A View From the Front Lines of the Class War

Crossposted from Daily Kos by GH, with permission.

A beat-up van pulls to a stop just up the road. A creaky screen door opens from the apartment at the end of the building. A young African-American girl runs out toward the van, barely hanging onto a gym bag that was obviously not meant for such a pint-sized carrier. The driver of the van, a middle-aged white man with glasses and a beard, throws the passenger door to the van open and the little girl tosses the bag onto the floor before climbing in. The apartment door, which had banged shut in the meantime, creaks open again as the girl's mother waves goodbye.

"Be good. Have fun," she tells her daughter.

"I'll have her back by eight," the driver replies as the little girl shuts the van door and waves goodbye to her mom.

As the van pulls away and disappears around a turn up the street, the girl's mother allows herself to slump against the door frame for just a moment. She lets go of a long sigh that betrays just how tired she is. She almost doesn't notice me as I approach her door to introduce myself.


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Pine Ridge Billboard Project by Aaron Huey

Bumped by GH. Originally posted 2011-03-10 10:29:06 -0400. For a donation as little as $10, you can help launch this project - and help make a difference. -- GH

I would like to announce a new project to raise NATIONAL awareness of the poverty on our reservations. My friend Aaron Huey is launching an ambitious billboard campaign using his images of Pine Ridge reservation. Aaron is donating his time and talent to organize this project.

I have been documenting the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for the past six years. Recently I have realized how inappropriate it is for this project to end with another book or a gallery show.

More than any project I have done in my career, the ever-evolving Pine Ridge project gives voice to social injustice and a forgotten history. I want my work to empower the Lakota and other tribes who fight for recognition of the past in order to help give them a chance to move forward.

Your involvement will help raise the visibility of these images by taking them straight to the public to the sides of busses, subway tunnels, and billboards. I want people to think about prisoner of war camps in America on their commute to work. I want the message to be so loud that it cannot be ignored.

Honor the Treaties

Illustration by Ernesto Yerena using images by Aaron Huey

DXC hosts young volunteers for Global Youth Service Day

DAYTON – For the fourth straight year, the Dayton Christian Center (DXC) will partner with the United Way of Dayton’s Volunteer Connection Center to host youth volunteers as they join forces for Global Youth Service Day. This year, Global Youth Service Days occur on April 15 and 16 with the DXC Bright Youth, Better Dayton project taking place on Friday, April 15.

As with last year’s project, the young people will be going about the neighborhood around DXC picking up trash and generally cleaning up the environment. Each student will be issued protective gloves and bright, reflective vests for safety reasons.

“Our mission statement is ‘Enriching and Empowering Lives, One Choice at a Time,’ DXC Associate Executive Director Sarah Williams said recently. “We see that as a quality of life issue as well as quantity. We feel that a nicer, cleaner, more attractive neighborhood is also a safer one, and one where people can enjoy life more and take more pride in it, too.”


Her Final Year: A Memoir

It's now official. My co-author Shadan7 and I, along with our wives, have decided to self-publish our book about our experiences caring for our respective mothers-in-law as they slowly succumbed to Alzheimer's Disease.

The book's title is Her Final Year. Why that title? Because it fits - in several ways. Particularly if you regard the "year" as a metaphor. I'll excerpt from the link above, as Shadan7's explanation for the metaphor sums it up nicely:

The idea for the book – the metaphor, if you will – is that you can consider Alzheimer's progression and impact on a life as something of a whole. Just as the seasons progress, just as the days and weeks and months follow one after another in a fairly seamless manner through the course of a year, so does the disease advance. January starts with hope for a new year, in December you're looking back at how things actually unfolded. You can predict, in general terms, what the weather will be like from month to month – but you can still have a glorious sunny day the week of Christmas, just as you can have a grim and cold weekend in September.

Likewise, someone suffering from dementia can have good days and bad days, even as the general trend of the disease moves relentlessly on to a known conclusion. Furthermore, in no two people will the disease progress in exactly the same way.

Therefore, in order to make our book the most useful to other people, we've arranged the "months" according to the general progression of the disease, and then we've placed individual entries – drawn from email correspondence, blog posts and Live Journal entries – into the "month" where it most seems to fit. There is a general tendency for those entries to follow an actual chronological progression, but it happens that sometimes they don't match up that way. In addition, things are time-compressed: the actual experiences we’re relating happened over roughly four years, but in order to make the most sense of them they've been fit into this one-year framework.

