Italian forces ignored a sinking ship full of Syrian refugees and let more than 250 drown

Recordings leaked to an Italian magazine suggest Italy illegally refused to help.

Italian forces ignored a sinking ship full of Syrian refugees and let more than 250 drown, says leaked audio – The Washington Post

It is simply inhumane not to help people who are fleeing a situation so bad that they are willing to take this risk. They are willing to die rather than stay where they are.

Humans help them.

Monsters don’t.

We need to choose.

– Eliot

(Thanks to Rustin Gudim for the signpost)


February 12, 1968, Memphis sanitation workers went on strike to protest, among other things, the death of two of their fellow workers due to unsafe working conditions. The Memphis mayor refused to negotiate. He saw no reason for concern over the condition under which “Negroes” worked and, besides, the strikers would be back as soon as the money ran out.

His cavalier and uncaring attitude raised a simple question in the men’s minds: Am I not a man? This same question had been used by abolitionists in an attempt to shame “Christian” men and women into realizing that Slaves were humans. Just as they were. And beholding to the same God and due the same rights. Eventually, a war was fought to settle that question from a legal standpoint. Blacks were men UNDER THE LAW.



Now, we find ourselves suddenly realizing that UNDER THE LAW means nothing if it isn’t recognized by the people. Virtually all Americans pay lip service to the truth that Black men are indeed men but many through their actions and the law demonstrate that it is, indeed, only lip service. It is time once again to let them now that we are men. Let them know that “I AM A MAN”That is the simple fact. And as a man in this country I have certain rights which I will insist are recognized and honored. All because I AM A MAN.

There was a time when Black men who wanted to be recognized as men had to stand up and declare it. And they did. Loudly and proudly.

They let the world know they were men by simply carrying a sign that declared “I AM A MAN” and not letting anyone forget it. Today, we find ourselves in the same situation. Black men are no longer seen as men. They are seen as criminals and thugs. They are, to quote the Governor of Maine, “the enemy” as far as much of America is concerned.

To fight back, we’ve designed a shirt to tell the world you have had enough. That you are a descendant of those men that carried a sign declaring their manhood. They were beaten, attacked by dogs, jailed, and even killed for taking this stand. Take your own stand and help others at the same time.

Purchase one of our I AM A MAN (Say it again) t-shirts. You don’t have to be Black or White or Brown or Red or Yellow to wear it. You don’t have to be Straight or Gay or Bi or Trans. You don’t have to be Anglo or Latino. You don’t have to be Native-born or Immigrant.

You don’t even have to be a man.

You simply have to be willing to say “I will have my rights AND YOU WILL NOT STOP ME!” They come in the original red letters on white background and a more impactful and modern white letters on black background.



Our shirts pay homage to those brave souls who carried that simple sign. Those men that said “I AM A MAN”. By wearing this shirt you’ll continue the message. You’ll be doing your part to fight the prejudice and bigotry so many face every day. You’ll be saying that without a doubt that now and forever “I AM A MAN”.
Get one for yourself and some for the men in your life. Just Click on the shirt you want and follow directions.
50% of all profits will be going directly to the ACLU. I’m pretty sure they’ll need the money over the next few years. The other 50% will go to keeping The RiverHouse Chronicles on-line.  Thanks loads and if you feel like sharing this EVERYWHERE…it couldn’t hurt.
– Eliot

Black Lives Matter – Syracuse. Hope from the North

Monday, Lisa and I went to the Black Lives Matter march in Syracuse, NY.  I was going as a photographer/blogger and she was going as a participant.  Lisa was coming straight from work and was going to walk the several blocks to the Clinton Square starting point. I had to drive in from Caughdenoy which is about 25 minutes.

So, I packed up the Excursion with a couple camera bodies, wide angle zoom and a telephoto. A few extra batteries and pocket journal with fountain pen. I figured that if there were some problem, I’d be able to use the Excursion to move anything short of a Bearcat out of the way.

I left the Beretta at home because I don’t have a permit and no use asking for trouble. No knife. Not even a multitool.

