Friday, September 28, 2007

Anne Feeney's Fellow Travelers' Advisory -OCTOBER 2007, VOLUME THREE, #7

Anne Feeney's Fellow Travelers' Advisory - OCTOBER 2007, VOLUME THREE, #7


Cincinnati, OH
Lexington, KY
Louisville, KY
Terre Haute, IN
De Kalb, IL
Champaign, IL
Milwaukee, WI
Madison, WI
Luck, WI
Minneapolis, MN
Lake City, MN
Winona, MN
Iowa City, IA
Grinnell, IA
Lafayette, IN

and then

New York, NY
Erie, PA
Indiana, PA
Split Rock, PA
Charleston, WV
Portland, OR
Atlanta, GA
Fort Benning, GA

If you know anyone who lives in any of these places, please tell them about the shows -- and if YOU live in any of these places... I hope to see you at the show!

(specific details at the end of this post, and continuously updating at

Welcome to the October issue of the Fellow Travelers' Advisory, my once-a-month update to enthusiasts of progressive music, news and opinion.

Thanks for staying in touch with me, and in many cases, presenting me, hosting me in your home, buying my CDs, coming to my shows, sending me cool photos... You make my life and my work possible. I hope you'll forward this widely and reply with some news of your own.

October is a many-miles-month, most of them with my wonderful pal from Riotfolk, Evan Greer. If you live in the midwest, keep your eye out for us in the next few weeks. And check out Evan's website or myspace page

and at my myspace page you can get a sneak preview of my recording of one of Evan's songs (Ya Basta!) that will be on my new CD "Dump the Bosses Off Your Back," (if I ever get the money to finish it.)

Thanks for reading!

Love and solidarity



National Health Care NOW!!


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Come to Ireland with me!


The tourdates are set...

Tour Number 1 *** June 10 - 19

Tour Number 2 *** Aug 15 - 24

Tour Number 3 *** Sept 30 - October 9

and the seats are filling fast! I'd love to show you the wonderful west coast of Ireland in 2008. My partner, Tom Piggott and I promise you the best scenery, the best music ... a chance to see the very best of Ireland. Tom has been conducting these fabulous tours of Ireland for many years, and together we'll give you the experience of a lifetime!

The $1750 cost of the tour INCLUDES all accommodations (usually small hotels), breakfasts, ground transportation (in a comfy tourbus), three evening meals and admission to numerous points of interest, as well as stipends for our poets, historians and musicians.

The $1750 does NOT include your transportation to Ireland, the other evening meals, lunches, snacks, pints of Guinness (optional, but highly recommended!), tips, etc.

After my tour of Ireland in September of 2006, I can attest that this is a terrific bargain for what you'll get... and you folks on my mailing list are incredibly cool... I can't wait to introduce you to each other!

These will be tours focusing on Irish music, poetry, politics and history. We'll have a ball. I can only take 20 people on each tour. If you'd like more information, reply to this newsletter and request all the details...



Thanks to my friend Jerry Tucker for his astute analysis of what's going on at GM. I have borrowed liberally from an article he wrote here:

I'm sad to see that the UAW will probably place the future health care protection of hundreds of thousands of UAW retired members under a union run Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association, or VEBA. It's a landmark concession to shift the burden of risk to the retired workers and their families and release General Motors from its commitment to the full and perpetual coverage of healthcare for the workers who built the wealth of the corporation in the first place.

That a VEBA can be dangerous is well documented. My retired UAW friends covered by a VEBA at Caterpillar can painfully vouch for that. Their VEBA went bust and they now have thousands of dollars in unanticipated out-of-pocket costs per year for reduced health care protection.

VEBA’s allow the companies to wash their hands of retiree health care. If things don’t go according to ‘plan’, it will be the UNION who has to tell retirees to drain their life savings to pay for medical care. It goes against everything a union is supposed to stand for.

