Between Two Poles: A Biplor Themed Exhibition

Abbreviated Version:  My artist statement.

The exhibition opens: February 4th 2016 starting at 5:00 p.m. and ending at 7:00 p.m.

Location:  Shemer Art Center 5005 East Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85018

My web site

web-ferd_photo

Pferd, from the German for Horse.  A metaphor for someone caught in the push and pull of bipolar disorder.

“If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels,” said the late Playwright Tennessee Williams. The idea of the artist single mindedly following a vision oblivious to the world and suffering for it is a cliché. But is it? The connection between intellectual achievement and madness could be far less tenuous than previously believed. Dr Kay Jamison made a compelling case for the tie between bipolar disorder and artistic expression in “Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament.”
The list of artists who have had mental illnesses reads like a who is who in fine art. Before I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, it was not something I had given much thought. It was not until I was diagnosed did I realize that for me this affliction was both a blessing and curse.
Once called Manic Depressive, what makes this brain disease valuable for creativity is that it allows you to think quickly, connect unlikely ideas and have the energy to stubbornly persist where others relent. The enthusiasm, the willingness to take risks, the flaunting of convention and the grand operatic gestures are the part of what makes this so invigorating. Even the depressions allow you to experience pain to such a degree that you can express the most profound sorrow without reservation.
What creates also destroys. The list of artists, scientists and writers who committed suicide, destroyed themselves or had great difficulty coping with the world is long, not short. The kind of effort being original demands is great. It can take a huge toll.
As I was dealing with my own demons, and angels, I thought why not make the process of dealing with bipolar the subject of an exhibition. This was not art as therapy. Nearly anyone can do that. That may not even be interesting to see. But, a serious investigation into bipolar as a source of inspiration for imagery and ideas, that to me had merit.
Describing epic lows, depicting exuberant highs, that is the stuff of which all art is made. It is the mixture of the beautiful with the tragic. It is a balancing act between the heavens above and the dark canyons below.
When I began this journey, I was not sure what I would find. I was traveling with just nerves, feelings and a battered mind. I was focused, excited and up one day, then down and depressed the next. Through all of this, I created.
Eventually, the driving force of creativity returned. Between Two Poles is a travelogue of my adventure within bipolar and the universal themes that art has always been drawn, the glorious and the tragic.

 

Drawing Workshops, Start this Saturday October 3, 2015

Lydia

The first set of workshops went so well that I am teaching again at Milkweed Arts in Phoenix, Arizona.
There is still time to enroll in the classes. I am offering a beginning class that starts this Saturday, October 3rd at 5;30 p.m. and ends at 7:30 p.m. The course is a four week program.
For more information, select this LINK for this class.
I will also offer a four week workshop that goes beyond the basics and gives a more in-depth look at drawing where we will put techniques to positive use.
This class begins Monday, October 5th and meets at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for four weeks.
For more information, select this LINK.
Milkweed Arts is really a great place to learn, grow and obtain the very best in art education in a very supportive environment.
This is a unique opportunity to learn. Below is a brief video that gives you an idea of what the space is like.

Act 17!, the final act or a part of a new legacy

Act!, through all of its iterations over the years still has an edge when it comes to managing contacts for small businesses.   Based around a contact centered approach, over time this CRM has  added more functionality and greater integration with the web.

While ACT! 17 is geared toward small businesses, it also makes sense for those not running a business who need to keep track of contacts with more detail than a simple address book can muster.   While most address books can handle the basics, names, numbers, and the like, if you need to keep up with emails sent, attachments, activities, and even grouping your contacts together, a comprehensive program like this permits organization of disparate data.

act_17 The consistent face of Act! remains more or less the same.

Rather than just putting data into a notes section, Act! provides specific locations within tabbed windows to easily track the details regarding a contact.  Information about an individual, items, dates to keep up with and a history of activities are here.   Secondary contacts can be placed within a contact and automatic grouping of contacts is possible once parameters have been set.

Over the last few versions, Act! has become more and more web savvy.  Integration with social networking like Twitter, Facebook, and whatever type of networking you want to add is possible.

Within Act! is as web browser.  This translates into working with a contacting, obtaining online information and never having to ever leave the program, or open a browser.  There is smooth integration with Google contacts and calendars that means those based in Android and the Google ecosystem are not going to have difficulty integrating their data.

