Thursday, April 20, 2017

Dear Bernie Sanders- Are you $friends$ with the Vermont Energy Investment Corp. ?

Dear Bernie,

The following information smacks of cronyism. Can you explain how 100 million dollars was taken away from local job creating business in Washington DC and sent instead to Burlington Vermont ? There are many thousands of poor people in our Nation's Capitol who really need that money. Most of the urban poor here are people of color. Sending 100 million dollars to Burlington Vermont which is a large majority white state is unequivocally unfair and racially unjust to the people who live here.

There is only one African-American on the Board of 12 directors at VEIC .

So how did and why did a "non-profit" sustainable energy company, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation get a 100 million dollar contract form the Department of Energy and Environment in 2016 ?

The Washington City Paper reports:

How an Underperforming Company Won a Lucrative Energy Contract

"Sometimes I just wish [the city] was more willing to admit failure and say, 'You know what, let's try a different approach.'"
 APR 20, 2017 6 AM
A perennial complaint against the District of Columbia is that mayors use executive power to award competitive contracts to insiders, then look the other way when problems arise. Such is the case with D.C.’s Sustainable Energy Utility, according to documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, interviews with energy industry stakeholders, and government emails.
Last week, Loose Lips reported that Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office intervened in a $100 million SEU contract awarded by the Department of Energy and Environment in 2016. This week, LL has details on what happened and the questionable history of the incumbent contractor, Vermont Energy Investment Corp., that won the award and will continue to serve as the city’s SEU.
At first a local bidder, Public Performance Management, learned it had won the contract. The city’s contracting officer approved the company for preference points that tipped the scales in its favor—only to later deny the points and award the contract to Vermont Energy, which has held the contract since 2011.
Vermont Energy is a nonprofit managed by former Pepco executive Ted Trabue, and it has underperformed over the last five years, records show, by manipulating performance benchmarks with the tacit approval of DOEE officials. LL’s review of the contractor’s billings also shows that it spends a staggering 46 percent of its roughly $20 million annual budget on its own internal expenses to operate the SEU program. It also has billed the city more than $330,000 for travel over the last three years, $47,000 for coffee and catering, and $222,000 for seminars and conferences, a review of invoices shows. The firm retains a lobbyist, who also does community relations, at a cost of $240,000 per year.
The story prompted Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, who earlier this month, along with her colleagues, approved the five-year $100 million extension for Vermont Energy, to tell Trabue to be ready to address these issues at her committee’s oversight hearing on April 28. 
Now, LL has learned that District officials, including current and former DOEE directors and a D.C. councilmember, have long questioned Vermont Energy’s performance.
Industry executives and insiders say strict oversight is overdue. They point to the SEU’s weak performance record, a mismanaged solar program, and the fact that it accounts for one-fifth of the DOEE budget. “This is an extraordinary indictment of [DOEE’s] leadership and management,” says a senior industry executive. “Most companies don’t take DOEE or the SEU seriously. They’re a fucking joke.”
Cheh is expected to release a report soon regarding her investigation into a different contracting controversy that bears some similarity to the SEU matter, with a couple key differences. Both cases suggest politics trumps competition and transparency where lucrative contracts are concerned. 
In that matter, a whistleblower has alleged that the Bowser administration directed the firings of city officials who refused to steer Department of General Services contracts to one of its key political donors, local firm Ft. Meyer Construction. (DGS Director Christopher Weaver resigned after refusing to do the firing, WAMU reported.) 