The Big 3 clamor to relieve themselves of the cost of retiree health care may be applauded by Wall Street and the investor class, but unions have a different responsibility and a different constituency. By going the VEBA route the parties will have missed a historic opportunity to inject their significant political clout in the growing push for a national health care system in this country patterned after the Canadian ‘Medicare for All’ system. That’s a system that each company acknowledges has leveled the competitiveness playing field for them there.

From the start, this round of negotiations was projected by the media to be about what autoworkers could do—meaning give up—to help the domestic auto manufacturers out of the ‘competitiveness’ hole they’d dug themselves into. Yet GM showed a profit last quarter of $891 million as reported July 31, 2007 in Market Watch and their stock is soaring. There are a number of worker concessions in the tentative agreement which unfairly penalize workers and their families for management’s design failures.

It's a sad day for working people if this turns out to be the "best" that UAW members at GM can get.



My three weeks in Sweden were so great... I had some terrific gigs... It's unbelievable, but little Smedjebacken where I live in Sweden is now host to a fabulous performance space and restaurant... Cafe Tellus, run by Anna and Ziggy and Madeleine, would be cool in Seattle, but to find it out in the Swedish countryside is awesome.

They got great publicity for the gigs... links and photos at

The Johann Ahlbeck Days in Smedjebacken are spent honoring artists whose work is in the tradition of labor artist Johann Ahlbeck. The art show at Gamla Meken featured Julie's work along with several other very talented visual artists. Troubadour Fred Lane, a very engaging and talented Brit living in Sweden for the past 35 years, provided the entertainment. I was invited to sing a couple songs from BURIED.

I returned again to perform at the wonderful labor education center at Brunnsvik ... Jonathan Byrd's fabulous "Telephone" song was a huge hit there, and everywhere on the tour. I can't wait to sing it for you when I get to your neighborhood.

My visit to the Waldorf school - Johannaskolan - in Orebro put me in touch with an ex-pat from Nevada City ... Bill Herold... Like me, it's love crazy love that's brought Bill to Sweden and he and his sambo (that's the Swedish word for your domestic partner, pronounced SAHM-boo) Linda are expecting a baby this month. My old NJ pal Dan Rosenblum's sister-in-law teaches at Johannaskolan... She was sick the night of the show, but I met her husband Frank... It's a small world, all right.

I played at a demonstration against privatization in Stockholm, where about 10,000 people assembled in Segels Torg ... Sweden gets more like the US every day... this huge demonstration, one of the biggest in years in Stockholm, got about 2 square inches of coverage n page 12 of the major Swedish newspaper, Dagens Nyheter - and that included a picture!

It's hard to pick a favorite gig on any tour, but the Gothenburg show was amazing. Well over 100 people gathered to hear me and the Labor Chorus in concert, raising funds for a school for disabled Palestinian children's school in Gaza. We raised almost $2500 ... sang lots of great songs ... and the next day our hosts, Bosse and Inger, took me and Julie sailing on the Gothenburg archipelago with their friends Anders and Vera. To sweeten things, my dear friend Gerd Berlev came up from Copenhagen for the show. She and her husband will come with me on the June trip to Ireland.

Gothenburg photos:

All in all it was a great tour of Sweden. Julie comes to me now on October 20th... I can't wait.


NATIONAL HEALTH CARE NOW!! - HR 676 - accept no substitutes...

(All you lucky Swedes, Danes, Canadians and... well, the rest of the industrialized world... can skip this section...)

It's so depressing to see Clinton, Obama and Edwards all trying to cobble some crazy health care scheme that allows the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry to retain their obscene profits, and no doubt opens the door to even larger profits and lousier health care for us. Our government should be concerned with delivering quality health care to us, and prosecuting the gouging, profiteering and unscrupulous practices of big insurance and big pharma - not trying to make 'partners' out of them.

The only sensible thing for the US to do is to expand Medicare coverage to all Americans... (and get rid of the recently enacted stupid drug plan that put billions into the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry and left our parents and grandparents bewildered and out-of-pocket!)

