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The Ash Grove: Pete Seeger: Precious Friend


Pete Seeger: Precious Friend
Another chapter closes, but the book is not yet finished. A tribute to Pete Seeger will not do his memory justice, if it does not look forward – and continue the dedication to progress and a humanist world. The Ash Grove is sponsoring a tribute to Pete Seeger on Saturday, April 5, from 2p-4p at the First Unitarian Church, Los Angeles, 2938 West 8th Street.

Performers and speakers who knew and loved Pete’s music and his mission will be there to share and build community through music, art and ideas. The tribute will feature Ross Altman, Len Chandler, Claudia Lennear (20 Steps), Bernie Pearl, and several other great performers; along with dynamic speakers including (City of Glass, et al) Mike Davis and Art Goldberg. This will be an historic and unforgettable event. So please come – bring your children, grandparents and grand kids, friends and neighbors.

Tickets are $20 – a donation – from which net proceeds will benefit the First Unitarian Church that continues its progressive mission (building a new and vital children’s center) and neighborhood programs. No one will be turned away. But we do anticipate a big crowd – so come early. Free parking at the First Baptist Church lot, across the street. Harriet Aronow, Ash Grove Music Secretary From:] Subject: [Bulk] Pete Seeger: Precious Friend by Ross Altman for FolkWorks Pete Seeger: Precious Friend (May 3, 1919—January 27, 2014) ( ( ) By Ross Altman Just when I thought all was lost You changed my mind You gave me hope Not just the old soft soap You showed that we could learn to share in time (You and me and Rockefeller) I’ll keep plugging on Your face will shine Through all our tears And when we sing another little victory song Precious Friend, you will be there (Singing in harmony) Precious Friend, you will be there.

–Pete Seeger Pete Seeger, America’s tuning fork, the folk singer who revived the five-string banjo who taught We Shall Overcome to Dr. Martin Luther King at Highlander Folk School in New Market, Tennessee and turned an obscure Georgia Sea Island hymn into an international anthem for freedom from the March on Washington to Tiananmen Square who saved the most polluted waterway in the country with a replica he built from a 19th Century schooner and made the Hudson River run clean again who fought the House Committee on Un-American Activities tooth and nail, refused to name names on the basis of the 1st Amendment and six years after he was sentenced for Contempt of Congress saw his conviction overturned by the United States Supreme Court who popularized not only his own songs but an entire library of American folk music who single-handedly built Folkways Records into a national institution now preserved by the Smithsonian who put the songs of the King of the 12-String guitar Huddie Ledbetter and the

Dust Bowl Balladeer Woody Guthrie on the lips of students from California to the New York Island who stood up to the Ku Klux Klan with Paul Robeson at Peekskill, New York in 1949 at the most dangerous concert ever held in this land, and proudly displayed the rocks they threw through his car window in the fireplace of his log cabin in Beacon who taught Dave Guard of the Kingston Trio and Eric Darling of the Rooftop Singers and Alex Hassilev of the Limelighters, and Don McLean and Michael Cooney and my friend “Banjo” Fred Starner and a thousand lesser known and unknown musicians like me to play the long-neck banjo with his mimeographed instruction book How to Play the Five-String Banjo who taught audiences around the world to sing along with their own folk music who made a children’s book based on his cante-fable Abiyoyo from an old South African collection of stories his father gave him when he was ten into a New York Times bestseller who introduced the songs of “Woody’s Children” Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, Peter La Farge and Malvina Reynolds to a new generation of fans and singers through the Newport Folk Festival—which he helped launch from his living room in 1958 who created the two most important singing groups in American folk music history—the Almanac Singers and the Weavers who turned Leadbelly’s theme song Goodnight Irene into the number one song of the half century in 1950 according to Life Magazine—which remained in the top spot on the Hit Parade for 17 straight weeks—longer than any song by Elvis Presley or the Beatles or the Rolling Stones or anyone else until 1975 who was told by Jack Linkletter of the shameful ABC show Hootenanny (a word invented by Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger during their Almanac days) that he, and I quote, “couldn’t hold an audience,” which was why they wouldn’t book him who was similarly blacklisted by all the major networks including CBS for 17 years after the Weavers were blacklisted by Red Channels in 1950 until the Smothers Brothers invited him onto their Comedy Hour—only to be told that he couldn’t sing Waist Deep in the Big Muddy by CBS censors because “someone might think he was referring to President Johnson,” but then was invited back by the Smothers Brothers in 1968 when he triumphantly sang the best antiwar protest song ever written—by a World War II veteran who managed to make a living after he was blacklisted in the 1950s by singing at elementary schools and colleges and summer camps where he taught an entire generation of students to appreciate their own musical heritage and history through the songs that were born out of social struggle, until those students grew up and became the rebels of the 1960s who thereby exempted Pete from their own rule “Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30” who raised five children on a folk singer’s wages until his own songs like Where Have All the Flowers Gone and Turn, Turn, Turn and Kisses Sweeter Than Wine and If I Had a Hammer made so much money from hit recordings by the Kingston Trio and the Byrds and Jimmie Rogers and Peter, Paul and Mary that he was embarrassed by it and refused to look at his own bank balance again and let his wife Toshi handle all their financial affairs who paid his own way to all of his benefit concerts, paid for his own tickets to the same concerts, and then made a substantial donation himself to add to the funds he raised Precious Friend ( ) ( who told his manager Harold Leventhal, “I don’t want to know what they are paying me to perform; that’s your department” who quit the Weavers after their 1955 Christmas Eve Reunion Concert at Carnegie Hall—the one that was recorded and released on Vanguard Records and launched their new label—the label that then recorded Joan Baez and Buffy Ste. Marie and all the Newport Folk Festivals—and started the Folk Revival of the 1960s—because they agreed to star in a cigarette commercial and Pete refused to have his name used to sell cigarettes or any other commodity but the music he stood for who then went back out on the road as a solo folk singer who had nothing to sell and refused to sell out who showed what one life lived with integrity could accomplish and finally reaped the rewards of his convictions with the Kennedy Center Honors and hearing President of the United States Bill Clinton refer to him as “an inconvenient artist” when bestowing the National Medal of the Arts—our government’s highest honor for the Arts—on him in 1993 who was then invited by President Barack Obama to perform on the National Mall for his 2008 Inauguration where he sang all six verses of Woody’s This Land Is Your Land, including the one that says: As I went walking Out on that highway I saw a sign say, “No Trespassing,” But on the other side It didn’t say nothing That side was made for you and me!” who fell in love with the five-string banjo in 1935 when he was just sixteen years old and his father folklorist and ethnomusicologist Charles Seeger took him to the Asheville Folk Festival in North Carolina and he heard the Appalachian Minstrel Bascom Lamar Lunsford play it for the first time, and ever afterward told his audiences “Don’t learn to play the banjo from me—learn it from the people I learned it from—Pete Steele and Uncle Dave Macon and Doc Boggs and Wade Ward and Frank Proffit—always directing us back to his sources and away from himself who often referred to himself as “a born-again agnostic” who taught young kids up and down the river when he sailed the Clearwater along the Hudson to raise money and awareness of what it would take to clean it up, and inspired a new generation of environmental activists to do just that, including Bobby Kennedy’s son Robert F. Kennedy, Jr who started the group River Keepers to carry on Pete’s pioneering work who founded not one but two great folk music magazines People’s Songs Bulletin and Sing Out! to publish both old and new songs from across the country and around the world—such as the Spanish Civil War songs he rescued from oblivion and brought to Folkways’ Moses Asch to record when he was on a three-day leave from the island of Saipan during World War II—where he met future KPFK broadcaster Mario Cassetta and commandeered him to come to Los Angeles after the war to start a chapter of People’s Songs here so they could claim with Woody that their little magazine went all the way “From California to the New York Island” who inspired me to pick up a banjo when I first heard him play Uncle Dave Macon’s Cumberland Mountain Bear Chase on an old Stinson Record—from their American Folksay Series—and to think that one day I too could make a living as a folk singer who showed us how and told us why who sang Bob Dylan’s Ye Playboys and Playgirls with him at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival and introduced him to a national audience and sang Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall on his world tour later that year to give him international exposure (both performances were recorded, the first on Vanguard Records and the second on Columbia Records) who sang Tom Paxton’s Rambling Boy with the Weavers at Carnegie Hall also in 1963 (he eventually forgave them for the cigarette commercial, like he forgave Burl Ives for naming names before HUAC and appeared with him in concert at Town Hall in New York City to show that friendship is sometimes more important even than principle and people can make mistakes and be forgiven), and who made a hit out of Malvina Reynold’s Little Boxes—giving them all a platform for the rest of their careers who wrote “This Machine Surrounds Hate and Forces It to Surrender” on his banjo who paid tribute to his devoted wife Toshi after she passed away last year by saying “she was the brains of the family” who was still chopping wood out behind their cabin just ten days before he died “of natural causes” who stood out on a street corner in Beacon on the Hudson in upstate New York every week even during their snowy winter with just an American flag and a small sign that said simply, “Peace,” during the entire Iraq war, inspiring me to do the same with Neighbors for Peace and Justice in Studio City who made a fabulous three-egg cheese and mushroom omelet with strawberry shortcake for dessert for me when I stayed over at his log cabin in 1976, a newly-fledged songwriter who drove up to his cabin from my graduate school studies at SUNY-Binghamton to show him my songs, and then quietly put them back in my guitar case when I heard him sing My Rainbow Race for the first time during the Hoot after their regular monthly meeting of the Beacon Sloop Club (for which I had timed my pilgrimage) and thought “that’s the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard,” learned it on the spot and realized my songs needed some more work before I would ask him to listen to them who showed me how much he loved Toshi when he came out to perform at The Barn Folk Concert Series at UC Riverside with both Mike and Peggy Seeger—the first time they had all performed together in a quarter century—and the one time Toshi left his side I heard him sing to her like a bird over the heads of hundreds of concert-goers outside the Barn, just to establish where she was and reconnect, his fabled Adam’s Apple bobbing up and down and his voice doing somersaults until he heard her sing back to him, “Pete, I’m here!” who inspired Dylan to write “and the saintliness of Pete Seeger,” in the album liner notes to Bringing It All Back Home who when the networks banned him from appearing on TV in the country he went to war to defend during World War II—while the chicken hawks on HUAC got away with calling this most American of artists “Un-American”—started his own public television show Rainbow Quest—to bring his favorite fellow artists and America’s folk songs to yet another new generation of listeners and viewers who like Walt Whitman heard America singing and over seventy-five years gave Americans their most sacred national heritage—the songs and stories from the unknown cowboys and sailors and loggers and housewives and slaves, former slaves, industrial workers and coal miners and farmers and immigrants and rebels and yes outlaws too, the anonymous poets’ voices that make up the Great American Songbag who was and always will be America’s greatest folk singer, has died. He was 94 years old and forever young. How can he keep from singing, “Toshi, I’m here!” Rest in Peace.

