All posts by Stephen Boyle

Freelance web developer and graphics artist. Blogger on topics of interest in Detroit's communities and social conditions. 2014 Candidate for US Congress, Michigan's 14th District - Green Party

Nowhere, Now Here

Image source: 31 Days of Clarity – Day #8 You are Now Here, by Cathie Ostapchuk

Image source: 31 Days of Clarity – Day #8 You are Now Here, by Cathie Ostapchuk

Between here and there,
I discover neither here or there.

It is nowhere?
More importantly it is “Now Here”.

The journey is not complete
Without knowing where you set your feet.

Awareness ever blooming
Consciousness ever zooming.

The ah-ha moment not lost
Shared experiences not tossed.

It is all interconnected
Society recognizing and disconnected.

— Stephen Boyle

Quotes Collection

I’ve been aware that I need to start compiling quotes that have inspired me as well as those I’ve been creating. You’ll find a new sidebar on the website sharing a random quote that I’ve entered into the collection. This is powered by the Quotes Collection plug-in. I’ve also created a Quotes page where this collection can be found. Not every quote will be a blog post as this one is.

GoodReads Quotes

There is an existing sidebar item pulling a random quote that I’ve liked over at GoodReads.com. Feel free to add my profile as a friend and lets share inspiration.

Addressing Website Expiration

Visit my SERVICES page 

As a person that has been developing websites for a number of clients I’ve seen a difficulty in retaining those sites developed. It seems that establishing annual terms isn’t working out very well. Domain renewal comes up and perhaps the topic being pursued has lost interest or the timeliness has ran its course. A good example of this is political campaign websites.

On the hosting side of things the renewal of domain licensing is often what takes a website out of circulation. 

Domain Lifecycle

Once a domain expires the services bound with it – email accounts, website content, and more are no longer accessible until the domain fees are brought current. There is a short time window available for bringing things current and the popularity of your domain can create a lineup of interested 3rd parties bidding on taking over your domain.

DomainExpiration

Continue reading Addressing Website Expiration

Detroit Water is Leased to GLWA

Municipal leaders from three counties of southeast Michigan agreed to allow Detroit to lease its water system to the newly formed GLWA – Great Lakes Water Authority.

For years the surrounding counties – Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb – have been buying their water from the city. They’ve long complained they didn’t get enough say over their rates or big decisions about the system.

This deal will, at least in theory, give suburbanites more direct power over the system, and (they hope) lower rates in the long run.

In exchange, the authority will pay Detroit $50 million a year in lease payments.

And it will set up a $4.5 million regional water assistance fund for low-income customers behind on their bills.1)Detroit, suburbs reach water deal, Michigan Public Radio, June 12, 2015

Continue reading Detroit Water is Leased to GLWA

References   [ + ]

1. Detroit, suburbs reach water deal, Michigan Public Radio, June 12, 2015

Re: The Spiritual Age of Hip Hop

Some will draw a line between Hip Hop and spoken word. For the sake of reading to your fullest enjoyment, please set aside this divide to enjoy this post fully. I was fortunate to be tagged by a Facebook friend on a share of this article on The Spiritual Age of Hip Hop in the Syracuse New Times. 

Hip Hop is extremely diverse, cultured, educated, emotional and is constantly evolving. The next evolution is taking us to a higher plane, one where more artists are expressing their spiritual views of life in their music. Welcome to #TheSpiritualAgeOfHipHop.

The article lists so many Detroit talents within whom we #WageLove in our communities locally and globally. The awareness to what we face at home seems to be overlooked by far too many. We need #FireSpit to clear the misconceptions that maligned mainstream media have clouded the truth from general consciousness.

Truly raising consciousness is what we must request of our talent. We can acknowledge the divide which society drones into our existence and overpopulizes through marketing and fiat currency value. But we must rise above with a higher message. Those from human compassion and dignity. Our society is no better than how we treat the least among us. Those people and situations which are the “least common denominator” are the claims we must own and raise up. Surround them with love and seek to perceive what can be when united in peace. Peace is far more than silence, it is moving and active, forging bonds of interconnectivity and trust.

SilenceIsViolence

Detroit State of Mind

Listen in on “Belle Isle Bountiful” conversation with 5ELA artists DJ LaJedi and Ambiance. These are the situations, thoughts, conversations and unity that bring higher consciousness in our music and lives.

Spoken Word and Cypher from The Raiz Up at #ISMG15

A link if the video embed doesn’t work. It’ll only be good for 30 days, then it’ll expire. 

