Tuesday, October 28, 2014

NASA: A mishap occurred


NASA: "A mishap occurred shortly after liftoff. Orbital has declared a contingency. NASA and Orbital are still determining when a press conference will be held."

UPDATE: 646 pm EST: The Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Antares rocket lifted off to start its third resupply mission to the International Space Station, but suffered a catastrophic anomaly shortly after liftoff at 6:22 p.m. EDT. No injuries have been reported, and Orbital reports that all personnel around the Wallops Flight Facility launch site have been accounted for. NASA will continue to provide additional updates as they become available, as well as the earliest expected time for a news conference.

Friday, October 24, 2014

A World Series Challenge With A Gay Twist

Although I don't really want to add to the hysteria about baseball, my old chorus from Kansas City has issued a challenge to the San Francisco Gay Mens Chorus:

The artistic director of Heartland Men's Chorus challenges the artistic director of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus to a friendly World Series wager.

Will Tim accept?

Raise the stakes?

And who will win the series?

**UPDATE:

San Francisco has upped the ante with their own challenge.

Okay, gentleman. We'll play ball with you!

We accept SFGMC’s latest challenge, and in the extremely unlikely event that the Giants win the series, HMC will:
  • Send Russell Stover chocolates to the members of SFGMC. (Because victory is sweet.)
  • Send $100 gift certificate for Jack Stack Kansas City barbecue (Because you just might need some comfort food.)
  • Send a $200 Southwest Airlines Voucher towards a round trip from SF to KC, a night at Hotel Phillips, and two 2 HMC concert tickets to be used as SFGMC would like. (You should come see one of our concerts…it might inspire you!)
  • Serenade SFGMC with a videotaped rendition of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” (We’re not buying that sheet music just yet.)
BONUS “CLEAN SWEEP" BET
  • Should the Giants do the unthinkable and sweep the series in seven games, cabaret and jazz legend Marilyn Maye will sing the outgoing message on Tim Seelig’s voicemail. (She’s performed across the globe but, like all people of taste and refinement, she calls Kansas City home.)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Alfre Woodard performing "Ain't I a Woman?"

Published on Oct 23, 2014
Alfre Woodard performing "Ain't I a Woman?" by Sojourner Truth at our 2014 Human Rights First Dinner Award. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

John Sims Rocks!


 My friend John Sims is the soloist in this track!



My friend John Sims is the soloist for this track. No 1. I love him, he moved to California a while back and I heard??? that he might be moving back to Kansas City?? No 2. I LOVE this song! Very political and very ACCURATE if you asked me....which you didn't, but it's my damm blog HA. Feel free to listen and see if you have the same reaction: Love you John!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

#FreeSpeech rights trampled by Utah gun laws!

Why are we letting the NRA ruin this country? Why? Can anyone tell me why?


Dear William,
Horrifying. An anonymous emailer wrote that if Utah State University didn’t cancel Anita Sarkeesian’s speech about women's rights within 24 hours, then he would commit the “deadliest school shooting in American history.”[1]
The warning letter, purportedly from a USU student, was sent to dozens of Utah State University school administrators several days before Anita Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak at the public university in Logan, Utah. 
Sarkeesian, the feminist cultural critic who has become a lightening rod for challenging how women are portrayed and treated in videogames, has been dealing with such violent harassment and threats for years. She was planning to speak anyway… until she learned that audience members would be permitted to carry concealed weapons into the event space, and there was nothing the school could do about it.
This is NOT okay on so many levels. 
*Can you help us tell Utah Governor Gary Herbert that Utah can’t allow its gun law, which prohibits colleges from taking concealed weapons from valid permit holders, to trump First Amendment rights to free speech? Sign on to our message now: 
Moms, dads, and everyone who cares about our ability to speak out on issues of violence against women must stand up and protest laws which allow violent intimidation of advocates for women and prevent students from learning about critical issues that impact their lives.