Hence, Her Final Year. Incidentally, the last third or so of the book is a whole other section titled His First Year, dealing with the impact of the caregiving and subsequent recovery from it.


"Welcome to Boston. Don't drink the water."

Folks in the Boston, MA area and who receive water from the MWRA (Massachusetts Water Resource Authority) are under a "Boil Water" alert after a water pipe suffered a catastrophic failure.

31 surrounding communities and towns are affected:

Lynnfield Water District


For more information:

Mass. declares state of emergency after aqueduct break; 'boil-water' order issued for 1 million

Hat-tip memfromsomerville of DailyKos.

Quick Update

Hey folks, just a quick update on why I'd suddenly gone scarce. I had a few issues crop up that directly challenged my capacity to be online for the better part of the past two weeks, both physically as well as time-wise.

Aside from a tax issue that cropped up and had to be dealt with, I'm also just completing my dealings with a minor computer revolt (mine, which is nearly resolved but which had gotten to the point where it became increasingly unusable over the past 2 1/2 weeks, to the point where it has been virtually unusable for most of the last week, plus several other family machines -- Wifey's, which was the least impaired and from which I was able to occasionally hop on to keep in touch, plus my father's and one of my brothers' machines).

On top of those fun factors, I've dealt with some client issues and -- the capper -- a recalcitrant lower back that went out right around the time my computer started to get really wonky. Two weeks ago, I could sit for short periods but -- if I sat too long -- I couldn't walk when I got up.

Brief Site Update: Saturday Maintenance Results

Yesterday, the community site was updated with an anti-SPAM filter to help counter an ongoing problem with SEO spamming.

You may notice the neat little "no spam" icon and link at the top of the content section -- kudos to Roxy our fantabulous rock-hopper penguin webmistress for her deft and responsive skills.

Other changes that went on were behind-the-scenes for the site editors. Quite a while ago, we added the ability to schedule posts so that as we build content or prepare content for publication on certain dates, we could set the date and time for the post to appear. One element we didn't add until recently was a way for site editors to see what was scheduled. Now, when a site editor wants to see whether there are any scheduled posts for his/her day of managing content and maintaining the front page, they can.

We added a link to a page that will show 'em scheduled posts that have not been published.

So, I just thought a little update would be in order. We want our readers and intrepid army of eclectic posters to know that in both obvious and subtle ways, we're constantly working to improve the site.

Now, please go check out Susie Dow's recent post entitled Why is Obama Administration Hiding Evidence of Torture? and follow it up with Hello Dolly Llama's The “grab yer guns and destroy Obama” meme is now an internet game!, then resume random perusal of the rest of the items that are percolating on the page.

Happy Sunday! You can tread this announcement as an additional Open Thread.

SPAM and SEO Black-Hats

Due to an influx of spam and SEO black-hat methods, I thought it would be prudent to post the following:

SPAM is not allowed.

  • Going back to very old posts and posting comments that contain hidden links or links only marginally related to the commentary itself are SPAM.
  • Creating new posts that contain hidden links is SPAMming and will not be tolerated.
  • Posting content taken from another location, verbatim, without permission and without due credit for the content creator and original publisher is illegal, regardless of whether the content actually contains SPAM.

This weekend, we will implement and test a new anti-spam module to help cut down the number of posts (whether comments or full-fledged posts) that are SPAM related.

Stay tuned, and let us know what you think.

Health Care Reform in the House - Committees & Contacts

For several months the apparent public action has been in the Senate, first mostly with the Finance Committee (Baucus) and more recenlty, finally in the Health Committee (Kennedy, with Dodd and Harkin).

Late last week the House became more publicly active wiht Majority Leader Steny Hoyer having a publicized meeting with the leadership of the the three committees (and their subcommittees working to develop health care reform legislation in the House - Energy and Commerce Committee (Henry Waxman; Frank Pallone), Ways and Means (Charles Rangel & Pete Stark), and Education and Labor Committee (George Miller & Robert Andrews).

ATTN: Call for Sex, Gender & Body Bloggers and Writers.

I am beginning a new blog that deals with individuals and communities that identify around some aspect of Sex, Gender or Body.  I have pasted a copy below of a post I just published on my blog.