Dan Lopata

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The irony of complaint

Emerging Trail

Yesterday I sat in the doctor’s office – going through my umpteenth visit trying to get a solution to the pain that is stopping me from running and I thought about our students here at school and the irony of my complaints.

Today is “ugly sweater day” at school. Many of our students don’t even have more than a few shirts, so purchasing an “ugly sweater” wasn’t something that would be an option. Sheila teaches ESOL so the students aren’t from here and did not even know what this meant. I went to visit the class, we pulled up examples of “ugly sweaters” on the smart board and the funniest thing happened.

The kids LOVED them. As in. “OOOH THAT’S BEAUTIFUL.” Excitement, not getting the fact that these were supposed to be something you would NEVER wear.

They LOVED this one They LOVED this one

Sheila had gone to Wegmans and they donated a…

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The irony of complaint

Yesterday I sat in the doctor’s office – going through my umpteenth visit trying to get a solution to the pain that is stopping me from running and I thought about our students here at …

Source: The irony of complaint

UPDATED: Why I am voting for a 3rd party presidential candidate and why you may or may not consider doing so yourself.

Go Here for Retraction : Retraction


“But you’re wasting your vote,” “Voting third party is a vote for Trump.”

Nope, I live in New York State. Right now Hillary is polling at 50.3% to Trump’s 33.6% in NYS. I can check these polls up to October, and if it changes to the point that Donald is within 5 points of Hillary, I will vote for Hillary. But as it stands, me voting for Hillary now works against my/our best interests of breaking the two-party system.

Now I have a lot of friends saying that if every Democrat in NYS did this then Trump would win NY. First, if we go with that actual hyperbole, if every Democrat voted Green in NYS then Jill Stein would win NY getting all of the Electoral votes in NY and preventing both Trump and Hillary from getting 270. That would be fun! Secondly, what kind of reach and influence do you think I really have? But if that is how you feel, okay, that assures me that my reach and opinion holds little sway and therefore Hillary will win NYS because too many people feel this way. Look, there is a 3 million vote buffer in NYS, do you really think that many democrats understand what getting a third party to 5% of the vote means? I didn’t think so.

But, to appease my friends in Blue States, let me then make the pitch to ALL Democrats and independents in Red States:  ID, MT, ND, SD, WY, UT, KS, TX (Primarily Texas), OK, MO, AR. AK, LA, MS, AL, TN, KY, IN, SC. Look, your vote for Hillary isn’t amounting to a hill(ary) of beans, you’re not beating Trump in those states. All Democrats voting Green in TX, TN, and IN alone would get the Greens to a 5% threshold. Your third party vote wouldn’t be a vote for Trump because you wouldn’t win anyhow; it would be a vote FOR breaking the two-party gridlock. GO OUT AND DO IT!

What about Battleground States? By all means, if you live in NV, AZ, CO, MN, IA, NE, WI, MI, OH, ME, NH, PA, VA, NC, GA, FL vote for Hillary, We can’t afford a Trump Presidency. Particularly if you live in PA, OH, MI, FL. Your third party vote in those states are a vote for Trump, this is bad.

“So you keep talking about this 5% Threshold Dan, what is that all about?”  The Federal Election Commission offers great perks for Political Parties that break this threshold. These include:

Since no third-party candidate received 5% of the vote in the 2008 presidential election, only the Republican and Democratic parties were eligible for 2012 convention grants, and only their nominees were eligible to receive grants for the general election once they were nominated. Third-party candidates could qualify for public funds retroactively if they received 5% or more of the vote in the general election.

So, this is NOT a protest vote. This is not a vote for Trump, and it is not a wasted vote for me. A write in becomes a wasted vote because unless the name is recognized by the federal commission it is discarded (A Bernie write in is a horrendous vote, it means NOTHING). This vote is a vote FOR something, not AGAINST something. This is a vote for viable alternatives to the two-party system which frankly has become a party on the right and another party on the far right.

I think we all can say that we are really fed up with politics as they are. I’ve heard many say that they will stay home because their vote “doesn’t matter” and in non-battleground states this is true for the Presidential election if you only vote Dem or Rep (Not so true about down ticket elections). So here is an opportunity to take on status-quo politics and make your vote matter.

Furthermore, many have said, and I agree, that third parties need to start at the local level then grow. This is true, third parties will be taken more seriously when you see them with records in government from Dog Catcher to Mayor to State Senator to Governor to Congressperson, but part of the effort to get those names and policies seen by voters come from funding at the federal level. This is why getting that national ticket to 5% helps the grass-roots effort of building a viable third party. So yes, I will be also voting down-ticket for people and policies I believe in. To be honest the Greens that have run locally are not good candidates, nor are they always better alternatives to the traditional parties, so I will vote my conscience in these local elections. That does not mean I won’t get involved and not have discussions with the local Greens. I would hope they would run some better candidates because I like their platform.

