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In Other Words

"Justice in the life and conduct of the state is possible only if first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens."
Plato, 427 BC - 347 BC

"This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today."
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1882 - 1945

"The highest office in the land is that of citizen."
Harry Truman, 1884 - 1972

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does."
Margaret Mead, 1901 - 1978

"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. You will be changed, events will change you, but you have to decide not to be reduced."
Maya Angelou, 1928 - present

"If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that's something, but the people in power can live with that. What they can't live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organizations that keep doing things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time."
Noam Chomsky, 1928 - present

Welcome! From throughout our country, these engaging blogs are authored by ordinary citizens with things to say about social, economic, environmental, human, or political conditions in our nation or world. We hope you will sign in and add your comments, too.

January 28, 2015

Some Music Reflecting the 1980s

Posted by Angelo Lopez on January 28, 2015

I'm feeling a bit nostalgic, so I thought I'd post some songs from my youth. Most people think of the 1980s as being a greedy materialistic time, but I remember a lot of political activism at that time. It was the time of protests against nuclear weapons and apartheid, churches offering sanctuary to refugees of Central America, and an awareness of the struggles of poor communities in the inner cities and the farming communities. I did not think Reagan was a good President and am always surprised at how many people look fondly at his presidency. I thought he was personally a very kind and gracious man, but I've never liked Reagan's politics, and the passage of time hasn't changed my mind. Reagan ignored the AIDS crisis because it affected the gay community, he funded an illegal war in Central America that we're still feeling the effects of, and his economic policies devastated the working class and the poor. The musicians of the 1980s commented on our worries about the state of the nation and the state of the world. Here are just a sample of the many songs from the 1980s that talked about the politics of the times.

Read More Here ...

January 21, 2015

The Black Comix Art Festival

Posted by Angelo Lopez on January 21, 2015

After I attended the Freedom Train festivities in Yerba Buena Park, I went to the Metreon to attend the Black Comix Arts Festival. African American cartoonists gathered to sell their comic books and talk about their work. The previous day, my brother, niece and I went to the San Francisco Public Library to see cartoonist David Brown and listen to some conversations of black cartoonists. I enjoyed being a fly in the wall listening to these cartoonist talk about black issues that I had little knowledge of. The only time I spoke, I mentioned how Asian Americans and other minorities have benefitted from the opportunities that African Americans opened up during the civil rights movement.

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January 19, 2015

The Freedom Train 2015

Posted by Angelo Lopez on January 19, 2015

On January 19, 2015, I went on what is announced as being the last Freedom Train to commemorate the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomey, Alabama, in 1965. It was a very festive atmosphere, as many families of all races joined in the Freedom Train and the march in San Francisco. It is a fitting tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and the many people who participated in the civil rights campaigns of the 1950s and 1960s.

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January 17, 2015

The Cartoonists Rights Network International

Posted by Angelo Lopez on January 17, 2015

Last week's news about the deaths of 12 people of the Charlie Hebdo magazine has sent a shock wave in the political cartooning community. The death of the staff due to Charlie Hebdo's cartoons by Islamic extremists is an assault on the freedom of expression that is one of the foundations of a thriving democracy. Over the decades, political cartoonists all over the world have been frequently the first journalists targeted by extremists, thugs, and tyrants. Cartoonists Rights Network International exists to champion their cause, leading the fight to protect the free speech and human rights of political cartoonists around the globe. The Cartoonists Rights Network International works with a global network of over 600 cartoonists in over 50 countries to monitor threats and abuses against editorial cartoonists ranging from censorship, fines and penalties, to assault, imprisonment, disappearance, and execution. The group brings international pressure on the persecutors of cartoonists by mounting campaigns for their just treatment, among the public at large and within the diplomatic community; as well as reaching out to heads of state and ministries, and coordinating joint actions with other organizations that promote free expression.

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January 15, 2015

The Flat, Oblivious, Obtuse Sam Brownback

Posted by Diane Wahto on January 15, 2015

Several years ago, when Melanie, one of my granddaughters, was in middle school, the art teacher came up with a fun project—students were to make life-sized cardboard cutouts of themselves and color in the hair, the eyes, the mouth, clothes, and whatever other distinguishing characteristics they wanted to include. Melanie showed me her “flat Melanie” before she sent it off to one of her favorite great aunts. I thought it was pretty cute, but there was no way anyone could ever confuse that flat piece of colorful cardboard for my lively, thoughtful, smart granddaughter. That cutout was ultimately empty of what made Melanie who she was.