After bowing out of the speech, Sarkeesian turned to Twitter to clarify: "I didn’t cancel my USU talk because of terrorist threats, I canceled because I didn’t feel the security measures were adequate." The school not only declined to install metal detectors, it also would not conduct pat downs at the door, she reported.[2]
"It's sort of mindboggling to me that they couldn't take efforts to make sure there were no guns in an auditorium that was threatened with guns and a mass shooting," Sarkeesian told The Associated Press. "I don't understand how they could be so cut and dry about it."[3]
Public institutions of higher education must be able to protect college students and all those who want to engage in a full and open discussion on important issues, like violence against women. Tell Governor Gary Herbert that Utah cannot allow its gun laws to compromise First Amendment rights: http://action.momsrising.org/sign/UtahStateCampusGunSafety/?t=6&akid=5867.293409.3it6da
The University of Utah had long banned concealed weapons on its campuses until 2004, when the Utah State Legislature decided that all public schools must be covered by a state law that allows concealed weapons on state property.[4] Today, Utah is one of seven states that allow concealed carry on college campuses, along with Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Idaho and Wisconsin. It is the only state, however, that explicitly forbids colleges from not allowing concealed weapons at events.[5]
The foundation of America’s world-class university system rests on the First Amendment, which protects the free exchange of thoughts and ideas. This week, Utah’s campus guns laws prevented USU from taking reasonable precautions for securing the safety of Anita Sarkeesian, its students and all who wanted to engage in a full and open discussion on the important issue of videogames and violence against women.
Help us tell Utah Governor Herbert that Utah must not allow it’s gun laws to trump the First Amendment, the most fundamental of our Constitutional rights. If we don't speak out now, even more states will pass laws that prevent colleges from protecting their students and allow bullies to use violent threats to prevent the free exchange of ideas. Sign on now: http://action.momsrising.org/sign/UtahStateCampusGunSafety/?t=8&akid=5867.293409.3it6da
On Wednesday, Utah State University students protested the cancellation of a Sarkeesian’s appearance. More than 50 students and faculty members gathered outside the campus student center to defend free speech and decry the threats made against Sarkeesian. "This is an academic institution," said biology student Geoff Smith. "Without a free exchange of ideas, we don’t have anything. So for that to be silenced or quashed or anything like that, it’s wrong." [6]
Can you forward this email to your friends and family who would help us defend women's safety and the First Amendment?
Together, we are a powerful voice for women's safety, freedom of speech and the free exchange of ideas at our institutions of higher learning, and for safe campuses for our students.

-- Gloria, Donna, Kristin and the rest of the MomsRising.org team

[3] "Feminist Speaker Questions Utah's Campus Gun Laws," ABC News, Oct. 15, 2014.
[4] "Utah only state to allow guns at college," NBC News, Apr. 28, 2007.
[5] Ibid, ABC News.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Why I Wrote I Am Harvey Milk

This is from Andrew Lippa's article from the Huffington Post.  He wrote I Am Harvey Milk. What an astounding story, what an astounding piece of intensely emotional music. This was probably my favorite show of all time...it filled me with such an intense feeling of peace, despite its insistent message. I found it to be one of the most fullfilling endeavors I've ever participated in.

