Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

After the Election 2

Considering the 4 possible outcomes of the election next Tuesday (technically there are other possibilities, such as the Republicans take over both house of Congress by large margins, but these seem exceptionally unlikely) outlined in the first installment of this post, the first: Democrats will retain control of both houses with large gains in seats in the Senate and the House of Representatives, would logically be the most favorable for bypassing certain congressional deadlock and moving the country forward in at least a moderate direction.
As I've stated before in various past posts, the nation elected Barack Obama to the Presidency on a ticket of "Change." The country had seen eight long years of Republican rule, and had suffered the results, i.e., the country in two unnecessary foreign military engagements and the resulting loss of life and national treasure, a tepid response to the destruction of a major American city... New Orleans, real reckless spending (as opposed to the fake outrage the Republicans proclaim at the necessary response (i.e., the Stimulus and T.A.R. P.) required to undo their policies and actions that created the problems in the first place) the squandering of a budget surplus, loss of civil rights in the so-called name of national security, the use of torture as national policy, war profiteering, and the outing of covert assets for petty revenge, the blind allegiance to free market idealism that directly resulted in the deregulation of banks and investment houses on Wall Street which led to the biggest financial meltdown since the Great Depression. Obama was elected in a large part to reverse the damage caused by the outgoing Bush administration. Obama's oratory powers were used to the utmost to promise "change you can believe in," in all manner of things. From closing the extralegal prison at Guantanamo Bay, to ending the "wars," In Iraq and Afghanistan, to stopping the use of torture, responsible fiscal policies including financial regulatory reform, the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," healthcare reform, and and a host of other issues.
Some of the issues have been dealt with, or are in are in the process of being resolved to the extent that it is possible. Many have not, which has left a faction of the President's base unsatisfied (at this time I am not going to offer a critique of his job performance, other than to say he has consistently attempted to move in a direction that is in line with progressive ideals. I have offered such criticism elsewhere and will continue to do so). And in the almost two years since Obama took office he has not been able to completely repair the damage done in the eight years Bush was in office, most importantly for this upcoming election, the state of the economy, the home mortgage crisis, and high unemployment. No one could given that amount of time. If Jesus Christ came down from Heaven and took office he couldn't fix the mess Bush has got us into in two years. It would take him at least three.
The Republicans have taken advantage of the American public's dissatisfaction with Washington, Congress and the President not being able to fix the economy fast enough to suit them, and due to this dissatisfaction may gain seats in Congress next Tuesday. This is unfortunate as it is exactly the opposite of what these dissatisfied voters are looking for, which is a resolution to their problems. Let's see why.
The second option listed in the first part of this post: The Democrats will retain control of both houses with less seats in the Senate and the House of Representatives (which I believe has a good chance of happening, and which I'll discuss further in tomorrow's post). This would allow the Democrats the ability to remain in control of both Houses of Congress of course, to continue to set the agenda, and continue to advance the policies of the Obama administration, which is what the voters in 2008 put him in office for. It would also strengthen the ability for the Republicans to continue to obstruct everything the Democrats put forth or try to advance. This guarantees continued gridlock in the halls of Congress, which makes no logical sense whatsoever. I understand the historical role of the opposition party, to act as a curb to the power of the majority. However, the Republicans have gone far beyond acting as a curb, resembling more of a roadblock or moat, trying to impede every single act the Democrats and Obama put forth, even if they were at one time in favor of the proposal put forward. It is utterly amazing the blatant disrespect the Republicans have shown for the process of government at the people's expense. To them it is simply political party above all else. Party above country. And because of the lies and misinformation put forth by them and their private television propaganda network, Fox "News," they have exerbated the discouragement of some working class citizens into believing their lies, thus creating entities such as the Tea Party movement, which appear to be concerned with an extremely narrow set of priorities, such as federal spending, deficit reduction, and the size of government, issues that may or may not have any direct bearing on their daily lives, and in many respects make no sense whatsoever (i.e., what would the Tea Partiers wish to eliminate in the federal government? Many of the Tea Party candidates state they wish to get rid of the Department of Education, for instance. To what end? How would the elimination of the federal student loan program, Pell Grants, and education reform programs like the Teacher Incentive Fund help our nation? Many Tea Party enthusiasts clearly do not understand what it is they are protesting against, such as when Tea Party protesters shout out, "Keep your government hands off of my Medicare!" Medicare of course being a federal government run program from which they benefit.).
The third option: The Republicans take over the House by a small margin, thereby losing the floor (agenda) for the Democrats, allowing the Republicans the power to control what business is taken up, and they will gain chairmanship of the various committees, is what most news organizations, pundits, and the common wisdom seem to think will happen. I assume this belief is based on knowledge of traditional historical outcomes in midterm elections, and information gleamed in polls. We will discuss polls tomorrow.
If this is the option that does come about Tuesday, and it very well may, the outcome is little changed from that of the second option, continuing congressional deadlock. Republicans, however, will now be forced to advance some type of agenda, since they will be in control of the federal budget, rather than do what they have been doing for the last four years, which is to complain about everything the Democrats do without offering any solutions of their own. Indeed, the best option for the Republicans may very well be the second option, allowing them to continue to criticize the Democrats in the majority, while continuing their obstructionist policies, and taking no responsibility for anything, then making a move similar to the one they are making now, in the 2012 primary election.
The fourth option is the worst possible scenario that this county could possibly face, simply because it gives more power to the Republicans (who in this election have been heavily infiltrated by the totally out of touch, possibly insane, Tea Party candidates), who as I've previously mentioned have gotten this country in the mess we currently find ourselves in, and who still offer no solutions to the very real problems this country, and the world now face. They will undoubtedly worsen these problems with their insistence in advancing wrong headed Republican ideology, such as climate change denial, tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of everyone else, endless military engagements, and so on. The Republicans themselves have said as much, stating they will possibly shut down the entire government to advance their agenda, initiate pointless investigations into President Obama's activities (just as they did with President Clinton) for partisan political purposes, attempt to repeal heathcare and financial reform (which they are essentially powerless to do given President Obama's ability to veto their proposals). The Senate Majority leader, Mitch McConnell has openly admitted his one goal for the next two years is to make sure Obama is a one term president. With all of the problems this country faces that is his priority. Despite what the Republicans keep insisting will happen if they gain power, declaring compromise with the Democrats is not an option, and thus insuring deadlock in the House and Senate, a good deal of voters seem to have been manipulated to the point that they ignore their own best interests... again... allowing the Republicans to regain power.
Don't take my word for it (don't take my word for anything, I'm a recovering alcoholic who lives in a box off of Skid Row). I'm happy to say that one of my favorite economists, someone Obama should have hired as Treasury Secretary (along with Robert Reich) rather than Geithner and the outgoing Lawrence Summers, Nobel laureate Paul Krugman. I wrote the above before reading his article linked to below, and we essentially agree on everything. Take a look, and beware:
I think I should get a Nobel prize too!
So what is the best course, best rational course, logical course for the nation to progress forward, not backward as the Republican and Tea Partiers would have it. The answer is simple: option number one: The Democrats retain control of both houses with large gains in seats in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Only this will allow the Congress to avoid stalemate and give the President a fighting chance to do the job he was elected to do. Americans need to vote with their heads and not their emotions.
To do otherwise is nothing else than committing an act of national suicide.
The stakes are tremendous. The situation dire.
We shall see.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Keith Olbermann's Special Comment on the November 2010 Election

I watch the "Countdown," program on MSNBC almost every week night. It stars an ex sports announcer, Keith Olbermann, who I remember watching occasionally when he worked the sports desk for one of the local stations here in L.A. many years ago.
As it happens Keith has turned into one of the best and brightest voices for the Progressive Cause, calling out on a daily basis the lies, follies, and deceit of the Republicans, the right wing lunatics, tea partiers, and any and all mad men (and woman) who try to force this country in a direction the founders never envisioned, namely, a country run by greed and ignorance, fueled by corporate money, whose only concern is the accumulation of wealth at the expense of the working and lower classes. Like his mentor, Edward R. Murrow, Keith's articulate voice passionately looks out for those of us who do not have the capacity or strength or wherewithal to do so for themselves. He is our spokesman, he is the antiithesis of the lies perpetrated each day against us by the likes of Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and all the rest who value party above country. He is a true patriot, a patriot in the truest and best sense of the word, and he issued the following Special Comment last Wednesday night concerning the November 2010 election. In it he calls for each of us to take another to the polls to participate in this election. I've taught my lovely case manager, Erin, how to vote, and hopefully got her interested in the process. She tells me she fully intends to involve herself in the process and vote.
Now it's your turn.

