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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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Leap From Talk To Action - Monday, February 29, 2016

I recently sent the draft of my essay Ending Racism Poverty and Violence in Milwaukee to the Mayor of Milwaukee and the County Executive Milwaukee County. After listing how Milwaukee makes the Top Ten Worst Cities List I thought I would write these specific suggestions of how to reduce racism, poverty and violence in Milwaukee. Normally the Mayor or County Executive ignore my suggestions but since they are both up for reelection I got responses.

The County Executive responded with an email from a constituent services representative: She said: “Thank you for taking the time to contact the County Executive office with your comments and concerns regarding Milwaukee County.” She said how my “email was comprehensive and thought provoking.” However she added: “We hope you understand that we are not in a position to offer you immediate or direct feedback on your comprehensive ideas.” Another “Thank You But”.

A ‘customer services” from the Mayor’s office called me on the phone. He thanked me for my thoughts and suggestions and how important they were. I starting to tell him that I sent the essays of specific suggestions to find out and what was the Mayor going to do or not do about them. However, I remembered from previous contacts from the Mayor’s office they are not in a position to discuss issues but are just calling to appease me. Another “Thank You But”.

There is a lot of talk about how Milwaukee is such a segregated city with increasing poverty in minority neighborhoods with high unemployment, high incarceration rates and substandard housing. These neighborhoods are predominately black or Hispanic neighborhoods yet the Mayor or County Executive do not call it racism and do little besides talk.

I love Milwaukee, home since birth 73 years ago. The violence, racism and poverty in particular segregated neighborhoods make me sad and mad. I am tired of talk and reading and writing about it but know alone I cannot change it or even get the Mayor, County Executives and political officials doing something about it. But I must try and work together with others who understand the concern.

Today is the extra day of Leap Year. Maybe before the next leap year, four years from now, people in Milwaukee can make the leap between talking about poverty, violence and racism to actin, doing something about it.


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The Dead Tree Is Alive! - Saturday, February 27, 2016

I was at the computer in our office yesterday when I happened to look thru the glass door to the Sun Room and thru the glass doors in the sun room to the garden in back. I saw what is in the picture on the side. I called my wife and when I told her where to look she saw it too. Later in the morning I went outside for a picture from the other side of the dead tree trunk and I could not see it. Here is a story that explains what I saw.

The Master says to his disciple, “Life is death if you walk through life asleep. Wake Up and death is life.” “How do I see life in death”, the disciple ask the Master? The Master says: “Do you see that branch sticking up out of the dead tree trunk?” The disciple says, “Yes”. The Master says “What do you see”? The disciple says “a branch sticking up from the trunk. The Master says, “Close your eyes, take a deep breathe, relax and then open your eyes and look carefully and tell me what you see”. The disciple does this and says “now I see an outline of a child in the branch sticking out of the tree. The Master says “Now you are seeing with eyes open and the branch from the dead trunk of the tree is sprouting the outline of a child. The dead tree is alive.”


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Blowing The Dynamite - Friday, February 26, 2016

The other day when there was a community justice meeting. When people were talking about responding to trauma a quote from Peter Maurin, co-founder of the Catholic Worker, kept coming to mind. It is here: “Our purpose should be to build a society where it is easier for people to be good” Instead of responding to trauma how about building a society with less trauma.

In searching for this quote I came across many more good quotes from Peter Maurin. Here are a few with comments. The first one speaks for itself.

“The world would be better off if people tried to become better, And people would become better if they stopped trying to be better off. For when everyone tries to become better off nobody is better off. But when everyone tries to become better everyone is better off. Everybody would be rich if nobody tried to become richer. And nobody would be poor if everybody tried to be the poorest And everybody would be what he ought to be if everybody tried to be what he wants the other fellow to be.”

If you have ever been called crazy as I have you will appreciate this quote.
“If we are crazy, then it is because we refuse to be crazy in the same way that the world has gone crazy.”

This one hits home to we Christians who look to government, Church, Social Agencies to do the works of mercy.

The first centuries of Christianity the hungry were fed at a personal sacrifice, the naked were clothed at a personal sacrifice, the homeless were sheltered at a personal sacrifice… And the pagans used to say about the Christians, “See how they love each other.” In our own day the poor are no longer fed, clothed, and sheltered at a personal sacrifice, but at the expense of the taxpayers. And because of this the pagans say about the Christians, “See how they pass the buck.”

Finally Peter Maurin was famous for his “Essay Essays”. Here is one of my favorites.

