10 Questions to Test your Poetry Knowledge by My Poetic Side

Attendees at the rally
Photo credit: Jeanne Finley


Telling the Story of Two of Our Albany Political Prisoners

Portraits of Injustice:
Yassin Aref and
Mohammed Hossain
August 2017 –
13 Years Later

“There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.” ~ Montesquieu

by Jeanne Finley

Banner made in honor of Yassin Aref by Max Grieshaber. Photo credit: Jeanne Finley

August 4 marked the 13th anniversary of the arrests of Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain, two Albany Muslims who were arrested in 2004 and convicted in 2006 of terrorism after a phony “sting” operation. To commemorate the date, a coalition of activist groups held a rally, march, dinner, and panel discussion. Each year since the men’s convictions, the Muslim Solidarity Committee and Project SALAM have sponsored such an event so the community will not forget the men, their families, and the injustice done to all of them—and to us. This year we were joined in sponsorship by the Capital Region chapter of NCPCF and the Capital District Coalition Against Islamophobia, but representatives from several other peace and justice groups participated too.

Photo credit: Carl Strock


We started with a rally at the Masjid As-Salam on Central Ave., where Yassin was the imam (farther down Central Ave. was where Mohammed, a founding masjid member, ran his small pizza shop). Shamshad Ahmad, masjid president, addressed the crowd of nearly 100. Naturally once the march got underway, it began to rain. We planned to go only two blocks, to the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, but when we arrived everyone was pretty soaked (including cameras).

(Note: The photo at right was taken in front of Masjid As-Salam just before the rally began. Jeanne Finley is on the left. The man is Salah Muhiddin, Yassin’s oldest son.)

As soon as we arrived, of course the rain stopped. Thus we were grateful for a good dinner and for the peach pie dessert—which came with a story told by its originator, Michael Rice, a longtime supporter of Aref and Hossain. Michael planted a peach tree in 2007 at his farm in honor of the men. This year for the first time the tree promised peaches at harvest time—11 of them. Another supporter, Barbara Chapman Dworkin from the Interfaith Alliance, brought peach pies to note this hopeful sign––enough for second helpings for everyone.

L-R: Steve Downs, Carl Strock, Kathy Manley, Lynne Jackson. Photo credit: Jeanne Finley


The panel discussion, titled “Telling the Story of Two of Our Albany Political Prisoners,” featured attorney Steve Downs, who spoke about the necessity of community and how support for our Muslim community in particular is more important than ever.

Kathy Manley, Esq., Yassin’s appeal attorney and NCPCF Legal Director, spoke about the details of the case and how it violated the men’s rights, from the use of secret evidence to the judge’s “targeting instruction” to the jury – (“The government had good and valid reasons for targeting Mr. Aref, but that should not be a concern of yours.”)

Carl Strock, former columnist with the (Schenectady) Daily Gazette, spoke from a journalist’s perspective; he attended the trial, wrote several columns deploring the case up to and including sentencing day, and later received (along with his editors) a visit from the the FBI and the U.S. Attorney, who complained about the “intellectual dishonesty” of his writing.

Lynne Jackson, a community activist, described the effect of the trial on the men’s families and spoke passionately about the community’s response to the case. And Abuhamza Hossain, Mohammed Hossain’s oldest son, who at age 12 became the family’s media spokesman, was eloquent as he described his family’s resilience and hope through these long years of Mohammed’s absence. Questions, comments, and some emotional observations followed the panel.

Yassin will be released next year, in October; Mohammed’s release date is October 2020. We will continue to hold a remembrance event on August 4 every year until both men are free!

Note: For more photos of the event, click here.
___________________________________________________________
NCPCF Mission
Established in October 2010, the NCPCF is a coalition of national and local organizations as well as prominent individuals, whose mission is: To educate the public about the erosion of civil liberties and political freedoms in society; to provide legal advocacy and support for prisoners within the U.S. criminal justice system and their families targeted after 9/11; and to defend and preserve the rights of all people according to the U.S. Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Geneva Conventions

Reprinted, with permission, from the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms


The first time I became really aware with Glen Campbell was when he became the host of something called the Summer Brothers Smother Show, the summer replacement for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in late June through early September 1968. It even featured the Smothers’ Presidential “candidate” Pat Paulsen. I watched it and liked it.

He had already had a couple crossover hits: Gentle on My Mind was penned by John Hartford, a regular on the show. By the Time I Get To Phoenix was written, as many of Glen’s recordings were, by Jimmy Webb. Plus he had a couple country hits.

Then he starred in the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour from January 1969 to June 1972, which I also viewed. It coincided with more hits such as Wichita Lineman, which has possibly THE most romantic couplet in pop music. Also Galveston, the Texas city I visited in 1995 or 1996 and kept singing in my head.

Sometime around this time, I learned that he had filled in for Brian Wilson on the Beach Boys tours for six months in the 1960s, and I thought that was cool.

I never saw him in the movie TRUE GRIT with John Wayne, for which the Duke won an Oscar. And I stopped paying attention to him as he went through what my buddy Johnny Bacardi called “his excessive wild man ’70s and ’80s-up phases, coke, and Tanya Tucker and all that nonsense.” But like Johnny, I learned he was part of the legendary Wrecking Crew of session musicians, and I developed a huge, newfound respect for him.

