Saturday, October 30, 2010


Fifty years ago this week, the people who present baseball to a grateful nation did an odd thing: The American League announced that the Washington Senators would move to Minneapolis-St. Paul, but that the league would add two new teams: one of which to be called the Washington Senators.

This struck more than just a newly addicted eight year old as a bit confusing. If the American League wanted to expand to Minnesota (and, as it happened, Los Angeles) why not just create two new teams in those places. Why move the Senators to Minnesota and create a new team with the same name as that of the one which was moving?

The answer, as it is, sadly, for so many things, was race and the reason the elaborate shell game was required was so that we could avoid acknowledging the obvious.

History and adulthood taught us that the long time owners of the original Senators, the Griffith family, had, by 1960, noticed that the city was becoming black outside the pockets where government operated and the people who feasted upon it lived. This, the Griffith family concluded, was not a recipe for success and, as long time members of the league, they had the ability to convince their fellow owners that they should be allowed to make their money elsewhere.

Baseball, eager to maintain its antitrust exemption and a teeny bit concerned about the image of their completely abandoning the nation's capitol, decided that they might just distract enough people if they put another team there. The whole thing was so hastily slapped together that the team they put in Los Angeles so the league would have the necessary even number of teams had no place to play in other than a minor league park they bought from the Chicago Cubs.

The trick worked in large measure. When, in 1965 the original Senators, as the Minnesota Twins celebrated their first American League pennant since 1933, the expansion team using the abandoned name lost 92 games and finished in eighth place. Its sorry history included one dishonest owner sneaking out of town to rename the team the Texas Rangers, and another creep named George W. Bush serving as its president and pushing baseball into a crippling strike. They finally won the pennant this year and, at this writing, have lost their first two World Series games.

This somewhat lengthy prologue is meant as a bulky metaphor for what this disgusting political campaign has told us: we still are not allowed to talk about race and race matters above everything else. As discussed here last week, we can pretend that the voters are sending a message to Congress, that they are unhappy with the "drift" or the "direction" of the country, that they don't like "Obamacare," the bailouts, the level of unemployment, the deficit (ha) and so on, but every time someone says that, their gut knows better: nobody thinks this state we are in is the President's fault, or that of the leaders of the Democrats in Congress. These are the things people point to so as to justify a vote against the "foreign" president: the one whose father was black.

As just a new for instance, there is this from an interview Rachel Maddow conducted with some Alaska voters who support Joe Miller, but, more importantly, are against Sen Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She voted to confirm Eric Holder.

MADDOW: Why are you against that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he‘s the most anti-gun attorney general this country has ever had.

MADDOW: What‘s he done against guns?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, at this point, it‘s what hasn‘t he done
against guns? Let‘s ask that question. Let‘s look at his voting record
beforehand. I‘m sure you guys -

MADDOW: Eric Holder wasn‘t an elected official.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All I‘m asking is look at what his record is with
Obama then. Look at what he‘s -

MADDOW: What‘s he done on guns that you‘re upset about, though?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honestly, I don‘t know enough about him to answer that truthfully right now.

MADDOW: Can I just ask why you‘re upset about Eric Holder?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because he‘s anti-gun.

MADDOW: What has he done that‘s anti-gun?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don‘t know have the facts, but I know that he is anti-gun.

What Ever, as the kids say. Just say anything other than that the vote for President Obama was justified when the aforesaid President Bush was in office, but no longer. If voting for someone with a black father (and a black wife) was justifiable after the eight years of President Bush, with his party controlling both houses of Congress for most of that time, it is apparently not anymore to large numbers of people.

And, as baseball's adventure in D.C. shows, ignoring this motivation, coming up with any other reasons to explain the national obsession with race, remains firmly in place. So, in the face of claims that the President should not be allowed to talk to school children lest he "indoctrinate" them, or the first outrage expressed by national media about a possible intelligence failure that might have led to a terrorist act on Christmas Day, we talk instead about an unsettled electorate, angry at "incumbents."

Time after time, as we approached elections or other significant political events the Bush Administration would try to remind voters why they ought to stick with Them, by suddenly announcing arrests in national security cases, or raising new concerns about impending attacks. Questions about the timing of those attacks were either met with veiled suggestions that the questioner sympathized with terrorists or answered by events disclosed well after the electoral or political significance of the event had passed.

Yesterday, after explosives apparently intended for the United States were found and the discovery announced shortly thereafter, a reporter finally decided to put the question to a White House press secretary:

Q Yes, I was just going to ask you, how do you respond to -- there’s sure to be accusations that this is all happening a couple days before an election, used to sway the election towards Democrats. How do you respond to that?

MR. GIBBS: I think -- John briefed the President at 10:35 p.m. last night off of very credible terror information. And after -- I think that’s largely put to rest any speculation that may be out there after the testing the President talked about that showed apparent explosives in those devices.

As John said, counterterrorism officials at all levels of our government quickly went into action in order to take the steps necessary to protect the American people. That has -- that is exactly what has governed his actions and the actions of those in this government since that time.

Forget that the question makes no sense (the WH trying to gin up a fear that the thumbsuckers have decided only helps Republicans). The important thing is that the press make sure this President, as opposed to the frat boy masquerading as president who preceeded him, doesn't compromise national security for political advantage.

It may work again this time. Then again, cell phone polling being difficult and robo polling subject to bias, and the traditional turnout expectations being, perhaps, way off, maybe this time it won't.

If Tuesday is yet another step backwards in a journey filled with fits and starts, in a nation of idiots and fools it will have bad consequences and we will pay, as a nation, for our mistakes.

Ben Folds and Nick Hornby have just made an album that warns us about hope. These are Hornby's lyrics, but they are not about politics and are about issues of life and death. Still, they provide a warning and context

You know what hope is, hope is a bastard
Hope is a liar, a cheat and a tease
Hope comes near you, kick its backside
Got no place in days like these

And just as she's thinking of pulling the blind down
A rocket bursts in front of her eyes
The city lit up, London's given a bright crown
She tries and fails to stop spirits rise

President Clinton is coming to my little town tonight in support of our Congressman, a really good man who has found many different ways to contribute to our lives over many years but is a member of Congress largely thanks to President Bush's incompetence. He has a tough race this year against a tea party ophthalmologist who, unsurprisingly, does not like health care reform.

Still, by the end of the evening, to be be certain, President Clinton will make us feel that anything is possible. And it is.

Jon Stewart did us all a favor. More than anything else, he showed us where we are going. This will end. The next generation knows better and will move past race and form a more perfect union. That is our hope.