A real plus to Act! is that it has a cohesive feel.  The parts that make up this very comprehensive program are integrated.  There is a smooth feeling to act that makes interaction with it feel fluid. The contemporary interface gives Act! a polished finished look.

Even if you are not a “power user,” there is so much here that makes sense for people that need to do more than simply have a list of contacts.  The fact that you can connect large pieces of information with an individual, or group, fills a niche in contact management that consumer software has really not addressed.  Once you have been in the world of software like Act!, it is very difficult to depend on consumer based programs.  In short, they are limited.  Act! is expansive and highly customizable.

Being that Act! is a professional based program for sales, there are a plethora of sales management items within the program to keep track of interactions with individual and companies.  That has not changed. Reports, history lists, e-marketing, opportunities, all of that is there. There are also detailed search and view functions.  Much of what has made Act! popular on that front is still present.

act_welcome_screen Welcome to the help screen

In some respects, Act! is very onion like. The deeper you unfurl the program, the more there is to do with it to make handling contacts that much easier.  There is also an extensive online help system.  My recommendation is to start looking at online web instruction. There are numerous web videos that make accessing this program easier and unlock features that you need, but may not know exist.

Problems have plagued previous versions of Act!  Sluggish performance, memory consumption and other ills.  Act! 17 has not been plagued with such in my use.  However, it does have short comings.

Act 17 integrates with Outlook, that is Outlook 32 bit.  For 64 bit users, Act 17, not unlike previous versions, does not exchange data.  There is an included email client, but I found it impossible to configure.  It crashed frequently. It was easier to simply copy email addresses and mail from Outlook.

“Note: I have been informed that future releases will include integration with Outlook 64 bit.”

Moving towards an even tighter integration with the web, future versions of this venerable program are going to be subscription based.  It is possible that this maybe the last boxed version of the software.  That is still an uncertainty.  Support for existing customers will be continued.

clouds_act To the clouds we go as Act! becomes more cloud based.

In the constantly changing world of software, what is set today maybe changed tomorrow.  The Act! web site is focused on the subscription service plan.  It appears that is the new direction of the software.

Over the years Act! has changed and grown to accommodate the emergence of the web as being the centerpiece for contact interaction.  Even though the program has passed ownership several times, the core look, feel and functionality have evolved rather than dramatically changed.   However, as the new versions emerge, it will be interesting to see how this program alters over time.

For those that like the more traditional system of software ownership, Act! 17 is still a very viable option, even with its occasional idiosyncrasies.

Swiftpage-box-pair The box, it maybe a thing of the past as Act! goes subscription based.

System Requirements

2 GB available hard disk space (4 GB if product is downloaded)

SVGA (1024×768) or higher resolution monitor

Internet connection

1 GB system memory

1.8 GHz processor

Works With

Microsoft® Office 2007, 2010, and 2013 (32-bit version only) (Latest Service Packs Recommended)

Lotus Notes® 8.0 and 8.5

Internet Mail SMTP/POP3

Microsoft Internet Explorer® 7.0, 8.01, 9.01, 10.01

Citrix® software using Citrix XenApp® 5.0 and 6.0

Supported Operating Systems

Windows® XP SP32 (32-bit only)

Windows Server® 2003 SP2 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Windows Vista®3 SP2 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Windows Server 20084 SP2 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Windows Server 20084 R2 (64-bit)

Windows Server 2011 SBS (64-bit)

Windows Server 2012 (64-bit)

Windows Server 2012 R2 (64-bit)

Windows 7 SP1 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Windows 8 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Windows 8 Pro (32-bit and 64-bit)

Windows 8 Enterprise (32-bit and 64-bit)

Database Server:             Act! Premium uses SQL Server® 2008 R2 SP1 Express or your existing installation of SQL Server 2008 R2. Act! has also been certified against existing installations of SQL Server 2012 and 2014. If you would like to use a different edition of SQL Server other than the one provided, please consult Microsoft documentation for specific requirements for that edition.

