“Blue as the evening sky, blue as cranesbill flowers, blue as the lips of drowned men and the heart of a blaze burning with too hot a flame.” ~ Cornelia Funke

“Iris,” by George Lawrence Bulleid (date unknown, watercolor)

    

“Blue oblivion, largely lit, smiled and smiled at me.” ~ William R. Benet
Blue Flowers by bencrowe (Flckr Creative Commons)

What a strange, strange day. I slept about an hour during the night, then another hour around 8 this morning. The migraine began around 4 a.m., creeping behind my eyes then gradually exploding in my head.

I tried to go back to sleep but became distracted in trying to find a replacement cpu cooling fan for my computer. Had a fruitless conversation with an HP representative who told me that he couldn’t tell me how much the part would be unless I bought a new service contract or a new computer . . . Right . . .

Slept again from about 2 to 4 this afternoon. Ah, the rich pageantry of that is my life. The sweet, sweet irony of being me: I need to see my pain doctor to get something to sleep, but I cannot see my pain doctor until I can pay out-of-pocket for a visit since my insurance situation is more convoluted than ever, but we don’t have the money for an out-of-pocket visit, so I will continue to be at the mercy of my insomnia, which exacerbates my migraines, which means that I need to see my pain doctor.

On the other hand, Corey is scheduled for 74 hours this work week. He will be lucky to work half of that. Such is the reality of depending upon boat schedules.

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!” ~ Jack Kerouac

 So here are some random musings:

  • “We the people” seems to be pretty straightforward. It doesn’t say “we, the white people.” It doesn’t say “we, the rich people.” It doesn’t say “we. the religious people,” and it sure as hell does not say “we, the straight people.
  • Blue Flower by Rev Stan (Flckr Creative Commons)
  • The Dems really need to grow a spine, and it needs to be soon. Being the party of passivity is just as bad as being the party of no.
  • Majority rule does not necessarily equate to the best rule. Often, the majority comes from a place of racism (separate but equal), sexism (women do not need to vote), and fear (all Muslims are terrorists).
  • Tradition does not truth make. For example, a traditional marriage in this country used to be between opposite sexes of the same race. Anything else was seen as straying from the norm. Caucasians married Caucasians, and persons of color married persons of color, and never the twain shall meet. If this tradition had remained unchanged, I never would have been born.
“They hang there, the stars, like notes on a page of music, free-form verse, silent mysteries swirling in the blue like jazz.” ~ Donald Miller

A few tidbits from the outrageous:

  • A woman in Cleveland, Ohio discovered that her husband married another woman by viewing a FaceBook page that featured over 200 photographs from his other wedding. The husband, John France, claims that his marriage to Lynn France was “never valid” so he was not cheating. Whether or not Lynn France already knew about the marriage before the FaceBook discovery as John France claims is moot: He filed married with the IRS . . . My guess is that Lynn France does not want to play Farmville with her husband’s wife.
  • Blue & White Monsoon Season in Arizona, by kevindooley (Flckr Creative Commons)
  • A man in Atlanta,  Georgia called a Wendy’s to complain, not about the food but about the small take in the cash drawer. Seems he wasn’t satisfied with the outcome of his robbery.
  • A woman in Gaithersburg, Maryland was sprayed with human semen. Police have since learned that more people were attacked.  Things that make you cringe and say eww . . .
  • Shanon Marketik, 38, is a former Miss USA who, it seems, has fallen on hard times. So hard that she had to steal over $90 in Oil of Olay beauty products from a Texas Target. I think that it’s all of that aerosol hairspray that pageant queens use: It eats their brains.
  • In Snohomish, Washington, a teen found a wallet beneath the cushions of a couch when he was searching for his cell phone. The wallet, which contained $650, belonged to a woman who had lost the wallet during a 2005 party. The woman was found via FaceBook, so maybe that cancels out the bigamist.
“The touch of an infinite mystery passes over the trivial and the familiar, making it break out into ineffable music . . . The trees, the stars, and the blue hills ache with a meaning which can never be uttered in words.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore
 
Monet’s Pool by Ron Jones

    

Some parting words:  

  • I wish that I could peer into the future to see when (if) things will begin to get better. It seems that not only are our lives in perpetual chaos, but so are the lives of so many other people, and so is this country. It’s hard not to be disheartened.
  • Summer storms remind me of my father.
  • I spent yesterday searching online for temporary guardianship forms for Alexis. Her friend Jennifer is not getting better. Actually, she is getting worse. The prognosis is not good, and everyone feels absolutely helpless. None of the five tumors in her head and on her spine are operable. It’s such a sad, sad situation. Please keep good thoughts.
  • How does a young woman reconcile herself to the idea that she may not see her 30th birthday, that she may not see her son reach his teens, that she may never leave the hospital?
  • Situations like Jennifer’s remind me to cherish my children (who are no longer children). Life is so fleeting and unpredictable, much like the nature of water itself, which can appear blue and calm in one moment and then can turn into a churning black in the next. Nothing is certain. The only thing that is forseeable is the unpredictability of fate.