                                      File:Dick and Jane.jpg    
                                              PUTATIVE FELONS

A Manhattan judge ruled Thursday that a lawsuit against a 4-year-old girl for negligence can continue. Juliet Breitman, 4, is being sued by the estate of an elderly woman, Claire Menagh, whom she hit while riding her bicycle. The woman suffered a hip fracture and died three weeks later; her estate is suing Breitman, a 4-year-old playmate named Jacob Kohn, and the children’s parents, who were supervising them. The judge stated that a “parent’s presence alone does not give a reasonable child carte blanche to engage in risky behavior.” No verdict was made on Breitman’s liability in the case.

And the AP wire reported this update since this initial story broke:

A Manhattan Grand Jury has issued an indictment against Juliet Breitman for Manslaughter in the first degree. Manhattan D. A. Vance had sought the indictment after his own brief investigation of the death Claire Menagh.
It appears that there had been some disagreement between Ms. Brietman and Jacob Kohn. Jacob Kohn had evidently called Ms. Brietman:
Poopy Pants! You are nothing but a poopy pants, repeated Mr. Kohn.
Ms. Breitman was heard to respond:
You are the real poopy pants Jacob. And what I am about to do is all your fault.
 Mr. Vance made the following statement:
The angry exchange between Ms. Brietman and Mr. Kohn demonstrates to me—as well as the Grand Jury—compos mentis, malice aforethought and a reckless or at least careless disregard for the safety of others in the children’s immediate area.  
The scatological nature of the oral exchange between the two actors in this tragedy indicates an intent on the part of Ms. Breitman to do harm to people or property.
It seemed clear that Ms. Brietman’s parents had spent hours and hours attempting to teach their daughter proper comportment in a modern day society and that the child just refused to listen. On one occasion which was related to me by Homer Brietman, a distant cousin of the perpetrator of this dastardly crime, Juliet was instructed to eat all her broccoli prior to receiving her pudding and that in a moment of extreme rage, she threw her vegetables on the floor and ran into her room screaming:
Read more at this thread:
As well as here:
In a related story:

The principal of a Cincinnati Catholic school has apologized to parents after Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) discussed abortion during a speech to kids as young as 6.
Schmidt, a conservative, brought up the controversial matter while talking about the connection between moral issues and legislation during a question-and-answer period, the Daily News reported.
The following exchange between some of the students and Ms. Schmidt was recorded during the discussion:

Repersentative Smitt, is it twoo dat when a mommy and a daddy wov each other berry berry much dat dey makes a baby? Inquired a member of the audience.
Nonsense little one. Sex is how babies are made and sex usually begins with some man—usually a liberal—have his way with some poor na├»ve girl out of pure prurient greed for self pleasure while the girl reacts in a numbing fashion; afraid to strike back out of pure timidity; responded Representative Schmidt.

Following the lecture and the exchange all of the children received  jello shots with  a miniature flag pole centered in the plastic bowl and graced with a GOP banner.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010



Spanish prostitutes in Catalonia have been ordered to wear reflective yellow traffic vests—a precaution, authorities say, because they pose a threat to drivers on a rural highway outside Els Alamus. Authorities are enforcing a 2004 law that requires pedestrians on highways to wear highly reflective garments. If they’re caught without the vests, they face a fine of €40 ($56). Prostitution is not illegal in Spain, but profiting from the sale of sex by another is.
Posted at 3:03 PM, Oct 25, 2010

Well this is a new take on the Scarlet Letter motif, I suppose.Not as bad as the Star of David emblems employed by the NAZI’s I suppose.

There are public interests being addressed by these traffic regs, I suppose. 

I mean it is hard enough when you have a few drinks at the local pub, get in your car and run into a deer. I mean the mammals do tend to stop and stare at the headlights. Think about a law that made deer wear proper reflective clothing!!!

Do Spanish prostitutes tend to stop and stare at headlights? Probably should ask Mr. Seaton.

But this entire Spanish affair (if I may call it so) gives me pause.

Maybe there are some other applications for this type of traffic regulation employed by our Spanish friends.
But we have to think outside of the box.

I mean forget about the peds for a sec. What about the cars? I mean, shouldn’t we be warned about the drivers who kill tens of thousands of people every year in this country?

We could enact legislation mandating bumper stickers that properly identify hazards associated with the driver of the car that may be following us or that may be ahead  of us or in an adjoining lane.

In order to do this properly and effectively stickers would have to be placed on the front bumper, rear bumper as well as both passenger doors.

The stickers might read:








Now, no one is going to allow these stickers to be attached to their automobile or rather the automobile that is being driven.

But an extra charge can be attached to the criminal charge or ticket for every infraction.
So, when a cop catches someone driving and twittering, the additional charge of failure to properly disclose the conduct in question can be added.

Or what about these big political campaign busses that run all over the country.

Why not make it a law that every pol’s campaign bus must have a sticker disclosing every goddamn corporation that contributed to the pol’s campaign.

The name of every corporate contributor, every religious front contributor, every PAC contributor, and every contributor who deposited more than ten grand to a campaign must be prominently displayed on the pol’s vehicle.

Now, many politicians will not go along with this mandate. But when it is discovered at a later date that some corporation contributed some grand amount to the politician’s campaign, the politician can be charged with failure to properly disclose. The infraction might carry a sentence of up to year in prison as well as a 500,000 fine for each infraction.

But what if we made it so that the politician would have to wear stickers on his or her person for every corporate contributor while that pol was on the campaign trail? Which is always when you think about it. Each politician would wear his contributions. And it could also be mandated that if there is some trouble reading a sticker or two, a reporter would have the absolute right to request the name and address of each contributor along with the amount of the contribution.

Just a thought.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Broken promises in a broken country

Everyday we have to listen to this garbage:

The stimulus didn't create jobs. The President should have concentrated on jobs before tackling health care. "Obamacare" means that the government will take over health care, tell you which doctors you can go to, and will destroy our freedom. The President is a socialist.

You know it is nonsensical. In the very first presidential debate of the twentieth century, fifty years ago this month, the man who would become the most inspirational president in the lifetime of many of us, explained the "national responsibility" that the federal government first assumed as the instigation of Franklin D. Roosevelt:

The people of the United States individually could not have developed the Tennessee Valley; collectively they could have. A cotton farmer in Georgia or a peanut farmer or a dairy farmer in Wisconsin and Minnesota, he cannot protect himself against the forces of supply and demand in the market place; but working together in effective governmental programs he can do so. Seventeen million Americans, who live over sixty-five on an average Social Security check of about seventy-eight dollars a month, they're not able to sustain themselves individually, but they can sustain themselves through the social security system. I don't believe in big government, but I believe in effective governmental action. And I think that's the only way that the United States is going to maintain its freedom. It's the only way that we're going to move ahead. I think we can do a better job. I think we're going to have to do a better job if we are going to meet the responsibilities which time and events have placed upon us. We cannot turn the job over to anyone else. If the United States fails, then the whole cause of freedom fails. And I think it depends in great measure on what we do here in this country. The reason Franklin Roosevelt was a good neighbor in Latin America was because he was a good neighbor in the United States. Because they felt that the American society was moving again. I want us to recapture that image. I want people in Latin America and Africa and Asia to start to look to America; to see how we're doing things; to wonder what the resident of the United States is doing; and not to look at Khrushchev, or look at the Chinese Communists. That is the obligation upon our generation. In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt said in his inaugural that this generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny. I think our generation of Americans has the same rendezvous.

