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Diary of a Worm’s Life in a Home “Growing Power” Box and Garden

Rain Garden
August 2010

Tomatoes & Basil
from Front Lawn
Garden 2010

Back Yard
Garden 08/02/09

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All is Well, Thanks to Humor and Blessings - Saturday, February 28, 2015

“If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.” Mahatma Gandhi

An African-American, disabled, low-income woman friend asked me if I would drive her to a mall to pick up a phone from wireless company. She had worked it out over the phone with the company so all she had to do is go to the store for the new one and get a label for a box to return the old phone. She has an aide for over 5 hours a day but the one this Saturday did not drive.

So I picked up her and her aide and using her van/truck, since she needs to lie down in the back seat, drove them to the wireless store in the mall. The wireless store made us wait for a long time even though my friend explained that she cannot sit for long period of times in the wheel chair due to her severe nerve problems and pain.

Finally someone call her name and all was going well till his computer told him that she could not get the new phone until after they received the old one in the mail. After talking with a supervisor and someone at main company, and quite a bit of time, this obstacle was cleared.

Now an hour and half had passed and the issue became downloading from the ‘cloud’ her over 600 contacts to the new phone. I knew this was important since several times driving her to medical appointments I noticed she was calling the doctors’ office to say we would be late or contact a caregiver about some changes. The mobile phone was in many ways her contact with outside world. After another long period of time the customer service people came back to say they were experiencing some network problems and would not be able to complete the download at this time. She would need to come back. This was a major problem for my friend and she is a strong person and insisted there be another way.

With all the medicines she takes she cannot go long periods of time without food. So I ran over to the food court in the mall to get her a mini-sub to keep her strength up. She finally got on the phone again with the main company and after a long time of waits, conversations with her and customer service on the phone, with staff at the store and staff at store with the main company some resolution was achieved.

She is one person that does not need me to advocate for her so I just resorted to a corner of the store to wait. I was in a wireless store but noticed that it had no public Wi-Fi network for me to use. The food court area had Wi-Fi but the wireless store did not. Her aide was by her side and when they finally came by to get me over 3 hours had passed since we got to store. I had left my house around 12:30 and came home around 6pm.

What kept us, she, her aide and I going was, in part, a sense of humor. Some young man tried to pick up the aide, there were many jokes about my driving and talking about food when we all so hungry. We joked about the long wait in the store. After I made a wrong turn on the way back she joked about me costing her a lot of gas for her van/truck. I shout back for her to take it off my pay, which just involved God’s blessings she shared with me for helping her. I told her please not to take away too many blessings since I needed all I could get.

I had plans for the afternoon but was lucky to make it home by 6pm for a wonderful dinner Pat had prepared. Tonight we watched a movie about Stephen Hawking called “The Theory of Everything” The movie puts any frustrations and hardships we have in life in perspective of the life of Stephan Hawking and his former wife Jane, who wrote the book on which the film was based.

Tonight a friend who had written a series of essays that we published on called the Father at War wrote the book was going to be published as an E Book. That makes me feel good that his web site had contributed to the publication.

What I did not do today perhaps I will do tomorrow or perhaps not. Pat and I are scheduled to visit another disabled friend after Church and who knows where that will take us. But despite the long waits and frustrations people in need experience I, a middle class old white guy, can say “All Is Well” thanks to a sense of humor and the blessings God gives to my friends to share with me.


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Living In Present Moment, Saintly - Friday, February 27, 2015

My wife, Pat, officially retired today from her work as a children’s librarian. She feels she might be lost for awhile but my memory of retirement was I soon forgot all the hassles of work. If you live in the present fully than the past disappears quickly and there is not much time for future. I heard on public radio today an interview with a person who had a high stress job. All his life he had only a few nights where it was hard to sleep. The interview person asked him how he did it. He said he first try to live fully in the present and realized he could not change the past and future was not of concern. Second he said that when he bed he said the rosary, a repetitive Catholic Prayer that uses beads. Often at night he has fallen asleep before the rosary was finished.

I used to check out my I phone or maybe read a newspaper or magazine in bed. Recently I stopped doing this and when I go to bed I try to clear my mind by using a repetitive prayer like the “Jesus Prayer”, and with the effect of the medicine I take, fall to sleep soon. But the difference for me is that I wake up less at night, especially on days when my mind is clear.

Learning to live fully in the presence takes a discipline of mind, often involving some form of meditation. Clearing one’s mind a few times a day does not take much time but makes more time since when you live fully in the present more gets done.

I was driving with a young man today who I do know too well. He mentioned he had a lot on his mind as rational for not talking so much as we were going someplace. On the way back, after an experience with someone that is fully present to life, he started to tell me more about his life, his dreams and hopes. He called the person we experienced, a saint. Being present in the moment is what saints are all about.


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What Else Can I Do? - Thursday, February 26, 2015

Today in the news I heard that our governor who is running for president said “his experience undermining labor unions in Wisconsin has prepared him to take on the threat of the Islamic State in the Middle East.” How sad!

Today I was talking to a neighbor who wants to save our street from becoming narrower but feels we residents will lose to the Alderman.

A friend helping with my public appeal to International St. Vincent de Paul Society for suspension questioned if we should just give up our struggle for justice for poor since it seems to be going nowhere.

My friend that I drove to an ER at a different hospital is still not doing good and his wife, daughter, son and friends are concerned.

Tomorrow morning I will be County court for hearing on my arrest in supporting justice for Dontre Hamilton. Then I will go to Ms. Lucille’s former house, for hopefully the last time, to salvage some furniture from the fire. In the afternoon I will go to my friend’s house that is helping me with international appeal.

If this all sounds depressing the upside is that my dear wife’s, Pat’s, final day at work before retirement is tomorrow. Hopefully we will celebrate with a few surprises after work. Today I drove a good friend, Franciscan priest to the airport so he can fly west to protest nuclear weapons and drones. I told him that if lands up in jail or prison again to try to get to some warm spot so Pat and I can visit him. Here it is cold and cold.

All and all I can say “All is Well”. Winning or Losing is not everything but how you “do the right thing” according to your conscience is everything and is what bring peace and joy. I am cursed and blessed with what I feel I must do for human rights for all and to end violence. What else can I do?