Daily Digest: Bernie Pearl: Two Concerts Coming Up!

“I am very impressed with this album …this is a GREAT body of work!” Chuck Purcell WDPS FM 89.5 Dayton.Ohio ———————————————————— …an exceptional fascinating blues man! ” “Bernie Pearl’s new solo album “Take Your Time” is a soulful and virtuos mix of Delta fingerpicking and slide guitar, that will touch your heart lyrically and emotionally. Singer and guitarist Bernie Pearl is not a confined traditionalist or retro musician, but his personality and his melodious interpretations makes of him an exceptional fascinating blues man! ” Eric Schuurmans, Rootstime Magazine, Belgium 2/27/14 Translated from Flemish by the writer. See the complete article: ———————————————————— Dear Friends: Great comments and reviews of “Take Your Time” keep coming in. Saturday, March 15, we will be celebrating its release in our annual concert at Boulevard Music in Culver City. What’s special about this one is that it will feature material from our new release, “Take Your Time”, and will be joined for several tunes by drummer Albert Trepagnier, Jr. who played such a key role on these recordings. In addition, each patron will receive a mountable fine art poster by artist EK Waller, honoring “Take Your Time”. Complementary, of course. Bassist Mike Barry and I produced the tracks and he will be on hand to play them with me, plus many other blues favorites. Boulevard Music is an ideal venue for fans to enjoy great music in an intimate setting without distractions. Admission is $20. Doors open at 7:30, show at 8:00. 4316 Sepulveda Blvd., at Culver.

(310) 398-2583 Friday, March 21 we will return to San Pedro’s Alva’s Music to celebrate the new CD. Mike, Al, saxophonist Bobby Spencer, and myself will be on hand to play the blues for you. Each patron will be offered an EK Waller poster on the house. In Alva’s beautiful small amphitheater, we perform on a sunken dance floor, with great sound and lightning. People are invited to bring in their own picnic and beverages of choice. Alva’s is a San Pedro treasure that locals patronize in great numbers. Our concert in the 100-seater last year sold out in advance. Buy in advance and get there early for best seating. $20 admission. Doors open at 7:30, show at 8:00. 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro 90732 Info: (310) 833-3281 Tickets: 1-800-403-3447 ( “Bernie Pearl is one of Blues Moon Radio’s treasured discoveries. Thank you for gracing us with a copy of “Take Your Time”… your selections are wonderful, you treat the music with such respect and your artistry is at once delicate and powerful. You infuse the recording with your personal touch – all while remaining true to the art form. Clair DeLune, Host, Blues Moon Radio ( WUSC 90.5 fm Columbia, So Carolina

The Ash Grove: Sandy Carter in Z Magazine: Celebrating Pete Seeger

Daily Digest Sandy Carter in Z Magazine: Celebrating Pete Seeger Hi. Yesterday’s NY Times obit was written just after news of Pete’s death, just three readers had commented. As of late last night, there were more than 11,000. This review below gives a much deeper understanding of Pete, his guiding philosophy and politics, as well as of history, folk music and the times, as they change. It’s one to save. -Ed Celebrating Pete Seeger By Sandy Carter ( April 1, 1998 Posted in: Activism ( , Africa ( , Asia ( , Canada ( , Caribbean ( , Cuba ( , Ecology ( , Europe ( , Human Rights ( , North America ( , South Africa ( Our songs are like you and me, the product of a long human chain… —Pete Seeger Ever since the radical tradition of American folk music incubated in the 1930s, a loosely defined, loosely tied “folk music community” has inspired strains of popular music linked to radical politics and struggles for social justice. In musical forms such as blues, gospel, work songs, traditional ballads and old-time country sounds, left-wing musicians, and activists have discovered and cultivated authentic “people’s music” giving voice to the experiences of ordinary men and women. The progressive social tradition embedded in American folk music is, however, much more than a body of songs or musical style. The folk community has long been defined by certain attitudes about how music should be made. In “true” folk music there are no superstar celebrities or hits, no big distinctions between performers and audience, no elaborate musical productions. Folk places emphasis on lyrics and the human voice. Its subject matter is the totality of real life. The aesthetic measure of quality is more emotional honesty than musical technique. In sum, the left folk tradition is explicitly opposed to the conventions of “commercial” or mass music making. At the end of the 20th century with historical amnesia rampant, no popular political rebellion on the horizon, and so many of the songs of Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly circulating in the mainstream of American cultural life, it is difficult to recall a time when folksingers or folk music could be considered subversive or worthy of repression. But with the release of the double CD compilation Where Have All The Flowers Gone: The Songs Of Pete Seeger (Appleseed Recordings), the music of one of the great torch bearers of alternative music making renews the spirit of radical song. Celebrating Seeger’s remarkable six-decade career as a folksinger/activist, Where Have All The Flowers Gone draws together a broad array of progressive minded musicians to perform songs and poems Seeger has penned or sung in his efforts to chronicle a people’s history through music and encourage the struggles of labor, anti-war and civil rights movements, environmentalists, and any number of other fights against injustice. Well known performers such as Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, the Indigo Girls, Nanci Griffith, Roger McGuinn, Ani Difranco, and actor Tim Robbins are on hand to pay homage and draw attention to the Seeger legacy. But the 39 performances on this deeply moving collection also pulls in a sterling cast of lesser known multicultural activist artists from around the globe and across generations. Author Studs Terkel and singer Ronnie Gilbert (a Seeger colleague in the Weavers) are among the elders. Sweet Honey In The Rock, Guy Davis, Tish Hinojosa, and John Trudell bring the sounds of black gospel, blues, Mexican folk, and spoken word to the program. The international delegation includes Tommy Sands and Delores Keane (Ireland), cellist Vedran Smailovic (Bosnia), Dick Gaughan (Scotland), Bruce Cockburn (Canada), and Billy Bragg (England). One of Pete Seeger’s great contributions to the folk world has been his ability to unearth traditional songs along with their social and historical roots. Viewing song as a bridge to other times, other cultures, and a vibrant connection between the past and present, he then brings to his concert performances a masterful weave of anecdotes and music evoking a common humanity and shared social vision. On Where Have All The Flowers Gone, the stories behind the songs are provided by liner note comments by Seeger, various artists, and producer Jim Musselman. While the humor and generous humanitarian spirit of Seeger’s live shows is missed, the song performances are consistently strong and imbued with the conviction and integrity associated with the Seeger name. The stunning title track opens disc one, with Belfast singer/peace worker Tommy Sands and the legendary Irish vocalist Dolores Keane blending their voices in a quiet, anguished prayer for peace against a vocal backdrop of Catholic and Protestant school children, haunting uillean pipes and accordion, and the mournful cello of Vedran Smailovic. Though not well known in the U.S., Smailovic gained worldwide attention when he refused to stop playing his cello on the streets of Sarajevo after his opera theater was destroyed and 22 of his neighbors died from a mortar attack. Asked by a CNN reporter if he was crazy for playing music with bombs falling, Smailovic replied, “You ask me am I crazy for playing the cello, why do you not ask if they are crazy for shelling Sarajevo?” Such a poignant performance sets a high standard for everything that follows, but this is an album loaded with inspiring, heartfelt music. The everlasting hymn of hope, “We Shall Overcome,” is interpreted with stirring dignity by Bruce Springsteen. Ani Difranco’s restrained rendering of “My Name Is Lisa Kalvelage” (the true story of a woman who stopped a Vietnam bound shipment of napalm by refusing to leave a loading platform), and Dick Gaughan’s angry take on the anti-Vietnam “Waist Deep In The Big Muddy” burn with timeless relevance. With an eerie vocal mix and drums and guitars crackling, the Indigo Girls translate the biblically inspired “Letter To Eve” as a feminist anthem for peace. Santee Sioux poet/activist John Trudell delivers a tough, personalized rendering of “The Torn Flag,” nailing hypocrisies and broken promises to a tarnished symbol of freedom. Other highlights such as the reggae flavored duet of Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt on “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine”; John Gorka’s melodic, delicate singing on “The Water Is Wide”; Studs Terkel’s readings of “Oh Sacred World” and “Blessed Be The Nation”; Greg Brown’s loving version of “Sailing Down My Golden River”; and the profound soulfulness of Odetta on “One Grain Of Sand,” suggest the enormous scope and versatility of Seeger’s writing. However, even with nearly two and a half hours of music, Where Have All The Flower Gone is still a slim introduction to the Seeger heritage. Born in New York City in 1919 to musicologist Charles Seeger and concert violinist Constance Edson Seeger, Pete Seeger discovered his musical interest early on, picking up ukulele, guitar, and banjo by his teenage years and finding, at age 15, a developing interest in folk music. After a brief two years at Harvard, he dropped out of college in 1938, wandering about New England painting barns and houses, touring New York state with a puppeteer troupe, and joining with other musicians playing concerts and rallies in support of a dairy farmers union. After a short stint as an assistant to folklorist Alan Lomax, then organizing a Library of Congress Archive Of American Folk Songs, Seeger’s life took a decisive turn. In 1940, when he hooked up with Woody Guthrie in New York after performing at a benefit in support of California migrant farm workers, Seeger’s politics were socialist and he was intent on advancing his views through music. In Guthrie he had a kindred spirit and together they took off across the country paying their way with “the music of the people.” After splitting up, Seeger continued hoboing by himself, along the way polishing performance skills, absorbing songs, and writing a few of his own. By 1941, with Guthrie, Lee Hays and Millard Lampell, he had formed the Almanac Singers to fuse traditional folk music with social protest focused on contemporary issues. The group performed at union rallies and leftist fundraisers and recorded two albums, Songs For John Doe and Talking Union And Other Union Songs, before disbanding shortly after the United States entered World War II. Drafted into the army in 1942 and serving in the Pacific, Seeger continued to collect traditional American songs of all kinds. Following the war, he helped launch Sing Out! The Folk Magazine to encourage social protest and the folk revival. The key turning point for the folk movement, however, occurred in 1948 when Seeger, Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert, and Fred Hellerman convened the Weavers. Within three years the folk quartet sold four million records, while popularizing Leadbelly’s “Goodnight Irene,” Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” and the South African song “Wimoweh” (appearing on Where Have All The Flowers Gone in a 1980 version recorded at a Weavers reunion concert). In the wake of McCarthyism, the fortunes of the Weavers changed drastically. Finding themselves blacklisted from radio, television, and many concert halls, the group broke up in 1953. Seeger continued to record as a solo artist on Moe Asch’s Folkways label, but in 1955 he was subpoenaed by the House Committee On Un-American Activities. While offering to discuss his songs or perform for the committee so that they might better understand his work, he cited the First Amendment and refused to talk about his politics. Though his conviction for Contempt of Congress was overturned by higher courts in 1961, Seeger was effectively blacklisted from the mass media for 17 years. Nonetheless, with the folk revival and political turmoil of the 1960s, cover versions of Seeger songs (“If I Had A Hammer,” “Where Have All The Flowers Gone,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “Bells Of Rhymney”) became chart toppers. With his appearances on college campuses, and at civil rights and anti-war demonstrations, he was again on the front lines of social change, becoming in the process a cultural hero of unquestioned integrity. Decades later, constant touring and crusading have kept that image intact. His songs have traveled over the face of the earth provoking empathy, compassion, thought, and resistance. With a steady output of recordings, he has produced a rich and vast catalog of traditional songs that stands as a national treasure. Skimming through Seeger’s discography, one will find collections of children’s songs, love songs, frontier ballads, civil war tunes, Christmas carols, Leadbelly and Guthrie songs, blues, banjo instruction, nature songs, industrial protest ballads, Bantu choral folk songs, old time fiddle tunes, and numerous other gems imparting hidden or forgotten people’s history. With this huge body of work in mind, Appleseed Recordings founder Jim Musselman promises to release at least another two volumes of Seeger material. Though much of his work (including classic live performances) remains in print, the varied interpretations of his songs on Where Have All The Flowers Gone demonstrate the enduring vitality of his music and message. Whether dressed in the “epic theatre” tradition of Bertolt Brecht, the plain garments of traditional folk, or the multicolored hues of rock, jazz, and gospel, Seeger’s “sound” is humanity. Though he is a teacher of a brand of American history not taught in schools and a living link to a legendary community of singers (Paul Robeson, Earl Robinson, Aunt Molly Jackson, Sara Orgon Gunning, Guthrie, Cisco Houston, Leadbelly, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee, to mention a few) whose mission expressed specific historical concerns, his music is of the ages, conveying an abiding faith in an egalitarian dream. Appropriately, Where Have All The Flowers Gone gives Seeger the final track, “And Still I Am Searching,” to sing his message in his own voice: And I’m still searching Yes I’m still searching For a way we all can learn To build a world where we all can share The work, the fun, the food, the space, the joy, the pain and no one ever ever need or seek to be a millionaire. Appleseed Recordings is a genuine independent label, not a subsidiary of a major entertainment corporation. Appleseed accepts no corporate or outside funding, and donates a percentage of its profits to environmental, human rights, and other progressive organizations. Carter’s: Z Magazine Z Commentary * 2001 In Music ( * Talking About Myths, Heroes, And Scoundrels ( * Reviews ( * Ralph Stanley’s Old-Time Music ( * Amy Ray Goes Stag ( * Spring Reviews ( * Best of 2000 ( * The Great Folk Scare Continues ( * The Grammies: Follow the Money ( * Buena Vista Social Club ( * When Kids Kill ( * Littleton ( * Kazan and the Oscars and Us ( ZNet ( | ZMagazine ( | ZBlogs ( | Z Media Institute ( | Z Video Productions ( | ZBooks ( | Contact Us ( | ZCommunications 2014 ( | ( BACK TO TOP ? ( ============================================================ Copyright © 2014 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove, All rights reserved. Ed’s Daily Digest News We have recreated the list in a program called MailChimp that promises to stop unsubscribing you. Please let us know if you experience problems with this new format by writing to Our mailing address is: Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove 882 Cleveland St. #21 Oakland, Ca 94606 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove 882 Cleveland St. #21 Oakland, Ca 94606 882 Cleveland St. #21 Oakland, Ca 94606 882 Cleveland St. #21 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove Oakland Ca 94606 ** follow on Twitter ( ** friend on Facebook ( ** forward to a friend ([UNIQID]) ** Add us to your address book ( ** Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp ( ** unsubscribe from this list ([UNIQID]&c=f18293085f) ** update subscription preferences ([UNIQID]) follow on Twitter (Twitter Account not yet Authorized ) | friend on Facebook (# ) | forward to a friend ( Copyright © 2014 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove, All rights reserved. A new format for The Ash Grove list! Hope you like it. 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The Ash Grove: NY Times: Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94