You know that this extreme opposition to the President has encouraged more extremism, very scary extremism at that, including not very veiled references to something called "Second Amendment remedies."

Yes, the same people went after the last President elected on the nomination of the Democratic Party and they even impeached him though he may have helped them a bit by occasionally forgetting his responsibilities as President of the United States. Still, the talk this time, from even before the current President's election, is of a type that is louder and more incendiary than this old guy, a voter since before Nixon used every tactic imaginable to defeat Senator McGovern in 1972, has ever heard.

We do not want to face up to its source. We want to pretend there are other reasons for the level of noise, for the threats and hatred that have dominated this election campaign. We want to tell ourselves that we have entered a post racial age. We have not.

What follows are things you have heard before, many times. Read them, or, better yet, listen to them again, please:

If an American, because his skin is dark, cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he cannot send his children to the best public school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who will represent him, if, in short, he cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place? Who among us would then be content with the counsels of patience and delay?

One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free. They are not yet freed from the bonds of injustice. They are not yet freed from social and economic oppression. And this Nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.

We preach freedom around the world, and we mean it, and we cherish our freedom here at home, but are we to say to the world, and much more importantly, to each other that this is the land of the free except for the Negroes; that we have no second-class citizens except Negroes; that we have no class or caste system, no ghettoes, no master race except with respect to Negroes?

Now the time has come for this Nation to fulfill its promise.

President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, June 11, 1963

This was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose. The great phrases of that purpose still sound in every American heart, North and South: "All men are created equal," "government by consent of the governed," "give me liberty or give me death." Well, those are not just clever words, or those are not just empty theories. In their name Americans have fought and died for two centuries, and tonight around the world they stand there as guardians of our liberty, risking their lives....

the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life.... must be our cause too. Because it's not just Negroes, but really it's all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice.

And we shall overcome.

As a man whose roots go deeply into Southern soil, I know how agonizing racial feelings are. I know how difficult it is to reshape the attitudes and the structure of our society. But a century has passed--more than 100 years--since the Negro was freed. And he is not fully free tonight. It was more than 100 years ago that Abraham Lincoln--a great President of another party--signed the Emancipation Proclamation. But emancipation is a proclamation and not a fact.

A century has passed--more than 100 years--since equality was promised, and yet the Negro is not equal. A century has passed since the day of promise, and the promise is unkept. The time of justice has now come, and I tell you that I believe sincerely that no force can hold it back. It is right in the eyes of man and God that it should come, and when it does, I think that day will brighten the lives of every American. For Negroes are not the only victims. How many white children have gone uneducated? How many white families have lived in stark poverty? How many white lives have been scarred by fear, because we wasted energy and our substance to maintain the barriers of hatred and terror?

And so I say to all of you here and to all in the nation tonight that those who appeal to you to hold on to the past do so at the cost of denying you your future. This great rich, restless country can offer opportunity and education and hope to all--all, black and white, North and South, sharecropper and city dweller. These are the enemies: poverty, ignorance, disease. They are our enemies, not our fellow man, not our neighbor.

And these enemies too--poverty, disease and ignorance--we shall overcome.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson, March 15, 1965

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., August 28, 1963

Almost forty years later, a country besotted by race remains so. A relatively insignificant encounter between a homeowner absurdly outraged when a police officer, responding to a report of a possible break in, asks for the homeowner's identification, and instead is met with a reaction that leads to an arrest, becomes something involving the President of the United States. And we go downhill from there.

If you believe the energy from his opponent's is unrelated to the race of the President's father and wife and his self-identification as a black man, you are being deluded. Were it not for the great Rachel Maddow, there would follow here as many instances necessary to prove that point. Instead, Ms. Maddow will simply spell it out for you:

And, yes, when the same forces of extremism created the atmosphere that led to President Kennedy's murder in 1963, two months after a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama killing four little children it was obsession with race that was at its core. Watch this and see if it sounds at all like the campaign we are in now.

It is now almost 140 years since the emancipation proclamation and 135 years since the civil war ended, but this fight continues to bedevil a nation that cannot come together even today. Yes, there are other issues and yes, there is room for honest disagreement about the role of government and its response to the problems which face us. But it is this divide---the one that led to a rule that almost prevented the Democratic Party from nominating our greatest president---Franklin Delano Roosevelt----and that caused an entire region to bolt from it and become the bastion of the Republican Party---that rules over all.

To again quote President Kennedy from that first debate long ago:

In the election of 1860, Abraham Lincoln said the question was whether this nation could exist half-slave or half-free.

Slavery is gone but its legacy lingers. We will not get past it when politicians seek to divide us, and to demonize those with whom we live as citizens of this nation whether they share our religion, color or national origin. This is a shameful period in our history and a dangerous one to boot.

In about two weeks, we have a chance to send those who would divide us a message that we are past that, and that we are a better nation than that. Can we do that? Are we?

Friday, October 22, 2010

I'm not a bigot, but.....

I’m not a bigot, you guys know the posts I’ve written about Asian stuff, but not long ago I was traveling to Hawaii, and the pilot was dressed in Japanese garb.  Well he wasn’t actually, and I don't even know if he was Japanese, but his eyes where, well…you know, and he looked like he might be Buddhist, or something.  Anyway,    If I see people who look Asian and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Asian, I get worried. I get nervous.

See, the Japanese – who are Asian - used airplanes to attack Pearl Harbor, so it’s not insensitive to be assume that a pilot with Asian eyes might be a Kamikaze, right?   If I could name a prominent Japanese American Republican in Congress, I’m sure they would agree.

I want to stress that I am not talking about all Asians when I criticize some and that America is not at war with Asia anymore. Blaming all Asian people for the actions of extremists is like blaming all Muslims for the actions of the 9/11 bombers.

Really, I’m not a bigot, but whenever I visit Washington DC, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in ‘British garb,’ I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as British, I get worried. I get nervous.

I mean for crying out loud, the British burned down The U.S. Capitol and The White House during the War of 1812.  It’s not unreasonable to assume that someone with an English accent and ‘British garb’ might want to do the same again.  I’m sure Margaret Thatcher would understand.

I want to stress that I am not talking about all British people when I criticize some and that America is not at war with England anymore. Blaming all British people for the actions of extremists is like blaming all Muslims for the actions of the 9/11 bombers and all Asians for the actions of Tojo.

So you see, I'm not a bigot, but I went to the bank yesterday to see about making some investments, and the guy looked like Bernie Madoff.  Well he didn't look exactly like Bernie, but he was wearing 'Jewish garb.'   If I see people who are in ‘Jewish garb’ and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Jews, I get worried. I get nervous.