Why I Wrote I Am Harvey Milk


I'd like to introduce you to Daniel Cords. I don't know Daniel, but we had an email exchange recently that made me want to know him and, more, made me want to tell others about him. Daniel Cords loves to sing, loves music, loves men and loves his gay brothers in the Seattle Men's Chorus. He also attempted suicide in 2006.
Daniel came out to his parents when he was 14. Blindsided, they set out to fix him and enrolled him in a course of religious-based reparative therapy treatment. When that didn't work they kicked him out of the house when he was 17 and still a senior in high school. He didn't graduate with his class. He fought depression. And one day, despite Daniel's love of music and the support of the loving environment of the Seattle Men's Chorus, Daniel took an entire bottle of Ambien.
It turns out he was one of the lucky ones, however. He wound up in intensive care and, after his release from the hospital, saw that he had been given a second chance at life. He grabbed it. But, rather than me paraphrasing, I'm reprinting the email chat we had -- with his permission, edited for length -- that answers the question I was asked to answer here: Andrew, why did you write I Am Harvey Milk?
Daniel wrote me:
Andrew,
I had the fortunate opportunity to sing Harvey's solo with the Seattle Men's Chorus in Seattle, in Germany, and finally, in Cleveland for the Gay Games. I have performed in and around Seattle for several years and have been a featured soloist in the Seattle Men's Chorus for many of my past nine years with the chorus. Harvey however, was and will probably be, my absolute favorite role.
Words do little justice to express the impact this role has on my life, but what I can say now is that this production has reached and touched every audience we brought it to.
My two favorite moments in this performance were in Berlin and Cleveland. As we finished the final 'come out' we raised our fists in defiance. There were about 8,000 in attendance and many of them raised their fists with us. I have goose bumps just remembering this.
The gay games, which hosted thousands of athletes from all over the world, was especially powerful. It wasn't the standing ovation, rather the sheer fact that an entire city came together to host the LGBTQIA community. It shows what we can do when we 'come out.' But in the spirit of Harvey, this song is relevant because Ohio does not yet have marriage equality and still maintains conversion therapy for minors. It touched us all.
Thank you again, Andrew. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
With great respect and love,
Daniel Cords
I wrote him back:
Dear Daniel,
I'm very moved by your email. I've told the story of this piece's genesis several times, and you may have heard it, so forgive me if it's repetitive. Briefly, Tim Seelig emailed me from The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, asked me to write a five-minute piece, and I answered immediately 'I don't want to write a five-minute piece, I want to write a 60-minute piece.' I didn't quite know why at the time but I know more now.
I wrote it for you. I wrote it for anyone who has ever had to hide or keep secret their true nature. I wrote it for me so that I might get a step closer to understanding my own gay life, my own gay wounds, my own gay joys. I wrote it for that 21-year-old woman who, after a performance in San Francisco, went outside the auditorium, took out her phone, and made 'that call' to her parents.
I wrote it so that we -- all our gay brethren -- can have something to celebrate, to sing about, to revel in.
In this Age of Google I hope you'll forgive me seeking a bit more information about you online. I read the story about your experience with your parents, the scholarship money, your suicide attempt, your recent college degree, your partner. It was quite an article. How much joy it gave me knowing that you now can, with all your broken pieces being put back together the way YOU want them to be, sing at the top of your golden lungs, give voice to some of the feelings you've surely felt, face 'them' and declare 'I'm tired of the life I used to lead.' What a triumph it must have been for you and your loved ones. What a joy it is for me to share in it.
I send you, with all the love I can, my very best for your growth and success in life. I am so grateful you wrote to me.
Love,
Andrew Lippa
And, finally:
Andrew,
I am glad you Googled me and found my story. A part of the story not shared: When I was kicked out of my parents' home, I left high school -- I was a high school dropout. I lived that life of shame, self-doubt, and intense guilt. It was the role models I found in the Seattle Men's Chorus who told me to befriend myself, teaching me that I am worthy of life and that our collective stories can change the world. Their overwhelming support helped me return to school, graduate high school, and this March I will receive my Master's in Adult Education with a concentration in Organizational Behavior. I now work as an activist for nontraditional students (primarily adult learners), and of course, sex and gender diversities (primarily with the pending ban on conversion therapy in Washington State).
I am so happy I could share my story with you as it provides a great sense of completeness and closure to this incredible production.
On a side note, I am incredibly excited to hear Kristin Chenoweth sing with you in October at Lincoln Center! The musical theatre fan within is going absolutely crazy.
Thank you,
Danny
No, Danny. Thank you.
2014-09-23-HARVEY8.jpg
Andrew Lippa as Harvey Milk in I Am Harvey Milk

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Secret Torment of Joni Mitchell

Unflinching memoir reveals how reclusive 70s icon battles with a disease that makes her skin crawl, is haunted by stalkers and the heartache of giving her daughter up for adoption

by Caroline Howe 
Mail Online
September 1, 2014

She was the darling of the west coast music scene during the seventies. With a string of highly publicized affairs - Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills and Nash, Jackson Brown, James Taylor and Warren Beatty - and a back catalogue of song standards, Joni Mitchell defined an era in the music industry known as much for its sexual excess as its creativity.

