Cori Bush: The Face of Perseverance

Cori Bush: The Face of Perseverance

Tenacity, Perseverance and Determination, all in one woman, Cori Bush

On Friday 7/30/2021  First term Congresswoman Cori Bush sat down on the steps of the U.S. House of Representatives with a camping chair, a sleeping bag, and a commitment to stop the potential eviction of millions of Americans from their homes.

By William Jones and D. S. Mitchell

Those At Risk

When it became clear that neither Congress nor the White House was going to act to stop a pandemic-era federal eviction moratorium from expiring, leaving hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of low-income Americans at risk for eviction from their homes Cori Bush stepped up.  Ms. Bush — now 45 and a first-term Democratic congresswoman from St. Louis — felt a familiar flood of anxiety and a flash of purpose in the face of the pending crisis.

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OPINION: Derek Chauvin A Victim?

OPINION: Derek Chauvin A Victim?

The Derek Chauvin trial is looking at policing in general

OPINION: Derek Chauvin A Victim?

D. S. Mitchell

Another OMG Moment

It is interesting how many ways the phrase OMG can be used, such as in total awesome disbelief seeing a father lift a car off his trapped son, or how about when there is a worm on your lettuce leaf, that’s a whole different kind of OMG. Then we have the OMG escape our lips when we watch the image of a Minneapolis cop slowly, seemingly arrogantly, extinguish the life of another human being on national television. Now, for any living breathing person with a heart who watched that video who wasn’t totally gut wrenchingly  appalled needs to seek immediate therapy.

An Unpopular View

I don’t want to piss everybody off, but as I have watched the prosecution case build on itself I have been disturbed by the brutality and the arrogance of the entire event. Derek Chauvin, according to media reports served for nineteen years on the Minneapolis Police Department and accumulated seventeen complaints of  misconduct complaints during that time. In what probably is a backlash response, I look at Mr. Chauvin and see what is bad about American policing. Not only did Mr. Chauvin fail his department and his community, but his department failed him. His is not an unusual case, other than he was memorialized for 9 minutes and 29 seconds by a teenage girl who filmed Chauvin’s left knee pinned to the neck of a black man while the victim pleaded for relief.  Derek Chauvin is now on trial for Mr. Floyd’s death.

Swift Action

In Minneapolis, after 19 years authorities finally took ‘quick’ action against Mr. Chauvin, and three other officers who were on the scene when Mr. Floyd died. This does not mean all of them are gone for good. Public employees can appeal their dismissals and in many cases, police officers win their cases and  municipalities put them back on the job every day. Despite community outrage nationwide over the deaths of black men at the hands of police it is notoriously difficult to hold police officers accountable in the United States. Some of the problem is because of the political power police unions wield, the hesitancy of investigators, and the reluctance of prosecutors and juries to second guess a police officer’s split second decision and the wide latitude the law gives the police to use force.

Interracial Challenge

The events have played out against, and in some ways have reinforced the racial divisions in America, as largely white police forces are accused of bias and brutality in black, Latino and other minority communities. The Floyd death came within weeks of killings of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. These deaths have unleashed a wave of protests unlike anything since the 1960’s.

From Within

Police Departments around the country are often the core of resistance against change.  Departments have consistently resisted civilian review or balked when it comes to overhauling officer disciplinary practices. Police chiefs in cities which have been the sites of high profile deaths of black men by white officers, have failed to punish or remove bad actors. Where civilian review boards are operating most are notoriously weak. Often they do nothing more than collect information, but have no power to make recommendations or enforce recommendations.

Patchwork Confusion

Several sources including Minneapolis Police Department Internal Affairs have released information on Dereck Chauvin conduct during his service.  We do know that Mr. Chauvin has been involved in at least three shootings in his career. In addition he left a trail of misconduct complaints and a reputation for aggression.  Chauvin’s combative reputation extended to his second job as a security person for a nightclub in the area.  It has been demonstrated that Mr. Chauvin has operated in disregard for the particular circumstances of a given situation in determining appropriate reasonable force and simply fully restrains suspects with no regard for their well being.