I mean it’s not racist to recognize that the single largest crime perpetrated against investors in American history was committed by a Jewish person who served as a mentor and major contributor to Yeshiva University.  I’m just saying that it’s okay to be sensitive to these facts when banking.  Even Rupert Murdoch couldn’t claim this statement is racist, could he?

I want to stress that I am not talking about all Jews when I criticize some and that America is not at war with Judaism. Blaming all Jews for the actions of extremists is like blaming all Muslims for the actions of the 9/11 bombers, all British for the actions of King George’s armies, and all Asians for the actions of Tojo.

No, really I’m not a bigot.  But I live in Harlem, where the preponderance of crime is committed by African American males, so if I see a ‘Juan Williams type’ walking down the street, if I see a guy in ‘African American garb’ and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as African American people, I get worried. I get nervous.

That isn’t racist by any stretch. I’m sure Juan would agree - he’s from Bed-Sty where the crime stats are similar.

I want to stress that I am not talking about all African Americans when I criticize some and that America is not at war with African Americans. Blaming all Black people for the actions of criminals is like blaming all Muslims for the actions of the 9/11 bombers, all British for the actions of King George’s armies, all Asians for the actions of Tojo, and all Jews for the actions of Bernie Madoff.

I really, really mean it. I’m no bigot.  You guys know the posts I’ve written defending people’s rights.   But when I get go to Oklahoma, I got to tell you, if I see people who are driving trucks in ‘Christian garb’, like Timothy McVeigh was that fateful day, and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Christians, I get worried. I get nervous.

How can anyone think that statement is racist?  The greatest act of domestic terrorism in the United States was committed by  Tim McVeigh, a self avowed Caucasian Christian who drove a truck.  Certainly, Mike Huckabee would concur with this assessment.

And again, I want to stress that I am not talking about all Caucasian Christians who drive trucks when I criticize some and that America is not at war with truck driving Caucasian Christians. Blaming all Caucasian Christians people for the actions of extremists is like blaming all Muslims for the actions of the 9/11 bombers, all British for the actions of King George’s armies, all Asians for the actions of Tojo, all Jews for the actions of Bernie Madoff, and all Black people for the actions of the Juan Williams.

Where was I?  Oh, yeah…I’m not a bigot, but…..

(crossposted at Once Upon a Paradigm)

MSNY 102210

Thursday, October 21, 2010


George Corley Wallace, Jr.

There was a child less couple next door to my suburban childhood home in the early 60’s.  Their name was Swineheart. There was a cut out of a little pink pig with a red heart handing from their mailbox.
It was from the mouth of Mr. Swineheart that I first heard the phrase:
You know, Hitler was not completely wrong.
I have heard that line hundreds of times throughout my life and every time I hear it I know that I am speaking to a fascist prick.Swinehearts would tell me that Finland really had a Communist Government and the poor Finlanders had no clue that they were being governed by communists.I recall thinking that if it did not bother the Finlanders that much, maybe communism was not really that bad a thing after all.

Mr. Swineheart read some squib in the newspaper one day and came to the conclusion that the commies were going to take over all of the South American coffee trade. So he started to hoard coffee. He had accumulated hundreds of coffee tins and kept them in his basement.

He was also afraid of fluoride in our water systems and daylight savings time and…..

He had other issues. I mean he liked to masturbate his two dogs in his garage…he said it made them feel better. Hahahahahah

He was most probably the first tea partier I have ever met.
The media acts like this ‘movement’ is all new. Oh we have never seen anything like this before.
I mean like Strom Thurmond was a polite and reasonable person.
George Wallace was a real reward to humanity from God.
I am still attempting to see the late Lester Maddox nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Senator John Tower was a monument to civility and reason.
Spiro Agnew was a real voice of sanity.
Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld gave all they had to public service never wishing anything in return.
Oh but the Tea Partiers are all new and have new perspectives for a new America.

Here is their agenda, officially anway:

The contract, to use its own language, asks candidates to agree to: 1) protect the Constitution; 2) reject cap-and-trade regulation of climate-warming gases; 3) demand a balanced budget; 4) enact fundamental tax reform; 5) restore fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government in Washington; 6) end runaway government spending; 7) defund, repeal and replace government-run health care; 8) pass an “all-of-the-above” energy policy (referring, in part, to the exploration of domestic energy reserves); 9) stop the pork; and 10) stop the tax hikes.

Except for praying for the repeal of health care legislation and the reference to cap and trade, there is nothing new here.

Repubs have been screaming about the national debt for sixty years!!
And there is a greater agenda for these morons anyway.
The TPs seek to have prayer in schools.
I grew up with prayer time in school during the 1950’s.
The TPs are against abortion.
Abortion was illegal under any circumstances in most states in the Union until 1973; and repubs have been against Roe v. Wade ever since.
The TPs are against welfare for the poor and powerless.
The repub caucuses in both Houses of Congress have been voting against welfare for the poor and powerless since 1980.
The TP’s are against Affirmative Action—except when rich folks enroll Skippy into Yale based upon contributions made from the family trust fund rather than SAT scores.

As an aide to the 1950 Senate campaign of North Carolina Republican candidate Willis Smith, Helms reportedly helped create attack ads against Smith's opponent, including one which read: "White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories? Frank Graham favors mingling of the races.

The TP’s are against national health care.
Big deal so was Richard Nixon but even Nixon would have probably backed the new health care legislation.

The TP’s  have come up with nothing new.
Same ole same ole.


How many people believe in evolution in this country?"
Beck went on to say that he didn't know the answer, because he's "not God" and, consquently, doesn't know "how God creates," but he thought that it was "ridiculous" to think that we "came from monkeys." Personally, I find the intricate calibrations of evolutionary biology to be one of God's most impressive creations. But, hey, that's just me, trying to give God the credit for being all-wise and all-knowing, like you learn in Sunday school, and not just some summa cum laude sorcerer graduate of Hogwarts. ("I'm not a witch, I'm you," sayeth the Lord.)
This leads to a long-winded dialogue about how evolution has been "forced down your throat," and so it must be bad for you, like, you know, lima beans or Robitussin. Always the forced-oral sodomy fetish, with this guy!
At any rate, your money shot, from Beck: "I haven't seen a half-monkey, half-person yet." Let me caution you: you will not be the first person to make a "mirror" joke, so step up your game

Well I have seen a cross between a human being and a monkey and it is beckerhead.
The former member of the Three Stooges

That’s all I got today.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

'Swimming' the Witch

I’m beginning to think that Christine O’Donnell never really dabbled in witchcraft.  I don’t know much about Wicca, but from what I’ve seen on in the movies, witches and warlocks aren’t complete idiots like Chrissy O  - at least I understand that they can float when tied up and thrown in the water.  Christine O’Donnell seems to be sinking faster than a 17th Century Salem teenage girl at a witch ‘trial.’  Her stupidity is astounding.