"Now as promised a Special Comment on the madness of the Tea Party and the elections of next Tuesday.
It is as if a group of moderately talented performers has walked on stage at a comedy club on Improv night. Each hears a shout from the audience, consisting of a bizarre but just barely plausible fear or hatred or neurosis or prejudice.
And the entertainment of the evening is for each to take their thin, absurd premise, and build upon it a campaign for governor or congressman or senator. The problem is, of course, when it turns out there is no audience shouting out gags, just a cabal of corporations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and political insider bloodsuckers like Karl Rove and Dick Armey and the Chicken Little Chorus of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.
And the instructions are not to improvise a comedy sketch, but to elect a group of unqualified, unstable individuals who will do what they are told, in exchange for money and power, and march this nation as far backward as they can get, backward to Jim Crow, or backward to the breadlines of the '30s, or backward to hanging union organizers, or backward to the Trusts and the Robber Barons.
Result: the Tea Party. Vote backward, vote Tea Party. And if you are somehow indifferent to what is planned for next Tuesday, it is nothing short of an attempt to use Democracy to end this Democracy, to buy America wholesale and pave over the freedoms and the care we take of one another, which have combined to keep us the envy of the world.
You do not think your freedom is at stake next Tuesday?
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate for senator from Nevada, Sharron Angle, compared rape to, quoting, "a lemon situation in lemonade." She would deny an abortion even to a teenaged girl who had been raped by her own father.
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate to be the only Congressman in Delaware, Glen Urquhart, said "there is no problem that abortion can't make worse. I know good friends who are the product of rape."
Mr. Urquhart also does not believe the phrase "separation of church and state" was said by Thomas Jefferson.
He thinks it was Hitler: "The next time your liberal friends ask you about the separation of church and state, ask them why they are Nazis."
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate in the Ohio 9th, Rich Iott, not only ran around in a Nazi uniform celebrating their military tactics, but implies he is a Veteran and as late as this March listed his occupation as "soldier" even though the volunteer militia to which he belongs has never been called, will never be called, to any active service, in the 29 years in which he has belonged to it.
It's more than just dress-up. They mean business - literally. The Tea-Party-and-Republican-candidate for New Jersey's 3rd House seat, Jon Runyan, defended corporate tax loopholes: "Loopholes are there for a reason. They are to avoid people from really having to pay too many taxes."
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate for the Senate in West Virginia, John Raese, explained, "I made my money the old-fashioned way, I inherited it. I think that's a great thing to do. I hope more people in this country have that opportunity as soon as we abolish inheritance tax in this country."
The inheritance tax applies only to estates larger than $3.5 million. For the 99.8 percent of Americans not affected by the estate tax, there is the minimum wage, which Mr. Raese also wants abolished. Or there is Social Security.
The Tea-Party-and-Republican-candidate in the Indiana 9th, Todd Young, says "Social Security, as so many of you know is a Ponzi scheme."
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate in the Wisconsin 8th, Reid Ribble, agrees. Social Security "is, in fact, a Ponzi scheme."
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate in the Arizona 8th, Jesse Kelly, wants to resurrect President Bush's scam to transform Social Security into private investment accounts so the government can force you to spend part of your paycheck on Wall Street commissions, and so that market manipulators can wipe out your retirement money.
The Republican candidate in the Wisconsin 1st, Congressman Paul Ryan, has a more sophisticated plan: Personal investment Social Security, guaranteed dollar for dollar by the government. A fiscal fountain of youth, until you find out its cost: Ryan would pay for it by taxing the health insurance you get from your employer.
If you are not employed, Mrs. Angle of Nevada says unemployment benefits can neither be increased nor extended because that "has caused us to have a spoilage with our ability to go out and get a job… There are jobs that do exist. That's what we're saying, is that there are jobs."
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate for Senator in Alaska, Joe Miller, says this is academic, because unemployment insurance is unconstitutional. His own wife received unemployment insurance after losing a temp job he got for her. Mr. Miller also called Medicaid unconstitutional. It proved his entire family had received Medicaid funds.
Mr. Miller also claims Social Security is unconstitutional, yet hypocritically he says it should still be paid out, and then the issue dumped into the laps of the states.
The Republican-and-Tea Party candidate for Senator in Colorado, Ken Buck, would not stop at butchering just Social Security. [He said] "would a Veterans Administration hospital that is run by the private sector be better run then by the public sector? In my view, yes."
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate in the Pennsylvania 4th, Keith Rothfus, has promised to overturn anything the Supreme Court decides, with which he disagrees: "Congress's ultimate weapon is funding. If the Supreme Court rules you have to do something, we'll just take away funding for it."
Back in Nevada Mrs. Angle decries health care - not reform, but health care itself. "Everything that they want to throw at us now is covered under 'autism'," she said. As to educating those children Mrs. Angle won't pay for, Mr. Buck of Colorado, waxes nostalgic: "In the 1950's, we had the best schools in the world, and the United States government decided to get more involved in federal education…well, since, we've made education worse, we're gonna even get more involved."
In Ken Buck's America of 1957, fewer than one in five Black children graduated high school. Fewer than half of white children did. To the Tea-Party-and-Republican-candidate in the California 11th, David Harmer, Mr. Buck is a wild-eyed liberal. Mr. Harmer once advocated eliminating public schools altogether, and return education in this country to where it was before 1876: "People acting in a free market found a variety of ways to pay for a variety of schools serving a variety of students, all without central command or control." And without girls, blacks, or even the slightest chance you could go to college.
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate in the Virginia 11th, Keith Fimian, is "not so sure we need a federal burocracy for education."
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate in the Florida 2nd, Steve Southerland, wants to "de-fund" the Department of Education because "we can't afford it."
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate in the Texas 17th, Bill Flores, offers a tri-fecta plus a delusion. Get rid of "the pornographic endowment of the arts, department of energy, department of education" and with them, he says, ACORN. ACORN — which went out of business last April 1st.
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate in the Arizona 5th, David Schweikert, is "passionately" trying to eliminate the Department of Education because it's "unconstitutional."
And while one of the few threads uniting the ragamuffins who constitute the slate of Tea Party candidates is so-called 'strict interpretation' of that Constitution, Mr. Miller of Alaska wants, in fact, to change the Constitution. He wants to repeal the 17th amendment.
The TeTea Party-and-Republican candidate for senator from Utah, Mike Lee called the 17th amendment "a mistake."
Last year, Mr. Buck of Colorado said the 17th amendment "took us down the wrong path."
The 17th amendment, of course, permits the direct election by the voters of U.S. Senators.
Buck and Lee and Miller not only demand you elect them to the Senate; they hope to then deny you the right to elect somebody else, next time.
The ubiquitous Mrs. Angle, meanwhile, wants to repeal the 16th amendment. It provided for a federal income tax. Mrs. Angle does not explain how, without it, the federal government would pay for keeping out the Mexicans she specifically attacks in her newest commercial.
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate for Senator from Kentucky Rand Paul wishes to repeal the 14th amendment because it interferes with a private business's right to ban black people from its premises, and also because it allows anyone born here in America to be American. He is worried about anchor babies.
The Republican candidate for the 1st District of Texas, Louie Gohmert, fears not anchor babies but terror babies — unborn infants brought to this country in the womb, ready for American citizenship and pre-programmed to blow things up fifteen or twenty years from now. Curiously, he has not been asked if he is in favor of aborting them.
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate for Governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, sees not terror fetuses but headless bodies in endless deserts murdered by immigrants who are nearly all drug mules.
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate for Governor of Colorado, Dan Maes, believes a bike-sharing program is part of a plot to turn Denver into a metropolis run by the United Nations.
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate for Senate from Delaware, Christine O'Donnell, believes she was cleared to read secret classified documents about China because she's been working for Non-Profit Organizations for the past fifteen years. She also believes China is plotting to take over the United States and the first evidence of this is that "China is drilling (for oil) off the coast of Florida."
This fear of the Chinese clearly does not extend to the Tea Party-and-Republican candidate for Senate from Illinois, Mark Kirk. One day he held a fundraiser with American businessmen in China. The next day, he voted against closing tax incentives for outsourcing American jobs to places like China.