HR676 is the legislation that will deliver quality health care to all Americans. Check out this video by the folks exposing Schwarzenegger's latest health care fiasco:

and get a copy of my "National Health Care Now!!" song at

and here's a great article about health care by Rose Ann De Moro of the California Nurses Association:



The Orionid Meteor Shower

The annual Orionid Meteor Shower will provide another fine display of celestial fireworks for skywatchers during the early morning hours of October 21st. The window of opportunity for having a dark sky in which to see these “shooting stars” occurs soon after the 9-day-old Moon goes down around 1:30 a.m. EDT and before the Sun comes up. So plan to head to bed early the night before and set your alarm accordingly; losing some sleep to get up in the wee hours for a meteor watch will definitely be well worth it!

Given clear skies on the morning of October 21st, observers will be treated to one of the year’s most reliable displays of shooting stars — the Orionids. Peak activity occurs around 5 a.m. EDT, with as many as 25 meteors an hour being visible under good conditions. While not one of the richer showers, it’s radiant (the point from which the meteors appear to “shoot”) is located in a glorious part of the heavens — that of magnificent Orion! The actual point lies between Betelgeuse in the Hunter’s shoulder and (this year) nearby Mars, with both sentries glowing a brilliant ruddy-orange in hue.

Observing shooting stars is basically a naked-eye activity in order to canvass as large an area of sky as possible. Meteors are typically best-seen some distance from the radiant itself, so facing in its direction and looking overhead gives the best results. (And reclining on a lawn chair certainly helps while doing so!) However, use of your binoculars from Edmund Scientific is also encouraged for following the fascinating drifting “smoke” trails (or trains) left by many of the brighter meteors. The Orionids are known for being very swift and for leaving trains behind them, so having a quick reaction-time is a real asset here!

At moonset on the 21st, Orion will already be high in the southeast and meteoric activity will increase throughout the early morning as the radiant continues to rise higher in the sky. But there’s also another more significant factor at play here. During the evening hours we’re on the side of the Earth “facing away” from the direction the meteors are coming and they have to “catch up” to us. But after midnight we’re turned into the direction of the radiant, causing the meteors to slam into the atmosphere at much higher speeds — resulting in many more of them being seen, and those that are seen to generally be brighter and more spectacular. So observing the Orionids in the early hours of the morning is doubly justified this year, with waiting for the Moon to set and for peak activity to occur before the Sun comes up.

As a point of interest, meteor showers result from our “Spaceship Earth” circling the Sun and running into streams of debris each year left behind by various comets in their orbits. In the case of the Orionids, their source is perhaps the most famous of all such objects — none other than Halley’s Comet itself!

–James Mullaney
Former assistant editor at Sky & Telescope magazine and author of five books on stargazing


This month's belly laugh is a photo posted on my blog.. here's the link



October birthdays -
6th - Dan Berlin (28), Maureen Metcalfe, Jennifer McCahill

8th - Casey Horne (13!)

16th - Bill Feeney, Jill Weldon Merrill, Steve Merrill

Mary Grefenstette turned 60 on September 11th and her husband helped her to celebrate by flying her to Paris to meet him! How romantic!

Karen McCahill is now an official East coaster... She's settled into Brooklyn to be close to her three adorable grandsons!

Monique Murad is back from her summer of study in Damascus. She's job hunting now.

Sara Seder Berlin, devoted grandma to my kids, died on September 22nd after a year of declining health. She was 87 and much loved.


It was so much fun to reconnect with my "best friend of 1955," Janet Whitfield. The Whitfields lived next door to us from 1953-1955, then moved to San Diego. While I was performing there last August, I took a chance and looked for her in the phone book, and after 52 years we met for dinner along with her sister Carol.

When I got back to Pittsburgh, I found some great photos of us, which I've posted on my blog.

Jackie Alper

My friend and mentor Jackie Alper died on September 6th at the age of 86. Her "Mostly Folk" show aired for more than 25 years on WRPI was legendary in the Albany/Schenectady area and beyond. She was my frequent host in the area when I was on tour. She was a great gal and a cherished friend.