NY Times: Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94

This obituary has complementary material and focus than Ross or Democracy Now’s presentations. -Ed

** Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94 ———————————————————— By JON PARELES ( JAN. 28, 2014 Inside View slide show|14 Photos ** Pete Seeger: A Life Lived in the Power of Song ———————————————————— Pete Seeger (, the singer, folk-song collector and songwriter who spearheaded an American folk revival and spent a long career championing folk music as both a vital heritage and a catalyst for social change, died Monday. He was 94 and lived in Beacon, N.Y. His death was confirmed by his grandson, Kitama Cahill Jackson, who said he died of natural causes at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Mr. Seeger’s career carried him from singing at labor rallies to the Top 10 to college auditoriums to folk festivals, and from a conviction for contempt of Congress (after defying the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s) to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at an inaugural concert for Barack Obama. For Mr. Seeger, folk music and a sense of community were inseparable, and where he saw a community, he saw the possibility of political action.

** Related in Opinion ( ———————————————————— * ** Dot Earth Blog: Pete Seeger is Gone, but His Circles of Song Ring OnJAN. 28, 2014 (

Pete played a concert in Ithaca NY on an extremely cold night in the winter of 1970 at a small hall holding less than 2,000 people. At 11PM,… ** Lance Diskan ———————————————————— 16 minutes ago

No words – even song – can capture the deep, pervasive impact of Pete Seeger’s life on America and our planet. A person of authentic… ** D. Annie ———————————————————— 16 minutes ago