System Requirements

2 GB available hard disk space (4 GB if product is downloaded)
DVD drive
SVGA (1024×768) or higher resolution monitor
Internet connection
1 GB system memory
1.8 GHz processor

Works With

Microsoft® Office 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013 (32-bit version only) (Latest Service Packs Recommended)
Lotus Notes® 8.0 and 8.5
Internet Mail SMTP/POP3
Microsoft Internet Explorer® 7.0, 8.01, 9.01, 10.01
Adobe® Reader® 6.0, 7.0 and 10.x
Citrix® software using Citrix XenApp® 5.0 and 6.0

Supported Operating Systems

Windows® XP SP32 (32-bit only)
Windows Server® 2003 SP2 (32-bit and 64-bit)
Windows Vista®3 SP2 (32-bit and 64-bit)
Windows Server 20084 SP2 (32-bit and 64-bit)
Windows Server 20084 R2 (64-bit)
Windows Server 2011 SBS (64-bit)
Windows Server 2012 (64-bit)
Windows 7 SP1 (32-bit and 64-bit)
Windows 8 (32-bit and 64-bit)
Windows 8 Pro (32-bit and 64-bit)
Windows 8 Enterprise (32-bit and 64-bit)

Sprint LivePro: The True Multipurpose Android Projector, but is it right for you?

Live Pro

Sprint’s LivePro

Billed as the “Swiss Army Knife” of projectors, Sprint’s Live Pro packs a plethora of capabilities into a rather diminutive device. Measuring 4.7 inches square and weighing in at 14.1 ounces – or 0.88 pounds — it may not fit into a shirt pocket, but it certainly won’t be a burden to carry. The big question that you have to ask yourself is “Will you have a need for it?”
Feature wise, this Android projector is loaded. It comes with a Micro SD card slot, connectivity to the Sprint network 3G and 4G LTE, HDMI port, Bluetooth, Hot Spot capability, MicroSD card slot, MicroSIM card slot, can operate as an external battery charger and comes with its own cables, which is a nice convenience. In short. It does everything you would want a mobile projector to do.
The Live Pro uses a somewhat stock version of Android Jelly Bean. I was bit surprised it did not at least have Kit Kat installed. That maybe in the pipeline. As anyone who has Android phone can testify, their os upgrades are painfully slow in arriving.
On the plus side, this projector can operate in a way similar to a smartphone. Installed are the basic Google apps most people would need, and there is no “fluff” wasting space. This is a blessing in that the internal storage available to users is just 2 Gigs. This could be a moot point. This is a primarily a projector. When you factor in how much it does, it doesn’t seem too farfetched to see calling abilities as well.
Hardware wise you are looking at a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, clocked at 1.2 GHz, and backed by 1GB of RAM. Operations are swift, but do not expect flagship responsiveness. For what it is designed to do, the layout, speed and handling are decent.

VIDEO
Aesthetics, or as I like to call it “the cool factor,” the Live Pro is not hard on the eyes. The body is plastic, but I did not find it coming up terribly short in the looks department. When sitting on a desk, it will draw attention to itself, in a positive light.
The native resolution is 854 x 854 and can be projected up to a 120 inch display on a wall or other surface. For optimum viewing, the placement range is anywhere from ten niches to ten feet from the surface you are projecting. Go further and image quality is compromised.
The Live Pro does come with speakers, and it also comes with a somewhat loud fan. Once it gets going, it tends to soften, but be prepared for a bit of noise.
Although presented as a device that families and general tech consumers can use, the real application for the device is more suitable for business professionals: in very specific.

In situations like small conferences in the field, or in a place where one should bring their own equipment, the LivePro could fill a need. When I gave it a test run in a real world situation where it would be an appropriate fit, it worked well.
The Achilles heel that prevents the LivePro from being a sound choice for pure entertainment are the limitations of the screen. Projected image quality is not sufficient for viewing video for extended periods. The quality is acceptable for a power point presentation and a video of brief duration, but not more strenuous activity. In brief, image quality is decent, but not spectacular.
For some educational purposes, such as teachers in remote areas, I could see the LivePro being a real life saver. The only serious caveats are that you should always carry the power cord and confine use to a dark room. Dim lighting renders images projected simply too pale.
Once you have answered the question about the practicality of the projector, the second question regards the price points. Tech like this does not come cheap.
The full retail price is $ 499.00, which feels a bit high even taking into account its multitasking abilities. Reducing sticker shock, Sprint offers it at $ 299.00 with a two year service agreement. There is also a 24 payment option of $ 18.75 with the last being $ 18.74—they are precise.
Data plans are always shifting. It just depends time and specials. When I checked on line the lowest price it was $ 35.00 monthly. Numbers can add up fast, so make sure you are aware of the long term cost of ownership.
One idea that struck me was if it was possible to simply buy the LivePro without a service plan. If you’re primary function is projecting, you could dispense with service plans.
I did not find anything on the Sprint site offering it without a service plan. Then again, things change in the mobile world, and there is no harm in asking.

