A non-profit youth sports organization targeting underprivileged youth. Great idea. But can I do it?

        I live in a Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. It is a lower income city, in the northeastern  part of the state. We are about 15 minutes from Scranton and about 90 minutes from Philadelphia. At one point it used to be a nice place to live but over the years it has become crime ridden. In fact it is number 18 on the list of top murder cities, did I say that right. Everyday the drug use and crime seems to sucking up another kid and spit them out. There isn’t an inexpensive   place for a kid to play and learn fundamentals in a sport. The cheapest  basketball is $50 bucks at the CYC, a place where the refs told me if they called every foul there would be no score. This is an instructional  league. Any type of travel team or AAU  team gets very expensive. Many of the kids around here are unable to play because of their financial  situation. You would think the YMCA or CYC or someone  would offer a spring program or summer program at an affordable  price. They do not. Nor does the city. I wrote my Congressman Matt Cartwright  several days ago asking him for some direction  and he never responded. Who is there for these kids?

         I want to start a non-profit  youth sports organization  for underprivileged  children. I want to concentrate  on 2 sports, basketball and soccer. Those are the 2 sports you need the least amount of equipment for. Less money for families to spend. I want to offer these kids an option other then drugs, drinking, fighting, gangs or whatever else they may get into. I want to offer a kid the same opportunity  a wealthy kid gas, why punish a child for a parents station in life. I see so many incredible athletes who lack the fundamentals of their sport. For basketball at the CYC, you get 1 hour of practice a week. You get the privilege of playing school teams who practice quite a bit more. Many kids spirits are crushed because of this. A kid who I’d fundamentally sound can compete with less talent, causing that kid to carry better grades, stay out of trouble and stick with their commitment. I don’t think we should be getting wealthy off of kids playing sports, AAU and travel soccer teams. Why aren’t the kids coming first?

          I want to be able to defer cost through federal, state and corporate grants. I want this to focus completely on the forgotten youths of a dying city. Anyone who has played a sport will tell you that it helps you in many other aspects of life. You learn a work ethic, discipline, teamwork, confidence and make lasting friendships. Through all of this you avoid trouble or you cannot play or be with these friends. Some kids can get an athletic scholarship because of this, some will get an academic  scholarship because they work harder to keep good grades because they want to play and go to college. It changes how many kids life daily. Why not offer a program that helps them?

         When the kids would enter are program there will be certain obligations  they must meet for us to defer their costs.
1) They must maintain a B average in school. If I a kid needs help, I would like to offer a tutoring program. Education is the key.
2) They must stay out of trouble. Any detention or suspension will be met with the same at our program. If it us a continuing problem we will refer it to a facility to help. We will try not to leave a kid behind. But they must realize there are repercussions for your actions.
3) They will be required to do volunteer work at a soup kitchen or any other program that requires volunteers to help the needy. To teach them empathy, compassion  and remind them that there are people who have it worse. After my daughter did these with the Key Club at G.A.R. High School she couldn’t wait to go back to help again.
4) To participate and help organize community outreach programs periodically. Several times a year. Anything to reach out to help those less fortunate, even if it is a free basketball or soccer tournament. Through this they will hopefully take pride in their community and look for ways to help improve it.
5) Summer programs and clinics that the kids can help teach. Teach them to give to others in order to help them improve their situation.
Most importantly I want to keep them off the street and out of trouble. Have impromptu  3 on 3 basketball  tournaments, 5 on 5 soccer tournaments. For those that want to play AAU or travel soccer, we will offer those programs but ask the kids to hand out flyers or participate  in fund eaising, all with a qualified adult present. I would like in the summer to offer child care to low income families. Several hours a day. Introduce them to a sport, get them outside and active. Have dodge ball tournaments. We need to fight childhood  obesity  as well.

            I would also like to offer affordable clinics for coaches. Youth coaches effect a child more then many people realize. It would help if they had proper training that didn’t eat up a lot of their time or money. Youth coaches are typically volunteers. They deserve some thanks in this grueling process. The better the coach, the better chance a child has. I want to build a facility  with several indoor courts, several outdoor courts, 2 high school size soccer fields and 2 small children soccer fields. Maybe I am being naive, but I believe this is needed where I live and in most other areas. Why can’t we be the template everyone else follows? I know some areas offer something similar to this. Now is the time for Wilkes-Barre  to offer it.   If you want to take your community back, wouldn’t this be a great jumping off point? Now to figure out how to get it done. Any ideas?