So Let’s Stop Here

I believe that Derek Chauvin is also a victim.  We hear TV commentators laud other cops who are testifying against him, like police chief  Medaria Arradondo for  “breaking the blue wall of silence.” As if  these ‘good cops’ are coming out to punish a ‘bad cop.’ Well, I think that is  a pile of horse puckie.  All these good cops had nineteen years to stop the bad activities of  Derek Chauvin and thousands more like him. He is now on trial because no one was interested in stopping him before his actions were so repulsive and appalling that millions hit the streets to demand better.  But, until then, shove it under the rug, ignore it, hide it.

Now What

So, here I am today, Sunday 4/18/2021 saying Derek Chauvin is now, just as he always was, just one of the guys. Derek Chauvin was allowed to manifest into a killer within the Minneapolis Police Department.  In a warm protective environment. I doubt Derek Chauvin would have ever killed anyone if he had not been wearing a badge. America’s policing is on trial. It is time that police departments sell off their tanks and invest in psychiatric interns, and marriage counselors to accomplish community ‘needs-based’ services.

911 Services 

Calling the cops is not the right answer for every stressful situation. But, the way our 911 system functions, cops are often the first dispatched personnel. Frequently such calls spiral out of control because the appropriately trained individuals have not been dispatched for the call. And often these mishandled calls end up in death. Personally I don’t think the needed changes  will happen from the inside.  I think we as a nation need to protect the Floyd George’s who are victims of police racism and brutality.


Celebrating Women’s History

Celebrating Women’s History

Celebrating Women’s History

By Wes & Anna Hessel

**On the last day of Women’s History Month let’s celebrate the women in our lives. **


History In The Making

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, we must remember that the part women play in history is never-ending.  The month of March celebrates women’s contributions to history, in conjunction with International Women’s Day (March 8th).  The 2021 Women’s History Month topic salutes strength of women in times of difficulty.  During 2020, festivities for the centennial of women’s suffrage had to be postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions, therefore last year’s theme, “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced”, has been extended to this year, as we honor the election of our first female Vice-President, Kamala Harris.

Glass Is Trash

This empowering subject, designated by the National Women’s History Alliance, pays respect to the ladies that paved the way for women’s rights.  Now that the second highest office in the land has had its see-through ceiling shattered, the view to the top looks clear for breakthrough when President Biden hands over the reins.  Ladies, we should make sure we are wearing cute shoes and watch where we step, as there is glass everywhere, and more to come.

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30 Quotes Celebrating Women

30 Quotes Celebrating Women

The International Day of the Woman

30 Quotes Celebrating Women:

International Women’s Day

D. S. Mitchell

March 8th is celebrated world wide as International Women’s Day. I thought it might be fun to just look at some famous quotes celebrating women.

1.) “Here’s to strong women: May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” –Unknown 

2.) “To tell a woman everything she cannot do is to tell her what she can.” –Spanish Proverb

3.) “Well-behaved women rarely make history.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

4.) “The best protection any woman can have is courage.” –Elizabeth Cady Stanton

5.) “Where there is a woman, there is magic.” –Ntozake Shange

6.) “You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it.” –Unknown

7.) “Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.” –Hilary Clinton

8.) “Feminism is for everyone.”-Bell Hooks 

9.) “There’s nothing a man can do that I can’t do better and in heels.” –Ginger Rogers

10.) “Above all, be the heroine of your life. Not the victim.” –Nora Ephron

11.) “Girls should never be afraid to be smart.” –Emma Watson

12.) “Life is tough, my darling, but so are you.” –Stephanie Bennett-Henry

13.) “A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink.” –Gina Carey

14.) “She wasn’t looking for a knight. She was looking for a sword.” –Atticus

15.) “A strong woman stands up for herself. A stronger woman stands up for everyone else.” –Unknown