I thought back to this art project when I read Gov. Sam Brownback’s inauguration address remarks in the Wichita Eagle. Flat. That’s what I heard in the speech. An inability to understand what is really happening in the state that he governs. A lack of empathy for people who fail to share his narrow moral code.

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January 8, 2015


Posted by Ken Poland on January 8, 2015

What has happened to all our contributors to Everyday Citizen?

Angelo, you are doing a great job, don't give up! We need more progressive (Democrat or Liberal) writers to start contributing. We don't have all the answers and we don't always agree on all issues. But, everyone should have a chance to offer their take on things. The reading public is entitled to your opinion, so share it.

Sorry to say this old fellow is getting older and just can't put much together anymore. But I do enjoy reading other's contributions and thoughts.

I'm not sure who is supposed to be managing this sight, but I wish they would get the 'comment' feature fixed.

January 5, 2015

The Last Reception of Gallery Saratoga

Posted by Angelo Lopez on January 5, 2015

In December 2014 Gallery Saratoga had its last reception. The gallery was founded in 1984 at a little shop in what is now called the El Paseo Shopping Center. A few years later they moved into downtown Saratoga. Many great artists have been a part of this artists' co-op. I was in the gallery for 5 years and learned a lot and met many nice and talented people. I didn't recognize anyone at the reception, but I talked to the people and they conveyed how sad they were that the gallery was closing.

Read More Here ...

An Interview With Political Cartoonist Junco Canche

Posted by Angelo Lopez on January 5, 2015

One of the best up and coming political cartoonists in the nation is Joaquin Junco Jr, aka "Junco Canché". Junco is the political cartoonist for El Coyote Crossing Borders and the San Diego Free Press, and he has had cartoons published in El Coyote Online, La Prensa News, and the Southwestern College Sun. Junco is studying graphic design at Cal State San Bernardino, where he began doing freelance cartoons. His cartoons offer an incisive view of the state and national political scene from a Hispanic point of view. His cartoons at the Southwestern College Sun won awards from the San Diego Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Read More Here ...

December 15, 2014

"Country" in Dearborn consistently one of the best Middle Eastern Restaurants

Posted by Isaac Robinson on December 15, 2014

The Country Chicken Restaurant is one of the best spots for Middle Eastern food in the Detroit area. The menu includes great salads, chicken dishes (Tawook, Shawarma, and boneless chicken) and raw juices.

I have been going there for over 20 years. The cozy spot in east Dearborn, Michigan with the freshly baked warm bread was a favorite of the late Marty Slobin, legendary University of Michigan-Dearborn political science professor. A number of Slobin’s students at U of M-Dearborn loved the place back in the day too including the Al-Awamleh brothers, Masoud, Caled and Ashraf. To this day, I meet up from time to time with Masoud at the Country to discuss political affairs. The boneless chicken still tastes as good as it did when we were students of the great Marty Slobin in the 90s.

Yesterday, my mother Detroit State Representative Rose Mary C. Robinson enjoying the Country's golden brown fries declared, “the Country has the best fries, consistently the best.” Mom’s typical order includes a bowl of lentil soup, meat grape leaves and the fries.

She commented, “they use the highest quality potatoes. Cut them the right way. This takes me back to my roots in Philadelphia. The way my father would cook them.”

From the Wing Ding appetizers, to the Tilapia, to their Falafel, all of the Country's food is delicious.

As Rep. Robinson and I finished our meal at the Country on Saturday night, Masoud and his youngest son Abraham appeared from the other room. Masoud gave us his analysis of the mid-term elections. We laughed about past political campaigns. We set up a date in January to discuss preparation for the 2016 elections, at the Country of course. Political strategy sessions are always more fun with the Country's top-notch garlic sauce (it can go on almost anything).

If your travels take you to southeastern Michigan, add Country Restaurant to your list.

Country Restaurant is located at
5131 Schaefer Road, Dearborn, MI 48126 between Ford Road and Michigan Avenue.

