History According to Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann is a certifiable imbecile.  She thinks no further than the end of her nose, and shoots off her mouth like the loose cannon she is.  Heaven help us if she ever runs for president.  It would however be an entertaining cat-fight between she and Sarah Palin – TV ratings everyone.

Back when Bush was the president, you could count on the State of the Union address to be a careful blend of scary-stupid and downright funny-frightening.  President Obama speaks in full coherent sentences and has an actual PLAN – whether all Americans agree with him or not.  I happen to agree with him.  Without Bush in the picture, all the high-pitched comedy is coming from Michele Bachmann and the far-right wing Tea Party.  

In Bachmanesque fashion, Michele thinks “the ‘founding fathers’ fought valiantly to end slavery”.  She said so kinda not looking into the camera but rather somewhere else in outer-space.  I’m not sure she knew where the camera was.  Or perhaps she doesn’t realize when she speaks aloud, people can hear her.  Maybe she thinks if you look away from the camera no one can see her either.  Does that woman run her ‘factoids past anyone first?  Isn’t there at least some misguided neo-con intern willing to do some research for her?  I mean at a bare minimum look it up on Wikipedia for Christ’s sake.  No, not Michele.  She’s blithely unaware the founding fathers wrote into the constitution that a slave was property and merely represented 3/5th’s of a person.  Pretty unsettling stuff if you have a moral conscience.


I personally feel that Thomas Jefferson did have a moral conscience.  No man capable of such powerful and enlightened words as drafted by his hand could possibly be so morally bankrupt in that part of his heart.  Jefferson’s words are truest to himself in the Declaration of Independence – “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  

On the other hand, the Constitution is more decree by committee, if you will…  But I can easily see Jefferson as a product of the social attitudes of his time.  In the 18th century a high-born white man didn’t love a black woman out before the judgmental eyes of the whole world.  It was impossible.  People couldn’t openly declare their love the way mixed-race couple can today (in more enlightened blue-states, that is…)  In the 18th century it was difficult enough to court within your own race while crossing social boundaries without it becoming a scandal.  America has always been sexually repressive and zealously religious.  Bad combination.  I’ve often speculated as to whether Sally Hemings wasn’t in reality the great love of Thomas Jefferson’s life – and I’m not the first to wonder that.  The truth of their secret lay in the souls of those two lovers, for none of us ever to know for sure.


Progress is never fast enough for those who are living through it.  I see that as a gay man.  But as a little boy I remember traveling with my parents to visit the historic reconstruction of Williamsburg and stopping to eat in a Virginia restaurant where there were separate dining areas and restrooms for black and white patrons.  And that, mind you, was 180 years AFTER we declared our independence from King George III.  Even as a kid I was struck by how odd and uncomfortable that segregation felt.  My schoolmates were of all races, and my parents didn’t raise me with a racially prejudiced worldview.  Thankfully they were progressive in that respect, even back in the 1950’s when I was at my most impressionable.  


But does Michele Bachmann have a clue about the Civil War or the racial tensions of the 1960’s fully 100 years later?  Not only is she ill-informed, dizzy-eyed and talking in circles, this madwoman is doing liberals a great favor by drawing attention away from more coherent but equally disagreeable republicans.  For her to claim our founding fathers did much more than worry about the future so far as slavery was concerned — is like Mitch McConnell coming out against earmarks after a career history of abusing them.  Speaking of disagreeable republicans…

Doe-eyed Paul Ryan’s official republican rebuttal was all but eclipsed by Bachmann’s nonsense.  She’s fracturing her own party and I couldn’t be more pleased.  

Paul Ryan is easier to look-at, but not so easy to listen to.  Ryan has dreamy eyes and nightmare ideas – like privatizing Social Security.  Wait until that sinks-in with the aging baby-boomers.  Both Bachmann and Ryan are opposed to all sorts of “entitlement programs” – Social Security, unemployment, Medicare and Medicaid.  As if “entitlement” were a dirty word.  They’re called “entitlements” because we PAID into them our whole lives making us therefore ENTITLED to them.


As “entitled” as a brilliant young black president, who happens to be a Constitutional scholar trying against all odds to unify us as a people so as to lead our country forward.  I would speculate Thomas Jefferson would identify more with the words of Barack Obama than with the greedy, shallow-thinkers of today’s extreme right-wing.


No wonder the Texass ‘Bored’ of Education wants to write him out of our history books.  Both Jefferson AND Obama that is.

Today’s Texass Bored of Education Entry

Today’s Texass Bored with Education entry comes from David Wiedner of Philadelphia.  David and I have been friends neighbors for years, and at one time served together at the local voting polls before he moved to a different district.  

I’m not going to editorialize about the belligerent stupidity of the Texas Board of Education today, but I will share a link to a site provided by my friend, Deb Regan, who serves with me at our local polling place.  Deb is the minority Republican inspector, and I’m the majority Democratic inspector.  We can respectfully agree to disagree – but then again she’s right of center, and I’m left of center – A.K.A. – the ‘sanity zone.’  Deb supplied the following mind-numbing website:

http://www.tea.state.tx.us/

I especially like the way they felt compelled to caption the photograph of a mountain with the word ‘Mountain’ as if it weren’t already obvious.