We have lost a fine man. He would want us to pick up and carry on. He wanted us all to sing along, not watch him perform alone. There is… * See All Comments * Write a comment In his hearty tenor, Mr. Seeger, a beanpole of a man who most often played 12-string guitar or five-string banjo, sang topical songs and children’s songs, humorous tunes and earnest anthems, always encouraging listeners to join in. His agenda paralleled the concerns of the American left: He sang for the labor movement in the 1940s and 1950s, for civil rights marches and anti-Vietnam War rallies in the 1960s, and for environmental and antiwar causes in the 1970s and beyond. “We Shall Overcome,” which Mr. Seeger adapted from old spirituals, became a civil rights anthem. Mr. Seeger was a prime mover in the folk revival that transformed popular music in the 1950s. As a member of the Weavers, he sang hits including Lead Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene” ( — which reached No. 1 — and “If I Had a Hammer,” ( which he wrote with the group’s Lee Hays. Another of Mr. Seeger’s songs, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” ( became an antiwar standard. And in 1965, the Byrds had a No. 1 hit with a folk-rock version of “Turn! Turn! Turn!,” ( Mr. Seeger’s setting of a passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes. Mr. Seeger was a mentor to younger folk and topical singers in the ‘50s and ‘60s, among them Bob Dylan, Don McLean and Bernice Johnson Reagon, who founded Sweet Honey in the Rock. Decades later, Bruce Springsteen drew the songs on his 2006 album, “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions,” from Mr. Seeger’s repertoire of traditional music about a turbulent American experience, and in 2009 he performed Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” with Mr. Seeger at the Obama inaugural ( . At a Madison Square Garden concert celebrating Mr. Seeger’s 90th birthday, Mr. Springsteen introduced him as “a living archive of America’s music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along.” Although he recorded more than 100 albums, Mr. Seeger distrusted commercialism and was never comfortable with the idea of stardom. He invariably tried to use his celebrity to bring attention and contributions to the causes that moved him, or to the traditional songs he wanted to preserve. Mr. Seeger saw himself as part of a continuing folk tradition, constantly recycling and revising music that had been honed by time. During the McCarthy era Mr. Seeger’s political affiliations, including membership in the Communist Party in the 1940s, led to his being blacklisted and later indicted for contempt of Congress. The pressure broke up the Weavers, and Mr. Seeger disappeared from television until the late 1960s. But he never stopped recording, performing and listening to songs from ordinary people. Through the decades, his songs have become part of America’s folklore. “My job,” he said in 2009, “is to show folks there’s a lot of good music in this world, and if used right it may help to save the planet.” Peter Seeger was born on May 3, 1919, to Charles Seeger, a musicologist, and Constance de Clyver Edson Seeger, a concert violinist. His parents later divorced. He began playing the ukulele while attending Avon Old Farms, a private boarding school in Connecticut. His father and his stepmother, the composer Ruth Crawford Seeger, were collecting and transcribing rural American folk music, as were folklorists like John and Alan Lomax. He heard the five-string banjo, which would become his main instrument, when his father took him to a square-dance festival in North Carolina. Young Pete became enthralled by rural traditions. “I liked the strident vocal tone of the singers, the vigorous dancing,” he is quoted in “How Can I Keep From Singing,” a biography by David Dunaway. “The words of the songs had all the meat of life in them. Their humor had a bite, it was not trivial. Their tragedy was real, not sentimental.” Planning to be a journalist, Mr. Seeger attended Harvard, where he founded a radical newspaper and joined the Young Communist League. After two years, he dropped out and came to New York City, where Mr. Lomax introduced him to the blues singer Huddie Ledbetter, known as Lead Belly. Mr. Lomax also helped Mr. Seeger find a job cataloging and transcribing music at the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress. Mr. Seeger met Mr. Guthrie, a songwriter who shared his love of vernacular music and agitprop ambitions, in 1940, when they performed at a benefit concert for migrant California workers. Traveling across the United States with Mr. Guthrie, Mr. Seeger picked up some of his style and repertory. He also hitchhiked and hopped freight trains by himself, trading and learning songs. When he returned to New York later in 1940, Mr. Seeger made his first albums. He, Millard Lampell and Mr. Hays founded the Almanac Singers, who performed union songs and, until Germany invaded the Soviet Union, antiwar songs, following the Communist Party line. Mr. Guthrie soon joined the group. During World War II ( the Almanac Singers’s repertory turned to patriotic, antifascist songs, bringing them a broad audience, including a prime-time national radio spot. But the group’s earlier antiwar songs, the target of an F.B.I. investigation, came to light, and the group’s career plummeted. Before the group completely dissolved, however, Mr. Seeger was drafted in 1942 and assigned to a unit of performers. He married Toshi-Aline Ohta while on furlough in 1943. When he returned from the war he founded People’s Songs Inc., which published political songs and presented concerts for several years before going bankrupt. He also started his nightclub career, performing at the Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village. Mr. Seeger and Paul Robeson toured with the campaign of Henry Wallace, the Progressive Party presidential candidate, in 1948. Mr. Seeger invested $1,700 in 17 acres of land overlooking the Hudson River in Beacon and began building a log cabin there in the late 1940s. In 1949, Mr. Seeger, Mr. Hays, Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman started working together as the Weavers. They were signed to Decca Records by Gordon Jenkins, the company’s music director and an arranger for Frank Sinatra. With Mr. Jenkins’s elaborate orchestral arrangements, the group recorded a repertoire that stretched from “If I Had a Hammer” to a South African song, “Wimoweh” (the title was Mr. Seeger’s mishearing of “Mbube,” the name of a South African hit by Solomon Linda), to an Israeli soldiers’ song, “Tzena, Tzena, Tzena,” to a cleaned-up version of Lead Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene.” Onstage, they also sang more pointed topical songs. In 1950 and 1951 the Weavers were national stars, with hit singles and engagements at major nightclubs. Their hits included “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” and Mr. Guthrie’s “So Long (It’s Been Good to Know Yuh),” and they sold an estimated four million singles and albums. But “Red Channels,” an influential pamphlet listing performers with suspected Communist ties, appeared in June 1950 and listed Mr. Seeger, although by then he had quit the Communist Party. He would later criticize himself for having not left the party sooner, though he continued to describe himself as a “communist with a small ‘c.’ ” Despite the Weavers’ commercial success, by the summer of 1951 the “Red Channels” citation and leaks from F.B.I. files had led to the cancellation of television appearances. In 1951, the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee investigated the Weavers for sedition. And in February 1952, a former member of People’s Songs testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee that three of the four Weavers were members of the Communist Party. As engagements dried up the Weavers disbanded, though they reunited periodically in the mid-1950s. After the group recorded an advertisement for Lucky Strike cigarettes, Mr. Seeger left, citing his objection to promoting tobacco use. Shut out of national exposure, Mr. Seeger returned primarily to solo concerts, touring college coffeehouses, churches, schools and summer camps, building an audience for folk music among young people. He started to write a long-running column for the folk-song magazine Sing Out! And he recorded prolifically for the independent Folkways label, singing everything from children’s songs to Spanish Civil War anthems. In 1955 he was subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee, where he testified, “I feel that in my whole life I have never done anything of any conspiratorial nature.” He also stated: “I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this.” Mr. Seeger offered to sing the songs mentioned by the congressmen who questioned him. The committee declined. Mr. Seeger was indicted in 1957 on 10 counts of contempt of Congress. He was convicted in 1961 and sentenced to a year in prison, but the next year an appeals court dismissed the indictment as faulty. After the indictment, Mr. Seeger’s concerts were often picketed by the John Birch Society and other rightist groups. “All those protests did was sell tickets and get me free publicity,” he later said. “The more they protested, the bigger the audiences became.” By then, the folk revival was prospering. In 1959, Mr. Seeger was among the founders of the Newport Folk Festival. The Kingston Trio’s version of Mr. Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” reached the Top 40 in 1962, soon followed by Peter, Paul and Mary’s version of “If I Had a Hammer,” which rose to the Top 10. Mr. Seeger was signed to a major label, Columbia Records, in 1961, but he remained unwelcome on network television. “Hootenanny,” an early-1960s show on ABC that capitalized on the folk revival, refused to book Mr. Seeger, causing other performers (including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Peter, Paul and Mary) to boycott it. “Hootenanny” eventually offered to present Mr. Seeger if he would sign a loyalty oath. He refused. He toured the world, performing and collecting folk songs, in 1963, and returned to serenade civil rights advocates, who had made a rallying song of his “We Shall Overcome.” Like many of Mr. Seeger’s songs, “We Shall Overcome” had convoluted traditional roots. It was based on old gospel songs, primarily “I’ll Overcome,” a hymn that striking tobacco workers had sung on a picket line in South Carolina. A slower version, “We Will Overcome,” was collected from one of the workers, Lucille Simmons, by Zilphia Horton, the musical director of the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tenn., which trained union organizers. Ms. Horton taught it to Mr. Seeger, and her version of “We Will Overcome” was published in the People’s Songs newsletter. Mr. Seeger changed “We will” to “We shall” and added verses (“We’ll walk hand in hand”). He taught it to the singers Frank Hamilton, who would join the Weavers in 1962, and Guy Carawan, who became musical director at Highlander in the ‘50s. Mr. Carawan taught the song to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at its founding convention. The song was copyrighted by Mr. Seeger, Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Carawan and Ms. Horton. “At that time we didn’t know Lucille Simmons’s name,” Mr. Seeger wrote in his 1993 autobiography, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.” All of the song’s royalties go to the “We Shall Overcome” Fund, administered by what is now the Highlander Research and Education Center, which provides grants to African-Americans organizing in the South. Along with many elders of the protest-song movement, Mr. Seeger felt betrayed when Bob Dylan appeared at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival with a loud electric blues band. Reports emerged that Mr. Seeger had tried to cut the power cable with an ax, but witnesses including the producer George Wein and the festival’s production manager, Joe Boyd (later a leading folk-rock record producer), said he did not go that far. (An ax was available, however. A group of prisoners had used it while singing a logging song.) As the United States grew divided over the Vietnam War, Mr. Seeger wrote “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” an antiwar song with the refrain “The big fool says to push on.” He performed the song during a taping of “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” in September 1967, his return to network television, but it was cut before the show was broadcast. After the Smothers Brothers publicized the censorship, Mr. Seeger returned to perform the song for broadcast in February 1968. During the late 1960s Mr. Seeger started an improbable project: a sailing ship that would crusade for cleaner water on the Hudson River. Between other benefit concerts he raised money to build the Clearwater, a 106-foot sloop that was launched in June 1969 with a crew of musicians. The ship became a symbol and a rallying point for antipollution efforts and education. In May 2009, after decades of litigation and environmental activism led by Mr. Seeger’s nonprofit environmental organization, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, General Electric began dredging sediment containing PCBs it had dumped into the Hudson. Mr. Seeger and his wife also helped organize a yearly summer folk festival named after the Clearwater. In the ‘80s and ‘90s Mr. Seeger toured regularly with Arlo Guthrie, Woody’s son, and continued to lead singalongs and perform benefit concerts. Recognition and awards arrived. He was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972, and in 1993 he was given a lifetime achievement Grammy Award ( . In 1994, President Bill Clinton handed him the National Medal of Arts, America’s highest arts honor, given by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1999, he traveled to Cuba to receive the Order of Félix Varela, Cuba’s highest cultural award, for his “humanistic and artistic work in defense of the environment and against racism.” In 1996, Mr. Seeger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence. Arlo Guthrie, who paid tribute at the ceremony, mentioned that the Weavers’ hit “Goodnight, Irene” reached No. 1, only to add, “I can’t think of a single event in Pete’s life that is probably less important to him.” Mr. Seeger made no acceptance speech, but he did lead a singalong of “Goodnight, Irene,” flanked by Stevie Wonder, David Byrne and members of the Jefferson Airplane. Mr. Seeger won Grammy Awards for best traditional folk album in 1997, for the album “Pete,” and in 2009, for the album “At 89.” He also won a Grammy in the children’s music category in 2011 for “Tomorrow’s Children.” 195Comments Mr. Seeger kept performing into the 21st century, despite a flagging voice; audiences happily sang along more loudly. He celebrated his 90th birthday, on May 3, 2009, at a Madison Square Garden concert — a benefit for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater — with Mr. Springsteen, Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp, Joan Baez, Ani DiFranco, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, Emmylou Harris and dozens of other musicians paying tribute. In August he was back in Newport for the 50th anniversary of the Newport Folk Festival. Mr. Seeger’s wife, Toshi, died in 2013, days before the couple’s 70th anniversary. Survivors include his son, Daniel; his daughters, Mika and Tinya; a half-sister, Peggy; and six grandchildren, including the musician Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, who performed with him at the Obama inaugural. His half-brother Mike Seeger, a folklorist and performer who founded the New Lost City Ramblers, died in 2009. Through the years, Mr. Seeger remained determinedly optimistic. “The key to the future of the world,” he said in 1994, “is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.” Gerry Mullany contributed reporting from Hong Kong, and Emma G. Fitzsimmons from New York. ============================================================ Copyright © 2014 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove, All rights reserved. A new format for The Ash Grove list! Hope you like it. Our mailing address is: Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove 882 Cleveland St. #21 Oakland, CA 94606 USA Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp ** follow on Twitter (Twitter Account not yet Authorized ) ** friend on Facebook (# ) ** forward to a friend ( ** unsubscribe from this list ( ** update subscription preferences (