Summation

Advertised as something general consumes may want, the reality of the LivePro is that it is very much a niche product. If you are a professional on the road in some very specific situations, the LivePro could be the right fit. Even if it does fit your needs, there are limitations. As much as I liked the device on one level for its ambitious stance, I felt there were compromises that a nearly $ 500.00 projector should not ask.
Short battery life, just acceptable image quality and price points that are high, I don’t see this as a mainstream product. It has a very defined place in the tech market for some very specific needs.
Even though it does just about everything that one would ideally hope for in a projector, that does not make up for some serious limitations that general consumes may not be willing to accept.

DATA:
• Dimensions: 4.7 inches x 4.7 inches x 1.1 inches (120.6mm x 120.6mm x 28.5mm)
• Weight: 14.1 ounces (400 grams)
• Display: 4-inch WVGA touchscreen display with 800×480 resolution and Gorilla Glass
• Projection Display: 10 inches to 10 feet
• Projector Type: DLP
• Lamp Brightness: 100 lumens
• Lamp Life: 20,000 hours
• Contrast Ratio: 1,000:1
• Aspect Ratio: 4:3 or 16:9
• Battery: 5,000mAh Lithium-ion battery
• Memory: 4GB internal memory (ROM), 1GB (RAM) microSD™ card slot supports up to 64GB
• Ports: HDMI; USB

Kurt von Behrmann,  Artist

If you like projects like this one, please check out my GoFund Me page.

Oh Baltimore: A Reality Check

Revised Monday, May 4, 2015

The failings of Police in Urban America.   Now rival gangs are making an effort to do what the cops could not, keep the peace.

The failings of Police in Urban America. Now rival gangs are making an effort to do what the cops could not, keep the peace.

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”

Pericles

Oh Baltimore: A Reality Check for America

Recently:

Freddie Gray’s death while in police custody was the light that ignited violence in parts of Baltimore with more than a dozen buildings and over 100 cars torched. The city reacted by imposing a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. ending May 4th.    New York, Boston, Washington and other cities across the country held rallies to demonstrate solidarity with Baltimore.  Previously Ferguson, Missouri became a center of unrest in response to police violence.  (Source International Business Times)

There is something much deeper than a reaction to one or two random events that have caused riots and protests.  First Ferguson Missouri and now Baltimore Maryland, clearly there is a type of frustration so deep seated that even rival gangs embroiled in protracted disputes have set aside their differences.

They are seeing a common enemy where the stakes are high, and potentially very bloody ones.  Black gangs are aware of long term problems that eclipse turf warfare and they did something about it, along with others frustrated with the status quo.   There are signs here, and I am not sure many are aware of just what they are contending with, or the ramifications.

The real beginning of frustrations expressed by the African—Americans to social, economic and legal inequity played out in Florida.   When an overzealous neighborhood watch member with anger management issues unleashed his rage on an unarmed Black youth, an ugly truth emerged.  The names George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin would be names associated with the problems of an America still decidedly uncomfortable with social, economic and racial difference was forced to confront.  The idea that we live in post racial America was always a fiction.  Trayvon Martin’s death proved that, but there were still those skeptical.

Then again, America is filled with fictions.  It is not surprising that the U.S. is the film making capitol of the world.   We know how to tell tall tales. We also know how to reside in them.

The response to Trayvon Martin’s death illustrated the deep divide in America.  The vast majority of African—Americans and those in tune with urban reality could see something was amiss.   Conservative, even somewhat liberal White America, wrote this off as simply a case of a threatening young Black man ready to do violence stopped by one brave man.  George Zimmerman was a hero for anyone White threated by Black violence, Black people or Black achievement.

In a bizarre twist of irony, Zimmerman was of German and Hispanic ancestry, became the poster child for male White frustration.   In a nation where the White middle class is shrinking, and the perception that Blacks have all been given a “free lunch” is the narrative that conservatives have used for years to turn Blacks into convenient scape goats.   If it were not for “the lazy violent Blacks,” the white middle class would thrive.  The reason for crime, violence and all other social ills that affect the majority of White America can be blamed on Blacks who take but never give.

Politicians, both Black and White mingled with a media that loves sensationalism more than journalistic integrity and America’s true “Power Brokers,” could see in the death of Travon Martin a way to justify blaming Black America for all domestic problems.  This was never openly stated.  It was quietly assumed.