16.) “Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” –G.D. Anderson

17.) “You can always tell who the strong women are. They are the ones you see building one another up instead of tearing each other down.” –Unknown 

18.) “The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.” –Ayn Rand

19.) “I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.” –Madonna

20.) “A woman is like a tea bag: You can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

21.) “A woman should be like a single flower—not a whole bouquet.” –Anna Held

22.) “I know what I bring to the table… So trust me when I say I’m not afraid to eat alone.” –Unknown

23.) “Women are the real architects of society.” –Cher

24.) “When women wake, mountains move.” Chinese Proverb

25.)  “She’s a strong cup of black coffee in a world that is drunk on the cheap wine of shallow love.” –Unknown

26.) “Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.” –Unknown

27.) “I expect woman will be the last thing civilized by man.” –George Meredith

28.) “Women are made to be loved, not understood.” –Oscar Wilde

29.) “The age of a woman doesn’t mean a thing. The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

30.) “In our society, the women who break down barriers are those who ignore limits” –Arnold Schwarzenegger


OPINION: Homelessness, Thinking Small

OPINION: Homelessness, Thinking Small

Homelessness in the United States is caused by misdirected priorities


Homelessness, Thinking Small

By Trevor K. McNeil


T’was Ever Thus

Homelessness as a social issue is far from new. A problem that has existed for millennia, whether it as acknowledge or not, came to wide, social attention during the late 19th through the pioneering of the likes of Charles Dickens and the Pre-Raphaelite painter William Holman Hunt. Now, as then, one of the biggest issues perpetuating homelessness is lack of public and political will. Are logistics an issue, yes, though really nothing that can’t be addressed with some strategic planning. Cuba certainly has its downsides but at least everyone has somewhere to live.

Sharp Clarity

The decadence of the 1980s, cleaved to so strongly in the 1990s came into sharp focus in the early 2000s, particularly in the sub-prime mortgage crisis. A case of designed obsolescence for short-term gain, as opposed to an unforeseen tragedy. The 2008 recession was the net result of the fraudulent  tactics used by the financial sector for decades, finally reaching the heights where they collapsed. Society finally realizing that the system, as it was, was no longer tenable. Even if the perpetrators of the crises were largely “punished” with early retirement including lucrative pension schemes.

Dollars and Sense

Even with the echoes of the 2008 recession still echoing in the ears of many, the issue of homelessness goes far beyond resources. It would be insane to argue that housing prices haven’t gone up. They have but a fact that very few, especially those who make fortunes from it, want to admit is that it largely imaginary. The ‘housing market’ is based mostly on the ‘interest rate.’ A largely arbitrary and most imaginary measure of future values, most ‘futures traders’ having no more real insight than psychics.

Homes For the Homeless

In terms of cost, both in materials and labor, housing is among the most over-valued commodities, mostly because if it’s relative scarcity. Diamonds and gold have no inherent monetary value, their value stemming from their beauty and the fact they are hard to find. If tin were similarly scarce one would be paying a lot more for a cooking pot. It might seem bizarre but, at an outside, a two-bedroom house can be build in 24 hours for $4,000 with a 3-D printer. Using Habitat For Humanity have been knocking together full, family-sized homes in record time for years.

Do It Yourself

If you are willing to go a bit smaller and use a generator or solar, there are cottages in a box, which are literally small houses that come in an IKEA-style flat-pack, being sold on eBay for $10,000 for those who have their own land which, depending on where you live, is getting cheaper all the time.

Thinking Small

Another option for those who own land is to join the tiny house movement. While it has gotten some pretty weird press over the years, this doesn’t always mean living in a converted school bus. It is more than possible to build a smaller, simpler house for not much money. Most jurisdictions have minimums on how big a house needs to be but they usually top out at 500 square feet. And that only applies to what is called the ‘foot-print’ of the structure. Therefore, it would be perfectly within the rules to build a 300 square foot tiny house with a 200 square foot deck.