The Ash Grove: Erin Brockovich: After Chemical Spill, West Virginians Organizing “Stronger Than I’ve Ever Seen”

———————————————————— Daily Digest Erin Brockovich: After Chemical Spill, West Virginians Organizing “Stronger Than I’ve Ever Seen” Erin Brockovich: After Chemical Spill, West Virginians Organizing “Stronger Than I’ve Ever Seen” Democracy Now: January 14, 2014 ** Guest:Erin Brockovich ( , renowned environmentalist, consumer advocate and legal researcher. Today, Brockovich and her team are investigating the major chemical spill in the Elk River, West Virginia ———————————————————— AARON MATÉ: West Virginia has begun partially lifting its ban on tap water five days after a chemical spill in the Elk River. More than 300,000 residents have been unable to use their water for drinking, cooking or bathing since Thursday, when the company Freedom Industries leaked up to 7,500 gallons of MCHM, an agent used in coal extraction. Scores of schools and businesses have been closed, including in the state capital, Charleston. On Monday, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced chemical levels in the water supply are approaching safe levels, but said some residents will be without water for several more days. GOV. EARL RAY TOMBLIN: The numbers we have today look good, and we’re finally at a point where the do-not-use order has been lifted in certain areas. In these specific areas, flushing can begin. We’ve made a lot of progress, but I ask all West Virginians to continue to be patient as we work to safely restore service to the affected areas. AARON MATÉ: The ban has now been lifted in four zones but is still in effect for a vast majority of residents. Dozens of people have been hospitalized since the spill. As of Monday, at least 18 lawsuits have been filed against Freedom Industries and the water treatment company, American Water. AMY GOODMAN: The spill is also having repercussions beyond West Virginia. The Elk River feeds into the Ohio River, prompting areas of Kentucky and Ohio to shut down their water valves to avoid contamination. The Freedom Industries site behind the spill is just a mile upriver from the state’s largest water treatment plant, owned by American Water. But despite the obvious dangers to the source of 16 percent of West Virginia’s water supply, the spill has exposed major holes in how West Virginia regulates the dangerous chemicals used in its leading industry, coal. The chemical, MCHM, does not receive close federal or state oversight. Environmental inspectors have not visited the Freedom Industries facility since 1991. Under West Virginia law, chemicals storage facilities are not even subject to inspections. The plant also had no groundwater protection plan in place. In a minute, we’ll go to Charleston, West Virginia, to speak with Erin Brockovich, the renowned environmentalist, consumer advocate and legal researcher. While a single mother of three working as a legal assistant, she helped win the biggest class action lawsuit in American history. The suit was against a multi-billion-dollar corporation, the California power company Pacific Gas & Electric, for polluting a city’s water supply. Her story was told in the Oscar-winning film starring Julia Roberts in 2000 called, well, Erin Brockovich. Today, Brockovich and her team are investigating the major chemical spill in the Elk River in West Virginia. On Monday evening, she held a town hall meeting in Charleston to discuss the spill with local residents. ERIN BROCKOVICH: We have found out that the last inspection that was done on this company and that tank farm was in 1991. AMY GOODMAN: That was Erin Brockovich speaking to West Virginia residents in a town hall meeting Monday night, joining us now from Charleston, West Virginia. We’re also joined in Washington by Mike Elk, labor reporter for In These Times. He has extensively covered chemical regulation in the United States, including at the West, Texas, fertilizer plant where 15 people died in an explosion last year. We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Let’s start with Erin Brockovich. You held this town hall meeting last night. What did you find? ERIN BROCKOVICH: Hi, good morning. How are you? AMY GOODMAN: It’s great to have you with us. ERIN BROCKOVICH: You know what? We were glad we got the town hall together on extremely short notice, because we weren’t even sure if we’d have a facility here. And for the folks that came out, you know, I actually heard numerous stories that were disturbing at many levels, but they were mostly very calm. They were frustrated. They really felt a sense that they couldn’t get through to anybody to give them further explanations, and they had many, many questions that were excellent, that needed answering. I think a couple of things that really startled me were photos that people had taken as the water had come on, the color. There was great concern from people whose water had already come on, the smell. They said that it was pretty overpowering. Nobody told them about that. They were having to open windows, put up fans, just to get the odor out. There was concerns of people who work with homeless groups that had not been getting bottled water, and they were asking questions about—they had been bathing in it because no one sent them bottled water. They had burns on their face. There were people who were showering at the time that still have like some open sores on their heads, who did drink the water before the shutdown that still have some open wounds in their throat. So I think that, you know, as in every single case I’m involved in, there’s just a great deal of information down on the ground with folks that we really don’t know about, we really don’t talk much about. And after, you know, everything’s said and done and everyone goes home, they’re still left with a whole host of problems that they find it difficult to get help with. AARON MATÉ: Erin, based on your past experience with a major company polluting a city’s water supply, I’m wondering if you had any advice for West Virginia residents? ERIN BROCKOVICH: Well, we talked about that last night, and, yes, I do. You know, I’ve zigzagged across the United States since that film came out 20-some years ago, and we run into situations like this every single day, just not to the magnitude of a municipality being impacted and 300,000 people being rendered with no water. And one thing is organization. I think—I don’t think, I see communities just feel helpless. They don’t know how to get through to their local legislators. If they do, you know, they get passed from one person to another. They can’t get through. When there’s a crisis, we all know it’s very difficult to get through. You can wait and wait and wait. And they just feel like there’s nothing they can do. But we have observed, in this new world of social technology, they’re actually very quite savvy on how they’re going to exchange information, where they’re going to learn information. There was people last night in the group that have already started their own Facebook pages. They’re connecting with other Facebook people now. They’re able to see what’s going on. They can reach out more to their community, even if they’re not in the community right at the moment. And they’re helping themselves, and they’re gathering information from one who did hear or got through to an agency, and this is what they told them, and they post that. So, they’re banding together stronger than I’ve ever seen it before. And I think that’s something that’s very helpful to them to stay informed, because when we have information, that’s empowering to us, because we’re able to better have control over our situation and what happens to us. So that is one thing that I observed again last night that in Hinkley was the same way, but it was a smaller group. You know, it was the 634 staying together that really made a difference. And when you get thousands upon thousands, it’s difficult for them to stay together. But they are doing it through social media. They will text each other. They will read something get on Facebook. And it helps them not to have to go through that frustration of “Why is nobody getting back to me?” AMY GOODMAN: Erin Brockovich, I want to play a clip of the president of Freedom Industries, Gary Southern, being confronted by Kallie Cart, a reporter for local ABC affiliate WCHS. GARY SOUTHERN: Look, guys, it has been an extremely long day. I’m having a hard—trouble talking at the moment. I would appreciate it if we could wrap this thing up. I will— KALLIE CART: Well, we have a lot—we actually have a lot of questions. GARY SOUTHERN: OK. KALLIE CART: And it’s been a long day for a lot of people who don’t have water. So, can you give us an exact timeline as to how this all happened? The DEP was saying earlier today, as early as 8:15 yesterday morning they were getting reports and that you all did not call it in until 12:00 noon. The DEP was already here at 11:15. So what’s the timeline on all this? GARY SOUTHERN: We were aware of the leaking storage tank around 10:30. We load tank trucks of this material on a regular basis, and occasionally we’ve had reports of an odor previously. So, we were first aware of any material being spilled at 10:30 yesterday. KALLIE CART: Could it have been earlier than yesterday? Because we’ve also received reports into our newsroom that it was as early as Wednesday, possibly Tuesday, people were starting to smell this in the area. GARY SOUTHERN: We have no information on that. KALLIE CART: Are there no systems in place to alert you of a leak at your facility other than a smell? GARY SOUTHERN: At this moment in time, I think that’s all we have time for. So, thanks for coming. Thanks for your time. KALLIE CART: We have more questions. Hey, hey, hey! No, we’re not done. GARY SOUTHERN: You’re not done. KALLIE CART: We’re not done, no. Anyone else have any other questions? AMY GOODMAN: That is the president of Freedom Industries, Gary Southern, being confronted by a local reporter in Charleston, West Virginia, as he’s drinking bottled water. It sounds a little reminiscent of the former BP CEO, Tony Hayward, in 2010 after the Gulf oil spill, as he drew attention to his own suffering. TONY HAYWARD: We’re sorry for the massive disruption it’s caused to their lives. And, you know, we’re—there’s no one who wants this thing over more than I do. You know, I’d like my life back. AMY GOODMAN: He wanted his life back. Well, let’s stay in Charleston, West Virginia, with Erin Brockovich. This company—we just heard Mr. Southern, the president of the company. I’m looking at Paul Barrett’s piece ( in Businessweek, “Meet Freedom Industries, the Company Behind the West Virginia Chemical Spill.” “How long has this outfit been around?” he says. “About two weeks, in its current form. Freedom Industries is the product of a merger effective Dec. 31, 2013, that combined Etowah River Terminal, the facility where the leak occurred, Crete Technologies, and Poca Blending, located in nearby Nitro. A predecessor company called Freedom Industries was formed in 1986, according to [our] colleagues at Bloomberg News. How the pieces of the newly formed mini-conglomerate fit together merits urgent inquiry, as does the question of whether there’s any connection between the corporate mash-up and the fateful opening of a one-inch hole that allowed a noxious chemical to escape.” Trying to get behind who is behind Freedom Industries and Gary Southern—does this sound familiar to you, Erin Brockovich? ERIN BROCKOVICH: Well, I mean, oh, my gosh, I wouldn’t know necessarily where to begin. I mean, we deal with so many companies, you know, across the board. Yes. I mean, a lot of things sound familiar. The main one is this laissez-faire attitude that has set in on safety, and across the board. I mean, we could talk about the Tennessee Valley Authority breach we were involved in, the situation with Texas Brine and the sinkhole. You brought up BP. You know, now we have this situation in West Virginia. And these are ones of large magnitude that we really get to take a scope and look at. And sometimes it’s frustrating because I’m not sure we learn anything. And I think we’re at a real critical point where we’re going to have to begin to change how we do business and how we operate these facilities, because they’re everywhere. And so, it is definitely something that we have seen before, their—a great deal of arrogance, not wanting to answer, especially a direct point, that “Were you overseeing? Why is it you didn’t know?” Well, you didn’t know because nobody was tending the farm, if you will. So, there is this almost mentality that we have seen—we’ve seen it with PG&E—that, you know, “I don’t know. We’re untouchable. I’m not going to give you any answers. I really don’t have to.” So, we have seen this type of mentality consistently in most of the work that we’ve done. AMY GOODMAN: We have to break, but we’re going to come back to this discussion with Erin Brockovich, who’s talking to us from West Virginia’s capital. Yes, she is the renowned environmentalist, consumer advocate, well known because of the film by the same name, Erin Brockovich played by Julia Roberts, and for her remarkable work taking on Pacific Electric—Gas & Electric, winning an unprecedented settlement of $333 million for the people of a town that had a similar situation, but talking about contaminated water. And we’ll be joined by Mike Elk of In These Times. Stay with us. Show Full Transcript › ============================================================ Copyright © 2014 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove, All rights reserved. A new format for The Ash Grove list! Hope you like it. Our mailing address is: Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove 882 Cleveland St. #21 Oakland, CA 94606 USA Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp ** follow on Twitter (Twitter Account not yet Authorized ) ** friend on Facebook (# ) ** forward to a friend ( ** unsubscribe from this list ( ** update subscription preferences (