I would like to end today’s diatribe with a few “inspirational” words from the contemporary “profit” Cindy Jacobs who missed her true calling as a stand-up comic for Saturday Night Live in favor of picking her nose and reading the results as direct messages from the “lord.”  Cindy “blesses” us today with a modern apocalyptic essay on how gay people are responsible for the Arkansas birds that fell from the sky on New Year’s Eve.  Cindy is an imbecile.  Enjoy.


http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/jacobs-birds-are-dying-because-dadt-repeal

The Texas Baord of Education Refudiatin’ and maneuvigatin’ Backwards to the Future

Ok, OK, Kansas is separated from Texas by Oklahoma.  But there is a severely similar worldview regarding god, guns and religion.  Best to keep that electorate as ill-informed as possible if those RED states are going to remain Republican/Tea Party territory.  You need to have a limited education based on intentional misinformation, wedge issues and a distorted perception of the Constitution if you want to claim the majority of those inhabitants as your constituents. 

While John Boehner led his dog and pony show ‘reading’ of the Constitution on the floor of the newly majoritized House – it turned into a bungled middle school group class history assignment.  I was stunned as to how much was left out.  I‘ve read the entire document and watched the whole House’s reading if it on CSPAN.  (BTW – I made-up the word ‘majoritized’ because there’s already a word minoritized – look it up).  I figure if Sarah Palin can make-up words like ‘refudiate’ that make no sense — and within weeks it’s added to the New Oxford American Dictionary, and declared ‘Word of the Year’ – why not make-up EVERYTHING out of whole cloth?  But I digress – as the House of Representatives read the Constitution, large sections were omitted. Pages reportedly stuck together or were merely discarded because the Constitution doesn’t exactly mean what the right-wing conservatives would like it to.  They’d have been better-off reading aloud from Dr Seuss.

The right wing clings mercilessly to their rights to own and carry 30-round clips for their guns, believing it to be protected by the 2nd amendment — and in the next breath they’re merrily trotting in and out of church every Sunday blithely unaware OF – or in blatant opposition TO freedom of religion.  Freedom of religion to right-wing America means we’ll kinda-sorta-maybe tolerate other sects of Christianity.  2 of the key framers of that Constitution (the Tea Party so artificially cling to) are Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.  Both of whom are about to be rewritten OUT of America’s school textbooks, because the Texas Board of ‘Education’ (or lack thereof) find FAULT with some of the philosophies held by these great men who led very the formation of our nation.  Freedom of religion embraces your right to be an atheist, a Muslim, a Hindu a Jew or come-what-may — EVEN a ‘desist.‘  Both Jefferson and Franklin were deists, as reportedly was George Washington – but the Texas B of A isn’t yet equipped to change the name of the Capitol of the United States to Plasticville, DC — so it remains Washington until further notice.

What is a ‘deist’ most toothless Tea Partiers might ask…?

To put it simply, a deist is a sort of spiritual agnostic who sees little use for organized religion – viewing organized religion as suspiciously close to cults – brain-washing people away from independent thought.  Do what yer preacher tells ‘ya.  So Franklin’s quote of “Lighthouses are more helpful than churches” lends an illuminated steeple to anyone choosing to think for themselves when seeking practical or even spiritual guidance.  Perhaps your God is your own conscience, and not always to be found in a church a temple or a minister.  If you think for yourself, and you’re at all sane, there’s very little chance you’re going to buy the bull-pucky being brewed in the far-right’s tempestuous teapot, let alone purchase a 30 round magazine-clip.  I ‘repudiate’ (hehehe) the genuineness of any grassroots movement funded by the wealthiest anti-environmentalists in America – the Koch brothers.  The Koch brothers are 2 men who are so slimy they could only have been born to a father who was a card-carrying, founding member of the John Birch Society.  Remember them?  The ‘society’ who fueled the fire of discontent during in the notorious assignation years of the early 1960’s.  Not that they pulled the trigger mind you, but they did stir the stew.  Decades later, the Koch brothers benefit financially from the manipulation of America’s faithful masses, who have no idea they’re being played.  The Koch brothers distract and rial-up low-information citizens (thank you FOX News) by shipping dimwits wearing hot-glued teabags on their red, white and blue hats to moronic events from coast to coast — while the Koch bothers (a.k.a. Georgia Pacific) chop-down our forests, outsource our jobs, pollute our environment and foster shady connections to foreign monies that wind-up mysteriously in the hands of the US Chamber of Commerce to underwrite conservative political campaigns… successfully selling the rest of us down the river.

The Texas Board of Tea-slime is so slippery it threatens the very freedoms on which our country was founded – all while decrying a ‘love’ for the Constitution.  I believe the Texas Board of mis-education/Tea Party embraces the ‘idea’ of the Constitution without any genuine comprehension OF the Constitution.  We are on a slippery slope when our history books are so written as to censor America’s historical facts and even embarrassments.  What have we learned if those facts and mistakes, (however uncomfortable) are eliminated?  We’ll have educated our children to become a passel of fools destined to relive those same-said mistakes.  Mistakes like genocide, slavery, Jim Crowe, and prohibition just to name a few.

A long time ago, a boyfriend of mine slipped on the old-fashioned winding-staircase in my tiny 1812 Federal-era Philadelphia townhouse.  Startled by having lost his footing he burst out with the phrase “I can NOT ‘maneuvigate’ your stairs.”  I love the word he invented right there on the spot – it’s much more colorful than ‘repudiate’ – and far more useful.  Our country cannot ‘maneuvigate’ an era of non-truths and blatant falsehoods any more than we can rewrite history and pass it off as the truth.  At least not if we want to get anywhere worthwhile in the near or distant future.