In the SEU matter, however, it was the local contractor, PPM, that was the victim of mayoral intervention. And unlike in the DGS matter, DOEE Director Tommy Wells declined to take a stand. 
According to emails reviewed by LL, a joint venture led by PPM submitted its Certified Business Enterprise application to D.C.’s Department of Small and Local Business Development on April 11, 2016. Bids, which were due on April 18, are supposed to include the CBE certification. PPM submitted its bid on time, minus the certification. On April 19, Melissa Resil of DSLBD sent an email to PPM’s president Rob Thorne, stating that the deputy mayor’s contracting officer would accept the CBE certification once it was awarded. On April 21, Resil notified the contracting officer, Jacque McDonald, and Thorne, that her office had issued the CBE certification and awarded 12 preference points to the firm. 
Aided by those points, Thorne soon learned that PPM had amassed the highest score. 
Industry sources say word hit the street that Thorne had won the contract, which required Vermont Energy to begin transition plans. Meanwhile, Trabue let it be widely known that Vermont Energy had lost the contest.
Four months later, in August, however, word seeped out of the deputy mayor’s office that McDonald had changed her position and denied the determinative 12 preference points because Thorne’s CBE certification had not been reviewed and awarded at the precise time of his bid submission on April 18. LL has confirmed that the city administrator’s office actively participated in the decision, just as it did with the troubled DGS contract. 
“Word on the street was that Rob [Thorne] had gotten the award,” says an industry insider. “Teddy [Trabue] was going around crying poverty. But then all of a sudden, in the 12th hour, boom, Rob gets a letter from the city saying that he didn’t get it. Someone had pulled a rabbit out of the hat.”
“I’ll never understand how they did that,” says the industry executive. “The only reason anyone can think of is that Ted had an ‘in’ with Beverly Perry,” the executive says, referring to Bowser’s senior adviser, a former Pepco executive who had been Trabue’s colleague. “It sounds like the same shit going on at DGS: post facto contract decisions.”
If the question of “how” Thorne’s company lost the bid is a head-scratcher, the “why” is even more vexing, given Vermont Energy’s performance since 2011.
An internal government memo circulating in the mayor’s office in FY 2012, obtained by LL, conveyed early concerns about Vermont Energy’s administrative costs and performance and concluded: “The SEU has not demonstrated an ability to effectively execute energy efficiency or renewable energy programs—a fact now widely acknowledged in D.C.’s green energy space.” 
Calling an FY 2012 annual report “disturbing,” the memo cites dollars wasted on consulting services and states: “Virtually no one in the District’s green energy space believes the SEU is effective … Bottom line: [It] needs much more rigorous oversight, and a change of contractor should be considered.”
Multiple sources also state that Keith Anderson, former interim director of DOEE under then-Mayor Vince Gray, brought similar concerns to his bosses at the Wilson Building in 2013. They say he suggested re-bidding the contract, but was rebuffed by Warren Graves, chief of staff to Gray’s city administrator. In addition, Katrina Forrest, legislative director for At-Large Councilmember David Grosso, wrote in a December 2016 email obtained by LL that Grosso had expressed concerns to Anderson, but wanted to “wait out the contract to see if necessary improvements could be made.” 
Also in 2016, after Vemont Energy mismanaged the solar program, Wells met with subcontractors to complain that they had not explained the solar contracts to low-income customers whose interests were not protected, according to industry sources. Wells denies any problems with the solar program.
Sam Brooks, a former director of the energy division at DGS who bid on the five-year contract through a separate company, says the District has the technology it needs to make real progress. “But if we’re going to meet our 2032 climate goals, the next five years have to look a lot different than the last five years,” Brooks says. “Sometimes I just wish [the city] was more willing to admit failure and say, ‘You know what, let’s try a different approach.’”