But though her years of success have left her financially wealthy, today there is little about Mitchell to suggest they have brought her lasting joy.

She no longer sings - 61 years of smoking have taken their toll on her famously sweet and supple voice. At the age of 70 she is disenchanted with American society she dismisses as 'like Velveeta,' the music industry which she finds abhorrent and consumed by her own angsts and paranoias.

This is the startling reality revealed in Joni Mitchell, In Her Own Words Conversations with Malka Marom (published by ECW Press), and out this month, it is an unflinching insight into the eight-times Grammy winning singer/songwriter's lifelong battle with chronic illness, the pain of giving up her daughter for adoption, paranoia and a rare disease that literally makes her feel like her skin is crawling

Mitchell was stricken with polio when she was eight years old and she has been crippled by a lifelong insecurity complex as well as an unnamed disorder that caused her to burst into tears at nothing significant - the book reveals that even the sight of a bulldozer once made her sob.

She has become forgetful and suffers from Morgellons, a rare, mysterious and controversial disease that attacks the nervous system that makes sufferers feel like there are parasites living under the skin. She said it left her unable to leave the house, walk or wear any clothes for excruciatingly long periods of time.

The singer expresses her fear of the dark because she had so many stalkers lurking around the Laurel Canyon home she had when she became a critical sensation after Judy Collins had a hit with Mitchell's song, 'Both Sides Now' - before Mitchell had a chance to record it herself.

It was the early 1970s and famous Canyon residents included Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jackson Brown, the Mamas & the Papas.

Ladies of the Canyon, an album Joni released in 1970, went platinum and had a hit single, 'Big Yellow Taxi'. The next year, her album Blue went platinum, featuring songs like 'Carey', 'My Old Man', and contributions from James Taylor who was thought to be the subject of the Blue album.

It was during that Laurel Canyon period that she fell in and out of love with Taylor and Graham Nash and expressed her heartbreak in her music.

'At that time that James [Taylor] and I were spending time together, he was a total unknown. Maybe I helped his career. Crosby, Stills, and Nash. They met in my house and they became a band. I introduced them here. At that time we were all writing new songs'.

'The rock 'n' roll industry is very incestuous. We have all interacted and been the source of many songs for one another. James has written songs for me, I've written songs for him. Graham and I have written songs for one another'.

'Like Paris was to the Impressionists and the post-Impressionists, L.A. was the hotbed of all musical activity. The greatest musicians in the world either live here or pass through here regularly. I think that a lot of beautiful music came from it, and a lot of beautiful times came through that mutual understanding. A lot of pain came from it too, because inevitably different relationships broke up and it gets complicated', she told Marom.

It was a strange place, far from home for the girl from austere post-war Alberta to find herself.

Growing up in Fort Macleod, in the southwest corner of the Canadian Province, some two hours from the U.S. border in Montana, she could only dream of a life of glamour by looking at the Simpsons-Sears catalogue - which the young Mitchell dubbed 'The Book of Dreams'.

'It was so glamorous when I was a child, four or five. We would pick out our favourite matron's girdle and our favourite saw and our favourite hammer', Mitchell told Marom. Reflecting on her childhood, Mitchell reveals she was terribly affected by Bambi, particularly the scene where the deer's mother was trapped in the fire. It was an unlikely spark for her artistry. The traumatic scene made her obsessively draw pictures of fire and deer running, in an attempt to exorcise it from her mind.

