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Monday, September 11, 2017

Spiked-Up Interest in Megan Lancaster: Some Facts Overlooked


 

Since Joe Berlinger, Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning documentarian, featured a segment on the disappearance of Megan Lancaster on his “Gone: The Forgotten Women of Ohio” Spike TV series, local residents have renewed speculation on what may have happened to Megan. The case is now over four years old, yet so many of us remain hopeful of finding the young lady.

It is easy to overlook possible clues to Megan's disappearance. If you are watching the Spike series, you already know some of the facts about the case. I have written blog entries about many other details that could be important. Today, I would like to list several more reports in hopes of providing important evidence. Remember, one clue may lead to unraveling the whereabouts of Lancaster.

It is my hope that someone who knows something – anything, no matter how seemingly trivial – can be the key witness to establishing the truth. God bless Megan Lancaster and her faithful family. We all must be responsible for finding this woman. By continuing our search, we pledge to be keepers of our own. Use these clues and facts – let's work together to find Megan.

Did you know …
  • Megan was last seen in Wheelersburg on April 3, 2013 (although her car was discovered at Rally's in Portsmouth). “At the time, investigators said they believed she was in extreme danger.” 

    Who saw her where in Wheelersburg? Why did invesigators believe she was in “extreme” danger already?
(“Update: Relatives of Missing Woman Still Looking for Answers. WSAZ. September 09, 2014.)

  • On April 5, 2013, family became concerned after not hearing from Megan in a couple days and her mother went to her apartment to check on her. “Later that evening, Megan’s drug dealer showed up at her mother’s house concerned. He told the family he knew something was wrong because not only had he not talked to her, he had seen her car parked at Rallys in Portsmouth for the past several days.

    Who was Megan's drug dealer and exactly why (besides her abandoned car) did he think “something was wrong”?

    (Nikki Blankenship.Spike TV brings attention to missing women.” Portsmouth Daily Times. July 21, 2017.)


  • “The family went down (to Rally's) and discovered the car was in fact Megan’s. Kadie Lancaster, Megan's sister-in-law, said that the family immediately called the police, who rather than take the car in as evidence, told the family to have the car towed to Megan’s mother’s house. There it sat until fall. A list of items collected from the car is dated October 2013.


    Why did the police have the car towed to Megan's mother's, and why did it sit un-investigated until October?
     
(Nikki Blankenship. “Spike TV brings attention to missing women.” Portsmouth Daily Times. July 21, 2017.)

  • The family says Lancaster’s wallet was found in the passenger seat of her car. “When they've tried to call her, Lancaster’s phone goes to voicemail.”

    Why did Megan leave her wallet in the car (when she evidently went to Wheelersburg)? Can't her phone be traced to cell towers?

    (Update: Relatives of Missing Woman Still Looking for Answers. WSAZ. April 09, 2013.)

  • When reporting on the possible connection Megan may have had with women missin in Chillicothe and Columbus, “Portsmouth police did not return 10TV’s calls for information on Megan Lancaster's case but Chillicothe Police said they want to hear from anyone with information on any of these cases.”

    Why didn't Portsmouth police answer?

    (Glenn McEntyre. “Police Checking Possible Connection In Missing Scioto County Woman With Chillicothe, Columbus Cases.” 10 TV WBNS. June 05, 2015.) 

     
  • Kadie Lancaster says that “Megan was always very open about her drug use and her illicit career. She remembers seeing Megan going out in public dressed in lingerie. When Kadie would ask where she was going, she remembers Megan telling her that she was dancing for a party or going out for the night with a local businessman.”

    Isn't it time to explore what parties and what businessmen were involved?

    (Nikki Blankenship. “Spike TV brings attention to missing women.” Portsmouth Daily Times. July 21, 2017.)

    • Kadie also “went on to explain that everyone always loved Megan, who had always been very social. In high school, Megan earned a scholarship to Shawnee State University (SSU) to play softball. Then, as a junior in high school, Megan got pregnant. Kadie explained that Megan continued to play softball until she was five months into her pregnancy. She soon lost her scholarship but attended SSU after high school.”

      What friends or associates at Shawnee could shed any light into Megan's life and disappearance?

      (Nikki Blankenship. “Spike TV brings attention to missing women.” Portsmouth Daily Times. July 21, 2017.)


    • It was reported: “Portsmouth Police Officer Lynn Brewer even arrested Kadie on persistency-disorderly conduct (a minor misdemeanor punishable by a $150 fine) after she publicly approached him about her sister-in-law’s case. According to Portsmouth Municipal Court records, Kadie was charged on May 18, 2016. She was arrested, jailed and later released on bond for a non-jailable offense. The case was dismissed in court. She added that the police refuse to speak with any member of the family about Megan. They have not contacted Megan’s mother in two years despite her continued effort to contact them.”

      Why the arrest and why do police refuse to speak with any member of the family about Megan?

      (Nikki Blankenship. “Spike TV brings attention to missing women.” Portsmouth Daily Times. July 21, 2017.)


    •  “Case Type STALKING PROTECTION Case Status: CLOSED File Date: 10/12/2010 DCM Track: Action: STALKING PROTECTION ORDER Status Date: 10/12/2010 Case Judge: MARSHALL, WILLIAM T”
    • “Case Type STALKING PROTECTION Case Status: CLOSED File Date: 06/07/2012 DCM Track: Action: STALKING PROTECTION ORDER Status Date: 06/07/2012 Case Judge: MARSHALL, WILLIAM T”

      Public Record: What has ever been investigated about possible threatening connections?
      (CourtView. eAccess http://sciotocountycpcourt.org/eservices/;jsessionid=88C0B60476A7DB805B9BC155EFA194B9?x=nogzZ2vf7rvOLKYBDKuVsQ)



Sunday, September 10, 2017

"Lumping Labor" and Blaming Immigrants for Taking American-born Jobs


 

Proponents of limiting immigration contend immigrants take jobs from U.S. natives. The truth, as it usually is found to be, is far more complicated than this generalization. Immigration may seem to be displacing more expensive American-born workers while undercutting their wages, but in actuality, most Americans benefit from immigration. The evidence suggests U.S. labor markets are sufficiently flexible to absorb immigrants without greatly depressing low-skilled Americans' earnings.

Who Are the Mexican Immigrants?

According to the 2016 Current Population Survey (CPS), immigrants and their U.S.-born children now number approximately 84.3 million people, or 27 percent of the overall U.S. population.