Peaceful protesting met with police violence. Is the police state real?

          To try to ascertain the exact number of people killed by the police is not possible . Police departments do not have to report to anyone these statistics. Out of 1700 police organizations only 750 actually reported their numbers. Yes, the numbers state that African Americans are killed almost 2 to 1 to white people despite making up only 12 percent of the population. So I do believe it is time for Fox News and the crony conservatives to admit that race is an issue. A great example of the hypocrisy is Sean Hannity. He supported what Cliven Bundy was fighting for his rights and was an American hero. This despite Bundy dodging a tax instituted by conservative  hero President Reagan, he owed millions of dollars in back taxes. He was part of an armed resistance against federal agents and was an American hero. The people of Ferguson or any of these others cities protesting were referred to as thugs and hooligans who were breaking the law. Yes both were said by Sean Hannity.

        If you ever took the time to listen to conservative radio, there are no progressive stations in my area, you will here the perpetuation of this ugly race rhetoric. Rush Limbaugh, who is one of the most disgusting human beings on the face of this earth, said Eric Garner deserved to get choked because he broke the law. Although he refuses to acknowledge that the cop broke the law by using an illegal choke hold, illegal means breaking the law. Fox News is horrible. For a white mass murderer the headline is about how he was bright and brilliant, despite the disturbing fact he killed several people. For Trayvon Martin, who was killed by a wanna be cop, the headline was, he was suspended 3 times in school. Those are just a couple quick examples that show how minorities are viewed by the conservative media, which then trickles down to the dregs of society, the radical conservatives.

Growing up I remember cops carrying a gun, cuffs, baton and their radio. Possibly pepper spray. Cops are better armed now and in Pennsylvania are required to wear their bullet proof vests whenever on duty. There is more crime now then I recall, the local news papers seem to think so as well. But even so, why the militarization of the police force? Aren’t they here to protect and serve? It now seems like the police are an invading force, authorized to use whatever force they want. I understand that if you fight with cops they are going to kick your ass. But killing unarmed people, shooting at them as they run away, beating a woman on the ground who is cuffed, choking people, firing tear gas at peaceful protesters, all while Wall Street is robbing us blind and walking away Scott free. I have had experiences with cops, I have never been beat or shot, but I am white. I have had cops give me a ride to my home when I was intoxicated. They do seem to abuse their power, but as I said my personal experiences were not bad. I truly do not know how it feels to walk in a minorities shoes.

The way our police resemble the military reminds me of videos of Nazi Germany. They robbed people of their rights, arrested who they wanted and abused their power. They also went after a certain group of people, the Jewish people. They systematically decimated them, in the end almost wiping them out. I realize it gas not reached that level, yet. But what is the next step? Can’t indict a cop who shot at a guy 12 times, hitting him 7 times. Can’t idict a cop caught on camera using an illegal choke hold to kill someone. What is next? A group of African Americans or possibly a whole area of town they live in? The whites there are collateral damage in the conservative war on people of color. I feel as if I went off the tracks. But did I? If our justice system doesn’t stop this, who does? How many have to die to change this?

I keep saying conservatives because they believe the victims are wrong. Democrats are spineless, sending out weak statements in order to avoid upsetting the corporate apple cart. We will get nothing from those in our government because they are owned, they recieve their marching orders from the rich and powerful. The 1960s were when the Civil Rights Movement, a mere 50 years ago. Our Conservative Supreme Court Judges ripped apart the Voting Rights Act. I have a very difficult time understanding why these people are so obtuse. Why do they hate so much? Why does this hate pervade our society? Can the media be blamed for all of it? Of course not, ignorance seems to be embraced in our country. People speak of the Constitution, but know nothing about it. The loudest speaker gets the most attention. Sadly that is typically a Ted Cruz or a Sarah Palin.