'I think maybe that's the beginning of my contempt for my species and what it does. How ignorant it is of sharing this planet with other creatures. Its lack of native intelligence, common sense, or spirituality addressed to the earth...', she told the author.

At age eight in 1951, she came down with polio and was sent to recover in a trailer annex outside a catholic hospital one hundred miles from home that she shared with a kid who constantly picked his nose. Her father never visited, her mother came once.

Mitchell was told she would never walk again but she refused to accept that and prayed for her legs to come back although she wasn't sure what she was praying to - maybe even the Christmas tree, she recalls.

A year later, she was able to stand up and walk. Back home, she joined the church choir and it was there at age nine with the other girls that she had her first cigarette. She has smoked pathologically since then.

In fourth grade, she had a friend four years older who was a classically trained piano student, Frankie McKitrick. He introduced her to music, ballet and film.

'I never thought of myself as a musician', she said. She begged her mother for a piano but dropped it when the teacher hit her with a ruler.

Ten years later, she saved up enough to buy a $36 ukulele when she was ten.



'That was the beginning. I got into playing just for spending money, for smoking money and movie money. And for fun; it was just fun when you got a room full of people playing, you know. That's the way I started and it really was to be no more than that. My ambition was to be a painter'.

She played the ukulele at a coffeehouse in Calgary for money to smoke, bowl, go to a movie or eat a pizza. She was teaching herself to play the ukulele from a Pete Seeger instruction book.

Next stop on the coffeehouse circuit was Toronto where she fell pregnant to a boyfriend who left her three months later, and living in a house full of starving artists. Her meals consisted of Ingersoll cheese spread and Hovis loaf.

'I'd come through such a rough, tormented period as a destitute, unwed mother. It was like you killed somebody. I had some serious battles for a twenty-one-year-old', she told Marom. 'The following year I made a bad marriage in an attempt to keep my child'.

But she was haunted by the memory of her parents, who she thought should never have been together, and gave up the baby, a girl called Kilauren, for adoption in 1965. The marriage did not last much longer

Her song, 'Both Sides Now', recorded by more than one thousand other artists, was triggered by her broken heart, and the loss of her child.

When she met manager Elliot Roberts in Greenwich Village in 1967, her life turned around. He was managing comedians at the time but after meeting her at the Café au Go Go, he said he would manage her exclusively.

Her darkest days seemed to be over and soon she was in Los Angeles, and was signed to Reprise Records in 1968 and then to Asylum. Her first album, 'Joni Mitchell', established her songwriting style.

Her second album, 'Clouds', recorded while she was living with her latest lover, Graham Nash, after leaving David Crosby, featured hits 'Chelsea Morning' and 'Both Sides Now'. Her personal life may have been messy, but it was inspiring the hits.

Under the guidance of Roberts, she was invited to Woodstock in 1969 but made a scheduled appearance on the Dick Cavett show instead of heading to upstate New York. Watching the unrivaled event on television, she wrote the hit song of the same name that was included on her 'Ladies of the Canyon' album in 1970.

At age twenty-seven, she quit the music business for two years. 'I lost my daughter. I made a bad marriage. I made a couple of bad relationships after that. And then I got this illness - crying all the time. That was the year I burst into tears. They walked on the moon, I cried'.

'Something was biochemical off then. I couldn't be around people because everything made me weep'. She offers no other explanation for the condition.

Looking for land to buy in British Columbia to homestead, she burst into tears beyond consolation. 'I was a basket case', she admitted. Seeing a bulldozer and trees cut down to stumps brought her to tears.

When she found the land she wanted, she realized: 'This land is going to be my companion for the rest of my life'. She intended to be a hermit and never come back.

Taking medicine was not going to get to answer why she felt this way. She turned inwards and analyzed herself over and over, rather than lean on her friends for help.

She took books with her and began to study the self, reading the I Ching, Freud, Jung, Nietzsche.

