Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stealing People's Futures

Originally uploaded by eggstudio
At first I was very pleased to hear that Bernie Madoff received a 150 year sentence. For the crimes he committed, essentially stealing the future of thousands of people, this is most appropriate for him to serve the rest of his life in prison contemplating greed and what he has done. Then I thought, hell, he doesn't have to worry about having a roof over his head or where his next meal is coming from. Basically he is getting three hots and a cot for the rest of his life in a minimum security prison. I have spent time visiting and counseling in a minimum security federal prison and it was NOT a country club, but it sure wasn't like hard time. It won't be a lotta fun, he'll be bored and the lifestyle will be a touch more austere than his accustomed opulence, but he has security! And that is exactly what he stole from worthwhile non-profits, elderly retirees and so many others. I was thinking, a better lesson for him might be to toss him out and let him live out his life broke and homeless. He should know what its like to have to stand in line for a bed or a meal at a homeless shelter,or to have to worry that winter is coming and he has to figure out how to put on enough socks and coats to sleep on the street without freezing to death. Ah, but he would be free, and he is slick. He has favors to call in from somewhere, he has family. There is no way for him to really feel what he has actually stolen from so many. May his future be one of reflection and remorse.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Guns, God, Grub and Grog

Originally uploaded by Chad Johnson
I am not anti-guns. People have the right to own them, hunt with them, protect their homes with them(even though, statistically that doesn't work out so well) collect, target shoot and masturbate with them. Whatever. But I am pro-common sense, something the morons who run Tennessee seem to be damn short on. The legislature in Tennessee managed to come together in the noble cause of overriding the governor's veto and made it legal to carry guns, concealed I presume, in restaurants AND saloons in the Volunteer state. They just "volunteered" the opportunity for people, such as the charming Nazi pictured in the photo, to carry their weapon into a bar, get sloshed and take deadly action against any slight, real or imagined.
Recently, the president signed legislation allowing guns in National Parks! Have you ever been out in the country during deer season? If not, don't go. If you must, wear LOTS of orange. Boys and their toys outdoors are a fucking menace to unwary bystanders. Now, to avoid slighting the responsible hunters out there, most deer are ambushed while the hunter hides up in a tree-pretty sporting, eh? But at least those people are shooting down, and even if they miss they won't plug some poor slob half a mile away working in his garden. But some fool with a semi-automatic assault rifle who decides to target practice in Yellowstone? Bad plan. Or, Joe Nazi featured above and his pals can now go to our national parks for some military maneuvers. What a comfort. Pity the poor park rangers.
Then there is good ol' boy, Pastor Ken Pagano of Louisville, Kaintuck.http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/26/us/26guns.html?th&emc=th
He is in the news for promoting a carry your gun to church day, comin' right up this Saturday night to, “celebrate our rights as Americans!” as a promotional flier for the “open carry celebration” puts it. This celebration will include a raffle for a gun and a picnic. Guns, God and grub-does it get any better?-HOOO-DOAGIES! These are Assembly of God folk, Pentecostals who believe they speak in unknown tongues bringing messages straight from JEEE-hovah while they wriggle about in religious ecstacy. Who knows what smiting the Lord might require of those worthies? I think I'll skip that celebration and avoid the bars and liquor serving restaurants in Tennesee, thank you very much.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Got Any Spare Change?

Any one who walks in big cities has been asked this question by grizzled alcoholics, homeless wanderers, would-be hippies and other urban shnorrers. In the parable of the widow's mite from Mark 12 and Luke 20 Jesus compares what the rich folks give to the Temple offering to what we would call,"spare change". They didn't need it to live on, to buy food or pay rent or buy a pack of smokes. The widow is praised for giving two small copper coins, one to fulfill her obligation and one out of love or devotion to her faith. He says she gave everything.

When Barrack Obama promised us, "Change we can believe in", it didn't sound as if he was talking about 'spare change'. He wasn't promising change that would be easy or politically profitable-at least that was what it sounded like to me and millions of others. Oh, I know he's a politician, and inflated rhetoric is their stock and trade, and he is only human so you expect some pragmatism as well. But when the man goes back on a specific promise to work to rectify injustice to an oppressed group, he is offering them spare change, change that won't cost him any political capital.

In his campaign, Obama promised to work to overturn the odious Defense of Marriage Act that allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where they are legal. This legal bigotry also denies federal benefits such as survivor's Social Security benefits to same-sex partners. In spite of his promise, the DOJ filed a brief in a California lawsuit challenging this unjust law supporting the Defense of Marriage Act as reasonable.
At this point witth Obama fighting for HealthCare reform and struggling against a vicious Right-wing campaign, it may be politically expedient to take this route rather than further alienate social conservatives. But than he is offering only spare change to the millions of LGBT folks who campaigned for him, voted for him, and believed in his promis of change. Not even spare change- he has given them chump change.

See http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/16/opinion/16tue1.html?th&emc=th