Story Archives 2000

Bush's Twenty Minutes In California

09/24/2021 - 11:44 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

So, Prez select Bush honors Governor Davis with his presence, giving him 20 minutes of the precious time. Time that Bush can spend away from the international affairs that lie heavy
on his chiseled brow is almost non-existent.

BULL CHIPS, HORSE WATER, and SHEEP DIP! California’s crisis will take more than a 20 minute photo op. Give Me A 'Friggin Break!

by Joseph Bolden

Californians are going through rough times while Texans are living easy. But I don't blame Texans; that's not right, fair, or the American way.

Cali's been called the Fruit 'N Nut state since I don't know when. Mr. Dennis Tito is excluded from any criticism, afterall, he knew the risks of space travel, but knew that is could be done. Any Texans goin' to the Moon or Mars? Yes, our Fruit 'N Nut status began way before San Francisco became the state's painted lady. Like gruff multimillionaire doers and dreamers, like Texans, we have our pride. We do things up different; we're not as big a state as you, but we are as unique.

Yes, we fell off our high horse in a canyon where no one hears our calls for help. Think this affects only "those pussyfooted, lily-livered, granola eatin', holly-weird, strangely dressed, crazy idea folk up in Northern California? Think again.

Imagine, if the shoe were on the other foot. Prez Clinton is in Texas for a 20-minute talk about oil and gas with Governor G.W. Bush. Texas is feeling pressured to buy oil at ever-inflated prices from Arab oil cartels and is being gouged with higher electric bills by California's P.U.C. companies who are constantly upping heating oil prices.

Clinton says, "Keep conserving, drill along the pan handle or in the Alamo historical site, because of the rich crude oil deposits found there; transport wild horses and buffalo from their grazing grounds." He doesn't mention renewable, alternative energies. He says, "Conserve and keep paying Cali and Arkansas."

We love whales and dolphins, just as you love horses, buffalo, and the great God's country. We are different people in different situations, but we share the same country. The same situation could happen to you. Just think on it awhile. Wouldn't you feel offended at so little time being spent on problems looming so large in your state? We got twenty minutes for an energy crisis that is slowly spreading across this country.

Texas and the legendary Texans have shown what independence means. You can to do it again by developing alternative renewable energies. You are the Giants of oil, gas, and electricity. You can show our President Bush that it's time to move ahead not drift backwards.

That's enough from a transplanted New Yorker in the Flake State, but please heed my warning-alternate and renewable energy is coming quick. California is hurting now but once we're free of the national grid I don't want to hear that Texas is experiencing rolling brown and blackouts:


I hope I don't sound like a lone radical anus but it might be what we have to do. Tell me if I sound like a complete idiot.

Please send donations to Poor Magazine C/0 Ask Joe
at 255 9th St. Street,
San Francisco, CA. 94103 USA

For Joe only my snail mail:
PO Box 1230 #645 Market St.
San Francisco, CA 94102


Prop N. is Unconstitutional

09/24/2021 - 11:44 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

PNN Community Journalist finds a little known code 602 (n) which makes Prop N aka Care Not Cash Unconstitutional

by John X/PNN Community Journalist

A few weeks ago I was staying in a shelter here in the city and me and one of the staff got into an argument that ultimately led to the police being called. This is a short story and history lesson for what happened. Hopefully some insight and knowledge will flow from this to help the entire shelter and S.R.O community.

Upon engaging this staff person in this argument I decided to call the police since I was told I was going to be " put the fuck out". I called the police and explained a staff person was going to put me out of a shelter of which I had a contract with management (CASE MANAGER) for services for this facility.

To avoid any more problems or confrontations I waited at the bottom of the stairs inside the facility for the police to arrive. A senior manager arrived and asked me why I was at the bottom of the stairs after curfew. I advised this person a staff member had thrown me out of the facility or at least had threatened to do so and I was waiting for the police. He briefly stated " she can't do that" and "give me a minute and I will talk to her".
I waited at the bottom of the stairs for his return while at the same time wondering where San Francisco's Finest were at.

A few minutes later the senior manager came back to the top of the stairwell area and stated " you have been denied services and you have to wait on the outside of the gate for the police." This is where it becomes interesting, as I agreed to comply again to avoid any confrontation or even appearance of confrontation with this facilities staff.

Upon arrival of the police their was a great debate as to what the staff wanted as opposed to me, the person who had actually called for the police intervention.

With 4 officers, 2 police, 1 sergeant and the acting lieutenant for the station we all began the discussion not in my return to the property, but exactly in what manner or fashion I was to not be allowed to return. The lieutenant told me that they had not removed me from the property (I removed myself when I stepped outside the gate) but at the same time had no authorization to return me. We argued back and forth a bit and the only thing I was told was they could assist me in removing or gaining access to whatever property I had in the facility but would not assist in any matter with my return as the matter was now civil in nature. I attempted in vain to explain to the police that I had a contract with this facility between myself and the case manger thus " by invitation of resident or management" I was allowed to be on the property. However this proved to be useless and went absolutely nowhere. After this 20 minute interchange I was told matter -of- factly by the police there was nothing they could or would do to assist me and I was out and they were leaving, period!