It is now three hours later than when I first began. Outside it is pouring. The words did not come easily today.

More later. Peace.

Eric Clapton Unplugged, “Tears in Heaven”: Beautifully heartbreaking

“He that cannot reason is a fool. He that will not is a bigot. He that dare not is a slave.” ~ Andrew Carnegie

Cards from The Fuhrer Quartett

   

Part 2:
“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy” ~ James Madison

One of the justifications used for calling Obama a tyrant or dictator is that he has signed Executive Orders. As of March 2010, President Obama had signed 43 Executive Orders. Between 2001 and 2002, W. issued 85 executive orders (54 and 31 respectively) compared to Obama’s 56 executive orders issued between 2009 and 2010. Lest anyone think that I am playing loosely with the facts, this information is available to anyone on the Federal Register of the National Archives. Let’s put that in context: 

Total Executive Orders Signed

GW Bush 268
Clinton 363
G. Bush 165
Reagan 380 

Lenin Card in The Fuhrer Quartett

Critics also contend that Obama is a tyrant because he ignores laws, although I’m not sure which laws he is ignoring. An article in boston.com states that as of 2006, Bush “claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution . . . Far more than any predecessor, Bush has been aggressive about declaring his right to ignore vast swaths of laws—many of which he says infringe on power he believes the Constitution assigns to him alone as the head of the executive branch or the commander-in-chief of the military.”  

And let’s not forget all of the signing statements issued by Bush in lieu of presidential vetoes. Signing statements are those documents in which a president lays out his legal interpretation of a bill for the federal bureaucracy to follow when implementing the new law. Bush repeatedly used signing statements to state that he does not have to obey certain laws because he is commander in chief. 

By the way, that argument being bandied about by tea baggers and the like regarding taxation without representation? Hello? This is a representative government, and there has not been a president in recent memory who has not increased taxes. By the way, that whole tea bagger thing, you know, being a resurrection of the original tea party? “The Tea Party originally was for taxation without representation . . . These people have representation. The majority voted for Obama, and this got a majority vote. To call it a Tea Party movement makes no sense,” contends Patricia Kelley, 75, a social work professor emeritus at the University of Iowa. Kelly said that co-opting a historic event in American history for an Obama backlash is wrongheaded. 

For example, Ronald Reagan, the republican that right-wingers love to mention as the bastion of all things conservative, increased taxes by $132.7 billion between 1982 and 1988. 

“When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.” ~ Plato

And those who compare Obama to King George by saying that our president has acted in the same way as the monarch the founding fathers excoriated? Let’s discuss just a few of these: The revolutionaries claimed that the king “sent out swarms of Officers to harass the people, combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation.” Are Obama’s “swarms of officers” the census takers? Of the last three censuses, two were conducted under Republican presidents, and all involved sending census takers throughout the country to gather information. 

Or are the “swarms of officers” referring to the right’s protest against the term czar, as in energy czar, education czar, car czar (what?)? To clarify, czar is a media term referring to an appointed official who is in charge of a particular policy; I believe the term was first used during Reagan’s administration: drug czar. The first president to use czars? Well, that would be FDR (some say Andrew Jackson), who had 19 individuals in appointed positions. By the way, W. had the most, with 47 appointees, 31 of whom were referred to as czars, which is why critics are correct in saying that Obama has more czars (35) but fewer appointees (39). 

Hitler Card in The Fuhrer Quartett

“Combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution”: Is this a reference to the 2nd amendment? According to one conservative, “At the heart of gun control in the United States are Democratic tyranny and the Democratic oppression of black people . . . The Democrats on the Progressive Left will continue to pursue our disarmament.  Only unarmed men and women can be made the slaves of tyrants.” Um, okay, but as far as I know, that amendment hasn’t been repealed. 

“Pretended legislation”: is that healthcare reform? Let me ask you this: Is this country based on majority rule? Did reform pass with a majority? Or is the reference to Obama’s planned suit over Arizona’s immigration law? The way in which our Constitution is drawn, federal statutes prevail over state statutes (e.g., 14th amendment). I’m pretty sure that President Obama wasn’t around when this was decided. 

“Logic:  The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding.” ~ Ambrose Bierce

Of course I would be remiss if I did not mention Godwin’s law: i.e., the ultimate reduction of a commentary thread results in someone being called a Nazi. And there is the predecessor to Godwin’s Law, the “reductio ad Hitlerum,” identified in 1953 by neocon philosopher Leo Strauss, by which any person or argument could be demolished by even the most tenuous association with Hitler. All of this, of course, relates directly to the growing trend to compare President Obama to Adolf Hitler, you know Tea Baggers, Republicans, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin. The list is long and growing.