'Fortune changed the course of my destiny. I became a musician. I wouldn't have pursued music but for trouble'.

And suffering through a broken heart, a broken body and depression, she felt she grew. 'It gives you an inkling that you're an a**hole, but you don't quite know why'.

She still views herself as a freak and a rebel. She never turned up to receive any of her eight Grammys. 'Those prizes are not too valuable to me. They don't seem to be a fair measure', she said.

Mitchell says of her love life: 'Maybe I'm a courtesan or something'. Between 1977 and 1980, she was involved with Don Alias, a jazz percussionist who worked with jazz greats and introduced her to his musical world and the Afro-Cuban musicians.

They would come around to the house they shared and jam in the living room. That would lead to her working with jazz bassist Charles Mingus.

Two years later, Mitchell married longtime producer and bassist Larry Klein from 1982 to 1994 who worked on her best-selling albums during those years. He worked on her 1994 Grammy-winning album 'Turbulent Indigo' that chronicled the end of their marriage when he started going out to dinner with the new girl singers coming up behind her. Mitchell had discovered she was pregnant after believing she was infertile from an earlier infection.

She wanted the baby badly and Larry was excited to be a father but he was off to a recording date in England. Joni suffered a miscarriage and Larry left her in the painful aftermath.

Always searching for something - for meaning and purpose, she said: 'I've had the experience of poverty, middle class, now extreme wealth and luxury, and that's difficult too'.

Now she is alone. Mitchell lives like a recluse, dividing her time between a home she built in a remote area of British Columbia and an equally isolated sprawling villa high up in Bel Air, California, overlooking Los Angeles.

And stalker after stalker after stalker in my yard. A lot of Manson-type butcherous stalkers.'I'm the night watchman. I can't sleep until it's light outside. I am scared of the dark

While living luxuriously between two homes, she's adamantly negative on America and the industry that made her so successful.

'America is like really into Velveeta (the processed cheese). Everything has to be homogenized. Their music should be homogenized, their beer is watered down, their beauties are all the same. The music is the same track'.

But it's in America that her music is playing in department stores and in elevators. Joni Mitchell has become the soundtrack to millions of lives, and the royalties from those songs have made her very wealthy.

She once turned down playing a one-night gig in Las Vegas that would have earned her a million dollars.

She recounts: 'It was just a seedy little place in the desert where you poured your money down a big hole...it was the kiss of death for serious music'.

Invited to perform 'Both Sides Now' at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, Joni bailed because she was 'at the height of my illness, when I couldn't even wear clothing'.

She was fighting Morgellons described by the Mayo Clinic as 'an unexplained skin disorder characterized by disfiguring sores and crawling sensations on and under the skin'.

'CDC experts note that the signs and symptoms of Morgellons disease are very similar to those of a mental illness involving false beliefs about infestations by parasites (delusional parasitosis)'.

'I couldn't wear clothing. I couldn't leave my house for several years. Sometimes it got so I'd have to crawl across the floor. My legs would cramp up, just like a polio spasm. It hit all of the places where I had polio'.

But it's not a recurrence of polio.

'Morgellons is constantly morphing. There are times when it's directly attacking the nervous system, as if you're being bitten by fleas and lice. It's all in the tissue and it's not a hallucination. It was eating me alive, sucking the juices out. I've been sick all my life'.

Mitchell broke off friendships feeling she was wasting her time with some people she calls 'deadwood'.

She lost her drive and doesn't follow projects through to conclusion. She's forgetful and can't remember what she just said, Marom writes.

If she's out walking and has a thought she wants to remember but no notebook, she won't remember when she gets home.

There are times when it's directly attacking the nervous system, as if you're being bitten by fleas and lice. It's all in the tissue and it's not a hallucination. It was eating me alive, sucking the juices out. I've been sick all my life

'There's a lot of lethargy with my illness. I'm fatigued', she laments. And the medicines she was taking gave her brain fog, adding: 'My creative energy went into survival and into furnishing the interior of the house [in British Columbia]'.

