Adopt Instead of Shop

Today is National Puppy Day! Happy, happy, happy!

Adopt Instead of Shop

It’s a good thing National Puppy Day’s motto is “Adopt instead of shop.” I don’t remember being a puppy. I celebrate, though–because I remember being adopted

I was on death row. The shelter people had me so long, they began whispering. Early one Saturday morning, they hauled all us unadoptable dogs over to a big store named Pet Smart. It would be my last chance to hook up with a human.

My coat was overgrown and shabby–Nerve-wracking! I smiled and wagged my tail more than ever–Exhausting! If anyone came near, I stood on my hind legs and twirled–Dizzying!

Pet shoppers kept asking, “Where are the puppies?” Blast! I was a young adult.

Hours passed. Finally, in one desperate last-ditch attempt, the animal worker girl made a sign and taped it to my crate. It read, “Loves People.” (Exactly what I was trying to tell everybody!)

That girl was a marketing genius… or the hand of God. As I scanned the meandering shoppers, it wasn’t long before I spied a glowing, shimmering aura that was advancing… straight toward me! My eyes dilated. All I could see was shining light.

We fell in love at first sight (though I was nearly blinded.) I would have a home. She would never be alone.

I heard her soft, melodious voice “coo” over me. She murmured, “Poodle? Bichon?” Her tender hands stroked my head and massaged behind my ears. I stood perfectly still, so as not to break the spell. (In theory. Technically, my tail was a blur!) This human smelled divine–a lot like chocolate.

She was my Lacey. My soon-to-be forever-human.

I thought the two of us would just stroll out the Pet Smart door and ride off into the sunset. (I didn’t care where we went–together!)

As it turned out, Lacey and I could not be together–without a battle. One of the other dogs, that big, mangy, truly unadoptable German Sheppard (at the shelter longer than me!)… liked her, too. You should have seen how he insinuated himself, blocking my view, and paraded himself right in front of Lacey!

To be continued…

Read more Chester Stories

A Progressive Christian Voice: John Pavlovitz

Pastor John Pavlovitz

Church pastors often take great care to be non-political as they tend their flocks. Yet, there is a far-right Christian political faction that wields a great deal of influence within the Republican Party. For many well-meaning conservative Believers (with the help of conservative corporate media, a slew of far-right celebrity commentators, and prosperity Gospel preachers), the line between political propaganda and the teachings of Christ have become blurred.

Therefore, I’m happy to report my discovery of a shining Progressive Christian voice that says “stuff that needs to be said.” It’s the voice of John Pavlovitz, youth pastor at the North Raleigh Community Church in North Carolina.

For the sake of balance in Christian spiritual politics, and for your (as Bible teachers like to say) edification, here’s a link to Pavlovitz’s latest blog post…

The Christians Who Defunded Jesus |

“The President’s proposed budget and the GOP’s recent maneuvers preceding it, seek to drastically reduce or eliminate funding for programs and services that tend to the urgent needs of our most vulnerable, most on the margins, most threatened citizens—the working poor, the hungry, the homeless, the physically sick, the mentally ill, the disabled, the elderly, those in public housing.

It’s a clear, shameless assault on those Jesus called “the least of these;” the ones he lived in solidarity with while here….”

~ John Pavlovitz

Be aware. Be fair. Be objective.

Where Does Standing Rock Stand?

What is happening with the Standing Rock Water Protectors in North Dakota? Since the last protesters were rounded up at the end of February, we’ve heard little about saving Native American sacred treaty lands, or protecting clean water for millions of creatures, or preserving human rights (which I am all for; my best friend is human).

The Black Snake & End Times

Ancient Hopi & Lakota Prophecies warned of “The Black Snake” trying to cross their rivers. If “The Black Snake” succeeds, it marks the end of the world. It may be selfish, but I’m glad we canines have shorter life spans than humans–because end times will be terrible.

I’m no sissy, I fear no natural snake, but I am afraid of “The Black Snake.” Any sensible person would be.