No, using the Hitler card to denigrate a politician is by no means a new tactic; it is, however, an offensive tactic.  Ron Rosenbaum, in an article for Slate, said this:

“Calling Obama a tyrant, a communist, or a fascist is deeply offensive to all the real victims of tyranny, the real victims of communism and fascism. The tens of millions murdered. It trivializes such suffering inexcusably for the T.P.ers to claim that they are suffering from similar oppression because they might have their taxes raised or be subject to demonic ‘federal regulation.’

Listen up, T.P.ers: The Nazis were not Socialists. The Socialists were not Nazis. They were blood enemies. In fact, the Socialists fought the Nazis, while conservatives and nationalists stood by and thought Hitler would be their pawn. Hitler, need it be said, was not a Socialist. He hated the Socialists. Had thousands of them murdered as soon as he came to power.”

Rosenbaum’s article uses Nikita Khruschev’s “Secret Speech” of 1956 as the basis of his argument against the tea baggers debasement of “language with their false use of words, contesting that tea baggers should read the speech if they really want to know about tyranny. He states that

They’ve [tea baggers] made a graven image of alien evil out of him. Obama: communist, Muslim, Kenyan, Manchurian candidate, fascist, socialist, capable of all varieties of political malevolence. A supervillain, with superpowers. Who requires super lies to combat.

It’s time to take on these superliars and stop them from spreading their poisonous ignorance.

“Bigotry tries to keep truth safe in its hand with a grip that kills it.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore

I found the following analysis particularly relevant in the current climate that freely compares Obama to Hitler and this administration to Nazi Germany: 

When you get right down to it, our sitting President and Adolf  Hitler are pretty much the same person, except Obama hasn’t suspended democratic elections, implemented a policy of cultural nationalism, embarked on a massive expansion of the armed forces, created a class system based on ethnicity, assumed control of the national media, staged an attack on the legislative branch, implemented a eugenics policy or invaded a sovereign nation. 

He is black, though. If you hate Barack Obama’s politics and you’re also a racist, the election of our first black President is doubly galling. You know what else is galling? The fact that Adolf Hitler—generally agreed to be the worst human being of the modern era—was a racist, too. 

By relentlessly connecting Barack Obama with Hitler, the right gets to associate Nazism with socialized medicine, charismatic leadership and big government, instead of corporatism and fantasies of empire

I think the following quote that I found on a forum actually comes closest to defining why so many people are afraid of Barack Obama: “He dares to act just like every other President, while not being 100% white. That’s enough to make him a tyrant in the eyes of the extreme haters.” 

Quit hiding your racism behind your declarations that your freedoms are being subsumed by a socialist agenda. Quit painting Hitler mustaches on Obama’s visage. Hitler was not a socialist; he was a fascist. They are not the same thing. Fascism organizes under a corporate perspective. Fascism has a basic disdain for human rights, is inherently racist and sexist, disdains intellectuals, promotes rampant nationalism, and uses fear to control the masses. 

Here endeth the lesson. 

More later. Peace.

Music by Jann Arden, “Looks Like Rain”

I slept the sleep of the tortured: fitful, broken, and too short. And when I awoke, I knew that not enough time had passed, and so I tried to sleep more, but it never came. ~ L. Liwag

Flower Shop in Paris 

  

“The page, the page, that eternal blankness, the blankness of eternity which you cover slowly, affirming time’s scrawl as a right and your daring as necessity; the page, which you cover woodenly, ruining it, but asserting your freedom and power to act, acknowledging that you ruin everything you touch but touching it nevertheless, because acting is better than being here in mere opacity; the page, which you cover slowly with the crabbed thread of your gut; the page in the purity of its possibilities; the page of your death, against which you pit such flawed excellences as you can muster with all your life’s strength: that page will teach you to write.” ~ Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

On Saturday, I finally made it into the pool. The dogs have been swimming for a few days, but I wanted sun. The air was filled with the sweet smell of my gardenia bush in bloom, and there was just enough breeze to fool me into thinking that it wasn’t that hot. I was lulled into a wonderful feeling of comfort, arms flung wide, staring up into the clear blue sky, just a few cumulus puffs dotting the sky here and there. 

Silly me. I didn’t even think about putting on sunscreen except for my face. I really don’t know what I was thinking. I stayed out for hours, just enjoying the water, the breeze, the dogs . . . I got sunburned on my arms and chest. 

Beh. 

I never used to get sunburned. Ever. I would give my friends a hard time whenever they burned, taunting them with my olive skin. I suppose this is payback. The other thing that I got from the sun was a migraine, a killer migraine, one that has only this afternoon subsided into a tightness in my forehead. Poor, poor, pitiful me. 

I remember endless summer days spent in the sun, lying on the beach with my friends, or on the catamaran with my friend John, or water skiing with the guys. Good times. Never burned, just browned. When I worked at the newspaper, I finished at 3:30, still early enough to catch some afternoon rays. The summer before I got married to my ex, I worked and sunned. Last summer of my life in which I was able to be carefree and careless with time and money.

an orchid’s scent
its incense perfuming
a butterfly’s wings ~ Basho
Flower Shop in Kuala Lumpur

So today, it’s 75 degrees, almost 20 degrees cooler than this weekend. There were a few thunder boomers last night, but nothing major. 