I believe the militarization of our police has a purpose. Conservatives keep talking about President Obama taking away our rights. I say bull shit to that. That is conservatives mirroring their intentions to keep the focus off of them. Many say that we have become an oligarchy. I believe we are headed to a method of feudalism. Our debt will make us indentured servants,to work their factories and fields. The cops will become their military as our states separate. Conservatives want a group of states with a “defanged” federal government, essentially creating 50 autonomous countries. They will eradicate as many of the poor and minorities that they can. Then live as kings. They will eventually fight amongst each other or be destroyed by Russia or China. The police state is the wealthy jump starting their vision.

I reread this and thought, I sound a little deranged. But, what if………

Ferguson , we are gonna burn this mother up.

     Martin Luther  King  Jr  once said that rioting is the voice of the voiceless. I don’t think I have ever read words that seemed so true. The voiceless act out, in order to make those not listening hear. Sadly it also gives those that belittle them more reason to do so. They say violence creates more violence. This case is a perfect example. A cop uses excessive force in order to kill a teenager who hit him and allegedly  ignored his orders. Another case of police brutality, especially  towards young black men. It is an epidemic that the main stream media refuses to acknowledge .

      Darren Wilson was a cop in Ferguson, Missouri. That is after he was removed from duty in the Saint Louis   police department for his treatment of minorities. He was hired because it is cheaper to hire an ex cop then to train a new one. Ferguson’s population  is over 80% black. Of the 53 police officers only 3 are black. There is only one black person on the School board and one more on council. So a city with the population  being a majority of black Americans is being represented by predominantly  white people. Over 93% of the arrests in Ferguson  are of blacks. While 1/5 of blacks were found with illegal contraband, 1/3 of all whites arrested were found with illegal contraband. The prosecutor who announced the grand jury verdict has prosecuted 5 cops, all have gotten away free and clear. Most grand juries return the verdict the prosecution looking for, I guess that explains what this prosecutor was looking for.

      If Mike Brown did attack a cop, he was wrong. But for a cop to fire 12 shots at a suspect, hitting him 7 times, all in the upper body seems like overkill to me. For a cop to fire at an unarmed fleeing suspect seems even worse. For a cop to fire at a surrendering suspect is worse yet. For the prosecutor  to wait 100 days to bring it to a grand jury is ridiculous. For the prosecution  to allow officers who weren’t there when the altercation happened seems a bit out of the ordinary, considering  only the cop, Mike Brown  and a few other witnesses were there. To not cross examine the cop who committed this act is positively ludicrous. All of the inconsistencies in Wilson’s testimony are blatant. The fact no indictment was found is baffling, unless we believe what we don’t want to believe.

          The system is rigged and black people still do not have the rights of white people. I am a 40 year old white man, I could never understand  what a young black man goes through. Is some brought upon themselves? I am sure there is but shooting an unarmed kid is disgusting. If anyone really believes that racism is dead, they must be living under a rock. A kid shot in Walmart because he was holding a b b gun,  Trayvon Martin and how many others that it happens to daily. I thought all that was fought for in the 60s was rock solid, truthful and all of us believed in ut. How naive myself and how many others were.  It is not just at this level, but racism is prevent in the Republican party, as well as the Supreme Court. How can you hate someone you don’t know?

         As the fires raged in Ferguson, I thought to myself, change always seems to come from violent acts followed by peaceful protests. A leader needs to truly emerge to lead this change, AL Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are not those leaders. These fires burning in Ferguson represent the rage and hate at being treated as if their lives mean less. It is a blow to a system that holds a rich white man to a different standard. Sean Hannity told Clive Bundy that he was a true patriot to fight the government  with guns because he refused to pay taxes and they were taking his cattle. But the people in Ferguson were wrong. Hypocrisy be damned. Ferguson burned in the hopes that the next time this happens maybe there will be justice for the victim not a thug with a uniform. Ferguson burned for every person that was bullied, beaten and shot by the cop who thinks he is above the law. Ferguson burned as an example. It is an example of what we need to do to effect change in our country.

Is Ferguson, Missouri a case of the poor and mistreated fighting back or the beginning of a military state?

         Mike Brown was recently shot by Ferguson police. Unarmed, yet shot. Witnesses say his hands were in the air, yet he was shot. Is this the police attacking victims of our economic plight? The greed of the ruling class creating areas of poverty that police believe they need to crack down on in order to prevent crime. The Broken Window policy i have heard it called. Stop and frisk in New York. I think it is racism being disguised as police work.