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Curse of Marquette Basketball? - Wednesday, February 25, 2015

In the 2010–2011 academic year there was a number of alleged sexual attacks on women by student athletics, believed to be basketball players, at Marquette University. Although two of the women reported the attacks to Marquette security the attacks were never reported to local police, State and Federal government as required by law. Marquette handled the allegations internally and it was not till after 2010–2011 basketball season the rape allegations became public. ( See Chicago Tribune article One woman’s stand against college athletes. Since that year there have been two different athletic directors, 2 different presidents, new provost, new executive vice president, a new coach and all new basketball players.

When the District Attorney received the case it was too late he said to indict any athletes and he said Marquette said it was sorry for breaking State and Federal laws so he did not charge Marquette with a crime. (Only if the rest of us can be so lucky: “Yes, office I went through the red light but I am sorry.”)

But most telling is that Marquette basketball has taken a down turn. A once renowned basketball sports program has been struggling and this year and is having a losing season.

Marquette University, although admitting it broke the law, has never fully admitted the whole situation and how it handled it. If one believes in curses one can say the Marquette basketball program is under a curse.

Suffering myself what I believe are curses I know that curses can be blessings, but only when we recognize them and admit our role, something Marquette has not done. So, in my opinion, the curse of Marquette basketball lives on and will either fade away or go away with honest recognition. For Marquette basketball fans let us hope that is soon.


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Losers Do Not Try - Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Google Earth view of street
nearby, narrower and wide

It happened again. On the February 22nd posting I talked about how a solution to a problem or a comprise everyone can be happy with is sometimes so close we do not see it.

I was driving to the drugstore to pick up a prescription for my wife, Pat, today when I noticed the street I was driving on, one block away, had one narrow lane on each side for car traffic and a wide, clearly marked by paint, parking lane on each side. For the cost of white paint we can narrow our street, Wells street, when it is repaved and still keep a wide street with parking lanes on each side. The paint would cost less that moving the sewer line, extending our driveways and area before the curb and would satisfy those that say a narrower street is safer while keep our street wide.

Now only if politicians and city workers used ‘common sense’. I will again take flyers to homes up and down our street tomorrow, despite our cold, but have a little home that it will change the predetermined mind of alderman and city workers who say we want the street narrow so it can be safer and want to make it like a another street in the area where despite the narrow street the speeds are high and you have to fear opening your car doors.

Some once said if I was concerned by ‘outcomes’ of these battles I fight. Of course I am concerned by outcomes but if I feel something is right I am willing to struggle for it, although I may be marginalized. Keeping silent would be wrong in my mind for the ‘common good.’ If we try and lose, so be it. If we do not try and lose, we are losers. Losers do not try.


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Self-Restraint to Work Together - Monday, February 23, 2015

Even Cookie Monster is showing
some self-restraint on
Sesame Street

“The one condition for fighting for peace and liberty is to acquire self-restraint.” M.K. Gandhi

This is a quote that came across my computer today. Self-restraint is a good thing to work toward during Lent, season of getting ready for Holy Week, death and resurrection of Jesus. Self-Restraint is one of my weaknesses. Sometimes I get so passionate about something I cannot hold myself back. Sometimes it is good not to hold back and sometimes self-restraint is needed for right time and place to act.

Lent is a time of fasting and prayer which might hold the secret to self-restraint. Fasting requires abstinence from food and drink at times which should give us more control over our body and desires. Prayer brings us to silence and peace where it is easier to find self-restraint. As Jesus says in the Gospel, “Some demons can only be exorcised by fasting and prayer.”

I was thinking today how the “powers that be”, government and big businesses, are consolidating more power into fewer governments and businesses. You hear almost daily about mergers of industrial giants. While the 1% consolidates, we the 99% become more scattered and diverse. When peace and justice causes comes up everyone is scattering to get an organization involved. Just look at all the non-profits for every cause and issue. They multiply rather than consolidate. Coalitions often are just names for another group to be formed on same issue. Just think how powerful we could be if we consolidated and work together, one cause at a time. If most of the groups fighting hunger came together, for example, we might have money and power to do something significant about it. But we do not work together on issues, something which the ‘powers to be’ like. The ‘powers to be’ throw at us more and more justice issues, more wars, more inhumane treatment, more revoking of rights, like the present effort to quickly pass Right to Work Law in Republican legislature. We become more diversified and scattered, “you have your issue and I have mine”, while more power and money is centralized in less and less people.

Along with ignoring people and causes this is the new wave of big industry, military and governments. In the 60’s it was simple. We had two major issues we all worked together on: Civil rights and Anti-War. Now we are divided and often fight and compete with each other rather than “powers to be.”

How do we get the self-restraint to work together for peace and liberty?


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Wide and Narrow Street - Sunday, February 22, 2015

Narrow car lanes on a wide
street with bike and parking lanes

Sometimes we look so hard and defend our position so strongly that we overlook a position that can satisfy both sides. I think this happened in our debate over keep the new repaved Wells Street wide or having it narrow. Here are parts of this letter that I spent time today writing that has a compromise for a wide and narrow Wells St.

Dear Mr. Murphy and neighbors on Eric’s last list that live in the neighborhood,
Good Morning!

Please find below and attached my vote opposed to the proposed narrowing of W. Wells st. as proposed by Mr. Murphy and DPW. A narrower road alternative is at end.

Yes, I said assessment for a 38 ft. street, not property tax assessment, but charges for extending the driveway and lawn leading up to new curb and possibly sidewalk replacement and sewer work. At your meeting you and DPW said we would be charged $5 a square foot for driveway extension, street would be 6 ft. shorter on each side and $1.50 per square foot for front lawn to new curb. Sidewalk changes will come with our street assessment and I am not sure how moving the sewer will be paid for. For us this means $374 plus any sidewalk and sewage assessment.

You say this survey is “nearing the end of the design process.” This is true but it is due to you and city officials. Last fall a high ranking city official saw the final plans of DPW and your design plans for Wells St. and told us that the plans called for narrowing the street from 50 ft. to 38 ft. However, you did not call a meeting till Feb. 5th.

At the beginning of this meeting you told us this plan, decided before last fall was the ‘consensus of residents’ of Wells street. You later withdrew that comment but DPW was not prepared to answer our questions.

One questioner asked for evidence that a narrower street would slow down traffic. DPW and you could not give any. Narrower streets can be accomplished in many ways outside of your proposal. Bike lanes, Parking lanes narrow the street in much safer way. You and DPW can find on the web all kinds of ways for “traffic calming” as I did. Actually in four years of meetings about speeding on Wells Street there have been many suggestions for “traffic calming” that can work.