Last night I watched the movie Memento, with Guy Pearce, Joe Pantoliano, and Carrie-Ann Moss. Wow. What a puzzle, but very deftly done. Directed by Christopher Nolan, the movie combined two different timelines, one ongoing and one flashback. Lots of visual clues, riddles, a few red herrings. The plot revolved around memory, what is real, what is thought to be real, what is imagined. The main character, Leonard (Pearce), suffers from anterograde amnesia: he cannot make new memories. 

I would highly recommend this movie if you liked The Usual Suspects or The Sixth Sense. That being said, Memento is not as easy to discern as either of those two, not that either of those films were straightforward in any way. Nolan directed the movie in 2000, followed by a few movies with which you may be familiar: the two new Batman movies, The Prestige. If you are interested in an analysis of the movie, Andy Klein wrote a thorough deconstruction for Salon.com. 

Memento had been on my list of movies to see, and I find it very rewarding when I finally see something I’ve had on that list and it turns out to be worthwhile. The other movie that I watched was Valkyrie, with Tom Cruise. This was another one that has been on my list, and unlike many people, I liked it. No, Cruise does not attempt a German accent, but that didn’t bother me, better no accent than a poorly executed accent. 

The plot, in case you don’t know, is based on the July 20 plot to kill Adolf Hitler and real-life Operation Valkryie, which was a plan to call up the German reserve army to maintain order in the case of an emergency. The historical drama depicts the plot, led by Claus von Stauffenberg, the last of 15 failed plots to assassinate Hitler.   

The 2008 movie had quite a cast; aside from Cruise as von Stauffenberg, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Eddie Izzard, Terence Stamp, and Tom Wilkinson all had roles in the Bryan Singer (X-Men) film. I remember that there was a big controversy in casting Cruise because of his scientology beliefs. 

“Life is like Sanskrit read to a pony.” ~ Lou Reed

 


Flower Shop in Bath, England 

 

Alexis came by on her way home from work today. I helped her to find some information on patient assistance with some of the medications that she takes. Having filled out numerous forms for myself, I am fairly familiar with the process. She will not be able to get health insurance at the thrift store as they do not offer it to their employees, even the full-time people. Yet another reason to hope for some kind of healthcare reform. 

I know that I’ve been featuring more political posts than usual, but it seems that every time I sit down to read the daily news, I come across yet more inanity, something that I find very hard to ignore. Ignorance, racism, sexism, hate-mongering—it’s all so disconcerting. 

What is happening to us, to American society? Has the election of a man of color caused so much unrest among those who oppose him—or liberals, or Democrats, or blacks, or whatever it is—that seeing conspiracies and promoting fear have become the societal norm? Has the so-called American way-0f-life been imperiled by putting a black man in the Oval Office, in the same way that electing a Catholic in the 1960s threatened the very fiber of our being? 

I see a lot of similarities to the 1960s, and that’s not a good thing. Yes, the unrest of the 1960s caused major social changes, changes that were desperately needed. But the 60’s also saw discord elevated to levels unparalleled, discord that morphed into senseless violence (race riots, Ohio State), attempts at oppression (Hoover’s FBI). Chillingly, the war in Iraq has now surpassed the Viet Nam War as the longest American war (eight years, eight months, and counting). And the country had a young, idealistic president who many feared just because of who and what he was. 

Remember, the 60’s led to the election of Richard Nixon, gave power to men of questionable scruples, such as Henry Kissinger, and led to a political climate that fostered the events of Watergate. Remember?

“Some things you must always be unable to bear. Some things you must never stop refusing to bear. Injustice and outrage and dishonor and shame. No matter how young you are or how old you have got. Not for kudos and not for cash, your picture in the paper nor money in the bank, neither. Just refuse to bear them.” ~ William Faulkner
Flower Shop in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

I know. I am still a starry-eyed idealist in many ways, but that is balanced by my stark realist side. I believe in equality for all peoples, regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, or creed. I don’t understand why that is such a hard concept. I also believe that children should not die of hunger or dysentery, that there is no difference in the capabilities of the sexes, and that there is no such thing as a good war. At the same time, I know that people like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Steve Blair—who thrive on discontent, who cultivate a fear of otherness, who opine loudly as if the tone and timber of a voice is all that is needed to make it right—people such as these have millions of followers. 

And quite frankly, that scares the hell out of me. It also frightens me that I sometimes self-censor on this blog because I do not want the crazies to find me. In essence, I am allowing myself to be repressed out of my own unwillingness to cater to confrontation. Bearing that in mind, I do not apologize for my political posts, even though this is not a political blog. I do not apologize for who I am, for what I believe, or for where I stand on the issues that are important to me. 