Several of those who were on stage are what I consider the best talent Detroit has to offer. Bringing truth and revelations through their words to those who take the time to soak their soul in them.

ISMG15 is the International Social Movements Gathering, bringing people from Detroit, our region, nationally, and internationally together focused at this time on the Water and Housing situations we face in Detroit and in our society. We have to pay particular attention to the words of introduction for Governor Snyder on Wednesday at the Mackinac Policy Conference“the template that he is building in Michigan is being watched across the country and internationally”. Are the conditions we encounter of sacrificing the most poor by violating our human rights truly the template to push globally?

Responsibly Photographing Our Homeless

When I took a photo of Michael, aka “Dreadlock Mike” a few years before he was murdered by a hit and run driver – I asked him for permission, because I knew how impactful his photo would be in my life. What I mean is not so much the photograph itself. It is the connectivity we have with each other in all our conditions as humans.

Michael, 2012 Fuzzytek Photography

Michael, 2012 Fuzzytek Photography

I’d seen Michael around the streets plenty over a decade or more, and he had come to recognize me as well. I had changed from being employed at Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan (roughly 1986 – 2004), to taking up being a freelance photographer, and subsequently from 2011 known more as a community activist. I was fascinated by a photographer’s exhibition at the Russell Industrial Center which contained a lot of photos of  Michael, this was after taking this single photo. I suppose my fascination was that I had a barrier to cross for a single photo, and I was encircled by many.

Not long after going into photography (2005) I saw the website Lightstalking.org and became engaged reading about photographers working in so many ways helped me immensely. There were war correspondents, fashion photographers, and so much more connecting through the site. It seemed many were traveling from place to place and connecting through the site for a temporary place to stay while on assignment. You might imagine the perks of coachsurfing to stay with another person sharing your passion and having equipment they might offer use of on the trip. Additionally you get localized during the stay and that can carry so much depth into the photos taken when you are familiar with the issues.

A photographer contact shared this post “Let’s Think a Little Deeper Before Photographing the Homeless” from the website Lightstalker.com. I admit to being tripped by the similar name for the blog and Lightstalking community website.

Lessons from Occupy Detroit

When I wrote the following blog post September 20, 2012 at Occupy This Blog I used the photograph of Michael above:

There are so many issues being faced by Detroit and it seems everyone wants to offer advice into the situation. It gets rather difficult to understand the stands around the issues until you look at the level of personal investment and capability of support had by those speaking and taking a stand.

Who Holds An Invested Interest?

  • City of Detroit residents
  • Workers in the city
  • Metropolitan are residents
  • Workers in metropolitan Detroit
  • Employers in the city
  • Employers in the metro area
  • People that formerly worked in Detroit or in the metro area
  • People considering coming to Detroit or the metro area
  • People who may invest in Detroit’s future in some manner
  • Curious bystanders – oddly this may be one of the largest populations if you follow comment posts made about Detroit that somehow seem to think it should be removed from the face of the planet
James Cole is a lawyer and activist

James Cole is a lawyer and civil rights fighter

I think that covers just about all the angles, and I’ll say that the weight of personal investment runs highest from the top of the list to the bottom. Those that are at the top of the list quite often have a tough time hearing solutions from people with what is perceived to be a lessor personal investment. That’s common in every community – those impacted directly are undeniably affected the most.

How To Occupy And Support?

Every position has the ability to learn through listening prior to (or while) proposing solutions to issues. Sometimes it will seem like a lot of venting going on with little solution. People just want to see change happen and positive results, be that in the removal of issues or growth of opportunities. Personal accounts can be valuable lessons to those whom haven’t had to deal with them.

Michael, 2012 Fuzzytek Photography

For example, today I was in a meeting regarding public transportation and we had several handicapped members attending. I mentioned that many of us don’t personally encounter the difficulty these people do daily until we “break a foot”, then we experience it for a brief spell and can go back to how we’ve known access. We have to consider with some handicap situations there is no “brief time” in the concerns raised. Things won’t just get better unless we do something that makes it better for us. In doing that for ourselves, are we then making it more difficult for others or improving for everyone?

Coming up with a least common denominator (LCD) solution is going to be the answer, however even that can be troubling or difficult to implement. Moderating a discussion to find that LCD can be difficult with a wide number of personal encounters and opinions. This is where consensus building enters and that is one area Occupy movements have championed worldwide. Everyone has a stake in creating a position and taking actions on it that unify. 