In 2014, more than 11.7 million Mexican immigrants resided in the United States, accounting for 28 percent of the 42.4 million foreign-born population – by far the largest immigrant origin group in the country. However, Mexico is also no longer the top origin country among the most recent immigrants to the United States. In 2013, China and India overtook Mexico as the most common countries of origin of immigrants who have resided in the United States for one year or less.

Furthermore, more Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico than have migrated to the United States since the end of the 2007-2009 Great Recession, according to a recent report from Pew Research Center. The decline in Mexican inflows results from a mix of factors including weakened job opportunities in the United States, tougher border enforcement, the long-term decline in Mexico’s birth rates, and the improving Mexican economy.

Mexican immigrants are primarily concentrated in the West and Southwest, and more than half live in California or Texas. In 2015, the top five states of residence for Mexican immigrants were California (37 percent of all Mexican immigrants), Texas (22 percent), Illinois (6 percent), Arizona (4 percent), and Florida (2 percent).

About 69 percent of the 11.2 million immigrants from Mexico ages 16 and older were in the civilian labor force in 2015. This represents a slightly higher labor force participation than for the overall foreign-born population ages 16 and older (66 percent of 41.4 million) and the native-born population ages 16 and older (62 percent of 214.8 million).

Undocumented immigrants hold more white-collar jobs and fewer blue-collar jobs today than they did before the national recession of 2007-2009, but most remain concentrated in lower-skilled, low-paying jobs, “much more so than U.S.-born workers,” according to a report by the Pew Research Center.

Among the 4.9 million Mexican-born male workers age 16 and older employed in the civilian labor force in 2008, 38.8 percent reported working in construction, extraction, and transportation, and 22.8 percent reported working in services. By contrast, 25.9 percent of all foreign born reported working in construction, extraction, and transportation and 17.4 percent reported working in services.

Among the 2.2 million Mexican-born female workers age 16 and older employed in the civilian labor force in 2008, 38.6 percent reported working in service occupations and 14.9 percent in manufacturing, installation, and repair occupations. By contrast, 25.7 percent of all civilian employed immigrant women age 16 and older worked in services and 8.5 percent worked in manufacturing, installation, and repair occupations.

The Undocumented

It is reported that undocumented immigrants hold more white-collar jobs and fewer blue-collar jobs today than they did before the national recession of 2007-2009, but most remain concentrated in lower-skilled, low-paying jobs, “much more so than U.S.-born workers,” according to a 2015 report by the Pew Research Center. They remained hampered by language barriers, poor education and legal status.

The report, based on a five-year study from 2007 to 2012, found that the size of the illegal immigrant workforce has remained at 5.1 percent of all workers, even though the total number of illegal immigrants has fallen from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007 to about 11.2 million in 2012.

The Pew report found that far higher percentages of illegal immigrants than U.S.-born workers now hold jobs with the least desirable conditions, such as crop picking and animal slaughter. In 39 states and the District of Columbia, the largest number of illegal immigrants work in service jobs, but in 34 states, they hold the largest share of all farming, fishing and forestry jobs (26 percent of the workforce).

A particular contrast between undocumented and U.S.-born immigrants is especially dramatic. Only 0.5 percent of U.S-born workers are employed in farming, fishing or forestry, while 4 percent of unauthorized aliens work in those fields.

Nationwide, unauthorized immigrants are clustered in a few other occupations (besides farming, fishing and forestry) – building and grounds (17 percent), and construction and mining (14 percent). They comprise 24 percent of all groundskeepers, 23 percent of domestic workers and 20 percent of those in clothing manufacture.

 


Effect on U.S.-Born Wages

A large body of academic economic research has found that immigration has a relatively small effect on U.S-born American wages and their employment prospects. For wages impact, the estimates are that immigrants either lower the wages of some American workers by about 2 percent or raise them by about 2 percent in a dynamic economy.

Most studies suggest that immigrants have had, at most, a small negative impact on the wages of Americans who compete with them most directly, those with a high school degree or less.

"Immigrant arrivals have hardly distorted the relative fraction of college-equivalent workers in the economy and have therefore had little impact on the college-high school wage gap," he writes. David Card National Bureau of Economic Research.

Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration expert at the Cato Institute minces no words. He says the idea that immigrants take the jobs of American-born citizens is “something that virtually no learned person believes.” He thinks this belief is, instead, a basis for class warfare.
Nowrasteh says ...
“If immigrants 'take' jobs from Americans, then so must any new entrant in the workforce also take a job from another American. If the number of jobs is fixed and adding new labor just increases unemployment—which would be the logical conclusion to this argument – unemployment should increase over time as the population grows. The reality is the precise opposite.

History supports the Nowrasteh's claim. From 1948 to 2012, the size of the U.S. labor force went from 60 million to 156 million—a two-and-a-half-fold increase. This 90 million net gain in jobs since 1948 is impossible to explain for people claiming that immigrants 'take jobs' from Americans.

Nowrasteh continues …

“The large increase in the size of the U.S. labor market has been due to two phenomena: the increased entry of women into the labor force, and immigration.

“During this time the proportion of the U.S. population that is employed has increased by 2 percentage points. Furthermore, the labor-force participation rate, the percentage of Americans employed or looking for a job any given month, is 5 percentage points greater in 2012 than it was in 1948—an astonishing increase considering our moribund economy.”

Immigrants, like native-born American women and men, create jobs by starting businesses and consuming and producing goods and services. According to the Kauffman Foundation, immigrants are more than twice as likely to start a business as native-born Americans.