I’m certain that I will continue to have political posts because people will continue to amaze me with their brazen bigotry. People will continue to astound me with their asinine declarations. As long as events continue to occur that make me stop and say WTF, I will continue to opine, and if you find my posts offensive, then exercise your Constitutional freedom not to read me. 

I won’t hold it against you. 

More later. Peace. 

Music by Mazzy Star, “Take Everything” 

“Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind.” ~ Henry Miller

Small Section of Completed Mural Depicting Flora and Fauna of Prescott and Alternative Transportation: One of two eco-themed murals

  **UPDATE**

“My generation’s apathy. I’m disgusted with it. I’m disgusted with my own apathy too, for being spineless and not always standing up against racism, sexism and all those other -isms the counterculture has been whining about for years.” ~ Kurt Cobain 

On Friday, Arizona Fox affiliate KYCA fired Steve Blair from his job as a radio talk show host for the station. Blair’s firing comes as a result of his vile comments regarding the mural that I discussed in the post below.

Additionally, in a letter to the editor,  former Prescott Mayor Jack Wilson called for Blair to resign from the City Council:

Steve, if you truly love Prescott you need to resign. 

I spend 5-6 hours yesterday on Twitter trying to do “damage control” that resulted from the remarks of Councilman Steve Blair on the Miller Valley School “Going Green” mural. Yesterday was a firestorm of bad publicity for Prescott and it was worldwide.

Several major newspapers, including the Arizona Republic, USA Today, Washington Post, etc. picked up the story of the mural. The story was also picked up by the Associated Press which means up to 1,000 papers could reprint the story.

Many of the most influential Internet blogs also picked up the story, including The Huffington Post, The Daily Kos, etc. The Twitterverse has been super active and I have replied to a couple hundred Tweets to try to protect Prescott’s image.

Steve, you have sullied the image of Prescott worldwide. Yes, I understand you love Prescott, but the firestorm of controversy that you have created has reverberated all the way to Melbourne, Australia where you and your comments on the mural are a hot topic. I cannot reprint many of the Twitter Tweets because of the language used in them – your comments have hit a nerve across America and the world and it was not a good nerve.

As the former Mayor of Prescott Arizona I have done my best yesterday and today to respond to hundred of Tweets and blog posts and tell the world that most of Prescott residents do not share your views. That has helped somewhat. However, this firestorm of bad publicity for Prescott will not subside until you do the right thing.

If you truly love Prescott, you need to resign from the Prescott City Council.

“There is a strange kind of tragic enigma associated with the problem of racism. No one, or almost no one, wishes to see themselves as racist; still racism persists, real and tenacious.” ~ Albert Memmi

Just to clarify, here’s an example of some Blair “I’m-not-a-racist-because-I-have-black-friends” rhetoric:

On his May 21 show Blair said, “I am not a racist individual, but I will tell you depicting a black guy in the middle of that mural, based upon who’s president of the United States today and based upon the history of this community when I grew up, we had four black families—who I have been very good friends with for years—to depict the biggest picture on that building as a black person, I would have to ask the question, ‘Why?'”

Personally, I can tell you that I have always loved it when people open their sentences with the “I am not a racist but” clause. Just makes me warm and tingly all over.

Oh, and by the way, I found out after further research that the mural design was put on public display and circulated to local residents, and the Prescott City Council, including Councilman Blair, voted to approve the final design, so all of his protesting about not knowing what the mural was supposed to depict is just plain bull. Said Blair, “It looked like a guy, in my opinion, a black guy, brown guy holding a stick, and flowers and stuff. What was it supposed to mean?”

“One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings.” ~ Franklin Thomas

I have been unable to get on the mural site as it has been overwhelmed with traffic, but I wanted to display the entire mural, which covers two sides of the building.  I did, however, find a sketch of the mural showing all four children, two of whom are blond; one is black, and one is Latino. The full mural depicts four children, and the largest picture, the one that Blair and others protested, is of an actual Latino child who attends Miller Valley School. The children depicted were chosen from photographs of the children attending the school, which is described as the “most racially diverse” school in Prescott. The mural’s theme is “Go Green,” which celebrates the fact that Miller Valley is a “green” school.

 

In the midst of all of the mud-slinging and opining on this issue, I think that one key point is being white-washed, as it were (okay, really bad pun): There were real school children working on painting the mural. There are real school children depicted in the mural. These kids were subjected to a bunch of gits yelling racial slurs from their cars as they drove past: “Get the n***** off the wall.” Lovely. Group of young, impressionable students doing work for their community and school being yelled at by a bunch of loudmouthed bullies. That’s right bullies, what else would you call adults who yell at defenseless children on scaffolding?

But to close on a good note—the principal of the school and the school superintendent of Prescott Unified School District have said that they “made a mistake” in deciding to kowtow to the protestors by requesting that the artist lighten the skin of the boy on the mural. “We asked them to lighten the mural. We made a mistake,” Principal Jeff Lane said. Added Superintendent Kevin Kapp: “The school district made a mistake and shame on us if we can’t say shame on us and we’re sorry.”