Why the Texas Board of Education Wants to Strike Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin from American History

 
Our first entry comes from Denise Cellinese who quotes Thomas Jefferson with the following phrase:

“He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.”

This is a key clue as to why the Texass Board of Education might choose to eliminate Thomas Jefferson from all the nation’s textbooks.  While checking Denise’s phrase, I found another, and another, and another…


The Texass Board of Education is fully aware that an ignorant voter is an easily manipulated voter.  An ignorant voter will blur the lines between democracy and capitalism and foolishly wonder why they’re poor and unrepresented.  

Congratulations to Denise for kicking-off the first comment.  Our contest continues…

CAPTION CONTEST: Subject – The Texas Board of Education. 1st, 2nd & 3rd prizes are all the same bridge in Brooklyn. Mixed responses encouraged. Accurately researched quotes are acceptable.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Winnietoons-by-Bill-Whiting/124733577574267 

John Boehner – Is He Prepared to Lead? If so, WHAT?

John Boehner – Is He Prepared to Lead?  If so, WHAT?

Selfishness and mean-spiritedness seem to be excusable traits in this country as long you claim to be Christian, newly inaugurated Alabama governor, Robert Bentley, who clearly stated in his inaugural address that non-Christians are not his “brothers & sisters.”  Electing assholes can be toxic.  With all the grizzly right-wing fringe Tea Party lunatics calling the shots, and their candidates scoring a certain, “startling” number of wins, I’m left wondering HOW, and IF people think beyond their own self-absorbed wants – not needs.  Needs are something left unaddressed.  “MAKE MINE MINK” would appear to be the mantra of the new conservatives.  You hear chants about “Get the government out of my Social Security” (how do they think if happens?) or “Stop Medicare for other people.”  The extreme right thinks they’re shouldering all the financial burden, but when you read between the lines, what they’re really saying is ‘socialized programs are fine as long as they only go to people who look like themselves.”

This narrow-mindedness is typified by John Boehner who can weep over a dip in the stock market while trumpeting his success in life — then without missing a beat, work to prevent other people from attaining anything close to his own dream (as much as he may be capable of “working”) .  It’s as if the right-wing brain-set is hard-wired to be cold, lacking compassion, and more than willing to blame the poor for being poor as if poverty was a crime.  More than likely wealthy neo-cons have more to be ashamed of in how they’ve acquired their wealth, than any persons of inherited poverty.  A woman commented to me just the other day about how she’s “worried-sick for the future of her children who only have 6-figure trust-funds.”  A jaw-dropping disconnect from the hard reality most of the people of this world face. 

And now the House of Representatives is being led by the man widely recognized as the laziest man in Washington.  John Boeher is more of a spray-tanned drunken golf-pro than a real ‘man of the people.’  OK, he’s a man of the rich, straight WHITE people – but that’s hardly anything that brings him ny closer to MY heart.  I think the man is a fool who stumbled into power much the same way dog-shit is tracked on a shoe and lands on a fine Aubusson carpet.  His first move is to do everything in his power to either repeal or block funding to Obama’s signature legislation, ‘Health Care Reform.’  He doesn’t care if millions of people will benefit from this progressive change.  He cares only about the obscene profits gathered by the health insurance companies.  Follow the money trail… 

Boehner will do nothing in Congress but stonewall, (God, if he’d only do it in drag…)  Already he’s snubbing state dinners, and failing to fly on Air force One.  This man owes his career to obstinacy for the mere sake of being contrary.  He’s owned lock, stock and barrel ( is that a GUN reference?) by corporate America, with only a nod of double-talk to the people he represents.  Satan only knows what he’s up to behind closed doors in his office, let alone in his apartment in the ‘Brothel on C-Street’.

At this point, I want to mention I offered the opportunity to a number of far right-wing conservatives I’ve talked to on Facebook to counter or comment with their views (unedited) regarding John Boehner.  None of them were willing to go on record.  I still welcome those comments, if anyone is willing to do so.

However, Mark Powell, with whom I rarely disagree did choose to write a few words.  So the right-wing viewpoint remains silent, at least on this blog.  At least I offered. 

Mark picks-up from here with his guest comments:

*       *       *       *       *

Ah John Boehner, where does one begin? We’ve just sworn in as Speaker of the House the first 6 foot tall Oompa Loompa. However in keeping with the public persona this big orange anomaly is, I have to ask, rather than Speaker of the House, should he not instead be appointed Town Crier? The man has made apolitical career out of being an intestinal blockage and now is third in line to the Presidency. This should be ample incentive to all to ensure that both Barack Obama and Joseph Biden stay in PERFECT health. John Boehner, during Bush’s administration advised the President that our benchmark’s in Iraq where “good” and “very important” yet those same benchmarks, in 2007 when the Democrats were supporting them, became designed to “ensure failure” But then, we expect our politicians to flip-flop on issues and say whatever lie will get them elected.