The Tea Party-and-Republican-candidate for Senate from Wisconsin, Ron Johnson is also in favor of relocating employees. He testified against toughening laws on pedophiles and employers who shield them. He argued this could damage a business. A business like the Catholic Church.
In Utah, the anti-bailout Senate candidate Mr. Lee, insists on not raising the liability limits for the next BP from $75 million to $10 billion: "You have a set of settled expectations that you give to a business when it decides to make an investment in this. Our country benefits from this type of activity…"
Asked by the Salt Lake City Tribune if that's a kind of bailout, if it leaves taxpayers on the hook for part of the damage, Lee admitted, "Well, yea, probably does."
Mr. Paul of Kentucky called the nationwide pressure on BP to increase its damage payments "un-American." He is also opposed to Federal Mine Safety regulations: "The bottom line is: I'm not an expert, so don't give me the power in Washington to be making rules. You are here, and you have to work in the mines. You'd try to make good rules to protect your people here. If you don't, I'm thinking that no one will apply for those jobs."
Mr. Paul's admission that "I'm not an expert" does provide one of the few dovetails of the campaign. It matches nicely with Mr. Johnson of Wisconsin, who refuses to offer any specifics about his plan to deal with homeless veterans. He says, "This election is not about details."
Details have proved devilish for the Tea Party-and-Republican candidate for the second district of Virginia, Scott Ridgell He campaigned against the stimulus bill, including the Cash-for-Clunkers program. Mr. Ridgell is an automobile dealer, and happily made hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Cash-for-Clunkers program.
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate in the Missouri 4th, Vicky Hartzler, says she and her husband are just small business owners. "We just want the government to leave us alone," she said. Hartzler and her husband have a farm. In the last fourteen years, that government they want to leave them alone, has given them subsidies totaling $774,000.
Mr. Raese of West Virginia told the Associated Press that "America is in an industrial coma" and blamed the "restrictor plate" that is "a bloated federal government." "I can't think," he added, "of very many times when a government agency has helped me."
The companies Mr. Raese owns have received $2.4 million in contracts from the federal government since 2000, and $32 million in contracts from the state government since 2000.
Back in Colorado, Mr. Buck apparently thought he was speaking to a campaign worker when he self-exposed his hypocrisy. In fact he was talking to a Democratic operative with a recorder in his pocket. Out of the blue, Tea Party nominee Buck blurted, "Will you tell those dumbasses at the Tea Party to stop asking me about birth certificates while I'm on the camera? God, what am I supposed to do?"
The contempt of Mr. Buck towards his own Tea Party, extends in many cases to reporters - and thus by proxy, to actual citizens.
For instance, the Tea Party-and-Republican candidate for Governor of Maine, Paul LePage (Luh-Page), threatened to punch a radio reporter.
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate for Governor of New York, Carl Paladino, threatened to "take out" a reporter from the most conservative newspaper in any major American city.
A spokesman told the reporter that he was now off the Paladino mailing list, which has, in the past, consisted of e-mails featuring racism, pornography, and bestiality. Mr. Miller's private security guards in Alaska detained and handcuffed a reporter, and threatened to handcuff two more, without any legal right to do so, at an event at a public school.
The security company was operating with an expired license; its chief, has links to extremist organizations; and the defense was that the guards didn't know the individual was a reporter, which implies it would be just dandy to handcuff an ordinary citizen.
Ms. O'Donnell threatened to sue a Delaware radio station if it did not destroy the videotape of her interview there.When she did not like a question, she snapped her fingers at her own press aide then shoved him. The campaign manager threatened to "crush" the station if it did not comply.
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate for the Senate from Florida, Marco Rubio dreams more of de-portation than de-capitation. He said, in March, "There are millions of people in America that hate our country, so why can't we just do a trade? We'll send you Sean Penn, Janeane Garofalo, and Keith Olbermann, and you can send us people that actually love this country."
This, incidentally, carries with it a tinge of irony. I don't know that any of his opponents has ever accused Mr. Rubio of not loving this country. He just doesn't love a lot of its people. The person they all love the least is of course the President.
The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate for Congress from the Florida 22nd, Allen West, had to leave our military after threatening to kill an Iraqi he was interrogating. Now he claims to have a higher security clearance than does the President. Mr. West also told his supporters that they could defeat his Democratic opponent by making the man afraid to leave his own home.
And Tea Party-and-Republican candidate for the House from the Michigan 7th, the ex-Congressman Tim Walberg, wants to blackmail the President into showing his birth certificate… to Rush Limbaugh. He figures he can extort this from President Obama by threatening to impeach him.
You are willing to let these people run this country? This is the America you want? This is the America you are willing to permit? These are the kinds of cranks, menaces, mercenaries and authoritarians you will turn this country over to?
If you sit there next Tuesday and let this happen, whose fault will that be? Not really theirs. They are taught that freedom is to be seized and rationed. They can sleep at night having advanced themselves and their puppeteers and to hell with everybody else.
They see the greatness of America not in its people but in its corporations. They see the success of America not in hard work but in business swindles. They see the worthiness of America not in its quality of life but in its quality of investing. They see the future of America not in progress, but in revolution to establish a theocracy for white males, with dissent caged and individuality suppressed.
They see America not for what is, nor what it can be. They see delusions, specters, fantasies; they see communists under every bed and a gun in every hand. They see tax breaks for the rich and delayed retirement for everyone else. They fight the redistribution of wealth not because they oppose redistribution, but because their sole purpose is to protect wealth and keep it where they think it belongs - in the bank accounts of the wealthy.
They want to make the world safe for Bernie Madoff. But you know better. If you sit there next Tuesday - if you sit there tomorrow, and the rest of this week - and you let this cataclysm unfold, you have enabled this.
It is one thing to be attacked by those who would destroy America from without. It is a worse thing to be attacked by those who would destroy America from within.
But it is the worst thing to sit back and let it happen, to not find the time and the means to convince just one other sane voter to put aside the disappointment of the last two years and look to the future and vote. Because the disappointment of the last two years will be the "good old days" in a Tea Party America.
This is the week in which the Three Card Monte dealers hope to take over the government —the candidates who want their own way, who will say anything to make palatable their real identities as agents of regression, repression, and corporate sovereignty. They are here, they have energized the self-serving and the greedy and the proudly ill-informed.
And if no other fact convinces you of your obligation to vote and canvass and phone and drag even to the polls the most disheartened moderate or Democrat or Liberal or abandoned Republican or political neutral, to vote for the most tepid of the non-Insane candidates, if no other detail hands you that spark of argument with which to invigorate the apathetic, you need only commit to memory the words of Steffan Broden and Sharron Angle.
She can run from reporters but she cannot run from this quote from January, and all the horror and insurrection it implies: "Thomas Jefferson said it's good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years. I hope that's not where we're going. But, you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those second amendment remedies."
Sharron Angle — too subtle for you? "Second amendment" remedies — guns instead of elections - too implicit? Fortunately, to our rescue, to the speeding of the falling of the scales from our eyes, comes the Tea Party and Republican nominee for the 30th Congressional District of Texas, "Pastor" Steffan Broden. "Our nation was founded on violence," he said, on tape.
Was armed insurrection, revolution, an option in 2010? "The option is on the table. I don't think that we should ever remove anything from the table… However, it is not the first option."
Thank you! The attempt to overthrow the Government of the United States by violence is not The Tea Party's first option. Next Tuesday is the first option!
The words are those of Nedrick Young and Harold Jacob Smith from the screenplay for the movie "Inherit The Wind." As the attorney for the man on trial for teaching evolution, Spencer Tracy gets to the gist: "Fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding. And soon, your Honor, with banners flying and with drums beating we'll be marching backward, backward through the glorious ages of that 16th century when bigots burned the man who dared bring enlightenment and intelligence to the human mind!"
The angered judge replies, "I hope counsel does not mean to imply that this court is bigoted." The attorney mutters, "Well, your honor has the right to hope." The Judge warns, "I have the right to do more than that." The attorney explodes: "You have the power to do more than that."
And you have the power to do more than that.