Consider this exchange during her most recent ‘debate’ with Chris Coons at Widener University Law School

Coons:  “…religious doctrine doesn't belong in our public schools."

O’Donnell:  “"Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?"

Coons:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,”

O’Donnell:  “That’s in the First Amendment…?”

MSNBC noted that audience gasped in shock at the stunning ignorance of the Republican nominee.  I’m sure that those of you who just hearing about this exchange are also trying to catch your breath right about now.  I’m still cleaning the coffee from my monitor.

 As a note; O’Donnell also failed to identify several amendments of the Constitution that are frequently mentioned as targets of Tea Party repeal efforts, excusing herself because she “didn’t bring [her] Constitution with [her].”


Clearly, O’Donnell’s skills in witchcraft are lacking, otherwise she’d be floating with the other tea-bagged loonies, on pace to lower the collective congressional IQ – and who would have thought that even possible in a Congress populated by the likes of  Michelle  Bachmann, Dave Vitter, Joe Barton, and Steve King??

But there are others who fail the classic witchcraft litmus test;

Sharon Angle, for example, must be a witch.  How else would one explain her lead in the Nevada polls?  Angle famously said this;

"People ask me, 'What are you going to do to develop jobs in your state?' Well, that's not my job as a U.S. senator."

This is coming from a woman who wishes to represent a state that the Bureau of Labor Statistics says had the HIGHEST unemployment in USA according to the most recent data.

Angle must be casting some sort of stupidity spell on the voters in Nevada to be leading in this race.

Joe Miller from Alaska has announced that he would support the repeal of the 17th Amendment, which provides for the direct election of US Senators by the people – the same people Miller is asking to VOTE FOR HIM.

Now this is some amazing warlock stuff right here.  He wants Alaskans to VOTE for him to help repeal their right to VOTE for anyone else for senator.  AND HE’S LEADING IN THE POLLS! 

And Rand Paul thinks that Medicare is just plain wrong.  He’s said this:

"The fundamental reason why Medicare is failing is why the Soviet Union failed -- socialism doesn't work,"

Funny, Rand, by his own admission, receives about 50% of his income from Medicare reimbursements.  Clearly he doesn’t hate Medicare that much. 

Only a very powerful man-witch like Dr. Paul could convince the poor and elderly of Kentucky that it’s Socialism for them to get assistance for costly medical care while he profits greatly from it.  But this is exactly what he’s doing.

So, despite Christine O’Donnell’s confession that she dabbled in witchcraft as a youth, I think it’s safe to assume that, like her juiced up resume, she’s full of shit.   Just because she may have really really, really liked The Craft it doesn’t qualify her to claim that she actually dabbled in sorcery.  There is no other way to explain her lack of political buoyancy, except to acquit her of the charge of practicing the dark arts.  Now, if Bill Maher can come up with a clip of her admitting to being a high-priestess in the Church of the Mortally Stupid, I might be inclined to believe her.

MSNY 101910

Monday, October 18, 2010



Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, the suburbs. Fresh grass (the kind you mow morons!), elm trees and oak trees, white picket fences, trellises, finished basements (up north anyway), straight streets and avenues (with the exception of  cul de sacs of course ), newer schools……

The suburbs were once a place to get away from the stink of the city as well as those minorities—if you know what I mean.

Higher property values meant higher property taxes meant better schools and public libraries and such.
Then came the surburban sprawl and a pretty soon we had exurbs so that we could build bigger houses on larger plots of land. And the exurbians could get even further away from the stink of the city and those pesky minorities—if you know what I mean.

A pair of analyses by the nonprofit Brookings Institution paints a bleak economic picture for the 100 largest metropolitan areas over the past decade and in coming years, and finds that suburbs now are home to one-third of the nation's poor, and rising.
The study of census data finds that since 2000, the number of poor people in the suburbs jumped by 37.4 percent to 13.7 million. The growth rate of suburban poverty is more than double that of cities and higher than the national rate of 26.5 percent.
At the same time, social service providers are spread thin in many suburban areas, according to a detailed Brookings survey of groups in representative metropolitan areas of Chicago, Los Angeles and the District of Columbia. That has forced providers to turn away many poor people due to scarce aid that typically goes to cities first.
"Millions of Americans at all income levels moved to the suburbs looking for better schools, better jobs, affordable housing, and a sense of security, but in recent years, as incomes have fallen, people had a harder and harder time making ends meet," said Scott Allard, a University of Chicago professor who co-wrote one of the reports.
"As a result, Americans who never imagined becoming poor are now asking for assistance, and many are not getting the help they need."

Well, the Satanic snake has wriggled its way into paradise.

But we have all these retirees living in beautiful suburbia. I mean these are the people who were awarded those upper middle class jobs both in the private sector as well as the public sector. And with those jobs came all these pensions and such.

Okay, so some private pensions are in trouble and people have been reviewing balances in their 401k’s that look a lot like the balances they had twenty years ago.

But surely those retirees with public pensions—da bastards—they get to look forward to living in the lap of luxury following thirty years of service?

Well it turns out that many states view public pensions as ‘gratuities’ if you will. And no matter what these people were promised decades ago, they may not have what they think they have coming.
A study released in March, authored by University of Minnesota professor Amy Monahan, compares the pension legalese in a variety of state constitutions. In at least two states, Indiana and Texas, pensions are called "gratuities." The Indiana Court of Appeals has called pensions "mere gratuities springing from the appreciation and graciousness of the state."
Rauh called those states "outliers," and Monahan notes in the study that 2009 Texas pension legislation didn't touch current employee benefits. Where pensions don't have full and explicit constitutional protection, governments often protect them. But as municipalities look to balance their budgets, these conventional protections could be tested.
"In a lot of states the question is open to judicial review," Snell, the NCSL state services division director, told HuffPost. "They are certainly open to judicial review, of which there has not been a lot over the years, and certainly not comprehensive in most states
I wonder how many pensioners have received notice in the mail that their pension ‘rights’ may be open to judicial review?

And, then again, if you have a city pension and that city goes bankrupt, or the pension fund goes bankrupt,  what then?

And, of course, private companies go bankrupt all the time and might default as they say on their pension obligations.

Well there is trouble
Right here in suburban paradise.
And that trouble starts with a ‘t’
And that rhymes with ‘p’
And that stands for pension.

If suburbia is beginning to feel the effects of the transfer of wealth in this country from the middle class to the wealthy one per centers, maybe the middle class will begin to realize that the repubs have absolutely no answers to the real economic problems facing this nation.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Living with One Another

A friend's father died this week after a long, but still tragically shortened life. He was Roman Catholic which meant, as so often seems to be the case, the Jewish guy writing to you was in attendance to watch what, to these eyes and ears, continues to be a quite strange ritual. Since I do not share the faith that makes those rituals meaningful, they still seem, even after seeing them so many times, quite odd in so many ways.

