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Welcome Back!

I’m returning to the  blogsphere after a long absence.  Although, I haven’t been submitting post on a regular basis, I continue to read and admire the great work being written on a daily basis.

Who am I?  I am a retired New York City public school teacher.  History, economics, and literature were the subjects that I devoted over twenty years teaching to students in Brownsville, Coney Island and Staten Island.  It was challenging, frustrating but I enjoyed every minute of everyday attempting to help young people find themselves and succeed in a very difficult world.

Politics, voting rights, state politics are a few of the subjects I hope to write about.  We are living in a period of reactionary politics:  how could a realty show host organize a viable campaign for the presidency?  Our government leaders have made it more difficult for people to vote; they are trying to restrict immigration into the country; Islamphobia is rampant across the land.  “The best lack all convictions, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity..” as has been written.

I would love to connect with the general reading public, and join the conversation about the future of the country, and how we all can get involved to strengthened our democracy.  Over the next year, I will hope to continue to improve my craft, and join the ranks of the many wonderful writers who are setting the agenda for this nation and the world.

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When it’s over

When the day is over, and the party done all the balloons need to be gathered and pins pressed into them for there is no space and cake cannot be eaten every day festivities must give way   th…

Source: When it’s over

Practice fuck

About the author

Source: About the author

Singing the blues of a shattered life

Lalenja Harrington stepped into the role of Billie Holiday’s on Saturday night and carried the audience on an intense journey of abandonment, love, drugs, and racism that eventually ended in a death of the talented singer.

In a ninety-minute played entitled “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill”, Ms. Harrington, in a brutal, frank and honest performance, gave the audience a glimpse of the painful downfall of “Lady Day” .  The show was held before a sold out audience in the Hanesbrand Theater, It started the 81st season at the Twin City Stage that will showcase a number of quality productions.

Ms. Harrington was joined on stage by pianist David Lane who played Jimmie Powers, Kady Day’s dedicated and faithful accompanist.  Daniel Alvarez recreated the intimate setting of tables, microphone and piano Emerson Bar and Brill in Philadelphia, Pa. which was apparently the last performance of Lady Day before she died in 1959 at age 44.

Billie Holiday was a jazz icon who worked with a number of legendary artists including Artie Shaw, Lester Young and Benny Goodman.  She recorded many songs including “God Bless the Child”, “Nobody Business”, “Moonlight”, “Pigfeet and bottle of beer” are famous Lady Day recording.  And, one of her more dark, somber songs of “Strange Fruit” about the horrors of lynchings in the South in the early 1900s.

Ms, Harrington in her jazzy voice painted the picture of a trapped, beautiful songbird longing to be free from drugs and the sins of racism.  In a “wounded poignancy”,  she was dangerously bold in capturing the pain, brutality, and anger over lynching in “Strange Fruit”.  She initially refused to record the song because the subject matter was too overpowering.

She was majestic in hallmark flowing white gown, and elbow-length gloves, as she mingled with the audience.  She spoke about trying to imitate the singing style of Bessie Smith and Louis “Pop” Armstrong before finding her voice in songs like “Good Morning Heartaches” and other standards.

Lady Day told the audience of “ladies”, “duchesses” and “presidents” often names that oppress people gave themselves to uplift their spirit in order to combat racism.  The play gave insight into why she got involved in prostitution, about being raped, and about the love of man that she knew was destroying her career and life by introducing her to drugs.  That’s alright she still loved him, and “Ain’t Nobody business if I do..”

And, she reminiscence about her arrest and imprisonment for drugs that It robbed her of her angelic voice and blocked her from performing in New York City clubs.  Often time her parole officer would be in the audience to spy on her, and she joked about her ability to spot cops in the audience because they “were white men and they always wore white socks.”

The shroud of race infected everything that she did from her performance to her personal life.  It was evident in traveling through the south in the 1930s a ” black bitch” with an all white band.  She couldn’t get served at restaurants or find hotels to stay in so they often ate in the kitchen or slept on buses.  But Artie Shaw and his band refuse to eat in all-white restaurants unless Billie Holiday could join them.

This play is about a gifted and talented black woman whose personal life, and social evil of racism eventually destroyed her career and life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Coltrane Festival High Point, N.C.

The Fifth Annual John Coltrane Festival is schedule for Labor Day weekend September 5-6 in Oak Hollow Festival Park.   Some of the artists appearing at this year’s festival are Lalah Hathaway, daughter of the late Donnie Hathaway, David Sanborn and guitarist Earl Klugh all well-known artists to jazz enthusiasts.

Coltrane was born in Hamlet, N.C., but grew up in High Point, graduating from William Penn High School at 16.  While in high school, he started listening to Lester Young, and Johnny Hodges who inspired him to start playing the alto saxophone.   He moved to Philadelphia, Pa., and eventually joined the Navy.

He performed with many musical legends like Dizzy Gillespie, Johnny Hodges, Miles Davis and Thelonius Monk before forming his own quartet of pianist McCoy Tyner, drummer Elvin Jones, and bassist Jimmy Garrison.   Theyrecorded some of the classic vinyl in jazz history like “My Favorite Things”, “Africa Brass”, “Impressions”,  and “Giant Steps”.