Right now, in our modern days, Standing Rock Water Protectors are trying to stop “The Black Snake,” AKA the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), from crossing the Missouri River–which is a really big aquifer. (An aquifer is how God and Nature store water for crops and everyone to drink.)

Only Weapons of Peace

Standing Rock protesters rely only on weapons of peace. No violence!

While standing their ground for over a year, they prayed, sang and danced. Indigenous people from all around the world joined them. So did social activists and environmentalists. And buffalo. And artists–like the dancers in the video below, who are astonishing…!

“We decided to make this video to show our support for everyone at Standing Rock and all those who are fighting for the cause. Know that your voices and actions are reaching all around the world. We hope this video will not only bring about awareness but unite us to stand together for what’s right to protect our Mother Earth (Gaia) in making our world a better place. Injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere.” ~ The Lor Brothers

But the opposition was not as nice. They used rubber bullets, pepper spray, and deafening sirens to beat back the protesters. They even used attack dogs (who grew up in bad environments with crazy propaganda) to scare and hurt the Water Protectors.

When U.S. Veterans saw that dogs were being brainwashed, they knew they had to restore sanity. They planned to form a human shield for the Water Protectors on December 4, 2016. But as soon as President Obama saw he was backed by highly influential Americans (Vets are human heroes), he ordered DAPL to stop.

But then we got a new President who only cares about money. (And he doesn’t allow dogs in the White House.) This guy said DAPL could go ahead. Grrrrrrrrr! The Water Protectors were threatened with trespassing. They had to leave Standing Rock. The Bureau of Indian Affairs and the police rounded up lingering protesters and sent them away. Grrrrrrrrr!

Forced to leave Standing Rock, the Sioux Nation is now trying to use judicial law to stop “The Black Snake.” The ACLU is helping them! The new President doesn’t understand much about law, so this legal battle against DAPL might work!

But protests and demonstrations are far from over. On March 7, 2017, indigenous rights activists gathered at the Washington Monument in D.C. to stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline. And people all around the world are still divesting their money from banks that support DAPL.

More on Standing Rock Water Protectors

Breaking News – Black Snake Prophecy Happening NOW – Standing Rock (Video) | Joseph Tittel

‘We Must Kill the Black Snake’: Prophecy and Prayer Motivate Standing Rock Movement | CBC News

Indigenous Native American Prophecy Elders Speak (Full Video) | Jeremiah Rebelmusic

A Harmonious Resistance Creates Global Solidarity for Standing Rock | National Geographic

Standing Rock Fight Comes to Washington for Multiday Protest | ABC News

Ashley Judd’s Full Speech at “Women’s March” in Washington D.C. – “I Am a Nasty Woman” | Youtube

It’s been a week; time to revisit. But if you haven’t yet witnessed actress Ashley Judd’s dramatic interpretation of Nina Donovan’s poem “Nasty Woman,” my advice is to sit down and buckle up. Your heart will likely lurch throughout the entire performance.

Tina Donovan is a 19-year-old woman from Tennessee. She wrote her protest poem after viewing the presidential debate in which Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman.” Ashley Judd performed the spoken word art on January 21, 2017 at the Women’s March on Washington.

Meet Nina Donovan, the 19-Year-Old Poet Behind Ashley Judd’s Explosive Women’s March Speech | i-D Vice

“Last Saturday morning, actress and activist Ashley Judd performed Nina’s poem “Nasty Woman” to a crowd of 500,000 protesters at the Women’s March on Washington, following speakers including Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, and America Ferrera. Judd’s reading was streamed by NBC, ABC, and thousands of raised iPhones to viewers all over the world, including Nina herself. “I was at the march in Nashville with friends, watching it on my phone,” she says, “It was like a dream.” […] ~ Alice Newell-Hanson