I am glad you mentioned Lloyd Street as an example of a 38 feet road leading to 41 expressway. Your Google pictures are very deceiving since they do not show park cars and car congestion. On the way home from an event Friday night my wife and I drove down Lloyd from 55th street to 47th street, Hwy 41 entrance going South. (41 ends one block north of Lloyd street at Lisbon.) As we were driving down the street my wife told me about her experience attending a morning drive time discussion group at a friend’s house who lives on 49th and Lloyd. She told me that she had to wait awhile before existing her car on the drivers side. Also her friend’s son’s car has been sideswiped twice on Lloyd. There were very few cars parked on Lloyd on Friday night as contrast to Wells Street. Part of the reason of less cars on Lloyd is that, although there are some driveways there are alleys entering and existing Lloyd, something we do not have on Wells St.

I went over to Lloyd early Saturday afternoon. The first thing that struck me was how fast the cars were going. I used a speed gun to track the speed and most cars were going over 40 mph in a 30 mph zone. So much for going slower, and this was not even drive time. I parked my car across the street from a small truck that was parked around 54th and Lloyd. From the attachment 3 picture of a car going 47 mph you can see there was not much room between my vehicle and the speeding car. The resident of Lloyd came out of his house to get in the small truck. He asked what I was doing. I told him and he told me how at drive time cars are going by his house 45 to 50 mph. This house is one block away from the stop signs on 55th st. I challenge anyone that believes a 38 foot street will slow down traffic and is safer to go over to Lloyd between 55th and 47th entrance to 41 South. Just take a good look but be careful when opening your car door, especially at drive time.

Today I parked my car near my house on 51st and Wells across the street from a parked car on the other side. I measure 6 ft toward the middle of road from each car, width of a each parked car. I put chalk and tape lines on the spots. This is how much room we will have next winter between parked cars if Wells becomes 12 foot narrower. Check out the picture below or the actual chalk marks. The chalk and tape marks may disappear soon since many people now go into the space that will not be there next winter. Congestion of Brewers game days, use of garbage trucks and other wide vehicles like buses, getting in and out of driveway are things most of you can understand how hard it will be with a 38ft. street.

On the positive side we can all be happy with single lane street, with plenty of parking room and also a bike lane. This suggestion was probably suggested at one of meetings and exist right here in Milwaukee. Check out Google earth picture attached 1 below which is a view on 2200 block of Humbolt Ave looking south. You will see a parking only lane, bike lane and single car lane on each side of middle line. With this plan there would be no assessments of homeowners; we will have the narrow street some desire to slow down cars and have a bike lane for the many bikes that use Wells St., probably since it is wide; also we can park our cars on the street safely or enter and exist our driveways. We would have a new paved street at a lower cost and work could be done much quicker than over the May-Stepember of proposed narrowing. We can have our cake and eat it too, a narrower and wide safer street.

Please present this less expensive alternative to narrow the street and increase safety on Wells while getting our present street repaved. At least please give us a choice. This email will not be read by some or even go to most of residents on Wells. But I hope you and everyone on Wells spreads this compromise to residents on Wells st.


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Waiting, Fulfillment or Frustration - Saturday, February 21, 2015

Waiting in line for healthcare

When I was in the Jesuit seminary, I remember waiting in a long line to see one of the priests. When I finally got in his room he asked me what I did while I was waiting. Fortunately, I just had read the book Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger and was repeating over and over again with my breathing the Jesus Prayer. (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.”)

The priest was impressed and as this was not the typical answer he expected. His teaching point that day was that waiting can be a blessing if we learn how to wait. Henri Nouwen, the spiritual writer often wrote about the The Spirituality of Waiting. He wrote “A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.”

Waiting is something we do a lot, especially the poor. I remember waiting with people in need in long lines for food, clothing, and medical attention or to pay bills. Nowadays a lot of waiting comes when we are put on ‘hold’ on the phone. We can spend long times on hold only to get nowhere at the end and need to start over again.

Today I was going to meet some men at Ms. Lucille house that burnt down to move some furniture over to her storage unit. We were to meet at 10:30 am and I waited and waited in front of the house. Finally Deacon Bill and two friends showed up but we still had to wait for Ms. Lucille grandson or great grandson who was bringing the ‘truck’ and the drill to take out the screws in the boarded house and a dolly. When he finally got there he just had a van like the rest of us were driving and had the drill but not the right drill bit to take out the screws in the door. So we decided to wait till another date when we could get a truck and the right tools. Fortunately a friend at the local Catholic Worker has use of a truck and, if it all works out, we will move the furniture to the storage unit next week.
I used my time waiting listening to public radio and making and receiving phone calls with my cell phone. After we left I ran some errands and came home filling fulfilled not frustrated as I expected. I suspect this good feeling was due to two things. 1) I knew how to wait. 2) We were helping out an 86 year old woman who had raised children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and over one hundred foster children. She also was active in civil and human rights causes. Since God blesses and gives grace to poor and generous in sprit she is a woman full of grace and so we shared in her blessings and grace.

I am not always a patient person and do not wait well at times. But today I was, so waiting brought me fulfillment not frustration.


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Milwaukee Lutheran Students Stand Proud - Friday, February 20, 2015

If Notre Dame Drops Theology,
will it need to remove God from
this statement on Basilica door?

Tonight Pat and I went to a musical event my goddaughter Sophia was participating at Milwaukee Lutheran High School. The presentation was full of music, some talking and dancing. It was a presentation of the fight between God and the Devil, good vs. evil. The singing was fine, words were good, although a bit preachy, and it was a moving presentation of this classic struggle with a modern understanding.

Some were moved by the music, some by words and movements but I was impressed mostly by the large number of high school youth, from a variety of religious traditions, singing about their Christian faith. The stage was full of youth, African American, Whites and a few other races singing their hearts out about trust in God and overcoming, with God blessings, evil.

The event was long but at the end while some on stage in audience cried I felt relieved it was over. For, again, what impressed me the most was the large number of youth not afraid to sing and talk about faith? Now if some of these youth translate this passion for their faith into everyday life the world will be in much better shape.

Youth today, in my opinion, seem to lose the sense of doing the right thing, imagination and moral passion as they become more educated. These kids had it.