Vermont Energy Investment Corp. website says about Blair Hamilton,one of their founders who sadly passed away:

Blair Hamilton

A Memorial to Blair Hamilton

In 2011, Blair Hamilton, co-founder of VEIC lost his life after fighting a 20-year battle with cancer. In his honor, VEIC created the Blair Hamilton Memorial Fund for Innovation in Efficiency and Social Justice. The fund supports innovative projects that work at the intersection of efficiency and social justice, fund student fellowship in public policy, and biennially honor an individual who shows dogged determination, creativity, and effectiveness in advancing policy in the area of efficiency and social equity.
Those who wish to contribute to the fund may do so by sending checks made out to: VEIC Blair Hamilton Memorial Energy Efficiency Fund.
Checks should be sent to:
Vermont Energy Investment Corp
128 Lakeside Avenue, Suite 401
Burlington, VT 05401.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Just call me an American first please

Hello, according to the ruling class I am a "non-college white Christian woman" who voted for Donald Trump.

What? Those words about me say so much without me.

I didn't vote for Hillary Clinton because,from  my reference point,she stands for the following things:

-The plundering of gold and aid money from Haiti

-The bombing and forced famine/genocide of Yemeni children



-Spirit Cooking

-Sexual harassment victim shaming

-Partial Birth Abortion

-Name shaming people who don't believe in HER

-Antagonizing Veterans

-Blaming men for everything

-Gender entitlement



-Personal greed and personal enrichment at the expense of others

-LGBTQXYZLMNOPQRST......a new letter every month (very confusing)bathroom politics

-PC Bullying

-Blaming people like me for the problems in the country

Now the election is over and I am being held responsible for losing the American Dream to a hate crime. Really ?

Yes really. The intelligentsia has packaged and shrink wrapped me, a "non-college white Christian woman" to denounce me as a hater,a bigot, xenophobic ,homophobic,racist,deplorable,etc. Other voters are relentlessly shrink wrapped too.We hear of "Latinos" and "non-college white men over thirty","millennials","college white men","college white women", "African-American women", "African-American men","Asian-Americans", and on and on.

Is this what we're about today? Categories?

There are some contexts in which racial,religious and economic designations make sense,such as addressing historic vulnerabilities and injustices as well as prosecuting hate crimes and working to correct inequality. But a hyper emphasis on categorical designations can pave the way for categorical designations becoming the primary way that we think about each other. That is dangerous.

Most people come to America because they want to escape identity politics. Around the globe,tribal,religious,cultural and ancestral hatreds run deep. If one is born a Bosnian Muslim one has significant identity suspicion to overcome in neighboring Serbia.If one is born a Sikh in Pakistan,one might have significant prejudice to overcome in neighboring Hindu Kashmir. If one is born a Jew in Tel Aviv ,one may encounter significant prejudice in neighboring Gaza.These deep suspicions create unsafe spaces for people to live,move,work and raise children.

Here in America we have prejudice but it is nothing like it is in other parts of the world. In cities and small towns across our country,people of different races creeds and convictions eat together,shop together, go to the same movie theaters and malls, visit the same hospitals and frequent the same civic celebrations such as Independence day picnics. It's not always perfect but most Americans live their lives under relatively less strife than clashing cultures create in other countries. We still have a lot of work to do but the overall progress we've made together is remarkable.

Some of our ancestors came to these shores to escape being shrink wrapped and labeled into categories by elites who saw them as politically threatening. Some were brought here by force because of being shrink wrap categorized by skin color.

Putting people into categories as the primary way of considering their significance or lack thereof is wrong. It always leads to group oppression of some kind.

If we are going to move forward improving on a common vision of equal dignity then identity politicians need find other ways of relating to us. Otherwise we risk losing that unique vision shared by so many which is recognizing one another as fellow Americans first.

Being an American first is what makes us a nation,...a people out of many, one.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Mercy, Mary Wampanogue and The Big Yellow Taxi

I had a dream of a woman.She was the archytypal bad girl.The mother of all ill.The progenitora of mysogyny, whose names are bywords for contempt. She was mighty and majestic in her rebellion and by it she conquered nations.In my dream she trampled me with rage and with revenge. Incensed in my wounds I rebelled against her authority and raged back with words, sharp as a scythe, brutal as a hammer. My justice was right. I posessed in my body and in my soul, a litany of her crimes. My grievances anounced a need of redress. And so I hammered the woman,hammered her down.And so I cut into her strenghth. By my righteous indignation, I made her bend low.The redress felt mighty good. Down and farther down did she embrace the ground until she seemed one with the brown earth. She and the soil did blend so well that I could recognize her no longer. So I called out to her. "What is your name?",I cried."Where have you gone?". She answered me as her sad face turned up to meet my own."I am Mary Wampanoughue",she whispered."I am your Mother. She rose disabled and bent. "Come",she said."Let us sojurn together".