This death would not only benefit careers made on racial separation, Blacks anointed by Whites as spokesmen who are paid to essentially do nothing would benefit as well.  Conservatives could twist the situation to once again to manipulate middle America into buying into justifiable segregation.

Like Romans had Bread and Circuses to divert attention from the real issues of the say, Blacks can be used as a distractions.  Create a sensation trial, and now the news waves are filled with one story to the exclusion of others.

Focusing White anger and frustration on Black America creates a convenient domestic enemy.  It creates a tool that can advance the careers of Blacks willing to sell out, predatory White politicians and anyone else who wants to pretend that evil, poverty and Black America are coiled together.

Convince middle class Whites that nothing can be done and that Blacks want to be poor and then employ a vast communications media program to paint Blacks in the worst possible light and you can sell a fiction that overlooks history and systemic racism.

What ruined George Zimmerman from being a real hero was George Zimmerman.  He had domestic violence problems, issues with law enforcement after the trial.  It called into question his character.  It became rather obvious that Zimmerman was at fault, even to some who gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Trayvon Martin’s death brought to light two other ills.  The Police department in a shameless case of overt racism decided to do everything possible to paint Zimmerman as a hero and a victim of senseless Black crime.  The entire Florida judicial system proved that justice was not served. A guilty man walked, with the support of a Police department not only covering their tracks, but an entire judicial system that views Black lives as dispensable.

Matters did not fare better in Ferguson Missouri when their police department can under scrutiny.  The day Michael Brown 18 was shot by Darren Wilson 28, this one young White Officer would eventually make public what had been private.

For years, the Police Department, which was overwhelmingly White, treated the community it was set up to protect and serve like an enemy.  Not unlike some occupying force, the Ferguson police department saw the citizens as “cash cows.”  Minor infractions earned huge fines with huge interest.  The judicial system was clearly set up to work in cooperation with a police department that was openly hostile to Blacks.

Emails surfaced in an investigation where racist rants against Blacks were openly exchanged within the department.   There was no way to explain the emails as being anything other than racist.

What I believe became the ultimate “straw that broke the camel’s back” was the result of an investigation that said there was not enough evidence to warrant a trial for murder against Darren Wilson.  It was deemed that there were no “reliable witnesses.”

I would assume that a case of this magnitude, an officer shooting to death a defenseless man, a trial would be in order.  It became clear that Black witnesses were irrelevant.  For a community treated like hostility invaders for so long, this was just too much to let pass without at least some show of anger.

Michael Brown’s death was dismissed. It was hoped the matter was settled.  This was not going to happen.  Riots and protests were proof positive that this was not a matter to simply brush away.   Years of horrific treatment was making itself known.  These Americans were not going to take this treatment  anymore without some show of rage.

As the reality of Ferguson became known, I am not sure America really understood why this was so pivotal.   I am not sure anyone really understood what powered this outrage.  To some it was like an angry mob emerged for no reason.   There was a reason.  There was reason enough to literally go “mad.”

The false narrative that White American has lived with is that Blacks do not achieve because they chose not to do so.   The problem with Blacks is apathy, a poor work ethic and a lack of ability to advance themselves.  Being that we live in post racial America –another false narrative — they should be moving forward.

The problem with the above is that it ignores history and years of racial separation.   First, Blacks were held as slaves.  They had no earnings to pass on to generations to come.  Whites had the opportunity to do so, for much longer.  As a result of slavery, it was a firmly entrenched view that Blacks were supposed to be a lower class unable to exist in a democratic society.

When slavery ended, suddenly there were a large group of people uneducated trying to figure out their place in a country openly hostile to their existence.  Then, there were laws passed to limit what they could do.  Educational institutions were not always greeting blacks with open arms.  The world was divided and their laws to ensure limited contact and interaction with Blacks set by law.  They were totally shut out of social institutions that were open to Whites.  Even if you were successful, there were limits.

Flash forward to the present.  We have Blacks who need social, economic and educational opportunities.  The history of slavery and the slow progress made in civil rights permitted a Black underclass to continue.

Alexis de Tocqueville say all of this in the 19th century.   He also saw the dilemma we see ourselves in the here and now.  He could see the problem with slavery when it ended: there would be a glut of people ill equipped to exist in a democratic society after years of enslavement.