Nowrasteh claims, “Immigrants’ skills often complement American ones, meaning that when immigrants and natives work together, both produce more and earn higher wages than if they were working in separate countries. Immigration does not divide a fixed pie of wealth; it increases wealth, incomes, and job opportunities for everybody.”
Many other experts agree. The Brookings Institution's Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney wrote “on average, immigrant workers increase the opportunities and incomes of Americans.” Foreign-born workers don’t affect the employment rate positively or negatively, according to a 2011 analysis from the conservative American Enterprise Institute. And a study released by the liberal Center for American Progress suggests that granting legal status to undocumented workers might even create jobs.
Giovanni Peri of the University of California at Davis explains how immigrant workers affect the domestic labor market …
“An extreme example of this would be if you have an engineer and you add a construction worker. With the engineer by himself you’re not going to do much. But with an engineer plus a construction worker, you can build a building. Therefore, the productivity of the engineer goes up a lot. And the wages for both workers increase.”
Peri's analogy is known as complementarity – a relationship or situation in which two or more different things improve or emphasize each other's qualities. The labor of the engineer and the labor of the construction worker each complement the other. Immigration economists argue that immigrant labor likewise complements native-born labor. Peri says, "Immigrants expand the U.S. economy’s productive capacity, stimulate investment, and promote specialization that in the long run boosts productivity. Consistent with previous research, there is no evidence that these effects take place at the expense of jobs for workers born in the United States.”
And, consider this – wage decline and job displacement drive natives to shift to higher-paid sectors. No wage cuts, no job displacement. No jobs displaced, no benefit to natives. Economists don't deny that immigration pushes wages down in the jobs that immigrants take. Instead, they join their celebration of immigration’s wage-cutting effects with a prediction about the way that the natives will respond.

Peri says, "Large inflows of less educated immigrants may reduce wages paid to comparably-educated, native-born workers. However, if less educated foreign- and native-born workers specialize in different production tasks, because of different abilities, immigration will cause natives to reallocate their task supply, thereby reducing downward wage pressure.”

Shifting is a natural occurrence. Consider how such things as language and specialization affect needs. For example, when a contractor expands into roofing, he will not just need a bunch of cheap immigrant roofers. The contractor will also need an American supervisor and maybe an extra clerk. The skilled native is able to focus on the most valuable tasks, while the immigrants help bring the price down for the overall project (it costs a lot to pay a highly trained carpenter to sweep up a work site).

Immigration can actually produce domestic jobs. Consider immigrants who work in restaurants and allow the restaurants to exist. Native waiters and hosts owe their jobs to the underpaid illegal immigrants in the kitchen. The reality is that many small operations could not exist without the cheap labor.

Other studies find that immigrants increase labor supply and demand for goods (and labor). The vast agricultural industry in the Central Valley of California might not exist without cheap immigrant farm workers who make it profitable. Those who insist fields should be harvested by well-paid Americans ignore the fact that without the cheap foreign labor, there might be far fewer American fields. Chances are, it would be cheaper to import the same fruits and vegetables.

The National Agricultural Workers Survey of U.S. Farmworkers, 2000-2002, showed that roughly half of all workers and three quarters of new hires in agriculture were undocumented Mexican immigrants. In California, the numbers are even starker: 93% of new hires were undocumented Mexican immigrants.

Lastly, statistics show the nation's immigrants also collectively pay more in taxes than they consume in public services and benefits, according to a National Research Council study. A high proportion of them work and pay federal, state and local taxes. Many return to their home countries before retirement and never claim Social Security payments or Medicare coverage.

Current estimates show immigrants illegally in the U.S. collectively contribute nearly $12 billion each year to state and local tax coffers. The study from the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy found that immigrants in the U.S. without legal permission kick in their billions in the form of income, property, sales or excise taxes.

The institute's report estimates the average tax rate for immigrants in the country illegally is higher than the rate paid by America's top earners.

"Undocumented immigrants' nationwide average effective tax rate is an estimated 8 percent," the report said. "To put this in perspective, the top 1 percent of taxpayers pay an average nationwide effective tax rate of just 5.4 percent."

Research into this subject reveals a consensus: over time, immigrants and their descendants collectively provide more to the federal government in taxes than they receive in benefits. For example, a report by the National Academy of Sciences in 1997 found that a typical immigrant and his or her descendants will pay an estimated $80,000 (in 1996 dollars) more in taxes than they will receive in combined local, state, and federal benefits over their lifetimes.

 

Conclusion

Immigration actually fuels the economy and creates jobs. Expanded work forces increase business flexibility, allowing companies to quickly respond to changing demands. Larger labor forces also encourage specialization. Labor productivity rises as companies adjust to larger work forces and invest in employees.

Immigration also makes the United States less globally isolated by increasing the understanding and respect for diverse cultural backgrounds. The melting pot of the country insures strength and unity.

Understanding the tremendous contributions of immigrants is paramount before building walls and exporting Dreamers. Instead of blindly accepting the “they're taking American jobs” philosophy, U.S. citizens must look at all sides of this broad issue. Leading economists agree that immigrants bring long-term benefits at no measurable short-term cost. A recent University of Chicago poll of leading economists could not find a single one who rejected the proposition.

The chief logical mistake is called the Lump of Labor Fallacy: the erroneous notion that there is a fixed amount of work to be done and that no one can get a job without taking one from someone else. The belief in the Lump of Labor feeds protectionism and lower levels of immigration. When the public believes the economy cannot create new jobs, they will demand that the country protects old jobs from new competitors.

However, skilled immigrating workers can bring capabilities that are not available in the native workforce, for example in academic research or information technology. Additionally, immigrating workforces also create new jobs by expanding the economy and creating further jobs either directly by setting up businesses (therefore requiring local services or workforces), or indirectly by an increased population. As an example, a greater population that needs to buy more groceries will increase demand on shops and therefore require additional shop staff.


Sources

David Card. “Immigration and Inequality.” NBER Working Paper No. 14683. Issued in January 2009.

Pamela Constable. “Majority of undocumented immigrants work in low-skill jobs, report finds.” The Washington Post. March 26, 2015.

Adam Davidson. “Debunking the Myth of the Job-Stealing Immigrant. The New York Times Magazine. March 24, 2015.

David Frum. “Does Immigration Harm Working Americans?” Atlantic. January 05, 2015.

Timonthy Kane. “The Economic Effect Of Immigration” Hoover Institute. February 17, 2015.
Dora Mekouar. “Most Common Jobs Held by Immigrants in each US State. Voice of America News. August 24, 2015.

Ethan Lewis. “The Impact of Immigration on American Workers and Businesses.” Choices First Quarterly. 2007.

Alex Nowrasteh. “Immigrants Did Not Take Your Job.” National Journal. Cato Institute. March 4, 2013.

Alex Nowrastch. “Immigration’s Real Impact on Wages and Employment.” CATO Institute. September 15, 2014. 
 
James P. Smith and Barry Edmonston, ed. National Research Council,The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration. 1997.

Andrew Soergel. “Undocumented' Immigrants Pay Billions in Taxes.” U.S. News. March 01, 2016.