Since I had nothing better to do, (sleeping now not on the agenda) I decided to take a walk to 850 Bryant street. I spoke with the lieutenant for the station and had asked him how it was that the police could use the term " agent or representative" to give the shelter staff the authority to remove someone but for the purposes of enforcement for a violation (my unlawful removal and failure to allow re-entry) the case was now a civil matter.

The lieutenant could not explain the interchange of the two to any degree of validity and finally went to his office and came back with section 602 n of the California penal code. He had originally attempted to state that these "shelter type" facilities have their policies and procedures and under those procedures can lawfully remove someone as they chose from the property.

He was absolutely unequivocally wrong! When he returned he handed me a copy of 602 n and in short this is what it states. After reading the entire section the last paragraph reads " however this subdivision shall not apply to persons on the premises who are engaging in activities protected by the state or federal constitution, or persons who are on the premises at the request of a resident or management and who are not loitering or otherwise suspected of violating or actually violating any law or ordinance".

What this means or meant for me was this. When I had the argument with the staff I was invoking my first amendment rights (freedom of speech), also I was not charged by the police with "violation of any law or ordinance" i.e. penal code 415 - disturbing the peace.Also I had permission (request) to be on premises by management by my contract with case management for services. As such I was entitled to be present on this property. I was also entitled to have the staff attendee charged with violation of 602 n and if necessary then removed from the property for violation of 602 n and legally if staff refused to leave property also arrested and charged with standard trespassing (Penal Code 602) and criminal trespassing (Penal Code 602.5). Though I was denied any of this, I have learned that civil remedies are available to me for the police department refusing to take any actions on my behalf that I was legally and constitutionally entitled to.
Now what this means for you someone in an S.R.O environment is this. First, let me explain how this section works so you can better understand how it could fit into your situation. The rules for single room occupancies are just that, rules. Not laws or ordinances just rules. The best example I can give you is this, municipal code 25 (sleeping in doorways) is a city ordinance. That ordinance allows the police without the owner to be present on the property to remove and arrest any person found sleeping in their doorway for the state penal code (law) of trespassing 602 PC. Because again local ordinance municipal penal code 25 has been violated.

You have a right to use your space as you see fit as long as you are not in violation "of any law or ordinance" period !. This covers overnight guests, visitors (local-out of town) etc. You are paying to stay there. Your rights can not be infringed upon by anyone.
Unless the rules or policies for San Francisco single room occupancies has been standardized and local ordinances have been created with hearings held by the Board of Supervisors with voter approval and ratified they all are illegal and unconstitutional and could and should be challenged in federal court.

Now how this applies to proposition N is quit simple. Prop N states that any recipient on assistance who is in non compliance with a policy of a shelter provider and is removed from a shelter facility will be considered to be in non compliance with the requirements for his/her general assistance and will be removed from the general assistance program.
As a note, I have kept copies of the original legislative version as proof to this statement
" For the record".

.None of these shelters or single room occupancies have any laws or ordinances that support the actions of which some of the management and staff take. Although it has been stated that numerous homeless service provider organizations worked in collaboration with the Board of Supervisors on " acceptable policies and procedures " none of those procedures or policies are constitutional and can not be upheld if held to any degree of legal scrutiny of which I emplore this readership to do. It should be noted that federal law on this in two specific areas is quit clear. First, title 18 U.S.C (United States Code) Sect. 241 makes it a crime to conspire to deprive someone of their civil rights. Title 18 U.S.C Sect. 242 makes it a crime to deprive a person of any right under color of law. This section applies to everything from judges to appointed or elected city ,county or state officials (including police officers)in official capacities. I remind this readership that proposition N was drafted by "lawyers" and the rules of the city S.R.O'S was drafted by , supported and approved by the Board of Supervisors. Probably the most important point I should make to this readership is the following, federal law precludes any group,organization,or government body from creating any rule or law that is either know or to be know as unconstitutional. If it is found that any group,organization or government has created a rule or law that is found to be unconstitutional in any regard that law is to be considered immediately voided. As it is the position of the federal government that no one is to be held whether knowingly or unknowingly to any rule or law that violates any of the constitutional protections of any citizen of the United States Government. If we allow proposition N to pass we will continue to allow this city to bash the civil right of a group of people who continues to have less and less of a voice in this city except by "poverty pimps" who claim to be working for the interests of the indigent but at the same time non of them has taken the time to present a story of this type to this many people with as much of a potential legal and financial impact as I, John X, have.


Fool's Goal

09/24/2021 - 11:45 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

CW Nevius is profiling poor folks again for corporate media gain

by Brother Y/PNN

Apparently the devious one is at it again.

The deviant one being none other than devious Nevious the San Francisco Chronicles

Resident master of misinformation or should I just say liar?

No matter how you slice it the truth is seldomly anywhere near Nevious.

His latest pack of lies is once again directed towards the residents of Golden Gate Park

Located in the scenic and as of late classist section of San Francisco known as the Haight.

Well as I have stated on many occaisions thereis a reason they call it the Haight,the hate!

Anyhow in the devious ones latest rants he still attacks the needle exchange and in the same breath admits that there are not nearly as many stray needles due to the valiant effort of the volunteers of this organization.