Today I heard that Notre Dame, one of the great Catholic Universities in the USA is considering dropping its Theology department. How could this be? Theology is the study of God! Yet Notre Dame is one of the two Catholic Universities in the USA to host on campus all three Departments of the Defense, Army, Navy/Marines and Air Force. As the brief video says: Marquette and Notre Dame Teache War and Killing so maybe a theology department gets in the moral way of the university.

The youth tonight in this private high school are going in the direction of making God and Faith more central to education and life. In an age when ignoring faith values in education are growing Milwaukee Lutheran students stand proud.


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Moving Up in the Wrong Direction - Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sleeping on a public bench
while poor and black can get
one shot and killed in Milwaukee

Some new research based on a five year update of census data has Milwaukee as the second poorest city in the USA, behind Detroit at number one. We were number four just a few years ago. We are moving up in the wrong direction.

All the emails and letters I have sent to leaders and staff of the St. Vincent de Paul Society about how money ‘donated’ to poor’ was not being used for members serving those in need has only brought me personal character attacks, suspension from the Society, marginalization. The message has been ignored.

Why do I continue? I do miss making home visit to persons in needs as Vincentians but, sadly, there are many other works of mercy I can do.

A statement I read from the book of Proverbs keeps coming to mind. “Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable.” (Proverbs 31: 8–9) Major faiths, including my own, have a teaching where we are obliged to speak out for the voiceless. My Christian faith says that at Baptism we are marked with this duty. So how I can be silent in the face of injustice and how can the SVDP staff and leaders continue to attack me only so they can avoid the message?

Tonight at the Milwaukee Police and Fire Commission again failed to set a date for the hearing for the reinstatement of the policeman who shot Dontre Hamilton 14 times in Red Arrow Park last April. The officer was fired for not following procedure in the incident but was acquitted by the District Attorney of all charges. The Fire and Police Commission keep postponing the date for his reinstatement hearing and tonight the commission were not allowed to continue business till a date is sent. They choose to adjourn the meeting.

In the news tonight the police chief said how wrong we were in disturbing the meeting but nothing about the long delay in the hearing for reinstatement. Attack the messenger and ignore the message.

All this leads to a basic question that I cannot get a handle on. What can we do when we are a ‘voice for the voiceless’ and speak out only to find the message ignored and us the messengers marginalized. Do you keep speaking out as I feel I must do? Or do you join the silent that do not like it but do not speak out.

Both poverty in Milwaukee and being a voice to voiceless are moving up in the wrong direction.


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Treat Illnesses as Illnesses - Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The military person who trained Chris Kyle, the American Sniper, said something to the effect that the person who shot Kris and his companion did so because he had a mental illness not because of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a mental illness and his statement shows you how far people will go to avoid acknowledging mental illness is an illness, just like cancer, except it is in the brain, the most complicated organ in the human body.

We treat people with a heart attack, sever cancer or in a car accident with Doctors, hospitals and treatment. How However, persons who suffer a crisis of a mental health illness or brain disease are offer sent to jail, shelters or non-hospital complexes. Like the shooter in the American Sniper trial they are detained but then let go without proper treatment. An ill person with a deadly disease that proposed harm to the person or others would be treated in a hospital and not released to his health improved. Persons with mental illnesses rarely go to a hospital and are released as soon as possible.

Insanity pleas are very hard to prove in a court of law and in Texas, probably impossible. Once my deceased son Peter, who suffered from a mental illness, he saw as PTSD, was lost in the Texan prison system for a petty offense. With God’s blessing he had a public defender that understood he was sick and was able to get him on plane back home. How many other men and women in prisons in Texas and across the USA are not so fortunate and stay in jail and become sicker. How many veterans suffering from mental illness like PTSD end up killing themselves to escape the suffering? How long will it take for us to look at mental illnesses as an illnesses and treat it as an illness not as a stigma?


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Full of Violence, Sexual or Sniping - Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A movie I saw recently and liked, Selma, has not done so well in the box office. Two movies I have not seen, American Sniper and 50 Shades of Grey are big hits and breaking records in the box office. I do not know if I will see these two soon but will pass on to you two commentators I respect view of these two movies:
Chris Hedges of writes about 50 Shades of Gray ‘Pornography Is What the End of the World Looks Like’. At the Voices for Creative Nonviolence web site I read this review of American Sniper, Learning from American Sniper.

Will I see these two movies in the theater, I doubt it. Will I see them when they are on DVD or TV, maybe? For now I had my full of violence, be it sexual or sniping.


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We Are Family - Monday, February 16, 2015

Today I had lunch with two African American women friends, one about 14 years older than I and the other about 16 or 17 years younger than I. Since neither one is old or young enough to be my ‘mother’ or ‘daughter’ I consider them both to be my ‘sisters.’ Actually I have a family blood brother who is 18 years younger than I.

As we were eating lunch and talking I was struck how much we think alike on issue like military spending, civil rights and such. I do not find that much agreement with white guys nearer my age. There is some instinctual bond that allows us to understand each other and our experiences, although we come from very diverse backgrounds. Amidst other things we discussed a couple subject close to my heart, the spending of the local St. Vincent de Paul Society on things that are not at the heart of the mission of serving the poor and the militarization of Marquette University. On almost all subjects they brought up I found myself in near total agreement.

So race, gender and age did not matter very much in our way of looking at life and our experiences. My older and younger ‘sisters’ share so many of the same values and attitudes that I do. One of my sisters is Catholic like I and one Episcopal but religion did not figure much into our agreements and views of life. However, I think that what I would call ‘spirituality’ did figure in.

All three of us firmly believe that we are all brothers and sisters in God and in compassion and care for poor and marginalized. We are self confident although we are aware of our weaknesses.

Looking at my friends today compared to friends of the past I found there is a lot more diversity, rich and poor, white and black, male and female, old and young. Yet there is a bounding that keeps us close.

Some years ago I wrote a posting on this site called Salad Bowl Friends. I am not sure how I would describe my circle of friends today. I need to find a new metaphor, but there is something happening in my life and others that makes us more like ‘sisters and brothers’ than friends. We are family.


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Do Not Let Stigma Get You Down - Sunday, February 15, 2015

Some years ago at a city zoning hearing for a health clinic for persons with mental illnesses, the president of the organization that was trying to obtain the permit, said that he felt that persons with a mental illness were stigmatized, stereotyped and treated like ‘lepers.’