Jie Zong and Jeanne Batalova. “Mexican Immigrants in the United States.” Migration Policy Institute Spotlight. March 17, 2016.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Dream Killers: Trump and Company End DACA In America


 


“To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating – because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel. What if our kid’s science teacher, or our friendly neighbor turns out to be a Dreamer? Where are we supposed to send her? To a country she doesn’t know or remember, with a language she may not even speak?”

--President Barack Obama

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) was created in 2012 by the Obama administration after several failed attempts in Congress to pass a law to protect from deportation undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. President Obama said DREAMers – undocumented immigrants brought to America as children – didn't make the decision to enter the U.S. illegally and shouldn't be punished as a result.

DACA allows two-year stays for certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday who have attended school or joined the military and have not committed any serious crimes.

In order to qualify for DACA, applicants under the age of 30 submit personal information to the Department of Homeland Security. They must go through an FBI background check and have a clean criminal background, and either be in school, recently graduated or have been honorably discharged from the military.

The immigrants receive a renewable two-year period of deportation protections and eligibility for a work permit. Some enrollees are currently on their third term. DACA currently protects nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation.

(Editors. “What is DACA and who does it protect?” USA TODAY. September 01, 2017.)

Trump Ends DACA

During his campaign, President Trump slammed the program, saying shielding immigrants brought to the United States illegally when they were children from deportation was illegal "amnesty."

Now, a threat from Texas and several other states to sue the administration if it did not end DACA evidently forced President Trump to make a decision. Several senior aides, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who declared the Justice Department would be unable to defend the program in court, lobbied the president to end DACA.

Others, including Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, the former DHS secretary, cautioned that terminating the program would cause chaos for young immigrants who enjoy broad popular support. 

Despite warnings, the Trump administration announced it will end DACA. "I'm here today (September 5, 2017) to announce that the program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded," Sessions announced, calling the program unconstitutional and criticizing it as "unilateral executive amnesty."

No new applications for the program will be accepted, Sessions said. The administration will allow DACA recipients with a work permit set to expire before March 5, 2018, the opportunity to apply for a two-year renewal.

The administration is giving Congress six months to come up with a fix before the federal government officially stops renewing permits for current DACA recipients.

 


What Ending DACA Does

In a lengthy post on his Facebook page, Obama called Trump’s move “cruel” and said it represented a “political decision” to a “moral question.”

"Ultimately," Obama wrote, “this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people — and who we want to be.”

“Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us,” Obama said.

(Jacqueline Thomsen. “Obama calls Trump's DACA decision cruel, self-defeating and wrong. The Hill. September 05, 2017.)


In a tweet, former vice president Joe Biden wrote: “Brought by parents, these children had no choice in coming here. Now they’ll be sent to countries they’ve never known. Cruel. Not America.”

Each Dreamer is an individual first, not a member of a bloc of people. Accusatory, xenophobic people want to convince other Americas that these people are here as illegals to take jobs away from citizens and to wreak havoc. Trump, himself, made these inflammatory remarks during his non-scripted presidential announcement speech:

“When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending the best. They're not sending you, they're sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing those problems. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they're telling us what we're getting."

Trump's stereotype of immigrants is a work of socio-political grandstanding, one of his favorite divisive rally themes promoting incompatibility and groundless blame. He tries to convince Americans that this view is realistic; however, it conveys a shameless ignorance of the immigration system.

DACA does not provide amnesty to illegal immigrants. Instead, it offers a path forward for young people put into a difficult position by their parents – the path is rigorous and demands responsibility. It provides defined incentives for those who aim to get right with the law and contribute to our country.

Those who do take advantage of DACA contribute to America in two ways:

* By keeping our country safer and

* By making our economy stronger. Every additional pair of boots and every additional pupil in a college classroom improves America’s position in the world – a fact agreed on by experts and leaders in both parties.

A progressive advocacy group, Center for American Progress, and FWD.us, a pro-DACA group founded by tech leaders including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, estimate the United States could lose up to 700,000 jobs with the loss of DACA.

In fact, these immigrants contribute greatly to the economy. The Center for American Progress (CAP) released a study in 2012 which estimated the economic benefit of DACA.

The study maintains that this group of Dreamers would contribute $329 billion to the American economy by 2030 under DACA. The prediction holds that an estimated 2.1 million young people would gain access to higher education, and that their ability to work legally would lead to increased spending from the population.

"This spending ripples through the economy, supporting another $181 billion in induced economic impact, the creation of 1.4 million jobs, and more than $10 billion in increased revenue," the study concludes.

CAP's study wasn't the first to try to estimate the economic benefits of passing the DACA. Another study conducted by Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda at UCLA in 2010 concluded that Dreamers could contribute up to $3.6 trillion to the U.S. economy in the next 40 years, almost $90 billion a year and .6% of the annual U.S. GDP.

(Cristina Costantini. Study: Dreamers Could Add $329 Billion to Economy. ABC News. October 12, 2012.)


 

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program has also provided a lot of mental stability for those living in fear of deportation. According to a study by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health, the implementation of DACA was associated with a 50 percent drop nationwide in the measured risk of clinical depression among Latinos eligible for the program.

“Altering access to economic opportunities among undocumented immigrants and changing the prospects of deportation have large consequences for mental health,” said Atheendar Venkataramani, a physician at Harvard Medical School, who was one of the lead authors of the study.

(Atheendar S. Venkataramani, Sachin J. Shah, Rourke O’Brien, Ichiro Kawachi, Alexander C. Tsai. “Health consequences of the US Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration programme: a quasi-experimental study.” The Lancet Public Health, March 14, 2017.)

I agree with President Obama: Targeting the Dreamers is wrong. It is wrong for President Trump; it is wrong for Congress; and it is wrong for the nation. To extinguish the dreams of those in America who serve our country with industry and initiative goes against everything our concepts of freedom and justice entail. There can be no dreamers in a land of distrust, only dream killers.
 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Knocking At Your Cellar Door: Words of Beauty

 

SONNET 18


Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. 

--William Shakespeare

Beautiful words in structured combinations evoke strong emotions. Williams Shakespeare was a master of word craft. Sonnet 18 testifies to his unparalleled skill. Words – spoken sounds and their written representation – create understanding with sound as well as with meaning. Humans find certain sounds more pleasing than others.

Dale Purves, professor of neurobiology at Duke University and director of the Duke-NUS Neuroscience Program in Singapore, explains a tonal link with evolutionary history ...

