Monday, April 30, 2012

Hard To Compete With The Koch Brothers' Billions But We Have Guitars And Other Collectible Swag For Social Justice


The other day, after reading about our Filter guitar giveaway on behalf of Ken Aden's Run 2 End Hunger II, a correspondent asked me if I have a lot of guitars and if I play them. I once had a lot of guitars; I never played any of them. Before I was a blogger I ran a record label-- or three, a small indie label in San Francisco, 415 Records, then Sire here in Los Angeles, where I was general manager, and finally Reprise, where I was president. It was a nice run and I wound up with closets filled with memorabilia. Actually, rooms filled with memorabilia... like the guitars. I'm not a musician. They were souvenirs for me-- signed guitars by the artists I worked with. Years ago I decided I needed to find a way to give them away to people who would get some pleasure out of them. I started donating them to auctions for worthy causes-- the guitars and some of the dozens of gold and platinum award discs that used to thrill me so much when I was a kid.

In two hours, we're going to randomly pick a name from among the 400 people who have expressed an interest in "winning" a beautiful Fender Stratocaster guitar signed by all them members-- yes, Steven Page included-- of the Barenaked Ladies. It was one of those guitars in an upstairs closet. The band endorsed my idea of using it to help advance the cause of democracy. So "expressing an interest" meant contributing to our If I Had A Million Dollars ActBlue page or even just sending us a note without any money involved. One person was entered who said she has no money to spare but that she is praying for victories for Norman Solomon and David Gill. She wasn't even a fan of "If I Have A Million Dollars" but another Barenaked ladies song, "One Week," was played at her daughter's wedding party and she fell in love with the song. Anyway, whether someone contributed $5 to be split between Norman and David or $500-- or just let us know they were sending their prayers-- all the names are in a box and at noon (PT) one name will be randomly selected and that person will get the guitar. We'll announce it in an Update on the bottom of this post.

We gave our friends at the Courage Campaign a beautiful, customized TLC platinum and gold award for the 1992 debut album, Ooooooohhh... On The TLC Tip, which sold 4 million copies and included the big hit Aint 2 Proud 2 Beg. They're using the award plaque to fight homophobia in North Carolina this week by funding a grassroots effort filled with TLC to defeat Amendment One. Please consider helping that at that last link-- whether you want the award or not... you can always donate it back if you win it or give it to another charity of your choice (and even get a tax deduction!).

Meanwhile, we're just ramping up another guitar giveaway, this one, which will go to support Ken Aden's efforts to end hunger in Arkansas. This one is a Squier Telecaster and it was signed-- back in 2002-- by all the members of Filter, riding high on their smash hit, Hey Man, Nice Shot. Before becoming a candidate for Congress, Ken, an Iraq and Afghanistan War vet was immersed in running a non-profit community-based self-help group in Arkansas, Residents 4 Arkansas, Inc. Last month he was honored by the White House for his community service and met with President Obama and members of his cabinet to talk about the role of volunteerism in America. Ken has been awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Achievement Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Multinational Force and Observers Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Parachutist Badge. Right now he's in the middle of a 253 mile, 7 day run across his district (ending May 5) to raise awareness and to raise cans of food for families who are hungry in Arkansas. When he ends his run, Blue America will thank one of the supporters of Ken's candidacy with the Filter guitar. Supporters can contribute here or send a check-- or even just a note-- to PO Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Everyone will have an equal chance to "win" the guitar, regardless of how much you contribute-- or even if you just let us know you're praying for Ken or rooting for him.

Some may see Ken as a "do-gooder" but he's a tough as nails progressive running in the reddest district in Arkansas. Rather than shrink away from a fight as others in his state have done, this Army Combat Veteran is taking it to the streets and standing up for equal rights for all. As you've probably guessed by now, the main part of his campaign focus is on community service work-- as well as renewable energy technology, veterans rights, and the protection of Social Security and Medicare. In a recent quote he said that "if you even think of cutting Medicare and Social Security you ARE a criminal! The time for corporate prostitution has come to an end!"

As we mentioned on the Act Blue page, we were chatting with Ken last week and he told us about a woman he met while out campaigning the weekend before. She considered herself an independent, and was a supporter of Ken's very right-wing opponent-- Wal-Mart's personal Congressman, Steve Womack-- back in 2010.

"I wish I would have met you back then, because I never would have voted for him," is just what she told Ken on Saturday.

We liked that, because it is the opening lyric of Filter's "Hey Man, Nice Shot," we figured that would be the perfect guitar for Ken's campaign. (Not to mention that Ken is a huge fan of Filter's music himself.) What Ken's doing is so important that we wanted to encourage all of our friends to help. But, since we know we can't ask you to send canned food through the mail even though we are 100 percent in support of our brothers and sisters at the APWU, we thought we'd ask you to pledge to donate $25.30 to Ken's race-- that's one dime for every mile that he'll be running across the district. Of course if you can't donate that amount any help would be greatly appreciated. And if you want to contribute more... please don't hesitate.

And, for every person who makes a contribution through this page for Ken's campaign, you will be entered in a random drawing to win a guitar signed by every member of Filter as a "thank you" from Blue America. Everyone has the same shot, whether you contribute one dollar or 1,000 dollars-- or even if you just send us a note to PO Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027.

So don't delay-- please make your contribution to Ken's campaign today, and by doing so, you'll have a direct hand in ending the plight of impoverished families today. GO KEN GO!!

Here's another Filter song-- this one a cover of an old hit by Harry Nilsson, "One [Is the Loneliest Number]," a song I always thought summed up the right-wing world view summed up by Ayn Rand. Three Dog Night, Al Kooper, Aimee Mann, Dokken, Mastodon and the Chainsaw Kittens all did versions of the song as well. Filter's version was on the soundtrack of The X-Files: Fight The Future, an apt GOP slogan that Ken Aden is battling against.

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At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Geneva said...

I saw that on Blue America (I think it was Blue America). It's very important to raise money for progressives this time around, and it's very important to try to compete with their money power with people power!
Here is a link to a video of a poem I wrote about Obama and the need to get involved with the election:


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