Can A Revolution Be Consented?

Jasahn Larosa from This Hood Of Ours

Jasahn Larosa from This Hood Of Ours

One of the concerns is that radical measures may be tough to get passed by consensus. We may be able to inspire a revolution, but personal risks and encounters can stand in the way of being in the active wave of revolution. It takes radical and passionate action that sometimes sees the consequences and is willing to accept that being revolutionary is dangerous. Those that see they can’t take the risks may choose to stand aside or offer support with limited involvement. All of these positions are helpful and needed for revolutionary action and should not be discounted. They are a reflection of personal investment in the situation and may end up changing the allies in your life as you mount an assault on society’s standards.

I’d like to ask people reading to support the world you’d like to see and be as active as you possibly can. You’ll meet people along the way, listen to new ideas, hear testimony, and hopefully be able to offer testimony yourself providing encouragement.


Becoming The Change Desired

I wrote the above two and a half years ago and the conditions at the time – Emergency Manager and Detroit Bankruptcy – have passed, but the impact of these hasn’t changed what intended above. I can say that I’ve been going through personal evolution myself and seeing the power of full and complete dialogue.

Living As a Peace Maker

The only way to get to complete dialogues is through healing and consciousness. We have to connect with the essence of human life in its individual experiences – being mindful that each of us has had encounters that shape the reality we are living. There’s going to be a lot of hurt and denial. Some dialogues bring up pain that we end up healing over and over. Even the notion of going through that path again leads to stress. We avoid confrontation with stress as much as we can. We bond with and circle our selves with those whom we’ve had the most healing and find unity of perspective with.

There’s a problem that happens when highly active people and their communities push back and deny confronting difficult dialogues in our lives. The potential for great work to be done starts to limit how it can occur. The willingness and conditions we place on making progress take on monumental proportions because community acceptance is integral to the respect we carry. This is why consciousness raising for communities is critical and the ability to continue to accept and respect outlying perspectives from community members as a path for evolution.

Consulting “the Elders”

Quite often acceptance has to be sought from elders in the community, those whom we honor with wisdom from their experience of perspectives changing through life and it’s encounters. Those with many encounters and great variations in perspective truly do carry wisdom and age can be inconsequential.

Community status is carried and the gateways for acceptance can be guarded by the elders. You can risk much when proving something outside what is accepted.


I’m going to leave “the chase down the rabbit hole” for another series of posts on consciousness. Bringing this post full circle back to responsibility as a photographer.

Overstepping The Triggers For Social Concern

There will be times that a photographer oversteps the boundaries which society finds comforting. Photographing the homeless, destitute, least privileged, our youth, our elders, the infirm, and those dying or dead – these are triggers for societal concerns. I can even say there are lifestyle choices that are hard to photograph.  Some will ask why didn’t the photographer move from observing to being involved. Finding consent sometimes isn’t just with the subject or society, it rests in the photographer’s psyche. As a photographer, my experience is that we carve out what we are comfortable with and how we work with that subject material. Our perceptions are also evolving and that may influence our comfort as well. Some photographs bring thoughts that trigger self-healing and the journey of life – they can raise our consciousness. This can also happen communally.

Clarification: PROTECTORS not protesters

There are some fine points in how people relate to the activities of those whom are engaged in social justice. Unfortunately many people are listening to the mainstream media news calling people protesters. When protesters are active on negative conditions it creates a double negative, leading to a positive intent. Those approving of negative conditions are deserving of protest when awareness does not lead to creating a solution.

Can we go through some definitions — Protester1)protester. (n.d.) American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2011). Retrieved May 15 2015 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/protester

pro·test (prə-tĕst′, prō-, prō′tĕst′)

v. pro·test·ed, pro·test·ing, pro·tests
v.tr.

  1. a. To express a strong objection to (something): protest a job assignment.
    b. To participate in a public demonstration in opposition to (something): Thousands protested the election fraud. See Synonyms at object.
  2. To promise or affirm earnestly, as after being doubted: “He continually protested his profound respect” (Frank Norris).
  3. Law To declare an objection and reservation of rights of (a claim being made) while taking an action that would otherwise imply consent or agreement.
  4. Archaic To proclaim or make known: “unrough youths that even now / Protest their first of manhood” (Shakespeare).
v.intr.