“The sounds humans make matter most because that's where we get information about our competitors and our potential mates – the things we need to know to be successful creatures. We developed an ear for the tones common in human vocalizations, the same way a sommelier (wind steward) might develop a taste for fine wines. Those are the tones we find most appealing and thus, the ones we made into our musical art.”

(Maggie Koerth-Baker. The Biology of Music: Why we like what we like.”
boingboing.net. December 14, 2009.)

What words make the most beautiful sounds in the English language? Understanding that any judgment involves theory, or more broadly, a philosophy of art, we can acknowledge that “beautiful sound” is a difficult concept to define. Words such as soft, musical, melodic, mellow, and mellifluous are adjectives used to describe sounds that are pleasant. But, how about the beautiful words themselves? Can we identify the most aesthetically pleasing combinations?

What would you put forth as a word (or word combination) with beautiful sound? Let's see if your brain has hard-wired some popular choices.

According to a British Council survey, the top 10 most beautiful words in the English language are mother, passion, smile, love, eternity, fantastic, destiny, freedom, liberty, and tranquillity.

The word serendipity is also a favorite of many linguists. Serendipity has the advantage of positive associations. It means “an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.” It derives from an old name for what is now Sri Lanka, as well as a Persian folktale in which the heroes were often making accidental discoveries.

A sampling of other user suggestions, in no particular order include soliloquy, epiphany, Elysium and elysian, scissors, vivacious, fudge, telephony, nycthemeron, cinnamon, woodthrush, phosphorescence, lithe, and languorous.

The Criteria For Beauty?

In 1930, linguist JR Firth coined the term phonoaesthetics to refer to the study of how words sound. Phonoaesthetics is a branch of phonetics concerned with “the possible connection between sequences and meaning” (i.e., sound with no regard for semantics).

Linguist David Crystal defines phonaesthetics as "a term sometimes used in linguistics to refer to the study of the aesthetic properties of sound.” According to Crystal:
“Examples include the implication of smallness in the close vowels of such words as teeny weeny, and the unpleasant associations of the consonant cluster sl- in such words as slime, slug, and slush.”
(A Dictionary of Language, 2001.)

Euphony

 

Euphony is used for effects which are pleasant, rhythmical and harmonious. An example of euphony is the poem Some Sweet Day.
Some day Love shall claim his own
Some day Right ascend his throne,
Some day hidden Truth be known;
Some day—some sweet day.
-- J. Bates, the poem Some Sweet Day
Cacophony
Cacophony consists of harsh, often discordant sounds. These sounds are often meaningless and jumbled together. A discordant series of harsh, unpleasant sounds helps to convey disorder. This is often furthered by the combined effect of the meaning and the difficulty of pronunciation.

Example:

My stick fingers click with a snicker
And, chuckling, they knuckle the keys;
Light-footed, my steel feelers flicker
And pluck from these keys melodies.
--John Updike, the poem "Player Piano"

Perhaps, The Most Celebrated Beauty

J.R.R. Tolkien is often given credit for the idea that cellar door is an especially beautiful phrase; he mentioned the idea in a speech in 1955.
Most English-speaking people ... will admit that cellar door is 'beautiful,' especially if dissociated from its sense (and from its spelling). More beautiful than, say, sky, and far more beautiful than beautiful. Well then, in Welsh for me cellar doors are extraordinarily frequent, and moving to the higher dimension, the words in which there is pleasure in the contemplation of the association of form and sense are abundant."
(Ake Bertenstam. A Chronological Bibliography of the Writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. 11th edition December 2015)

Actually the first published instance of the cellar door aphorism occurred in a 1903 novel Gee Boy by Cyrus Hooper. William Dean Howells (1905), Alma Blount (1914), Frank Colby (1949), L.M. Boyd (1979), and Geoff Nunberg (2014) – all in some way support the phonoaesthetic beauty of the phrase.

Yet, of course, there is no scientific proof that the phonemes of cellar door are particularly pleasing to the ear. A subjective poetic argument for the phono-acoustic superiority of the phrase is easier to make, as long as one can dissociate sound from meaning.

“Poetry, in fact, is two quite distinct things,” H. L. Mencken wrote in a 1920 magazine column. “It may be either or both. One is a series of words that are intrinsically musical, in clang-tint and rhythm, as the single word cellar-door is musical. The other is a series of ideas, false in themselves, that offer a means of emotional and imaginative escape from the harsh realities of everyday.”

It is said that Tolkien’s use of the phrase was meant simply to illustrate the point that some phonemes, when combined in certain ways, are particularly euphonious and served as inspiration for names and places in his writing.

Supposing you say some quite ordinary words to me – ‘cellar door,' say. From that, I might think of a name, ‘Selador,' and from that a character, a situation begins to grow.”

So, the beauty of the phrase may even rely upon Tokien’s English accent. While Drew Barrymore’s American character in Donnie Darko pronounced the phrase SELL-urDOR, Tolkien meant it to be pronounced SEH-luhdor.

To me, the affinity for cellar door above all other words in the English language is surprising. (The Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words. To this may be added around 9,500 derivative words included as subentries.)

I have always loved pleasing words in dulcet combinations, yet enjoying their phonetic beauty involves more of a “feeling” than a “judgment.” The art of rhythmical composition – whether in poetry or in prose – is often as subtle in formation as it is strong in emotional impact. It is there to dissect through the intellect or there simply to elevate a symbolic experience. Perhaps, understanding something about phonaesthetics can heighten our appreciation.

Speaking of cellar doors, I have always loved this haunting Neil Young song – “The Needle and the Damage Done.” According to songfacts.com., this is Young's story of the lyric:

“This song is about heroin use and what it will do to you in the end. Young wrote it about Danny Whitten, one of the original members of his band Crazy Horse. In 1971, Young went on tour and hired Crazy Horse and Nils Lofgren as backup. During rehearsals, Whitten was so high on heroin that he couldn't even hold up his guitar. Young fired him, gave Whitten 50 bucks (for rehab) and a plane ticket back to Los Angeles. Upon reaching LA, Whitten overdosed on alcohol and Valium, which killed him...

“Neil Young says of the tragic death of Whitten: 'I felt responsible. But really there was nothing I could do. I mean, he was responsible. But I thought I was for a long time. Danny just wasn't happy. It just all came down on him. He was engulfed by this drug. That was too bad. Because Danny had a lot to give. boy. He was really good.'"


Maybe now that I know the rest of the story, I will understand even more of the impact of the song.