Today’s readings in Church reminded me of his statement. The reading from the Old Testament was about persons with leprosy being declared ‘unclean’ and isolated from the community. The reading from the Gospel of the New Testament was about a leper knelling down and begging Jesus to make him clean. Jesus treated the person with his healing touch saying “Be made clean.” In a day with no doctors and hospitals modern medicine healers were the best hope for the ill. Jesus warned the man to be quiet about the healing but the man could not help himself and publicized to everyone how he has been healed. In fact he spread the word “abroad so that was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.” Jesus had to find deserted places and yet people kept coming to him from everywhere to be healed. (Mark 1: 40–45)

Being marginalized, rejected, stigmatized and ignored unfortunately is still prevalent in our society for persons with mental illnesses, for young adult African American black males and for people who bear a message not many want to hear.

The only way to keep stigma, like the leaper faced in the Gospel, from keeping you down is to go Jesus, God or higher power, kneel down and ask for healing strength to keep on going and not let the leprosy or stigma bring you down.


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-Where Have All the Resisters Gone? - Saturday, February 14, 2015

On this Valentine’s day I read how ”Common Dreams about the authorization for war the President desires. It reported, “the proposed authorization for use of military force (AUMF) gives approval for open-ended and geographically limitless military operations. “Its vague wording leaves the door open to use of ground troops, which the administration has previously vowed to avoid, and does nothing to repeal the sweeping 2001 AUMF, which is still being used to justify ongoing military actions in various regions around the world.”

On this Valentine’s Day we went to see the movie Selma about the days when struggling for civil rights meant risking your life. In one scene in the movie Martin Luther King Jr., at a funeral for a young man killed in the struggle, says we must be willing to give our life in the struggle for human dignity and rights.

There has been little protest in peace community over Obama’s request for authorization for use of military force. (AUMF) When Bush asked for an AUMF in 2001 there was widespread resistance and protest.

When an unarmed African American male is shot 14 times by a white policeman in a county park last April there is little public outrage in Milwaukee. When we become aware of it happening across the USA there is some resistance but the white policeman is not charged.

Waging another endless war or the killing of an innocent black male does not seem to stir people these days as in the past. Have we become immune to violence and death? Where have all the resisters gone?


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Driving Ms. Lucille - Friday, February 13, 2015

St. Ben’s originally started in 1908
as a mission to the African-American
Catholic community in Milwaukee.
the storefront chapel became a church,
boarding school, and hospital.

I spent most of the day today driving two persons. In the morning through the afternoon I drove my 86 year old friend Ms. Lucille to her bank and to rent space place. Her house had burned down over a month ago and with four trips we have gathered some of the salvageable items, especially her collection of statues and knickknacks. They are scattered at my house and another friend’s house and there is some furniture from the place her grandson will be picking up. Also since she has been moved way out to edge of city she applied for a debit card to make it easier for her to withdraw money from her account. The women at the bank know her and treated her with great dignity and respect. Ms. Lucille is an African-American woman who is a veteran of the civil rights struggle. She had been arrested, fired, insulted for work for civil rights but she keeps on going. Her husband was killed in the Koran War leaving her with two children and now many grandchildren, great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren. Also along the way she took in 104 foster children over her many years. She is a remarkable woman full of good stories, humor and blessings. I feel so privileged to be her driver at times.

In between driving people I had a good talk with a friend who shares with me the frustration of the mental health system or lack of it, in Milwaukee. Attempts at reform have made matters worse. No one wants people in crisis with brain disorders so they become victims and prisoners or die.

My afternoon driving privilege was to pick up my friend Father Jerry from the airport and drive him home to the Franciscan friary in Burlington. Jerry is only 77, five years older than me but much wiser and holier. He has been down in Florida visiting his sister and family and enjoying the sun and warm weather. Jerry has been active in the peace and justice movements having been shunned by Church officials, imprisoned for his service to poor. He also keeps on going and plans, with a little help from friends since he is very poor, to go to a major protest out West later this month. The rest of the time he spends in a very quiet and prayerful priory with elderly Franciscans. Jerry is also full of stories, stories, and like Ms. Lucille’s, has good sense of humor.
The funeral I went to yesterday morning was for an 89 year friend from Church, Westly. Westly was also full of pointed good humor. The deacon at the mass told us a story about the 100th anniversary of St. Benedict the Moore Church, mission for African Americans so they can be ‘separate but equal’ in the Catholic Church, Church members have been invited by members of the Wisconsin Club to a gathering celebration at this very white and privileged club. As they were being taken on a tour from lavish room to lavish room of the club Westly said to the Deacon, “I do not remember shining shoes here.” Once when I was talking about his going to the special Catholic school for blacks while a few blocks ways white Catholics students were going to all white Catholic School he corrected me. He said that his school, St. Ben’s, was not all black. I asked him what he meant. He said they had one white guy at St. Ben’s school. I never had the privilege of driving Westly but have for many other wonderful persons. I call my vehicle the Blessing Cab since most of its occupants are holy people that leave my car with blessings money cannot buy.

Now Ms. Lucille and Jerry do not have computers and probably will not see this posting and Westly is dead. So please do not tell them about it. I would not want these humble elderly people to get big heads, like this old white guy has. Driving Ms. Lucille is a blessing.


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Where are All the White People Going, Long Time Driving - Thursday, February 12, 2015

On the way home from a funeral today for 89 year friend from church,Westly, I started to notice the drivers of cars on the streets and freeways. They were overwhelming individual white men and women with no one else in the vehicle. A few drivers were African Americans but those cars there was another passenger.

The City Council just approved building a trolley system for the downtown area so more wealthy white, young people can get around. Minority communities were against the trolley because, despite some Federal money, it may take funds away for education and other necessary projects, like a transportation system in their neighborhoods. One alderman suggested we purchase some sleek looking, energy efficient, smaller buses to run the routes downtown. It can be built and expanded without the great amount of money needed for trolley cars and the infrastructure required. There are already many bus routes from all over the city that go downtown. But a trolley, unlike a city bus, would have mostly white riders who live, work or are tourist where as buses, despite using clean fuel, have minorities ride them.

Over the years the resistance to mass transportation in Milwaukee County and surrounding areas has been strong. Bigger and more freeways are being built with transportation money. But a good mass transportation system would allow minorities to travel back and forth to where the jobs are, in mostly white neighborhoods outside city.