Going Mico

Live in a city with limited space? There’s a solution for you too! Micro-apartments are the newest trend in the notoriously expensive city of Vancouver, B.C. which has been struggling with it’s own housing crisis for years. Pretty much what they sound like, micro-apartments are very small housing suites, some as small as 500 square feet, in buildings built in the gaps between existing buildings.




BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Black and Blessed

*Celebrating Black History Month

**At the close of Black History Month let’s take a look at ourselves and our country. DSM/Calamity**

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Black and Blessed

By Wes & Anna Hessel


A Black Mark Not On Our History

As Black History Month comes to a close, we must actively insure that the true history of Black Americans is told. All of it. The dark and the glorious. How this story ends will be a predictor of how our nation embraces our black brothers and moves forward.  We all recall as children eating peanut butter spread on crackers as we learned about George Washington Carver, but no other significant Black history was ever taught, at least any school I ever attended. African-American history remains mostly hidden and not taught in schools.

Inventors and Heroes

It is not a significant part of any school curriculums and it should be.  An accurate depiction of the history and culture of African-Americans must become part of American history classes.  Teaching a truthful history lends respect to those activities could over a generation change core attitudes. The history of blacks in America is our history, some dark and tragic, some brilliant and glorious. It is time we as a country accept that not all history worth being written down and taught was that of  white men.   The poem that became the lyrics of our National Anthem was written by an attorney who had little or no respect for Black people.   We now must educate about the atrocities of slavery and the important roles Blacks have played and continue to play in our history and our future.

Nothing New

Various peoples of Africa were brought to the “New World” as slaves, bought, sold, and treated like the property they were considered to be, not the persons of rich culture and tradition they had been.  The “first” African slaves brought to what is now the United States is typically thought to be a load of captives from what is now Angola, sold to Jamestown Governor George Yeardley and Abraham Piersey, the colony’s trade head, for food, near the end of August 1619.

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Zitkala-Sa: An American Indian Voice

Zitkala-Sa: An American Indian Voice

The legacy of Zitkala-Sa lives on as one of the most influential Native American activists of the 20th century. She left an influential theory of Indian resistance and a crucial model for reform. It was the activism of Zitkala-Sa that made possible crucial changes to education, health care, and legal standing for Native American people and the preservation of Indian culture.

Life Story: Zitkala-Sa - Women & the American StoryZitkala-Sa’s Literary Work

“Much of Zitkala-Sa’s work is characterized by its transitional nature: tensions between tradition and assimilation, between literature and politics. These tensions are most notable in her autobiographical works. In her well-known “American Indian Stories”, for example, she both expresses a literary account of her life and delivers a political message. The narrative expresses her tension between wanting to follow the traditions of the Yankton Dakota while being excited about learning to read and write, and being tempted by assimilation. This tension has been described as generating much of the dynamism of her work.” Wikipedia

Zitkala-Sa: An American Indian Voice

By D. S. Mitchell

Who was Zitkala-Sa?

Zitkala-Sa was an American Indian woman who was an influential voice for indigenous people. Red Bird was a writer, editor, translator, composer, musician, educator, and political activist.  She struggled with her cultural identity and took that struggle to the written page. She also wrote books about traditional Native American myths and stories. Her writings were well-known  to a white English-speaking readership. She is considered among one of the most influential Native Americans of the twentieth century.

Red Bird

Zitkala-Sa was born February 22, 1876 on the Yankton Dakota Reservation in South Dakota. Zitkala-Sa means “Red Bird”.  She was later given the missionary name of Gertrude Simmons.  Ellen Simmons, a Yankton Dakota woman whose Dakota name was Thate Ivohiwin (Every Wind or Reaches for the Wind) was her mother. Her father was a German-American man who left the family when Zitkala-Sa was very young. Gertrude later married Raymond Bonnin and is often known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin.

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Malcolm X: Tides of Change

Heroes Of The Civil Right Movement:

Malcolm X, Tides of Change


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By Trevor K. McNeil

A Complicated History

No one is perfect, including and especially those who claim to be. It is usually a mistake to meet one’s hero’s, particularly because it is difficult for anyone to live up to the hype. No where is this more true than with political leaders and martyrs. Many is the celebrated later found out to hold some less than savory ideas or to have done some strange things.