Blowing the Dynamite

Writing about the Catholic Church,
a radical writer says:
“Rome will have to do more
than to play a waiting game;
she will have to use
some of the dynamite
inherent in her message.”

To blow the dynamite
of a message
is the only way
to make the message dynamic.

If the Catholic Church
is not today
the dominant social dynamic force,
it is because Catholic scholars
have failed to blow the dynamite
of the Church.

Catholic scholars
have taken the dynamite
of the Church,
have wrapped it up
in nice phraseology,
placed it in an hermetic container
and sat on the lid.

It is about time
to blow the lid off
so the Catholic Church
may again become
the dominant social dynamic force.

For more Easy Essays by Peter Maurin see Easy Essays by Peter Maurin


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Human Digital Breakdown - Thursday, February 25, 2016

This morning was a good example of how my life has got so intermixed with digital devices that there can be a human digital breakdown.

This morning I had an appointment with my spiritual director as his place at 9am. I got there about 9am and went in gathering room to wait. He had said in his email confirming the appointment he was driving someone to airport but would be back. I waited and waited. Actually the silence and quite time was refreshing. About 9:30 I was thinking maybe I got the date or time wrong. I checked his email on my smart phone and sure enough it was 9am on 25th. So I waited. About 9:45 another person who lives in the house came by. We chanted a little and I mentioned I was waiting for this person returning from the airport. He was taking a car out and noticed there was no car out. He checked and found the person upstairs in his room. My spiritual director came down and told me that he had made the meeting for 9am on Wednesday, Feb. 24th. I told him that his email said today. We had a nice little talk but he had a 10am meeting so it was brief.

I left there and went to my friend’s place. She is an disabled and bed ridden and needed me to take her smart phone into phone store for three things. I had been to that particular store before but checked with my smart phone for the location. There was only one address of this particular cell phone store in the general area. I went the way I had taken before and when I got to an intersection where I thought the store was I pulled aside. I checked my cell phone again and it said the store I was looking for was some miles away. So I went on following the directions of the GPS map on phone. The directions took me to a store of same company but definitely not the one I had been in before. Since I thought all stores for this cell phone company were similar I went in and waited. I waited quite a while and finally a service rep waited on me. I told him the three issues with the phone. He said he could help with one of the issues only since this was not a repair store. The one I intended to go to was a repair store and was where I should be. So I had the one thing done and now must go to the right store next week for repairs.

These errors were human made but due to my dependency on email and GPS on phone. I blindly trusted the email date and the location data of the cell phone company on my phone. That is why I am calling it a Human Digital Breakdown.

At least the Ground Hog’s prediction on Feb. 2 of an early spring are coming true, at least in our area. I hope the Ground Hog never gets a digital device.


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Putting It All Together - Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Today was long, diverse and good. It will take some time to digest and connect the day. This morning was a workshop by Community Justice Council on Violence and Crime in Milwaukee. The specific presentation was on the Trauma Response Team for children in one of the police districts. It was good presentation and team will do some good helping people respond to trauma in the City. But a response is doing little to prevent trauma.

I am a firm believer that to change a system, like reduce violence and crime we must make the living environment for persons easier to be good by providing good education, providing unemployment, getting the people basics like stoves and refrigerators and decent housing. I was surprised how many in the room resonated with this thought. I need to follow up.

I got home and almost forgot about a meeting with a friend who needs help moving out of poverty in Milwaukee to a city up north where she has family and a job waiting. I will miss my friend who has been a strong leader for civil rights for persons in need.

When I got home today there was barely time for to check email and make some phone calls before Pat and I were off to see our monthly Film at the Milwaukee Film Festival. Today’s film was dramatic documentary on Janis Joplin, the great blues singer of the 60’s. It was well done using audio of letters Janis wrote her family, mixed with footage of her life and music and interviews with family and friends. One overwhelming impression was how present Janis was to her life and how true to herself she was. She felt deeply and it came out in her music. Feeling the pain of life drove her music but also drove her use of alcohol and drugs. People in her life pointed out how she needed something to cover the pain and suffering that is living for sensitive person. I need to reflect more about this and my own life.

Tonight I mostly sat in front of TV watching my favorite basketball team, Wisconsin, take on my brother’s, who lives in Iowa City, true team the Iowa Hawkeyes. The game was in Iowa City and Iowa is a top ranked team in basketball but, at the end, Wisconsin won.

Putting the day together will be hard but there are some hints in each of these experiences: creating an environment where it is easier to be good; finding an environment where one can start anew; staying at peace in a life full of pain and suffering; struggling for victory. Any hints on putting it all together?