A glimmer of hope fired in the 60’s.  President Johnson called for the “Great Society.”  This translated into equal rights being written into law, and programs to advance African—American intellectual development.   Everyone in the nation was seeing the need for positive social change.   From Black Panthers to White Liberalism, change was happening.  Then, it all went into reverse.

The Black community became underfunded.  Schools descended into chaos.  Federal programs designed to help were too small and too ineffective.  The very things that Black communities and individuals needed, better education and safer communities did not come.  Black communities were turned into liquor stores, drug havens and a protected by a police department that was inn and hostile.

Now, White America is being given a healthy dose of what Black America has been experience for years.   Predatory loans, loss of jobs, education that is unaffordable, public schools that are failing, out of control housing costs and low pay.

Clever conservatives have created a political environment where the middle class actually believe that providing a higher minimum wage is a bad idea.  They even convinced them that  Unions, the one organ that ended child labor and the 18 hour work day and  unsafer working environments is public enemy number one.

In the lopsided world of America, the conservatives have created this insane fiction that Blacks are supposed to be poor, violent and drug addicts that enjoy their condition and that the Middle Class is doing well.  In reality neither are in solid shape. The slide down has been ongoing for decades.

De Tocqueville was worried that if despotism rooted itself in a modern democracy it would be more dangerous than any Roman emperor or tyrant because they were limited in the influence that they have.   He went on to say that this new type of despotism would be truly dangerous because it would not resemble any form every seen before.

Some have called this “The Friendly Fascist State.”

The myths that are at the heart of America, the real value system, the real philosophical foundation of our Republic is now materialism and selfish individualism.  Idealism is something that one gives lip service to when making donations.  The concept of a new society in our times sounds like a dated throwback to the concept of “modernism,” that 20th century notion that the future was going to be something of a promised land with plenty for all.   The future would free us from dreary labor so that we could pursue other things.

That future has yet to arrive.

The concept of a public good is absent.   When America looks at the issues negatively impacting the Black community, it is seen as “their” problem.  The situation is not stated as an American problem.   Our current political, social and economic climate has made no space for the commons.  At each and every opportunity it is being privatized.  The commons are just a market place.  Citizens of our Republic are “consumers.”  Even medical terminology has turned what where “patients” into “healthcare consumers.”

It is comforting to see Ferguson Missouri as a distant place for most Americas.  It is was even easier with Trevon Martin’s death.   However, Baltimore makes a case that this is not an isolated instance.   This is not a problem confined to one area.  Baltimore is a large urban center.  It is not too easy to ignore.

At a time when national leadership is need, Washington is sending out two messages. The President is saying these are not issues that can be ignored.   His spokesperson maybe relating the real response.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest called tensions between police and communities around the country “fundamentally a local issue” and said that “there does need to be a commitment from local elected leaders and local law enforcement leaders to confront this challenge and to demonstrate some determination about trying to build bridges with the citizens that they’re sworn to protect.”

“Ultimately,” he said after another question, “this is a problem that the federal government is not going to be able to solve.”    (Source Washington Post.)

There you have it in no uncertain terms.  The Obama administration is saying there is nothing to be done.   This is a failure not only on the part of the Obama administration, it is a condemnation of the entire Government, both parties included.  Neither party has taken any type of action.  No one realistically expected the Republican party to ever take a stand, and it is a disappointment that the President did not take the opportunity to present an over view of what could be in an aggressive way.

While the families are calling for an end to violence in the Black community, there is no real call for any kind of action.  There is a decided lack of leadership in the acceptable political arena because this is seen as a “Black Problem,” not a serious indication that our system of government, values and priorities are total failures.

As long as these issues are seen as only Black problems, everyone has missed the entire point.  What drives protests in the Black community are echoes of the exact same ills and frustrations impacting White America.   Rather than stress connections, our leaders are parting us like the Red Sea.

While not made public, Reverend Jesse Jackson is cautiously being put forth as representative of Black political voices.  The reality that has been felt is that he is irrelevant.  His credibility was serious impacted by silence during the Bush administration long ago. His inability to be a force in American politics happened when he compromised himself long ago.  Now, he is just an empty symbol.

Jackson and some Whites are seeing Black leadership following the Rev Martin Luther King model.   That paradigm is a past one.   I feel that new Black leadership may come in a very different package.  I think the times, media and the needs of the present will foster a very different type of leadership.   If you are looking for the second coming Dr. King, or Malcolm X, you are going to be bitterly disappointed.  I could be wrong, but I think that leadership is going to come in a very different package that no one will expect.