Further more he continues to label the neighborhood recycling center “an a.t.m. for the homeless.”

Who is it that he is trying to impress anyhow, a bunch of bigotted intolerant 5 year old’s?

Because after all even the average 8 year old knows that in order to withdraw money from an a.t.m. money must be deposited in the bank to begin with.

The homeless in G.G.P. and impoverished recyclers in any part of the city have paid their “dues” or made their “deposits” in general time and time again in every way possible.

Not very long ago recyclers could not receive the full deposit price of bottles or cans but instead had to settle for pennies on the dollar for payment because recycle companies circumvented the California deposit law and made payment by weight not volume.

The poor recyclers must dig through the garbage of others and come across only God knows what to reap a meager wage that will afford them a meal or 2 at Mcdonalds

[again the devious trips over another of his lie’s only to speak the truth] and or alcohol

and or other drug at least according to Devious

Imagine that people having a strong enough work ethic to feed themselves and pay for their own vices!

Can you say independence?

Last I checked all paper U.S. currency states “This note is legal tender for all debts public and private”.

To put it another way what people do with their money is their own business. [as in mind your own business! And incidently one of the great slogans of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step organizations that help people overcome substance abuse problems is “live and let live” In other words mind your own business! If you don’t like it call your sponsor and by the way before you call your sponsor be sure to mind your own business!

The thing that is the most obvious to me is inspite of the fact that the Chronicle is in the red they are still able to pay the deviant one enough money for him to follow each and everyone of the recyclers around to see what and where they eat as well as what their particular vices are!

Unfortunately the fact that Nevious and other intolerants [they are such unfortunates!] forget about or choose to ignore is that upto 30% of the homeless in San Francisco are disabled American Veterans,many of whom “killed for their country”were willing to die for it and suffered many physical, emotional and mental injuries post traumatic stress disorder not being the least of them

Yet according to Nevious {and apparently mayor Gavin Newsom who just recently pushed a bill through to make it illegal for anyone beside big business recycling companies to sort through recycling bins on the street in San Francisco] shouldn’t have the right to hustle up enough money to get the images of death burning and bombed villages temporarily out of their minds.

The big whopping lie that Nevious tells that probably not be obvious to the average square is his claim that during a recent stroll through G.G.P. is dozens of people running up to him offering to sell him marijuana and crack.

According to him when offering “nuggs” or “nuggets” this is slang for crack.

The only similarity between crack and “nuggets” is they are both listed as schedule #1 drugs. How utterly unfair for the poor nuggs! After all nugges is jus a slang word for marijuana buds, so named because oft times the many faceted bud nodules resemble gold nuggets! Remember this is San Francisco where the gold rush began.

Don’t take my word for it though look it up for yourself on wikapedia.

After you do don’t mind your own business, tell Nevious to take a hike somewhere far away from Golden Gate Park though, seems like everytime he walks through there he sticks his foot in it!

‘Nuff said

Brother Y!


My Brother Tragedy

09/24/2021 - 11:44 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

Tragic hit and run of filmmaker, Anthony Lover, threatens his ability to continue his important work

by Staff Writer

* Illin-N-Chillin Editors note
Last year filmmaker, Anthony Lover, of Liberty Inc. in New York gave the public the first film with two African American actors with developmental disabilities in leading roles, "My Brother". I had a chance to visit his studios in New York and conducted an interview about My Brother with one of the actors who had a small part in the movie and was chosen for Lover's new film "The Promise". Lover was also looking toward the sequel of "My Brother". Last week I received this shocking email.

email from Anthony Lover;
Dear friends and supporters,

Number of reversals has beset me since we last talked to each other, both personally and professionally. Marlene, my wife, had to have major spinal surgery (10 plus hours). She was hung and cut, both through the stomach and the back to accomplish a difficult but seemingly successful operation. It takes up to 9 to 12 months to fully heal to really know.

I went out to purchase food for my wife's dinner and took the opportunity to buy lunch for three of the kids at the studio who had been helping me. Returning after lunch we were on the sidewalk at 26th and Second Avenue when all of a sudden, one of the kids cried out- "Oh, my God!" I turned quickly to see what he was looking at. Everything happened so super-fast while at the same time in ultra slow motion it's hard to describe. I saw this van coming straight towards and I instinctively shoved two of the kids out of the way saving their lives. They were in front of me. I shoved them so hard, one had to be checked out of at Bellevue. A second later I received the full blow of the van's bumper crashing into my legs. I later learned the driver was speeding, struck a cargo van and careened off and was out of control.

The bumper shattered my legs and knee. The blow sent me flying in the air, my head (with my glasses on) crashing into his windshield. Luckily the destroyed lenses didn't go into my eyes. The forward motion of van or his braking then sent me flying backwards through the air onto my back with my head hitting the sidewalk. The driver jumped out of the van abandoning it (Later to find out he had no insurance as well as his complete disappearance to police).

Amazingly I never lost consciousness from being hit. I was very calm. Maybe I was in shock. I don't know, but I seemed to be in total control of my facilities. One of the kids, kneeling over me, kept putting his hand on my heart and saying- "Don't diez'. It was very surreal; I kept thinking why should I die? Why does he think I'm going to die?