The Needle and the Damage Done” By Neil Young

I caught you knockin'
At my cellar door
I love you, baby,
Can I have some more
Ooh, ooh, the damage done.

I hit the city and
I lost my band
I watched the needle
Take another man
Gone, gone, the damage done.

I sing the song
Because I love the man
I know that some
Of you don't understand
Milk-blood
To keep from running out.

I've seen the needle
And the damage done
A little part of it in everyone
But every junkie's
Like a settin' sun.




Sunday, September 3, 2017

More Education: The Answer to Appalachian Miseries


 

Is there an answer to the poverty, joblessness, and poor health conditions so frequently associated with Appalachia? Yes, and the answer should come as no surprise. Appalachian residents will better themselves and their environment with increased education. Nothing serves to level the “playing field” of life like the cultivation of educational improvement. Education is the key to prosperity and survival.

Levels of education are closely associated with several indicators of success in life. Higher levels of educational attainment are not only associated with higher salaries but also with better health, healthier children, and longer life expectancies. Studies show that educated individuals live longer, participate more actively in politics and in the community where they live, commit fewer crimes, and rely less on social assistance.

To improve Appalachia, we must expect all young people to extend their education beyond high school. No longer is a high school diploma a key to the work force. The need for more workers in all occupations to have higher levels of both knowledge and skills steadily grows. Post-secondary education – including two-year colleges, four-year colleges, and technical and vocational schools – is a necessity for all, and the level of study required for success is continuing to rise.

Families, schools, and communities must come together to increase educational advancement. The old, traditional attitude of “Livin' is more important than schoolin'” is detrimental to needed change. A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information stated: “With the disappearance of more traditional labor opportunities in rural areas, it is increasingly important that rural youth find both the motivation and support to pursue alternate pathways, including those afforded by higher education.”

It should be noted that research suggests there is still a detrimental generation gap in the perceptions on the utility of education. Many older residents view higher education as less important than do their children, and they have lower educational expectations of them, as a result. Too many parents still cultivate the view that a decent job can be obtained without a college degree, which has resulted in lack of parental support.

The research suggests that this gap stems from the changing socio-economic conditions in Appalachia. This is disadvantageous to Appalachian students because parents are key providers of resources and emotional support.

What contributes to effecting a rise in much-needed post-secondary enrollment? Certainly quality public schooling K-12 is a must. Yet, this education needs to include increased expectations of achievement for all students, not just for the typical “college-prep” crowd. Students must understand that tech, vocational, and community colleges offer essential programs that provide access to careers with a future.

Understanding and improving the academic performance of Appalachian students is so important. Public schools must help shape students’ beliefs that they can successfully transition from high school to essential post-secondary institutions. In other words, there should be an understanding that there is a “good fit” for all in the many programs available.

Some Appalachian students feel that college is beyond their reach and have less motivation to achieve academically. One prevalent attitude is that college education as difficult, not due to the difficulty in course work, but due to the cost, time, or lack of resources. Students interviewed in Scott M. Powell's dissertation study titled “Perceptions of Appalachian Students about Post-Secondary Education” told of the necessity to work two jobs, sacrifice sleep, and work long hours, and even delay marriage and family.

In addition to socio-cultural disadvantages, the cost of tuition creates a significant barrier to educational access. An increase in Appalachian student financial aid seems to be needed.

Another factor that makes a difference for at-risk students is mentoring. In her critically-acclaimed book, Worlds Apart: Why Poverty Persists in Rural America, published in 1999, Cynthia M. Duncan explains the role of mentoring …

“I found that in both Appalachia and the Delta, the kids who made it were those who had mentors who believed in them, that when a young girl or boy would get special attention from a coach or teacher or an aunt or an uncle, it could make a big difference in the kind of decisions that he or she made going forward.”

In addition, Duncan discovered a very important factor affecting poor kids' options and potential mobility out of poverty is the way the community works. When middle-class children make mistakes and get into trouble, family and community resources work together to provide them a “second chance.” This cooperation should be no different concerning low-income communities and low-income families.

Human capital theory suggests that job opportunities will create incentives for students to invest, or not invest, in education. If the economic structure of the community does not reward education, students might drop out of school. Data from Virginia indicate that a higher percentage of service occupations in the county increases the dropout rate. A higher percentage of managerial/professional occupations decreases the dropout rate and increases the percentage of graduates continuing their education.

Finally, family stability is important. Children who experience predictability in family income, in residence, and in day-to-day life are more successful at navigating adolescence. Studies of project New Hope show that an intervention to give earnings supplements to families in exchange for getting the household heads and partners in the families to work steadily, has a positive effect, not only on family well-being and marriage stability, but even on how their children did in school.

Investments of money, time, and interest in education will pay great dividends to Appalachia. Nothing else will guarantee much needed change. Young residents should become open to extending their educations beyond high school to complete some form of post-secondary study. This requires a new mindset on the part of students who typically expect high school to satisfy their lifetime educational needs. It also requires a total commitment of resources to effecting a permanent, positive change.

References:

Ryan Brown, William E. Copeland, E. Jane Costello, Alaattin Erkanli, Carol M. Worthman. “Family and Community Influences on Educational Outcomes Among Appalachian Youth.” J Community Psychol. September 2009.

Cynthia M. Duncan. Worlds Apart: Why Poverty Persists in Rural America. 1999. Accessed Frontline. December 29, 2005.

Dan Goldhaber and Dan Player. Analytical Framework for Assessing the Potential Return on a Federal Investment in the Alliance for Excellent Education's "Every Child a Graduate." http://www.all4ed.org/publications.

"Development and Progress of the Appalachian Higher Education Network.” The Appalachian Regional Commission.

Scott M. Powell. Perceptions of Appalachian Students about Post-Secondary Education.” Dissertation presented to the faculty of the College of Education of Ohio University. June 2008. 

Paola Scommegna. “Low Education Levels and Unemployment Linked in Appalachia.” Population Reference Bureau.

Judith I. Stallman and Thomas G. Johnson. “Community Factors in Secondary Educational Achievement in Appalachia. June 1, 1996. 



 
 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

American Roulette: Load Up a Shot of Fentanyl and Spin the Chamber


 

It was like playing Russian roulette, but I didn’t care. I’d say to myself, ‘I’m going to spend the least amount of money and get the best kind of high I can.'”