SO let’s look at his savvy when science is involved. This man has stated that humans are not impacting global warming, that it is the fault of cows defecating. Well, I think there is enough bullshit to credit global warming to, but enough about Congress. This staunch Ratpublican’t ran on a ticket of smaller Government, less spending and fiscal frugality. Then voted in favor of a 9.8 TRILLION dollar budget for President Bush, and has ever since been blaming the high cost of Government on the Dumbocraps.
While John Boner,, um sorry, Boehner, is no shining example of, well, anything, other than maybe hypocrisy, he is ample evidence that the national political scene, like most Americans, is totally bankrupt. This one man alone is a stellar “poster child” in the “We need REAL change” campaign. So in 2012 when the circus once again rolls through, let’s send them all a message, that we are sick of the clown car routine in the Beltway and we want our nation back.

Mark Zuckerberg Thinks I’m a Plate of Spinach

I’m a baby-boomer, which is an odd name for a group of people all well-over a half-century old.  I don’t make any claims to being a genius, and I was admittedly unfocused at the age of 26 – in every conceivable way.  Point of fact at the age of 26 I was preparing for the first of 2 sets of critical eye surgeries – 2 per eye – the aftermath of which left me an emotional wreck for years.  I’m trained as an artist and continue to be one, but vision impairment was never part of my future plans nor on my wish list.  So perhaps I was crazier at 26 than Mark Zuckerberg, and I was decidedly less focused.

There are serious questions as to the integrity of the method through which the boy obtained the Facebook concept – his “brain-child” – I wasn’t there so I can’t comment.  I didn’t even see the movie.  But no one makes a sixty-five-million dollar settlement if innocence is wholly on their side.  However he obtained the Facebook concept, he’s definitely made a run of it.  Nor can I comment on what he does with his fortune, but I can comment on the maturity level of a 26 year old – and success – especially astounding success, is not something 26 year old’s historically handle well.  Look at child stars and young starlets.  Take Lindsay Lohan for instance (please, someone take her – she’s not a genius by anyone‘s standards) but she was clearly unprepared for so many ‘sobering’ calamities in such a short span of time.  Lohan is nothing but a tabloid train-wreck – where Zuckerberg, on the other hand has unparalleled power – which I for one have no reason to trust.  He has a command over the lives and personal information of what is now effectively the world’s 3rd largest non-recognized country – so lets call it a “non-exclusive chat-club” instead.  With a net worth of 6.9 BILLION dollars, Zuckerberg is the 35th wealthiest person in America.

At better than twice his age, I’d like to share what he and I have in common:  

  • We’re both on Facebook.
  • Both of us still live in our humble abodes. 
  • We both wear T-shirts. 


Our differences are:


  • I have more genuine friends.
  • I’m perilously close to loosing my home with nothing on my back but my T-shirt.
  • And if I had his money, I’d make it my life’s goal to die poor. 


There are so many, many things 6.9 BILLION dollars could do to make this world a better place – and I’d take great joy in doing them.  OK, the boy gave a piddley five-hundred million to bailout Chris Christie’s idiotic mistake in cutting the New Jersey Public School System and then failing to apply for government grants in time.  Christie is an imbecile, and even looks like one.  But the list of dream-projects a mature, fair-minded person could do with all that wealth is as endless as counting his billions, one penny at a time.  Think of the medical research, educational grants, mental health programs, animal rescue, aid for the handicapped, seed money for new businesses to create jobs in a painful economy.  Imagine the joy of preserving our historical and natural treasures – the list is endless as the imagination, but his money sits in the bank like he’s a youthful J, Montgomery Burns.  He doesn’t honestly know what to do with it.  Lets hope the child snaps to.  It took Bill Gates a far longer time than it should have to reach a charitable conclusion, thanks only to Warren Buffett.

Last week Goldman Sacks obtained an exclusive option, (already sold-out), for stock shares in Facebook – WITH taxpayer money to secure the risk – to dole out in nibbles and bits to preferred, wealthy customers.  If this venture tanks, the already overburdened middleclass will add that financial failure to our growing,  incomprehensible national debt.  What are we doing allowing our government and Wall Street to join forces with taxpayer-backed dollars to allow a fledgling overnight corporate giant to go “semi-public” at our expense in the first place?  Let them do it on his own without risking OUR money.  ESPECIALLY to an exclusive club of already wealthy investors and corporate entities.  What if Facebook turns out to be another dot-com bubble?  Big Brother Google, who is to a degree in partnership with Facebook, is already designing their own social-networking product to compete with Zuckerberg.  If the market is glutted, and bubble pops, then our economy will further sink to oblivion.

The cyber world is like quicksilver – here forever and gone in an instant, all at the same time.  And damned it, it’s all beyond my control.  NOW so is my profile.  Zuckerberg enforced design modifications.  I hate having my time wasted with confusing updates and forced profile changes just as I get accustomed to doing things a certain way.  I further dislike the fact that my profile photos now includes a plate of spinach in garlic sauce, and I have no idea how to get rid of it.  I photographed a meal once.  It was delicious, but I don’t care to be defined by it.  Suddenly I’m putting myself out there to the world as if I’m a vegetable side dish – because Zuckerfuck DEMANDED that I accept his new profile formula – and almighty HE would electronically pick and choose what photos would best represent me.  I’d have preferred him to have kept it simple.  I have other things to do in REAL life. But then again I don’t live in the cyber world, I merely visit it as a CyberSpaceTraveler.  And Zuckerberg will NEVER get my real birth date.  Ever.

So — OK kid — you’re rich beyond your wildest dreams.  Now do something worthwhile with it, if you understand the true meaning of the word ‘worth.’