As her health declined dear friends in the area made extraordinary efforts to help Jackie keep her independence. Finally she relocated to a nursing home in western Massachusetts near her daughter Jaye.

There will be a memorial concert in her honor in December.



Friday, September 28th, 2007 6:00 PM
PA Labor History Society Awards Dinner
Letter Carriers' Hall
California Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Price: $40
Mike Stout and I will be receiving the Mother Jones Award at this year's annual PALHS gathering.

Concert with Anne Feeney and Mike Stout
Sassie Marie's (former James St Tavern)
James & Foreland
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Price: $10
I'll be doing the first half of the evening at this exciting new venue...

Sunday, September 30th, 2007 10:30 AM
Music for UU Service
Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church
416 W North Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
KikiPMA(@) is my contact for this.

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007 8:00 PM
Music for Troublemakers with Anne Feeney and Joe Jencks
Off the Avenue Studios
1546 Knowlton St
Cincinnati, OH
Price: $10-20 suggested

Thursday, October 4th, 2007 8:00 PM
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth present Anne Feeney In Concert
Natasha's Cafe
112 Esplanade
Lexington, KY

Price: $10-20 suggested

Friday, October 5th, 2007 8:00 PM
Anne Feeney in Concert with John Gage!
Central Presbyterian Church
4th St & Kentucky Ave
Louisville, KY
Price: $8-20 suggested
Walter and Kay Tillow are organizing this show, which benefits Kentuckians for Single Payer Healthcare and PNHP-KY

Saturday, October 6th, 2007 2:00 PM
Anti-War Demonstration
Court House
Terre Haute, IN
Cathy McGuire is the contact

Saturday, October 6th, 2007 6:00 PM
The Annual Eugene V Debs Award Dinner Honoring Barbara Ehrenreich
Indiana State University
Terre Haute, IN

Sunday, October 7th, 2007 7:00 PM
Anne Feeney in Concert with special guest Evan Greer
Unitarian Church
158 N Fourth St
DeKalb, IL 60115
Price: $10-20 suggested
dan kenney is the contact dkenney53(@)

Monday, October 8th, 2007 8:00 PM
Jobs with Justice presents Anne Feeney & The Ornery Duffers
Independent Media Center
Champaign, IL
Price: $10-20 suggested
as always, no one is turned away for lack of funds - Evan Greer will be joining the Ornery Duffers as a special treat!

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007 7:00 PM
Anne Feeney and Evan Greer in Concert with special guests The Prince Myshkins
Hubbard Park Lodge
3565 North Morris Boulevard
Milwaukee, WI
Price: $10-20 suggested

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007 8:00 PM
Thistle presents
Madison, WI
call 412.877.6480 to find out if this happens

Thursday, October 11th, 2007 7:30 PM
Anne Feeney and Evan Greer in Concert
Cafe Wren
596 State Rd 35
Luck, WI 54853
Price: $5-15
we'll be passing the hat for the Anathoth Education center fund -- check out their website and bring a generous donation for this wonderful community doing such great work in Wisconsin...

Friday, October 12th, 2007 8:00 PM
Anne Feeney House Concert with special guest Evan Greer
Larry Olds' House
3322 15th Ave S (upstairs)
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Price: $10-20 suggested
email Larry at larryolds(@) to reserve a seat. We'll be passing the hat for School of the Americas Watch to help finance transportation for the MN delegation... bring your checkbook!

Saturday, October 13th, 2007 7:00 PM
Anne Feeney in Concert with Evan Greer!
The Art Center
228 East Fifth Street
Winona, MN 55987
Price: $5-15 suggested
alex is the contact

Sunday, October 14th, 2007 2:00 PM
Folk Forum Concert - Anne Feeney with Evan Greer!
Oak Center
Route 1, Box 52BB
Lake City, MN 55041
Price: $15 suggested

Monday, October 15th, 2007 8:30 PM
Grinnell College SGA Concerts Committee presents Anne Feeney and Evan Greer in Concert
Bob's Underground Cafe at Grinnell College
6th Ave & East St
Grinnell, IA
Price: free, all ages, public welcome
Bob's Underground Cafe is located in the basement of Main Hall which is
at the corner of 6th Ave & East St.