What I am certain of is that the stress on the quaint notion of “be quiet and fix the mess” solution will work.   The message going out to the black community is that this is a Black problem that the Black community must fix.  The best thing to be done is be peaceful and pick up the trash and promise never to get angry.

This will not work.  It turns Black protest into a senseless orgy of destruction.  It is anything but that.

The anger of the Black community is not the eruption of childish temper tantrums.  It is a suppressed rage directed at social injustice.  The crimes have gone on too long.   It all could be prevented, but no one wanted to step up and take control.

The only answer to inequity has been to ignore it in the U.S .   Asking stressed communities to repair the damage of racism that has been sanctioned by self-centered Whites, duplicitous Blacks and middle class intellectuals too removed to get their feet dirty is proof that no one sees this as an event with historical roots and ramifications.   It is impossible to expect those crushed by the current system to “fix” such overwhelming problems without the concerned involvement of Federal Government, local government and the private sector, and this includes banks, insurance companies and powerful heads of industry.  Without unified involvement in repairing the fractured infrastructure of Black America, we will be looking at a total and complete collapse of the U.S., internally and externally.

For all of his academic achievement, and his victories in Washington, President Obama is mired in the fear that if he expresses outrage it will be perceived as inappropriate.    He, and the party, had “golden opportunities” to pass legislation and appeal to the American public for support of laws that would benefit everyone.   What the people wanted, they got, but in a very very mild form.

President Obama never took his case to the people.   Rather than motivate the grass roots that helped put him in the white house, he chose to become just another beltway democrat.    Like so many, I was hoping for a real single payer Obama heath care program.  I wanted nationalized medicine as they have in Canada and Germany.   I wanted a new society where we all pull together.

To be fair to the President, he faced an overwhelming negative force.  The Republican party behaved like spoiled children. It was not their first loss and it sure as hell will not be their last loss. To add insult to injury the Republican Senate decided to commit treason and undermine U.S. diplomacy with Iran, a subject that passed by the public and media like a ship in the night.

The real solution we need is Washington invested in urban issues, and Black concerns and problems.   Instead, we get a tentative White House.   This is not going to work.

The reality comes down to looking at the protests in Baltimore as a symptom of very deep seated problems with a very long history.  Until this is seen as a problem that involves all of us, not just those immediately impacted, we could see a violent history replay itself as it has many times in the past in many parts of the world.    Not since the Civil War have we seen blood shed on U.S. soil.  That could potential change if these problems are not addressed.   For certain, they are not going away.

Kurt von Behrmann is an Artist.  He is currently working on an art exhibition that deals with Bipolar disorder and its impact on creativity.

You can support his ongoing work as an Artist and Writer at GoFund me today.

Bipolar as Inspiration?

Artist uses his own mental illness as a theme for a solo art exhibition

acyclic on canvas painting

A work about self harm, cutting, a subject not often discussed.

Phoenix, Arizona – Friday, April 24, 2015 – When artist Kurt von Behrmann was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he decided to use it as a source of inspiration for a solo art exhibition.
“Education myself about this illness revealed that many artists have had this affliction. Unknowingly, I had expressed the classic symptoms in my paintings,” said von Behrmann.
Bipolar is a serious brain disorder marked by episodes of depression and mania. Characterized by extremes in mood from uncontrollable “highs” to suicidal depressions, it is disruptive and sometimes fatal. Approximately 5.5 million Americans suffer with this illness.
Struggling with depression and drug side effects, von Behrmann submitted a proposal to the Shemer Art Center. “I had something meaningful to say visually about mental illness, and I was hoping someone one would hear me. I wanted to be heard,” said von Behrmann.
Apparently, The Shemer Art Center was listening, and took him very seriously.
Scheduled for February 4th 2016 from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. at the center’s location at 5005 E. Camelback, Road, Phoenix, AZ 85018, (www.shemerartcenter.org), his solo Exhibition “Between Two Poles: A Bipolar Themed Exhibition,” will open. The event is free, open to the public and closes March 10th of 2016.
A graduate of The Cranbrook Academy of Art and the Art Academy of Cincinnati, von Behrmann works appear in both corporate and private collections. He has launched a GoFundMe  for support. “I have been working on a shoestring budget, but minus the string,” joked von Behrmann.