We get our firewood from a fellow that has a blade, tool and saw sharpening business here in town. I’d noticed quite a few old guitars and other instruments around the shop there, and on my last visit I asked Dave, the proprietor, if he played. It turns out that he’s been learning guitar, and he showed me a book of traditional Folk tunes that he works from. His eyes lit up as he spoke about his love for music, and his dream of playing with other musicians.
At the time, I thought of how cool it would be to get together with people in the area and just play for the love of it.
Pete Seeger’s recent passing has stirred me to think about the role of music in our world and in our lives as something other than a commodity. I’ve decided to do more than just think about it.
In searching the Web and asking around at the music store, I wasn’t able to find something like this in our community, so I’m working to organize a gathering of people who love to sing, accompanied by traditional Folk instruments. I picture it as a family environment with people of all ages playing and singing for a couple hours some evening once a month. I’m currently looking for a church hall or other public space that would be available without charge for such an endeavor. If you happen to know of one, please get in touch.
In the meantime, visit Key City Singalong | Folk Music Gathering in Kankakee, if you’d like. It’s where I’ll be promoting the idea, and posting further information as things develop.
Wish us luck.
Deborah Meier writes at Talking Union about the greed behind the “new reform” movement in Education.
“Having failed time after time with vouchers—direct public funding of private schools, the new reformers saw a way around it. Their instincts also suggested that history favors reforms that make repeal difficult, almost impossible. So the motto is: move fast and thoroughly.”
Read the full article: Follow the money to understand education reform | Talking Union.
At Super Bowl XLVIII you had the military, the NFL and of course the smooth taste of Budweiser, all in one Fox camera shot of corporate Americana.
Read more from Dave Zirin: The Super Bowl’s Military Fables | The Nation.
From Thomas Edsall:
Thomas Piketty’s new book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” described by one French newspaper as a “a political and theoretical bulldozer,” defies left and right orthodoxy by arguing that worsening inequality is an inevitable outcome of free market capitalism. Piketty, a professor at the Paris School of Economics, does not stop there. He contends that capitalism’s inherent dynamic propels powerful forces that threaten democratic societies
Read More: Capitalism vs. Democracy – NYTimes.com.
“In earlier decades, the working class fomented reform. The labor movement led the charge for a minimum wage, 40-hour workweek, unemployment insurance, and Social Security. No longer. Working people don’t dare.”
Read the full essay: Robert Reich (Why There’s No Outcry).
Photo by Jim Capaldi
Pete Seeger was heroic in his testimony before the House Unamerican Activities Committee in 1955.
“I decline to discuss, under compulsion, where I have sung, and who has sung my songs, and who else has sung with me, and the people I have known. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American. I will tell you about my songs, but I am not interested in telling you who wrote them, and I will tell you about my songs, and I am not interested in who listened to them.”
Read Pete’s full testimony: House Un-American Activities Committee, August 18, 1955 – PeteSeeger.net.
It is sad to learn of the passing of Pete Seeger, who has been a personal hero of mine most of my life.
I’d like to share this excellent retrospective that Sam Anderson wrote on the occasion of Seeger’s 90th birthday in April of 2009.
“Seeger is, quite literally, a folk hero—in the sense that he collected, wrote, and popularized many of America’s essential songs. But he is also a folk hero in the sense that Paul Bunyan is a folk hero.”
Read the full essay here: Pete Seeger Celebrates His 90th Birthday — New York Magazine.
Five years ago, on January 23 2009, a CIA drone flattened a house in Pakistan’s tribal regions. It was the third day of Barack Obama’s presidency, and this was the new commander-in-chief’s first covert drone strike.
Across Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the Obama administration has launched more than 390 drone strikes in the five years since the first attack – eight times as many as were launched in the entire Bush presidency. These strikes have killed more than 2,400 people, at least 273 of them reportedly civilians.
Kevin Moore and Rachel Cohen hack through the lies being used to promote charter schools in Chicago.
One of the biggest misconceptions about charters is that the funds to run them come from private sources. While charters do receive donations and some private grants, 75 percent of their total funding comes from public resources.
Another lie that charter school opponents are unmasking is the claim that charters perform better than neighborhood schools. In reality, according to researchers on the forum panel, 80 percent of charter students showed no improvement or a worse performance in reading, compared to students in traditional public schools. For math, the figure was 63 percent.