“Nasty Woman” by Tina Donovan

I’m a Nasty Woman.
Not as nasty as a man who looks like he bathes in cheeto dust.
Not as nasty a man who is a diss track to America.
From Back to broken Back he’s stomped on, his words are just more white noise ruining this national anthem.
I’m not as nasty as confederate flags being tattooed across my city;
maybe the south actually is going to rise again
Or maybe it never really fell
Because we’re still drowning in vanilla coated power
Slavery has just been reinterpreted into the prison system
Black lives are still in shackles and graves just for being black in front of people who see melanin as animal skin
Tell me of a decade that didn’t have traces of white hoods burning up our faith in humanity.
I’m not as nasty as a swastika painted on a pride flag
And I didn’t know that devils could be resurrected but I feel Hitler in these streets
A mustache traded in for a Toupee
The Nazis renamed The Cabinet
Conversion therapy the new gas chamber,
Shaming and electrocuting the gay out of America
turning rainbows into suicide notes.
I’m not as nasty as racism, or fraud, or homophobia, sexual assault, transphobia, white supremacy, white privilege, ignorance, or misogyny
Not as nasty as trading girls like pokemon before their bodies have even evolved.
Not as nasty as your own daughter being your favorite sex symbol
Like wet dreams infused with your own genes.
But yeah!
I’m a nasty woman.
A phunky
Nasty woman.
Not as nasty as the combo of Trump and Pence being served into my voting booth,
But I’m nasty like the battles women fought to get me in that voting booth.
Nasty like the fight to close the wage gap.
Nasty like conversations trying to remind people there is such thing as a wage gap.
Tell me that this is only because women usually go into lower paying fields.
So why did last year’s top actresses make less than half of what the top actors did?
Do you realize that the World Cup shelf of the U.S. men’s soccer team is as empty as Trump’s promises
But the women’s team has scored three World Cups,
In 2015, brought in 20 million more dollars in revenue than the men’s team,
but is still paid 75% less?
See even when women go into high paying careers, their wages are still cut with blades sharpened by testosterone.
Tell me why the work of a black woman and a hispanic women is only worth 63 and 54 percent of a white man’s privileged paycheck?
This is not a feminist myth;
this is inequality.
So we are not here to be debunked
We are here to be respected.
We are here to be nasty
like blood stained bedsheets.
In case you forgot,
women don’t choose when or if they get their periods!
Trust me, if could we would!
We don’t like throwing away our favorite pairs of underwear!
But men can choose to not have sex
And they know how to live without a full head of hair,
so why are tampons and pads still taxed, but Viagra and Rogaine isn’t?
Is your erection really more important than protecting the messy parts of my womanhood?
Is the thinning of your hair really more embarrassing than the period-staining of my jeans?
I know it seems petty to complain about a few extra cents
But it’s just the finishing touch on a pile of change I have yet to feel in this country.
So don’t try to justify our injustices with excuses that smell like your security when you’re walking alone to the bathroom
or your car
or down the street.
Security my eyes have yet to see
Their too busy praying to my feet
So you don’t mistake eye contact for wanting physical contact
I’ve been zipping up my smile so you don’t think I want to unzip your jeans.
I know you forget to examine the reflection of your own privilege
You may be afraid of the truth
But I’m not afraid to be honest
I’m not afraid to be nasty
Yeah I’m nasty
like the struggle of women still beating equality into the world,
because our rights have been beaten out of us for too long.
And our fight will continue to embody our nastiness.
I’m nasty like red, white, and blue bruises.
Nasty like Elizabeth, Amelia, Rosa, Eleanor, Condoleezza, Sonia, Malala, Michelle.
Our mothers, our sisters, us sisters are all nasty like history
And our pussies
ain’t for grabbing
They’re for reminding you that our walls are stronger than America’s ever will be.
They’re for birthing new generations of
Nasty women.
So if you a nasty woman
say hell yeah.

“Hidden Figures” Highlights an American Progressive Era

I went to see Hidden Figures yesterday. It’s a wonderful movie, entertaining and important. Based on a true story, we get to know three gifted, achieving black American women who made a lasting mark on NASA in the early 1960s.

Yet the movie also made me feel sad. For two hours, we immerse ourselves in the years when America was on the cusp of great technological and social advancement. What happened to that promise of a brighter, better, more civilized nation?