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Antonin Scalia’ s Death and the Death Penalty - Sunday, February 21, 2016

I have been meaning for some time to change the Featured Article on the front page. My friend, Father Emmanuel McCarthy of the Center for Christian Nonviolence came through using the death of Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia as a teachable moment in the article: Antonin Scalia’s Death and the Death Penalty This provocative article raises questions about Gospel Values and role of Christian to stand by them.


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Play the Pope Says Game! - Saturday, February 20, 2016

Play the Pope says game. Below are 10 quotes attributed to Pope Francis? Six of them are direct quotes from Pope Francis and four of them are not. Can you tell the difference? Answers below.

1) Pope says: “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel,”
2) Pope says: “People who manufacture weapons or invest in weapons industries are hypocrites if they call themselves Christian”.
3) Pope says: “People who taken money intended for poor and spend it on investment that do not benefit the poor are not living according to Gospel.”
4) Pope says: “The true strength of the Christian is the power of truth and love, which leads to the renunciation of all violence. Faith and violence are incompatible.”
5) Pope says: “Whatever you do for poor and marginalized you do for Jesus.”
6) Pope says: “Among our tasks as witnesses to the love of Christ is that of giving a voice to the cry of the poor.”
7) Pope says: “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”
8) Pope says: “Catholic Universities should not teach war and killing on campus”.
9) Pope says: “… War is madness. Whereas God carries forward the work of creation, and we men and women are called to participate in his work, war destroys. It also ruins the most beautiful work of his hands: human beings. War ruins everything, even the bonds between brothers. War is irrational; its only plan is to bring destruction; it seeks to grow by destroying.”
10) Pope says: “God will judge nations on how they care for poor, weak, ill and marginalized.”

1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9 are direct quotes of Pope Francis
3, 5, 8, 10 are not.
The point of this game is to show how consistent the Pope is about following the Gospel. All quotes are in the spirit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and could have been quotes of the Pope.


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Pope to Trump: “Practice Gospel Values to be a Christian - Friday, February 19, 2016

“I am the Way the Truth
and the Life. No One comes to the
Father except through me.”
Jesus in the Gospel John 14:6

When Pope Francis was on a plane going from Mexico back to Rome he was asked about Donald Trump’s remarks about immigrants, building a wall along the border and deporting immigrants here illegally. He said: ““A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel,” Trump, his opponents in the presidential race and leading Christian were quick to criticize the Pope. Even Jed Bush who criticizes Donald Trump and is a Catholic said”: “I don’t question anybody’s Christianity because I honestly believe that’s a relationship you have with your creator and it only enables bad behavior when someone from the outside of our country talks about Donald Trump,” The Catholic Bishops were silent in this difference between the Pope and Donald Trump.

I say wait a minute: Pope Francis was not speaking about Donald Trump’s personal relationship with God but about Gospel values. Is not a Christian a person who follows Gospel values, the Gospel of Jesus Christ who Christians claim is the son or ‘heir” of God. Jesus, was God made human, to show us the way the truth and light of God. The Pope, just like when he condemned arms dealers, was speaking of Gospel values and how someone who only thinks about building walls to keep people out not about building bridges is not a Christian.

When our present President sends killer drones to kill persons, authorizes major arms deals or grows the atomic weapon supply in the USA he is not acting on Gospel values and not acting like a follower of Jesus, a Christian, who follows the Gospel should act. How can a person that does not follow the primary Gospel value of “love your enemies” be a Christian?

What I think has happened in American Christian experience is that we have watered down and rationalized the Gospel so much that it is has little meaning. It is not just Donald Trump or the President who ignores Gospel values yet considers themselves a good Christian. It it is most Americans, including myself. Hypocrisy seems to be the order of the day.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society, a Catholic lay organization would consider itself Christian but when the Society in Milwaukee fails to follow the mission of the Society, to make home visits to people in need practicing the works of mercy, people are afraid to criticize it. Rationalization , ‘like we are going to help the poor by investing millions of dollars in a store in the suburbs so it can day provide money to serve the needy”, even where it true or possible, runs contrary to everything the Society stands for and what the Gospel compels to do toward God’s blessed ones, the poor.

Jesus meant what he said and did in the Gospels. Christianity is a lot more than a personal relationship with God. It is about practicing the Gospel, which show us, in the life of Jesus, the Way of God. Donald Trump, all his Christian supporters, the Catholic Bishops who keep silent and the St. Vincent de Paul Society and all of us need to practice Gospel Values. It may be hard and we cannot always live up to way of Jesus but to be Christian we must try to live the Gospel.