An EMS ambulance with techs arrived and immediately cut the clothes off of me. I guess to look at my physical wounds. When they put me on a wooden stretcher board I felt my first shock of pain. They asked me- "From one to ten, how severe is the pain?" I remember telling him I had a high tolerance for pain and saying- "I guess it was a five."

The EMS tech laughed and that seemed strange to me. Over his protest, I pulled my self up onto my elbows and looked down and saw that my legs where busted up and my feet where in the wrong direction. It was clear visual to the seriousness of my plight and I began think what was going to happen to me.

Everything seemed surreal about the event. They took my blood pressure and it wasn't far from being very normal (130 over 80). While they were doing this I was giving instructions to one of the kids to tell my Marlene calmly that I was in an accident and not to panic her; then to get my medical records out of my computer and give it to Bellevue.
The police arrived and asked questions as the EMS techs strapped me in to take me to Bellevue's trauma center.

It was God's will or I was lucky to be alive and taken to Bellevue. It's "the place" to go if you are in a serious or in a life threatening accident. I found out later that it's a standing order for the police, firemen, the President (If he's in New York) or dignitaries that they are to be taken to Bellevue for any serious trauma.

Bellevue didn't operate on my legs for days because my bust up legs produced blood clots and they found one in my lung. The surgeons felt there would be more embolisms and if they went to my brain, it would kill me. They operated and put a net inside to catch other blood clots along with thinning my blood.

They put me on Morphine for the pain. I suffered severe physical side effects from the Morphine drip, being delusional was the least of it.
When I could talk to my surgeons (I had eight of them) I said- "Take me off Morphine, I'd rather deal with the pain then be on it." They did, but the withdrawal with its side effects took five days before it dissipated.

I have been in the hospital and rehab since March 4th having survived death a number of times. Been in my apartment for a little over a week. I just started emotionally being able to e-mail people who probably didn�t know what took place (although a number saw it on the news). I'm still a long way from walking and being normal again, if ever. I move around in a wheelchair with pain. I have been very depressed about my physical condition and the financial circumstances I find myself in now. I most likely am facing the loss of Liberty and being forced to sell the building under duress. My doing that, dashes the dream of making change (over seven years of work) creating Liberty product (like "My Brother") and to be "a place" for young people to be given the opportunity to reach and change perceptions and forge new understandings. I fight the depression with trying to be positive and to look to the future with new eyes.

Leroy, I hope you and your family are well. I look forward to hearing and seeing you again.

Love always

240 East 27th Street
Apt 4J
New York City, NY 10016
Cell: 1-917-403-1650


I finally got past much of my depressed state to work on the rewrite of "The Promise" screenplay (which I think I told you about). I think it's going well (I'm a little past half way now). A few months before the accident I met with a financier/producer person for a company that produces and distributes feature films and TV shows (they have a deal with Time Warner). He really liked the extended treatment (60 pages) and is awaiting the script rewrite for us to have another meeting. Among other elements, I down played much of the Iraq war, focusing on the main characters and the battle as just the catalyst to extracting the promise. It seems to be working well.


Queenandi, welfareQUEEN and Poverty Scholar ..on the legislation

09/24/2021 - 11:44 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

by Gloria Esteva--Voces de Inmigrantes en Resistencia

Scroll down for English

En mi opinión, lo que han hecho no esta bien. Es mas como agarrar un golpiza en la mano, mientras el que te pega se sienta confortablemente te da suficiente lazo para que te cuelgues. Si te portas igual de mal o peor que el opresor, te botan del país. La intervención y la prevención hubieran sido puesto desde el primer lugar, para detener a los ofensores, pero así no fue el caso. Ser un criminal en esta tierra robada es glorificado, y cual caso fue explotado—el de la familia Bolonga. Ese crimen entre los Latinos abrió otro bote de gusanos, y es como Latino Documentado vs. Latino indocumentado, otra maniobra que mantiene la Raza en contra de su propia Raza, como Afro-Americanos vs. Afro-Americanos.

In my opinion, it was a tricknology move. It’s more like getting a slap on the wrist and the one who does the slapping just sits back and gives you enough rope to hang yourself with. If you be “too bad” or act worse than the oppressor himself, you get kicked out of the country. Intervention and prevention should’ve been implemented in the first place, to deter offenders, but that was not the case when being a criminal on this stolen land is glorified, and who/what case was highlighted—the Bolonga case. That Brown on Brown crime opened up another can of worms, so it’s like “Legal Brown” vs. “Illegal Brown”, another move that puts (in part) Raza vs. Raza, just like African vs. African.


Finding work in New York

09/24/2021 - 11:44 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

by George McKibbens

Poor people in New York City are not impressed that Rudolph Guilliani has been voted Person of the Year by Time Magazine or that he has appeared in GQ and Cigar Aficionado. Any mayor who makes homelessness illegal and turns Manhattan into a police state is not in high regard of anyone that lives paycheck to paycheck.

During a recession the efforts of the rich to gentrify parts of the city like Harlem and the East Village backfire. When there are no Dot Com jobs and middle management positions available, landlords are at the mercy of the tenants who are no longer forced to pay over $1000 for a one-room apartment in Queens.