The point, though, is that the ritual was not meant for me. It was to comfort those who lost a loved one. And it had meaning for them; in some cases deep meaning, I am certain. And so, by definition, it was a moving event, even if beyond my comprehension.

At our best, this country is made up of all sorts of pockets such as that. People who pray a certain way, whose lives are dominated or at least influenced by factors which do not mean much, if anything, to the rest of us. Some of those things we can come to appreciate even if they will never apply to us directly: I will never be a mother, but I have one, and I am a father as well, and I think I understand what a mother's love for her child is like, but whether I do or not, I certainly can appreciate it.

Other things take longer to understand of they are not part of one's own experience. It took me longer than it should have to have understood what being "gay" meant to a person's life. Reading Ellison's Invisible Man as a high school student there could be little mistaking that the book involved more than what a black man had to endure, but homosexuality seems almost scary to a heterosexual male teenager and the defenses one builds to protect against these phantom threats can be difficult to pull down.

Yet throughout adulthood, as more people were able to identify themselves openly as gay, those fictions from the past had to be addressed and ultimately abandoned. It became necessary to stop believing that people were making a "lifestyle" choice which they could walk way from if it became too difficult to maintain.

To be sure, the daily lessons in recent years from Rachel Maddow, from the days she first appeared on my radio as I drove to work, to these days when the podcast of the best hour in information television still serves that purpose, have helped. So have the many people with whom I have worked who turned out to be gay.

But it is less the shame that Don't Ask Don't Tell still brings upon my country, or even the continuing physical attacks on gays that has opened the same eyes which smirked on a teenager, long ago. It is, more than anything else, these stories of suicide, even of the contemplation of suicide as an alternative to what faces a gay teenager, or young adult.

I saw the painful monologue of the Fort Worth city councilman on Lawrence O'Donnell's program the other night and it was quite moving. Even more so, perhaps since I have met her briefly, perhaps because her talents as a musician are so apparent (at least to me, a child of the sixties) was this from a young recent college graduate named Allison Weiss, someone whose sexual preference had never seemed significant to me:

But now I know that it is. Children are dying over it. And, stepping back from that horror, it becomes easier to understand what it means to to hear that all terrorists are Muslims or to hear a United States Senator pose a question to you, as you seek confirmation as a Justice of the Supreme Court, that suggests you are nothing more than your heritage as reflected in a 1950s television comedy about someone from Cuba.

Tolerance, in this respect, is not simply polite, or a recognition of what this country is all about: it is critical to the literal survival of many of our fellow citizens, and very important to millions of others.

This is easy to say from one point of view. It becomes harder when you consider the need to accept, understand, and possibly talk to people who believe the president illegally assumed office or is attempting a radical transformation of our country. When some of us could not even consider that someone other than the candidate we favored might win the party's nomination for president two years ago, and felt the need to call the other candidate every repulsive name we could dredge up, tolerance seemed in rather short supply.

We are at a very difficult point in our history. The moment we are in always seems more significant than those of the past, and I suspect this election, or this crossroads may not be as much a moment of decision as it seems today, but, as Rachel explained perfectly the other day, we almost seem to have lost the will to do anything but hunker down, tell each other why we don't trust one another and whimper about our broken political system.

This is not the time to put one's head in the sand, or to complain about things we wish the President had done, but did not. Dreaming about third parties, or making ours more liberal, has no place as we approach this election.

Rachel had the absolute right portion of President Kennedy's exhortation about the need to explore the heavens, to further the quest of humanity to learn more, or do more with that knowledge, but there is one other paragraph about roughly the same subject, but to a slightly different audience, that describes our mission, and that president said it on his first day in office in the most memorable speech any of us alive then have ever heard. We who grew up with these words in our head have accepted this as our mission not just to those who live outside our country but to our fellow Americans as well, and it remains so to this day:

To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required -- not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Big Apple

After spending about a week at LisB's place, I finally decided to take a trip by myself into NYC. I walked down to the train station and purchased my ticket from one of the machines and waited for the next train into Grand Central Station. I had just missed the last one but was in no big hurry and the wait was not long.

Chile is NOT a tea party nation

If there is one quiet lesson to be learned from the inspiring way that Chile pulled together to locate, care for, and rescue 33 miners, it is a lesson which flies in the face of Tea Party nostrums.

Chile has demonstrated how a society cares for those in need.  It did not spare "many millions" in organizing a world class relief and rescue effort, which went off not only without a hitch, but left the whole world in tears and hugs, with a sense of what human caring and solidarity and trust is all about.

Had the Tea Party been in charge, there likely would never even have been the initial efforts (20 probes or more) to locate the miners.  No, the tea party folk would have told us:  "If these folks want to be rescued, it's up to them to find their own way to do it."

Tea Party folk would then have comforted themselves with philosophical words about how the government has no business meddling in the private lives of others.   They would have waxed eloquent over how wonderful it is to ensure the safety of oneself and one's family, perhaps heaping blame on the workers for not ensuring their own safety ahead of time, and advising the grieving family members to buck up, be strong, and each go their separate ways, firm in the knowledge that the government had not meddled in their lives.

Chile chose a different path.  And we know how the entire world watched in awe and wonder, with a common sense of humanity and decency and joy, at how humans care about each other and will do almost anything to save lives and promote health and welfare.

Think of these two ways of being.  The Chilean way.  The Tea Party way.  Which of them demonstrates the human spirit at its best? That is the way to go.

It's a simple parable.  Go and do likewise....

Monday, October 11, 2010


File:Joanna d`Arc by Jan Matejko 2.jpg                        

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him" (1 John 5:14-15).

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).


Never underestimate the power of prayer.

Prayer, especially during telethons, brings in millions of dollars to the coffers of holy men like Pat Robertson.
At the age of only 12, Jean d’Arc led the French army against the evil English dominators to help end the 100 Years War; all through communication with her Maker.

Now to people like Schwarzenegger, Joan of Arc appeared to be merely a girly boy; not even a girly man.
Of course God remained on the side of the French during the Hundred Years War because He knew that the English would turn away from Him a hundred years after it was over; all because of great unholy yearnings in the nether regions of a certain King…

Farmers pray for a fair crop. Sometimes they get carried away—especially the corporate farmers—and pray for stupendous crops.

Grandmamas pray for a good and bountiful feast toward the end of each November and they pray that Aunt Alice will shut her trap long enough for everyone to enjoy the bounty.

Attorneys pray that they will win the hearts and minds of the twelve good Christians chosen to decide a bountiful verdict in class action law suits so that their clients may be reimbursed for harm done them by evil forces and so that their firms may move to larger office buildings with good parking facilities.

Doctors pray that their patients are cured so that their malpractice insurance premiums do not increase during the current fiscal year.

