Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Is the soul of hip-hop in slam poetry?

Music Poem from Saul Williams's journal from 2000 --- From "The Dead Emcee Scrolls" pg. 152

Can music change the world?
Are these simply songs to be heard
And forgotten?
When JB said, "Say it loud..."
Did that affect a shift in conciousness?
Can the music of a society
Help mold its mental state?
Can a great song affect more than the way
A musician approaches his next song?
How about the way they approach their children.
Their loved ones? Their lives?

I believe I am
A man molded by music
And my intent is to mold
To shape
These are the ways
Of a carpenter.


"The Dead Emcee Scrolls" is a challenging book by Saul Williams.

It's about where hip hop had a chance to be, and may not be reaching right now.

I am getting more into the slam poetry scene all of the time.  It speaks to me.  Language is powerful, words are powerful.

Hip-hop had a poetry to it, some does, some is misogynistic and glorifies capitalism and money.

I think some of the best of early hip-hop has become part of the slam poetry scene.  Some of it is rapped, most just spoke, a lot inbetween.

It's about the words, it's about talking about lives.

It's about talking about pain, family, redemption, gladness and sadness.

I am very proud of the Portland, Maine poetry scene.

May it continue to prosper.

Edmund (aka Ed2D2)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

We live in insane times.

So insane that someone live say Nancy Smith who works $10/hour in a McJob pays a higher combined income tax and payroll tax rate then someone who lives off interest income and is worth $100 Million Dollars.

I think current payroll taxes are around 10% for the employee; matched by 10% for the employer (this is not a perfect # just an estimate) .. Even if someone pays no income tax or very little, which is likely since 10x40hours/week = $400/week and times 52 weeks a year equals $20,800.

And many Americans make less then this all around the country.  So let's just say this person makes approximately $21,000 and pays 20% payroll taxes and no income taxes.  Of course, they only see the $2,100 in payroll taxes that are shown by their paystubs.

Let's say this person is also lucky enough to have health insurance at their job which by no means is a given in a low-wage job.

And let's say for her family it costs $100/week, which sadly is a low estimate for the cost of health insurance for a family of 4 in a low wage job.

This means that she in making $300/week.  And she is having another $40/week in payroll taxes, giving her $260/week.

Let's say beyond this she went to college for 4 semesters and didn't graduate and has $100/month in student load debt.

This is $1,200/year which is much less then most students who went to college recently pay.

So this person makes $260/week*52 weeks = $13,520 year - $1,200 for student loan debt, this person is down to $12,320 year .. or $1,026.67 a month for all expenses.

This person would require assistance just to get by with 2 kids and a husband even if he made another $1,000 a month.

And the Republican party says that simple help like food stamps for $200/month is welfare and causes dependency.


Meanwhile, Huxley Rockefeller has a $100 Million Dollar trust fund.

His trust fund is invested through a conservative hedge fund and makes 8% a year.

This gives him $8 Million a year in interest income.

This interest income I believe is taxed at 15% for capital gains equaling 1.2 Million in taxes.  But leaving $6.8 Million in income.

Mr. Rockefeller can afford excellent insurance for his family of four that costs $2,000/month which is a neglible bill that he autopays.

He also gives money to a lobbyist that keeps the capital gains tax % low and has petitioned for 0% Capital Gains Tax.

His basic expenses and overhead like rent and utilities are negligible and he spend approximately $1 Million/year for excellent meals, a Central Park South Apartment, and private school for his children.

This leaves him $5.8 Million dollars in interest income that can accumulate the next year.


Insanely, Mr. Rockefeller pays less of a percentage in total taxes then Ms. Smith.

Mr. Rockefeller earns over $5 Million Dollars a year to his net worth.  Ms. Smith is likely to have to take on debt to just get by and say gains $5,000 debt/year.

The sad thing is this isn't really theoretical.

We are the 99%