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JAN 28, 2014 - JTMP is in shock and in mourning today, for we woke up to the news that we lost American folk music legend and Great Grandpa Musical Activist that started it all, Pete Seeger. Pete is a personal inspiration, for I attend a "Sing Out Jam Out" folk music circle (find one on MeetUp.com!), and we use the "Rise Up Singing" song book that he helped out with and contains many of his songs. His passing will affect millions and he will have an impact on America and the world for years to come.
Pete was born in New York in 1919, and died in New York in 2014, at the age of 94. His musical career started in the 1940s and 1950s and he enjoyed a successful musical career, and even performed with the band the Weavers, who were blacklisted during the McCarthy era. He is considered by many to have started the activist folk music scene in the 1960s, and Pete and his music became a staple of protests and rallies from the 1960s to today.
JTMP joins the mourning of the passing and celebration of the life of the American activist folk music legend, Pete Seeger. Below is Pete and the Weavers reunited for a concert at Carnegie Hall singing the folk classic, "Wimoweh", or "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", and read about this amazing man on NPR.org here. Rest in Peace Pete, we will carry on the struggle for civil rights! (photo credit: LOC/CC)
JAN 24, 2014 - Do elections matter? JTMP thinks so, and to prove the point just look at Virginia's 2013 Attorney General election. By 900 people going out and doing their civic duty of voting, thousands of gay Virginians will not get their inalienable civil right to pursue happiness trampled on by a conservative Attorney General. The new progressive Virginia Attorney General, Mark Herring, has announced that he will not defend the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Mark Herring won his election by a mere 907 votes, which shows one not only needs to vote, but also pay attention to your local elections. The Governor often appoints State Supreme Court Justices FOR LIFE, and Attorney Generals can trample all over the rights of gay people if the wrong one is elected. So, JTMP reminds everyone to register to vote, vote in primaries and local elections, and pay attention to these rascals. You would be surprised at how much they influence your life. Read more about Mark Herring's startling announcement on NPR.org here.
JAN 6, 2014 - Musical-activist Henry Rollins wrote an Op Ed on LAWeekly.com about Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson exercising his free speech right with hateful and stupid comments, and Rollins makes some interesting points. For instance on Robertson's comments on how supposedly Jim Crow south was actually a paradise for blacks, Rollins asks, "Did what he said make you think, 'Oh that's good to know because I was under the impression that things were quite awful for African-American people in the southern states in those days. Well, it's a relief to be able to disabuse myself of that notion. Thanks o wisdomatic bearded duck stalker.' I didn't think so." Well said Henry. To read the whole Op Ed go to LAWeekly.com here. (photo credit: ceedub13/CC)
JAN 2, 2014 - The prohibition of the consumption of cannabis has ended in at least one part of America. As of January 1, 2014, Colorado becomes the first state to come "online" to sell and consume marijuana legally, and the sky didn't fall. There were long lines, and recreational marijuana users ranged from veterans with PTSD to Americans who just wanted to smoke a little weed, listen to some music in their basement and not bother anyone; and not be bothered. Doesn't the government have bigger worries to worry about? Anyways, I suggest buying stock in Doritos. JTMP urges our supporters to contact their local, state and federal elected representatives and tell them you want recreational marijuana prohibition to end. Watch a video below of the first legal marijuana transaction in Colorado by a vet who uses it to treat his PTSD.
JAN 1, 2014 - Happy New Year everyone! 2014 is going to be an exciting year for progressive issues. Medical marijuana is being enacted across the country in various states, and gay marriage is winning many key battles is being accepted more and more. JTMP urges our supporters to stay active in 2014 and push for strengthening unions, raising the minimum wage, and protect the environment among other progressive issues.
One important issue and key civil right is access to quality and affordable health care for all, and the Affordable Care Act (or "Obamacare" as it is now affectionately known) is a great step in that direction. Obamacare is "born" today and is officially launched. Starting today, millions of Americans cannot be kicked off their health care policy by a greedy insurance company. No longer can someone be denied access to health insurance because of a preexisting condition. As of today, heath insurance companies cannot gouge sick and elderly customers with higher payments. Many health care issues that were not covered before, such as hospitalizations and mental health, are now required to be covered by all policies.