The cars and trucks with one white person in it just keep growing and unemployment, due to lack of means to get to jobs by low income minorities, who tend not to have cars, keeps increasing. I was told to cut back on the word ‘racism’ by a friend. But is this not the epitome of institutional or structural racism? Where are all the white people going, long time driving?


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Why Ask Why? - Wednesday, February 11, 2015

See Larger version of cartoon

Today I heard on Public Radio an interview with the actress from the one woman theater show: The Amish Project. The play is fiction but revolves around the real life forgiveness the Quaker community gave immediately to a shooter of their children at school. The interviewer asks the actress why she thought the Quakers could forgive the person and family of such a horrible crime. She said she was not a Quaker but thought it was because Quakers do not ask ‘why’. If you do not ask why and just accept the event for what it was, a terrible tragedy, there is no need for vengeance, hate, getting justice (punishment) for the person who committed such an act.

It got me thinking about tragedies when asking “Why” was disastrous. After the tragedy of 9/11 the government said that Iraq was behind the attack. This turned out to be false although many Americans still may believe it. Since we had a 10 year boycott on Iraq due to our suspicion they had nuclear weapons (another untruth) which caused great harm and death onto the Iraqi people, they have the why, the motivation.

Instead of answering my appeal to the local SVDP society for structural changes I have received personal attacks on my character. Although I have mentioned over and over again that my concerns, why I am doing this, is for the poor in our city who I believe are not being served because of the large amount of money being diverted to suburbs. See Final Appeal St. Vincent de Paul Society in Milwaukee.

The other night I wrote about why I was angry. Now a lesson I can learn from the Quakers is to speak out against injustice but by not asking why not getting angry.

If we are not looking for revenge, payback or punishment why ask why?


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Care for Soldiers and Worms? - Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Winter compost and worm reservoir

I took some food garbage to the big compost pile, worm reservoir in the backyard. After created a pile of compost and worms around the tree in the backyard, I put wood chips and leaves covering it. The idea is for the wood chips and leaves on the pile to freeze leaving heat, food and worms below. So today I had to take some snow off the frozen pile, put some food waste on top of frozen pile and cover the spot again with more snow. When the freezer top melts some of the food waste will seep through to compost and worms.

If life was as simple as it is with the worm reservoir compost pile, we could just protect our earth with a shield keeping out the cold and keeping in the food, worms and life. But worms are simple creatures and compost is a natural product. In life we have complicated creatures, some who always want more and our shield is having weapons to kill.

It is not natural to kill. The military has invested lots of money to discover how the brain works. The military knows that killing person is not natural. Yet it continues to teach young men and women to kill without conscience, reflexive killing. The military knows the harm this type of killing does to the brain but since it makes a more effective way to kill, the military does nothing about it. Killing people to military seems more important than the health of the soldier.

The US invest money in helping military veterans deal with PTSD, (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder} and preventing suicides but does not deal with causes of PTSD and suicides, military training and practice of killing that is unnatural.

If I do not place enough good compost in the winter pile and enough chips and leaves on top to freeze I know the system will not work and the worms will not survive the winter. We know that teaching killing without conscience is not natural and continues to cost veterans in illness and deaths. Yet we fail to do anything about it. A worm’s life is valuable but human lives are more valuable. Do we care more about soldiers than worms?


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Angry at Violence and Killing - Monday, February 09, 2015

Justice for Dontre Hamilton

Tonight my wife and I decided to watch one of our prerecorded movies on our DVR. Two struck our interest, one starring Matt Damon and one starring Bruce Willis. We both think of Matt Damon staring in thoughtful movies and Bruce Willis in violent and killing movies, so we choose the one with Matt Damon. After viewing the movie we both had the same thought: there could not have been anymore violence and killing in the Bruce Willis movie than in this Matt Damon movie.

I tried to stay sensitive to what I am seeing and hearing but in this movie I had to turn on the ‘desensitize’ switch to survive. People ask me at times why I care so much about victims of military reflex killing, drone attacks or victims of violence in the central city as much as we do about an hostage being tortured and killed by ISIS. All I can say is that all human life is valuable and dignified, before birth until death. If the person is black or white, good guy or bad guy, bombed from a plane or a victim of a suicide bomber the hurt and destruction of human life is just as awful and tragic.

An elderly African American man, who I knew from Church died last Saturday. This makes me sad and I will miss his smiling face and all his stories. When I heard on the news tonight that two persons were killed and shot on the Northwest side of Milwaukee tonight sorrow filled my heart, although they were not identified and I probably did not know them.

Killing is killing, be it by high flying plane or by a sword. It today’s world full of violence and killing we cannot be too sensitive to violent death or we would be immobilized. Yet all life is sacred we cannot accept senseless violence and war as normal. It is not normal to kill, even on orders of superior military commander. Violence breeds violence, “you kill our guy we kill our guy”.

If face of such senseless violence and killing I get angry. I know that is not the best nonviolent response. But if I do not get angry at violence and killing I will become immune and desensitize to it, something I do not want to be.


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Equality without Hypocrisy - Sunday, February 08, 2015

Today at our Catholic liturgy at St. Ben’s, all the women in the Church were asked to be part of the entrance ceremony into Church. After a brief homily by the male priest two elderly women told their life stories. This was all well and good, although it made for a longer liturgy, but when push came to shove it was only the male priest and the male deacon at the altar presiding over Mass.

Women have made a lot of progress in our society, but, at least from the Catholic Church position, it stops at the altar. Only men can be priest and deacons presiding over the liturgy and sacraments.

A lot of groups in our society, from minorities and poor, are made to ‘feel good’ at times but the effort stops short of power. According to our Supreme Court money is free speech and according to our economy money makes money (usury) so people with money and are supported by money get power and the marginalized and poor without power and money are not equal.

“All men are equal” in our Declaration of Independence meant and still means “All white men are more equal”. The President says there is ‘equal opportunity’ for all those that want it and work for it. But although he is of of mixed race, white and African parents, he presides over a government where the rich are getting richer at a faster pace than ever and the poor are getting poorer faster than ever. A poor black young male with a police record has very little opportunity in our society despite how hard he tries and works to get ahead.

So much of what happens with our government, be it the replacement of the street we live on, how we fight ‘dirty wars’ or the spending of money given to poor via St. Vincent de Paul Society goes on behind the scenes, with secrecy and is non-transparent. This is true despite the fact we claim to be an open society with access of information to everyone.

