign to show your support. Hell, tell your friends too. And as always, thanks for reading.

Sources: Huffington Post, Wikipedia

Religion is complicated. I’ve never been a particularly religious person. Like lots of people, I’ve always struggled to find the strength and courage to put my faith in that which will always be unknowable. Someday I will post my own manifesto on religion, but not today. Instead, I would like to give a shout-out to an institution that has constantly brought me back from the edge of atheism. It is the church I was brought up in, and I am honored to share it with you.

All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, OK is one of those rare institutions that I really believe in. I know it’s cheesy, but it is truly a place of love, tolerance, and inclusiveness. In a time when more and more people are moving away from institutionalized religion, and often for very legitimate reasons, All Souls is a shining beacon for what, in my opinion, religion should be.

I rarely attend services there, but like most God-fearing Americans, I was present for the Easter Sunday service. I’ll admit, the night before I was still conflicted over whether or not I would go or just sleep in. I thought, I’ve been to Easter service, and like Christmas Eve service, if you’ve been to one you’ve been to them all. Blah blah blah resurrection blah blah Amen. Luckily, my better half gave me the ol’ kick in the butt and told me to suck it up and go. So I went (thanks Sweetie), and it was beautiful. It was as if they knew what I felt and tailored the service specifically for me. I know everyone is super busy right now, but if you can spare 17 minutes please listen to the service so you can appreciate what I’m talking about.

Listen here.

Religion does not have to be what we see in the media everyday. It doesn’t need to be some man saying “Believe what I believe or you’ll be punished”. It needs to be something that makes you feel good and makes you want to be a better person. All Souls says that all souls eventually make it to heaven, and to all those that think this is foolish, you’re missing the point. I mean, think about how petty it sounds to say that people not like you should be subjected to eternal damnation. The point is, at least from my limited perspective, that if you can look for the good in everyone, if you can love your neighbor like you love yourself, and if you can achieve a peace in your own life and be a light of happiness shining unto the world, than it really doesn’t matter what you believe in.

I love you all, and thank you for reading.

I gotta tell ya friends, this blogging business is tough. I thought I’d drop a couple tasty posts and boom, I’m snorting caviar off Arianna Huffington’s smooth-ass frown lines. But after trying it for a while, I slowly realized
1.    People, even especially rich people, don’t snort caviar like they used to (makes you miss the 90’s doesn’t it?)
2.    Blogging, like most things in life (except the lottery), gives back what you put in

And I haven’t been putting much in. I’ll admit, before I became an internationally accredited blogger, I read Blogging for Dummies. And in this little gem of a turd-burgler’n-book, I remember highlighting (sorry Norman Public Library) the topic of “quantity over quality”. To paraphrase, the book claimed that with regards to blogging, quantity trumps quality most of the time.
Now I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, “That’s straight baloney. Why eat caviar every day when you can snort it Sunday and only Sunday, and achieve the pinnacle of pretentiousness?!”. Well, dummy, it just don’t work that way. I let lose with some quality posts right off the bat (emphasis on posts), and I couldn’t handle the pressure. You don’t serve a plate of graham crackers after the filet mignon, no matter how hungry the guests still are. But if you only have one man working the restaurant, sometimes you don’t have much choice. And I’ve come to terms with this fact. Eff quality. From now on, I’m operating a CC’s Pizza (or Feces Pizza as my better half affectionately refers to it). Come in, eat as much as you want, and leave feeling satisfied and somewhat gassy. That’s what I want the blog to be. So for all you folks that want to snort caviar all the time, Get Real! You’re living in the past man! Come to genwhen and fill up on carbs. I’m not judging. And get ready for a blog that, if nothing else, will be consistently filling. To show that I’m not joking about quantity over quality (as if this post wasn’t proof enough), click this link and enjoy the sort of daily special served up by yours truly. Happy grazing, and I guarantee I’ll see you tomorrow.
And as always, thanks for reading.

I found some cool photos here. Enjoy!

photos by David Fenton


March to Free the Panther 21, New York City, April 4, 1970


Nurses on the Sidewalk, Chicano Moratorium, Los Angelos, CA, February 28th, 1970


Protesters at a Welfare Demonstration Outside of Public School 15, New York City, September 11, 1969


Protester Runs Through Tear Gas During Demonstrations for the Black Panther Party, New Haven, May 2, 1970


Mark Feinstein and Baryl Epstein (?), Liberation News Service Collective, New York City, February, 1970


Reporter, Liberation News Service Collective, New York City, February, 1970


John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Jerry Rubin on the Drums, “Free John Sinclair” Rally, Ann Arbor, MI, December 10, 1971


Friday Night, Santa Barbara, CA, February 27, 1970


Central Park Peace March, New York City, April 5th, 1969


Revolution and Pirate Flag, Easter Be-In, Central Park, New York City (II), April 6th, 1969


Protesters at Columbia University, New York City, 1970


Anne LaVasseur, Park Concert, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, September 1971


Protest is Patriotic, Antiwar Rally, Washington D.C., May 9, 1970


March to Free the Panther 21, New York City, April 4, 1970


Rock Band Performing in Central Park, New York City, 1968


Demonstration Against Hubert Humphrey, New York City, October 9th, 1968


Peace Sign, Black Panther Rally, New Haven, October 12, 1968


Alan Harold (Standing), Baryl Epstein (?) and Other Members of the Liberation News Service Collective, New York City, October 12th, 1969