December 10, 2014

The Gospel of Luke and Social Justice

Posted by Angelo Lopez on December 10, 2014

A few weeks ago the Progressive Christian facebook group had an interesting discussion on the progressivism in the Bible. Someone asked the members of the group what they thought were the most progressive books in the Bible, also what were the least progressive books in the Bible. His question elicited a lot of enthusiastic responses from the group. Among the responses for the most progressive Biblical chapters in the New Testament were James, the gospel of Luke and John, Revelations and Paul's early writings. In the Old Testament, the various members recommended Amos, Isaiah, and the prophets and the Wisdom literature as being the most progressive. There was a general agreement that Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Numbers were the least progressive Old Testament chapters. Timothy and Paul's later writings were considered the least progressive New Testament passages. When I have the time I enjoy reading the discussions of the group, as I learn a lot of stuff that I didn't know before. Since Christmas is coming up, I thought I'd explore the gospel of Luke and see what makes it so progressive in many progressive Christian minds.

Read More Here ...

November 30, 2014

Religion & government

Posted by Ken Poland on November 30, 2014

Thank you, Angelo, for a very good summary of Old Testament scriptures that don't seem very popular in society today. None of those references you give recind the ten commandments. Some folks need to take note of the account of Jesus' encounter with the 'rich young ruler'. That young man declared that he had kept all the commandments, but he still felt something was missing. What did Jesus suggest to him? He didn't accuse him of breaking any commandments. He only suggested that he could give away some of his wealth. Share a little of what he had in material blessings with those less fortunate than himself. Piety (perfection in the law) is no substitute for showing compassion and love.

It is amazing to me how so many of the fundamental religious right folks can ignore those parts of scripture that don't fit their modern concept of humanity and equality.

Man's nature hasn't changed. We still have selective hearing and understanding. Taking blame for inequities isn't easy for anyone, rich or poor. We all like to blame someone or something other than ourselves for our status or station in life, especially if we are not where we'd like to be.

November 28, 2014

The Old Testament Prophets and Social Justice

Posted by Angelo Lopez on November 28, 2014

I'm reposting the last part of a blog I wrote in May 8, 2014.

One of the great influences on the social justice traditions of Christians and Jews are the Old Testament Prophets. The Old Testament prophets had a strong sense of social justice for the poor, the widow, the orphan and the marginalized. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Ezekiel, and the great prophets of Israel inspired later day human rights activists like Martin Luther King Jr., Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, William Sloane Coffin, Ralph Abernathy, Pauli Murray, Bayard Rustin, Cesar Chavez, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and countless others to fight for the poor and the marginalized in society. The beauty of the prophet's poetry inspired activist poets like Muriel Rukeyser, Allen Ginsberg, Alicia Ostriker and June Jordan.

Read More Here ...

November 25, 2014

An Interview With Political Cartoonist Eric J. Garcia

Posted by Angelo Lopez on November 25, 2014

One of the best most incisive political cartoonists working today is Eric J. Garcia. His cartoon El Machete Illustrated offers a sharp and incisive critique of America's economic and political system, especially the way these systems oppress the poor and immigrant communities. Eric began creating cartoons while serving in the U.S. Air Force, making fun of the military. He completed his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he won numerous awards to include, 1st Place College Cartoonist Award for both the New Mexico and Illinois College Associated Press competition. Eric's work can be seen in many national and international publications and online news networks such as In These Times, Hoy News Paper, and The Black Commentator.

Read More Here ...

November 17, 2014

Here We Go Again

Posted by Diane Wahto on November 17, 2014

The people have spoken in the 2014 mid-term election. Well, some of them have spoken. Most spoke by staying away from the polls. Once again, the Republicans have the upper hand, at least in the House and the Senate and in many states. Kansas is sliding into an economic hole that it won’t be able to dig out of without drastic action on the part of the state legislature, but already the battle lines are drawn between the no-taxers and the raise-taxers. Similar scenarios are playing out across red states everywhere

The people who were elected to the U. S. House and the Senate promise to make things better for Americans by doing the following: repeal the Affordable Care Act; cut Medicare benefits; cut Social Security benefits; and cut safety net benefits. They also promise not to do anything substantial on immigration reform and to cut Pres. Obama off at the pass if he tries to do anything. Oh, yes, they will likely approve the Keystone Pipeline, bringing the danger of an oil spill right over the most vulnerable water source in the country. Of course, that oil coming from Canada won’t help Americans, as it is being shipped from the Gulf of Mexico to other countries. Who cares? The Kochs and their ilk want that pipeline, so forget the rest of us.