POP Goes the Constitution

The Republican majority in the house is off to a dubiously auspicious start.  First with a well-intentioned “reading” of the Constitution on the floor of the House of Representatives – conveniently leaving out pages and amendments which were either embarrassing or inconvenient.  Several pages got stuck together, no doubt because some Tea Party neo-con was salivating over the parts dealing with slavery in a quiet bathroom stall.  Two veteran House members, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tx.) and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) skipped the swearing-in ceremony in order to attend a celebratory fund-raiser.  They raised their right hands in front of witnesses at the fundraiser while watching the ceremony as it was being televised on CSPAN.  They thought that was good enough.  It isn’t.  Those same to idiots later cast a vote in the house without being properly sworn-in, making the VERY FIRST ACT of the new House majority to be outside of Constitutional law.  We are at the mercy of morons.

As Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) was reading the passage about natural-born citizens of the United States qualifying to be president, a “birther” (a group not known for super intelligence) shouted out from the peanut gallery “EXCEPT FOR OBAMA !” – and was removed by the authorities and jailed.  Later when the tanned, drunken, lazy new Speaker of the House, John Boehner was questioned about this outbreak during an interview by Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News, Boehner gave a soft-ball answer about taking the records of the State of Hawaii on their word, but failed to condemn the words of the ‘birther.’  By benign neglect, the Speaker has already failed in a significant and symbolic way to control the crazies who form the crooked spine of the far republican right-wing.

Also during that same reading of the Constitution on the House floor, Democratic Representative, Gabrielle Giffords read aloud the passage dealing with the “freedom to peacefully assemble.”  As we all know, she was later shot in the head while meeting with her own constituents at a “Congressman on the Corner” event where she reaches out to the people of Arizona to listen-to and address their concerns.  As I am writing this, she lays in the hospital with critical life-threatening brain injury.  28 people were shot by a 22 year old Tea Party neo-con who found his inspiration from reading Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf.  His Tea Party candidate didn’t win, so he took his “2nd Amendment” remedies into his own hands and diminished forever the sense of safety and connection members of congress will enjoy while engaging in efforts to meet with and address the needs of the people of their districts.  Federal Judge John Roll died along with 5 other people – a total of 6 dead and 14 seriously wounded.  Among the dead is a 9 year old girl named Christina-Taylor Green.  Christina was born on September 11th 2001, and was featured in a book of the children born on that fateful day.  She had just been elected to her student council and was at the Arizona Safeway grocery store’s corner to listen and learn from her own state representative.  The monster who did this will not have his name appear on my blog, as people of his character derangement do what they do to secure their own pathetic names in history – like all brutal assassins from the beginning of recorded history.  He is someone with nothing to offer but violence.

But I’d like to call out a few names on the honor-roll who need to share in the blame in this horrible incident.  Sharron Angle, (failed Nevada senatorial candidate and loose cannon), who along with Sarah Palin coined the phrase “2nd Amendment remedies.”  Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Bachman and Jim DeMint, to name a few, have all used incendiary rhetoric to insight unbalanced, low-information individuals to be so emboldened as to take this sort of disgusting and reprehensible action.  What we witnessed this past Saturday in Arizona is the polar-opposite of what America stands for.  Arizona is a state that needs to take some serious time to reflect on what they are in danger of becoming or may have already become.  So does the rest of America.


My heart goes out to all who are personally effected by this event.  May the dead be respected, the wounded healed, and the loved ones left to ponder why this happened, some measure of peace.

From this point-on, I’m handing over the rest of this post to Mark Powell to rant to his heart’s content, as a former Arizona resident and recent Arizona ex-patriot who has moved to higher and saner ground.  Mark and I do not agree on everything, but we are able to disagree without loosing respect for one another. 

The following are Mark Powell’s words:

I am not a pacifist. I do not believe in the disarming of all American citizens. In fact I feel that mentally competent, rational adults have a responsibility to protect their families, by armed force if necessary. However the events in Tucson this morning beg the question WHY was this asshole allowed near a gun? He had already been shown to be mentally unfit (even the army didn’t want him) and had many run-ins with the law. Poster child if ever there was one for “not allowed to carry” EVER!!!
Federal officials receive threats every day. Occasionally they get more than threats. So Congresswoman Giffords (whom I support, even before this) and the judge, even their aides knew this was possible. But the NINE YEAR OLD GIRL brought to the event by a neighbor because she had an interest in government? Not a chance of a clue this was in store for her. According to MSNBC she was a newly elected member of the school council with a hunger to learn about how government works (or at least, is supposed to work.)  I can excuse shooting a government official, to an extent. If they are significantly abusive, or harmful, or in a Revolution, (which I fear is coming) However I can NEVER condone harm to children. That is not warfare (sorry Al-Queda, you are not Freedom Fighters, you are just murderers) it is cowardice. Don’t get me wrong, I think his shooting Giffords and the judge is wrong on many levels but they went into the job knowing it could happen. Personally I think that Giffords was working very hard for the common good. The judge I never saw what his career was like, so, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. So this idiot has shot innocents and those who were working for our benefit.
Giffords was one of the few who could step outside the party lines to do the right thing. I know the criticisms leveled about Senate Bill 1070. I HAVE read it. It states that the local police are responsible to enforce federal immigration law in situations where there is a reasonable suspicion that someone they are dealing with for other reasons may be here illegally. It specifically ruled out race as a factor. It was not allowed to be considered. Yet we hear from those who did not read it that Arizona was writing their own immigration laws, and how racist we were (after all, I did live there then) But the law was not about immigration, or even Mexico, it was about empowering the local police to also enforce federal mandate. Giffords was threatened for supporting it despite being a Democrat. She is respected even by those who oppose her. She was working tirelessly, selflessly (which is odd in itself) for the good of ALL Americans, in addition to Arizonans. I hope she recovers to continue her work.