  1. a. To express a strong objection.
    b. To participate in a public demonstration in opposition to something.
  2. To make an earnest avowal or affirmation.
n. (prō′tĕst′)

  1. A formal declaration of disapproval or objection issued by a concerned person, group, or organization.
  2. A public demonstration or organized effort to show disapproval about something, especially a governmental policy or practice.
  3. Law A declaration of objection and reservation of rights, made when action would otherwise imply consent or agreement: payment under protest.

[Middle English protesten, from Old French protester, from Latin prōtestārī : prō-, forth; see testari in Indo-European roots).]

pro′test′er n.
pro·test′ing·ly adv.

Protector

In contrast the definition for protector2)protector. (n.d.) American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2011). Retrieved May 15 2015 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/protector:

pro·tec·tor

also pro·tect·er  (prə-tĕk′tər)

n.

  1. One who protects; a guardian.
  2. A device that protects; a guard.
  3. Protector
    a. A person who rules a kingdom during the minority of a sovereign.
    b. The head of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1653 to 1659.

pro·tec′tor·al adj.
pro·tec′tor·ship′ n.

Contrast in Terms

The contrast is fairly obvious with protester carrying negative weight and protector seen as benevolent (in terms of our social constructs). However when our society has suffered egregious harm from those assumed to be protectors through the passage of laws, enforcing policy / procedures that cause suffering to the public ~ the need for guardians of the public interest is needed. 

Ready To Protect by Alais Clay
Stephen Boyle speaking at March Against Monsanto rally 2013-10-12.

Stephen Boyle speaking at March Against Monsanto rally 2013-10-12

How we act as protectors is by listening to the public as peers seeking to assist. We research the issues. We bring the voices of those not heard up through rallies and in what we write. We seek mainstream media coverage, we rally and organize. We realize many of those channels are controlled by the companies and government that is profiting from business continuity.

Industrial Capitalism and It’s Waste

Marathon DHOUP 2014-06-18

Marathon DHOUP 2014-06-18

We’ve seen Detroit and SouthEast Michigan targeted for industrial capitalism, and there really hasn’t been any relief offered by those who claim to protect. Our region of the State of Michigan has the most pollution, including the 3rd “dirtiest zip code” in the nation 48217. Industry upon industry emitting into a toxic soup of air and water pollution has made it difficult to point a finger at where the problem lies. It truly does lie with the policies of environmental regulators who continue to allow nonattainment areas to exist with new Permits To Install (usually adding pollution). If you head to the bottom of the Michigan chart on this Green Book from the EPA you’ll see Sulfur Dioxide in Wayne County has not been within limits the entire monitoring period since 1992 on the chart. IMG_0883Sulfur dioxide in concentration or over an extended time burns the skin. When it mixes with water it creates sulfuric acid. There are a number of environmental justice groups here and they are doing their best to be protectors, however harm still heads our way destroying the health of families and environment now and into the future. When you speak negatively about negative conditions – you’re stating a positive.

We’d like to see solutions in our dialogue, but first it is going to take mainstream media and our government (failing to be protectors) correcting the language used around the public PROTECTORS and guardians of our commons — the air, water, food, shelter, and education we need. There is a healing process involved and it shows up when perspectives are shared, heard, understood and taken into account.

References   [ + ]

1. protester. (n.d.) American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2011). Retrieved May 15 2015 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/protester
2. protector. (n.d.) American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2011). Retrieved May 15 2015 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/protector

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org and hosting

wordpress-logo-hoz-rgbSometimes the notion of WordPress can simply be confusing. Just a little disambiguation can help quite a bit.

  • Consumer version at wordpress.com that offers very basic posting. There’s no plugins and limited theme support. The good thing is that it is free. Another good thing is that posts through this tend to swim in a stream of other wordpress.com sites that might end up bringing you additional following and sharing of your posts. You can bring these sites over to a custom domain that can be purchased through either wordpress or by a reseller (such as myself, read below).
  • Developer version at wordpress.org is what I’m most familiar with. It requires website hosting, look below for more about that. The beauty for a developer is being able to work with a vast array of plugins, themes and site settings that can enable richer content, better sharing, and features that are only open through wordpress.org and similar development resources.

I started this post through WordPress.com and came over to my hosted administration panel because I wanted to include an image in the post that I knew I had in my library already. Access to those pre-existing images wasn’t easily possible through the wordpress.com editor’s interface. If I knew the address for the image I could include it, but I get better accessibility over on my hosted admin editor. 