The Ash Grove: Medea Benjamin: 10 Good Things about the Year 2013

———————————————————— The Ash Grove Medea Benjamin: 10 Good Things about the Year 2013 10 Good Things about the Year 2013 Medea Benjamin NationofChange / Published: Sunday 29 December 2013 We begin the new year with renewed awareness of the effectiveness of nonviolent action and nonviolent movements. The possibilities for a more peaceful and just 2014 are boundless. 1. A spontaneous uprising by the American people kept President Obama from invading Syria. This Fall’s “peaceful insurrection” was by far my favorite moment of 2013. It was one of those all-too-rare occasions when folks came together across ideological divisions, flooding their congressional reps with calls. Yes, after 12 years, Americans have become “war-wise,” understanding that US intervention is no solution. So instead, chemical weapons are being destroyed thanks to successful negotiations. But the war in Syria rages on, with casualties mounting daily. Peace talks are scheduled for January 22 in Switzerland, and women’s groups—including CODEPINK—are mobilizing ( to surround the meetings with a desperate plea to all the guys with guns: Ceasefire NOW! 2. Talks with Iran are progressing, despite Israel and AIPAC’s objections. The P5+1 group of Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany has made great headway in finding a solution to diffuse the crisis around Iran’s nuclear program. Negotiators are anxious to take advantage of the opening represented by the election of a moderate Iranian leader, President Hassan Rouhani. Sadly, a group of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, along with the AIPAC lobby, threaten to derail the talks by pushing for greater sanctions against Iran. If we can move ahead with talks, 2014 could be the year we finally ditch the Bush-era “axis of evil” treatment and build friendly relations with Iran. 3. Edward Snowden has rocked the world of NSA spying. When Edward Snowden first blew the whistle on the NSA’s sweeping surveillance, he said his greatest fear was not what the government would do to him, but that nothing would change. A mere six months later, the cascading effects have, according to the Washington Post ( , made themselves felt in Congress, the courts, popular culture, Silicon Valley and world capitals.” There is now a vibrant global dialogue about privacy rights. In December, a federal court judge declared the secret collection of domestic phone records unconstitutional and President Obama’s own review panel called a major overhaul of NSA’s activities. President Obama claims he will consider the review board’s suggestions, indicating that reforms are necessary to restore public confidence. While Snowden is under indictment for criminal acts here in the US, thanks to this whistleblower, the days of the NSA doing whatever it wants—in secret and free from public criticism—are coming to an end. Thanks, Edward, for your service! Article image 4. Killer drones are taking a beating. The international community is finally standing up to the use of killer drones and the proliferation of this technology around the globe. With reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, investigations by the United Nation’s Special Rapporteurs, and two briefings in Congress with testimony by drone strike survivors, the dialogue and the outrage around the drone program has increased. This year saw a ban on drone strikes by both the Pakistani National Assembly and the Yemeni Parliament (if only the US would listen!), more protests inside the US and the creation of a global anti-drones network. 5. Yes, the Pope, who beat Snowden for Time’s Person of the Year, is astonishing. I must admit that even as a secular Jew, this pope fills me with awe. He sneaks out at night to feed the homeless; invites homeless people to celebrate his birthday in the Vatican; washes the feet of young prisoners; says he is not one to judge gay people; calls on the church to get beyond its fixation on reproduction and sexual morality; debunks trickle-down economics and questions the morality of capitalism; lives simply and loves to take public transportation. What a cool guy! Unfortunately he doesn’t support abortion rights or the ordination of women, but he is certainly injecting new spirit into the moribund, scandal-ridden Catholic church. 6. Low-wage workers rise up, saying “Low Pay Is Not OK!” Around the county, fast food and other low-wage workers from McDonalds to Walmart rose up in to demand a living wage. Today, 34 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico, as well as dozens of cities, have introduced or passed legislation on minimum wage issues, including increasing the state minimum wage, automatic cost-of-living increases and addressing base wages for tipped employees. (And overseas in Bangladesh, after a huge factory blaze in April left 1,100 people dead, massive strikes led to a 77% pay increase for Bangladeshi garment workers!) Pressure is now on Congress to increase the federal minimum wage, which has remained at a shameful $7.25 per hour for the past three years. 7. Immigrant advocates did spectacular organizing, and are poised to reap the benefits. They held prayer vigils, press conferences, marches. They chained themselves to the White House fence and the gates of detention centers. They encircled ICE facilities to shut down deportations. Hundreds were arrested, including 8 members of Congress, calling for immigration reform. They fasted on the national mall in Washington DC, getting a visit from the President and his wife. This organized, mobilized community with significant voting power stands ready to see major changes in U.S. immigration policy next year. 8. Gay marriage is becoming like apple pie.The Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and Illinois became the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage. This year alone saw not only Illinois, but Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, California, Hawaii and New Mexico added to the list of marriage equality states. This number is certain to keep rising, now that a majority of Americans are supportive. Also, the Senate voted in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to ban discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill is being blocked in the House but a growing number of Republicans are starting to embrace LGBT rights. Who knows? 2014 might not only see more gay marriages in our nation’s homes, but basic LGBT rights in the workplace as well. 9. The death penalty at home and abroad is dying, slowing but steadily. This year Maryland became the first state south of the Mason-Dixon line to abolish the death penalty and the 18th state to do so. Signing the bill, Maryland’s Governor O’Malley said the death penalty does not deter crime, cannot be administered without racial bias, costs three times as much as life without parole, and a mistake cannot be reversed if an innocent person is put to death. The number of people executed in the US declined to 39—near its lowest level since capital punishment was reinstated in the US in the 1970s. The trend is true abroad. In 1981, when France abolished the death penalty, over 150 countries put their citizens to death. Today, only 21 nations do so. In the past five years, Uzbekistan, Argentina, Burundi, Togo, Gabon and Latvia have all abolished capital punishment. 10. One nation has come to its senses about smoking weed: Uruguay. In 2013, the nation of Uruguay became the first country to fully legalize marijuana. Back home in the US, Washington and Colorado passed full legalization laws (yes, that means recreational use without Big Brother stepping in) and the Federal government has stated it will not mount a challenge. Also this year, Illinois and New Hampshire joined the 18 other states that have legalized medical marijuana use. Even the stuffy Canadian federal government made medical marijuana legal. You’ll soon be able to get a deal on your dope from GroupOn and pay in Bitcoins. The times they are a-changin’. We begin the new year with renewed awareness of the effectiveness of nonviolent action and nonviolent movements. The possibilities for a more peaceful and just 2014 are boundless. ============================================================ Copyright © 2014 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove, All rights reserved. A new format for The Ash Grove list! Hope you like it. Our mailing address is: Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove 882 Cleveland St. #21 Oakland, CA 94606 USA Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp ** follow on Twitter (Twitter Account not yet Authorized ) ** friend on Facebook (# ) ** forward to a friend ( ** unsubscribe from this list ( ** update subscription preferences (