My heart and thoughts go out to the victims and their families. And the (language alert, turn away if squeamish) the fucking asshole who killed a nine-year-old girl, I hope they drag that son-of-a-bitch out to the desert and tie him to a saguaro cactus with green rawhide and let nature take its course. That walking piece of crap needs to die a horrible, horrible death. And I volunteer to administer it!

*       *       *       *       *

Mark hopefully now feels better.  I think the shooter should spend the rest of his young life in solitary confinement.  That’s much crueler than death, while not diminishing our own hands with blood.

The Story of the Two Street Brawl & How I Broke My Hand

New Years Eve fell on a Friday this year, so Sunday was a built-in day of recovery for those who chose not to party right-on-through ‘til Monday morning.  I’m unemployed, grappling with a year I wouldn’t live over-again at gun point, so I was more than delighted to see 2010 out with a bang.  If “bang” is indeed the right word.  You’ll have to forgive me.  I haven’t blanked out or anything, but the weekend remains a bit foggy in my memory with regard to the sequence of events, and why I landed my ass in the ER at Pennsylvania Hospital.

You gotta believe me.

I didn’t’ start the fight on Two Street, honest, I didn’t.  Nor did I throw the first punch.  I wasn’t even responsible for shoving the $20 bill down that hot straight boy’s pants.  After all he, HE was the one dancing provocatively in the picture window of the townhouse across the street from the party.  Any hot dude dancing provocatively in a window while their front door is open will draw a crowd even during the final hours of the Philadelphia Mummers Parade.  In the circles I travel, it’s only ‘polite’ to stuff a $20 bill down the pants of a humpy dancer.

But it wasn’t my fault.  I didn’t do it.  The Mummers Parade starts on Two Street and circles the city ending where it began – on Two Street.

If you’re not from Philadelphia, you might not know about the Mummers Parade.  Here it’s a tradition with a variety of cultural roots, resembling Marti Gras.  Most Mummers are from South Philly, known for raising sexy young Italian men filled to the brim with raging hormones.  Testosterone is Philadelphia’s primary world export.  You don’t talk ‘trash’ about our ball teams even when they deserve it, and the Mummers Parade is a peculiar time honored tradition commandeered from generation to generation by straight dudes.  That said, it‘s the gayest damned parade in the world.  Most Mummers seem to me to resemble giant microscopic enlargements of body lice, decorated with sequins and feathers – not that I know first hand what crab-lice look-like of course. Ahemn.


Now that the Mummers Parade is open to both sexes and all races colors and creeds, it’s become a singular time when the entire city can band together and throw-up on the sidewalk as one people united.

That said, the Mummers Parade remains a testosterone packed event.  Even as belligerently heterosexual men of all ages dress-up like female Raggedy-Ann dolls with fluorescent braids and parasols strutting to quaintly out of date music played by banjo-string-bands, it‘s still kinda “butch.”  Everyone’s got different colors of glitter on their faces, and grown men wear feather headdresses that require back supports tailored to suit each parader’s build and costume.  Many costumes are, if nothing else, engineering feats unto themselves.  And ‘flashy’ to put it mildly.

But I still didn’t start that fight on Two Street.  The cops got nuthin’ on ME.  My glasses got broken this weekend, and my face bloodied, but I’m innocent I tells ‘ya.

South Philly men tend to be gorgeous, sometimes on the short-side, but sexy, built and handsome.  And if you have the nerve to bump and grind in your picture window on an evening when strong men wear a full-face of make-up — then you oughtta’ be secure enough with your masculinity to handle a compliment regardless from which gender it‘s offered…  In this economy, twenty dollars is twenty dollars.

Two Street is really Second Street — unless you’re near Washington Avenue where the locals ‘do’ and ‘say’ what they like.  And dey callz it TWO Street.  So TWO Street it is.  Deep South Philly is a place where people park in the middle of the street all the time, but only out-of-towners get tickets.  Restaurants still have ‘drive-by shooting windows for the safety of the patrons, even though the mob’s gory-glory days are long gone.  And during the holidays entire neighborhoods are lighted-up like the Strip in Las Vegas, only more vulgar in a Catholic sort of way.  I myself live in South Philly, but in the center city part near the historic sites on one of the tiny 19th century Federal alleyways.  Two Street is a world away – even though one can conceivably walk there from my house in under an hour.  Boys wear ball caps sideways with their underwear hanging out of their jeans swaggering down the street.  And the only thing tougher than the men, are the women – or “Tess Tosteroni’s’ as I’ve heard them called.  They closed Saint Maria Garetti Girls High, because even the nuns were scared to death of those tough chicks — and nuns I’m told are sadistic dominatrix’s with a habit.

