Monday, November 18, 2019

The white establishment would never allow the ‘Douglas Plan’ to succeed



That was the consensus among us discussants reviewing the marshal-style-plan for minorities of color, put forward by presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg.

The discussions took place between Generation Z podcaster Shadrach Williams, his fellow millennia member, psychology major Shadaen Stevens and me the baby boomer author. 

We are all people of color. 

Williams, a recent graduate of Florida International University (FIU) and author of   the self-help book “A month to re-create reality,” (available at Amazon.com) expresses his political views via the podcasts entitled “Politics across generations” which are aired at; https://anchor.fm/politicsacrossgenerations. These podcasts which cover a series of issues, provides Political education from the perspective of the Baby Boomers and the Millennial generation coming together to understand each other’s view points and discuss the candidates, as well as their ideas, for the upcoming 2020 elections. 

According to Buttigieg, his Douglas Plan seeks to tackle systemic racism which has kept Afro-Americans, down for decades. The Plan is named after Frederick Douglas, an escaped slave who became a prominent activist, author, leader in the abolitionist movement. He fought to end the practice of slavery, before and during the Civil War.

This is the only plan with concrete solutions being put forward by any of the politicians seeking the Democratic party’s nomination, to redress to the  inequities suffered by descendants of the slaves, for the economic apartheid which has kept black people in poverty for centuries. 
Some aspects are: a pledge by ‘President’ Buttigieg to award 25% of federal contracting to small business owners from underserved communities; the Walker-Lewis Initiative to triple the number of entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds within a decade, and creating 3 million new jobs in minority communities.

However, the Generation Z discussants regarded the proposal as a cheap attempt to try and bring in black minority support for his campaign. They further opined that even if Buttigieg is genuine with this proposal, there is no way that the white establishment which controls the power in the USA, would allow such a program to succeed.
They backed up their arguments by citing actions by the white senators and congressmen, who frustrated every effort for justice, made by President Barak Obama, the USA’s first afro American President.

This view was further reinforced by evidence presented in my latest book entitled ‘2020 DECISION; SOCIALISM, RACISM OR HAPPINESS?, which is available at:  https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ40KG. For I went to  great pains in this publication, to back up my claim (from an outsider’s perspective), that the Republican Party is fully racist.

Podcaster Shadrach Williams can be contacted at; Williams.shadrach@yahoo.com


Friday, November 8, 2019

Generation Z Podcaster examines the issues



According to young podcaster Shadrach Williams, very few of the candidates for the upcoming 2020 presidential elections, are addressing the issues that affect his generation.


The 24-year-old Williams who has already authored the popular self-help book “A month to re-create Reality” is a 2017 graduate of Florida International University (FIU). 


His new project is to educate his generation on the issues through the podcast called; POLITICS ACROSS GENERATIONS aired at; https://anchor.fm/politicsacrossgenerations or;https://www.breaker.audio/politics-across-generation



This podcast provides Political education from the perspective of the Baby Boomers and the Millennial generation coming together to understand each other’s view points and discuss the candidates, as well as their ideas, for the upcoming 2020 elections.



 Joining him in the discussions are; fellow FIU graduate, Psychology major Shadaen Stephens and author Joan Williams who recently published; 2020 DECISION; SOCIALISM, RACISM OR HAPPINESS, an outsider’s perspective of the choices available to voters in the USA for the 2020 presidential elections. 

Feedback to the podcasts are welcome.
Contact ; williams.shadrach@yahoo.com







Thursday, October 31, 2019

2020 DECISION; SOCIALISM, RACISM OR, HAPPINESS?


It is uncanny that the rich, powerful USA, with its booming economy and lowest unemployment in years, has fallen five places in the 2019 World Happiness Report.

This trend surely defeats the goal of 'pursuit of happiness' set out in the Declaration of Independence! 

The World Happiness Report measures how happy citizens are with life in their countries. For the 2019 report, residents from 156 countries were polled by the credible Gallup World organization.

When one considers how America’s less wealthy neighbor, Canada, has constantly featured in the top ten, meaning their citizens are twice as happy as Americans, I can only conclude that it is policies introduced by the Trump regime, which have caused the level of unhappiness to rise so dramatically in the USA in one year.

Some of these damaging policies are;  tax measures that only benefit the rich, the chipping away at health care, ignoring the will of the majority on gun safety regulations and the hacking away  at regulations designed to protect the health of citizens and the environment.