The Ash Grove: David McReynolds: On This Pagan Holiday

———————————————————— The Ash Grove David McReynolds: On This Pagan Holiday David McReynolds: On This Pagan Holiday This was sent to my Middle East list in a discussion about BDS. I thought it might be of interest to others. David On Wed, Dec 25, 2013 at 4:29 AM, David McReynolds wrote: On this pagan holiday (which is what Christmas is – Jews must not let the Christians deprive it of this wonderful pagan greeting of the start of the longer days, of the deepest dark and cold of the Northern winter) some reflections. Relating not directly to BDS but in part. First, I understand why Jews can resent the effort to coerce us all into a religious event such as Christmas – given that, for Jews, the Church has for most of its long history been a force of violent oppression. Yet, if we can forget for a moment that Jesus became the founder of Christianity, and remember he was, first and last, a Jew, and see him as a rabbi who emerged from that tradition, we may understand two things about the man. First, he really did focus on children, defended them, saw in them a pattern for the rest of us. And if anything defines Christmas, it is not the commercial celebration, but the centrality of the child. Second, if we can see in Jesus a Jew who had spent his active, prophetic life preaching for social justice (and I mean social justice as it would be understood within the Jewish tradition – of the collective salvation of a society) and then realize, as I did the other day, the loneliness of his death, which Christians try to avoid by such truly wonderful works as Handel’s Messiah. I had watched Ingmar Bergman’s film “Winter Light” in which one of the characters suggests that the real pain Jesus felt was not carrying the cross up the hill, but the terrible pain of being abandoned by his followers when he was arrested by Roman police, and the utter loneliness when he was dying on the cross, crying out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me”. This was not a religion formed of victory, but of defeat – which we can’t face, so we “translate” that defeat into truly wonderful music as that by Handel. But Jesus was a Jewish rabbi who preached a humane new way of living together – and died for it. And how does this relate to Zionism and Israel? Is BDS the right path? I don’t know. I know that something must be done. Are the Palestinians saints? No, they were not, and are not. To have justice on their side – as they do in this case – does not make them a wonderful people. It only means that it is historically a lie for Zionists to claim that the Jews have a unique claim to Israel, one that triumphs the rights of those who had actually been living there. Does this mean the Zionists are bad people? Good heavens no – there is much about Israel which I admire (including, ironically, the wonderful spirit of Jewish justice which emerges from within the Israeli culture and which affirms the rights of the Palestinians). Do I understand the Holocaust? Yes. I am offended – deeply, profoundly offended – by any effort to make the Holocaust an event which “belongs to the Jews”. (Let alone can be used to justify the creation of Israel). All of us must ask where God was when the millions were murdered. Surely even those of us who are atheists have a right to ask why God was silent when Jews, Communists, Homosexuals, Roma, Slavs, were butchered. It doesn’t really help for us to say pompously “there is no God, why are you asking about his silence?” because that means why were we silent, why did so many of us join in the actions? The dismay that Israel would be targeted by the BDS campaign seems to me to suggest that Jews feel Israel should be exempt from moral and political judgement. Why? Areih and Ralph seemed almost surprised that I really do accept that Israel exists, that it can’t simply go away, and that it is not my wish or hope that it will. One can (and many Jews are in this category) feel that the establishment of Israel was the wrong answer to a real question. But within history – which is what we must accept as the arena of our actions – Israel does exist (in the same way that the United States does exist despite having stolen our land from the Native Americans and using a slave population as an essential part of building our national capital). It is for that reason that I continue to insist that whether Israel develops a one state or a two state solution, must be determined by the Israelis and Palestinians (and it may prove an impossible task). But the last thing the defenders of Israel have a right to do is to be too picky about any of the non-violent means the world might use to help create new “facts on the grounds” which might help the majority of those is Israel to seek new solutions. And finally, and a most sobering thought, it is rare for a state to achieve immortality. The Greeks still exist, but the Greek States which gave us democracy are long gone. When will an Israeli leader take the risks which Sadat took? When will an Israeli political leader take genuine risks for peace, on the grounds that, “win, lose or draw” let the world see that Israelis will take a chance which takes enormous courage. I have not seen this. I have seen an endless line of Israeli leaders complain “we have no partner for peace”. But partners are often created by unilateral action. God help the poor Russians, Gorbachev took the risks that the Soviet Union might not survive – but because of his risks, the Cold War ended and humanity survived. The West has not yet seen a Gorbachev. Peace, David McReynolds ============================================================ Copyright © 2013 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove, All rights reserved. A new format for The Ash Grove list! Hope you like it. Our mailing address is: Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove 882 Cleveland St. #21 Oakland, CA 94606 USA Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp ** follow on Twitter (Twitter Account not yet Authorized ) ** friend on Facebook (# ) ** forward to a friend ( ** unsubscribe from this list ( ** update subscription preferences (

The Ash Grove: Richard Dedeaux, Poet, Watts Prophet: R.I.P.

———————————————————— The Ash Grove Richard Dedeaux, Poet, Watts Prophet: R.I.P. Richard Dedeaux, Poet, Watts Prophet: R.I.P. I’d like to add recollections of Richard Dedeaux to the fine obit, below. Richard performed at the Ash Grove individually at the Ash Grove, as did his friends Amde Hamilton and Otis O’Solomon before and after forming the Watts Prophets. If memory serves, Buddy Collette introduced Richard to the club. They were outstanding, individually, and incredible as a group; adding dynamic movement and ‘street’ acting, confrontational to love, in the performance. And they did, in fact, set the ground for hip-hop. I had the pleasure of producing shows with Gil Scott Heron, starting in the late 1970’s; in a benefit for the People’s College of Law. Gil is given that honor, but driving back from LAX, he asked to be introduced to the Watts Prophets, his idols. We spent an afternoon with them in Leimert Park, and Gil detailed just how much he learned from and loved what they did. And, of course, they were his and my guests at the performance, which they loved. The last time I saw Richard was at the Ash Grove 50^th anniversary, at UCLA, in 2008. He was already living in Washington, but still did the organizing for their appearance. It was great being with them, and their performance and a workshop were incredible. I’m sad, not only for the loss, but that this wonderful recognition didn’t come during the past two decades when these geniuses deserved and needed it. Ed Richard Dedeaux dies at 73; member of Watts Prophets spoken-word group The Watts Prophets formed in L.A. after the 1965 riots. Their improvisational word riffs are considered an early form of hip-hop.,0,3368841.story#ixzz2n3iZkX78 By David Colker December 8, 2013, 7:47 p.m. The Watts Prophets performing group, formed by three young poets in the wake of the 1965 Watts riots, was known for hard-edged commentary. But perhaps the most feisty of the trio was Richard Dedeaux, who once challenged Muhammad Ali ( to a poetry fight. “We were going to a reception after a performance at an event at the L.A. Convention Center, walking behind Muhammad Ali and his entourage,” said another member of the group, Amde Hamilton. Dedeaux ran up to the famed boxer and sometime poet and tapped him on the shoulder. “Richard said, ‘Hey man, you are the greatest fighter in the world, I’ll give you that. But you keep saying you are the greatest poet, and that’s not right. We’re the greatest poets,'” Hamilton said. With a crowd watching in a hotel lobby, they faced off — Ali did a poem, and the Watts Prophets answered with a medley of poems, punctuated by their improvisational word riffs that music historians now consider a forerunner of hip-hop. Ali threw in the towel, admitting that when it came to poetry, he had been defeated. “That was all Richard,” Hamilton said, “creating that little incident.” Dedeaux, 73, died Tuesday at his home in Shelton, Wash., after a 10-year battle with cancer, said his son, Steven. Hamilton said he and the other remaining Watts Prophet, Otis O’Solomon, would probably continue to perform as a duo. “But that third voice is gone,” Hamilton said. “A very powerful voice.” Richard Anthony Dedeaux was born Sept, 24, 1940, in DeLisle, Miss., and grew up in New Orleans. He came to Los Angeles when he was about 12, Hamilton said. After the destructive events in Watts of August 1965, many social, economic and cultural programs were started in the area. A lot of them fizzled, but the Watts Writers Workshop, founded by screenwriter and novelist Budd Schulberg, proved to be one of the more successful. It brought together the three men who began doing poetry performances as the Watts Prophets in the community and eventually across the country. Dedeaux wrote some of the more biting pieces the group did, including “I Remember Watts.” “To light up New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, New York and most major cities of the world,” the spoken poem begins, “it takes trillions, and billions and millions and millions of watts. To light up Los Angeles, it only took one.” The poem, which railed against police brutality, described officers “crackin’ our heads open whenever they choose, threatening us like we were fools. That’s what lit Watts’ fuse.” Although the group’s poems on nonpolitical matters didn’t get as much attention, they performed works on a variety of topics both as a group and individually. Dedeaux recorded several poems, backed by jazz musicians, about love and sex. The group never got a major recording deal. “When we started, we hoped that we could tell the truth and make a living at it,” Hamilton said. The three men took on other work — Dedeaux was an art framer, working out of his home — while performing and conducting workshops on occasion. When Dedeaux became ill, he didn’t tell many people. “He never wanted to be a burden,” Hamilton said. He moved away from Los Angeles to be near family but lived mostly on his own. And he kept writing, still combative. In his poem “Second Chance,” he spoke of his burial. Lock My Coffin but please leave a spare key inside. Because you see If there’s any way To cheat the Grim Reaper. It will surely be done by me! In addition to his son Steven, Dedeaux is survived by sons Jamal, Justin and Jason; daughters Angelique West and Felicia Darensbourg; sister Sheila Dedeaux ,and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His three marriages ended in divorce. ( Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times ( ============================================================ Copyright © 2013 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove, All rights reserved. A new format for The Ash Grove list! Hope you like it. Our mailing address is: Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove 882 Cleveland St. #21 Oakland, CA 94606 USA Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp ** follow on Twitter (Twitter Account not yet Authorized ) ** friend on Facebook (# ) ** forward to a friend ( ** unsubscribe from this list ( ** update subscription preferences (