Good night, and good luck."

Friday, October 29, 2010

After The Election

Well it's about time to begin examining the upcoming election, just four days away now.
I haven't discussed it that much because there's not much point in doing so. I've already made my thoughts known on the subject. I do not buy into to all of the right wing hyperbole that they will inevitably take over Congress. They say they will. The corporate media says they will. The common wisdom proclaims the Republicans will at least control the House after the election next Tuesday, and when they're sworn into office next January. Corporate CEOs, the Koch brothers, Karl Rove, oil and gas lobbyists, who, along with their colleagues in other industries such as finance and health care, are all salivating at the thought of Republicans being back in power.
I say be careful what you wish for.
Listen: There are only a four options that are possible for the outcome of this Congressional election.
1. The Democrats will retain control of both houses with large gains in seats in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
2. The Democrats will retain control of both houses with less seats in the Senate and the House of Representatives (what I believe will happen).
3. The Republicans take over the House by a small margin, thereby losing the floor (agenda) for the Democrats, allowing the Republicans the power to control what business is taken up, and they will gain chairmanship of the various committees.
4. The Republicans win both the House and Senate, again by a small margin.
Okay, now consider what has happened in the Congress since Obama took office almost two years ago.
The Republicans in both houses, but especially the Senate, have been the most obstructionist in the history of the country, using the filibuster and other arcane Senate rules to stop the Democratic agenda (and thereby the President's agenda) at every opportunity. Still, and this is something the voting public is not mindful of because the Democrats know nothing apparently about public relations, is that President Obama, despite the sociopathic (and I say this with all sincerity. To put political party before the welfare of the country is sociopathic, as well as being treasonous) resistance of the minority party, has passed more legislation in the little time he's been in office than most Presidents do in an entire eight year presidency. However, in order to do that the legislation that has been passed has been watered down with so many concessions to the opposition (and the monied interests behind the Republicans) as to be inconsequential, i.e., Health Care Reform with out single payer, Financial Reform without any reform, etc. All in all, except for mostly symbolic steps at overhauling the most problematic systems this country endures, the legislative and executive branches of the federal government have been deadlocked. The major accomplishment of the Obama administration, as far as I can see so far, is the aversion of a major economic meltdown, i.e., a depression. That is difficult to prove because it is a negative, it is something that didn't happen. Yet the proof is there to see. We are not in a depression! Still the voting public is unhappy with Congress, and for good reason, because the economy has not improved fast enough to relieve high unemployment rates, home foreclosures, stagnant wages, and consumer protections, among other things. It is interesting to note that the voting public is entirely fixated on themselves, via the economy, at this point in our nation's history. No mention of the two foreign military engagements is being made, at all, during this election cycle, which I find totally amazing.
Now the Republicans are counting (and I'm not even going to get into the empty headed, knee jerk reactions of the so-called "Tea Partiers." They are low information voters, a minor percentage of the populace that are being manipulated by corporate interests and Washington power brokers, that are making almost daily headlines because they make the most noise. That has been a dangerous contingent in the past, allowing extreme factions to take power, i.e., the Nazis, but it will not happen this time. They may however succeed in sending completely unqualified individuals to Congress, like Sharron Angle and Rand Paul. The elevation of candidates of this stature is an affront to common sense, and if they are elected, well the people of Nevada and Kentucky, and the thirty or so other elections tea party candidates are running in, will get what they voted for) on the American voting public to be angry with Congress for not getting enough done, even though they are the reason not enough is getting done. They offer no solutions to the problems this country faces (see the "Pledge to America?" series) except to continue the same policies that have gotten the country in the mess we find ourselves in. All they offer is promises to reduce the deficit (which in actuality should not even be a priority at this time. Continued economic stimulus through investment in infrastructure should be, but the Republicans have once again framed the debate, making a viable solution a political liability) while extending tax breaks for the rich. Ask any of them how they intend to accomplish these two opposing actions, and they run for the hills.
Still traditionally the majority party in Congress loses seats during the first midterm elections of a new President. This is exactly what should not happen.
We will examine why this should not happen, and what the four different scenarios will entail if they are realized, in the next installment of this post.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Jamie (Gertz)!


"Lost Boys" Jack Bauer and Vamp Girl

"Still Standing"

Happy birthday wishes go out this morning for one of my favorite actresses, Ms. Jami Gertz!
Ms. Gertz was born in Chicago, Illinois at an early age, but she lived in the nearby suburb of Park Ridge, where they used to make bricks, and is the hometown of Secretary of State Hillery Clinton.
In a refreshing change of pace Jami first wanted to become a figure skater (rather than a ballerina). Perhaps the windy/chilly Chicago climate influenced her. But apparently she got turned on to acting after appearing as Dorothy in a grammar school production of the "Wizard of Oz."
She attended Maine East High School, which is not in Maine, but in good old Park Ridge. Jami graduated from there in 1983 and later went on to attend N.Y.U., where she studied drama, but while she was still in high school, at the age of sweet 16, she was discovered by television producer Norman Lear's company ("All in the Family," "The Jeffersons," "Sanford and Son," etc.) in a nation wide talent search. That year (1981) she was cast in her first film, "Endless Love," which starred Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt (no relation to Jennifer Love), and directed by the Italian Franco Zeffirelli, who directed the 1968 film version of "Romeo and Juliet," which was a movie of particular importance to me as it was the first movie where I saw naked boobies (thanks to the lovely 16 year old Olivia Hussey... I had up until that point always wondered what those things where). Anyway, the movie "Endless Love," was unremarkable except for three things, the film's theme song, sung by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie, became a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the biggest selling single in Ross' career. Two and three, the film debut of Jami and a young Tom Cruise.
The next year she followed with a gig on the television sitcom, "Square Pegs," starring Sarah Jessica Parker, who was about the same age as Jami, and which was Jessica's first lead role (co-lead actually. She starred with Amy Linker) in a television show or movie. The show lasted just one season, after which Jami was cast in the John Hughes film "Sixteen Candles," in 1984, and which our friends Joan and John Cusack also appeared in (John and Jami's second film). In 1987 she gained attention opposite Robert Downy Jr., in "Less Than Zero." She also appeared that year as the vampire love interest in "Lost Boys," with Kiefer Sutherland, a film I saw but did not really notice her in at the time (I was drunk that year).
Jami made a few more films before taking off to Europe to become a scent designer for Lanvin, a "High Fashion" house.
When she returned to the states she got a supporting part in the tornado movie, "Twister," and except for two other films has stuck with television ever since.
I first became aware of her remarkable abilities as the sexy mom in the 2002 to 2006 sitcom, "Still Standing," where she played opposite the bulbous British actor Mark Addy, who played an American father.
I watched that show in reruns here in my box before I had cable and enjoyed it, and her, very much. Here's a sample:
Jami lives here in L.A. now. Many do. She is married to Anthony Ressler, and has 3 sons, Oliver Jordan, Nicholas Simon, and Theo. She and her husband are part owners of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team through and investment company, and have a freaking charter high school named after them (Gertz-Ressler High Academy) which is about 4 miles from where I'm sitting right now.
Anyway, all of us here at Joyce's Take wish her and her family continued success and good health, and a very happy birthday!
Happy Birthday Jami!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Richard (Joyce)!

Erin's favorite picture (of me)


Me and Erin in "Inception"

This speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Shark wrangeling!

