THE REAL ONE PERCENT … In 2007 that meant anyone in the U.S. earning over $424,000 a year – mostly doctors, it turns out. By 2009, thanks to Wall St.’s Great Recession, that statistic dropped to anyone making $344,000 a year … But apply that worldwide and you get quite a shock. Anyone making over $34,000 a year is part of the international One Percent … That applies to a good chunk of us Americans, who consider ourselves middle class. But according to Tami Luhby of CNN Money, the world middle class earns just $1,225 a year. Imagine a world where all the military money spent to make just us safe were redirected to making us all well-fed and sheltered and friends? Is that who I am?
NOT SO FREE PRESS … Once proud of its press freedoms, the U.S. has seen its worldwide ranking fall to 47th in the world in the wake of the national Occupy movement crackdowns, according to the latest report from Reporters Without Borders. America fell 27 points, and now lags behind Comoros and Taiwan and is on a par with Argentina and Romania.
BILL JANKLOW … The South Dakota perennial politico, whose fast-track career as Republican Governor and Congressperson was cut short in 2003 when he killed a 55-year-old farmer on a motorcycle. His speeding vehicle ran a stoplight … Janklow and I did a little dance of sorts. Somehow, while attending the American Indian Movement’s Survival Gathering near the Black Hills in 1980, I heard rumors about the Governor’s alleged rape of a Native American babysitter. Since Janklow had made his reputation prosecuting AIM protesters at the Custer County Courthouse in 1973, there was no love lost between him and the radical Indian movement … Somehow, South Dakota media learned of the rumors about the Janklow incident and connected them to me. I forget exactly how these 30 years later. I do remember getting phone calls wanting to quote me. And I explained that I’d only heard the rumors second-hand. It was hearsay. But still some alternative paper printed the story as I told it … It wasn’t fair to Janklow, because I hadn’t been able to verify the rumors. But I also wasn’t happy with the unfair bills Janklow had been signing into law in South Dakota, heavily weighted against Native Americans, and so I wasn’t unhappy with the story either … I was young then. Much more committed to causes without taking the time to do my own research. And yet the lingering rumor of what more than one Native person swore to me was true, and which would never be believed in Rapid City, offends me still … Goodbye, Bill Janklow – your kind won’t be missed, as we begin to heal the wounds of America’s own indigenous genocide.
DEWAYNE FINDLAY … According to the Dove Creek Press, the former Montezuma County Commissioner is running for office again. I liked working with DeWayne – a logger, who found a lot of areas of agreement with enviros on sustainable forest practices, and together we set up the first Tri-County South meetings with Montezuma, Dolores and San Miguel counties.
WORD SHARKS … If you’re down in Cortez this evening (Thursday, Feb. 2), catch David Feela and I scaring up poetry’s word tuna down in Montezuma County. At the Sprucetree Coffeehouse. Free.
THE TALKING GOURD Out for a walk in the woods
An acorn falls Inside a poem