We walked by a great river. I tried to help her but I could not. I had broken her back with my justice. I could not make her whole again.
Suddenly a Big Yellow Taxi appeared. "Here", I said. "Let us climb in here to travel. It will ease your pain." And so we did. From inside the taxi, I could see that Mary was pregnant. I shouted at the taxi driver to hurry up and take us to the hospital. There was a baby in this mother who was dying. "Hurry! Hurry!",I cried, but the Big Yellow Taxi was slow. It was I who had broken the back of this mother and prejudiced her child.I began to weep a heaving. "Please",I pleaded."I take back what I said". "I'm sorry"."I didn't mean to break you".But I could not undo the damage I had done.The Big Yellow Taxi didn't have enough power. The baby was not going to make it.I cried out to God for help. In desperation I made an ultimate supplication to save the life of the woman and her child.

Then a great eagle descended from the night sky, with striped wings outstretched under the firmament that seemed to move the stars.The great eagle lifted the Big Yellow Taxi up from the muddy road. Secure in it's sharp talons we flew as thunder cracked through bolts of fire. Windshield wipers furious,we could not see beyond the pounding rain, but I was not afraid. I knew somehow we were going to make it.Me,Mary Wampanogue,her baby and The Big Yellow Taxi.
There my sleep was broken and I awoke. "Mercy",I thought. "That was a dream of mercy". Insofar as we envision justice for all, the American Dream is animated by mercy. Without it,justice alone breaks us and poisons the land in it's turning. Our children's hope rests on our willingness to forgive and surrender our entitlements. No one wants their child to enter a Kindergarten of grudges. Everyone of us has a grievance and a wound some more deep and numerous than others.It is how we have determined to adress those grievances that makes us unique among nations. Americans are one nation from many. Many being the ancestral hatreds left behind to begin anew. How can a Pole coexist with a Russian ? An Irish with a Scot? A West African with a Spaniard ? An Arab with a Jew ? It happens here.Why? Because we bear mercy in our train that each new dawn is truly new.

*On my mother's side I am a descendant of Mary Wampanogue (Mary Sarah Covell) and James Covell of Martha's Vineyard. They were married in 1650.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Donald Trump: Best friend of Single Moms