In October of 2001, I finished the tour of my one-man show in Brooklyn (which proved to be an underground success in other cities, but and ultimately lost a lot of money thanks to a bankrupt Brooklyn theater owner). I was sleeping in the attic of a church in Hells Kitchen for three weeks, and every day I was looking for a bartending job. There were none. I looked for retail jobs. There were none. I looked for jobs as a waiter, and wasted $10 applying for a government job. I found an apartment thanks to meeting a Brazilian shuttle driver in a bar. The same week I was lucky enough to land a job as an usher at the Big Apple Circus. I was able to pay rent, working six days a week, 10-13 hours a day for $250 a week; which is roughly 3 to 4 dollars an hours. The circus was a non-profit in which they did not have to comply with minimum wage laws and their corporate sponsors received a tax write off.

I had a residence and a way to pay for transportation to and from work. I was proud of myself until I began my new job. Circus life meant that I was on my feet the whole day doing nothing remotely interesting. I scraped cotton candy off the ground, arranged chairs, and showed the circus patrons to their seats. The circus was only in town for another month, and I had beaten out five people for the job.

Tips were few and far between. I tried to seat people with the most expensive tickets, I could never afford to come to the circus and I would never want to attend the circus because the show was horrible. The people who tipped had ringside or box seats. Often time’s women would drop their purses and if you crawled under the bleachers and got it, their husbands would tip you. If the audience was a crew of rich women tips were a lost cause, just a ‘thank you,’ and spilled popcorn and soda in your hair. I became bitter and was very rude to all patrons, and then I started getting more tips. Can’t explain the logic in that.

The animals were treated better than the staff. The life of a horse in the circus was spent in a small stable for most of 24 hours with frequent grooming, then the horse would have 10 minutes to run circles in a ring while Russian acrobats did tricks on their backs.

Most of the ushering staff were first generation Russian, or from the Bronx. I was the only caucasian person at the job who was born in the United States; I was also the only usher born in the United States who was not from New York. It took at least two years of being an usher to graduate to a managerial position, such as supervising usher or head usher. These positions included a red tie, to distinguish from the yellow bow ties of the regular ushers, and a silver flashlight. Most usher’s flashlights were black and held the AA batteries together with scotch tape. Each usher had a section of the circus to clean, there were 12 ushers in the circus, and five brooms. We had a minimal amount of time to sweep between shows. We could not all sweep at once, and we could not go on break until we had finished sweeping.

The job of the supervisor was to make sure that the ushers did our jobs. The usher’s job was heavily mundane and suicidal. The ushers who did not have the stamina for the work often had problems with authority.

Damon, a 30 year old man from the Bronx almost got into a fight with the supervisor one afternoon because he would not permit any more of the supervisors harassment. James was our supervisor and proud of the fact that he had been with the circus for three years. Two of the years he was an usher. Whenever an usher would sweep, take out the trash, wipe the tops of the trashcans, or do any of the simple tasks we were assigned, James would give us our assignment again as if we were doing them incorrectly; which perpetuated the stupidity of the circus. If the usher failed to do his or her job, James was at fault. When we swept the isles, James would ask us to sweep the isles. James’ job at the circus was redundant to say the least.

I was one of the few ushers who did not have children. The work was physically draining, to the point that relaxing was the only thing that matterd. The war and the economy did not cross my mind, though I’m taxed for it first. When I worked forty hours a week in Boston and 60 hours a week in San Francisco, I spent a lot of time writing about things like American Imperialism, and drug laws. As a former member of the Young Socialists, this job was making me lose interest in politics.

Poverty is not the least bit interesting when you are broke. All I did every day was return from work, drink beer, write in my journal, then fall asleep. I did not care in the least how many of my tax dollars were killing Afghanis. Activism and social awareness are luxuries of people that have time. And all the ushers who had kids were mainly concerned with purchasing winter coats for the new year.

Damon and I had similar lifestyles. We both worked one shit job after the other. When Damon asked me what I did with my free time I replied, "I write." When I asked him what he liked to do, he said, "I watch the Knicks and the Yankees." Two of Damon’s friends had moved to Sacramento, and Damon wanted to join them once he saved up enough money. I told him he should do it. Every day Damon would tell me that he was going to quit and go to California. He never did.

Two pay periods later we got our checks and I had saved up enough to cover the following month’s rent. I finished my shift and handed the supervisor my uniform. I gave Damon my voicemail number and left.

"What are you going to do after this?" Damon asked me the day I quit.

"I’m going to try to get another job. It won’t be easy but I have a few weeks to find something else."

Damon never left the circus.


Say It with Flowers

09/24/2021 - 11:44 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

The first in a series of spiritual words, folk tales, urban legends and cyber-country-art education by JR Johnson; staff writer, spiritual thinker and participant observer of the millenium, as it arrives in our global community.

by JR Johnson

Five men stood in a semi- circle on the street corner. Street lamps
poured down their gracious light covering the drugstore in the background.
It was 11 am and the last train to Sleepyville made its accustomed
run over the Urban Landscape. Breaking the silence a strident and
youthful voice rang out: "Someone's going to die tonight."

