Sen. Edward Kennedy, who passed tonight of brain cancer, while often on the wrong side of personal rectitude, was always on the right side of social justice.
Teddy spoke for the downtrodden and fought for their rights. He never gave up the cause; never lost sight of the goal; never gave in to the defeat of politics or the politics of defeat. We need to continue his lifelong battle to bring the civil right of health care to all Americans.
"For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."- Edward M. Kennedy, Democratic National Convention, 1980
"The work begins anew, the hope rises again and the dream lives on."- Edward M. Kennedy, Democratic National Convention, 2008
I have to believe from my experience that Seattle's announced commitment to support music is a bit disingenuous.
I notified the Parks & Recreation Department a few months ago to get a permit to perform in the city parks. They informed me that there were no more available this year. My understanding was that "sanctioned buskers" could perform in the parks from noon until 2p, and that anyone could perform other times.
So, I have performed twice by the pergola in Pioneer Square near where I live. One of the security guards for a tourist tour that starts there told me I was the best performer they've had there. The audience has been supportive and mildly generous.
But, today the Park Rangers told me I couldn't play without a permit, couldn't sell my CD's and couldn't use amplification. Yet, the so-called "official buskers" can plug in their instruments and plug their recordings. You'd think I'd be able to scratch out a few dollars singing for my supper. But not in this "arts" town.
Firstly, I don't understand why a busking permit is needed in any event. And I certainly don't understand why the number issued is limited. In this town, you have to know who to know and when to know them in order to be "official."
I'm just trying to live and eat and spread my original music.
I also tried playing a few blocks away in Occidental Square. But one of the managers from the art galleries that line that pedestrian park asked me not to set up and play. Another so-called art patron preventing an artist from performing.
It's all very frustrating. I live in Pioneer Square and you'd think I could share my music with my neighbors and accept their gratuities. For all its progressive posturing, this is a town of draconian restrictions. Next the panhandlers in this town will have to be licensed.
Oh, well, such is life in Seattle. Cheers for now. David.
Today is the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in 1969, which gave birth to the Gay Rights Movement. In 1994, I produced a report on the 25th anniversary for "The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour." It would be the only time in my career when I would experience censorship.
Manhattan was filled with homosexuals remembering and celebrating an historic moment. They put on a Gay Olympics, concerts and rallies around New York City and a celebration of love in Central Park.
I was working for Time Inc. New Media, which had a contract with the NewsHour to produce reports for the program. The video report I submitted looked at all the events of the weekend and was a comprehensive story on the state of gay rights in America at that time.
In one scene a winning athlete got a congratulatory kiss from his partner. Another sequence showed gay couples in the park doing what loving couples do all around the world - hugging, holding hands, resting their heads on their loved one's shoulder, brushing back their hair and kissing. It was a montage of expressions of affection.
The Executive Producer of the NewHour called me to his office across town to tell me to remove the kissing scenes, as they might offend the sensibilities of the older PBS news audience. I explained that both scenes were "normal" and central to the narrative. He disagreed. So, I compromised and said I would remove the congratulatory kiss, as not being completely germane to the athletic event, but that I would leave in the tender kiss at the love rally, as being completely appropriate. He agreed.
So, I re-cut and resubmitted the finished video report to the NewsHour.
But, when it aired, the NewsHour editors had, without my knowledge or consent, removed the kissing scene in the park. That meant that they had to extend the video to cover the narration that was under that part of the report. So, they slow-motioned all the park scenes to fill the gap in the video. What the audience saw was slowed-down video of all the tender moments, which made them look unnatural and unseemly, like they slow-mo criminals in their orange prison suits for the "perp walk."
Needless to say, I was outraged. I worked as a news producer for 20 years at ABC News and was one of the founding Senior Producers of Cable News Network. No one at either of those news organizations ever asked me to edit my report to satisfy the sensibilities of their audience. I found it disturbing that the so-called liberal powers-that-be at the NewsHour at the time would censor their own reports to satisfy the perceived prejudices of their audience.
To this day, it still bothers me.
Anyway, Frank Rich has a fine op-ed piece in today's New York Times remembering an event that most straight people never heard of to begin with. It's long past time to embrace human rights for all, all over the world. A kiss to everyone from me. Let your freak flags fly.
We all have stories to tell. We all need and want to be heard. But many of us are invisible members of our own communities. Because we may be poor, downtrodden, struggling with mental conditions or fighting addictions, our opinions and observations are largely ignored.
But our experiences and insights are valuable. Like everyone, we’re coping the best we can with the challenges of life. This ongoing project is intended to give voice to those struggles.
"Truth Sessions" is a multimedia storytelling project by filmmaker David Guilbault, photographer Doug Vann, painter Keven Furiya and composer Andy Zadrozny.
The first session features ten people living in a low income apartment building in Seattle, across the street from the artist lofts where David, Doug, Keven & Andy live and work.
These ten interviews are the first in a series of sessions. Our intention is to hear from a range of our neighbors from disparate cultural, economic, ethnic, educational, racial and spiritual backgrounds. This is just the beginning of the conversation. The stories continue.
(To see the complete multimedia work, please visit www.truthsessions.tv)