I parked about a block away from Clinton Square and climbed out of the Excursion. Paid for the parking with Whoosh! and put on my camera harness. As I walked up to the gathering point, I noticed a group of young Black folks. All wearing some variation of black. With black. Accented by black. It was like watching a bunch of kids playing at Black activist. SyracuseBLM-2-3

Mostly they were shuffling papers in a frantic search for the permit. That magical piece of paper that says the establishment recognizes your right to have rights. Hard looks were being given but it all worked out fine. I watched them through this and thought,

“I’m proud of these young people.”

They saw a problem. A problem that we’ve had since 1691. Some have occasionally tried to solve the problem but, for the most part, we all usually just live with it. They are trying to solve it.

Racist Police Officers?

Get Rid of ‘Em!

They gave impassioned speeches calling for the removal of racist police officers. I listened and cringed. I knew what they meant and what some heard were two completely different things. They are being specific in their use of the description “racist” and asking that “all police officers that are racist” be removed.SyracuseBLM-2-14

A goal that any human shares.

The Folks That Don’t Believe Black Lives Matter (FTDBBLM) claim that when BLM asks for the removal of racist police officers, they mean “ALL police officers who, by the way, are racists”. They want you to believe that the use of “racist” by BLM is as a modifier for the general group “police officers”.


As evidence, during the march I watched as BLM member after BLM member stopped to shake the hands of the police officers providing traffic control for the march. The same members that called for the removal of racist police officers. Logic only supports one of the above interpretations. Prejudice supports the other.

I started wandering through the crowd and taking pictures. Trying to get a feel for what was happening and save it in the image. As I was taking pictures and moving through the crowd, one thing became very apparent:

In Syracuse, Black Lives Matter mostly to White folks.

Well, not just White folks. There were a number of Black folks there. Many of which seemed to have just come from the various methadone clinics spread throughout the city. The others being the organizers and observers of the march. But your basic Dr. & Mrs. Huxtable? Missing. And the total number of Black folks was still less than White folks.

I was glad to see some retired gang members out and working to save the next generation. Doing the hard work of modeling behavior that keeps kids alive. Putting the lie to the belief that the Black community

is indifferent to its suffering. That it does nothing. Here were hard and dangerous men that had been groomed by our mass incarceration binge into even harder and more dangerous men. They put that all aside because they want to help others avoid what they had been through.

Lots of kids with weird haircuts and Honda tires stretching their earlobes. Work boots and Converse All-Stars as far as the eye can see. Aging liberals still following the dream etched in their mind by the Summer of Love. A few anarchists. More than a few LGBT focused folks. And, I’m happy to say, representatives from the Universalist Church in the town where we get our mail. (Hey, in Upstate New York we take progress where we find it)

All outraged enough to come to town and march. To say that Black Lives Matter. Unconditionally. And that there is a problem when our systems don’t recognize that fact. A problem that leads to pain and terror and blood and death. Just another lesson those aging liberals learned from the time of the Summer of Love.

White folks embracing the fact that before All Lives Matter, Black Lives (must) Matter. And working for that. Showing that in a highly segregated, small town in a rapidly conservative part of the state, we aren’t divided when it comes to basic humanity. There was one vocal counter-protestor AND one drive-by shouter. That was it. Everyone else was, if not supportive, at least not actively hostile.

What don’t you see? No overt hostile police presence. The only officers visible were those providing traffic control. No riot gear. No lines. No military vehicles or equipment. Not visible anywhere. They were there. Unseen but there. Down most side streets, a Blue Ford Econoline 15 Passenger van sat idling. The windows were all tinted and it was difficult to see in. As I walked by one of them on the way to my car, I saw the SWAT officers. All wearing body armor and armed with assault rifles. All prepared but unseen. Public protected. Order maintained. But without provocation or penis-measuring from either side.

And, so peace.

The next time someone tells you “we are divided” OR that “most White Americans are FTDBBLM that view BLM with fear or hate,” and they will, take a look through the photos from this march. Then get out your rainbow umbrella.

And know hope.


  • Eliot