Revisionism Not Necessarily Bad

One of the few cases this has worked in reverse is the legacy of Lord Byron who, while largely thought of as a swaggering sex-mad dandy, was also a strong advocate for the labor movement and republican ideals, and was mostly against the church and war in general. A labor supporting, anti-monarchist, Republican pacifist not the safest thing to be in 19th century Britain. An American early civil rights leader that has had a morphing of his image recently is the famous and infamous 1950-1960’s civil rights activist Malcolm X.  In your case you are interested, Malcolm took the last name of “X” because he had no way to trace his African ancestral family name. That ancestral name has been lost to history because of the slave trade.

A Voice In The Wilderness

It is difficult to understate the influence Malcolm X had on the struggle for racial reckoning in the early 20th century. Still held up as an example along with other Civil Rights leaders such as  Martin Luther King, Jr. and the lesser known, but no less important, Medgar Evers. Malcolm is the most controversial. Preaching a ‘by any means necessary’ approach to race relations.  Such ‘means’  included violence against the police and the state, as well as anyone else who threatened black lives. X also propagated the idea of black separatism, and even black nationalism. Not in America mind you, despite being a believer in so-called ‘black supremacy’ at the time, he wasn’t arguing that black people should take over America, so much as form their own nation separate from it. He was often very critical of the mainstream Civil Rights movement, particularly due to its principle of non-violence and preference for racial integration, particularly in terms of schooling.

Rage of Youth

While generally associated with the 1960s many of the most controversial statements made by Malcolm X, were made in the early 1950’s.  The 1950’s was a time of  ardent racism in America, when the notorious Jim Crow laws were  at their full strength. For context, Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus in 1955. Malcolm X first came to attention with his fiery rhetoric in 1952. While it in no way takes back or erases some of his more unsavory statements, it is important to keep in mind that he was 27 years old at the time. An adult to be sure but, as anyone who has made it to the saner side of 30 can attest, with age can come perspective.

Stepping Back

By the early 1960s, Malcolm X had distanced himself from the controversial and notoriously violent Nation of Islam. Instead he converted to Sunni Islam, generally considered the more moderate of the Islamic paths. It was a first step on a path to reform. The once violent firebrand embraced the explicitly non-violent mainstream Civil Rights movement, as put forward by King and Evers after completing the Hajj to Mecca.

Ghost From the Past

In February 1965 Malcolm X was gunned down in Harlem during a speaking engagement. It has been believed for decades that members of the Nation of Islam assassinated Malcolm X,  due to the severely strained relationship. Two Nation of Islam members were convicted in Malcolm X’s murder. On the other hand King and Evers were both killed by Klansmen. If anything, showing the backlash from angered white people was not the only threat the Civil Rights movement faced, and it is, therefore, even more impressive it managed to largely succeed.

New Evidence Emerging

Fifty-six years after his murder new evidence has come to light as I write this piece, indicating that the FBI and the NYPD were involved in the killing of Malcolm X.  A retired NYPD undercover officer admitted in a death bed confession that he had been responsible for making sure that Malcolm X’s security detail was arrested before the assassination. The confession further states this move would guarantee Malcolm X would have no door security at the Audubon Ballroom where he was killed. Malcolm’s family is asking the murder investigation be re-opened. In a separate case, last year the Manhattan DA began reviewing the convictions of those Nation of Islam members convicted of Malcolm’s murder as part of an Innocent Project request.

On Saturday the NYPD released the following statement:

“Several months ago, the Manhattan District Attorney initiated a review of the investigation and prosecution that resulted in two convictions for the murder of Malcom X. The NYPD has provided all available records relevant to that case to the District Attorney. The Department remains committed to assist with that review.” At this point the best I can say is, time will tell, as to who killed Malcolm X one of the heroic voices of the civil right movement.