Every woman knows how much we rely on good men to protect us from the baser male instincts. Most of us have been groped,howled at,made to endure lewd jokes feigning laughter, and demoralized by the epidemic objectification of women in pornography which lowers our status overall. Despite the current language of equality,we know well that our relative physical weakness objectified bears big league signifigance in day to day life. Stature, chemistry and hormones can prejudice women in social contexts that exceed the material world. This is our reality. We are the more vulnerable gender. So when a good guy treats us with dignity or shows up to champion our vulnerability, his status in our eyes grows exponential.
What is a good guy ? A good guy is a hero. A man who champions a woman's dignity against other men. This is the natural vocation of fathers, husbands and brothers. When a guy champions a woman outside his natural protective purview, especially a girl who finds herself alone in the room or in the world, then he assumes the rank of super-hero. Who is a super-hero ? He's Ken Cucinelli escorting a lady off the convention floor when her husband isn't by her side. He is the busy man who makes time to walk a woman to her car at night without asking for that hug in return. He's the policeman or the EMT who shows up when she's disheveled and exposed and,rather than degrading her accordingly, speaks words of kindness.He's the guy who draws a line in the sand and reminds a circle of executioners that she is a human being. He's the father that every girl dreams of and the husband that every woman cherishes once she's found that pearl of great price.He's the boss or co-worker who smiles at her face and listen's respectfully to her voice when she's talking. He's the patron who picks up the napkin on the floor so the waitress doesn't have to bend.He is the deep,resonating sound of chivalry when women and children are in distress because of other men. He is the exception not the rule. I had a super-hero once. My gratitude towards him will never see an end.
Today I have another. His name is Donald Trump.
Along with millions of my fellow Americans I have been watching the Trump children take center stage and share their remarkable intelligence and strength of charachter. They are a testament to Donald Trump the man. No dad can fake great kids and the Trump children are by all measure, emotionally balanced and exceptionally unentitled. What impressed me the most was a little noticed one line from Tiffany Trump's speech. Tiffany shared how her dad regularly inquired after the wellbeing of her relatives in Georgia. "What?,I thought agahst."  "Aren't those Marla Maples' relatives ?".Wow.
When a marriage ends badly, the kids almost always catch the brunt of their parents wrath. Usually, the custodial parent or the wealthier parent turns the children against the other, implicitly or explicitly through emotional manipulation, bribes or outright shaming. Both men and women do this. It is the rare but stellar exception when a parent who has more power shows deference to their child's DNA and alows the child to indulge in love of parents and other relatives without punishment. Parental alienation is epidemic in our society. The emotional devastation on children is only just being considered, and then barely enough. Last night the Trump family took a bazooka to this plague. Not by proposing new legislation and regulation, but by their example. The Trump family is ,like so many families, familiar with divorce and it's incumbant problems. Under Donald's leadership, they appear to have worked it out really well.That he shows respect for Marla Maples as the mother of his child is amazing! Now every dead beat dad,creep and lech who admires the Donald just got a wake up call. If you want to be macho,... if you want to be masculine, then do like the nouveau uber-mensch who loves his kids by respecting the women who gave them life. Step up men and rise to the occasion of fatherhood by treating single moms with decency. If you do this you will gain power not lose it. Your kids will be better not worse and you will revel in the glory of their admiration as you grow old. Donald Trump's iconic role modeling will absolutely play out in actual and real change on Main Street by the millions at a time of cultural crisis when young men especially need examples of moral behavior to emulate. By every measure, boys in America are being left behind in school and in life partly because dads are not embracing the challenging vocation of shared parenting outside of wedlock. Donald Trump's life does not highlight perfection. He has two failed marriages. His life models positive problem solving and a better way out of social conflict. Donald Trump models working solutions.
The Bible says that when God heals a nation and a culture He "turns the hearts of the father's towards their children." There are millions of fatherless kids in America today being raised by single moms who can't seem to catch a break. Donald Trump just gave us an enormous boost. He has established a much needed higher standard of what looks like ideal male behavior for tens of millions of American men by publicly elevating the role of fatherhood in and outside of wedlock. By default, Donald Trump has just become a best friend to single moms.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Transparency of the Trump Campaign and the Hypocrisy of the Left

It is an undeniable part of our shared American cultural history that artistic ideas, songs,lyrics dance and humor have been cribbed  from black people by white folks many times over. Some of this has been acknowledged, but much of it has not.A recent blaring example is that of Mylie Cyrus and her twerking.This dance move was lifted from the black dance culure move for move.There was an outcry from black women but no one apologized.No one got sued for cultural  copyright infringement and none of Mylie's coreographers stepped up to acknowledge the infraction.Why not?

We as Americans are also familiar with what happened to the majority of Motown artists who were systematically robbed and exploited by their agents only to die in poverty and obscurity.In Bluegrass music history, Bill Monroe is acknowledged as the primogenitor of the genre.Little attention and almost no acknokledgement  is paid to his teacher, a black fiddler named Arnold Shultz.

That Melania was inspired by Michelle Obama's words is now an established fact.Today's admission from the Trump Campaign is a tribute to their ability and willingness to be transparent rather than manipulate and cover up which they also have the power to do.The admission serves to further contrast the character of the Trump Family from the anti-charachter of the Clintons who marshall every perk of power time and time again to line their pockets and absolve themselves of wrongdoing. Bill Clinton has openly and publicly said many things which are demeaning and patronizing to American blacks but he is never called on it. He plays the role of the white trash supremicist overlord stuck in the deep and dark entitlements of the unchurched South. The American people got another good and upclose snapshot of this when he recently bullied Loretta Lynch on the tarmac into exhonerating his wife.And after being made to bend over, the nation's first female African-american Attorney General was then made to lie about it. Loretta Lynch as well as the Justice Department got lynched that day by the Clinton machine.Who knows what's coming next from their Dixie Mafia ? If past is prologue then God help us all.