Politicians pray that old video tapes of them expressing rapture do not show up on Youtube.

Poker players will pray that another ace does not appear on the river so that their flush will hold up in the end and they can take everybody else’s chips.

Children will be praying that they will soon receive a lot of candy during the extortion scheme we refer to as Halloween.

Sometimes prayers are not answered. Or they are answered in ways we do not understand which is why it is difficult to properly document prayer success as it were.

God works in mysterious ways indeed!!!

Bishop Sheen told me that despair comes from the Greek/Latin phrase: Des Paro. To be parted from the Lord.

Ever so often my faith in the Lord is strengthened and I am no longer in despair.

This happens when I come across news items such as this:

Glenn Beck announced Friday that he will be absent from his show for two days next week due to medical problems in his hands and feet. He said that doctors have told him that there may be "small fiber" issues involved, but that two days of tests are needed to figure out what exactly is going on.
Speaking on his radio show, Beck also said that he thinks part of his medical problems may stem from "spiritual wounds" due to his soul being injured:
"There's a physical reason, but I believe physical, mental and spiritual are all can't injure the soul of someone and not have physical wounds appear eventually...a lot of physical things, a lot of mental things are from spiritual wounds and vice versa.

So it looks like some of my prayers are being answered.

And I look to all of you out there in the virtual world and ask that you join your virtual hands with me and pray:

Dear Lord, deliver each and every one of us from the grasp of Satan and his minions who control talk radio.

We ask that you strike down these fulminators of lies and filth with sickness unto death, for as You stated in that holy fable Pulp Fiction:

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides
By the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.
Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will,
Shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness,
For he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children.
And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger
Those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers.
And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you

PS. Now remember, The Lord helps those who help themselves; so keep your junk away from your phone for chrissakes:

In "Disconnect," Devra Davis, a scientist and National Book Award finalist for "When Smoke Ran Like Water," looks at the connection between cellphones and health problems, with some disturbing results. Recent studies have tied cellphone use to rises in brain damage, cheek cancer and malfunctioning sperm. She reveals the unsettling fact that many new cellphones now come with the small-print warning that they are to be kept at least one-inch from the ear (presumably for safety reasons) and many insurance companies refuse to insure cellphone companies against health-related claims. Most troubling of all, science has shown that children and teenagers are particularly susceptible to cellphone radiation, raising questions about its effects on coming generations.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In Other News

Unbelievably insightful stuff with next to no political hook has been posted here. Aside from this alert, this site will be spared otherwise.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

When the "Tea Party" took over the GOP the first time

In the year the Republican Party nominated Senator Barry Goldwater as its presidential candidate, there was never any chance he could win. . The country was still reeling from the murder of its young, exciting president, and many people felt that his memory could best be honored by enacting the laws the late President had urged on the country. Aside from a certain reluctance in the nation to have another change in presidents after the one forced on us in November, 1963, the assassination of a president in the city where handbills and newspaper advertisements accused him of all sorts of crimes including treason and being a secret communist sympathizer, had shaken the country to its very core.

The night the President was killed, one of the anchors of NBC's nightly news program spelled out the prevailing opinion of a country suffering from the paranoia and hate which had replaced political discourse. For the moment, and at a horrible price, extremism was taboo.

So, to some people, the Republican Convention the following July was a bit surprising. When Oregon Governor Mark Hatfield delivered a keynote speech against " "bigots in this nation who spew forth their venom of hate" he was called a "demagogue, a hate monger, a bigot, an anti-Christian and an ally of Moscow." When others proposed that the Republican platform include a plank denouncing extremism, it was thunderously voted down, with a presidential candidate, Gov Nelson Rockefeller of New York booed off the podium.

Then came this, the single most remembered moment of that Convention.

This is what we call today "tea party rhetoric" and, held by a small minority or not, it has engaged the beltway, and cable television, which has permitted the hate and fear to be, in Gov Hatfield's word, "spewed" far and wide.

Here's just a bit of what followed Senator Goldwater's call for extremism when he sang it from the podium of the Republican National Convention while accepting their nomination of him to be president:

Time magazine, as reliable as ever in its opposition to all things new deal, hopefully suggested that "[i]n the abstract, the lines are unimpeachable" but even it had to observe that

in the context that Goldwater used them, they were questionable. They drew tumultuous cheers from the delegates; they also got Barry embroiled in a thunderous dispute. New York's Governor Nelson Rockefeller blasted Barry's remarks as "dangerous, irresponsible and frightening." Barry shot back: "Extremism is no sin if you are engaged in the defense of freedom." California's Democratic Governor Pat Brown said the remarks had "the stench of Fascism." Retorted Barry: "It's the stench of Brown—it's ignorance." Dwight Eisenhower too was disturbed, declared that the remarks "would seem to say that the end always justifies the means." Added Ike: "The whole American system refutes that idea and that concept."

The New York Herald Tribune, the voice of the old "eastern establishment" Republican Party, ousted from their perch warned that
The Republican party now does face a clear and present threat from the Know-Nothings the purveyors of hate and the apostles of bigotry... There is a real danger that a Goldwater campaign could become a captive vehicle for their own subversions of reason.

Other newspaper editorials echoed the same fears, or, of course, trumpeted the demise of liberal thought. The elections that fall, less than year after President Kennedy's death, had the predictable result and crazy has not been the platform of a major political party since then, until now.

Every morning, now, in between tut tut tuts by Mourning Joe and his acolytes about the President and absurd suggestions that he does not care about unemployment but that somehow by his unspeakably foolish, but perhaps politically astute decision to try to kill off a tunnel project under the Hudson River NJ Governor Chris Christie is the future of the Republican Party, those who live in the Hudson Valley, north of New York City, get to hear commercials by an ophthalmologist running to unseat our Congressman, John Hall, that Congress enacted "government run health care" which "could prevent you from selecting your own doctor." (Oddly, her advertisements also attack me every time I open up TPM, too.)

The ophthalmologist raises money from the expected places---and lots of it, hence the ads on tv and TPM--- and adopts the same "let's privatize social security" rants that have energized people who have suddenly realized that while they were angry at President Bush, they replaced him with a black guy.

And while it is unlikely that Sharron Angle or Christine O'Donnell will be in Congress when it convenes in January, this strange visitor from the land of crazy likely will if current polls and Nate Silver have it right.

This is what it is like in the United States of America 46 years after the crazy dragon first seized control of a major political party but were crushed in the wake of the assassination of the President. Most voters today were either not alive then or too young to remember the noise, the fear and the craziness of that year. And to those of us who do, especially those of us just entering what is now called middle school in those scary days, the belated, but calming voice of the prior Republican president, General Eisenhower, by many other Republicans who said they could not vote for Sen Goldwater (Senator Clifford Case and Congressman John V. Lindsay come immediately to mind), provided reassurance that the grown ups would not allow crazy to succeed.