More later. Peace.

Music by Deadman, “When the Music’s Not Forgotten” (Yes, I know, this is a repeat, but it’s appropriate)

                                                                                                                              

When the Music’s Not Forgotten

Please come close, for I long for you to hear
Hear the sound
That will rid you of your fears
In a land, where no water can be found
In a place, where there is no fertile ground
Longing for, yearning not to be forgotten
In an age, when the music is forgotten
In an age, when the music is forgotten

In the truth (in the truth)
Speaks of great and mighty things
Teaching us (teaching us)
What the peace of heaven brings
We must give (we must give)
We must give to all the others to those in need (those in need)
Who we fear to call our brothers

Reaching out (reaching out)
So that we are not forgotten
In a time (in a time)
When the music is forgotten
In a time (in a time)
When the music is forgotten

If we stand on a hill and do not touch
How can we do good?
If we wash our hands with all our friends
Where change can really come
If we hide our fears and don’t draw near
Have we really lived?
Or are we all just standing here
Hoping there is grace?

In a dream (in a dream)
That I had not long ago
Visions of (visions of)
In a city made of gold
And a sound (and a sound)
That I never heard before
Such a sound (such a sound)
Saturating to the core
Such a sound (such a sound)
One that cannot be forgotten

[x4]
In a time (in a time)
When the music’s not forgotten

“If you fear making anyone mad, then you ultimately probe for the lowest common denominator of human achievement.” ~ Jimmy Carter

Pamela J. Smith and R.E. Wall Sitting in front of Offensive Miller Valley School Mural titled “Go on Green” in Prescott, Arizona

   

 

“If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves. We should, therefore, protest openly everything . . . that smacks of discrimination or slander.” ~ Mary McLeod Bethune

In 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “The nation is sick; trouble is in the land, confusion all around . . .” And luckily in the years that followed, we, as a country, seemed to find a way to curb that sickness. Unfortunately, we did not eradicate it. Unfortunately, King’s words from over 40 years ago seem to be just as relevant today as they were then. Unfortunately, each day when I peruse the news, I find more and more instances of a society that seems to be losing its way.

Unfortunately.

Unfortunately, the following story (as related in a column on Wonkette) is true, and it is so bleeping offensive to sane people, that I am not going to summarize, or pick and choose which parts to repeat. The whole thing needs to be repeated and spread far and wide because folks, we’re losing it, here. So here it is, verbatimm, courtesy of Wonkette:

Arizona School Demands Black & Latino Students’ Faces On Mural Be Changed To White

Hard to find even the Gallows Humor in this story, so maybe we won’t even try. Maybe it’s time to admit that large chunks of America are in the hands of unreconstructed racists and vulgar idiots, and that the popular election of a black man as president just might’ve pushed these furious, economically doomed old white people into a final rage that is going to end very, very badly. Ready? Here you go: An Arizona elementary school mural featuring the faces of kids who attend the school has been the subject of constant daytime drive-by racist screaming, from adults, as well as a radio talk-show campaign (by an actual city councilman,* who has an AM talk-radio show) to remove the black student’s face from the mural, and now the school principal has ordered the faces of the Latino and Black students pictured on the school wall to be repainted as light-skinned children.

This is America, in 2010, and there’s a dozen more states and endless white-trash municipalities ready to Officially Adopt this same Official Racist Insanity.

From the Arizona Republic:

A group of artists has been asked to lighten the faces of children depicted in a giant public mural at a Prescott school. The project’s leader says he was ordered to lighten the skin tone after complaints about the children’s ethnicity ….

R.E. Wall, director of Prescott’s Downtown Mural Project, said he and other artists were subjected to slurs from motorists as they worked on the painting at one of the town’s most prominent intersections.

“We consistently, for two months, had people shouting racial slander from their cars,” Wall said. “We had children painting with us, and here come these yells of (epithet for Blacks) and (epithet for Hispanics).”

The children depicted on the mural, as we mentioned before but feel compelled to repeat, are little kids who go to the school — “a K-5 school with 380 students and the highest ethnic mix of any school in Prescott. Wall said thousands of town residents volunteered or donated to the project.”

And these children, for the past several months as this happy mural encouraging “green transportation” was being painted by local artists, have been treated to the city of Prescott’s finest citizens driving by and yelling “Nigger” and “Spic” at this school wall painted with pictures of the children who attend the school. And this has been encouraged by a city councilman, Steve Blair, who uses his local radio talk show to rile up these people and demand the mural be destroyed.

And now the faces are being painted white, “because of the controversy.”