Her increased irritability and intolerance she attributes to Morgellons.

And she is still tormented by insomnia, from the years of being stalked in LA. She calls it 'personal chronic situations of tension. And stalker after stalker after stalker in my yard. A lot of Manson-type butcherous stalkers.

'I'm the night watchman. I can't sleep until it's light outside. I am scared of the dark'. But she has no fear in British Columbia where there are wolves and coyotes and a neighbor who's like an uncle.'

Mitchell reunited briefly with her long-lost daughter, Kilauren Gibb, she gave up for adoption.

The mother-daughter reunion lasted only until 2001 when it blew up and they separated. They were incompatible.

Despite her obvious disaffection, looking back at the agony and the ecstasy, she said: 'I would not change anything. I would do it all over again'.

Picture Post...It Wasn't My Bottle, I Swear Edition










Monday, July 21, 2014

Water As Leverage


William, right now, in Detroit, thousands of families don’t have water to drink, wash their hands, or flush their toilets. Why?

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is shutting off water at thousands of Detroit homes with outstanding debts each week, even if their account debt was incurred by previous owners.

Sign the petition to President Obama and Health Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell: Declare a public health emergency and turn the water back on in Detroit!

This is a violation of the human right to water and a serious threat to the health of those affected by the shutoffs.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can do something about it. The federal government can step in to turn the water back on for all Detroit residents by declaring a public health emergency.

Sign the petition now: Declare a public health emergency in Detroit.

Keep fighting,
Chris Bowers, Daily Kos


P.S. Please help keep Daily Kos strong by chipping in $3.


To unsubscribe from ALL Daily Kos emails, visit this link. To opt-out ONLY from action emails, visit this link.


▶ Show quoted text
William, I just got back from Detroit where—following the lead of local activists—thousands of Netroots Nation attendees marched to protest the wave of water shut-offs happening in the city.

And it looks like we had an impact. Today, the Detroit Water & Sewage Department announced that they are suspending the water shut-offs for 15 days!

This is great news, but the fight is far from over. A department spokesman said: “this is not a moratorium”—and over 15,000 Detroit residents have already had their water access shut off, with nearly half the city in danger.

Your signature is missing from our petition to President Obama and HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burrell—demanding that they declare a public health emergency in Detroit to turn the water back on. Click here to sign.

Keep fighting,
Paul Hogarth, Daily Kos

Date: July 16, 2014 7:21 P.M.
From: Chris Bowers, Daily Kos
Subject: William, sign this: Absolutely unimaginable that this could happen in America



William, right now, in Detroit, thousands of families don’t have water to drink, wash their hands, or flush their toilets. Why?

The Detroit Water and Sewage Department is shutting off water at thousands of Detroit homes with outstanding debts each week, even if their account debt was incurred by previous owners.


Sign the petition to President Obama and Health Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell: Declare a public health emergency and turn the water back on in Detroit!

This is a violation of the human right to water and a serious threat to the health of those affected by the shutoffs.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can do something about it. The federal government can step in to turn the water back on for all Detroit residents by declaring a public health emergency.

Sign the petition now: Declare a public health emergency in Detroit.

Keep fighting,
Chris Bowers, Daily Kos

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Spot the Station KC


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WKR Voices Inc.

So I've started to give voice lessons. If you're in the Kansas City area and need to brush up on your singing voice, you can contact me and use my 25+ years of singing experience to help you improve your skills!

WKR Voices Inc

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Do Something...Anything. #NotOneMore

**Warning: some readers may find the content of this email disturbing.**
William -

I left my ex-boyfriend. In response, he broke into my mother’s house, and shot and killed her. Then he held me hostage, raped me, and shot me in the head, leaving me for dead. I believe that I survived in order to tell my story and help save other women’s lives.

My ex-boyfriend didn’t have trouble getting a gun, even though I had a domestic abuse restraining order against him. Thousands of women across the country live in fear of their abusive partners or stalkers who also have guns, or who can get guns easily. That’s not acceptable.