The Ash Grove: BREAKING: Mandela Passes Away at 95

———————————————————— The Ash Grove BREAKING: Mandela Passes Away at 95 Nelson Mandela, died today at age 95. (photo: Joe Alexander/AFP/Getty Images) Nelson Mandela, died today at age 95. (photo: Joe Alexander/AFP/Getty Images) ** BREAKING: Mandela Passes Away at 95 ———————————————————— By David Smith, Guardian UK 05 December 13 “Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace” – Nelson Mandela Nelson Mandela led South Africa from apartheid to multi-racial democracy and will be mourned around the world. elson Mandela ( , the towering figure of Africa’s struggle for freedom and a hero to millions around the world, has died at the age of 95. South Africa’s first black president died after years of declining health that had caused him to withdraw from public life. The death of Mandela will send South Africa deep into mourning and self-reflection ( 18 years after he led the country from racial apartheid to inclusive democracy. But his passing will also be keenly felt by people around the world who revered Mandela as one of history’s last great statesmen, and a moral paragon comparable with Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King. It was a transcendent act of forgiveness after spending 27 years in prison, 18 of them on Robben Island ( , that will assure his place in history. With South Africa facing possible civil war, Mandela sought reconciliation with the white minority to build a new democracy. He led the African National Congress (ANC) to victory in the country’s first multiracial election in 1994. Unlike other African liberation leaders who cling to power ( , such as Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, he then voluntarily stepped down after one term. Mandela – often affectionately known by his clan name, Madiba – was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1993. At his inauguration a year later, the new president said: “Never, never, and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another … the sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement. Let freedom reign. God bless Africa!” Born Rolihlahla Dalibhunga in a small village in the Eastern Cape on 18 July 1918, Mandela was given his English name, Nelson, by a teacher at his school. Mandela joined the ANC in 1943 and became a co-founder of its youth league. In 1952, he started South Africa’s first black law firm with his partner, Oliver Tambo. Mandela was a charming, charismatic figure with a passion for boxing – and an eye for women. He once said: “I can’t help it if the ladies take note of me. I am not going to protest.” He married his first wife, Evelyn Mase, in 1944. They were divorced in 1957 after having three children. In 1958, he married Winnie Madikizela, who later campaigned to free her husband from jail and became a key figure in the struggle. When the ANC was banned in 1960, Mandela went underground. After the Sharpeville massacre ( , in which 69 black protesters were shot dead by police, he took the difficult decision to launch an armed struggle. He was arrested and eventually charged with sabotage and attempting to violently overthrow the government. Conducting his own defence in the Rivonia Trial ( in 1964, he said: “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. “It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” He escaped the death penalty but was sentenced to life in prison, a huge blow to the ANC that had to regroup to continue the struggle. But unrest grew in townships and international pressure on the apartheid regime slowly tightened. Finally, in 1990, then president FW de Klerk lifted the ban on the ANC and Mandela was released from prison amid scenes of jubilation witnessed around the world ( . In 1992, Mandela divorced Winnie after she was convicted on charges of kidnapping and accessory to assault. His presidency rode a wave of tremendous global goodwill but was not without its difficulties. After leaving frontline politics in 1999, he admitted he should have moved sooner against the spread of HIV/Aids. His son died from an Aids-related illness ( . On his 80th birthday, Mandela married Graça Machel, the widow of the former president of Mozambique. It was his third marriage. In total, he had six children, of whom three daughters survive: Pumla Makaziwe (Maki), Zenani and Zindziswa (Zindzi). He has 17 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Mandela was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2001 and retired from public life, aged 85, to be with his family and enjoy some “quiet reflection”. But he remained a beloved and venerated figure with countless buildings, streets and squares named after him. His every move was scrutinised and his health was a constant source of media speculation ( . Mandela continued to make occasional appearances at ANC events and attended the inauguration of the current president, Jacob Zuma. His 91st birthday was marked by the first annual “Mandela Day” in his honour. He was last seen in public at the final of the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg ( , a tournament he had helped bring to South Africa for the first time. Early in 2011, he was taken to hospital in a health scare but he recovered and was visited by Michelle Obama and her daughters a few months later ( . In January 2012, he was notably missing from theANC’s centenary celebrations ( due to his frail condition. With other giants of the movement such as Tambo and Walter Sisulu having gone before Mandela, the defining chapter of Africa’s oldest liberation movement is now closed. ============================================================ Copyright © 2013 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove, All rights reserved. A new format for The Ash Grove list! Hope you like it. Our mailing address is: Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove 882 Cleveland St. #21 Oakland, CA 94606 USA Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp ** follow on Twitter (Twitter Account not yet Authorized ) ** friend on Facebook (# ) ** forward to a friend ( ** unsubscribe from this list ( ** update subscription preferences (


———————————————————— The Ash Grove The Ash Grove: SUNDAY DOINGS: OPEN HOUSE at (CSPG) ~ IN MEMORIUM, JOHN LENNON From: Carol Wells [] Hi Ed, Could you e-blast this invite to our open house? Thanks, Carol You Are Invited to An OPEN HOUSE At The Center For The Study Of Political Graphics Sunday, December 8^th, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM Center For The Study of Political Graphics – CSPG 3916 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City 90230 – Suite 103 At The New Peace Center, Located Between Venice Blvd. & Washington Place, Adjacent to 405 Please Visit CSPG’s New Space! Refreshments – Archive Tours – Holiday Shopping Parking in the Rear of the Building. For More Information Call: 310- 397-3100 or Email: ( With Over 80,000 Posters, the CSPG Archive is the Largest Collection of Post World War II Graphics in the United States. The Center for the Study of Political Graphics collects, preserves, and exhibits posters relating to historical and contemporary movements for social change. Through its varied programs, CSPG is reclaiming the power of art to educate and inspire people to action. There has never been a movement for social change without the arts—music, poetry, theater, posters–being central to that movement. Political posters in particular are powerful living reminders of struggles worldwide for peace and justice. Communication, exhortation, persuasion, instruction, celebration, warning: graphic art broadcasts its messages through bold images and striking designs. The archive contains more than 80,000 posters produced in a staggering array of visual styles and printing media, dating from the Russian Revolution to the present. University, museum, and public collections of this material are rare, and are seldom accessible to the public. CSPG is uniquely committed to widely exhibiting this rich visual record of social movements. The Power of Poster Art All art is political, but not all art is overtly political. Protest posters flaunt their politics to generate controversy. Raw and aggressive or polished and sophisticated, political posters are the graphics of dissent from existing injustices. Produced in multiples, often with urgency and any means available—offset, lithograph, silkscreen, linocut, stencil, woodcut, photocopy, or laser—few copies survive. Slapped on walls surreptitiously, often at great risk, by collectives and anonymous individuals or carefully fashioned by recognized artists in well-equipped studios, protest posters communicate instantly and directly to both literate and non-literate viewers. Like all art, political posters stir emotions and reflection. They can deepen compassion and commitment, ignite outrage, elicit laughter, and provoke action. Transmitting and promoting the ideals, hopes, and dreams of millions who have dared to raise their voices in protest, political posters empower and propel diverse movements for social change. Traveling & Virtual Exhibitions Since the nineteenth century, posters have played an increasingly important role in public art. Because of their partisan content, they often have been neglected or destroyed. For this reason, CSPG’s timely traveling poster exhibitions are a unique resource. All exhibitions are presented from multi-issue and multicultural perspectives and come mounted and accompanied by translations, annotations, and other educational materials. The exhibitions illuminate and broaden understanding of diverse human-rights issues and movements past and present, including African-American, Asian, Chicano, Native American and Women’s rights; AIDS; anti-Semitism; Black Panther Party; Che Guevara and Latin America; ecology; globalization; gentrification and homelessness; immigration; liberation theology; political prisoners; racism, sexism and homophobia; protest in Los Angeles; the Viet Nam era; and the “war” against children.CSPG has more than two dozen traveling exhibitions ( that are displayed in museums, galleries, libraries, community centers, schools, religious institutions, concert halls, theaters, and government buildings. Selected virtual exhibitions ( are also available through this website. Contextualizing and deepening understanding of the historical forces at the heart of social and political change, CSPG brings these moving and visually stunning graphics to a broad cross-section of the population. Customized exhibitions are also available. Acquisition, Conservation and Research With more than 80,000 posters, CSPG’s growing collection represents one of the most diverse and important visual resources in the nation, and is frequently used by artists, activists, scholars, students, filmmakers, and playwrights. The collection includes posters from over 100 countries. The posters are physically vulnerable markers of historical frontiers, international relations, and popular sentiment. The historical sweep of the collection makes conservation of these fragile graphic records of the utmost importance, and CSPG is committed to preserving the archive for future generations. In addition to posters donated by over 1000 individuals and organizations, CSPG’s collection includes the La Peña poster archive, the Fireworks Graphics poster archive, the Bob Fitch poster archive, the David Kunzle poster collection, and the Jill and Michael McCain Collection. The archive also collects buttons and bumper stickers. CSPG is a non-profit, tax-exempt educational archive. All donations are tax-deductible. CSPG Staff Carol A. Wells Executive Director/Founder Mary Sutton Program Director Joy Novak Archivist Bo Doub Project Archivist Elvia Arroyo-Ramirez Project Archivist Alena Barrios Administrative Assistant * * * ( The Talking Stick Presents: In Memoriam John Lennon Sunday, December 8, 2013 7:30 to 9:30 PM—Free* Hosted by Ross Altman At The Talking Stick 1411 Lincoln Blvd. Venice, CA 90291 ((310) 450-6052 With Special Guests Paul Zollo, Jeff Gold, Robert Wayne Jill Fenimore and Esaú Alemán; Eric Ahlberg will be running the sound board. On December 8 in 1980 John Lennon’s life was ended by an assassin’s bullets in front of the Dakota, where he and his wife Yoko Ono lived. One of the great artists of the 20^th Century—both as a member of the Beatles and on his own—John & Yoko had moved to New York City to get away from the madness of England’s tabloid press, but he couldn’t escape the madness of America’s gun culture. It pursued him relentlessly—like it had President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers and, a hundred years earlier, President Abraham Lincoln. The songwriter who had imagined a world without war, greed and hunger, could not have imagined a world without crazed music fans whose admiration could so quickly turn to spiteful and vengeful hate. In the years since John Lennon was murdered his music has continued to fill the void in our lives, and on this 33^rd anniversary of his death we give thanks for his life and remember his musical and political legacy. On the 33^rd anniversary of his murder please join us at The Talking Stick to sing some of his great songs and reflect on America’s possession by the gun lobby controlled by the NRA* For John Lennon is not the only victim of its murderous tyranny or misinterpretation of the 2^nd Amendment. Just this year we have seen Trayvon Martin gunned down in Sanford, Florida, by a vigilante who since a clueless Florida jury acquitted him of murder has been in custody four additional times for acts of rage and the threat of gun-violence. Thank the NRA. In Aurora, Colorado a coward invaded a cultural temple—a movie theatre premiering the Dark Night Rises, third in the Batman series—and gunned down twelve innocent young audience members—whose own courage in the face of terror was itself inspiring. The lives they saved demonstrated that their deaths were not in vain. Thank the NRA. And in Newtown, Connecticut last Christmas yet another “mad man” (a term we seem to have resorted to in order to conceal the systematic hold the gun manufacturers have on Congress through the NRA) entered a classroom and gunned down 24 children and 4 teachers and administrators. We remember these as well—as both victims and heroes. Thank the NRA. * Free with one food and/or drink purchase to support the Talking Stick! Contact: Ross Altman (323) 931-9321 * © 2013 Grey Goose Music (BMI) * All Rights Reserved. * *The opinions expressed in this press release are those of the author Ross Altman and do not necessarily represent those of other participating artists or the host venue. ============================================================ Copyright © 2013 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove, All rights reserved. A new format for The Ash Grove list! Hope you like it. Our mailing address is: Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove 882 Cleveland St. #21 Oakland, CA 94606 USA Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp ** follow on Twitter (Twitter Account not yet Authorized ) ** friend on Facebook (# ) ** forward to a friend ( ** unsubscribe from this list ( ** update subscription preferences (