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007 6:00 PM
Anne Feeney with special guest Evan Greer
401 S. GILBERT ST (at Court Street)
Iowa City, IA
Price: $10-20 sliding scale
No one is ever turned way for lack of funds, of course.
Email: and jamie
Uptown Bill's is in downtown Iowa City. It's a nonprofit "mall" owned and operated by people with disabilities.

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007 7:00 PM
Anne Feeney with special guest Evan Greer
IBEW Local 668
Lafayette, IN
(765)742-9077 - extension: 231

Friday, October 19th, 2007 8:00 PM
All for One: A Concert to Celebrate the Life and Work of Julius Margolin
Local 1199 SEIU Auditorium
310 W 43rd St
New York, NY
Price: $12-20 suggested
The concert will feature Julius Margolin (health permitting) and George Mann, Elise Bryant, emma's revolution (Pat Humphries and Sandy O.), Anne Feeney,
Jon Fromer, Evan Greer, Francisco Herrera, the New York City Labor Chorus. This concert will pay tribute to and celebrate Julius's life as an activist and unionist. Proceeds will go to a scholarship fund being set up to help bring young unionists to the annual Great Labor Arts Exchange and the Western Workers Labor Heritage Festival. Doors open and reception at 7 PM; concert at 8 PM. The hall is located between 8th and 9th Avenues, just one block from Port Authority building and the A, C, E train stop at 42nd St.

Thursday, October 25th, 2007 10:30 AM
The Industrial North: The Future of Jobs, Productivity and Community
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Indiana, PA

Thursday, October 25th, 2007 6:00 PM
Erie Crawford Labor Council
Erie, PA
Roseanne Barker

Friday, October 26th, 2007 6:00 PM
AFSCME District 86 Conference
Split Rock Resort
Lake Harmony, PA
Liz Long, Education Director
AFSCME Council 13, AFL-CIO
4031 Executive Park Drive
Harrisburg, PA 17111
1 - 7170 561-7066 is the contact

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007 8:00 PM
Anne Feeney in Concert
Unitarian Universalist Congregation
520 Kanawha Blvd W
Charleston, WV
Price: $7-12 suggested

Friday, November 9th, 2007 1:00 PM
Pacific Northwest Labor Arts Festival Retreat
Bonneville Hot Springs
Portland, OR
This festival is sponsored by the NW Oregon Labor Council and others. More details soon. Jim Cook of General Strike is co-ordinating it

Saturday, November 10th, 2007 12:00 PM
Pacific Northwest Labor Arts Festival
Portland State University
Portland, OR

Sunday, November 11th, 2007 8:00 PM
Pacific Northwest Labor Arts Festival Retreat
Bonneville Hot Springs

Thursday, November 15th, 2007 8:00 PM
Benefit Concert for SOAW
Eyedrum Gallery
290 MLK Drive, SE
Atlanta, GA 30312
with a distinguished cast ... more details soon.

Friday, November 16th - Sunday November 18th, 2007
SOAWatch Vigil
School of the Americas
Fort Benning, GA


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Photos from the Fall 2007 Tour of Sweden

sailing on the Gothenburg archipelago with Anders, Vera, Bosse and Inger

Singing "War on the Workers," "Who's the Criminal?" and "The Internationale" with the labor chorus in Gothenburg

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Next Door Neighbors 1955

Left to Right: back, Florence Moser, Carol Whitfield, front, me, Carole McCracken and Janet Whitfield

I've gotta wonder why Florence was wearing the bathing cap.. that pool can't be more than 4 inches deep... but on those hot August days in Pittsburgh, anything wet was a blessed relief.