For as we know, shortly after the film’s time period, the assassinations occurred — the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Some kind of particular, sticky darkness has dimmed our nation’s light ever since.

While leaving the theater, I overheard a fellow viewer make a telling remark, “That was great! How come we’ve never heard this story before?”

Hidden Figures reminds us of a uniquely progressive era of American history, by telling a story that has been submerged under a pall of darkness. The the question is, can America once again turn up the lights?

Medea Benjamin: Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.–Saudi Connection | The Progressive Direction

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of peace activist group CODE PINK and human rights group Global Exchange, was in the Tampa Bay area last weekend to promote her new book: Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.–Saudi Connection. I was able to attend one of Benjamin’s eye-opening talks, which covered Saudi human rights violations and U.S.-Saudi arms deals.


Sound the Trumpet for Student Debt Jubilee

Maybe it’s time for Student Debt Jubilee. Student loan forgiveness would not only give a reprieve to those in debt, it would create an economic upswell for all of America. Imagine the boon to our economy if student loan debtors could afford to replace old shoes, cars, and washing machines — instead of merely paying down the compound interest of their student loans. Continue reading “Sound the Trumpet for Student Debt Jubilee”

The Political Revolution Will Not Be Televised

The political revolution will not be televised, it will be live. (A slight variation of Gil Scott-Heron’s 1970 lyric.)

Failure of the Fourth Estate

We shake our heads in wonder because mainstream media consistently fails to report real, accurate, up-to-date, comprehensive, unbiased news. Isn’t the Fourth Estate supposed to inform citizens about significant current events and offer valid insight into the issues that surround them? Yes, particularly so regarding politics and government. Journalism in the Digital Age explains…

“The press makes the actions of the government known to the public, and voters who disapprove of current trends in policy can take corrective action in the next election. Without the press, the feedback loop is broken and the government is no longer accountable to the people. The press is therefore of the utmost importance in a representative democracy.” ~Danny Crichton, Ben Christel, Aaditya Shidham, Alex Valderrama, Jeremy Karmel

For me, the most galling lack of news coverage concerns climate change and money in politics, but the concern applies to any news topic. Those of us “in the know” turn to the Fifth Estate — online independent news sources, bloggers who have developed a certain authority in their subject area, and social media updates — for the news that we need.

We recognize that mainstream media doesn’t fail on news reportage simply because it lacks the financial resources to do a good job, or only hires Trump University graduates. The mainstream media deliberately filters and obfuscates the real news. It wants to spoon feed the public with a controlled narrative. The mainstream media is part of the elite status quo, and it doesn’t want anything to change that. Therefore, the political revolution will not be televised.

The Big Under-Reported News Story of the Day: Wikileaks Hillary Series

The big under-reported news story of the day, related to political revolution, is the Wikileaks Hillary Series. Wikileaks exposed 1,000’s of damning DNC emails to the public yesterday. The revelations prove the Democratic National Committee (DNC) woefully deviated from its own standard of professional neutrality toward presidential candidates and show how the DNC colluded with mainstream media outlets in order to bolster Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Not surprisingly, this riveting #DNCLeak story is in danger of slipping by conscious public awareness. Public figures at the center of the DNC leaks are not even trying to defend themselves, much less respond. Naturally, mainstream media is barely covering the story, even though it centers around presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and the DNC — with the Democratic National Convention only two days away.

The political revolution will not be televised. However, we can follow the Hillary Series on Twitter at Wikileaks, #DNCLeaks or #DNCLeak, Wikileaks DNC, or the like. Hopefully, this important news story gains momentum as the main players get involved.

It looks like ABC and CNN are the only big news networks covering the story. (The emails implicate MSNBC and CBS with DNC media collusion.) Now might be a choice time to visit friends and family who soak up mainstream media — with your mobile device. Show them a real news story in development.

Primo Tweets About the Wikileaks Hillary Series

Here’s a sampling of primo tweets about today’s big story: The Wikileaks Hillary Series.