In following the debates in the USA and especially the plans and programs being put forward by some seeking nomination to become the representative of the Democratic Party, I see every possibility that Americans could have caring and exemplary leadership, to steer them toward real happiness though. 

That is, if the Democrats make a wise decision in choosing their nominee for the 2020 Presidential elections. 

To begin with,
charges that the Democratic Party is socialist, are totally ridiculous. For, apart from the aging Bernie Sanders and a small fringe, not one other candidate vying to become the Democratic Party's nominee, supports the oppressive system of state control of the resources.


In fact, all the other potential nominees are proposing policies which are very much in synch with those in the top ten "happiest countries in the world."

These include suggestions to better regulate the economy in the interest of the majority and the introduction of humane social policies that can definitely assist the middle class in the USA in their 'pursuit of happiness'. 


podcast; https://anchor.fm/shadrach-williams



Friday, October 4, 2019

AMERICAN INDIAN DAY


On Saturday 28th September 2019,  I obediently followed my GPS to Micccosukee Casino, somewhere in the Everglades, for as someone who just loves other cultures, I was hoping to learn a lot about the native Americans who populated the state of Florida before the violent immigrants arrived.

Big disappointment.

For this event turned out to be more a promotional affair for the casino and a play day for kids than  anything else.

Oh no, I have nothing against play days for kids, but how about some education instead of just rides that they could get at any third rate amusement park?

Yes, there were some clothes and crafts on display which were quite good and reminded me once again how close the culture of native people from far-flung places all over the world, from south east Asia to Latin America and north America are entwined.  What still remains the big mystery in the world though is for how and when
did all these people who are clearly related, end up in such diverse places all over the world?

But this event did not even try to address this or any other issue.

There were lots of food stalls there too, but indigenous food? I couldn't find any to sample!

One thing that grabbed me in the ad about the day too was Alligator wrestling, and I really looked forward to that.






The alligator in the corner never moved a muscle!





Yes there was, but it was a big joke as one alligator seemed to be so drugged that it never moved at all.

The other with which they did the tricks, though weighing over 500 lbs they claimed, never even moved his normally lethal tail but just opened his mouth on command.






So harmless were these so called monsters that they even charged $5 for kids to sit on their backs and take photos'. The gator's mouth was bound but it was mostly for show I suspect.


On display was a monster vehicle used to maneuver through the everglades

Anyway I am happy I went, for it means next year I wont be conned into putting it in my diary as an 'event not to be missed'!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Decision 2020; Socialism, Racism or Happiness?

I have just released my new book Decision 2020; Socialism, Racism or Happiness? as an ebook on Amazon and am now working on the paperback then the audio book. It is here; https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Deision+2020+socialism%2C+racism+or+happiness%3F&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss


Am so excited.


A brief description


 In this book I dismiss socialism, as there is no stomach for state control of the resources of the nation in this era in; the Democratic Party, the greater USA , or any other country in the world.


I also discount the entire Republican party as it appears to have totally embraced the racist philosophy of its leader Donald Trump, so cannot represent as diverse a people as the citizens of the USA.

Analyzing the top ten happiest countries as they appear in the 2019 World Happiness Report, which incidentally includes Canada, I see great hope for Americans, who are currently according to the report, twice as unhappy as those neighbors!

That hope lies in some of the candidates vying to become the nominee in the Democratic Party, for they are promising to go in the direction of better regulation of the market economy, fairer taxation and more humane social programs, as are normal in those top ten countries.

The Declaration of Independence in the USA, outlines "the pursuit of happiness" as one of its goals, so Americans, if they make the right choice in 2020, will finally have the necessary leadership to achieve that illusive goal.

THE PAPAERBACK IS NOW AVAILABLE AT; https://www.amazon.com/dp/1696578523?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860


Sunday, September 22, 2019

Miss Lou; Drama Queen Extraordinaire


In early September 2019, Jamaicans all over the world got together to celebrate the 100th anniversary  of the birth of our most revered cultural icon  Rt. Hon Dr. Louise Bennett-Coverly, lovingly  known as Miss Lou.

Guests mingle at the cocktail reception
Not to be left out, The Louise Bennet-Coverly Cultural Heritage Council in Broward County,  Florida, which is itself chaired by a cultural icon, Colin Smith, artist, musician, and dramatist, put on a magnificent show.