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Only By Prayer and Fasting! - Thursday, February 18, 2016

Today I got two reports of how the poor are suffering due to the Milwaukee St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) Society investing millions in a suburban store. One disabled woman, who was fortunate to live in one of the neighborhoods SVDP served, needed a refrigerator and some furniture. The home visitors said the woman had to choose between a refrigerator or a couch or chair. When I was a member of that same conference the choice was two of three major items, beds, furniture and stove. It was explained to me that was because of limited funds. Now that the central council office budget has grown to over three million dollars the amount of that budget distributed to conferences, less than 1% of total budget. The conferences income remains the same.

Another Mom who needed some basic furniture to get her children back was told by the intake person at the central office she lived in an area, poor as it may be, that was not covered by a SVDP conference. There are 55 conference and 800 volunteers in Milwaukee SVDP yet, due to limits of Central Office of what areas Vincentians can make home visits, many of the low income neighborhoods are not covered. Reports of rejections by SVDP central office are increasing.

Despite this injustices of money belonging to the poor by rule of SVDP going for a venture in the suburb that instead of making money for serving the poor is losing money that could be used for persons in need to have basics, like beds, furniture, stove or refrigerators.

This misuse of funds directed to people in need may be legal but it is immoral. Yet is so hard to get members of the Society, so many good people, or the public to do something about it. Members of the Society often agree with our position but say “There is nothing we can do about it.” Members of the public say we do not want to get involved in a Catholic Church thing. Poor understand right away but feel helpless. Staff and members in control of SVDP in Milwaukee find it easier to blame the messenger and ignore the message.

If I was not so old maybe I could organize the poor to stand up against this injustice. Only a few in the media will raise the issue, and when they due are quickly quieted. What to do? I cannot think of doing anything but to keep on trying to get the message out, suffer the attacks on character, or even harder yet, having the message ignored.

Jesus said there were some injustices or demons that can only be driven out by prayer and fasting. So speak out, a voice of voiceless, research and dialog when possible but most of all pray and fast. I believe eventually the truth will get out and the poor will be blessed.


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Ending Racism Essay - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I wrote an essay on Ending Racism, Poverty and Violence in Milwaukee. The draft is done and a few parts have already been published on this site. Here are some more Problems with some more “What can be Done”. There are many other problems and many other what can be done on these problems and others. Check the draft essay out at Ending Racism, Poverty and Violence in Milwaukee.


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Ending Racism and Poverty in Milwaukee Part 2 - Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The other day I started a series of postings called “Ending Racism and Poverty in Milwaukee”. The idea was to describe specific causes and specific responses. Here is Part 2


The Problem

Nearly all persons suffering a health crisis, like heart attack, stroke, car accident or being shot are taken to the Emergency Room of a Hospital. However, a person suffering a mental health crisis is taken to jail, the Behavior Health Center or a private facility, depending on corporation of person, health insurance and acts committed during the mental health crisis. Two thirds of people in county jail, house of corrections and State prisons suffer from a serious mental health illness. A person with a mental illness is 16 times more like to be shot by a police officer than a person without one. All this, despite the fact that a person with a mental illness is least likely to commit a crime than a person with no mental health illness. The criminalization of mental illnesses is serious problem in our society.

Part of the Solution

All hospital in the County could be required by law to accept persons suffering a mental health crisis If person is shot performing an armed robbery the person will go to a the ER of hospital and released from the hospital to jail only after treatment.

Commitment laws in the State of Wisconsin could be changed allowing other professionals not in law enforcement to commit a person to a hospital. Often people go untreated because of health insurance issues. Parity of mental health illness with others result from illnesses or accidents is needed.

Families and Friends could be given more rights in seeking treatment for a person whose illness blocks them from understanding the need of treatment.


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Blame Voters, Not President! - Monday, February 15, 2016

When the present president came into office he promised to reduce nuclear arms proliferation. Now in his last year in office he had built three new nuclear weapons plants, added a new kind of nuclear weapon to the arsenal and now proposes a trillion dollars over the next 30 years on nuclear weapon spending.

When the present president came into office he promised comprehensive immigration reform. Now he is in the last year and has deported more immigrants than any other president in history.

When this president came into office seven years ago he promised less wars and arms. Since that time the USA is involved in more wars, endless wars, and the president has approved more arms sales that any other president, including the largest one, in history, to perpetuate wars around the globe.