We all have heard how money corrupts and more money corrupts even more but a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, assassinated in 1949, rings in my ears. “Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy as they undoubtedly are today.”


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Cry of the Poor to Society of St. Vincent de Paul Milwaukee - Saturday, February 07, 2015

St. Vincent de Paul, Patron
of the Society

As some of you may know I have been suspended by the National Council of St. Vincent de Paul based on 81 pages of allegations provided by local staff and members, allegations which I have not seen. I am appealing my suspension to the International Council of St. Vincent de Paul in Paris but have not heard from them or National office about the procedure. Believing the best defense is an offense I have prepared a statement for International, National and Local Councils of St. Vincent de Paul. This is a draft copy below. It is still a work in process, as I am still adding verification of the information below. When it is done I will put it on this web site under the Mission of St. Vincent de Paul and ask for support.

I, Bob Graf, compelled by conscience and in the spirit of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul for the following reasons made three request of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul:

Because the Mission of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is: “offering person-to-person services to those who are needy and suffering…” 1

Because the Mission of a St. Vincent de Paul Thrift store is: “Serving Christ’s needy as the primary goal of all St. Vincent De Paul Stores.” 2

Because Milwaukee is one of the poorest cities in the U.S.A., the most racially segregated city in the USA, with the highest rate of incarceration of African American males in Wisconsin, the state with the highest rate of incarceration of blacks in the USA, the country with the highest percentage of citizens incarcerated in world, 3

Because the central office budget of the Society in Milwaukee has gone up to around 3.5 million dollars and only about .03% of this budget is used for ‘direct services’ like food for meal program or money to needy conference, 4

Because of an outdated central office system used in allocating home visits and because the number of conferences in areas serving the poorest neighborhoods has gravely decreased. 5

Because SVDP conferences have to pay the Thrift stores 100% of retail value of donated clothes, household items and new beds, 6

Because the Society of St. Vincent de Paul states that “all money belongs to the poor.” 7


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Awareness of Racism - Friday, February 06, 2015

During the course of my lifetime a number of words have changed or added meanings. Till 1968 I thought racism was an overt act against people of color, like lynching, calling persons names, separate lunch counters, separate bubblers and restrooms. In the sixties a number of students at Marquette started looking around and saw, outside of basketball players, there were very few African-American students. Of course Marquette denied being racist, saying anyone of any race is welcome to our school.

It was at that time I learned that racism was not just overt acts like those above but were at times institutionalized or structured into a university or organization. There was too many obstacles build into the system that did not allow minorities, outside of basketball players, to attend and excel at Marquette. There was money for tuition, preparation for college in high school, fear of black students and a whole list of stereotypes of people of color. We started to call for end of “institutional racism” at Marquette. We had a list of demands for the university, like more scholarships for local African American students, that were at first denied but then accepted. Over the years the university became more racially diverse and was proud of the Equal Opportunity Program (EOP) that came out of this structural change. But now that the program is grown with all kinds of minority students from all over the country and world I tried to find out how many local African American students are in the program. No answer coming so far.

Institutional or Structural racism has become more accepted over the years. In her book, “The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” Michelle Alexander borrows from another author’s metaphor of a birdcage to describe structural racism. “If one thinks about racism by examining only one wire of the cage, or one form of disadvantage, it is difficult to understand only one wire of the cage, or one from of disadvantage, it is difficult to understand how and why the bird is trapped. Only a large number of wires arranged in a specific way and connected to one another serve to enclose the bird and to ensure that it cannot escape.” (p183)

Racial profiling, mass incarceration of African American males, the War on Drugs are all parts of the structural racism of today. Overt racism was easy to recognize and acknowledge but this new form of racism is not. Pointing our ‘racism’ in attitude toward basketball players at the local County park or the investment of groups, like Society of St. Vincent de Paul in white suburbs not African American neighborhoods is making trouble and many do not want to hear about it. Some persons have actually said that now we have elected a Black President we no longer have racism in this country.

But I believe we must embrace the word ‘racism’ and understand this modern meaning in ourselves in our system before we can really make a change for the better. Awareness of modern day ‘racism’ is the first step of eliminating it.


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Hard to Find Positive in Negative - Thursday, February 05, 2015

“All Is Well” St. Julian
of Norwich

Today at a neighborhood meeting a neighbor said I was ‘negative’ because I opposed the city’s plan to narrow the street in front of our house from 50 ft. to 38 ft. The city engineers and alderman claim that stop signs, of which we none in this residential stretch leading up to on and off ramps of two expressway, do not slow cars down but a narrower street will. After the meeting the city worker who claims, without evidence that Stop Signs do not slow down traffic said “I do not listen” when again I asked him for evidence since other residential streets in the city have stop signs about every other block. (I am glad names and stereotypes do not hurt my bones.)

I was negative and deserve a little bit of the stereotype that I do not listen but being against something and being marginalized does not make something right or wrong. I am against killing and feel strongly about it. Does that make me right or wrong?

In the news tonight it mentioned that the ugly and cruel video of burning alive a Jordanian air force pilot showed at the beginning a plan bombing and destroying a house with fire. Bombing and exploring targets on ground, military or civilian, does not justify burning a pilot alive. However, today when Jordan and the USA carried out more bombing raids killing people in fire it, in my opinion was not justified by the ISIS action.

We call killing someone directly ‘terrorism’, but when a “killer drone” or plane drops a bomb on a target and killing men, woman and children we say it was justified and self-defense, although it was in the country of people killed. Before 9//11 I remember reading about how the ‘terrorist’ kidnapping people in Lebanon were mostly men who had suffering deaths in the family by the USA/Israeli bombing in Lebanon. The kidnappers were called ‘terrorist’ and the bombing was call ‘self-defense.’

After the 9//11 tragedy we seem to have forgotten any lesson we learned about terrorism. For example, the frequent bombing and drone attacks on people of Yemen are a direct cause of Yemen, a county we were not at war with, being a hot bed of terrorist. We all know from history and from experience that killing of people of a country leads to more killing of those who do the killing, be they ‘terrorist’ or acting in self defense. There are many more ‘terrorist’ today posing danger for our country and others than there was before the “War on Terror.”

Now the above does not excuse me being ‘negative’. It is easier to find the negative in the negative. I have no excuses but say it is hard to find the positive in the negative.


