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Dust Off The Cobwebs On The Basement Bunker

07/22/2016
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t70_mo_01“Pretty Scary,” “Very Frightening” and “Alarming” are many of the words that were used on social media last night to describe Donald J Trump’s acceptance speech given to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

He was compared to Mussolini by many on tweeter and even to the often avoided Hitler reference.

I sat transfix watching this over an hour-long rant, and like many others, wishing it to end and wanted them to drop the balloons.

My ears heard doom and gloom as my eyes searched the TV screen panning the convention floor, looking for what I assumed was a glimpse of  Joe Btsplk, of Little Abner fame, with his jinx and cloud of rain over the convention and all of us.

I have often wonder what people meant when they stated they wanted to “Take America Back.” Last night that daunting question was answered.

Trump and his followers want to take America back to the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.

Guess it’s time to dust off the cobwebs on the door of the basement bunker and restock the shelves.

 

2016, A Long Way From Childhood Dreams

07/09/2016
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peace_symbol_petri_lumme_01When I was about 14, my family lived in a rural suburb of Youngstown which hadn’t started to experience the boom that would soon overtake that community.

There were many fields, some farms, and enough woods to give a curious and lonely teenager a place to explore and dream.

My Dad was a pastor of a small church which sat on a dead-end road that headed back to a Little League baseball field and then some woods that stretched far, far behind that field.

Acting as a “gate house,” to the world of my retreat, the parsonage occupied the lot at the entrance of that so-called street as a major highway rolled in front.

I had a dear friend during those formative years and her name was Lady. A mutt by breed and a loyal companion by nature.

Lady and I would often wander off and “get lost” in those magical woods that seemed to call my name as soon as the Summer sun rose in the morning sky.

In the middle of the woods was a small meadow and a babbling stream of cold, clear water, where I first saw a water spider skimming across the top of what appeared to be a sheet of  glass.

That wondrous water way was the first place I ever saw minnows darting back and forth among the ripples and the first place I ever saw tree frogs and toads.

Eagerly Lady would join me as I would take every chance I could to escape what I called, “the front world,”  and head back on that dusty little lane to a world only she and I could appreciate together.

In the meadow, that I named for her, I’d lay among the clover and wildflowers looking up at the clouds drifting by. They never seemed to interest Lady, but there she laid by my side, her head upon my chest with loyal devotion.

I would later in life write “every boy should have a dog to remember as a man and every man should have a dog to bring out the little boy.”

For me these were simple times, carefree times and a time without fear and anger. Times of dreams and imagination for a lad trying to find his way in what would become a complex world..

As I  recently watched the TV reporting on the Charleston; Orlando; Louisiana; Minnesota and now the Dallas shootings, read the instant online accounts plus the instant Facebook and Twitter postings, I begin to wonder if this “instant” age of information, bad or good and mainly bad, hasn’t taken us to a world where youth no longer hear the call of those “dreams,” those “magical woods,” or even, do those woods exist anymore?

Has man’s inhumanity to man paved over those dusty lanes to dreams?

I wonder if simpler times are now only illusions of age, a notion desired and enhanced by the fear of growing old?

Brutality has always been around us, yet it now appears to be even more so because it’s an instant age and romping through a meadow on a Summers day, being amazed by water spiders and tree frogs are not and instant moment.

That long intro now brings me to my point and where I must pause and remember three very remarkable, yet not very famous people, who did a big part in local “civil rights” in Northeast Ohio and influenced me, molded my thoughts during those turbulent 60’s.

My Dad and Mother will never go down in history as “civil rights” leaders, or well-known marchers, but they were there, standing side by side with those who sought justice and equality.

In every pulpit my father preached, in every parish my parents worked, they practiced what they preached throughout both Mahoning and Trumbull Counties.

In 1963, Dad and a local pastor of a black Baptist Church, joined together as “Brothers” and worked together in unity and fellowship.

Dad invited Dr Dulaney to preach from his pulpit along with an invitation to the Baptist Church Choir to perform.

They accepted and what a history making Sunday that was to behold.

Dr Dulaney in return invited Dad, along with our choir, to preach and sing at his Church, which was another history making event.

Neither of these events made the news wire service or will go down in the history books, but both men and events were just as important in establishing mutual respect and in teaching me the real ideals and truths that shaped the 60’s.

Later, when Doctor Dulaney was killed by a passing car while walking along the side of the road, Mom was asked to sing at his funeral, for the bond that was forged in unity of life was still strong, even in death. I can still hear my Mother’s voice singing “How Great Thou Art.”

Doctor Dulaney, Dad and Mom, I thank you for all you showed, taught me and instilled in me about mutual respect and love.

Thank you for taking a stand when others hid.

Thank you for showing me the truth in the fact that “all it takes for evil to conquer is for good people to do nothing.”

Thank you for being “good people” who did something.

All are gone now and I pray that the labor of their convictions have not gone in vain during this turbulent period of American history.

I can never return to those carefree days with Lady in the woods, or hide in the meadow day dreaming, but my parents did give me direction, a moral compass and the path to follow in this complex world.