Morning meditation

With my friend lovely Erin

Happy birthday wishes go out this morning to one of my favorite writers, political and social activists, bon vivant, inventor of non-fat lard, and general all around good guy, the founder of Joyce's Take, Richard Joyce. That's me!
The details of my life are quite inconsequential ... Very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a 15-year-old French sex slave named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize; he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes, he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament ... My childhood was typical: summers in Rangoon... luge lessons ... In the spring, we'd make meat helmets ... When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds — pretty standard, really. At the age of 12, I received my first scribe. At the age of 14, a Zoroastrian named Vilmer ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum — it's breathtaking ... I suggest you try it. When I was eighteen I went to evil medical school. At age twenty five I took up tap dancing. I wanted to be a quadruple threat: an actor, dancer.... Oh wait... that's Dr. Evil.
My life is much more inconsequential than his.
I was born in San Jose, California, at a very early age. I don't remember a great deal about that time, except for our Siamese cat, Toby, living in a duplex next to my mom's parents, and a big apricot tree in the back yard. San Jose used to be a small farming community, heavily expanded during the fifties when I lived there, and is now the capital of Silicon Valley, and the biggest city in the Bay area as far as population is concerned, bigger than nearby and more famous San Francisco.
My dad worked as a foreman in a Safeway candy factory, and he brought home all kinds of candy at night, so much so that I don't give a rat's ass about candy today. Maybe tomorrow.
When I was old enough to understand what I was being told I learned that I had been adopted when I was like 4 days old. I don't know why. I don't know or care about knowing who my biological parents were or are, all I know about them is that they were both of Irish ancestry. I don't know why my adopted parents adopted me, or why they couldn't, or decided not to have children of their own. I never asked. But I'm glad they did because they were wonderful parents. My dad only spanked me once (when I went into a pool without them knowing).
I have a sister, Cheryl. She was adopted too, but at an older age than I was. I actually went with my parents when we picked her up from the agency. How cool is that.
My mother was very pretty and used to be a singer. My dad loved her very much.
He wanted to go into business on his own and opened up a liquor store in nearby North Hollywood, just north of the real Hollywood, with his best friend, Lester. I was old enough to start elementary school by then. And even though the store wasn't in the real Hollywood, it was right across the street from Universal Studios, and when I was a little older I would go with my dad to deliver booze to people who worked in there. Some of them were movie stars, like Doug McClure and James Drury of "The Virginian," a young man named Peter Duel who stared on "Alias Smith and Jones," and "Love on a Rooftop," who later committed suicide, Raymond Burr of "Godzilla" fame and "Ironside," and Al Lewis who was also Grandpa Munster, from "The Munsters." Later I would sneak onto the lot with friends, and once spent a whole afternoon watching them film the T.V. show "It Takes a Thief," starring Robert Wagner, who we'll be talking about soon in another birthday tribute. He was dressed in drag that day, in a white nurses dress. He seemed to like it.
My father died when I was just 11 years old of a heart attack. My mom sold the store, and she started working. She would eventually begin dating again, and she got married to a psychopath insurance salesman named Norman Reevie (I'm not sure of the spelling, but this is how the name sounds; (re ve). He was abusive. I began acting out during those years, my teen years, using alcohol and drugs. It broke my moms heart, and that is one of my greatest regrets. I got into enough trouble that I moved out of the house into a boys home in Chatsworth. I would learn much later that Norman would molest my sister. If I knew where he was now I'd likely kill him.
Anyway, my mom got a divorce finally, found a good man named Gabby and married him, and moved to Bullhead City in Arizona. My sister went with them. It's very hot there in the summer.
I would get married too when I was just eighteen, to a lovely girl named Michelle Wendell. I was a full blown alcoholic and druggie by then, and the marriage lasted just two years. I blew a chance to go to college, because that was no fun, and would make a living in factory jobs making transformers, and doing shipping and receiving. I would soon move in with Michelle's aunt, Debra, who was 6 years older than I was, who liked to party even more then I did, and who was a stone cold fox, who resembled the actress Ann Margaret, who is very pretty... for a girl. We would get married later for financial reasons, but would break up, her saying she never wanted to see me again. I'm pretty sure we never got a divorce, so in one sense I've been happily married now for about 30 years.
Our big marriage wasn't legal however, as Debbie hadn't bothered to divorce the husband before me. She was like that sometimes. Lovely woman though.
With my step dad's advice, I enlisted in the navy when I was 22 years old. I would spend 4 years in the navy, visiting the Philippines, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong (I would call my mom collect from Hong Kong at Christmas time once. She would tell me never to do that again), and Australia. I would even get engaged to an Aussie girl named Janine Cory. She was lovely. She put up with me for awhile, even visiting me in the States, before having the good sense to leave me because of my drinking.
Smart girl.
One of my best friends while in the service was a young would be film producer by the name of Dave Cornman. He searched for me on the Internet recently, but didn't find me. I knew he was looking though, and wound up paying something like $30 bucks to get his telephone number in Pennsylvania. That's where he lives, in Lancaster specifically. He owns his own business, just like my dad did. Lancaster Video Productions, which I have a link to just to the right. Please dear readers, go to my friend Dave's web-site for all of your video needs, even if you don't live in Pennsylvania. He's been doing this all of his freaking life and is pretty good at it by now.
He loaned me $50.00 last week, which I owed my bank. I sent him a check to pay him back. What a good friend.
Anyway, when I got out of the navy and Janine left me, I began working for a veterinarian in Reseda, where Stephanie Miller used to work at the Itchy Kitty. I met the love of my life while working there, a receptionist named Jan. Jan Williams. Her nickname was J.D. I don't know why. We lived together for 5 years before she got fed up with me and my drinking. And then she was gone.
A lovely, beautiful woman. I wish all of the women in my life well. They were all great. It was me that was the problem.
I wound up in the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Pasadena after being homeless for about 6 weeks and living in a Park. That story is recounted elsewhere (see the Salvation Diary series). After I left there I would would work as a customer service representative for an emergency road service company similar to AAA, and Wellpoint, the health insurance company that steals from all of us.
My mother died around this time. 1995. I miss her love and wise council.
I lived in Bullhead for one year, near my dear sister and niece, Keri. We didn't get along really well, and I left at the beginning of 2001, and wound up drinking again, and destitute. I made my way to downtown Los Angeles, to the Salvation Army's Harbor Light facility on 5th Street. That place saved my life.
They recently closed it up though. It won't be able to help anymore people.
When I left Harbor Light and moved into the Weingart Center, on the corner of 6th and San Pedro, just down the street from where I live right now. I walked by there yesterday on my way to Yoga Class at the Abby Hotel. I stayed there a year before moving into my box. That story will be told in the next book, Skid Row Diary, soon to come.
After the 2004 elections I began writing again, which is the only thing I really know, or am fit to do. It's because of all of the reading I've done throughout my entire life. If there is anything I've done consistently it has been to drink, smoke... and read.
I would quit drinking by and by (with occasional slips). I would quit smoking as well (with occasional slips). Smoking killed my mother and father. I don't recommend it to anyone.
And on the 22nd of February, of 2009, I started this blog with a post entitled, "Hi!" meeting you dear readers for the very first time.
It's been a blast, and I really enjoy doing what I do, and everybody here at Joyce's Take (me and my invisible cat, Herkimer) wish myself a very happy birthday!
Happy Birthday Rick!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Weekend Mix