When this president came into office he promised a health care system based on health care to all people not profits for insurance company. Now health insurances companies are the wealthiest and most profitable in the USA and world.

When this president came into office he promised to lessen the gap between wealthiest and middle class and low income citizens. Now the gap has increased and more and more people in USA suffer impoverishment.

When this President came in office there was the hope of less military spending and more spending in other areas like education and providing basic food for all Americans. Now in the last year of his term there is more military spending and less money for education and more people go hungry.

When this president came into office the United States was not the country with most citizens per capita in prison. Now we are, surpassing China, Russia and all other nations in the world.

We could go on but I think you get the point. The USA faces more dangers, more poverty and a larger economic gap between the very few and greater majority of Americans than when this president came into office. Now we cannot lay all the blame on the president. Some of us voted him in office once or twice. The ‘people in power’, persons with most money, selected this president for us and profit from arms and poverty. Can we blame them? I think not. They only gave us the president we thought we wanted. Can we blame Republicans or Democrats in Congress? I think not. They only did what they needed to do to be elected and reelected. Who is to blame?

I think all of us who played the electoral game over taking a tougher role in choosing to struggle, resist and take nonviolent direct action for change. Gandhi said: “The rich cannot accumulate wealth without the cooperation of the poor in society.” We can also say the powerful, like the president and “powers that be” cannot accumulate power without the co-operation of the people.
Get off the electoral game bandwagon. Vote for Nobody and Nobody will not disappoint you. Power comes through struggle and direct action not thru the ballet box. Do not blame the President. Blame voters who are repeating the same game all over again.


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Ending Racism and Violence in Milwauee Part 1 Housing - Sunday, February 14, 2016

When I was publishing the Top Ten Worst List for the City of Milwaukee, I felt compelled to write an essay of problems causing racism and violence and specific responses. This total essay is still in working stage but here is a possible introduction and statement on housing crisis in Milwaukee with one possible answer. The suggestion came to me when I was visiting the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN and saw a plaque commenting the Fair House Marches in Milwaukee.

I have a dream of Milwaukee being a city of affordable housing for all, quality education for all, social services working together not in competition, with a good transportation system, high employment for all, reduced crime, violence and homicides, with low rate of incarceration of African Americans, health treatment for all, especially those with brain illnesses and a city no racism and segregation. The reality is quite contrary right now. Milwaukee makes the top ten list in many ‘worse’ categories like the worst city to raise a black child.

I do not have the answers but over a full life as a Milwaukee residents and studying history I do have some specific suggestion of what to do. I hope you do and send your suggestions to


Part of Problem

Milwaukee North Central Neighbors once had a high rate, 80%, of home ownership. Now the neighborhoods are full of vacant lots, where houses have been torn down, rental units owned by landlords not in the neighborhood and vacant houses. While there are many reasons for this state of housing one predominate one for these neighborhoods and others in Milwaukee is the lack of development. Real Estate developers flood to downtown area and suburbia area to build houses, condos and apartments. Developers do not, for the most part, create affordable and low income housing in these areas of development. Developing affordable and low income housing in neighborhoods like North Central, predominately black areas is not as profitable and thus less likely to be done. The breakdown of the family relates to the segregation of housing by race and income.

What Can Be Done

The City of Milwaukee, County of Milwaukee and State of Wisconsin can pass an equal housing law requiring developers who are investing in City and County to also invest in low income and affordable housing the in the areas they are developing or in neighborhoods like the North Central Milwaukee. For example a city ordinance would require that a developer building a luxurious condo downtown either invest in affordable housing downtown or North Central side or others low income neighborhoods. The investment can be construction of building or money in a fund to rehab and build houses in North Central. Milwaukee is one of the most segregated cities in the USA. If Milwaukee returns a mix of housing in downtown and neighborhoods, luxury, middle class and affordable housing we can return to neighborhoods of old with mix of people


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Piling On The Poor - Saturday, February 13, 2016

An elderly friend of our lives simply on a fixed income. Recently she faced some tough financial times. Friends and family came to her rescue with food, money and encouragement. However, the Federal Government decided that in the past they had given her some financial aid that they now decided was too much. They wrote her saying they had been authorized by Congress to take the money in month installments from her already limited Social Security. Instead of supporting our friend during this difficult time the government decided to “pile it on”.