Will Michelle's speech writers now demand a formal and direct public apology from the Trump Campaign? They might. And they could.But doing so only raises the bar for everybody when it comes to plaigerism, the Clinton's their staff of 700 plus, the bloodthirsty media and Hollywood exeutives included. This new standard of scrutiny,I believe unfairly and singularly applied to Melania Trump, an ESL speaker unschooled in the tradecraft of wordsmithing, now points a mighty finger back at the establishment. "Cribbing" happens alot. If an innocent newcomer to the public arena is maligned by this then the eyes of equality are wide open to the patently un-level playing field where a big commupance is rightly due.

That Melania Trump sees Michelle Obama as a role model is inspiring.I hope the two women can ackowledge that privately without being shouted down by the current racial division conglomerate. We really need leaders to model repair as a counrty and a culture right now.

As for MSNBC, CNN and the other scandal dependant anti-visionaries... do your job and talk about the bigger racial story affecting regular people instead of just crafting political narratives to suiit and confirm your own bias in order to score political points on the moment.We the people are sick of it!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Thelma the Buddha at the Golden Corral

This weekend I met Thelma,a waitress at The Golden Corral

The Golden Corral is an all you can eat feast for 8.99. They have steak,roast turkey,pot roast, collard greens and steamed zucchini,endless real mashed potatoes with two kinds of gravy,a taco bar,honey mango chili chicken wings, vanilla soft serve ice cream,a chocolate fountain for strawberries and fresh baked bread pudding. You pay first which is where I was introduced to Thelma.The manager, a hefty guy with really black shiny skin and really bright bright eyes asked my son if he liked the Red Sox,pointing to the familiar logo on his t-shirt.

"Looks like a little Tom Brady doesn't he " I said , "doesn't he?". "He Tom Brady son...?," the manager asked all poker faced in the question 'til he cracked a neon smile and let out a ginormous bellowing laugh."He do,he do look like Tom Brady son! I just messin' wit ya'.Hey Buddha,you done wit yo' table yet?" The manager was talking to Thelma. She had a drink in one hand and as she passed she poked him with her other one. "That's Thelma.She da' Buddha 'round here. She de whyyy..ze one." I burst out laughing with a deep spontaneous belly roll right along with the other two brown girls facing me getting our drinks. Thelma looked asian-ish. But the whole thing was really funny. It just was. My thoughts stopped in a jolt as I realized how taboo my laughter was by so many accounts in so many places, but it didn't stop me. Our laughing was not a taunt or a jab, neither was it a micro-aggression. It was a celebration. And Thelma was the center of our happy thing in that moment.There is a quirky, funny joy which springs from the hearts of regular people who haven't been schooled at the Ivy League and aren't easily offended by life. Aren't we all just starved for that ?

I thought of Cambridge and my last morning walk through Harvard Yard. Heads on moving bodies down, ears plugged, the students measuring their steps with precision in perfect single file.All seem steady in their surety not to offend anybody or anything, not to molest even one sacred blade of grass on the push forward to class.Then flashback further to 1986. I see my brother Henry calling my name outside his yellow window at Wigglesworth."Over here sis"!" There was lots of meandering in the yard back then.Students ran back and forth across the grass and rarely followed the paths.There was unpredictability. There must have been micro-aggressions too but in and around a beauty and vibrancy which accompanies human spontaneity and it's open-ended precariousness of assumptions. There were so many jokes. Lots and lots of jokes with him and his friends. I don't recall ever being saddened or offended in the way that makes one's heart sink down.I do remember that being with Henry and his friends meant laughing all the time.It was joy guaranteed.

After we sat down I asked Thelma how much someone can make at the Golden Corral.She looked at me with that quick and steady evaluation common to women who've seen it all and don't judge."You lookin' for a job?",she queried. "Maybe",I said as I surmised the deep lines around her dark slanted eyes."I make 3.39 an hour. On the weekends the tips are good and some day I make more dan twenty five,twenty six". I felt ashamed as I realized that I didn't have any tip money in my purse."Can I pay the tip with this?",I asked as I held out my red piece of plastic."No, dat ok if you don't got.You enjoy wit your boy",she said. "Alotta people come here wit kid dey don't have no money for tip,but I like my job." By then we were on our second helpings and third drink refills.Thelma was serving us with enthusiasm knowing that we probably weren't going to tip her.She was serving us for 3.39 an hour.