Janet Whitfield and I in her back yard in 1955

Shortly after this photo was taken, Janet and Carol (and their sister Judy) moved to San Diego. I imagined them going to Disneyland every day after school. I hadn't seen or heard from them since then, but on a lark, looked up Whitfield in the San Diego phone book while I was out doing BURIED.

To my amazement, the J Whitfield in the phone book was my friend Janet. She, Carol and I had dinner that evening (although none of us remembered to take a camera!)

I went home from San Diego and found these photos. ahhhhh... memories.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Cool articles in Swedish newspapers!

I'm performing this evening at a very sweet new arts space in Smedjebacken. TellUs is a coffeehouse-restaurant-cultural club that is presenting me tonight. We had a sold-out house before these very nice articles appeared.

The photographers took these photos of me and Julie at the press conference yesterday. Autumn has already arrived in Smedjebacken, but it was still nice enough to be outdoors yesterday afternoon. I'm looking forward to tonight's show.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


My friend Hilary Chiz of USW took this photo of me and her mother - Bertha K. Luks, from Birmingham, Alabama (the "Pittsburgh of the South"). Her mom is much older than she looks and just amazing. She stood there serenely in the blistering heat through over an hour of speeches....

The photo shows us standing on the newly-dedicated Phillip Murrray Bridge. Phil Murray and my granddad, William Patrick Feeney, were contemporaries. Murray emigrated to the US from Scotland the same year that my granddad set sail from England. They both worked the mines. They both became organizers. Phil Murray formed the Steelworkers' Organizing Committee, and became the first President of the United Steelworkers of America.

My grandfather served one term in the Pennsylvania legislature (1908-1910), where he introduced the first mine safety bill in America. The law didn't pass during his term in office, but was subsequently reintroduced in every session until it passed in the 1930s. The governor of Pennsylvania invited my granddad to the signing of that piece of legislation and gave him the pen.

Phil Murray and my grandfather were lead organizers during the Great Steel Strike of 1919. I have a picture of the two of them and Mother Jones waiting to address a rally.

Happy Labor Day!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Anne Feeney's Fellow Travelers' Advisory - SEPTEMBER 2007, VOLUME THREE, #6

Thanks for checking out my blog, coming to my shows & buying my recordings (and in many cases, hosting me at your home, forwarding this email to your friends, telling me about upcoming conferences, conventions and riots in your area)!!! I could not do this without you. You can have the Fellow Travelers' Advisory delivered to your inbox each month by visiting signing up!

If you're looking for my CDs, I recommend CDBABY

Love and Solidarity Forever this Labor Day 2007,



IMMEDIATE DESTINATIONS: (details continually updating at my website )

SWEDEN - Smedjebacken, Orebro, Stockholm, Brunsviik, Gothenburg




This morning I will join thousands of Pittsburgh labor folks and march in the Labor Day Parade. We frequently hear people say things like, "There was a time when unions were relevant and important, but now they are no longer needed."

I guess they say that because we all make a comfortable wage, work in safe workplaces, have generous vacation and family leave benefits, secure generous pension packages, real job security and comprehensive, quality health insurance benefits for ourselves and our families ... Oh, wait!! Most of us don't have ANY of those things!!!! Maybe we still need unions....

Consider the following...

Every 23 minutes a worker in the US is fired for engaging in union activity. Are the firings legal? NO. Do bosses continue to get away with it? YES Why? Because there are no real penalties for illegal firing of workers.

Every year approximately 6000 workers are killed outright on their jobs... like the Sago Miners, the Crandall Canyon Miners ... or like Eleazar Torres Gomez...

Eleazar Torres Gomez, a CINTAS employee, was working in the Tulsa laundry’s automated washroom. He was caught on a conveyor and dragged into an industrial dryer—where he was trapped in temperatures up to 300 degrees for at least 20 minutes. He died on the scene of trauma and thermal injuries. Cintas CEO Scott Farmer issued a press release blaming Mr. Torres Gomez for his own death soon after the fatality.