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October 20, 2014

The 2014 Association of American Editorial Cartoonist Convention in San Francisco

Posted by Angelo Lopez on October 20, 2014

This year the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists had a convention in San Francisco. Editorial cartoonists from all over the nation met in San Francisco to talk about the state of the editorial cartooning field and to see the innovations of several cartoonists in interactive cartoon journalism. Museum curators reminded cartoonists of the rich heritage of past editorial cartoonist greats and how they reflected the political climate of the times.

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September 29, 2014

Psychology of Fundraising

Posted by Ken Poland on September 29, 2014

I receive 30 or 40 emails declaring all is lost if I don’t send in $3 to $5 immediately. Disaster is just around the corner and if I can send in a dollar it will be matched. If I sent in $3 for every email it would add up to several hundred dollars pretty quickly.

I might experience a real disaster if at the end of the season i can’t pay all my current bills and satisfy my operating loan repayment at the bank. My operation will cease to exist. Government seems to survive and recover, in spite of the fact that it doesn’t always respect or reflect by priorities or standards.

I can’t help but wonder if they are selling chances on a dead horse, when you read the alarming news that disaster will strike if they miss their deadline of midnight tonight.

Read More Here ...

September 24, 2014

A Meeting to Raise the Minimum Wage in Mountain View, California

Posted by Angelo Lopez on September 24, 2014

In September 8, 2014, the Mountain View City Council held a hearing where citizens could talk about their views on a proposed draft ordinance to adopt a city minimum wage of $10.15 per hour and to include an annual adjustment for inflation. The proposed draft is modeled after San Jose's minimum wage ordinance and the rate will adjust by an amount corresponding to the prior year's Consumer Price Index. I went to the meeting to talk to other activists and to listen to what the citizens had to say for the City Council panel.

Read More Here ...

September 18, 2014

Thanks Ken

Posted by Angelo Lopez on September 18, 2014

Thanks Ken for your insights. You mentioned a lot of bad effects of NAFTA that I didn't think of. I didn't even think of the double whammy that you mentioned on the working class and the agricultural workers. I was just focused on NAFTA's effect on illegal immigrants, but you're right the NAFTA has had bad affects on small farmers, small businesses, and on union workers. I forgot who said this, but I remember a commentator saying that "free markets are never really free". Big businesses always have an advantage in these type of situations.

September 15, 2014


Posted by Ken Poland on September 15, 2014

Angelo, thank you for your observations on NAFTA.

The lobbying of Pres. Clinton for NAFTA was never one of his stellar accomplishments.

I'm an agricultural producer of corn and that agreement benefited me some. But the loss of domestic buying power of the factory and assembly workers in the U.S. cost us dearly.

Corporations started exporting unfinished products to Mexico, where non unionized workers assembled them at slave labor compensation and then imported those finished products back and sold them at the same prices they would have needed if produced totally in the U.S. This produced a double whammy on the working class and agricultural producers here at home.

This created disparity in the Mexican economy as well as the U.S. economy. Big business and their stockholders were the major beneficiaries of the NAFTA agreement. Small independent companies and consumers never benefited. Mom and Pop businesses and small farmers seldom benefit from, so called, open trade and unregulated economies.

September 14, 2014

NAFTA and Illegal Immigration

Posted by Angelo Lopez on September 14, 2014

I'd been doing a lot of research on illegal immigration and immigration reform these past few years and one question that I kept asking myself is: what is motivating these illegal immigrants to leave Mexico to the U.S.? One of the big reasons for the increase in illegal immigration in the past two decades has been the bad effect of NAFTA on Mexico's agricultural workers. Ever since NAFTA was enacted in the early 1990s, it has had both positive and negative effects on the Mexican economy. One of the negative effects has been with Mexico's poor farmers and agricultural workers. When Mexico signed the NAFTA agreement, Mexico agreed to get rid of its subsidies to agricultural products like corn. The United States, though, didn't have to take away its subsidies to its farming products. So many Mexican farmers couldn't compete with the lower prices of the American corn, wheat, soybeans and other products that flooded the Mexican market after NAFTA was passed, and a result was that 2 million agricultural jobs were lost in the 1990s and early 2000s. Before NAFTA, illegal immigration was actually in decline. After NAFTA, many of the agricultural workers who lost their jobs migrated to the United States to look for work. This is one of the reasons that illegal immigration grew in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Read More Here ...

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