I wondered if I could wait on family after family with sometimes crying kids who leave really big messes and stay so positive hour after hour. Could I keep my composure doing so much for so little with so few guarantees and have enough left over to actually share joy with people ? Could I be a Buddha like Thelma? I know I could not. Feeding people is deeply spiritual.I'm not that spiritually evolved.

I thought about the many happy Buddha statues we've all come to know.

 Buddahs come from Asia.
I didn't ask Thelma where she came from because I guess I already knew. Thelma comes from us and I'm with her.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Milwaukee, Poverty and Presbyterianism

 I love Book TV. There are so many brilliant writers featured on CSPAN. Today I watched Professor Matthew Desmond talk about his book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City:,in which he looks at public housing and poverty in America through the prism of eight families from the poorest neighborhoods in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Eviction is devastating.Pictures,electronics,dishes,the spice collection,irreplaceable mementos and sheets disappear.The experience is totally de-humanizing. It's not just your stuff that you lose,it's whole parts of your life-every piece of energy,happy and sad breathed into the walls,every conversation you had there on the couch is somehow ripped from you and thrown to the street. You have to start over from scratch which costs money you don't have.and getting new stuff is the easy part.Recovering from the humiliation is a process ongoing.What productive measures are Milwaukee churches doing to help the evicted who by circumstance of accident or abandonment or despair, find themselves desperate? This question led me on a Google search of Churches in Milwaukee, the city highlighted in Desmond's book.What were they doing about it.I landed here. Wow! nothin'- I mean, at least for the Presbyterian Church USA and specifically the Milwaukee Presbyterians, the eviction crisis and subsequent homelessness problem does not even register on their disaster assistance map.Presbyterians built so much good in this nation from the ground up.From the the Bill of Rights,to the Abolition of Slavery,to great hospitals and colleges, Knox and Calvin's theologies are woven into many of our institutions.So why are the American poor, all fifty million of them, not registering star wattage for disaster assistance on the Presbyterian radar at this critical time in our nation? Well, the trend du jour seems to be about divestment rather than investment , about tearing down rather than building up.The church of my ancestors is not building schools, colleges and hospitals anymore.They are focused on the Middle East, more specifically on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Really?

We have so many social problems right here in the United States.Especially problems concerning the urban poor which could and should be solved if people of faith with resources were living out the gospel mandate.Government can only do so much and the housing crisis is massive with many layers of fallout which will reverberate for generations.We have work to do here folks.It's time to ditch leadership conferences and roll up our sleeves.Helping the poor in our own communities is our obligation.If you belong to a church,you are not exempt.No act of individual charity goes uncounted. Loan someone a utility bill.Drive someone to the DMV. Babysit for a single mom.Lend an ear to a prisoner.Just imagine if millions of capable Christians gave sacrificially without counting the cost. Black, white and brown,we could change our cities one family at a time and rebuild.If we don't focus on healing this land,one city street at a time, our nation will not survive in any form worthy of our children.

All of the mainline Protestant Churches who have focused resources on political campaigns in foreign lands that do anything other than announcing the gospel should be ashamed of their silly hypocrisy. Why does it take a secular academic ethnographer to highlight the plight of the American urban poor? Where are the preachers to proclaim social redemption  in the streets ? Where are the banking vocations of old to build a greater society by uplifting the poor ? Your funds should be used to build low income housing and make interest free loans to the poor not to divest from international corporations in the name of Middle East peace. What about divesting from corporations who take our jobs to China? Finance, in the American Church tradition,should be a vocation to build, not a licence to political critique of other nations when our own is bleeding out hope.Where are you Presbyterians? Remember who you once were.Milwaukee is calling.