No such voices exist any more. Even Governor Mitt Romney, the offspring of one of the voices who stood up to Sen Goldwater in 1964---partly because the Goldwater supporters included virulent anti-Mormons---remains silent.

It seems impossible that They will succeed where they have so often failed. The reassurance that that is so, is quite missing, though and the silence deafening.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


File:Sheriff of Nottingham.PNG    THE LORD SHERIFF

There are several new articles on my friend Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

And I decided to take a little time refreshing my memories of this character from some discarded Eastwood movie made during the Nixon Era.

But standing back a bit from the huge canvas depicting the life of this octogenarian something struck me.

All political parties have coalitions.

And since we have (usually) only two viable political parties in this country, each party depends upon a number of coalitions and those coalitions differ depending upon which part of the country you are investigating.

But one of the core values of the Republican Party is supposed to be private enterprise. And Arpaio has been sucking governmental teets his entire life. And that is a long stretch of time.

Joe was in the army for four years, then a cop in Las Vegas, and then a DEA agent for some 25 years.

So we have a nice pension and a complete health care package for Joe care of the U.S. government.

He takes that pension and runs for Maricopa Country Sheriff in 1992. So this man is most likely getting Social Security, Medicare, Federal Employee Health Insurance, a Federal Pension, a State salary (and after 18 years of service a fully funded state pension), a state health insurance package…

As repubs like to point out, once you are on the governmental teet, the more likely you are going to lose sight of the basic core values of the GOP.

Arpaio will tell you that he earned all his governmental packages and I doubt anyone could disagree with that reality.

He is so full of himself that he actually brags about having arrested Elvis--

He has arrested owners of newspapers.

He arrests peaceful demonstrators.

He loves to do sweeps under the new Arizona law:

I think that any good solid Republican will tell you that the problem with a government insider—whether functioning in DC or not—is that pretty soon that insider thinks he is helping run his own business of sorts and that the insider will forget that he is dealing with taxpayer monies.

Joe Arpaio thinks he owns Maricopa County and is free to run the county as his own damned business. I am sure Joe thinks he earned that right.

The problem in reviewing the life of this man is that sympathy creeps into all of this.

You start thinking, or at least I start thinking that the man has really attempted to strive for truth, justice and the American Way.

Which is why I must recount the darker side of this giant of American law enforcement.

The man did not initiate this jail tent program in Arizona. Tents had been in use for some time.

And just reviewing this issue all by itself, I get stomach cramps. Am I upset that we send rapists and murderers to desert gulags where you are invited to get out of 118 degree heat by entering a canvas covered area that is only 113 degrees?


But I am concerned that drunk drivers, shoplifters and drug users are being treated like this.

Was Joe solely responsible for the green bologna fed to the inmates? No I am told there is green bologna throughout the Arizona prison system. It is some sort of program involving second hand food.

But after 18 years on the job, Joe is responsible for maintaining this system of torture, that is for sure.
And he has become so callous after half a century of policing that, in my humble opinion, he has turned into a very evil force.

There is the immigrant issue.

From his own blog site, here are some statistics:

· Arrests by Sheriff’s deputies of persons transporting or being transported illegally into Arizona: 2,164
Under the Federal law
·  Arrests by Sheriff’s deputies who, in the course of their duties, determine the arrestee is in Arizona illegally:1,933
ICE “Holds”
·  Each inmate booked is interviewed for immigration status. Sheriff’s detention officers have turned over 36,983 illegal immigrants to Immigration authorities for deportation.

And you can bet that Arpaio is sooooooooo proud of all these stats. 
In 1995, Arpaio reinstituted chain gangs. In 1996, Arpaio expanded the chain gang concept by instituting female volunteer chain gangs.[37] Female inmates work seven hours a day (7 a.m. to 2 p.m.), six days a week. He has also instituted the world's first all-juvenile volunteer chain gang; volunteers earn high school credit toward a diploma

2001, Arpaio was the first sheriff to require all inmates aged 18 and over to register for the Selective Service System. Registration is required by federal law for all U.S. males between 18 and 26 years of age, as well as for resident aliens of the same age, regardless of their immigration status. Since 2001, a total of 28,000 inmates (including 9,000 aliens) have registered for Selective Service.[42][43]
The Sheriff also started the "Have a Heart" program in which inmates may volunteer to be organ donor

Chain gangs.

I am attempting to put this in some sort of context.

Now it must be true that Arizona road crews have to suffer in 118 degree heat. And road crews do not have it that easy anyway.

So you are using convicted felons in a useful manner? And providing a benefit to the state.

But juvenile chain gangs? Oh but it is only invoked on a ‘volunteer’ basis. I get this picture of 13 year old boys breaking rocks in the hot sun and receiving green bologna twice a day.

Of course all these volunteers are paid—at fifty cents a day.

And how exactly do you get this ‘consent’ anyway? What do the juveniles face if they stay out of the chain gang with all of its camaraderie and such?

The good news. Well when the kids give up the ghost while breaking the rocks, their organs are available to the highest bidder I should think. I mean a healthy liver from a 13 year old corpse can be very useful to the Mickey Mantles among us.

And the selective service does not normally take felons as recruits.

But if programs like this are legal, how in the hell can you seek change? Obviously the Arizona legislature wishes to keep the gulags running. The Arizona legislature evidently has no problems with chain gangs or even juvenile chain gangs.

What is a mother to do?

Well you investigate the devil from other angles.

Add one more FBI investigation to the list of federal probes into Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

Federal agents and the U.S. Attorney's office are probing whether top Arpaio aide Chief Deputy David Hendershott -- who has directed the day-to-day operations of the office for a number of years -- mismanaged the department, according to a letter from the U.S. Attorney obtained by TPMMuckraker

In the letter, first reported by the Arizona Republic, U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke confirmed to Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox that his office and federal agents are looking at allegations of wrongdoing by top Arpaio aides, including Hendershott, his second in command.
Deputy Chief Frank Munnell alleged in a 63-page memo that Hendershott and two other aides "willfully and intentionally committed criminal acts by attempting to obstruct justice, tamper with witnesses, and destroy evidence."

In the Mennell memo, Hendershott was described as a bully who retaliated against those who questioned him and forced subordinates into refusing to cooperate with federal and state investigations. The memo also alleged that Hendershott used a public-corruption task force to allegedly launch politically motivated probes of the sheriff's opponents, the Arizona Republic reported.

I frankly could give a damn if two grand was spent in DisneyLand. Who cares?

But when you screw with evidence, when you use extortion to get what you need, when fear and trembling is your prime tool in running a county, when you misuse millions upon millions of dollars…you are out of line.
And Sheriff Joe might be prosecuted for at least some of his sins—even though I do believe he is just too senile at this point to ever be cognizant of even some of his past sins. He will go to his grave thinking of himself as the hero.