There’s a bill in Congress that would help fix this broken system. It’s important that we show how many people support this common sense idea to save women’s lives.

Please sign the petition to support a bill in Congress that will protect women by keeping stalkers and abusers from buying or owning guns.

Women, particularly victims of domestic violence and stalking, are at an unacceptable risk of gun violence. More than half of women who are killed by their intimate partners are killed with guns.

As it stands, the current law doesn’t protect women who aren’t married to their abusers, nor does it protect victims of stalkers. It’s way too easy for thousands of stalkers and abusers to buy or own a gun -- and many aren’t even subject to background checks.

The bill in Congress, sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar, would close those loopholes and make it tougher for abusers or stalkers to get their hands on guns. Passing the bill means saving the lives of thousands of women.

I miss my mom every day. My ex-boyfriend took her from me, just like he tried to take my life. But I survived. I’m here to tell my story and to stop it from happening to another woman ever again.

Can you join me? Click here to sign the petition to Congress in support of a bill to protect women by keeping guns out of the hands of abusers and stalkers:

http://action.americansforresponsiblesolutions.org/page/s/klobuchar_sarah

Thank you,

Sarah Engle

Monday, July 14, 2014

An Incredible Interactive Chart of Biblical Contradictions

A few years ago, computer science whiz Chris Harrison created a beautiful visualization linking up every cross reference in the Bible. So, for example, if a verse in the New Testament referred back to a verse in the Old Testament, there was an arc drawn between the two chapters they were in (the vertical lines at the bottom represent the number of verses in that chapter):
Amazing! Turns out there are 63,779 cross references in the Bible (and that many arcs in the image)! If it’s any indication of how complex this image is, the high-resolution version is more than 100MB large.
In 2009, graphic designer Andy Marlow used Harrison’s work as his inspiration to created a similar visual for Sam Harris‘ Reason Project. This time, though, he only included arcs representing contradictions in the Bible:
Helpfully, this visual also included text explaining what the contradictions were and where they could be found:
Also amazing! But very bulky and not very user-friendly. I don’t know that you could really print out a poster that large and, even if you could, the arcs are still a blur.
Now, computer programmer Daniel G. Taylor has taken all that data and turned it into a visual masterpiece.
His website, BibViz (Bible Visualization), gives you the same linking arcs as before, but when you hover over one of them, it lights up and tells you in the upper right-hand corner of the screen which verses are being linked together. Click on an arc and it takes you directly to those verses as compiled in the Skeptics Annotated Bible:
That’s not all. The visual also shows you where in the Bible you’ll find the passages featuring Cruelty/Violence, Discrimination against Homosexuals, Scientific Absurdities/Historical Inaccuracies, or (below) Misogyny/Violence/Discrimination against Women:
See the long bar on the far left side? That means the Book of Genesis has more anti-women verses than any other book in the Bible. And all those bars are clickable and lead you to the specific passages in the Skeptics Annotated Bible.
When I asked Daniel what inspired him to create this, he said (via email):
Some of my family is extremely religious, and after quite a few discussions with them and some friends I was inspired to look up the Reason Project’s contradictions poster again as a reference, but thought it might be nice to have something like that without the duplicated entries, with the ability to click individual links, and something that could be regenerated easily should errors be found.
The whole site is seriously an incredible resource. Go there and just play around with it. Then show your fundamentalist religious friends and watch them squirm. There’s just no plausible way anyone can take the Bible literally after spending time on this site… unless they’re closing their eyes, sticking their fingers in their ears, and refusing to think about any of the errors in their worldview.
(Thanks to Ed for the link!)


Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/08/19/an-incredible-interactive-chart-of-biblical-contradictions/#ixzz37UeP4QJz

SNAP! No Circus For Kansas City & The Kauffman Center

What? Did the elephants rebel and get sick of getting abused every day?