You can read the full story at:

Although OSHA is currently proposing a record fine of $2.78 Million against CINTAS, it is unlikely that CINTAS will ever pay even a fraction of that figure.

And every year the Department of Labor acknowledges that approximately 60,000 (SIXTY THOUSAND) American workers die from going to work... In addition to the 6000 killed outright, another 54,000 die from work related cancers, from asbestosis, silicosis, black lung, brown lung ...

Organized labor is leading the fight for safe workplaces, protecting social security, family and medical leave, medicare, immigrants' rights ... for an end to child labor, prison labor, sexual harassment, discrimination ...

And as the corporate WAR ON THE WORKERS progresses, we see our standard of living decline. Now, more than ever...




This year the PA Labor History Society is hosting its annual gathering in Pittsburgh. On September 28th my colleague and union brother MIKE STOUT and I will be presented with the MOTHER JONES award from the society.

I'm thrilled to be recognized by PALHS, which does such terrific work in keeping labor history alive and visible in Pennsylvania. Please support their work by sending a $25 contribution to:

PALHS c/o Cindy Spielman
IUP Labor Center
9 Keith Hall, 390 Pratt Dr
Indiana, PA 15705

Your name will be included in this year's commemorative program, and you'll receive a copy of the program. Please send your contribution before September 15th to insure inclusion in the program.


BURIED: The Story of the Sago Mine Disaster

Jerry Starr's wonderful play has really taken shape. Dale Morris directed a wonderful reading of the play featuring a terrific cast. The four shows in San Diego were well received and we're looking forward to productions in Boston, Detroit, Chicago and San Francisco in 2008. If you'd like to see the play, drop me a line and Jerry and I will help you to organize a production in your town.

Here's a link to a review of the show..

And I want to add what a thrill it was to perform and co-present a workshop at the USW Health, Safety and Environment Conference in Dearborn last month. I learned so much. This weeklong educational event also included a truly inspiring speech from USW President Leo Girard calling for clean technologies and our right to a job that leaves the environment better for our children and grandchildren.

Former USW Director Dave Foster's BLUE/GREEN alliance with the Sierra Club represents a promising development ... Labor partnering with environmentalists is the way to a more secure future for us all.



The tourdates are set...

Tour Number 1 *** June 10 - 19

Tour Number 2 *** Aug 15 - 24

Tour Number 3 *** Sept 30 - October 9

and the seats are filling fast! I'd love to show you the wonderful west coast of Ireland in 2008. My partner, Tom Piggott and I promise you the best scenery, the best music ... a chance to see the very best of Ireland. Tom has been conducting these fabulous tours of Ireland for many years, and together we'll give you the experience of a lifetime!

These will be tours focusing on Irish music, poetry, politics and history. We'll have a ball. I can only take 20 people on each tour. If you'd like more information, reply to this newsletter and request all the details.



Joel Walker was one of the smartest and dearest little boys I ever new. He and my son, Daniel, were inseparable for many years. Joel's sister, Rebecca, and my daughter, Amy, are very close friends. I hadn't seen Joel for a few years, but I heard he had graduated from the Pittsburgh Culinary Institute and was a great chef. I was stunned and saddened to learn that Joel was found dead in his home on August 20th.

Joel's mom, Phoebe, and step-dad Hank, his brother Ben, and sisters Rebecca and Allegra, and Joel's father, Mark could all use your prayers, good wishes and words of consolation. The family is particularly hoping for reminiscences of time spent with Joel.

If you knew Joel, or if you've experienced this kind of senseless and devastating loss, perhaps you can take a minute to extend your sympathy here:



Happy Birthdays August 31- my stepson Jonas Engstrom (26) and September 1st to my beautiful daughter Amy! Amy celebrated her 26th birthday at the Kerrville Folk Festival's "Little Folk" Wine and Music Festival.

Happy September 11th birthday to Mary O'Connor Grefenstette.

