What Would Frank Say Today?

I took this picture of Frank Zappa at The Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh in 1974. He was a musical genius but by the time he died in 1993 was also a political activist. Throughout 1988 he had voter registration booths at his concerts.He even considered running for president of the United States as an independent.

I can’t help but wonder what he would say about today’s climate of partisan politics and religious fervor. As an activist and atheist his voice is missed in the national debate but his music lives on.

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© Richard Burke 1973-2012

Frank Zappa Pittsburgh Civic Area

Tuesdays With Toomey–Stress Release Civics

I don’t usually write political posts and this one is more of a civics post than a political one. A lot of progressive and moderate people in the United States are feeling anxious. One way to deal with that anxiety is to DO SOMETHING!

Every Tuesday in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and other Pennsylvania cities people gather in front of Senator Pat Toomey’s offices to engage in non-violent protest. Pat Toomey is Pennsyvania’s conservative Senator.

Being involved helps to relieve the anxiety. Contributing helps you to feel invloved and more hopeful when you are with others that share your points of view. No matter what your beliefs please get involved. The tragedy of the last election was that 46 percent of Americans didn’t vote. Apathy kills democracy. Get involved and for god’s sake VOTE!

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Smithsonian Candidate #3…From The Speaker’s Balcony

I am thinking of entering the Smithsonian Photo Contest even though I have zero chance of winning. I say that not to denigrate my ability as a photographer, but each category already has over 50,000 entries. Sure a lot of them are crap but some, well follow the link above and see for yourself. Also you can only submit work from 1/1/2016 until the present and all works with people must have a model release.

If you are familiar with any of my work (e.g. Moment and Souls) you probably realize I don’t have a lot of model releases.

Fortunately I do have some images that may qualify in other categories and will be publishing some here to see if you feel they quality. Please comment and let me know your thoughts. This was taken from The Speakers Balcony of The Us Capitol. It kind of reflects the mood of the country.

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From The Speakers Balcony

Nancy Reagan

I never really paid any attention to Nancy Reagan while she was in The White House. All I thought I knew about her was that she was an empty headed actress that was in Donovan’s Brain, a movie I liked back in the day. Not too much was expected from FLOTUS back then, we all knew nobody could be better than Eleanore Roosevelt after all.

I gained some respect for her after the White House and the way she took care of her husband who had progressed far in to dementia. I saw this on Air Force One in the Reagan Library. Maybe she was also a decent First Lady after all?

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Aboard Air Force One

Welcoming 2018

I try to keep my blog free of politics and full of pictures and personal observations. Last year I allowed myself to rant a little about the previous year with my New Years post. I was truly upset about fascism in The United States and still am. However I realized talk is cheap and contrary to the mission I set for this blog. I have over 2000 followers and they don’t visit to listen to me rant.

So this year I just offer you this amazingly sweet and delicious torte and wish you the best for a Healthy and Happy 2018! This was waiting for us in our hotel In Milan Italy when we arrived in 2009.

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Happy New Year

Civility and Politics

I don’t usually comment or post about politics on this blog. In the last six years of writing this blog my political posts have only been a plea for people to get out and vote. Once again I encourage people do so. I will not be in the United States for most of the time leading up to the election. THANK GOD! Elections have always been contentious but this year has set a new low. We can blame it on the candidates but it is not really their fault.

Society is more polarized and angry that it has been since the Vietnam war and our political landscape is merely a reflection of how fractious and divided the United States has become. I have always felt guilty for the way we disrespected those who returned from the war in Vietnam but now the pendulum has swung the other way and if you don’t worship the flag and display your love of country many think you are not American. I yearn for simpler times when politicians were less controlled by lobbyists and Americans were less judgmental of each other’s actions but I recognize those times have passed. We are encouraged by social media to have an opinion about everything and correct and judge each other.

I realize like Roland Deschain that the world has moved on and I struggle to move with it. Once again i encourage you to vote and not to be discouraged. I know many people don’t even register to vote for silly reasons like they don’t want to serve on a jury or their religion prevents them from voting. So a nation that preaches democracy to the rest of the world and feels it has the right to take democracy to all has one of the lowest voter turnouts of any nation. This is shameful.

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Ted Kennedy and George McGovern  in Pittsburgh 1972

Ted Kennedy and George McGovern in Pittsburgh 1972

Scenic Views Candidate #2–View From The Speaker’s Gallery

I am going to be posting images that I may have posted before with a candidate # thereby collecting a list of what I feel would be likely candidates to print for a gallery show of new images of only digital photography. Right now I am reviewing images that are scenic in nature. This is Washington D.C. as seen from The Speaker’s Balcony of the U.S. Capitol

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Candidate #2--The Speaker's Balcony