But I’m off track again.  The course on which my life runs…

The holiday weekend began with a visit to Grandma Betty at the home.  She has a new roommate now that the bus has left the station for her last one.  I loved her last roommate, Aurelia.  I used to bring Aurelia airline bottles of Crown Royal to help soften her burden of sharing a room with my oddly-tempered mother.  Mom mistook Aurelia for one of her sisters from her childhood years and picked fights that had absolutely nothing to do with Aurelia or her own life’s history.  Aurelia was given a proper gospel send-off with a fine soloist, and beautiful flowers while wearing her best outfit.  I helped carry the coffin to the hearse, but I didn’t attend the interment. I felt a sudden and overwhelming need to see Grandma Betty, who is herself now on hospice.

I took a cab to the home driven by a very nice gentleman who strongly recommended I read the Qu’ran.  He mentioned it several times.  I saw no point in arguing the issue with him nor do I see harm in reading anything of any sort – I merely have no intention of doing so.  Organized religion and I parted company a while back.  I think for myself in that arena.  The cabbie seemed friendly enough, except he kept looking back at me when he addressed me – as if not looking me in the eyes while talking would be rude.  I suppose It’s a cultural thing.  I’d have preferred him to have kept his eyes on the road.  I was relieved to get out of the cab in front of the home in one piece.

Grandma Betty’s in a recliner-gurney now.  While we visited in her room the custodial nurse’s aid refilled the 4-roll toilet paper dispenser in the adjoining handicapped-accessible bathroom.  Betty said, “I won’t live long enough to use all that toilet tissue.”  Betty is getting a second-wind now that she’s on hospice and they’ve taken away all her life-sustaining meds.

“I see you got a new roommate.“  I said to Betty, glancing over at the silent glazed-eyed old lady in the next bed over.  “She won’t live long enough to use-up all that toilet tissue either“ Betty snapped.

The woman looked somewhat stricken – but she looked that way even before I got there.

Betty’s been trying to tell me for years how her doctors have been poisoning her.  I never believed her until they started-in on me.  Now that I’m 60 and on a medley of medications, I see her point.

Even as I write this, Grandma Betty on her deathbed eating chocolate bon-bons and battin’ zingers over the net.  I was told she has a form of Alzheimer’s and ‘failure the thrive’ – but on New Years Day she was full of ‘pith and vinegar’ to quote an old friend.  Physicians start addicting you to meds in an effort to benefit the pharmaceutical industry’s bottom-line well before you hit 50.  And now that all the life-sustaining toxins are out of her system – like old light-bulbs and flickering candle-flames, Grandma Betty is unusually ‘spry’ for a dying woman.  She knows she’s circling in line for take-off in God’s Assisted-Living Waiting Room.

She fell asleep, I kissed her forehead, and left.

 


But what was I doing in the Emergency Room of Pennsylvania Hospital?  Glasses broken…  Blood on my face and hands…  Even a black eye and a sprained ankle.  Things can get wild on a New Year’s Weekend.  I’d attended polite parties with ladies and gentlemen.  And some not so polite parties too.  Like any major metropolitan American city, there are many faces and facades.  I travel comfortably between them all.

I remember walking to the ER by my own volition.

On entering the ER, a handsome, studly paramedic pointed me toward admissions, asking “Watcha do buddy, get churself all beat ’da hell-up?”  I looked terrible, blood was on my jacket, but my dignity was what stung the worst.  Who did he think I was?  ME getting beaten-up?  Not on your life.  I’m a city boy who’s seen around town walking a fierce Jack Russell terrier.  Nobody messes with ME…

After signing-in and waiting for my name to be called, I became fascinated with my lightening bolt Z-shaped finger – looking at it from all sides and angles.  It looked like one of Grandma Betty‘s fingers, as crooked as the Wissahickon Drive.  My first reaction was to pull on it and straighten it out with a POP and go about the business of partying.  People hadn’t yet started arriving at the ER with hamsters up their asses or having swallowed foreign objects.  The automobile accidents were still a shift away.  It was dark out but still early.  I had the ER to myself.

The triage intake nurse was an attractive no-nonsense black woman with beautiful skin.  She asked me a series of questions including ’whether I was afraid of walking or standing.  I said, “only in heels” and she attached a bracelet to my wrist identifying me as a “falling hazard.”

I told her I was on my way to a party at the home of a Pennsylvania Hospital nurse.  “Who?“ she asked.  I said “tall Kevin with the raspy voice.”  And suddenly I got the movie-star treatment.  Everybody loves ‘em some Kevin.  No matter where I went in the ER, I was wheeled from place to place and told, “we’re gonna get you outta here in time to ring in the New Year at Kevin‘s party.” and “tell him Rick says ‘hi’”  In Xray, Toni said to say ’hi’ too.

My personal Nurse Ratchet was an hilarious woman named Kim Milano, who couldn’t have been sweeter.  She turned-out to be the person who’d hired Kevin.  We exchanged a couple of old war storied about cocktails with Kevin that ended with spinning-pirouettes at Woody’s Bar.  The staff was great, and allowed me to see the Xrays of the triangular section where my finger was broken.  I got copies of the Xrays.  I love shit like that.  I still have the camera-capsule I once swallowed for a colon-test.  I keep it in a baby carriage in the attic of my dollhouse.  Crapped it out days later during a yoga class, clean as a whistle.

Damn, I’m off track again.

But I most certainly did not throw the first punch at the Two Street brawl where the police had to be called.  Grandma Betty raised me better than that.

