Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Original Poetry

Inauguration Day
by maria Brewer

Stretching dreams Pop into reality
and breathe deep. The air of now.
Grunting, emerging, we blink.
Anticipating beauty in the new expectation of fresh wisdom.
Layers of caring, and percolating joy, and
deep strength surge and we
Rush forward to meet the calm:
the sprout that pushes through the soil,
the Beginning.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The American Dream is a noble ideal: equality and reward for hard work. Establishing values like fairness, independence, and empowerment, Americans have long sacrificed to better themselves. But in America, we have always dreamed of bringing along our communities: our palaces have been our public schools; our monuments not towering statues unless surrounded by broad public parks and playgrounds; our legacy is ensconced in public libraries, common thoroughfares, and rural electrification projects. As America grew in wealth, so rose our great middle class, all together as boats in a tide of public pride and progress. Today’s public pride is privatized, the middle class carved up with it: contracted out to the no-bid crony, with greed riding rough-shot over civic duty or service.

Take the 1.8b tax cut for Corporations in MI. A gift from Republican Governor Rick Snyder, courtesy of increasing taxes on old people & poor children's families. So the corporations can create jobs? Only if wages drop below poverty level and destroy the middle class. No weekends, no vacations, not a better life for our children. But that's nothing new. That economy "thrives" in shanty-towns all over the globe. The question for America is: do you relate to the middle class American Dream that is being destroyed? Or do you relate to an over-class living in a secure compound it calls home? If we start to aspire only to a gated ruling-class lifestyle, then our despotic future is here.

Greed has overwhelmed our dreams of community. Paranoia has made scapegoats out of teachers, enemies out of neighbors, terrorists out of worshippers. We citizens have taken our freedom for granted. Now we realize that we are only as free as we demand to be. Power, whether of kings, despots, or petty tyrants, whether monarchists or corporatists, has never given anything without a demand, not once. Unless we demand our liberty, we will not have it. Unless we demand our right to public education, to public infrastructures that better us all, to a just and equitable society, we will not have it.

Some elected officials act like winning an election is winning a crown to be queen or king for a day, or a even a legislative session. One of our Sumner County, TN Representatives is Debra Maggart, sponsor of the bill to outlaw Teacher’s Rights to bargain for safe and effective working conditions. Sadly, she has used her positions, both as our public servant and as Executive Director of the non-profit group Compass, to further her own self-serving goals, no matter whose privacy she invades or guidelines she breaks. In an email response to a citizen recently she sought input on the “Radical Right Master Plan.” An un-American plan that would presumably install a rich ruling class in perpetual security, while the rest of us only aspire to rise to the level of a middle class that no longer exists.

We deserve accountability from our representatives even after they have won an election. We don’t elect dictators, we elect servants. How many of our leaders have forgotten that our consent isn’t a one-time event.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Original Poetry

To-Do List
by Maria Brewer

Be radiant
Always find connection
Burn through limits
Remain out of control
Demand the room to laugh
Have awe for the infinity that fills creation
Sanctify the utter void it springs from
Transfigure self, standing on the cusp of both

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Take a Lunch with Democracy

Today is going to be Rally day on the steps of the Tennessee State House downtown. People are coming from all over Tennessee to be heard by their state legislators. And it's going to be live streamed at the website

What's the use of a rally? Well, haven't you heard? This is What Democracy Looks Like.

Devastation comes in small packages as well...

Since Friday's disaster in Japan began, we Americans have watched its unfolding. So far away, yet so close at hand; unimaginably vast disaster striking a society so much like our own. Many of the photos are of an unimaginable scale. The stuff of our civilization made wholly uncivil and unrecognizable.

Unlike most of the pictures from Japan, this picture of baby and mother being checked for radiation holds a kind of devastation we can't see. I'm not a nuclear power fear-monger, but I am a realist. We can do better. If we don't, it shouldn't be because profit-making corporations ruled our world and stole our potential.
These pictures comes from the NY Times photo record of the Japanese earthquake/Tsunami/radiation disaster.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

At Risk: Our Children, Our Teachers.

Your family works together to take care of each other. Your children deserve a community that works together to create a prosperous, competitive future. When politicians turn on that community, we see the result of electing radicals to office. The Tennessee Legislature returns this week dominated by such radical conservatives, bent on destroying the middle class that elected them. Two bills that would disastrously harm our communities have turned heads here at home, because the victims would be among our most vulnerable: our school children.

SB102 removes the right of the professional teaching community to elect teacher representatives to the Board of Trustees of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System. Teachers have every right to be involved in decision making regarding their hard- earned retirement benefits: it’s their money, earned honestly. This bill weakens the teachers’ voice, making seats on the Retirement Board into plum political appointments. HB 130/SB 113 is a bill that would completely repeal the Tennessee Professional Negotiations Act. This bill would silence the voice of teachers regarding all aspects of employment, including working conditions, salaries, and benefits. But remember, working conditions for teachers equal learning conditions for our children.

The Legislature can be a down-right confounding place, but one thing is crystal clear: when our leaders are willing to sell-out our children’s futures, traditional values have gone AWOL. They've been replaced by fear, fed by politicians willing to scapegoat large groups of American citizens for wanting one of our most precious American institutions: representation. Our teachers and children will pay the price. And why? Why in the world shouldn't we pay fairly for teachers? I’ve loved every one of my son’s teachers; they have been among the most dedicated, loving, and talented people I have ever met, and not a penny over-paid. But even had they not been stellar, how would taking away benefits, having less job security, no pension, and no voice improve the situation? We have to keep our American values and priorities in sight: our future lies in our children and we need great teachers for them. And we get what we pay for.