Also, I’ve heard that Jill Stein is not the best candidate. Let me be clear, I am not voting for the candidate, I am voting for the platform and I am voting for MORE DEMOCRACY by getting more voices in the public square. I do not agree 100% with the Green platform, but I believe it is better than the Democrat’s and the Republican’s platforms, and I believe it is important to have more voices in the process.

The final objection I’ll address is that having a Green Party just distills the Democrats and assures Republicans a win. Not so, It becomes an opportunity for Democrats to adopt planks in the Green Platform thereby eliminating the need for a Green Party. The same can be said on the other side of the equation with a socially liberal Libertarian Party forcing the GOP to adopt its planks. More voices = more democracy and greater representation, no matter how it happens.

So, when you fill out that card in November, I ask you to take a moment to think. Will my vote really matter in stopping Trump, or will I and the nation be better served by voting FOR more  voices in our democracy? The answer will be different for each person based on what you believe and more importantly by geography. I for one would like my NYS vote to mean something for a change.


The Year in Review Part III (Family)

I don’t write much about my kids, and that is because I won’t infringe on their safety and privacy.

I love my wife and kids and we have adventures planned for 2016.

I’ll leave it at that.


What are you willing to do?

What are you willing to do?

Listened to a talk yesterday (happened twice again today) about morality, accountability, punishment, systemic failure, “and”…

The question was put forth, “Yes Ray Rice is guilty and needs to be held accountable…and….?”

The “and” is in reference to the system, and our responsibility to it.


There is a graph circulating around social media with NFL teams and how many arrests there have been on each team. I’ve seen people say, “Well my team isn’t as bad as The Vikings” But let’s be clear, EVERY Team is on the list, and the need for the list at all is quite telling. Here is an organization that doesn’t pay its musical entertainment, is rife with concussions, domestic violence, drug scandals, dog fighting, alcohol related incidents, bullying to the nth amount inside and outside the locker room… and these people are paid OBSCENE amounts of money… why? because we keep watching, buying tickets, buying product from sponsors, saying “The bad apple is a bad apple” without recognizing that the soil the apple grew on makes it much easier for bad apples to thrive.

We can see this with regard to allowing concentrated poverty in our cities (particularly here in Rochester) which produce desperate violent people that recently resulted in the slaying of an upstanding Police Officer (don’t get me started on the problems with the Police system, this guy was a good apple).

We see it in companies who refuse to pay a living wage, yet reap the OBSCENE profits off the backs of these workers.

These are just a few examples of where the system or “soil” conspires to create bad apples. So how do we till this soil so it weeds out the bad apples? Well that is the question, “What are you willing to do?”

Are you willing to give up your NFL tickets? to stop watching your Bills or your Packers? No one says you have to, but would you be willing to give up your weekend sport to protect the next victim of financially privileged domestic violence or the next 9 year old’s concussion?

Are you willing to give up some or all of your guns so they don’t have the possibility of falling into the wrong hands? No one is telling you that you have to, actually it is your right… but it is a right that may not be the best one to exercise to the extent that we see it?

Are you willing to support the inner-city financially? or buy supporting the school system, or by creating a real transit system that provides access? Yes it will mean more in taxes, but it will mean less in the way of disaffected, desperate people who are systemically shut out?

Are you willing to give up your McDonald’s Coffee, your Burger King Whopper, Your Wendy’s Fries, and support businesses that pay their employees $15/hr or more? Will it cost you a little more? Sure, but it will also send the message that promoting in-humane business practices by underpaying employees is not a profitably business model.

What are you willing to do?

Me? I don’t watch the NFL or play Fantasy Football anymore, I don’t go to businesses that don’t pay their employees, I advocate for stronger city systems, and I don’t own a gun, so no one can obtain it from me.

Your turn…

It was a sea of orange

Proud to be part of this organization!

Music This Week – 1/18

Sorry I missed last week, probably because I just couldn’t bring myself to post the fact that I played a Carrie Underwood tune. But anyhow, Music this Saturday at First Unitarian continues with the theme of “Character”:

I have to admit that Sara is quite a guilty pleasure. I love her voice and whomever handles her arrangements is a friggin’ Hook Master:

…and another female lead I can listen to all day, Poe:

Stephen Stills’ genius was on display with Buffalo Springfield. I would also strongly suggest people check out his work with Manassas.

Now I’m a huge fan of Brian Setzer so I will place this next tune here with his arrangement, but I also feel it’s necessary to follow it up with Santo & Johnny who originally wrote it:

Oh Edie:

Let’s close out with some Killers:

Again, you can see me perform  these tunes live at the Saturday 4:30 Service at First Unitarian Church of Rochester.

Bonus Material:

If you have read this far, and you’ve been following along, you know I’m working on another project. Let me tickle you with some ideas floating around for this one:

Let’s mess with The Kinks:

And my favorite from the Aristocats:

Let’s not forget some older favorites:

So All’y’Alls better get those dance shoes ready!

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