Remember where you were, when you could still laugh about teabaggers and racists and Arizonans, because funny time is almost over. If the unemployment keeps up — one in five adult white males has no job and will never have a job again — and people keep walking away from their stucco heaps they can’t afford and the states and cities and counties and towns keep passing their aggressive racist laws to rile up the trash even more, shit’s going to very soon become very bad, and whether it’s the National Guard having wars in the Sunbelt Exurbs against armies of crazy old white people who are finally using their hundreds of millions of guns, or whole Latino neighborhoods burned to the ground the way the Klan used to burn down black neighborhoods a century ago, we are in for a long dark night and no light-colored paint is going to fix that. [AZCentral via Wonkette operative AZW88]

*To see the unbelievable comments by Councilman Steve-I-Hate-Diversity Blair, click here.

Unfortunately, I can think of no musical accompaniment for this.

More later. Peace.

 

“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins — not through strength, but through persistence.”

This was my Cinco de Mayo post . . .

Recently I read a post on Janson’s blog (Floridana v3.0) that really got my ire going in full swing. I am reposting a bit of his copy and the image in honor of Cinco de Mayo to show just how appreciative certain Arizona legislators are, especially when it comes to things like Constitutional free speech. Apparently Judy Burges thinks that being rude to anyone with an opposing opinion is perfectly acceptable behavior for a  state representative. So glad I don’t live in Arizona at the moment for so many reasons.

Janson’s comments:

A friend of mine recently forwarded an email exchange between her brother-in-law and Arizona State Representative for District 4, Judy Burges. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by Burges’s response to Mark (she’s a Birther, after all)—and yet I was. I’m surprised by how utterly unprofessional her response to Mark was. Is this the best representation District 4 can come up with? Does Burges really represent the people of Arizona? I think not, I hope not.

What strikes me most about this email exchange is how Burges’s own political beliefs seem to supersede her ability to effectively and productively represent her constituents. Like an oil slick covering the ocean (an unfortunate and sad simile at this moment), this kind of arrogant, self-serving thinking does nothing to actually help or serve her constituents. Instead of trying to convince Mark to reconsider visiting Arizona again in the future (which would economically benefit her constituents), she decides to insult this potential source of income for the people of her state. Mark is far less likely to visit Arizona as a direct result of Judy Burges’s nasty response.

She just solidified more loss of money for her constituents.

And this is what kills me. It’s not so much that she’s a birther. It’s not so much that I so deeply disagree with what I view to be racism in the legislation she supports… In this case, it’s that she is allowing her own vitriol to override her ability to actually serve her constituents productively. She, like so many others, is so in love with her own perverse distortion of ideology, she is either no longer willing or able to actually serve her constituents’ best interests. It wouldn’t be hard to have responded to Mark in a productive manner without compromising her own values.

It’s called Rhetoric. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. And sometimes it’s completely absent.

Arizona deserves better than Judy Burges of District 4.

Here’s a link to the Arizona Representative Judy Burges is a Moron Facebook group page. Join them to show your solidarity—but be sure to also email and phone Burges directly! Her email is jburges@azleg.gov and her office phone is 602-926-5861. Feel free to share this graphic/story with anybody and everybody.

 

 

More later. Peace.

“Boni pastoris est tondere pecus non deglubere” (It is of a good shepherd to shear his flock, not to flay them) ~ Tiberius

Political Cartoon by Pat Bagley of The Salt Lake Tribune   

“Mr. Robertson, Mr. Limbaugh, your lives are not worth those of the lowest, meanest, poorest of those victims still lying under the rubble in Haiti tonight . . . You inspire only stupidity and hatred.” ~ Keith Olbermann on Countdown, January 13, 2010

Hello all of you Dittoheads out there. I know that you are lurking, just waiting for some left-wing liberal nut job such as myself to badmouth your idol. You won’t come out in the open, of course, because that might mean engaging in open discourse with someone who uses logic, facts, and sanity (okay, the sanity part might be going too far), but you get my point.    

Marisa Pierre of Haiti lost two brothers, photo by Lynn Sladky/AP

Or most probably you do not. You do not see anything wrong with douchebag Rush Limbaugh saying that this situation in Haiti was perfect for the Obama administration because they will use it to gain credibility with “both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country. It’s made to order for them.”

Oh, so many things wrong with that statement that I do not know where to begin parsing the illogic, so I won’t. Or how about Limbaugh’s contention that the President was “irritated” at having to speak about the “Christmas Day Fruit of Kaboom Bomber,” but he (the president) “couldn’t wait to get out there, could not wait to get out there” to speak about Haiti.

Dick-of-the-day Limbaugh says that the crisis will allow Obama to play up his compassionate side. Funny, I never thought that Obama’s compassion needed to be brought out more, that is unless Limbaugh is insinuating that Obama only shows compassion for black people, which would actually make sense using Limbaugh logic. But Limbaugh was not content to play the supposed race card, he had to add more insult to injury by suggesting that aid to Haiti was superfluous: “We’ve already donated to Haiti. It’s called the U.S. income tax.”     