Cable Programming

My Hurricane

Drill, Baby, Drill

Bob & Al

The Lovely Miss Laura

Well it's official. Programming director for cable networks is the easiest job on the entire planet. Specifically the movie channels like AMC, FX, TBS, TNT, and USA. Just pick a movie, play it over and over again, ofttimes right after the last showing (encore presentations!), and when you finally can't stand playing the thing anymore, give it over to one of the other movie networks who will begin the cycle again, and accept one of the films they've been showing over and over again for your channel.
How hard is that?
I now have a Hurricane named after me. Or actually as I write this (yesterday morning) Hurricane Richard has been downgraded to Tropical Depression Richard. It is now passing over northern Guatemala, on it's way to Mexico, then back out the water in the Gulf, headed for the Mexico/Texas border (take that Rick Perry, you ass hat!), where it will most likely peter out all together. Right now it is blowing sustained winds of 35 MPH, and as far as I know has caused relatively little damage and loss of life, which is a very good thing for a storm with my name on it. The little country of Belize apparently was the hardest hit, and is currently suffering from massive power outages. For that I take personal responsibility and apologize profusely.
For about 18 hours Richard was a category one hurricane though with average wind speed of 74 to 95 MPH, which wouldn't normally cause damage to structures. However a great deal of the low income housing in the areas affected by this storm is makeshift, corrugated tin and wooden structures that are easily damaged. Again I feel awful about this and apologize.
Along with 1982s "Slumber Party Massacre" (interesting movie, especially for power tool enthusiasts. And there is a valuable lesson to be learned from this film. When you knock down the bad guy with a blunt instrument like a baseball bat, keep hitting him until his head falls off. In other words make sure the freaking guy is dead, pure and simple. It avoids all of those gratuitous surprise endings if you do). Anyway, I finally saw the third movie that Robert De Niro and Al Pacino have appeared in together, "Righteous Kill." The first two of course were the classics, Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather: Part II," and Michael Mann's "Heat." In "The Godfather: Part II," the two actors shared no scenes together (De Niro playing Pacino's father in an earlier time period during extensive flashback sequences), and in "Heat," Pacino played a cop after De Niro's criminal, in which they appeared together in two brief scenes. The first scene in a diner is a classic confrontation between two great actors. In the second scene their is no dialogue, but Pacino shoots and kills De Niro.
In 2008s "Righteous Kill," both actors play cops this time. As a matter of fact they play long time partners. But in this one De Niro gets even with Pacino and gets to shoot and kill him.
So a cosmic balance has finally been restored, and I have to say, just in the nick of time.
Finally, Saturday evening it was my extreme pleasure to have a brief conversation with one of my very favorite actresses, the lovely Laura Prepon, over the Facebook machine.
Laura of course played Donna Pinciotti on the popular sitcom, "That 70s Show," which ran on Fox from August 23, 1998 to May 18, 2006, eight seasons and 200 episodes. I didn't watch a whole heck of a lot of sitcoms during those years... still don't, but "That 70s Show," was one of them.
We will get into more detail about her fabulous career and life next March on her birthday, let's just say for the time being I got an Email that led me to her Facebook page, and I for some reason decided to send her a friendship request even though we have never met. She accepted, writing back, "Hi Richard" (she calls me Richard. Many do). She wrote the very same thing Odalys Garcia wrote when we became friends. Anyway, I wrote her back and said this: "Hi Laura (I call her Laura)! I've been a fan for years and think you're a very talented actress. I remember the Donna character on "That 70s Show," actually laughed when funny situations occurred, a reaction that is quite rare in sitcoms (that's true. Most actors and actresses in sitcoms always play it straight, when telling a joke, or reacting to a joke, or amusing situation. Rarely do you ever see sitcom actors laugh as actual human beings would in a similar situation. Laura made her Donna laugh, giggle, or smile, at the appropriate times, which is one of the main reasons I always loved that character, and why she stood out. She was extremely beautiful too... for a girl). That "Karla" movie creeped me out though (from the movie "Karla," based on the real story of Canadian serial killers, Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. The movie did creep me out, the scenes of the actual murders still bring chills up and down my spine. I do not recommend this film to the weak of heart), but that is just because of what a great job you did. I will post a birthday tribute for you in March on my blog," and I gave her the address to Joyce's Take.
She replied very soon after I sent my message, which leads me to believe she's a very lonely person, spending her Saturday nights home on her computer looking for nice people to talk to. Or maybe she's just a very nice person interested in hearing from, and interacting with others not involved in the entertainment business. All I know is that our contact brightened up my gloomy day.
"Hahaha,awwwh,thanks," is what she wrote back to me. I'm not sure what the "Hahaha,awwwh," refers to specifically, probably a reaction to what I wrote, the "Hahaha" to the Donna reference, or possibly how Karla creeped me out. The "awwwh," my compliment on her acting ability. I'm pretty sure what the "thanks" means. Pretty sure.
Apparently she had spent the day helping her former co-star, the lovely Mila Kunis, move into a different home.
See how nice she is.
When I finally move out of this freaking box I know who I'm calling.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Salvation Diary 43

"Salvation" artist Amanda Milke

July 26 Friday Day 318

I got up early to go and cash my big paycheck. I haven't had so much money in my pocket since a year ago last May. On the way back I walked through the mall and browsed inside one of the book stores that they have there. I found copies of the very same books Kathy said she would loan to me. I looked for others with a similar subject matter, thinking a book like that might be a nice gift for her.
Women like gifts.
So does everyone else.
I remembered that she had told me she had an extensive library though, so I thought better of buying her something in fear that she might already have it.
Oh well, my feeble attempt to purchase her affections can wait awhile.
I had a nice lunch (cheeseburgers), then went to the park for about an hour.
When I returned Jeff Pursell gave me a haircut. Not that I wanted one, but Robert had begun to call me "hippie boy," being his little way of telling me it was time to get my hair shortened.
After all, I must set an example to others.
Or so I've been told.
After that I went to work. I didn't feel like working. I felt much more like sitting up in my room and daydream of Kathy. But being the responsible alcoholic that I am I went to the desk and fulfilled my duties.
Not feeling like working ensured that my shift would be unusually hectic. Which it was. Everybody wanted something from me all at the same time. But I handled it. With apparent ease I might add.
Robert was busy washing his new car in the As-Is Yard. Hugh Hogle came back from Venice Beach with Reuben Smith and Harold Eversley, and was badly sun burned. He looks like a great big tomato, and said he didn't feel very well. And Kevin Rockoff says he doesn't like his new job, and may be coming back to us.
Good. He's my best desk man.
How selfish of me.
When things calmed down a bit I had time to take notes from the "Underground Empire," book, which will not be transposed here.
Read the book if you want to find out about it.
I highly recommend it.

July 27 Saturday Day 319

Last night was pretty bad for me. I felt kind of jumpy, and not too good. Like something was out of place. I sure didn't feel like working, but I've already said that.
My friend Darrell Sipp didn't have a very good night either. Certainly worse than mine. He was walking back from a friend's house, somewhere north of Colorado Blvd., when he was set upon (mugged) and badly pummeled by a group of young men looking for money. After taking a kick to the crotch and a few punches to the head, he escaped all of his attackers and made it back to the residence just before the midnight curfew. He gasped for breath and his face was very swollen. He felt he should go to the hospital, so I dropped him off at Huntington Memorial.
I saw him at lunch today and he seemed okay. He has a couple of lose teeth though.
A reminder of how hostile it can be out there.
Art's crazy people.

July 28 Sunday Day 320

For a while last night I thought that Rockoff might have run off with his American Indian girlfriend and gone A.W.O.L. His was the only key left in our key box when curfew time came. As you may remember, that is the primary way we determine if someone is in the building, by the presence or absence of their locker key. If we at the desk have the key, the person it belongs to is not usually in the building. Or vice versa.
So I went to have a look in Kevin's dorm, 41, bed A. There he was, all cuddled up with his favorite teddy. Apparently he had forgotten to sign in and pick up his key when he returned from his amorous outing. For doing so he shall be severely beaten today, in order to assist him in remembering proper residence procedures.
Some gentlemen have tried to take advantage of the fact that we do not take roll call, or make a head count just after curfew. We find that it is really unnecessary to perform that laborious task. One man attempted to pull this trick just last night. He took off without leaving his key and stayed out for the night, no doubt believing we would assume he was here simply because we did not have his key. And he was right, we did assume that. It was his own roommates who unintentionally busted him this morning by asking us why he had not returned to his dorm the night before, thus alerting us at the desk of his absence. They'll say, "What happened to so and so last night?" or, "Was so and so AWOL last night? He didn't come back." "Can I change over to so and so's bed? It's empty."
Then we'll say something like, "Soooo, he wasn't in his dorm last night, was he? Thanks for letting us know." Then they'll turn away looking like they ratted out their mom.
Works every time.
Sometimes a person pulling this maneuver actually remembers to come back in the morning acting as if he had been here all night. They are the picture of innocence. We get their keys from them, their I.D. badges, and send them out into the world.
And we wish them well.
Clarence Orion went on vacation this week, so he dumped all of his usual Sunday chapel duties onto Robert, who attempted to dump them onto me. But I would have none of it. I feel kind of silly, or phony actually, going up to the pulpit and doing stuff for their services when I'm not even a Christian and all. But I do help out sometimes. I have nothing against the Christian Church (except those Spanish Inquisition guys. No one expects them), I'm just not a member.
I don't know that much about it really, the Christian Church that is. I should look into it further.
I have nothing if not an open mind.
Most of the time.
Anyway, Robert got stuck leading a singing session, plus the testimonials, plus the announcements and offering. As usual, I ushered.
"You did a wonderful job sir," I told Robert after the service. "And your voice is lovely."
He glared.
"Flattery will get you nowhere, Joyce."
Ron Collins and I attended our Sunday morning A.A. meeting. Ron pointed out that there were an amazing amount of pretty ladies around, some sitting right behind us. I ignored his excited chatter. Since I've now found Kathy, other pretty girls mean nothing to me.
This Sunday's speaker, and elderly gentleman with 45 years of sobriety (you have to be elderly to have 45 years of sobriety), talked non-stop at an even and constant pace for fifty minutes straight. But damned if I can remember anything he said. The monotonous twill of his voice disallowed any possible attempt to comprehend his speech.
I enjoyed the meeting in any case. I just like being there.
It's a good place for me to be.
On our way back we stopped at Los Tacos again and partook of some super burritos.
Ron paid.
He has received his first paycheck you see.
It is beginning to act like summer here in Pasadena, with the temperatures reaching well into the 90s. I sat (baked) in the bright sun for an hour, listening to rock and roll. Reuben Smith was doing the very same thing only a few yards away from me. He had gotten there before I had. He was lying face up with his sunglasses on, so now he looks like a racoon again.
I call him "Racoon Head."
When evening came I watched the Sunday night V.C.R. movie. "The Untouchables," having nothing better to do, being bored with reading and writing. Later, I read a little anyway, about the life of Jesus Christ.
At 9:30 I walked down to Vons to buy some shampoo and toothpaste. I also picked up some snack food, and salsa and chips. I would have an unauthorized pig out in my room.
Then I watched, "Monsters," and went to bed.
I had a good full day, and I had enjoyed it, but I was just marking time. waiting.
Waiting for Wednesday to come around again.