In the three-second interval there went a circular motion outwards
along with a glint that just as fast dissapeared. One of the shorter
men buckled to his knees, his hand clutched to his throat. My passenger
and I had observed this event , setting in my car, across the street.
Immediately we sped away. The next day I learned that at that spot,
a young man, his throat cut, had died the previous night.

I'm sharing this story with readers to put them on alert to the
possible consequences of intemperate language. From my understanding
on the topic, human beings project a varied array of mind-sets.
Descriptions such as a loving, a Wonderland, a stoic, a hateful,
a cynical, and a Hee Haw mental disposition only scratch the surface
of possibilities. Seen in context then, we can be made or broken
by our public utterances.

From the foregoing it's obvious that there are words and statements
which should be red-flagged and not verbalized to others at all.
That's to say, just as someone can say things to move you to anger,
your own life could hang in the balance were you to say the wrong

Here recently in fact, while eating at a lunch counter, crossed
words were noticed being exchanged between a food-server and a patron.
In a slow, deliberate move, the worker came from around the counter
to confront his agitator. Again words were exchanged which I could
not hear. In one and a half seconds the younger man smashed his
fist to the jaw of the senior. It was surrealistic in that the victim's
light appeared to go out instantly, long before he crumpled to his
knees backwards, his head smashing to the concrete floor, a halo
of blood circling his head. The same evening after the paramedics
had taken him away, I learned the senior had repeatedly called the
young man a, to the wrong person, at the wrong time..

(back to top)

I would be willing to bet the victim learned a valuable lesson
from that experience. On that note, never likely will he address
someone in that manner ever again. The same good sense can be adopted
by the rest of us concerning words of ethnic put-down. Words such
as Wop, Japs, White trash, Niggers, Chinks, Wet-backs, etc., when
addressed to the wrong person, at the wrong time, could blow up
in in our faces.

Another take on human perceptions came in my attending a committee
hearing involving a member of the Clergy. The minister I will not
name, for good reason, weighed in at about 210 lbs and stood 6-foot
4-inches tall. He proudly evoked this saying, "No one can make you
mad unless you let them."

The only problem with that statement is its evident flaw. This
was made clear to me during a meeting being chaired by the same
Minister. Speaker after speaker stood up and gave their opinion
on the measure being discussed. Then arrived my golden moment. Before
I could give even a quarter of my wisdom, the Chairman told me that
was enough and to sit down. You probably guessed it: I didn't let
him, but he made me mad as Hell. The very next week, under similar
circumstances I was abruptly cancelled out. Again I was pissed off,
and in fact I told the Chairman in delicately chosen words that
I didn't appreciate his evident disrespect. Going a step further,
I never attended those meetings again.

Mr. Smart is another case in point. As head of an interaction
class he too approached the subject of human relations, I thought
in a cavalier manner. According to his point of view: no one can
make you mad unless you let them. In my opinion, Mr. Smart would've
served his students better by not sugar-coating how we differently
react to the spoken word. That would have revealed the dual nature
of words and the high respect they are due. Keep in mind some of
these uses are to heal, to make others sick, mad, angry, happy,
enthused, inspired, etc., etc. It can be added that, unlike machines,
our responses to others are based upon a complex inter-connecting
web of emotion intellect and sensitivity.

An incident from my youth underscores our myriad interpretation
of words and how they are reacted to. In my 7th grade classroom
one of the beauty queens openly dissed a fellow male student: "Hey
Ron, why are you so ugly?" The guy rebutted and said: "Your Grandma
looks like homemade sin." The pretty thing crashed and burned in
a torrent of tears, her beautiful world temporarily demolished.
Whatever moral can be extracted from these events could be aided
by another; I think timely observation. Most of us live under the
rainbow of personal narcissism. At any given time we think that
we know exactly how we would respond to every situation. Yet the
truth is, until the insult actually takes place it's difficult to
altogether plan for that reality. Then again, there are many of
us who undergo insults from others on a regular basis and shrug
it off. It's also true what the Minister and Mr. Smart said too,
to a certain degree. It's my suggestion the subject is really about
respect. Therefore, whenever we address and respond to others, it's
probably best we say it with roses.


Poverty and Disability Scholars from the Congo: Krip Hop & Staff Benda Bilili

09/24/2021 - 11:45 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

Krip Hop/ Illin N Chillin speakin wit' revolutionary disabled poverty scholars & street musicians Staff Benda Bilili from Kinshasa in the Congo at the Womex festival in Denmark

by Leroy Moore/PNN & Krip Hop

I like when things come together! I can�t ask for anything better. November 1st 2009 wrapped family, disabled musicians, traveling and my forty-second birthday all into one big present to myself.

After two years of researching about paraplegic street musicians, Staff Benda Bilili (Staff for short), who live around the grounds of the zoo in Kinshasa, Congo; I found out that they released their album and was invited to perform at the annual WOMEX Festival, World Music Expo, who have moved their world music festival to Copenhagen, Denmark. Copenhagen, Denmark is also home to my sister, Pamela Juhl and her lovely two children. I had no excuse not to go and visit with my sister, nephews and at the same time meet and interview the members of Staff Benda Bilili with Copenhagen Voice that my sister started. Yes, both my sister and I are journalists for the people!