I read one article after another about this young black man being shot while unarmed. The black guy who was shot in Walmart while holding a BB gun. Cops told him to put hands in air, he complied saying it wasnt real and gets shot. Yet an 18 year old white guy was walking down the road in his neighborhood with a shotgun. When police stopped him, asking for his ID, ge refused. He walked away with a fine. Open carry nutbags who walk around with loaded assault rifles, yet nothing happens. Cliven Bundy, the tax evading trespasser and his nutbag hooligan want to be militia point guns at authorities, yet nothing happens. Armed lunatics waiting for a busload of immigrant children force bus to go different location, again nothing happens. This seem a bit fishy to you?

What started off as peaceful protests about the Mike Brown shooting became a fiasco. Who was at fault? People being arrested, shot and beat by police. What looked like a military strike force in an American city. The citizens rioting in response. None of this is right. These people have the right to protest. We do not live in a police state where protest is not allowed. When a public servant does something wrong, we the people have the right to call them out. Any violence in answer of violence is wrong. But that is easy for me to say sitting hundreds of miles away in my Pennsylvania home. Anyone who says race has nothing to do with this is utterly ignorant or blatantly racist.

President Obama has spoke about this. Attorney General Eric Holder has spoken extensively on this. The Ferguson police chief and Governer of Missouri have spoken about this. The governer has pulled the St. Louis Police out replacing them with the Highway Patrol. Events like this have always happened but it seems like it is more common place. To say that the economic and political climate has nothing to do with this is short sighted.

Republicans and Democrats are not to blame per say. The fact that they allow nut bag extremists to hijack the party and message is their fault. These people have inflamed hate and justify racism. They justify hating one another based on our differences. The NRA has created a mess with their idiotic way of thinking and model legislation they give to their bought Congressmen and women to push through. Hate and indifference has become common place, as well as radical out looks on civil rights. The social climate has changed with the political climate.

I live in Pennsylvania and have not personally seen much of this. But i do know quite a few police officers and the way they think is alarming. You would like to think they would look at each situation differently but I dont think they do. It is a generalization of all cops based on a few so it is not a scientific breakdown. When you send a human being out with orders to target a certain group of people, it will have unintended effects on both groups. It is 2014, you would think we would be beyond this. Sadly this is everyday life for certain groups of Americans. When will this change? Only then can we avoid travesties like Ferguson, Missouri.

Wilkes-Barre, a town in need of serious help.

I live in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. I have lived here the majority of my life. Growing up it was a decent community. The crime was never really out of control and people tended to look out for one another. Murders were relatively non-existent. It had your typical crimes like any other community. It was a nice place to live.

It has changed quite a bit over the years. Drug use and peddling has decimated this once pleasant community. Wilkes-Barre is located between New York and Philadelphia. It apparently looked like an easy target for the drug pushers. In 2013 we have had 13 murders, more per capita then parts of New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York City. All but 2 of these murders were connected with drugs, with the majority being committed by people from outside the area.

There are about 41,000 people living in the city. We have 81 police officers. We are supposed to have 91, but our mayor does not believe we need a full complement. 7 officers recently retired and there are at least 4 that were hurt while on duty. 2 of which most likely will not return. So that leaves us at 74 officers. Mayor Tom Leighton recently said the city was hiring 10 officers. He neglected to mention the retirees. He also said he doesn’t believe there is a crime problem in Wilkes-Barre. It seems as if his head is buried in the sand.

Facebook is used by 40% of the people in the U.S. daily. As much garbage that you find on there, you also find some very useful sites. I follow several Crime Watch pages, with Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch 2 being my preferred page. Before I go on I would like to say that I know the Police work hard. I know that it is a difficult job. I believe our area needs at least 100 if not 120 officers to stop the disintegration of our community. But daily we here about calls being put on hold. Officers having to wait to go on a call because they do not have an officer to assist them. There are 6 Cops on the streets during all three shifts. Does anyone believe this is enough?