I’d considered going to a different party in a stately mansion out in Mount Airy.  But I’d have to have gone as someone’s guest.  I’d once been on that guest list, however I didn’t feel right about barging-in as someone’s guest to a party where I’d been cut from the invitation list.  They’re good guys.  No hard feelings.  I never see them during the year – only at their parties.  Besides, I hate being in a car traveling through the Wissahicon Drive.  In part I’d chosen not to attend the fancy black-tie party with it’s historic ballroom, not only because I wasn’t on the list – I could no longer afford to rent a tuxedo.  If I wasn’t so friggin’ poor I might have braved the white-knuckle flights to crash the party.  It‘s a wonderful party, like being an extra in a Merchant-Ivory film.  And I look great in a tux, so long as no one mistakes me for the help.  Always keep your jacket ON or you wind-up working in back…

My mind was made-up.  I hate the Wissahickon Drive, it scares me.  It’s a treacherous obstacle-course in the best of times, and roads were still slick with black-ice from the recent snowfall.  Those hairpin turns bother me in perfect sunny weather, let alone New Years Eve.  In past years my designated drivers have turned-out to be not quite “designated” enough.  Looking back on 2010, I’d sustained plenty calamity to last a lifetime.  Out of work, fighting foreclosure, a dying parent, a lawsuit, I‘ve had it.  I made the common-sense decision to ‘party’ close to wherever I could walk.  Specifically so I wouldn’t end-up ringing-in the New Year in an ER somewhere.

Well, that WAS the original plan.

With my left pinky finger shaped like a lightening bolt, and one cheek protruding-out like ‘half-a-Katherine-Hepburn‘, I was determined to spit in 2010’s eye even as my own left eye blackened.  I was going throw caution to the wind like an unlocked barn – let the animal in me run free !!!  Earlier in the day, I walked under a ladder mysteriously leaning against a building –  odd for a holiday – shortly followed by a black cat crossing my path.  But I’m not superstitious.

On Two Street, as the string bands, clowns and the fancy division all made their way to the nighttime carnival atmosphere, I recall the aforementioned “private-dancer” belligerently throwing a football at the house where I was attending a party.  He was throwing it with tremendous force, trying to break a leaded window.  Mister-Straight-Heterosexual-Insecurity wanted his pound of revenge.  He wanted to fight to prove his manhood.  Oh, for Christ’s sake, dude — you just made twenty bucks for looking cute in a window.  Take the money and say “Thank you.“  But he wanted to turn it into an international incident.  He hadn’t counted on gay boys being more athletic than straight boys, don’t let anyone tell you different.  No matter how hard he threw the football across the street, the faster the queens were catching the ball and throwing it back at him, but in a playful kinda way – and with more accurate aim.  So it got him in the nuts.  That happens in football. Good throw, bad catch.

My date was my handsome friend Frankie.  Frankie’s not a boyfriend.  I’m sort of like his own personal ’Eve Arden’.  He tells me his romantic sorrows – to me – a man with only sorrows and no romance.  But I give great advise.  Frankie’s a horse-trainer out in Westchester County.  We have a drinking-buddy relationship when he drives into town.  For the life of me, I can’t understand why with his Marlboro-man good looks and his muscular sturdy build, he can‘t land and nail a good one and settle down(?) Secretly I suspect he doesn‘t really want to.

As “Dirty Dancer” across the street got more and more fired-up, I suggested to Frankie we take a spin across the 4 corners partying outside at Two Street and Washington Avenue to look at and mingle among the crowd.  We carried our flutes filled to the brim with Persico-champagne making our way through the good-spirited but vaguely rowdy crowd.  In front of the Mummers Museum stood 5 handsome rooky cops in uniform.  The rookies get the rough holiday shifts.  We toasted each and every handsome one of them while drinking-in the contours of their uniforms with broad-shouldered leather jackets.  I freely admit to being a little tipsy by this point, when I saw a sign being held in the air by a guy manning his station behind a card table.  To my eyes that sign read “Poppers, Pot, Smack.”  I said to Frankie, now THAT’S South Philly.  The cops are right across the street from the dealers and nobody blinks an eye.  Frankie replied, “That says ‘Pepper-Pot Soup’.  Even with my poor eyesight, I still get the award for being the drunkest.

All the house parties on Two Street spill-out onto the sidewalks and narrow car-paths.  There was a huge crowd in front of our party. “Dirty Dancer” was even more enraged that queens can not only catch and throw a ball better than him – they had the nerve to look at him while he made a spectacle of himself.  Entering the house to get our coats, the football just missed hitting the back of my head, instead deflecting off the door-frame.

So by now, dear reader, if you’ve followed me this far into the abyss, it about time I told you how I broke my hand.  I most certainly did NOT start the fight on Two Street.  Frankie and I left before it escalated to the level of a full-scale ‘police report.’  Nor did I place the $20 bill in the homophobe’s jeans, that actually was someone else named Bill.  Truth to tell, I tripped over a cobblestone, coated with black-ice,  40 feet from my own front door, stone-cold sober early on New Years Eve on my way to a party to get drunk before any of the reveling had really begun.  I am, without challange, as stated, a “falling hazard.”

While Nurse Milano along with the orthopedic nurse told me to brace myself while they painfully pulled and straightened-out my finger – I indeed farted – with five loud “POP -POP – POP – POP – POPS” of bone and joint.  They straightened-out and splinted my finger telling me “If you’d been drunk you’d have had a softer landing and most likely never been injured.”  Words to live by.