Another friend has been struggling for years to get custody of her disabled son. This mother has struggled with the County and State system and now is another mother who has a ‘missing child’. The State will not let her visit or even know where he is. The mother’s son is severely disabled and thus unable to stand up to authorities for himself as they ‘pile on’ to the misery or a lost mother son relationship.

Despite all the talk about treating persons with serious mental illnesses they keep be sent to county jail, County house of Corrections. Other persons in health crisis go to emergency rooms of hospitals but people suffering an acute mental health crisis often go to jail. Now the Milwaukee County Executive is planning to ‘pile on’ to this crisis of health by privatizing the mental health compels and limited services the County provides to “persons danger to themselves or others.”

Many political leaders, people of all incomes and races repeat the American myth message that “you can anything you want to be if you are just determined and work for it.” This message of unlimited opportunity, pulling one by one’s own bootstraps is just ‘piling it on young adults’ and leading to hopelessness.

Recently a local politician was criticized for trying to get to know and love members of a gang. Yet, blaming, shaming, stereotyping, stigmatizing these young men just piles it on for gang members, making it harder for members to make changes in their life.

A person not able to paying parking tickets can eventually cause loss of driver’s license that may cost loss of employment, pile on debt and less able to pay fines.

A local charitable group decided to invest millions of dollars in a business to make money for serving the poor. The investment keeps piling on debt and financial lost which makes the charity less able to serve persons in need.

Piling on the poor seems to be national game the USA is playing.


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Jesus, Good for Nothing Old, White Guy? - Friday, February 12, 2016

When I was writing the lyrics for my country song title ”I am an good for nothing old white guy” I came across a picture of Jesus with the words “The Only White Guy in Ancient Middle East.” Now if you take away the cigarette butt handing from his mouth this looks like a picture of Jesus, at least the one I remember from my childhood in a Catholic school. Now being a third generation Middle Eastern on my grandfather’s side I know that people of Jesus had darker skin but Jesus is presented as a white guy.

Now let’s say the pictures are right and Jesus was a ‘white guy’ that does not make him an old white guy. Wait, he left home at 30 years old and died when he was 33 years old. That seems young but when you consider the average age of men in these times was 40 Jesus was not that young. If he was an old white guy you can say he was not a “good for nothing” old white guy.

Wait again! While we look at Jesus as our great savior, people of his time had another view. People like the miracles and some of the preaching but often treated him like a ‘reject’. Look at the crowd in the village of Nazareth when return to where he had grown up. They took him up a hill to throw him off. When he was arrested in his last days everyone left him.

Yes, Maybe Jesus was a good for nothing only white guy.


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End War on the Poor - Thursday, February 11, 2016

This is a letter I sent to friends, media and members of SVDP in effort to get good information out.
It is time to break the silence and hear the Cry of the Poor

Dear Donors, Media, Vicentians, Peace and Justice People,

Some of you may have received the essay Story of Struggle for Milwaukee SVDP or may have watched the interview on Ch. 58 with Pastor Shelia Williams and myself called Controversial Essay Questions Outreach to Milwaukee Poor and is Now Making the Rounds in Catholic Circles.

Finally at this interview the small group controlling the finances of the Milwaukee Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) Society responded to the people trying to revive the true mission of SVDP, to serve persons in need with personal home visits. The Executive Director gave Ch. 58 a statement that said in Main/StoryOfStruggleForMilwaukeeSVDPpart: “$1.8 million of goods and services (including new beds, food, clothing, appliances and furniture) to individuals and families in need in Milwaukee County through our network of over 800 volunteers”

The facts are that the Milwaukee SVDP Council, controlled by a small group, only allots about $100, 000, of the over three million dollars budget of the Milwaukee Council/Central Staff each year to the main mission of the Society, make home visits to people in need and helping them with essentials like beds, stoves or refrigerators. The rest of the 1.8 million goods and service mentioned comes directly from the individual budgets of the 55 SVDP conferences in Milwaukee County. Conferences independently raise money and have separate independent budgets. 99% of a conference budget may go to needs of poor while 99% of Council/Central Office budget goes for staff compensation, operating and occupancy cost of buildings. (These numbers come from very limited information provided to Conference Presidents on Council and to members of the Society. They do not include the over 950, 000 collected recently in a major fundraising campaign or the 3.2 million dollar debt and past year operating debt of nearly $500, 000 for the Greenfield store).

Also, due to geographic limits placed by Central Office only about 10–15conference make the overwhelming number of home visits. The vast number of urban poor are not served. Even at that, vouchers for clothing beds, household items provided by conferences members to people in need are redeemed at SVDP store and conferences are charged 100% of the retail value.