Without the ability to negotiate fairly for themselves, teachers will be left to the mercy of government bureaucracies. If Sumner County won’t pay our hard-working teachers decently, we will gut the future prosperity of our county, undercutting our competitive edge, making us the losers, unable to grow our economy with new business. Now broaden your view: Sumner County Public Schools is the county’s single largest employer. Our county budget depends not on how little we pay our teachers, but on our sales tax revenues. Restricting the money spent here in our home county on groceries, clothes, movies, household goods, by the largest group of people living and working here is indeed cutting our own throats.

These are the pragmatic reasons we should support our teachers. But there’s also this: we all want to share in a proud public school experience that pulls our community together and gives our children memories for a lifetime. Children of all incomes have the same right to an education and our county has the solemn obligation to provide the education that every child deserves. Universal educational opportunity is the defining feature of equitable, modern and competitive societies. All the children of Sumner County have the right to a high quality educational opportunity. That opportunity should not hinge on their parents’ income. If it does, we will take ourselves back in time to a nobility class, lording over the rest of us commoners, whose education simply needs to be good enough to serve the rich. Our founding fathers believed that America is about much more than that, and so do you.

Sadly, radical conservatives are merely delivering on their promises. Representative Debra Maggart was all but invisible here at home during her recent re-election. She spent more time campaigning for leadership among other politicians than talking to voters at home. Now she’s leading the radical movement to gut our state’s middle class; slapping a quality public education out of the hands of our children, and cutting the throats of the dedicated stalwarts of the middle class, our teachers. Instead of representing her hard working constituents, Maggart’s allegiance lies with an authoritarian mind-set. A kind of thinking that sacrifices real people on an altar of ideological rigor. Why inflict this violence on our community? Debra Maggart leads the movement to punish those whose political goals clash with her own, regardless of the suffering of innocents. The blunt lies being told about our teachers and their right to representation hurt us all. Our children, from poorest to richest deserve a great education and our teachers have the right to security, respect, and most importantly, a voice.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

HR3: the Rapist Right to Inseminate their Victims bill

Welcome to the brave new Congress, where rapists and pedophiles will be happy to note that the campaign to reinstate their long-eroded right to inseminate their victims no longer falls on deaf ears.

The GOP's Plan to Redefine Rape

Some things are so unbelievable that it's hard not to fall into the defensive position of satire.

taken from the American Century for Inseminationist Rights lobbying newsletter:

Rape not Yet in the Clear

The new law is not without some caveats. The new Republican dominated Congress has decided that the decades-old ban on "roughing up" your victim will stand. The new standard that rapists and pedophiles will need to acquaint themselves with will be "forcible rape." This new definition of rape opens up an avenue of non-forcible rape for the RAP (rapists and pedophiles) community to explore. While Statutory Rape remains illegal, the adult seducers of young girls will be secure knowing that this new kinder, gentler rape means their progeny has a chance. Even though most likely incarcerated (the pre-born constitute a particularly viable genetic evidence trail), a rapist or pedophile who successfully inseminates their victim won't be the only one sentenced. Underage rape victims without financial means will no longer be eligible for pregnancy termination under Medicare, unless they can meet the undefined new "Forcible Rape" standard. Clearly, it lies in the hands of adult predators to navigate this tricky gray area.

Date Rape Baby Boom

Expectations run high for serial acquaintance-rapists. While regularly hidden in the so-called "gender-role confusion" community, rapists who formerly limited their enthusiasm to taking their victims by surprise when they switch out of their "nice guy who paid for dinner" persona to assume their "she wants it rough" demeanor, are feeling empowered to set higher goals. "I've always wanted to be a dad," states one convicted rapist, speaking on condition of anonymity. "The 6 months probation I served after my last rape conviction didn't take my heart out of it, but I felt I'd been there, done that. Now with fatherhood on the horizon, all I have to do is find the right impoverished hottie and I can become a baby-daddy. With privileges."
Satire off. //

The devil is in the details, and apparently in these legislators hearts. Rape is evil. Purposely creating a society where rapists rights are more important that the victim's is abhorrent. Why do these radical conservatives love rapists so much? I know. Apparently to these minds, unless a woman is battered, broken, and otherwise physically harmed in ADDITION to having her innermost self violated, it's not heinous enough to warrant their notice. Children who are seduced by pedophiles, women who are drugged and raped while unconscious, women whose bodies go into shock and paralysis under trauma, who don't come out with broken ribs, concussions, and savage rips: these are all cases of rape that could be described without the word "forcible." This law would say that all these women and children, their spirits and bodies and futures, their individual liberty and right to own their own decisions, are less important than the sperm a rapist would inseminate them with. We have to say no to this. No one wants to hear about rape, but we can't go backwards. Why do these radical conservatives love rape so much?
Sign petition here
Stop HR3: the Rapist's Right to Inseminate Victims bill.

Check out my new Congressman, send her a note and ask:
Why do radical conservatives love rapists & pedophiles so much? Diane Black, you owe your grand-daughter an answer.