I hope that as I reach the end of my journey, that I will be remembered as one who believed strongly in “All God’s children are created equal.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is The Voice Of The Majority The Voice Of God?

06/23/2016
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us_capitol_building_cli_01Here’s a question that really needs to be discussed, Is the voice of the majority the voice of God and is it always right?

Now I don’t propose that I have the answers but I do have my opinions, especially during this crazy election cycle and in what has become a nation in turmoil.

Last night, I was transported back to my teenage years, thanks to the minority members in the House of Representative with their 1960’s style “sit in,” of the well, on the House floor over the issue of common sense gun control and the “No Fly, No Buy” issue.

Not being a big fan, or follower of Donald J Trump, I must say that yesterday the GOP candidate for President made a great statement in his major speech attacking Secretary Hillary Clinton, “This election is about who runs the Country, the people or the politicians.”

With that being said, I must also state that I firmly believe that the Constitution was written to protect the minority from the majority, which will be a post for a later time.

Early this week, the US Senate defeated four bills, all concerning gun control and the “No Fly, No Buy” issue and all four failed along party lines and by using the 60 vote rule instead of the traditional governing of a democratic majority, 50 plus one.

Columbine, Sandy Hook, Charleston and Orlando mass murders have pushed the law abiding citizens, gun owners and not, to the brink of frustration on action.

In a CNN/ORC poll conducted from June 16th thru the 19th of 2016, some startling figures on how the overall public views and feels about common sense controls.

Here’s a look at a few of the poll results: 92% favor simple background checks; 54% favor a ban on assault weapons; 54% a ban on extended clips; 87% favor a ban on convicted felons and those with mental health issues and as for the “No Fly, No Buy” issue, 85% believe in a ban. Lastly, only 9% want to prevent gun ownership.

So, with this majority of peoples views being polled, the minority of Representatives in the House, unable to control the rules of that body, took action in the name of the people, as the majority party seems deaf to the will of the people, and a vote, or even discussion, on any issue concerning gun control was not to be forth coming.

One final note. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan last night showed, in dramatic fashion, who is running this country, the GOP political majority of the House and not the will of the majority of people.

Thank God for the House Minority.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Death Of Supreme Court Justice Will Change Political Landscape

02/14/2016
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Patriotic #1Having  been very neglectful in posting on Dare To Dream since last August, Saturday’s event, the death of Justice Scalia, has woken me, as well as many others, with a mighty shake and a loud “Oh My God.”

The course of the future of American law, social direction and political tenor, will be set for decades with the next nomination to the Supreme Court, no matter if appointed by President Obama or his successor.

Over the next days, weeks and months, Dare To Dream will explore the many possibilities of how America may be shaped and molded, and yes even changed, by this major event.

To say that generations of Americans will be affected is an understatement.

To me, the core of this debate will hinge around “civil liberties” such as voter rights; women’s rights; lgbt and black rights; money in politics and if the nation is finally pushed into a Theocracy by the conservatives.

So the debate begins and the stakes are monumental.

More to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photography, The Universal Language

08/30/2015
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Blue Moon #3It appears that since my retirement, I have picked up the ability to speak a language.

A language that I’m quickly finding is universally spoken and displayed.

A language that seems to unite and bind the world.

A language which needs only a camera, or cell phone, and the want to display the world as seen through one’s own eyes.

Granted it is one that I do not have a great fluency but one that I am practicing and perfecting.

One that has brought me in contact with others around the world who speak and display their own unique dialogue of the language that is photography.

Without knowing how to speak their native tongue I am able, with the help of the world-wide web, Instagram and Facebook, communicate my thoughts, dreams and the world about me by posting a simple photo.

From Milan, Paris or Cape Town, from Bangkok, Sydney or London, with a simple click on a heart or a like, people are in touch and “voice” their opinion of your craft, art or vision.DSC_0032

On Instagram I have watched with great anticipation the number of my followers, as well as those I follow, go from a dozen to nearly 200 and growing.

From all over the planet, their life and my life shared through the lens of a camera.

The language of a photo.

Truly, a photo is “worth a thousand words.”

Stranger At The Feeder

08/29/2015
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Ringed Turtle Dove #1It’s early Saturday morning as I sit in our sun-room/den and I write this post.

Outside the windows, a feeding station is being attacked by Sparrows; Chipmunks; Grackles; Red Winged Black Birds; Blue Jays; several Silver Squirrels; a large Red Squirrel and a Pine Squirrel all nudging and jousting for feed.

Among these unruly critters is one lonely, timid and very beautiful figure, a Ringed Turtle Dove.

For the last six days, like clock work, this peaceful bird has shown up and tried to fit in with the clamor around it and each day I have anticipated its arrival like a child on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa.

Since the first day at the feeding station of this non-native Ohio bird, I have been a person in awe of its simple beauty, and worried for its welfare.

Among the 30 some variety of birds on the property, we do have a few Mourning Doves that have survived the Hawk that has nested nearby, so I could see the similarity yet this larger bird was far more striking in color and appearance.