WOMEX, an international event that brings together professionals from the worlds of folk, roots, ethnic and traditional music and also includes concerts, conferences and documentary films. It contributes to networking as an effective means of promoting music and culture of all kinds across frontiers. This year WOMEX announced their 2009 awardees, which was Staff Benda Bilili.

After more than eight years, I finally had a chance to see my sister Pamela Juhl. As Pamela�s brother, I was so happy to create media content with her at the WOMEX Festival right in her office located in the center of Copenhagen the day before my fortieth-second birthday November 1st 2009.

CPHVoice agreed to have me on their media crew at the WOMEX Festival covering one of the most incredible bands I ever researched and wrote about - Staff Benda Bilili of the Congo. I had a chance to connect last year with the filmmaker, Florent de La Tullaye, who is shooting a documentary of the band who translated my first online interview with the group when Florent traveled to the Congo to continue shooting the film that will be out early 2010. Florent emailed me the band's replies, pictures and sent a copy of their CD almost a year ago which I am so grateful for. There are many reasons why Staff Benda Bilili caught my attention; one of them was, seeing an all disabled band really singing about real issues of their lives - like poverty, homelessness, disability and street kids � it just blew me away as a Black disabled activist, journalist, poet and lover of music.

So, now the day after meeting and interviewing the members of Staff Benda Bilili, November 2nd (My birthday) I�m still thrilled about the opportunity I had and writing what I have experienced and the interview below. Read on.

I almost didn�t make the WOMEX Festival! I was in Augsburg, Germany doing some Krip-Hop/Mcees With Disabilities, MWD business with Binki Woi when I found out that my credit card was denied after trying to buy an airplane ticket to Copenhagen, Denmark
but my sister, Pamela came to my rescue and bought me a ticket for November 1st to see Staff Benda Bilili's last CPH performance. Although I missed the award ceremony earlier that day where they received the 2009 WOMEX Artist Award. However, I was shocked when I asked my sister what did the group talk about during the award ceremony. Come to found out, the members of Staff Benda Bilili didn�t say anything after winning the award � each member kisses the Award and passed it to the next. The manager of Staff Benda Bilili, Michel Winter of Belgium, spoke to the Womex audience at Bella Center.

The night of November 1st was freezing; walking the dark cold streets of Copenhagen with the crew of CPHVoice and a friend of my sister, Line Mompremier, who is a Haitian-American living in Denmark and thank God she knew French and was down to be our translator on a last minute basis. We were heading over to Global club, where Staff Benda Bilili was about to perform and where the interview was going to take place backstage prior to their concert.

After reading other interviews online by different reporters, I noticed that there was very little written about the political views and the strong activism of the members of Staff, so I chose that to be my interviewer angle. The CPHVoice, Line and I stepped into a dark hall where two middle age people greeted us with some questions. They knew we were there for the interview thanks to CPHVoice prep for it. We were led to the stage that had a portable unstable ramp that pointed us to the backstage. Walking in, I first noticed that the group members of Staff were in regular wheelchairs not in their customize handmade tricycles that they travel the streets of Kinshasa in. You must go online and check out their handmade tricycles! Watch:�

The members of Staff Benda Bilili are Ricky Likabu, the bandleader, Coco Ngambali, who sings, plays the guitar and composed many of the band�s songs, Theo Nsituvuidi, the soprano singer, Roger Landu, a 17-year-old young man who was adapted by Ricky many years ago. Roger created his own instrument that is called Satonge: a one-string guitar and sings, Djunana Tanga-Suele is a singer, Zadis Mbulu Nzungu is a singer, Kabamba Kabose Kasungo also sings, Paulin �Cavalier� Kiara-Maigi plays the bass, Cubain Kabeya plays the drums and sings and finally Randy Buda plays percussion. Read more about Roger�s instrument at:

During the interview Ricky and Michel, the manager, answered almost all the questions. Staff Benda Bilili made a song in 2007 which successfully increased voter turnout by 70% in the Congo. This was a collaboration work with UNDP (distributors) and produced by UN Mission (Monuc) in DR Congo 2007. Although, the song was a hit before their album came out with a showering of international fame, they were denied their legal copyright �inalienable rights� for their song and no contracts were offered to secure their rights. They pretty much got stiffed in royalty earnings and a meager one time payment of 50 dollars each per band member. (See BBC article: Even though they had a lawyer during the time, it was unclear how this issue panned out. Today, the band replied, that with so much time elapsed, since the initial legal dispute with the UN, they had decided to let go of pursuing the case and wanted to simply move forward with more positive music partnerships.

Before this interview, what really made me love Staff was more than their music, it was their political views about life in the Congo as people living in poverty and being disabled. So, when I asked them about their political views and a quote about considering themselves as the real journalist of Kinshasa I was shocked when their manager spoke up, saying, �there was a misunderstanding and some journalist made the quote that Staff Benda Bilili were the real journalists but the group never said that.� - However, this is the quote from my online interview with them in 2008: �Staff Benda Bilili: Coco: We the SBB are like journalist; in our songs we are the true press. We talk about street life, the street kids and their dreams of happiness, we talk about corruption. The press here is a slave to the power. I consider myself as a journalist, my duty as a member of the SBB, is to say things as they are.�

I thought that was strange because if you read the insert of Staff�s CD, it says it right there. I also realized that members Staff were very tired and were dealing with a whole new way of tour living in Europe. The cold weather of Denmark, their new wheelchairs, clothes, getting used to the food, traveling and being managed must be a total new way of life for them now, and I bet they want to make sure that they can live off their music could be why that they may be cautious on what gets out and what should stay in the past. I wonder if I met them on their turf of the Kinshasa�s Zoo in the Congo, would Staff tell me some political stories that my questions were fishing for?

