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Stephen Lee Rich: It's All Vaudeville

 
Worldwide it has been a banner year for centenary celebrations. 2015 is, for example, the two hundredth anniversary of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, and the eight hundredth anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta.
In America, one centenary which has received much attention at the grass roots level, but no attention at all from the mainstream media, is the hundredth anniversary of the execution of Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) organizer and songwriter Joe Hill. Hill is credited with popularizing the practice of rewriting well known folk tunes and hymns to use as organizing tools. Many of his songs, such as “The Preacher and the Slave” and “There Is Power in the Union”, are still in use to this day.
Hill was much maligned and persecuted for his activism. On Nov. 19, 1915 he was executed by a firing squad in Salt Lake City, Utah for a murder he did not commit. It has always been thought, by his supporters, that he was railroaded into conviction [...]
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Reconsidering The Capitol Sing

Posted on September 18, 2013 with 0 comments
     I will probably be politically pilloried for what I am about to say, but it is something that needs to be said. We need to take a very long, very hard, and very different  look at what is happening each weekday at noon in Wisconsin’s Capitol. 
     First I should point out that I am not entirely objective about this. I have participated in the Sing. No. I have not been there every day as have some people. No. I have not even been there even as often as I, perhaps, could or should have. To be completely honest, I have been to the sing about two dozen times since it started. I am very proud of my participation, however small, in this remarkable, ongoing event, though. There is something amazing and energizing about a group of people raising their voices in song, particularly when those voices are being raised to achieve a constructive goal. That political, emotional, and artistic attachment to the Sing makes it difficult to write this [...]
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As Christians celebrate, on this day, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I would like to remind the Fundamentalists why we are called Christians.
     It is not because of The Book of Genesis, although that book is certainly important. It is not because of the Book of Leviticus, although that book has much to tell us. It is not completely in the Book of Revelation, which seems to be the Fundamentalist’s sole concession to the New Testament.
    Christianity is in The Gospels. Those books exist to tell us what our Lord said, taught and did. Those books exist to tell us what the Heavenly Father wants us to be.
     These books will tell you that we are a Faith of peace and love, not of weapons and hatred. We are a Faith of hope and progress, not of cowering in fear at the possibility of change. We are a Faith which embraces all of the Almighty’s Creation, not just one, tiny group of humans.
     [...]
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Gratitudes

Posted on November 21, 2012 with 1 comment
 
I am grateful that Ingrid Frances Stark is part of my life. She marks the second time in my life that I have found a soulmate. Many people never find one. I am truly blessed.
I am grateful that I am able to make a living in pursuit of my various passions.
I am grateful for friends, real and virtual. It is a miracle to be able to laugh, cry, joke, get crazy, and generally hang out with people close to you. I also, however, value my Facebook friends. The ongoing banter and debate always gives me dozens of new ideas to ponder when I logoff.
I am grateful for the existence of imagination. Without it the universe would be lost. It gives us our only chance to envision a life beyond our immediate, physical reality. Without imagination there would be no science, no philosophy, no capitalism, no socialism, no communism, no activism, no physics, no metaphysics, no quantum physics, no way to plan methods to improve our lives or our world.  It may be the most valuable thing that we have [...]
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     The word is “Fascism”! I am not using this word lightly. I am not using this word, in any manner, facetiously or as any form of epithet. I am using the word because it best describes our current political reality.
     “When corporate interests and government are working from the same agenda, you have fascism” – Benito Mussolini
      That’s just about the most succinct and authoritative definition of the word that one is likely to find.
      If we are to overcome this reality it is vital that we say the word out loud and  without fear that it might offend. If we cannot name the problem we cannot solve it. Without use of the word we become like the Right Wing legislators who want to pass laws governing women’s reproductive rights but won’t let anyone say the word “vagina”.
      In order to use the word [...]
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