Website Hosting Services

As a hosting reseller I can setup a site for you, simply buy a domain, or turn over a CPANEL (Control Panel) that lets you go about hosting in a number of ways. So the first step is to consult with you about what your interests are and how to best serve those. WordPress isn’t the only solution I can assist with – there are many website tools that can be worked with and I can discuss what I’ve worked with and why I’ve made choices along the way.

  1. “I just need a domain and to have it pointed at an existing site” – this usually isn’t too much work to get the website named as you wanted. What is missing here is the conversation about email service using that domain. Since you own the domain, why not the email for it too?? There are additional conversation topics like subdomains and such that can be approached as needed – which few people consider.
  2. “I need a website setup with some basic graphics” – the assumption here is that you’ll be writing your own content or are trying to move a site from another host to something you’ll have more control over.
  3. “I’m not sure what a CPANEL is but I think I want that” – this is where consulting with you about the interests shows up and being truthful and revealing helps a lot in meeting your needs. If you’ve got one site or fifteen to be hosted there’s obviously going to be a little difference in what we’re talking about. It gets down to some training, guidance and support.
  4. If you are a skilled website developer, getting a hosting account through me does allow you to setup multiple websites and buy additional domains. One perk is advertising coupons that might be used to reimburse expenses that you’ve paid to me. My costs are very reasonable and I do my best in being fair and reasonable with pricing. If we’re both succeeding that’s what brings me joy.

If you’re interested in working with me, give me a call at 313-757-2619 or send an email to info@fuzzytek.com

UN Human Rights Council review of United States of America

The live broadcast of the Universal Periodic Review of the United States of America has just begun in Geneva Switzerland. 

This is the second UPR of the United States since the UPR process began in 2006 for each member nation of the United Nations. The troika – or three country delegates assisting the U.S. review – were selected in January 2015 (Botswana, Netherlands, and Saudi Arabia).

Webcast via UN Web TV

Archive link for video

USA UPR Adoption – 22nd Session of Universal Periodic Review

Clarifications to the recommendations through the trioka reviewing the UPR of the United States of America on May 15, 2015. 

Addressing 346 recommendations. Oral amendments were agreed upon and reviewed. A preliminary response from Ms. Kathleen Hooke, Assistant Legal Adviser for Human Rights and Refugees at the U.S. Department of State. In her statement she indicates due to the number of recommendations and work involved a detailed response will be coming in September 2015. The recommendations will be grouped by topic and worked on by at least 12 federal agencies, and experts outside the government. There will be an outreach to civil society and take into consideration their views.

Working draft of the recommendations, from UPR-Info.org (update expected May 29, 2015)

Please note this post at Fuzzytek.com will be updated!


United States Response and Interaction with UPR

President Obama addressing the United Nations General Assembly:1)Remarks by President Obama in Address to the United Nations General Assembly, Whitehouse transcript, September 26, 2014

We welcome the scrutiny of the world — because what you see in America is a country that has steadily worked to address our problems, to make our union more perfect, to bridge the divides that existed at the founding of this nation.  America is not the same as it was 100 years ago, or 50 years ago, or even a decade ago.  Because we fight for our ideals, and we are willing to criticize ourselves when we fall short.  Because we hold our leaders accountable, and insist on a free press and independent judiciary.  Because we address our differences in the open space of democracy — with respect for the rule of law; with a place for people of every race and every religion; and with an unyielding belief in the ability of individual men and women to change their communities and their circumstances and their countries for the better.

In 2010 a number of recommendations were offered through the UPR, today a review of the progress the country has made on these and more. While the State Department offers its response to the recommendations, it does not provide the requests which were rejected. The United States Human Rights Network has provided these rejected requests.

United Nations Responses and Requests

Each country’s embassy to the UN has the ability to offer verbal comment today – however due to the number of requests for comment these are limited to one minute five seconds each. 

Updates While Live Coverage Watched

Additional References

References   [ + ]

1. Remarks by President Obama in Address to the United Nations General Assembly, Whitehouse transcript, September 26, 2014

WordPress Updates

Many people using WordPress may not explore or fully realize the wonders of keeping the software up to date. Wordpress-Update-Recycle-474pxVersion updates may seem to fly through so rapidly there’s no hope of keeping up. That’s where working with someone like myself becomes a huge bonus in productivity.

WordPress 4.2 Update

This video from WordPress describes some of the new and revised features in this most recent release. If you are a bit apprehensive about making the update, give me a call at 313-757-2619 and schedule a maintenance consultation appointment for $25. I keep my rates flexible, because the power of your website rests in your hands as the content creator.