In this 2007 interview, Glen Campbell discusses his forgetfulness, which he attributed to his wild lifestyle of the past. But in 2011, it was announced that he had Alzheimer’s disease.

Then he, along with three of his six children, went on one final tour, recorded for the documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, which I thought was extraordinary.

On Facebook, Jimmy Webb wrote: “I watched him in awe executing his flawless rendition of ‘“The William Tell Overture’ on his classical guitar in his Vegas show. Jazz he loved. He claimed he learned the most about playing the guitar from Django Reinhardt.”

Glen Campbell died at the age of 81. Here’s an interview with Alice Cooper talking about his late good friend.

Listen to

Turn Around Look at Me, pop #62 in 1961, his first charted hit
Brenda, the B-side

Gentle on My Mind, pop #62 in 1967, #39 in 1968; country #30 in 1967, #44 in 1968

By the Time I Get To Phoenix, pop #26, country #2 in 1968

Wichita Lineman, pop #3, country #1 for two weeks
“And I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time.” – Jimmy Webb

Galveston, pop #4, country #1 for three weeks in 1969

Rhinestone Cowboy, pop #1 for two weeks, country #1 for three weeks, his signature song

Some Dustbury links, including Adios, recorded in 2015 but released in July 2017.

Lynn Mabry, Sheila E., Rebecca Jade who I’ll get to see perform soon

Young Troy filmmakers document Hudson River pollution

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Alex Jones and Stephen Miller

ACLU to Coal Baron Targeting John Oliver: “You Can’t Sue People for Being Mean to You, Bob”

The Ugly History of Stephen Miller’s ‘Cosmopolitan’ Epithet and White House Accuses French Woman of Spreading Pro-Immigration Propaganda (satire)

The 7 Most Mind-Boggling Moments From That Wall Street Journal Interview

He has built a White House that will only attract the worst

The Victim Of His Own Incompetence (from Red State!)

A Chilling Theory on Nonstop Lies

Why The SCARIEST NUCLEAR THREAT May Be Coming From INSIDE The White House

Call for police brutality is no joke

’80S DRUG WAR NOSTALGIA

His first media controversy – it happened in 1980

Checkpoint, U.S.A.: Crossing the border into Trump’s America

Living with a nuclear North Korea

Cabinet Secretaries Attend Bible Study Led by Pastor ‘Not Biblically Qualified for Spiritual Leadership’

Ivanka is part of the problem in the White House

From the end of June: Salary info for White House aides

Appointment Of Beaker As White House Communications Director Draws High Praise

Social justice: The Bible tells me so

Foxconn’s corporate welfare deal will cost Wisconsin taxpayers more than 3 billion dollars. No, I’m not moving from upstate New York

What a dump: Beyond the Forest (1949) with Bette Davis; Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf (1966) with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton

What film features DJT and Anthony Scaramucci in cameo roles? Wall Street II: Money Never Sleeps

The 8 Worst Presidents in U.S. History, excluding the incumbent

Maybe we need a new word for ‘offended’

Being rich wrecks your soul. We used to know that

Michelle Obama on the racism and sexism she endured as the nation’s first lady

Don Baylor, who was an MVP player and person has died at the age of 68

Dick Locher, Pulitzer Prize-winning Tribune cartoonist, dies at 88

Green Corn Rebellion (Oklahoma, August 1917)

Periodic Table of Technology teaches about science and technology by showing how elements are used in everyday tech-use

Now I Know: The Very Lost Wallet and Why Barns are Red and The Number That’s Illegal to Share and Why We Wake Up With Crusty Eyes and The Poop Collector

MUSIC

For sale on eBay: heaps of classical records, courtesy NYS. I actually bid three or four times on this, getting up to $150. I was only slightly overbid – the winning offer was $1,125 But because I almost never use my eBay, the company has “reason to believe” that my “eBay account has been used fraudulently”.

The Glamorous Life – Sheila E.

Sweet Mother – Prince Nico Mbarga

Coyote – Joni Mitchell: studio version and from The Last Waltz, song about Sam Shepard

I Made A Fool Of Myself Over John Foster Dulles – Carol Burnett

Liar – Three Dog Night

Angels of Fenway- James Taylor

Wipeout – Sina

The Liquidator – Harry J All Stars

Barbara Cook, Tony Award-Winning Actress And Singer, Dies At 89

Rolling Stones Won’t Be Outdone by Beatles “Sgt Pepper” Box: Anniversary Edition “Satanic Majesties Request” on the Way – but why?

LesGreen.sweaterThis is unprofound: one’s age is frozen in time when one dies. Dad was 26 when I was born, so he was mostly in his 30s and 40s when I was growing up, in his 50s and 60s,when I visited him when he and mom and the “baby” sister moved to Charlotte, NC from Binghamton, NY.

But he was never young, a boy or in his teens or early twenties, at least not in my self-centered reckoning. This picture I don’t remember, and I don’t know how old he was. But I think I remember the sweater. It was a forest green sweater, and it was cream-colored, rather than white. Or so I recall.

He used to paint trees, but they were almost always barren, often in wintertime.

He was a month and a half shy of 74 Read the rest of this entry »

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