Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

Centralia PA

The high water mark of the Confederacy was achieved at the Battle of Gettysburg along Cemetery Ridge on the afternoon of July 3 1863. Here the futile and costly charge led by Confederate General George Pickett ended the hopes of the secessionists to extend the war north of the Mason-Dixon Line. It also signaled the beginning end of the Confederacy and their hopes to dismantle the Union.

November 19 will mark the 145th anniversary of the Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. Lincolns speech is revered as an oratorical masterpiece. It ably conveyed a free people’s resolve and reverence for a representative democracy and the price free people’s must pay to secure the grace of liberty.

I bring this up because the great state of Pennsylvania is again a high water mark in the presidential battlefield of this historic election. Pennsylvania is the battle ground state whose electorate may decide who sits in the office of our next president. And as the candidates jaw on about Joe the Plumber, Six Packin Six Packers and the sacred patriotism of Hockey Moms, I hope voters continue to consider the environmental degradation that has visited this region too such terrible effect.

The town of Centralia is a scant 101 miles northeast of Gettysburg. Centralia was founded in 1840 and its residents have made a living mining the coal along the Reading Seam for over 100 years. Today however, Centralia is a ghost town. It had to be evacuated due to an underground fire that has been burning for 40 years fueled by the coal that once provided the miners and residents of the town its livelihood. The experts predict that the inextinguishable fire will burn for 250 years and its toxic emissions and danger of ground cave ins have made the town along Highway 61 uninhabitable.

The devastation of this environmental industrial disaster should be a prime issue in the campaigns of the candidates along with occupational safety, environmental protection, the provision of health care and jobs for these distressed areas. Unfortunately as the Bush Administration continues to allow strip miners to operate with impunity without regards to any environmental safeguards the devastation and degradation of small towns like Centralia will remain a real threat.

I ask my fellow countrymen in Pennsylvania to consider your vote and turn back the tide of ignorance to the real issues confronting our nation. Environmental degradation and ecological risk is a real threat to our livelihood and well being. Ask the former citizens of Centralia. Today’s video shows the devastation of the once small town of Centralia accompanied by great guitar work by Mr. Winter.

You tube Video: Johnny Winter Highway 61 Revisited

Risk: environmental, brownfield remediation, mining

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October 27, 2008 Posted by | Bush, elections, environment, rock | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Great Dictator

The Great Dictator is a film done by Charlie Chaplin in 1940. The first scene from the film included here is Charlie Chaplin making an anti-fascist speech. The speech speaks volumes about our political condition today and the need to be ever watchful to guard our liberties and freedoms by safeguarding our humanity. In Chaplin’s time the threat was Nazism. In our time the threat is ambivalence, the allure of narrow nationalism, dehumanization of others, consumerism, faux patriotism and an ignorance of the essential tenants of a democratic republic and why they are critical to our freedom and liberty.

As Charlie Chaplin implores his countrymen to “fight for democracy not for your enslavement.” I ask that you carefully consider your vote and to most importantly exercise your vote and protect the right of others to participate in our great democracy. Its the humane thing to do.

Vote, use it or lose it.

Movie Video Clip: Charlie Chaplin, The Great Dictator Speech Scene

Movie Video Clip: Charlie Chaplin, The Great Dictator Globe Scene

Music Video: Glory

Risk: democracy, elections,

October 27, 2008 Posted by | democracy, elections, movie, soundtrack | , , , , , | Leave a comment