I’m not going to post the video of Limbaugh’s inanity, but I will provide a link to a vid on politico.com just in case you have not seen this for yourself. For the full transcript of this broadcast (from which I drew my Limbaugh quotes directly), you need to go to Limbaugh’s direct site.    

Rush supporters are already girding their loins, issuing statements that his comments were taken out of context, that he just didn’t want people to donate money to the Red Cross via the White House (because everyone knows that President Obama will take that money and buy a suit for Michelle or something equally preposterous). Right. By the way, the President directed people to the White House site to get information on how to donate, a little discrepancy there between what the POTUS said and what Limbaugh heard.     

On a site that shall remain unnamed, one poster said that the issue is about the president and not Haiti because President Obama mentioned slavery in his speech to “keep slavery in the minds of the (U.S.) people.”  All righty then.  

Have to love logic like that. There is no arguing with such fallacies. I mean, criticize Obama because he didn’t speak out about the Christmas-day panty-bomber for three days . . . Hello? How long did it take for Bush to do anything about Katrina? Let’s get real here. Thankfully, no one died because of that idiot on the airplane. How many have died during the last 48 hours in Haiti?

A refresher on Limbaugh and Haiti if you please: In May of 2009, the ever-obstreperous blowhard jabbed at former President Clinton’s appointment as U.S. Special Envoy to Haiti: “I’m just gonna tell you, if I was named envoy to Haiti, I’d quit government. Envoy to Haiti? You can’t even pick up a prostitute down there without genuine fear of AIDS.” 

For real? Is there anything in that man’s brain but leftover oxycontin? Having sex with a prostitute is a risky business anywhere in the world.

Look. What is needed here is human compassion, people, or in President Obama’s words, doing things “for the sake of common humanity.” Stop playing politics when people’s lives are at stake. I mean, what does the President’s brother or the Nobel Peace Prize have to do with Haiti?     

May I just pause here to remind everyone with any grain of decency that Limbaugh is using as fodder for his broadcast a country that has seen the complete and total devastation of its capital’s infrastructure (such as it is), its population wandering the streets aimlesslessly without drinking water or shelter of any kind, and mortality estimates topping 100,000, all from a natural disaster that could not have been prevented.  

“That’s not the attitude that expresses the spirit of the president or the American people, so I thought it was a pretty stunning comment to make.” ~ White House Adviser, Valerie Jarrett 

Pat Robertson: Priceless Pictures/Clueless Man

But let’s not forget that bastion of all things holy, televangelist Pat Robertson, who avers that the Haitians brought on their misfortune. Now those of you who keep up with these things know that Robertson is a great one for blaming misfortune on the victims: the victims of Hurricane Katrina, the victims of 9/11; in those instances Robertson, in his lunacy, decried that “We have insulted God at the highest level of our government. Then, we say, ‘Why does this happen?’ It is happening because God Almighty is lifting His protection from us. Once that protection is gone, we are vulnerable because we are a free society.”

There you have it: Robertson’s personal doctrine. The victims died, were killed, were destroyed because, in Robertson’s interpretation, our “free” society calls for separation of church and state, allows abortion, acknowledges gay rights, and such a society deserves a good smiting by god. In other words, if the people don’t act/vote/behave according to Robertson’s interpretation of the way, then begone and be damned.

My personal favorite moment of Robertson lunacy came when he said that the citizens of Dover, Delaware were SOL if something bad happened because they had “voted God out of [their] city” (700 Club broadcast on 11-11-05). No, Pat. I don’t think that god was actually on the ballot that day.

I alluded to Robertson in my previous post, but tonight I want to share some of his now infamous statement on exactly why the people of Haiti are now suffering death, disease, displacement, and despair:  

And you know, Christy, something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it, they were under the heel of the French, uh, you know, Napoleon the third and whatever, and they got together and swore a pact to the devil, they said, we will serve you, if you get us free from the Prince, true story. And so the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal.’ And they kicked the French out, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free, and ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other, desperately poor. . . 

Of course Robertson’s people were quick to try to clean up the mess made by the dotty proselytizer, stating that Robertson’s “compassion for the people of Haiti is clear. He called for prayer for them.” That he did, just seconds after saying that they had made a pact with the devil. I’m pretty sure that’s what is known las desventajas anulan los beneficios, i.e., invalidation. (Click here for the complete article on Limbaugh and Robertson on politico.com.)     

Enough already. I’m working myself into a lather. More later. Peace.

George Harrison’s “Give Me Love” 
 

    

 

Political Cartoon by David Fitzsimmons of the Arizona Daily Star

Haiti: How to Help: click this link for a list of charities accepting donations as well as information on making donations.
If you would like to file an online complaint with the FCC, click this link. It’s a very simple form, and only takes a few minutes to complete. To find out what station in your area airs Rush Limbaugh, click here (Unfortunately, it’s Limbaugh’s site; I couldn’t find another site that listed all of the stations on which he airs). Be sure to put in Clear Channel Communications Syndication as they employ the ignoramus. The air date was January 13, 2010.