According to the Rule and Manuel of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul “all monies belong to the poor” and funds donated to the Society, must be used only for works that involve the personal service of Society members.” Until the small group controlling Milwaukee SVDP dialog with members, poor and others seeking to restore the true mission there will be needs for more pickets and nonviolent action by poor and voices for the poor.

To contact the small group trying to reform SVDP, called Power to the Poor, contract

Struggling for the Truth by Direct Nonviolent Action to set the people free,



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More Votes, More Money for Killing! - Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Today the President of the United States proposed a 4.1 trillion dollar 2017 budget while all the news can talk about was the New Hampshire primary vote results.

Many Americans were too distracted by the political show in New Hampshire to notice,
That again in the 2017 budget there is more money for Department of Defense
Than in all others parts of discretionary spending budget.
Trump, Clinton, Sanders and the others get the media attention
While more people in the world get killed by American Made bombs, drones and weapons
On both side of the many wars in the world.
Big money, Arms dealers laugh as we play the political game.

While the politicians spin the results of the New Hampshire
Men, Women and Children flee war torn Syria
Suffer killer drone attacks in Libya, Somali and Iraq.
The numbers of votes are counted in New Hampshire
And the show moves to other states.

Although we deep down know who the ‘powers that be’ have selected,
We prefer to play the game than face the fact that whoever big money selects
Not much will change. American will still be the largest arms dealer in the world,
With the most deadly military force killing our way to power in endless wars.

Hail to the next president, our first woman president?
Hail to weapons and those that use them
For they keep us safe or in danger,
Whatever you like to believe, be it so.
As the money for war and killing keeps coming
With the paper votes that occupy our time,
The Military budget grows and the world becomes more dangerous
Needing more money for weapons and people killing.


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I am a Good for Nothing Old White Guy - Monday, February 08, 2016

The other day this great title for a country song came to me. I cannot sing but tonight the rest of the lyrics came to me.

I am a good for nothing old white guy.
Up one day and down another day
But really doing nothing,
Just being a good for nothing old white guy.

Being a white guy has its privileges,
Being old has some perks,
But being good for nothing is the best,
No one expect anything of you.

I am a good for nothing old white guy.
Up one day and down another day.
But really doing nothing,
Just being a good for nothing old white guy.

As a good for nothing white guy,
Life moves around me,
Since doing nothing means
I can be trusted by white guys.

I am a good for nothing old white guy.
Up one day and down another day,
But really doing nothing,
Just being a good for nothing old white guy.

When nobody expects a thing
I can be of surprise by doing something,
When other white guys might be intimating,
Being old and doing nothing I am no surprise to anyone.

I am a good for nothing old white guy.
Up one day and down another day
But really doing nothing,
Just being a good for nothing old white guy.


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Lust for Money Fame and Power - Sunday, February 07, 2016

The Super Bowl Football game today probably drew record viewers around the world. Grown men banging each other to get a ball down the field is exciting to watch and very competitive. Although there are less boys playing football due the high chance of injury including concussions. Pro Football fought the danger of serious brain injury from surfacing but now that it has they have embraced it and use it to promote football. But brains were not meant to be shaken around, no matter the type of helmet and all the money and fame surrounding football cannot change that.

Using devastation or a victory to get support or money for an organization is a common practice. If something good happens a number of organizations will email me taking credit for it and ask for more funds for their work. If something bad happens the same organization will ask me for funds to prevent such a thing from happening.

Where the money is where many organizations and agencies are, not where there is the most need. Getting more money seems to be the goal of the very rich, middle class and poor. Just like it is hard to turn away from football it is hard to turn away from the pursuit of money. Money decides political elections, what one eats and wears and often the amount of education one has.

People with money and without money seem to be happy or sad based on other things. Yet the lure of money by winning the lottery, being successful in business or earning lots of money still drives some. However, the old adage you can be anything you want to be with hard work and determination is impossible for many in our society in the growing poor class.

So for many of us we can transfer our drive for money and fame by watching sports where there is lots of money and fame. Money matters, sadly for some over black lives and the needy. In the last judgement if Jesus uses gospel values to judge groups I think the American Society and its lust for money, fame and power will rate poorly.


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Bones Matter Over Brains - Thursday, February 04, 2016

Today I drove a friend to the Orthopedic Hospital of Wisconsin for a surgery procedure on her arm. I had heard about the Heart Hospital in Milwaukee but did not know we had a hospital devoted to bone repair.

