Posts Tagged ‘music video’

A year ago at this time our family gathered for our Christmas celebration. Normally a happy and joyous time it would be cut short and the mood turned somber as we eventually  made our way to the hospital to be with our precious little Amber. Her courageous struggle would finally come to a conclusion with her family members present to bid her farewell. It was not what we wanted at this time but not unexpected. I had written a post called, Amber’s Journey, back in March of 2009 when we learned she would become a permanent part of our family. Her health had always been precarious, but like most parents and grandparents we hoped for the best and always looked forward to the future.  On January 5, 2010 we celebrated her life and then prepared to move forward with our lives. It was and still is difficult at times.

Amber will always be a part of our life and we will remember her this weekend as our family again gathers for our Christmas celebration. We will remember how she taught us what unconditional love is all about. Amber gave us an opportunity to teach our children and grandchildren to accept others who may be ‘different’. Amber reinforced our belief that we must all be advocates for those who cannot speak for themselves. It is incredible the number of lives she touched. We often hear the bad news about children who slip through the cracks but this was not the case with Amber. We are grateful and remember the strong advocacy of the public servants in our community who worked tirelessly on her behalf. We will remember the exceptional group of young adults who supported my daughter and her husband.

We will remember her incredible ability to survive. We will remember her moods, her desire to be cuddled, and the way she  communicated. We will remember her smile, her rosy cheeks, and her beautiful long hair.

We will remember how blessed we were to know her and how much we loved her.

The title of this post is inspired by this performance by Raul Malo and Michael Guerra.

Peace and solidarity,



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Christmas day is fast approaching and many are wondering if their Christmas wishes will come true. Retailers are hoping for a boost in sales, Senate Democrats are hoping to keep their act together and pass health care legislation, children are hoping they were good enough for Santa and families in Minnesota are bracing for a major winter storm and hoping it won’t totally ruin their Christmas celebrations.

For some families, a winter storm is the least of their worries. Last week  I struck up a conversation with a recently hired co-worker. He was a short fellow with an ever-present smile and eager to do his share of work. His english was broken but still good enough that we could converse. A recent immigrant to the U.S., he and his wife and many other families have relocated to Worthington from a refugee camp in Thailand where he spent the last ten years of his life. He is a native of Karen, a region in southeastern Burma bordering Thailand. His two sons are in Canada and he still has a daughter in a refuge camp in Thailand. Other family members are now in Australia. Of course our conversation turned to politics and government and he did not hesitate to show his disdain for the Burmese government and the military junta control over virtually everything. He also made sure that I understood that he was Karen, proud of it, and that there was a difference.

The Karen people have sought independence from Burma since 1949. Charges of ethnic cleansing and religious persecution have been leveled at the Burmese government, now known as the Republic of Myanmar. The Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) has been documenting the plight of the Karen people for over 17 years and has a wealth of information in the form of reports, pictures and video on its website. KHRG also can be found on Facebook and Twitter. 

My Christmas wish? Health and happiness to all my family and friends, a world without war and a future where my new union brother will be able to reunite his entire family.

Kawthoolei is the name used by the Karen people for the state they wish to establish. It has several possible meanings: Flowerland, Land without Evil, and The Land Burnt Black. Whatever its meaning, I know that it is a beautiful country ravaged by war.

 Here is a video of  traditional Karen music:

Here is a video with a series of clips. Beautiful, interesting and sad.

Peace & solidarity,


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Over the past few months I had been actively working to help elect Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States. Sometimes it was tedious-setting up phone banks, door knocks, work-site visits and recruiting volunteers. As November 4th grew closer the anxiety and excitement became more intense. The poll numbers were looking good but nobody was leaving anything to chance. The final four days were intense but enjoyable. I had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of excited volunteers. A young African immigrant who was voting for the first time was actively participating in getting her community registered to vote and getting them to the polls, retired teachers were training door knockers, college students were volunteering, packing house workers and professionals were knocking on doors side by side. We all shared the same goal and dream. November 4th was our day to bring about change and we were successful.