 It was dubbed 'Full hundred' and part proceeds from the event, are to be donated to the Edna Manley School of the Arts, in Jamaica,  so our culture can continue to wow the world.

Before the entertainment begun, the mood was set at a small cocktail reception but after that, it was pure niceness all the way.

The cultural show which followed was chaired by a well-known folklorist, Joan Andrea Hutchinson, OD-(the bumpy head gal) who, has demonstrated so far that she is indeed Miss Lou's natural successor.

The main two-hour entertainment package which was immensely enjoyed by the  full house at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts, was professionally delivered (as usual!) by the Jamaica Folk Singers with masterful backing from the versatile Tallawah Mento Band, led by Colin Smith himself. 
Jamaica Folk singers in action

The opening segment appropriately called "Come mek we dance an' sing"  thrilled the audience with popular  Jamaican folk songs like "Long gal mi nevva si yu" made famous by Miss Lou herself.

Their performance was interspersed with contributions from  well known dub poet Malacai Smith and Maxine Osborne.



It was a great night memorializing the invaluable cultural awakening that this celebrated giant  has left for us and that event at Coral Sprigs will be remembered by all who attended, for years to come.

Even I, for Miss Lou's anniversary, wrote a tiny tribute about the influence that she has had  had on all our lives.

It is;


Members of Tallawah Mento Band at extreme right
"When Louise Bennett-Coverley affectionately known as Miss Lou, was born in Kingston on September 7th 1919, her parents could never have imagined what an outstanding, poet, teacher, social commentator, actress, comedienne, expert on Jamaican language/culture and television star they were bringing into to the world of that fateful day. Neither could they have expected that she would be dubbed the “first lady of Jamaican comedy” and receive honors ranging from O.M., O.J., M.B.E., to Hon. D. Litt., in her short lifetime.

However, from as early as age ten, her slew of talents began to emerge when she started to pen poems. By age fourteen, she staged her first paid stage performance.  It is not insignificant though that her extraordinary literary talent was initially discovered by Eric Coverley, who accidentally ran into a copy of one of her hand-written poems in his friend’s car. Instantly impressed, he invited her to perform it at a concert.

He eventually became her best friend and her loving husband.

In explaining her early immense interest in language and culture, in an interview entitled “Miss Lou and the early Jamaican Theatre” produced by the National Library, she explained that it was her exposure to women from all walks of life from an early age, which stoked her passion. For her mother had been a dress-maker with clients ranging from the wives of governors and other “top a naris people” to those from the humblest circumstances. To her mom though, everyone was a lady from, “coal lady” to “governor wife lady.”

What she observed early from their interaction with her mom and each other, was how important humor was to conversation and most importantly, how everybody was speaking the language of the common people when they became comfortable.

At the time, our own Jamaican language was not considered “acceptable “and was not widely used by those who had arrived, but clearly it was what everyone spoke once they relaxed!

This is what convinced the young Louise taking it all, that our language should indeed become nationally accepted and be brought out of the closet, so to speak.

When she was taken to the country to attend a Dinky Minnie which lasted eight days, there was no turning back for the young talent who had this burning desire to write.



Her creative drive - combined with her love for the folk songs her mom sung everyday which were popular in her birth parish of St. Mary but totally unacceptable in the schools where only English could be used - cemented the young poet’s desire to change it all.

Her first book of poetry published in 1942 was “Jamaica Labrish” and she was never too shy to perform on stage anywhere.  As her fame increased and her talents became recognized, she was awarded a scholarship to go to London to hone her acting skills at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. But even when she was given her own cultural program in London on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) radio, it could not salve her longing to return to her homeland where she was determined to shake up the cultural norms.

It was the pantomime being put on by expatriates in Kingston and which was being performed in the queen’s English, which became her first target for change. So, in 1948, she wrote in patois and acted in, Bluebeard. It totally revolutionized the theatre landscape in Jamaica.

In the ensuing years, Miss Lou kept us entertained with programs such as the “Lou and Ranny” show on radio and finally, delighted her audience while educating children in the performing arts, with “Ring Ding” on Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC TV).

Despite all her other achievements, I opine that her most impactful work is her influential publication “Aunty Roachy Seh” where our social consciousness as a nation is awakened, through her inimitable humor.