Coltrane, who converted to Islam, recorded the legendary albums “Love Supreme”, as a spiritual meditation.  And, the classic album “Kind of Blue” that he recorded with Miles Davis that some jazz critics called the greatest album in modern jazz history.

 

 

 

 

31st Annual Presidential Joke Day

Most know that the 36th president had a vulgar tongue, and here is just a couple saucy quotes:

“Boys, I may not know much, but I know Chicken Shit from Chicken Salad”!!

It’s probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.
Lyndon B. Johnson
Read more at http://izquotes.com/quote/241192

Lyndon Baines Johnson

Professor testified voter fraud “exceedingly rare” in elections

An expert witness for the plaintiff, suing North Carolina over its new restrictive voting rights law, told the court that voter fraud has had minimal effect on the outcome of state and national elections.

Dr. Lori Minnite, Political Science professor at Rutgers University of New Jersey, testified that of 26 cases of voter fraud reported between 2000-2013 only three were investigated and referred to local prosecutors for charges.  “Voter fraud are exceedingly rare both nationally and in North Carolina,” she said.

Additionally, the State Board of Elections (S.B.O.E) only referred two cases of voter impersonation to county prosecutors.  And, of the approximately 35 million votes cast in N.C. instances of voter impersonation were virtually “non-existent”.

According to her,  the Voter Identification and Verification Act (V.I.V.A) requirements for photo ID, and elimination of same-day registration were unnecessary.  However, under cross examination by defendant’s Attorney Phillip Strach,  Prof. Minnite agreed that voter fraud could affect the outcome of close elections.

There was a paucity of evidence of fraud prior to enactment of H.B. 589, said Prof. Minnite.  She examined the records, transcripts and proceeding of the N.C. State Board of Elections and could only find two instances of charges of voter impersonation by a Canadian citizen posing as a U.S. resident, and in the other incident five people who were convicted of vote buying.

In reviewing the legislative history of H.B. 589, Professor Minnite observed that lawmakers and citizens frequently referred to voter fraud, but there was no credible evidence to substantiate charges.   For example, former speaker Thomas Tillis told the media that the law would “restore confidence in elections” but it was not “primary reason for doing this’.

Plaintiff’s attorney presented to the court a taped deposition of Jay Delancy, executive director of the Voter Integrity Project, who claimed to have found numerous example of voter fraud.   The S.B.O.E found his charges to be unsubstantiated, but Delancy openly claimed that many of his ideas were used in crafting H.B. 589.

” I conclude that stringent photo identification requirements to vote are not justified by claims that such requirements are needed to reduce or prevent voter impersonation forms of election fraud because as the empirical record makes clear, fraud committed by voters either in registering to vote or at the polls on Election Day is exceedingly rare,” she stated.

Week Two _ Voting Rights Trial

Voter Laws North Carolina

Plaintiffs in the federal voting rights case continued to press their argument in U.S. Middle District Court Monday that the “restrictive” Voter Information Verification Act negatively impacted African-American, Hispanic and young voters. V.I.V.A was passed by the Republican-dominated legislature in 2013, and would reduce early voting days, stop same-day registration and terminate a program to preregister high school students.

The case currently being argue before Judge Thomas D. Schroeder is expected to last for the next three weeks, and may impact voting rights legislation around the country, as well as, influenced the 2016 presidential election.  Last week, over three thousands demonstrators led by the North Carolina N.A.A.C.P converged on downtown Winston Salem to protest the law.  “This is our Selma!” the Rev. William Barber, president the N.C. N.A.A.C.P has said about the importance of having the law overturned.

On Monday, July 20, Dr. Steven Lawson, history professor at Rutgers University, testified that he reviewed hundred of pages of reports, laws, and archival materials, and he believed that H.B. 589 was discriminatory toward African-Americans, and young people.  He based his testimony on evidence from document that showed the Republican-controlled legislature deviated from the usual procedure in passing the election law.  Prior to passage of VIVA, most bill concerning elections was referred to the House Judicial Committee, but Dr. Lawson said it was a “singular departure from the customary practice” after H.B. 589 was referred to the House Rules Committee.

The Supreme Court decision in Shelby v Holder dismantled the Voting Rights Act of 1965 after it ended a requirement that nine states with histories of discrimination, including North Carolina, get federal approval before altering their election laws.  Shortly after Shelby was passed, N.C. State Senator Thom Goldsby, New Hanover County, said the legislature had to take a “fresh look and likely change H.B. 589”.  The legislature proceeded to pass one of the most restrictive voting rights laws in the nation.  Dr. Lawson indicated that the law had a discriminatory impact on minority voters.

Professor Peter Levine of Tufts University testified about the effects of the voting law on young people.  Levine said that in states he studied with restrictive voting laws youth registration was restrictive.  In North Carolina, Levine testified that before V.I.V.A the youth vote was about 42.6 percent, but after the law was pass it dropped to 32.3 percent.  He said young people were more likely to use same day registration provisions that would be eliminated under the law.  Also, the preregistration of 16 year old would be eliminated under the law which would remove approximately 150,000 young people that were currently listed on voting roles.  “Preregistration was positive for young people.  It is very helpful to offer 16 and 17 concrete activities to participate in,” Professor Levine said.

The trial will continues before Judge Thomas D. Schroeder for the next three weeks.

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