Later this morning I was talking with the a director at the County Mental Health Complex, which is. However, they cannot admit patients who are not a “danger to self and others”, the standard in Wisconsin for involuntary commitment. This means persons with acute mental health crises really do not, without proper insurance and without consenting have no way to go and often end up in the County Jail or House of Corrections where about 400 of the around 960 inmates have serious mental illnesses. Our jail become our institutions for sick persons with brain illnesses.

The director mentioned how nice it would be to have a psychiatric hospital for people with mental illness that need a hospital stay. I agreed but said how nice it would be if a person in an acute mental health crisis could be treated like any other patient acutely sick and be brought to the ER of a Hospital. The fact is there is no big money in treatment of mental illnesses for people with poor or no insurances. A leader of another Mental Health advocacy group pointed out to me that if there was money in mental health treatment all the hospitals will do it.

I heard today that one of the most profitable industries in the USA is the health care industry. There is big money profits for insurance companies and inexpensive and ineffective health care for the rest of us.

When the largest institutions in the County for persons with mental illnesses is the County Jail and the County House of Correction what does that say for our society, bones matter over brains.


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Small Step Seeking Truth - Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Sometimes little victories keep us going. My essay Story of the Struggle for Milwaukee SVDP got some attention today on the local Chapter 58 News. The interview with Pastor Shelia and myself was featured on the news at 4pm today. The segment was called Controversial Essay Questions Outreach to Milwaukee Poor and is Now Making the Rounds in Catholic Circles. You can find the interview and the essay at this site.

The central office who is ignored the essay and all other attempts to dialog by our small group trying to reform the Milwaukee Society of SVDP did send in a statement about the show. It did not answer any of the questions in the essay or question any facts. It was an attack on me but at least it was a response. Any response is better than hate of indifference and ignoring persons. Maybe we can start a dialog or least raise the issue of serving the needy in Milwaukee. One small step in the struggle to seek the truth.


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Repeat of Groundhog Day - Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow today, as did the Groundhog in the Racine Zoo, so this means we will have an early spring. This is good news for all of us scientific followers of the climate. For some of us winter is boring and we cannot wait till spring when nature is reborn and everything starts growing. There is no garden work in the winter.

In the winter we must resort to other things for recreational exercise. Today I thought of a good title for a county song: “I am just a good for nothing old guy.” Now I need to write the lyrics. Since I cannot sing I hope someone will put music to it.

However, just as I was on a roll today this quote of Gandhi was sent me from India. Ahimsa is the word for what we call nonviolence. “Ahimsa calls for the strength and courage to suffer without retaliation, to receive blows without returning any.” Now maybe this is what the harshness of winter is preparing us for, to have courage to endure hardship and not to return it.

So the season of winter may bring discontent but each year we know that if we endure spring will come. Then seasons repeat themselves here in Wisconsin just like Groundhog Day.


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Ill Persons in Jail and Prison - Monday, February 01, 2016

Today in my research of how persons with mental illnesses are being jailed I learned the number of men and women with major mental illnesses taken to the Milwaukee County Jail and House of Corrections is increasing. Private contractors who oversee the mental health care of persons in the county system say that about 400 of 960 men and women in the County Jail are seriously ill with brain illnesses. I also learned that in the Wisconsin correctional system, with the highest rate of African American young men incarcerated in the US, has about 35% of the 17,000 – 20,000 persons incarcerated at one time with a severe mental illnesses.

The greatest number of ill persons imprisoned come from the city of Milwaukee. The stigma of mental illnesses is rampart in the city of Milwaukee and contributes to aggravate the problem. Although no one is ‘mentally ill’ as a person with cancer is not ‘cancerous’ the media and public refuse to look on mental illness as just another illness but as something morally wrong with the person. Any type of ill or injured person can receive care in the Emergency Room of a hospital except ones with brain illnesses we call mental illnesses.

When I tell most people about how we treat persons with illnesses by placing them in jail or prison, the worst type of treatment for such a person, they seem to understand. However, despite all the understanding, talk and good will the jail and prison system continues to swallow up ill persons. Most groups that lack human and civil rights raise up to demand equal treatment. I doubt if that will ever happen with persons with mental illnesses. Often they do not realize they are ill and, if they do, cannot except the stigma that comes with this illness.

Knowing the outcome of such treatment having been with my deceased son during his struggle with this illness I feel very sad that it is still happening. Now Milwaukee County wants to close the limited facility that deals with ill persons in crisis. This will mean more ill persons in jail and prison.


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