While I went home that night to sip a little brandy and watch the returns and celebrations on tv and the internet, others took to dancing in the streets in America and the world.


Mick Jagger and David Bowie do a little dancin’ in the streets in this music video that is older than many of the volunteers I worked with.




Peace & solidarity,


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If you are going to attend the Minnesota State Fair be sure to check out the new Minnesota AFL-CIO Labor Pavilion. It is the first State Fair Building designed to meet ‘Green’ Building Standards and was built with union labor. Fox 9 News has video here. Check it out to see all the cool features. Senator Amy Klobuchar will be present for the ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday.

Here are the details from the press release.

Media Advisory for August 21, 2008   


Diane O’Brien (651) 261-4173 (cell), 651-227-7647 (office) Andrea Gage (262) 309-0754 (cell)





Minnesota AFL-CIO Hosts Series of Events at New State Fair Pavilion

At 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 21, the Minnesota AFL-CIO will host a ribbon cutting ceremony at its new green, eco-friendly State Fair pavilion featuring a visit from U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar. The event will be followed with a performance by musician Tim Mahoney.

Throughout the day, journalists and members of the public are invited to tour the facility (the first State Fair building designed to meet ‘Green’ Building Standards) and take part in the following activities:

* Learn about Working America, the fastest growing organization for workers in the country

* Videotape your message on what you expect from the next president and see yourself on the Minnesota AFL-CIO Pavilion Media Wall

* Talk with union members about their work

For a full list of opening weekend activities, please visit http://www.mnaflcio.org.

To arrange an interview with a representative of the Minnesota AFL-CIO, please call Diane O’Brien at (651) 227-7647 or Andrea Gage at (262) 309-0754 (cell).

Minnesota AFL-CIO Hours of Operation

* Opening Day 10:00 a.m.- 8 p.m (Pavilion tours for members of the media beginning at 9:30 a.m.)

* Daily 9:00 a.m.-8 p.m.

* Labor Day 9:00 a.m.-6 p.m.


Who says labor and environmentalists can’t get along?

Here is some Ray Charles for your audio/video pleasure:



Peace & solidarity







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I, like many other Americans, spent the day enjoying my time off from work, doing some odd jobs around the house, having some hot dogs and beer with family and then capping it off by perusing the blogosphere to see what was being said on the subject of Independence Day. There is a lot of good material to read and I would like share two commentaries from the People’s Weekly World on-line edition.The first, Struggles and Fireworks, is from the PWW editorial board while the second essay, Should the left celebrate the 4th of July, was written by Santi Suthinithet. Both essays offer a viewpoint that you probably won’t see in your hometown newspaper.

Struggles and fireworks 


It’s that time of year when Americans of all cultures and creeds take the day off (if they can) to barbecue, watch fireworks and maybe drink a few beers or soft drinks.

It’s the Fourth of July, a time to celebrate America — our history, and our future.

The history of the American people is a history of struggle and progress. The American Revolution established the world’s first democratic republic. Yet it was a flawed one, stained by slavery, extermination of Native Americans, suppression of women, and class oppression

But, while the tasks of establishing a just society weren’t finished, neither was the struggle for progress. The American people went on to overthrow slavery in the Civil War — often referred to as the Second American Revolution — and then to secure the rights of African Americans and women to vote and to end Jim Crow segregation.

American working people built a massive labor movement in the 1930s, one that is resurgent today. They fought for and won sweeping social reforms such as public education, wage and hour laws, ending child labor, health and safety measures and environmental protection.

The struggle to protect and extend civil rights and liberties is as old as the birth of the republic, and continues sharply today. From the beginning, this was a nation of immigrants as well as native-born. From the beginning too, there have been struggles to make our country a beacon of multi-ethnic, multinational inclusiveness.