We still have a way to go to assure that every single American has easy and affordable access to high quality health care, but this is a huge step in the right direction. JTMP urges our supporters to push their elected representatives to enact Medicare For All. H.R. 676 is a good place to start. Read more on the Key Features of the Affordable Care Act on the HHS.gov website here. JTMP reminds everyone to purchase health insurance through the exchanges, or you will face a tax penalty. Head on over to HealthCare.gov and sign up! (photo credit: Pete Souza/CC)
DEC 11, 2013 Music played a big role in helping free Madiba and bring down apartheid, and CNN has a nice article up today about his impact on music and pop culture. They mention Steven Van Zandt's song "Sun City" protesting apartheid, where he brought together Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, George Clinton, Run DMC, Miles Davis, Jackson Browne and many more to make the song and video singing, "I ain't gonna play Sun City" urging a boycott of South Africa by all musicians until apartheid was gone. (watch below) Paul Simon released "Graceland" with South African musicians such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo also speaking out against apartheid. The Apollo Theater in Harlem that has had so many great musicians come through it paid tribute to Madiba by displaying on it's marquee sign, "He Changed Our World".
The Nation has a post up of the Top 10 Songs About Nelson Mandela. Watch Steven Van Zandt's "Sun City" below.
DEC 9, 2013 - JTMP joins the world in celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela, a man who brought civil and voting rights to millions. A man who lived a life of grace and non-violence in spite of the arrests, beatings and the jailings he received because of his activism. He truly moved the whole world, and will be remembered for generations to come. I drove by his statue in front of the South African embassy here in DC the other night, and traffic had to move to one lane for all the people wanting to drop off flowers and stop by and pay their respects. Cars were not honking at each other, and would calmly take turns being nice to each other. To have that effect on DC drivers is nothing short of miraculous. Nelson Mandela has that effect on almost anybody, anywhere. To remind us to live in quiet peace and dignity. We join all who will be mourning and paying respects to this world leader all this week. Vice President Joe Biden released a statement on Nelson Mandela's death on behalf of the White House, along with President Obama; who just left with the First Lady for South Africa to attend the memorial service scheduled tomorrow. South Africa braces for a huge gathering of world leaders to pay last respects for this great man, which will be a massive security and logistical undertaking. (photo: Mandela voting in 1994 elections - credit: Paul Weinberg/CC)
DEC 3, 2013 - USA Today has an article out today about how the French government has charged Bob Dylan with the crime of "incitement to hatred" because Bob somewhat "compared Croatians to Nazis", and lumped them all together with the evil of the Confederacy slavery, KKK and the Nazis in a 2012 Rolling Stone interview. This is what Bob said, you be the judge:
"Blacks know that some whites didn't want to give up slavery -- that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can't pretend they don't know that. If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood."
A Croatian group in France caught wind of the it eventually and filed a complaint against Dylan in French court. Bridgette Bardot has also faced many charges of "inciting hatred" in France for speaking her mind, and even though half my ancestry comes from France, I feel this goes too far and infringes on free speech. I am sure we will not see Bob in jail anytime soon though. Just like Bardot, Dylan will just be fined heavily. Bob has millions like Bardot and he will just pay the fine and move on. Comments? Start a conversation on our JTMP Facebook Page! (photo credit: Bob Dylan/CC)
NOV 27, 2013 - Phil Ochs, one of the most legendary activist musicians from the 1960s, is being honored and remembered by his sister Sonny and a New England band tour of several great musicians such as Greg Greenway, David Roth, Pat Wictor, Zoe Lewis and Sharon Katz. They play Phil's classic folk songs and anti-war ballads such as "I Ain't Marching Anymore" and "Is There Anybody Here?" in several locations throughout New England. Activism played a huge role in Phil's life, and he was very strong in his convictions and used the folk music scene of the 1960s to express his views through his music. Read about his amazing life and unfortunate fall with depression on his Wikipedia page, and watch him sing his anti-war folk song classic "I Ain't Marching Anymore" below. Read a great article on the tour and Phil's life, as well as an interview with Phil's sister Sonny on CapeCodOnline.com. (photo credit: Chip Berlet/CC)
NOV 26, 2013 - I found this small clip of a skit by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood at the CMA Awards poking fun of the rollout of the Affordable Health Care Act, or the "AHCA" as I like to call it. Many folks call it "Obamacare", but the two poked fun of the horrendous rollout of the website part of the health care exchanges to the tune of an old George Strait song. Maybe if the Teabagger Republican governors would have cooperated more with the federal government on the exchanges, and worked for their constituents instead of a political party (a small one I might add), then maybe the rollout would have been smoother. Watch for the reaction of Taylor Swift, who is a big President Obama supporter. Lets hope they get it all fixed in the next few weeks, and get the federal exchanges humming as well as the state exchanges, where enrollment is surging. Those are the states where the governor cooperated and didn't suffer from OHDS: Obama Hatred Derangement Syndrome. The website is actually handling a fair clip of people, and will get better. If you do not have health insurance either thorough Medicaid or your employment, many will find they will be covered by Medicaid, qualify for subsidies to help pay for it, or find a cheap health insurance plan through the exchanges for as little as $20 a month. You may need it one day. Visit HealthCare.gov today to see your options.