--Eddie Frasca, 30-year-old barber and ex-addict

When Eddie Frasca heard that someone had overdosed or even died from fentanyl, he would hunt down that batch. It is a shocking reality to most that users are willing to take this potentially deadly risk to get the most potent product possible. Hearing about a deadly batch will actually attract addicts to that dealer.

“What we hear from users is that quality is important, and that the reputation of a dealer is rated on a scale of one to 10,” Marc Birnbaum, assistant attorney general for Virginia, told The Washington Post.

“We’ve talked to users whose dealers will say, ‘I got the stuff that will keep you from getting sick, and I got the stuff that will kill you.’ It’s a tragic situation because, for the most part, they want the most potent dose.”
 
(Steve Birr. “Heroin Addicts Are Seeking Out Fatal Batches To Score The ‘Most Potent Dose.'” The Daily Caller. April 05, 2017.)

(Katharine Q. Seeyemarch. “Heroin Epidemic Is Yielding to a Deadlier Cousin: Fentanyl.” The New York Times. March 26, 2016.)
 
The best dose: that is what the person with the addictive brain in their addiction to an opiate is craving. Even though New Orleans coroner Dr. Jeffrey Rouse claims a simple 10 percent error of measurement is enough to kill them, everybody wants the strongest out there.

Where there is significant demand, greedy profiteers ply their trade. Fentanyl is a very cost-effective product in the drug trade. Craig Wiles, associate special agent in charge for the DEA in New Orleans, says a kilogram of heroin may return a profit of about $80,000 while a kilogram of Fentanyl may, in fact, return a profit of $1 million.

(Eve Troeh. “Drug Traffickers Flood Opioid Market With Cheaper Alternative To Heroin.” 
                                             National Public Radio. April 21, 2016.)

Another reason fentanyl-laced heroin is popular is that rooting out and busting the labs that produce the synthetic substance is described as a game of “whack-a-mole” – once the DEA targets a specific chemical composition, a new one pops up.

Drug traffickers are making their own product. Fentanyl can be made anywhere from chemicals. That knocks out several steps in the supply chain, no crops of opium to grow, harvest and transport.

Producing fentanyl requires “a graduate degree” in illicit chemistry. “They are fairly sophisticated clandestine laboratory processes, more complicated than methamphetamine, and require some degree of chemistry knowledge,” says Russ Baer, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Agency. “It’s not a do-it-yourself or look it up on the internet and I can produce it tomorrow process.”
 
And, fentanyl can be ordered on the internet. Most of the drug comes into the illicit drug marketplace from Chinese online pharmacies. “A lot of fentanyl comes through the US mail and mailing services down to 100 or 200 grams,” says Baer. “They are able to cut out the middleman, order from the internet from the vendor and two or three days later have those deadly substances on the front door.”

 
(Eric Niiler. “Keeping Fentanyl Out of the US Will Take More Than a Wall.” Science. March 01, 2017.)

Dr. Andrew Kolodny, director of Opioid Policy Research at Brandeis University, says. “More recently, we’re even seeing dealers not mix it with heroin but instead just sell cut fentanyl as heroin. As a result, fentanyl is now widespread in the U.S. heroin supply. There are regions, like the Northeast, where it’s impossible to find heroin that does not contain fentanyl.”

 
(Melaina Juntti. “How America Got Hooked on Fentanyl, a Drug 50 Times More Potent than Heroin.” Men's Journal. 2017.)

Once in the hands of drug distributors, volumes of the synthetic substance – 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin – are much easier to transport across country. Tiny amounts are incredibly potent, so it’s less to smuggle across borders – something very attractive to cartels.
 
Ohio

According to the Ohio Department of Health, an average of 11 people died each day of drug overdoses last year in Ohio. A record 4,050 people died of drug overdoses in 2016, with fatalities driven in large part by the emergence of stronger drugs like the synthetic painkiller fentanyl, the Health Department said. Overdose deaths rose 33 percent over the 3,050 deaths in 2015.These figures represent the largest increase ever in one year.

The CDC has a new report out that looked at the toxicologies of a cohort of fatal OD victims around Ohio. They found that 90% of unintentional overdose deaths in 24 Ohio counties that occurred during January and February 2017 involved fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, or both.

The study also found that "approximately 32% of fentanyl-positive decedents did not test positive for norfentanyl, a major metabolite for fentanyl, suggesting a very rapid death.” This means they died so quickly that their bodies did not even have time to metabolize the drug.

(Raminta Daniulaityte, PhD; Matthew P. Juhascik, PhD; Kraig E. Strayer; Ioana E. Sizemore, PhD; Kent E. Harshbarger, MD, JD; Heather M. Antonides; Robert R. Carlson, PhD. “Overdose Deaths Related to Fentanyl and Its Analogs — Ohio, January–February 2017.”Weekly / September 1, 2017 / 66(34);904–908.)


Warning

Drug dealers are responding to the demand for heroin and taking advantage of people feeling the hell of addiction by giving them more … more potent drugs and more inescapable affliction. There is no ceiling in sight. Deadly supply will assuredly continue to feed diseased demands. Although the danger is clear, so many of those addicted are crippled far beyond the ability to heed grave warnings.

The killing fields of Ohio are testimony to an unparalleled accidental death epidemic. 11 deaths a day. Imagine the agony and heartbreak that families and friends of the victims suffer in the wake of these tragic losses. Then, think of the present danger the public, the police, and the health officials face each new day as they fight against abuse.

And, lastly, consider the threat to the precious youth of America – the lifeblood of our future, the innocent and sober hope for our new wellness. Teach the children to see opioids – legal and illegal – as potential poison. Stress, above all, how any … any … ANY … experimentation or illegal use of the substances poses inescapable dangers.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Jason Isbell: Understanding Responsibility in "A White Man's World"


 

If you’re still breathing, it’s not too late.
We’re all carrying one big burden, sharing one fate.”

--Jason Isbell, “White Man's World”

I attended Jason Isbell's concert at the Ohio Theater in Columbus last night and was staggered by his amazing talent. I had run into some of his recordings several years ago and almost instantly became a fan; however, seeing him perform in concert was incomparable. In today's music, Isbell and his band the 400 Unit represent a force of integrity.

As critic John T. Davis wrote, “Jason is at the top of his game and climbing... Hard-hitting sentiments, to be sure, but Isbell isn’t a doom and gloom merchant. Rather, he is selling stoicism and transcendence: marching forward no matter what, clutching the hand you’re dealt.”