Getting into Staff�s songs and their lyrics that tell the life of poor people in the Congo one of the eleven songs on the CD is the song, Tonkara, track number 8, is a song talking about street kids who sleep on cardboard outside. Ricky said, they live & sing on the streets. The first track of Staff�s CD is entitled Moto Moindo that translate to Black Man. It�s a song warning Black men what is happening in Africa and how their food, the Earth, and nature is being corrupt so they, Black Men, should stand up, come together and take action. On that same theme, Staff used to have a center where they taught street kids how to build instruments, wheelchairs and play music. However, the center was completely destroyed in 2005 by a fire. Currently, local business people in the Congo, some private organizations and others from the US are in the process of building the center back up again.

Staff Benda Bilili is still looking for a US sponsor to facilitate their tour in the USA. Their music manager told me it is hard to get a US sponsor compared to Europe where they have been touring since last month (October). In the US, people with disabilities have held disabilities as a civil rights issue but in recent years, it has now become a cultural lens of insight; where we have our own history, art, music and ifestyle. Disabilities are not something you overcome, it is a part of the person. But I�m surprised when I travel abroad and even sometimes in the US of peoples perspectives of persons with disabilities. I hear a similar reply also heard by Ricky of Staff Benda Bilili, when I asked him to give some advice to Poor and disabled people around the world. The advice Ricky gave was, �disability is all in the head and you, people with disabilities, have to be independent.� I scratched my head and thought at that point, �was that advice too simple, too pull yourself up from your boot stripes kind of advice?� Ummmm!

The members of Staff Benda Bilili are hoping that after the tour and the release of their film documentary that they can afford to buy their own house. Noticing that Staff Benda Bilili is an all men group, of course, my last question was have they sung with disabled women? Coco, once again, answered �Yes, they do.�

After the interview was the concert. To see Black talented disabled musicians singing about their lives with my sister the day before my birthday was a dream come true. It truly doesn�t get any better than this!

Thanks for the friendship of Florent da Tullays who helped me connect with Staff Benda Bilili almost a year ago and last but not least thanks to the members of Staff Benda Bilili for being you, your political lyrics and reppin' people who live in poverty and who are disabled!

Here is a link to my first interview with Staff Benda Bilili

Question for the reader. What happens to people who goes from living on the streets, poor but speaking their minds about their situation to people who are managed by others who have the means to bring wealth and fame? What happens when people from outside your world can take you out of your struggle but at the same time you hold back your politics aka voice so you can make a living? These are the questions I have after reading both interviews of Staff Benda Bilili and meeting them live.


Silent Night Re-Mixed!

09/24/2021 - 11:45 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

Maria R. Palacios Houston, TX USA
(Sing to the tune of Silent Night)

by Leroy Moore, Darla Lennox, Maria Palacios, Zilwood, Tiny

Silent Night

like every night

lonesome halls

empty walls

no one to talk to

that would really care

to know the sadness

that breathes in the air.

There's no heavenly peace.


is no

heavenly peace.

Silent Night

Lonesome Night

Nursing Homes

are not homes

Let us remember

the ones we forget

Let us remember the ones who were left.

There's no heavenly peace.

There is




(Maria R. Palacios -Christmas 2009)


“Mommy, why did you choose your boyfriend over me?

09/24/2021 - 11:44 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

by Staff Writer

Carmi Johnson's second book with POOR Press is written from the point of view of abandoned children addressing their mothers.

INTRODUCTION by Carmi Johnson

You Have To Learn To Follow…Before You Can Lead

Mothers come under the most criticism for abandoning their Children. Others complain that having children does not come with a "Set of Instructions". Fears caused by a parent leaving or abandoning the Child(ren) with one parent, can have a mental or physical effect on a child(ren) advancing in daily life. The primary concern for the Child(ren) are at risk. The importance of having a Mother in their lives is as vital as water is to our bodies. As mothers, we should focus more on preparing our child for College, Graduating from High School, Finance (Saving money in particular), Love, Relationships, and Survival itself. Why some Mothers leave their Child(ren) in Cars, with Strangers, Neighbors, in Malls, Hospitals, on Door Steps, in Dumpsters, in Garbage Bags, under the Direction of Child Protective Services (CPS), Orphanages, or with Relatives is yet to be determined. There is a "Series of Steps" a Mother can achieve in order to have "Custody" of their child(ren) if Drugs are a factor in the Mother’s life. By many accounts, the Child(ren) have been deliberately overlooked. If writing this book is helpful in anyway to a Child(ren) or Young Adult in communicating with their parent, I am grateful. Whatever what we are experiencing in life as adults, nothing prepares us for having children. Hear what is being said.