This is the 100 th anniversary of the birth of this great Jamaican lady whose influence on our language, social norms, culture and theatre can never be allowed to fade. So, it is incumbent on all of us to keep her flag flying while we never fail to say “Tenk yu Miss Lou.”

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Riding the rails


The railroad adventurers
I don’t know exactly when I developed a love for trains, but do  remember with great fondness, how much I looked forward to taking the rail home to visit my parents, after leaving home as a teenager. I loved that mode of transport as it passed through the lush, beautiful scenery, displaying nature at its best and exposingt all the things I normally missed when using other means. So I have continued to use the rails whenever I have the time. 


The most unforgettable rail trips I have ever taken were the trip from Salt Lake City, Utah to Denver, Colorado, over the Rocky Mountains and from Milan, Italy to Lucerne, Switzerland through the most pristine valleys you will ever see amid alluring mountains and sparkling lakes.The view on the fifteen- hour trip over the Rocky Mountains was so was so awesome too, that I could not pull myself away from the viewing windows.

But European trains are far more comfortable and sophisticated than those in the USA.



Such trips  so fed my hunger,  that I have always tried to use this form of transportation whenever possible. So although in early August,  I had just travelled by rail from Vancouver, Canada to Seattle, Washington then on to  Portland, Oregon, I could not resist the temptation to join in a week of riding the rails, when Florida Meet Up coordinator, Jenifer Weise posted an invitation to members to do so in Pennsylvania, just a week after I returned home. 

This trip was worth every sacrifice!
So, in Mid-August 2019, four of us adventurers flew to Philadelphia for a week of fun, visiting historic towns and riding on vintage trains.

Our pleasant adventure begun when we overnighted in the historic town of Media, Pennsylvania, where Wikipedia says, “land in the area was sold and settled soon after William Penn was named proprietor of the colony of Pennsylvania in 1681 by King Charles II of England.”

Naturally, the town is full of historic buildings and most homes downtown have been converted into offices and businesses without changing anything on the outside. It also appears that at some of these offices and businesses, have people living on the upstairs.
Happy diners under the stars in Media

Downtown on State Street, there seems to be a creative attempt to bring life to the city by having, “Dinner under the stars.” This is when all the restaurants on the street, move their tables and dining facilities to the street, which is closed off, so their customers can really dine outside, under the stars. It is an attractive concept and where we dined on our first day in the city, was even a working brewery, which had added a restaurant to its business.
Our railroad trek begun early next day at the Leigh Gorge Railroad, on an open-air coach drawn by a steam engine. The ride through the gorge was quite scenic but I was disappointed that I did not see any of the wildlife they promote as being normally around. 

This area is quite popular among cyclists who take their bikes up to the end of the route on the train, then coast downhill to Jim Thorpe, a small town of under 5,000 residents, with extremely attractive architecture all around.
After overnighting
One of the historic buildings in Jim Thorpe
in Scranton, the next day we headed to nearby Steamtown, a national historic site in Pennsylvania.
A section of Leigh Gorge
This was a fascinating site where you follow the evolution of the railroad systems including the trains that use them, from the days when animals were used to pull the cars, through to steam and eventually the powerful diesel engines.

The turntable
The railroad yard is full of a vast array of the restored trains that were used since the beginning of rail transportation. We also watched in awe the fascinating demonstration of how turntables were used to turn the engines around in the yard in the old days, how the coal was used to power the trains, even letting off the hot ashes at select points. 


One of the restored engines at Steamtown
Another interesting fact for me was an explanation of the codes used when the whistle is blown, for this was the means of communication between the driver and engineer in the olden days. We also learnt that the coaches had to carry sand, as this was needed when the rails got too slippery. These are things we never even think about as we take for granted what we enjoy today, because of the modernization.

After a tour of the yard and museum, we went for a ride on a steam engine through a historic section of Scranton.

Steamtown is a must for anyone, young or old, who loves the rail.


Our next trip was to Colbrookdale Railroad Secret Valley Line in the tiny town of Boyertown population just around 5000. It is described in its brochure a “the most preeminent year-round Excursion Trains in the county.” 



A young man holds an alligator outside a pet store

The original rail-bed there was built by returning Civil War soldiers and opened in 1869. When the manufacturing industry dried up, the rail line was all but abandoned and only resuscitated as a tourist attraction in 2014, bringing in thousands of visitors from all over the world, they tell us.