Trying to categorize this Muscle Shoals son's music is impossible. The sounds in his Americana-tinged songs include folk, rock, country and blues influences. Just label the output as “great music with an emotional punch” and enjoy his stellar musicianship. I encourage all to attend a performance and discover the scope of his musical creations.

One song, “White Man's World” – the fourth single off of The Nashville Sound, drew special attention from me. Isbell wrote the song in the wake of the 2016 election. He sings it in the first person. The song addresses the privileges and disadvantages of the American system along lines of race, gender, class, and geography. Much has been written about the thought-provoking tune.

Isbell explains his motivation for writing the song …

My wife was on the road, and I was home with my daughter when that all went down. I was just very grateful that I didn’t have to explain that to her, because she was just a little over a year old. (The song) was written out of my anger and frustration. It was a way of me to process that. I was trying to get to the root of my feelings without bringing shame into it, because I don’t think shame does a whole lot of good.”

Isbell says when his daughter came along he felt he had “to tell everybody how he felt, one way or another” because that’s the father he wanted her to see. If there was any way he could make the world a better place for her, then he was determined to do it. He says it didn’t change his beliefs, but he acknowledges there are white men with daughters who are still misogynists.

Also, I’m not going to lie: I was motivated by the image I have of my audience. There are very few artists, musicians, and entertainers, that have the type or demographic of an audience that I have. Somebody like Sturgill Simpson or Chris Stapleton has it. Margo Price has it and my wife has it. It’s an interesting group of people, because it’s people who listen to a lot of different types of music. I think, for the most part, they’re people who are pretty open-minded. There is an opportunity there, however small it might be, to get people to think things in a little bit of a different way.”

(Steven Hyden. “A Long Conversation With Jason Isbell About Love, Politics, Jim Varney, And His Great New Album.” Uproxx. June 01, 2017.)

Isbell quips, “I don’t think I have a lot of Trump voters in my audience... I didn’t think there were going to be a lot of Trump voters at all. So, what the hell do I know?”

Still, the song is non-accusational, focusing on the responsibility of people who benefit from privilege to acknowledge it and to do whatever they can to help others who may be less fortunate enjoy the same comforts and assurances, rather than to attribute blame for those injustices on anyone living now.

Jason said the following about the song in an interview with Consequence of Sound:
“The song discusses my perspective on race and gender. I think its inspiration should be pretty obvious these days. I think my job is to constantly evaluate my role in the human struggle for equality without feeling guilt or shame for things I can’t control.”
(Michelle Geslani. “Jason Isbell takes our country to task on new song 'White Man’s World' – listen.” Consequence of Sound. June 01, 2017.)

Isbell sees the 2016 election as “a sort of a sneeze” from a cold that had been lingering for quite a while – a symptom of the problem of division. He believes discussing the divide in America is crucial to improving the social climate, and he feels the problem is not necessarily political, but definitely social.

In an article in Indy Week, Isbell explains ...

I don’t really see it (the problem) as politics, though. I hate that word for this purpose. I think politics is really more about how we exchange power and, and it’s about a business transaction in which we all determine who gets to make decisions on our behalf. I don’t think that’s the question here. I don’t think that how people should be treated based on the color of their skin or their gender or their identity, I don’t think those are political questions, I think those are questions of, really, ethics and beliefs. 

(Baynard Woods. “Jason Isbell Discusses Reckoning with White Southern Masculinity on His Excellent New LP, The Nashville Sound.” Indy Week. June 15, 2017.)

Acknowledging that being a white man in certain ways puts him “on the wrong side,” Isbell also thinks it gives him more responsibility.

“I’m not going to feel guilty or ashamed about being a white man. I think those are terms that people who are on the other side other argument use. The criticism I’ve received from 'White Man’s World' comes in the form of proud white men saying, 'I don’t have any shame or guilt for being a white man.'

“But nobody should really have guilt or shame about something they can’t control. I’m born a white person. The guilt and shame would come in if I didn’t use my privilege to try to make the world a better place for other people. That’s where the guilt and the shame comes in, if you’ve spent your whole life just enjoying your privilege and never actually working for it by trying to level the playing field for other folks."

When asked about growing up in the South and pretending not to hear a racial joke, Isbell admits ...

“Yeah, I didn’t do it every time. But I wish I’d spoken up every time, now. The older I get, the more I think I should have said something every single time I heard the N-word in elementary school or every time I heard someone make a joke about women or Mexicans in a bar when I was growing up in Alabama. If there’s any regrets as I’m getting older, it’s that I didn’t stand up for people as often as I could have. I really that what I’m talking about in that song is, since all these doors are already open for me, being a white man, my job is to try to hold them for the person behind me or the person in front of me, to try to open them for someone they might be locked for.”

(Baynard Woods. “Jason Isbell Discusses Reckoning with White Southern Masculinity on His Excellent New LP, The Nashville Sound.” Indy Week. June 15, 2017.)

Jason Isbell is the real deal. He uses his incredible talents to better the world. He represents his craft with great dignity and thoughtful expression. If you love music and you care enough to listen, you will find great rewards in his work. Give a listen to “White Man's World” for a taste of his artistry. Think about responsibility as you do. And, by all means, attend a Jason Isbell live performance for the full effect.

“White Man's World”

I'm a white man living in a white man's world
Under our roof is a baby girl
I thought this world could be her's one day
But her momma knew better

I'm a white man living in a white man's town
Want to take a shot of cocaine a burn it down
Momma wants to change that Nashville sound
But they're never gonna let her

There's no such thing as someone else's war
Your creature comforts aren't the only things worth fighting for
You're still breathing it's not too late
We're all carrying one big burden, sharing one fate

I'm a white man living on a white man's street
I've got the bones of the red man under my feet
The highway runs through the burial grounds
Past the oceans of cotton

I'm a white man looking in a black man's eyes
Wishing I'd never been one of the guys
We pretended not to hear another white man's joke
Oh, times haven't forgotten

There's no such thing as someone else's war
Your creature comforts aren't the only things worth fighting for
You're still breathing it's not too late
We're all carrying one big burden, sharing one fate

I'm a white man living in a white man's nation
I think the man upstairs must have took a vacation
I still have faith, but I don't know why
Maybe it's the fire in my little girl's eyes
Maybe it's the fire in my little girl's eyes

Click here to listen to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nu4dupoC7EE