July 29 Monday Day 321

I went to the dentist today. Of my own free will. I even had to actually pay for it.
Since I have so much extra cash now, being a big time employee of the Salvation Army, I decided to have my upper front tooth fixed. A tiny corner of it had broken off, a remnant of my second to last relapse, when a sidewalk somehow reared up and hit me in the face. Since a year ago last May I've lived with a hole in my mouth, which I've self consciously tried to hide with the tip of my tongue whenever I smile, After today I hope to have my smile back, which should help to improve my overall self esteem.
And make me a much better kisser.
So I went to Dr. Campbell, the friendly credit dentist, and after the financial agreements were agreed upon, and the X-rays taken, Dr. Zu, (a distant relative of Dr. Campbell no doubt) went to work.
Oh, what a lovely experience. This time the doctor (masked as usual) took a hammer and chisel to my poor little defenseless mouth. No soft and gentle taps were applied either, these were great, long, sweeping, slams that jolted my entire body to and fro. I felt certain that at any moment his aim would vary and my life would be no more.
Then came the drill.
Next they shoved some purple plastic stuff in my mouth that I was required to bite down on while waiting for it to harden.
After a while he pried open my mouth, took it out and looked at it.
"Let's do another one," he said with evil glee.
After a couple of hours they "affixed" (I love that word) a temporary cap over the stump of my broken tooth. This shall serve me until the permanent cap is ready. They warned me that the temporary cap may fall out... and that I should not swallow it.
I'll try my best.
Now I can smile again. My smile looks very nice, I must say.
I just can't chew anymore. My bottom front tooth jams into the cap, not allowing my teeth to close.
And so it goes (Vonnegut).
I was in great pain for the rest of the day. I really don't want to talk about it.

July 30 Tuesday Day 322

My tooth felt a little better this morning. My gums are not as sore, so I guess I can continue this narrative.
Rico Montgomery came by, just after lunch, to pick up his stuff. He was released from County Jail this morning at 5:30. He looks alright. Imprisonment seems to agree with him. Apparently he'll be living with his girlfriend for awhile, at least until she gets tired of his jive bullshit.
Rico told me he saw Ben Driscoll while there in jail. Ben doesn't talk all that much, so Rico never found out why Ben had been incarcerated. Rico did say that Ben seemed to be coping pretty well, doing a lot of sweeping in the jail. Ben likes to sweep.
But then again, who doesn't?
Reuben Smith has been acting peculiar the last couple of days. More peculiar than normal. He's acting all sullen and uncommunicative, which is odd for Reuben. When Richard Bennett called him down for counseling, Reuben, who had been sleeping, came to the desk, looked at Richard and said, "That's all you wanted me for?" as he abruptly turned around and walked back upstairs. Reuben can be rude at times (most of the time), but this was exceptional. He's told others that he's sick. He won't tell me what's going on. I hope he's alright.
I spent the last part of my shift getting ready for the big Pacific Oaks College graduation ceremony being held this evening in our chapel. I made sure Schimmele and his crew got the chapel in order, and I made some signs which pointed out the way to the chapel and atrium, where a reception would be held for the graduates. I placed these signs in strategic locations, ensuring them being seen by the hundred and sixty expected guests.
I just happened to be in the lobby when Jill came in. She made a rare, early appearance, and was actually here at 5:45 for her 5:45 group counseling tonight, which accentuated her shinning sumptuous features, her pert but elegant nose, the lustrous fall of her eyelash, her crimson lips, her delicate earlobes and her come hither eyes framed in a cascade of exuberant red tresses. I did not see, or was affected by the vital, flowing way in which she crossed the room, her statuesque full figure, her shapely long legs. Her fresh, clean smell mixed perfectly with a slight whisper of the erotic scent of her perfume. I saw none of that, nor did I notice the firmness of her ample breasts, her slim waist, the swell of her hips, the little mole on the right side of her neck, the adorable birthmark on the inside of her left knee. Her magnificent smile. Her lilting voice as she sighed, "Hello Richard."
She calls me Richard. Some do.
Her presence meant nothing to me, so I left the lobby and went upstairs to take a cold shower, after which I retreated to my lonely room, to read, and watch mindless made for T.V. movies for the rest of the evening.
I did manage to finish the Nan Robertson book, "Getting Better." A remarkable achievement, the book I mean. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who thinks they may have a drinking problem and are considering treatment, or joining Alcoholics Anonymous. Rarely have I seen the process of recovery depicted in such realistic and compassionate detail. Everything one needs to start the recovery ball rolling is in this book.
Except the desire to stop drinking.
Some current events are just screaming for attention today. It appears that the intense air bombardment of Iraq during the Persian Gulf War still left Saddam Hussein with viable nuclear weapon producing capabilites. We're told he'd been trying to hide them from the United Nation's inspectors in violation of the peace agreement. He's being obstinate. Very obstreperous in an obsequious manner. And now President Bush is talking tough, and we may find ourselves beginning the war all over again.
Some very well may ask, "Why did we stop the war before making sure Hussein was removed from power and could never be a threat in the region again?" Good question! One the President may find difficult to answer during next year's election (don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Bush I haven't particularly cared for any president since Garfield)
Yesterday it was reported that Hussein may still have chemical weapons as well.
He isn't letting us see those either.
Last week, what astronomers belive may be a planet with about 10 times the mass of Earth, a little less than the planet Uranus in our own solar system, may be revolving around a pulsar at 20,000 to 30,000 light years from Earth. It's located somewhere in the direction of the Milky Way's galactic center, in the constellation Sagittarius. This would seem an unlikely place for a planet to form considering a pulsar, or neutron star, itself is believed to be the remanent of a supernova, one of the most energetic and destructive events known in the universe. Certainly life would not be possible on a planet so close to a high synchrotron radiation source such as a pulsar. But if it is a planet, and it was able to form in such a hostile environment, then the likelihood of planet formation in other solar systems in general, throughout the cosmos, increases dramatically.
This would correspondingly increase the possibility that life would develop elsewhere in the universe.
And that would be a wonderful thing.

July 31 Wednesday Day 323

Kathy was here tonight. About the only thing I managed to do was to discover that she spells her name like this: C A T H Y. Short for... Cathy.
Jesus, I don't know how two sober people get together. It all seemed so easy when I was half sloshed. .
For one thing, I wasn't really in the greatest of moods. Tonight being the last Wednesday of the month, it was Birthday Night, which meant a bit more work for me, and having to spend time in direct contact with the Major. He being the boss, it's alway wise to spend as much time away from him as possible.
For another thing, that red headed guy I'd been seeing talking to Cathy in the parking lot a few weeks back, he told me he had been to the same Jackie Robinson Center that I had gone to, and this afternoon discovered that he was H.I.V. positive. I identified with the feeling he must have been experiencing and let me tell you, it was not pleasant.
And I can never talk to Cathy alone. There's always about ten guys hanging around who have nothing better to do than stand around and watch Cathy as I try to have a conversation. Most of them are not above busting into it whenever possible.
Jesus, I think I'm going nuts. Really!
We did talk a little though. She brought me a couple of books by John Bradshaw. She thought I might like to read them. I will. We also talked about family relationships for awhile. Real exciting.
Her clients are giving her a hard time, she tells me. My ex-friend, Ron Collins, walked out on her during counseling. Another of her clients just doesn't want to stop drinking, and another just avoided her all together. The poor girl can't understand why some (most) of the men here are so unmotivated. These guys are expert, big time game players, and Cathy can't quite comprehend that. I'm sure she's hurt when she doesn't seem to get through to them.
Oh well, some progress was made I guess. For my cause at least. She now knows that I was adopted at the crisp age of four days old, that I witnessed my father's fatal heart attack, that my mom is coming to visit Sunday, (I talked to her yesterday), and that I have Sundays and Mondays off.
I still haven't the faintest idea of what she feels about me. If she truly likes me, or is just making polite conversation to this idiot who won't stop talking to her. She's not giving me a clue.
Women! I swear! I'm seriously considering becoming a monk. And I believe I'm getting a headache to boot.
Then she was gone with the wind. Poof! Just like that. For a whole week. Another week of stewing in the juices of my own making, for roughly 160 hours, or so. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
Next week! Next week I swear, so help me God, I will ask her out! Sink or swim, I need to know if my preoccupation will amount to anything. Will we become lovers, friends, acquaintances, or will she crush me altogether with a single negative response, my love remaining unrequited, dooming me to eternal loneliness and desperation.
By golly, I sure hope it's not the crushing part. I really do.
I will however find out one way or another.
Or will I chicken out at the last minute? Freezing up like the wimpy, whoosie kind of guy I secretly know myself to be.
Who knows?
Oh Jesus! Where's a good monastery?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Odalys (Garcia)!