Happy September 25th birthday to my friend Mary Kerchner

Congratulations to cousin Erin Grefenstette Henninger and proud papa Mark Henninger on the arrival of daughter Marlo Mary ... a real beauty!

Cousins Mary and Tom Weldon are taking the inland passage cruise to Alaska ... what fun!

I spent 10 days at the end of last month in Guatemala with my son, Daniel. He and a group of law students from Georgetown went there to investigate the impact on Guatemalan society from our massive deportations of Guatemalan youth.

Many of these young deportees are gang members, some are just suspected gang members -- some have lived in the US for most of their lives and are returned with no money, no family and no fluency in Spanish.

Dan's group interviewed many gang members, many inmates at a maximum security prison, officials from the Department of Homeland security, Guatemalan police, and representatives of groups trying to ameliorate their transition back into Guatemalan society. Their findings will be very important, and I think, newsworthy.

I'm filled with admiration for Dan and all the dedicated young people who accompanied him on this fact-finding mission.

At the conclusion of their work, Dan and I returned to his Peace Corps site in Tejutla, which is in the high mountains of western Guatemala. It was a joy to see how happy the folks Dan worked with there were to see him return to Tejutla. The generosity of the Guatemalan people is touching.

I'm hoping my cousins send me some photos of ...
the triplets' second birthday, our vacation adventures in the Outer Banks, and lovely Ms. Marlo ... whaddya say, cousins??

SATURDAY LIGHT BRIGADE - Award Winning Public Radio for Kids & Adults

On Saturday I did a Labor Day themed performance in the beautiful new broadcast studios of the Saturday Light Brigade. I've been a fan of this show since it went on the air in 1978, and have guested many times over the years. The show has at least five station affiliates and streams live. Their shows are archived online, too.

Broadcasting from Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, The Saturday Light Brigade is a radio program featuring acoustic music and family fun. Broadcast since 1978, it is one of the longest-running public radio programs in the United. States. Quality music, on-air telephone calls from kids and adults, innovative participatory puzzles and games, and interesting guests have made The Saturday Light Brigade a family radio tradition for tens of thousands of people. Kids listen with adults, adults listen with kids, and everyone has fun listening to the radio together!

check out -- maybe you can bring this high quality family programming to your town, too!


The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is offering a new and exciting academic program: homemaking!

Southwestern Baptist, one of the nation's largest Southern Baptist seminaries, is introducing a new academic program in homemaking as part of an effort to establish what its president calls biblical family and gender roles.

It will offer a bachelor of arts in humanities degree with a 23-hour concentration in homemaking. The program is only open to women.

Of course it is. Coursework for the program includes nutrition and meal preparation, textile design and classes on "the value of a child" and the "biblical model for the home and family."

Seminary President Paige Patterson says "We are moving against the tide in order to establish family and gender roles as described in God's word for the home and the family...If we do not do something to salvage the future of the home, both our denomination and our nation will be destroyed."

I always thought nations were destroyed by war, famine or disease. Little did I know it was actually women taking classes in anything other than ironing that determines the demise of a country.

By the way, Patterson is known in Southern Baptist circles for issuing a statement saying that women shouldn't be pastors and that they should "graciously submit" to their husbands. (How one "graciously submits" is another question. Would I smile and thank him for the great honor of doing his laundry?)

Earlier this year, a former professor filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the school and Patterson--she says she was fired from her tenure-track position because she was a woman. Perhaps she didn't graciously submit. Silly girl. In fact, Patterson's wife is the only woman faculty member in Southwestern's theology school. Shocking.

Though, of course, this isn't just about Patterson. Plenty of folks at the school are behind the move to instill traditional gender roles in their students. Terri Stovall, dean of women's programs at Southwestern, said "Whether a woman works outside or strictly in the home, her first priority is her family and home...We just really want to step up and provide some of these skills." Yeah, way to step up. I'm sure women graduates will look back on their years at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and be ever-so-grateful that they spent half of their college education learning how to knit booties.