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Art of Observation - Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Father Purcell S.J., at Jesuit College, taught us the art of observation, seeing the little things that may slip by if we are inattentive. This Diary of the Worm started off as observations, especially on growing power in gardening, although now we have got far from that.

There was a news story today about how smart phones and other electronic devices are keeping us from living in present and observing. The story said the average smart phone user checks his device over 220 times a day. There was a picture of Times Square in New York where something was flashing on the large screen. The reporter looked up at but commented he thought most people around him missed it since they were checking their phones. It is difficult to keep the power of observation alive but I must try.

I have noticed in recent times that young girls, teenage girls and young adult woman overwhelming have long hair, not just shoulder length but long. For the most part it is straight but some have taken the time to curl it up.

I have noticed that many of us, including me, have become ‘news addicts’, looking for news in papers, magazines, TV, cell phones, computers and everywhere. What we are doing with all the information, I do not know. When computers were starting to be common I noticed that I was spending a lot of time browsing. Over the years I have tried to be more monastic, looking at something in particular, but still slip and click on more information. A good example is that tonight on the TV news I heard there was a new app that allows one to track sick people around them and what illnesses are trending where you are. Do we really need to know this information?

People are worrying about losing memory and brain power. Thus they look at computer games to help the brain. I heard a leading neuroscience doctor today say that the best thing we can do for our brain is to do physical exercise. Exercise does more than any brain games.

I have noticed the mention of the word ‘racism’ upsets some persons, mostly white, no matter how it is used and what are the circumstances. Our politicians would like us to think there is no more racism even though some elderly civil rights leaders claim it is worst than ever.

I have noticed that the older I get the less I care what people think or say about me and what I say or do. Perhaps I am become more like a three year child, a goal of mine for some years.

I have noticed that streets in low income areas get less plowed than ones in middle class or high income areas.

I have noticed that when attending major entertainment places like Disney World and Bush Gardens I have seen very few black families.

Most of my observations above are general. A good observer can see into detail and though it the larger picture. I need to practice the art of observation of the small things in life.


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Looking for Positive - Tuesday, February 03, 2015

My New Year’s Resolution was to be more positive in my statements and comments. Each night when I go to bed I feel a great deal of gratitude for the day but I do not think it shows in my talk. When, the other day, my therapist suggested I try being more positive I agreeded. Here are some statements on acts of kindness I have observed.

After the last snowfall I was shoveling out the end of my driveway when the snowplow had piled up the snow from the street. A city plow came by with his shovel up. He saw what I was doing and motioned for me to move aside and proceeded to take his plow and move back the snow from the driveway. He then went on his way.

A retired neighbor a few doors down frequently shovels my sidewalk or takes my garbage can to the road when I forget. Last week he came by with a homemade apple pie.

My friend Annie, although she lives with debilitating pain takes time to pray for me.

My friend Tom still calls me regularly although he does not need my help any longer.

My friend Ella regularly bakes homemade corn muffins for us. Before that she used to give us some of her beautiful homemade ‘patchquilts’.

My friend, Father Jerry, who I drove to the airport today, frequently, has words of encouragement for me. Many of my friends show great appreciation for the little things I may do.

Driving a friend home from the hospital last week he kept saying how much he appreciated what I was doing. I started to say, like the TV commercial, “I appreciate your appreciation” until he slowed down.

My best friend, Pat, my wife, showers me with words of appreciation for the little things I do around the house and for her.

Young children still smile at me in stores although many American parents are guarded about them looking or speaking to strangers.

My oldest grandson just chose me to be his Confirmation sponsor.

Looking for the positive has positive effects.


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Malcolm X was Right about America - Monday, February 02, 2015

Malcolm X

I had sent my posting last night Disturbing the Peace for Change out to a local peace and justice list server. Usually I do not hear from anyone on the list server but today I got a response from a friend I have not seen or talked with for a long time. It was in the form of an article by Chris Hedges, a social critics of our times that I deeply respect and admire. The article was from Truth Dig and called Malcolm X was right about America. I always admired Malcolm X as someone who saw deeply into our American culture and now I know more about why. Read it, agree or disagree but you will learn from this great man of history.


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Disturbing the Peace for Change - Sunday, February 01, 2015

February 1, 1960, four college
black students began a series
of sit-ins at a white-only
lunch counter in Woolworth’s,
Greensboro, N.C.

Today the national feast day of the Super Bowl was for us, in Milwaukee, a day of super snow. The Super Bowl is the biggest event is sports, so we say, although the other football (soccer) world cup is the biggest sports event in the world.

Part of the reason we believe it is the biggest event in sports is because many in the USA believe in Exceptionalism, the idea that the United States is fundamentally freer, more virtuous, more democratic, and more humane than other countries. As the great American historian Howard Zinn pointed out there was no historical evidence for this statement. The United States is just like any other empire that he been expanded through deceit and theft and conquest.

Trying to get the link to our YouTube video Marquette and Notre Dame University Teach War and Killing in a local Catholic Peace and Justice newsletter, the editor felt compelled to change the title of the video link to Marquette and Notre Dame ROTC, saying that the people in peace and justice network have changed over the last eight years and the name of the video would be associated with my ‘tagline’ and not seen. I think just the opposite. The real title of the video might be disturbing to some Catholics but that is the whole point of the video. Yes, some people of peace and justice have changed over the years and now many do not want to deal with conflict or hear messages that might be disturbing.

Living in a country which is exceptional, where we just learn to live with racism, war and violence might be comfortable for some but it is deeply disturbing for others of us. All the escapism of all the Super Bowls and major sports events might make life more bearable but issues of peace and justice are just the same, if not worst, than they were years ago. Not learning from history, being silent in face of evil, like a Catholic University teaching killing without conscience or not holding a white police officer accountable for shooting an unarmed black man 14 times, is more disturbing than ever.

Talk, conferences, movies cannot arrest this burden on the American soul. As Howard Zinn showed us in A People’s History of the United States only direct nonviolent action disturbing the status quo has made change in this country and will make change. People change. Mark Twain said, asked and answers the question: “Does patriotism mean support your government? No. That’s the definition of patriotism in a totalitarian state.”

The Patriots Football team won the Super Bowl football game today but the real American patriot is one that is willing to challenge his country, to disturb the peace, for love of his country and for change.


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