I went to my guide-book and there it was, a Ringed Turtle Dove but the description left me concerned:

“Origin unknown; domesticated widely. Established locally in several Florida cities. Habitat is City parks..”

“Domesticated” meant that this beauty was now vulnerable to its new environment and the Ohio weather.

My Mom had always joked as I was growing up that I was the re-incarnation of Saint Francis and she kept that comment right into my adult life, so that part of my personality came rushing forth – how do I help this stranger to the wild adapt and survive?

My first day was spent calling the local naturalist, nature reserves and even the Akron Zoo but to no avail. I also spent the first day taking photos of our new “guest” and posted them on Facebook and Instagram, hoping that someone with more knowledge than myself might give me guidance on what to do.Ringed Turtle Dove #2

Many thought the dove was beautiful, but like myself somewhat stumped on a solution.

After several days I received a phone call from a local naturalist asking if I could send him photos of the “bird”?

He went on to explain that Ohio has had new sightings of a breed of doves coming into the area called Eurasian Doves. I told him I was glad to do so, then hung up and off to the computer I went hoping that finally we could rest in the fact that this  creature might survive.

After several days of waiting, and each day this beauty showing up, I received a much-anticipated email from the Summit Parks Naturalist.

The bird that has been coming to your feeder is a Ringed Turtle Dove as you suspected. It must be an escapee or one someone released. Unfortunately, since it is a non-native bird no rehabilitator will take it in.  It is highly doubtful that the zoo or pet shops would have any interest in the bird either. Unless you are able to find someone who wants the bird, the best thing would be to feed it and let nature takes it course. I wish I had a better suggestion, but I don’t.  It is a beautiful bird, so I would just continue to feed it and enjoy it while it comes to your yard. 

I read the email and felt my breath shorten,

“…let nature take its course.”

That is going to be hard for me to do since I know that winter will soon be upon us and it can not survive.

Meanwhile, Bob and I have named our visitor simply, “Pretty Bird.”

Ringed Turtle Dove #3Every time we go out the door we speak softly and gently as it watches us from the bushes that line our property just across from the feeding station by the house.

Every day for the last five days this Ringed Turtle Dove has become a big part of our daily life.

Arriving early morning and disappearing at sunset.

As I write this post, I look out the window and there in the bushes peering back at me is this beautiful winged creature of nature that has brightened our daily life for the last week.

A creature that is a symbol of “peace and love” and now may I add for us, joy.

Trump Channels Traficant

07/31/2015

Donald-Trump-Financial-Disclosures

Guest Post: Steve Oravecz

Most political writers seem to expect GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump to self destruct. If he didn’t do himself in by claiming Sen. John McCain is no war hero, it is only a matter of time before he says something even more outrageous and plummets in the polls. Ruth Marcus in The Washington Post wrote on Thursday:

 In the end, my confidence that Trump will fizzle comes from Trump himself. “You can’t con people, at least not for long,” he wrote in “Trump: The Art of the Deal.” “You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.”

I’m not so sure about that. Right down to the bad hair, Trump sounds a lot like the late James A. Traficant of Youngstown, who was elected to Congress WASHINGTON, DC - Rep. James Traficant (D-OH) testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2002 before the House Ethics Committee. Earlier this year Traficant was found guilty on counts of fraud, bribery and tax evasion. (PHOTOGRAPH BY CHUCK KENNEDY/KRT)eight times before kicked out for taking a bribe. At the beginning, Traficant had some real populist credence. As sheriff, he refused to foreclose on steelworkers who had lost their jobs when the Youngstown mills closed. But as his career wore on, Traficant kept his seat by playing to the anger and frustrations of blue collar workers who saw their jobs move overseas as their way of life slipped away. His bombast gave him a reputation of telling it like it is, of standing up for the little guy and telling the fat cats to go to hell. Thanks to his billions of dollars and his celebrity status, Trump is Traficant on steroids.

Here is what Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said of Trump:

“He says what’s on his mind. He gives honest answers rather than prepared answers. This is more important than anything any candidate has done in years.”

Chris Cillizza of the Post wrote:

‘ “This guy isn’t afraid of anyone!,” you can imagine a Trump supporter saying. “He says whatever he damn well pleases!” ‘

People said the same thing about Traficant. So for all those waiting for Trump to flame out, recall that Traficant NEVER LOST until he tried to make a comeback after his prison sentence. Traficant’s career is littered with promises he never fulfilled. A Democrat, Traficant once voted for a Republican to become speaker of the house, ending any prayer he had of being an effective advocate for his constituents. But for the true believers, it didn’t matter. He still won. He was on their side. He was one of them. So don’t be surprised if Trump survives the attack on McCain just as Traficant weathered the vote for Dennis Hastert. As Cuban said,

“I don’t care what his actual positions are. … I don’t care if he says the wrong thing.” As long as Trump can keep people thinking he is the only guy telling it like it is, he will be a force in the GOP race for the White House.

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