To get there, we were taken by our GPS though a number of small, pristine towns in rural Pennsylvania. 

The first thing that struck you about Boyertown was the different sizes, colors and types of bears the shops had in front of their establishments and I suppose, since the residents appear to be animal lovers, it should not be surprising that we found a pet fair in progress when we arrived.
One attraction offered on a Saturday morning by the railroad operators, is a brunch, and we were met with chilled mimosas as soon as we boarded the dining car of the vintage train. The breakfast was quite delicious, but hardly had we finished eating and about to head to the viewing car, the train came to an abrupt stop.

The dining car was attractively decorated for brunch
We did not feel any impact but the engineer announced that the locomotive had been hit by a falling tree as we wended our way through the temperate forest. At first, they assured us that they had chain saws on board and would soon clear the area, but later they discovered that the tree had penetrated a critical section of the locomotive so we would have to abandon our trip.

To let the passengers feel a little better, staff went around in the viewing car, offering free champagne. Luckily there was an engine at the back of the train so we did not have to wait for help to return to the station.

Workmen up front trying to move the tree
That trip must have caused a severe financial loss to the operators though, as they announced that everyone would be given vouchers so they could ride on another occasion, but as we were from out of state, we got a refund of half the fare, only paying for the delicious  brunch we had eaten earlier.
Disappointed, we undertook a forty-five-mile trip from Boyerton to New Hope which lies on the west bank of the Delaware River. 
There we planned to take a ride on the New Hope Railroad.
New Hope is an artsy little town which was once home to Andy Warhol, the noted American artist but as the conductor pointed to the overgrown remains of the house he once lived in, it clearly was not being preserved.

New Hope is also home to the Bucks Country Playhouse, described as America’s Most Famous Playhouse. It is located on the site of a former grist mill on the banks of the Delaware River.
Artsy New Hope
Even a love bus from the hippie days was around!
Facing demolition in the 1930s, the site was saved when a small band of artists, including Broadway playwrights refurbished and opened it on July 1, 1939.  Actors like George C. Scott, Grace Kelly, Bea Arthur, Walter Matthau,  Angela Lansbury, Robert Redford, Alan Alda, and many more have appeared on stage there.

The vintage coaches we traveled on in the New Hope Railroad, were constructed between 1913-1927. The engine alone weighs 65,000 lbs! The floors were made from concrete and many sections still have the original mahogany panels.
The route we travelled on was extremely attractive, snaking through wooded areas with deers peacefully grazing and a heavily flowing creek following us all the way. 
Halfway up the gorge, was an well kept picnic ground, maintained by the railroad.  There passengers who wished could disembark and return to the train after it  had turned around and was heading back to the station.
Our final railroad adventure was a visit to the sophisticated Strasburg Railroad Museum. There you not only have on display inside and in the yard, dozens of restored vintage rail cars and coaches but also, train enthusiasts are all around showing off their mini-rail displays.
Their display is far more extensive than the one at Steamtown and I believe them when they claim it houses one of the most significant collections of historic railroad artifacts in the world.
After an educational tour of the museum, it was time for our final ride in Pennsylvania, this time on a vintage Strasburg train.
According to their promotional material, Strasburg Rail Road is America’s oldest operating railroad with a charter dating back to June 9, 1832. First used for passenger and freight transportation, the short line limped along for more than a century until in 1958, on the verge of abandonment, the railroad was salvaged and given new life as a tourist railroad. When you visit Strasburg Rail Road, the first thing you can expect is an authentic experience of a real steam railroad. The locomotives and passenger cars, are not replicas, and our staff members are not reenactors. Strasburg Rail Road has five working steam locomotives and 20 operating passenger cars, including our President’s Car, First-Class Parlor Car, First Class Lounge, and our Dining Car. All equipment is restored and maintained on-site in our Mechanical Shop.”

This short ride on the vintage train took us mainly through Amish territory where we got a preview into the faming capabilities of this unique religious sect, in preparation for an actual visit to Amish Country the next day (see blog “Touring Pennsylvania Part 1).
This railroad adventure of ours was a bit exhausting at times, but every second was worth the effort and it demonstrated once again that Meet-Up leader Jennifer Weise’s organizing abilities are beyond compare.

OTHER PHOTOS FROM OUR WEEK LONG ADVENTURE