Black Panther Demonstration, New Haven, November, 1969


Protesters Arrested During the Days of Rage, Chicago IL, October 11, 1969


Weatherman and Supporters, (Peter Clapp and John Jacobs, Center), Days of Rage, Chicago, October 11, 1969


Bill Kunstler, Ken Kelly (of the White Panther Party), Buck Davis and Allen Ginsberg, CIA Conspiracy Rally, November 1970


Protesters at an Antiwar Demonstration Carry a Free Huey Banner, New York City, April 4, 1970


Prowar Demonstrators, Central Park, New York City, 1968


Pro Vietnam War People Opposing Antiwar Protesters, Central Park, New York City, 1968


Women Demonstrators Outside Fort Dix, A Major Transshipment Port for U.S. Army Soldiers Leaving For Vietnam, October 12th, 1969


Black Panther Demonstration, New Haven, November 1969


Nixon Inauguration, Washington D.C., January 20th, 1969

Something to Ponder

I happen to possess a three-ring binder. It’s not a very nice binder, at least not aesthetically (personality-wise it’s charming, to say the least), but there are nice things inside of it. I tend to dick around a lot on the internet, hell I even have a blog, and in this dicking around I occasionally come across cool things. I print out these things and I place them in my binder. And this binder has lots of dumb stuff in it; I mean lots of dumb stuff. But every time I open it up, I read the very first entry, the entry that inspired me to start the binder because there are some things you just can’t cast aside. It is an entry that I think everyone should be exposed to, so I’ll share it with you.

Something to ponder

If you woke you this morning with more health than illness, you are more

blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of

imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are

ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest,

torture, or death, you are more blessed than

three billion people in the world.

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead,

and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish

someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

If your parents are alive and married, you are very rare.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful,

you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can hold someone’s hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder,

you are blessed because you can offer a healing touch

If you can read this message you’ve just received a double blessing in that

someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over

two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

Have a good day, count your blessings, and pass this along to remind

everyone else how blessed we all are.

There is this massive undercurrent of cynicism rambling through our current existence, and it’s present every time you turn on the news, or visit your websites, or talk current events with your peers. We all tend to revel in how shitty everything is. We bitch and bitch and bitch about everything: politics, religions, work, personal relationships, family drama, money, and my personal reason for starting this blog, boredom. Do you know what a luxury it is to be able to be bored? It means all of my big problems are so taken care of that I get to focus all of my energy on things that after reading that list seem wholly insignificant and selfish. And we should all be so lucky.

Please, after reading this post, count your blessings. Don’t stress about the possible repercussions of passing or not passing health care or whatever is in vogue. Think about how good we all have it before demonizing anyone and anything that doesn’t agree with you. Because we all have problems, and problems admittedly really suck. I don’t mean to say that we shouldn’t concern ourselves with the world around us, but you can’t let yourself be defined by what worries you. If we’re able to step back and contemplate how fantastic things are for us, right now, in what’s supposedly the most perilous time we’ll ever see, versus how much worse they are right now for billions of people, we’ll see that yes, we are truly blessed. If you’re not happy now, will you ever really ever be happy? Embrace what you can control, don’t worry about what you can’t, and never forget that we live in the most comfortable time and place in the history of human existence.

Thank for reading, and have a wonderful day.

Listening to the gospel.

Anyone else fretting that they never really read the bible? Well I wasn’t either. I mean, I like the bible, for God’s sake it’s the “good” book and I’m certainly familiar with it. I have a nice copy. But I’ve never made a big effort to read the thing. So when I came across a free bible on CD I snatched it up. It’s titled “You’ve got the time”, and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (nice people I assume) put it out. Basically it’s the New Testament, and by breaking it into 28 minutes a day, you too can read (listen to) the gospel of Jesus in 40 days. I have about a 14-minute commute to work every day, so it seemed divinely ordained. I’m taking the challenge!

Day 1: Hop in my car, first making sure there aren’t any sweet classic rock songs on (Satan is the ultimate temptress). After deducing out that stations don’t play music during the morning commute (divine intervention?), I pop the disc in. Initial response? Well, it’s an Mp3 disc, so it doesn’t play in my car’s CD player. No one said this was going to be easy, but a man can assume.

After prepping myself for a little Matthew, I’m kind of conflicted about going back to morning DJ ramblings. 5 minutes of inner monologue later I’m super pumped to hear Foreigner. This might be harder than I thought.

At work I rip the CD to my computer and burn Mathew to 2 CDs. I also calculate that 28 minutes times 40 days equals 1,120 minutes. Hmmm…That’s a lot of Foreigner I’m missing.

Nevertheless, when I get off work I’m looking forward to hearing the good word. The disc works, and so it begins:

Matthew 1
The Genealogy of Jesus
1A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
2Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
4Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
7Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
8Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
9Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
10Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
11and Josiah the father of Jeconiah[a] and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13Zerubbabel the father of Abiud,
Abiud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
14Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Eliud,
15Eliud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
16and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Jesus! At this point I’m almost home so I go back to classic rock for the remainder of the drive. I’ll admit, I don’t feel particularly closer to enlightenment, but definitely not further away. Chock this one up in the win column!

The voice acting was decent, but the sound effects were a little excessive. Overall, I think it was a fantastic first day and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s sermon. I’ll keep you posted.


Old School

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Found the picture here