Wilkes-Barre spent a large sum of money to put cameras up around the city. None of them seem to work. What is the use? The mayor has been called out for shady deals on local properties. He is very dismissive of citizens who question him at City Council meetings. He has called citizens names at these proceedings. The city pays for his alarm system at his home. During his tenure as mayor the city has progressively gone downhill. Taxes are raised, garbage bags cost more, permits cost more, recycling fee and all other city fees have gone up. Yet t hth e city no longer cleans the streets and cannot hire more officers. We also recive money from the Casino, the naming of a local ice rink and parking meters. Where is all of this money going?

If a city is having the amount of trouble Wilkes-Barre is, why are they nit asking for help? Why are the State Police not involved? Why are other local police forces only used on occasion? Why is the DEA or FBI not involved to help with the drug problem? Why are citizens calling about drug deals being made out of a house for 2 years and nothing has been done? Why are arrest records being fudged? Why are people that were busted for drugs on the street? Why are those said people on bail and being busted for murder? These are some of the issues facing Wilkes-Barre. Why are we not getting answers for our questions?

Growing up I could walk all over my neighborhood. Now I don’t let my daughters go anywhere. The tax base is shrinking in our area because people are leaving. Who wants to deal with this? I believe Wilkes-Barre has reached a breaking point. If something is not done soon, we will face a mass exodus. There is no reason this can’t be the city my parents knew. It is time to fix our broken city.

Trayvon Martin deserves justice, Zimmerman got away with murder.

                 My faith in America’s judicial system is gone. A teenage boy was murdered by a man, a man who followed him when 911 told him not to. A man who carried a gun on neighborhood watch when he was told not to. A man who instigated the fight, after a year of Mixed Martial Arts training. A man who shot this child when he started losing this fight he started.

For Don West and Marc o’Mara said this case had nothing to do with Civil Rights, race. They could not be farther from the truth. If Zimmerman was black and Martin white, the case is closed, Zimmerman is convicted of murder and it never garners national attention. I am flabbergasted that a murderer walks free today because of an ALEC model legislation, that was made into law by Republicans.

I can’t process this decision. I am a white man, with a bald head, large goat-tee and a lot of tattoos. I get dirty looks and judged regularly. But I cannot grasp how a young black man feels. Every race has bad people, but entire races should not be judged on the actions of a few. Race should not be so prevalent in 2013. I feel for young black men, I know how I feel and it cannot compare to what they feel. They should see police and feel safe, if innocent, like everyone else. I really believe they are not.

This decision has shaken me to my very soul. I feel let down, I could not be as calm as Trayvon Martin’s parents. If it was my child, I would be going nuts. The Republicans have sold America to corporations and lobbyist like the NRA. Democrats are just as guilty for letting it happen. We the people are guilty of letting America become this joke it has become. It is now legal to murder a kid because you think they may be doing something wrong. You are allowed to shoot someone if you feel threatened, but not defend yourself from some creepy guy who is following you. This is a disgrace.

George Zimmerman is a cold blooded killer, no bogus law can change that.

                 I personally do not understand how a grown man can kill a teenager and walk around free and clear. I did not think you could kill someone in cold blood and have a law defend you. I understand that a defense attorney’s job to defend them, but for anyone else to see it like that is ridiculous.

Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law is basically a license to kill. If you feel threatened you can kill them, as long as you feel threatened. Texas’ version if Stand Your Ground Law is just as insane. You are authorized to use deadly force to recover stolen property at night or if an attempted burgalary happens at night. Both laws were model bills from ALEC, which has a strange bedfellow in the NRA. This is the law that may allow a grown man to kill a teenager and get away with it.

The facts of the case are simple. Trayvon Martin, 17, was walking home wearing a hoody, carrying a bag of skittles and an Iced Tea. George Zimmerman saw him, called 911, who told Zimmerman not to follow him, which Zimmerman did anyway. He followed him, caused an altercation and killed him during the struggle. Those are the important facts, nothing else matters in this case.

Defense Attorney Don Nelson cross examined Rachel Jeantel, trying to establish her as a liar. This was in hopes of getting her testimony thrown out. But the facts are simple and so should be the outcome. I am afraid to say that if Zimmerman gets away with this there are going to be riots. If he gets away with this, it allows people to kill at will. Zimmerman needs to be found guilty to keep America American.