While the ruling class has often involved this country in immoral wars, the American people often rise to stop them. Such was the case with the Vietnam War, and such is the case with the Iraq war today.

We can see this tradition continuing today. Most strikingly, we’ve seen millions of people of all races and nationalities, young and old, male and female, cast their ballots either for the first African American or the first woman president in our history.

We saw more than 60,000 people, mainly white, pour into the streets in Oregon to support Obama — the largest political rally in our nation’s history. And we seem poised to elect our first Black president and oust the ultra-right.

So let’s celebrate our country and struggle: past, present and future.


Should the left celebrate the 4th of July?



Should Independence Day be a cause of celebration for Americans? What does this commemoration of the Declaration of Independence really mean in a nation whose history is tainted with criminal wars, greed, racism and slavery?

On July 5, 1852, the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass didn’t mince words in his landmark speech “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro”:

“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” he asked. “A day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.” He went on to call slaveholding America’s celebrations “a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.”

Yet he went on to conclude:

“Notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country … I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from the Declaration of Independence, the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age.” He was referring to the growing abolitionist movement, which would triumph with the abolition of slavery only a decade later.

We are all still paying for the savagery of slavery and racism in America.

But at the same time the Declaration of Independence — and America’s foundation — is built on continually progressing — and revolutionary — principles as well. We are a country with a noble history of struggle for equality, secularism, liberty and civil rights.

It is too often forgotten that a radical internationalist and revolutionary named Tom Paine played a leading role in the American Revolution. Paine urged the end of monarchy, poverty, war and slavery from the beginning. His brilliant pamphlet “Common Sense,” issued on January 10, 1776, was considered the manifesto of the revolution. It strongly influenced Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence six months later, which in turn became the guiding principles for the French Revolution’s Declaration of the Rights of Man.

Karl Marx saw the American fight for independence as “the first impulse … to the European revolutions of the eighteenth century” and said its declaration “informed the whole world of the foundation of an independent great Democratic Republic on the American continent.” He called it the “first Declaration of the Rights of Man.”

Almost two centuries later in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh called the opening words of the Declaration of Independence “immortal.”

And look where we are today — what has been accomplished.

An excerpt from Barack Obama’s groundbreaking “Towards a More Perfect Union” speech represents what is truly great about this country—and yet is still too often taken for granted.

Obama, noting his ancestors and diverse background, said, “For as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.”

He did not skirt over the contradictions between the founding ideals of America and the realities of our past and present, yet he pointed to the potential at our nation’s core:

“The answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution — a Constitution that had at its very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.”

No words on a parchment would be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights as citizens of the United States. Generations of Americans fought hard — through protests and struggles, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk — to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their times.

Unfortunately, in some circles on the American left, it’s not politically correct to take pride in America and our shared history.

Obviously, there’s a big difference between being a proud American and being a vulgar chauvinist or jingoist.

But not one democratic or socialist movement or revolution in history inspired its people by encouraging them to hate their country.

During the Russian Revolution the Bolsheviks’ slogan was “Bread! Peace! Land!” not “Screw Russia!” They did not direct their anger at Russia or its people but at the autocratic and corrupt czar and his allies.

And of course, love of country and national unity played essential roles in the revolutionary movements of countries such as Cuba and Vietnam.

So, for the Fourth of July, Independence Day, let’s remember the true revolutionary traditions of America.

Santi Suthinithet (santis@yclusa.org) is editor of the Young Communist League USA magazine, Dynamic.


The Revolution Starts Now by Steve Earle





Peace & solidarity,


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Five years of the Iraq War Occupation. No end in sight. How about a song?

Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, and James Burton perform the classic, What’s So Funny ’bout Peace, Love, and Understanding.

Peace & solidarity,


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I have added some new video to CHC Theater. Featured are Nancy Griffith, Roy Orbison(LeftyWilbury), The Traveling Wilburys, and John Prine.

Bring your own popcorn.

 Peace & solidarity,


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