The first picture I ever saw of Odalys

5 years old

All grown up

Lente Loco


A big one!

Once again we have made another successful orbit around our primary star, and so this morning offer birthday wishes for one of my favorite people, entertainers, singers, and actresses, Ms. Odalys Garcia.
The lovely Ms. Odalys was born in Cuba, the most populous of the Caribbean nations, and a country the United States has been at odds with ever since Fidel Castro successfully overthrew the corrupt Batista government in 1959 (which we helped perpetrate with an arms embargo), way before Odalys was born. The United States was upset because Fidel nationalized most of the private businesses and property with little or no compensation, about of which 1 billion 1959 U.S. dollars were effectively confiscated. Fidel also threw out the mafia which ran a profitable gaming business in Cuba. Accordingly, the CIA and mafia conspired to have Fidel killed in 1960 and 1961, which didn't work out, so the United States trained a whole bunch of Cuban exiles and provided military support for an invasion in 1961 to overthrow Castro which failed in 3 days. This further enraged the United States because we're so powerful and all, and used to getting our own way, and of course having a communist country so close to Florida, well it just wasn't right, we Americans hating communism so much. It was quite an insult to our prestige (and was a very real threat to our national security, for the entire planet's security for that matter, considering the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962).
In any case trade with Cuba has been banned since these disturbances, and emigration to the U.S., or anywhere else restricted. Still, tensions have eased of late, and hopefully more normalized relations with Cuba and the U.S. can soon transpire. But enough of these national history lessons. As I was saying, Odalys was born in Cuba, Havana specifically, and was in no way responsible for the revolution or the missile crisis. I want to make that absolutely clear! However she was interested in becoming a dancer, specifically a ballerina, like our friend Dawn Wells (it must be a girl thing, this ballerina obsession), and began participating in dance demonstrations by the age of 5 (picture above. Like my lovely case manager, Erin at yoga, Odalys appeared to be quite... flexible). At nine, she was admitted to the prestigious Escuela Provincial de Ballet de Alicia Alonso (ballet school) where she continued for four years.
At the age of 13 she swam over 90.5 miles to the United States... quite an impressive feat for a girl that young (no doubt all of that ballet training was beneficial), and began modeling in Miami as she was very pretty... for a girl, a circumstances that exists to this day. She was soon noticed by producers from the Spanish language television station, Univision, which we're familiar with, dear readers, from our friend Jackie Guerrido, and was cast as a model on "Noche de Gigantes" (Night of the Giants) for two years, and soon became very popular with Hispanic audiences.
She was chosen to host "De Pelicula" (Of Film), a Saturday afternoon movies show, but it was in 1993 when she got her big break and was chosen to co-host a Spanish version of Candid Camera, in the prime time show "Lente Loco," (Crazy Lens), with Raymond Arrieta, some of which can be seen here:
The show became a big hit, and Odalys' fame sky rocketed (now I'm not saying her penchant for short skirts and low cut blouses had anything to do with the show's success. As a matter of fact that type of dress for attractive young women seems to be the standard for nighttime Hispanic television. However, I at one time was a regular viewer of Lente Loco even though I understand very little Spanish, and do not recall ever seeing Odalys dressed in pants. I'm sure her charming, vibrant, charismatic and dynamic personality had a great deal more to with her, and the show's appeal, at least that's why I watched it).
Men are bizarre creatures and react viscerally to the physicality and appearance of the opposite sex. Women know this and take advantage of our helplessness. I first became aware of Ms. Garcia with a few pictures I found in a magazine I got from the library in Camarillo, California, where I lived at the time, in the late 1990s (indicated picture above). I said to myself, "Wow! Who's this?!" And have been a fan ever since. As Erin said to me recently, "Men are easy."
Anyway I began watching the show and like hundreds of thousands of others was thoroughly charmed by Odalys. The little Candid Camera bits were okay to, but it was only Odalys I was there to see.
With her success she was able to do many more things. She began producing what are called "Calendarios," which I'm pretty sure means calendars in English (picture above). I bought them all. I became a member of her Fan Club and received a video tape of her making the calendarios. I also got a personally autographed picture of her which proclaimed I was her "Number 1 Fan." Number 1! Out of all of her fans I was number 1. Quite an honer I assure you.
Unfortunately for some unknown reason she has discontinued the production of said calendarios, and has in fact stopped making them for some time now. This has made me very sad, but I will get by. I'm sure her decision was what was right for her, which is the most important thing I suppose, despite the misery it has caused the multitude of devoted fans.
I believe it was in 2002 that I heard Odalys had been involved in a car accident right here in Los Angeles, and I became immediately concerned. I wrote to her again through her Fan Club and was rewarded with a hand written response (in English) which I have to this day. In it she thanks me for my concern, explained that her back hurt her a little at times, and that she was happy her fans cared for her so much.
She's a very nice lady. She and I are now linked through the magic of Facebook.
Anyway, among Odalys' many other accomplishments she was spokesperson for Bally Total Fitness for three years, and the spokesperson for Columbia House's Club Musica Latina (because of which I am a member). She was also the public face for Toma Leche, a Got Milk campaign aimed at raising awareness of the health benefits of drinking milk, of which I wholeheartedly support 100%! She also had the opportunity to act in the continuing serial TV show "Morelia," and had her own morning radio show while living in Miami.
Odalys is also an executive producer and singer, getting help from the late singer Selena's father, Abraham Quintanilla with her first CD, "Ven a Ver," in 2002, and a second in 2006. She has sung at major festivals in the United States and throughout Latin America.
And now Odalys lives right here in Los Angeles where it's safe (except for cars), and according to the IMDB: "In 2008 she joined playwright Rich Najera’s nationally recognized stage production Latinologues T2U, a collection of comedic and poignant monologues about Latino life in America. Odalys sparkled in her portrayal of Cuba Libre, a lady of the night, desperate to leave the island behind for a life of freedom in The US.
In 2009, after two years at the Stella Adler Academy of Acting in Los Angeles, Odalys finished her first feature film IJE- The Journey. She plays Carolina, a devoted illegal immigrant single mother, who witnesses a crime and struggles to become untangled for fear of deportation."
She continues to devote her time toward furthering her acting career, travel around the world (pictures above), has dedicated herself to public service including telethons in Honduras and El Salvador, and as spokesperson for Southern California City of Hope’s Caminos al Exito, where she promoted the importance of regular doctor visits for the prevention and detection of major illnesses, such as cancer, which I also wholeheartedly support. All in all Odalys Garcia is remarkable and beautiful young woman. Why I'd be after her myself if she were just a couple of years younger (that's a joke Odalys... please don't hurt me).
And all of us here at Joyce's Take wish her continued success, good fortune and health, and a very happy birthday.
Happy Birthday Odalys!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Erin's Going to Vote!

Erin Studies the Issues

Erin Campaigns for President

Erin's Congressman and His Evil Twin, Bat Boy

Erin Prepares to Cast Her Ballot

About two months ago my lovely case manager and I were driving back to the hotel and I told her I had been called for jury duty. I asked Erin if she had ever served on a jury.
"No, I haven't," she said. "How do they even know to call you?"
"Well usually they get your name from the voter registration lists," I told her. "Are you registered to vote?"
"In New Jersey," she told me.
"New Jersey? You're not registered to vote here?"
"Aren't you going to vote in the next election?" I asked.
"I suppose," she said. "Do I have to let the people in New Jersey know I'm changing?"
"No. I'll get you a registration form."
"Thanks Rick."
I needn't have done that. She could have registered instantly online, but I quite frankly didn't trust her to get that done on her own. My lovely case manager gets... distracted at times if she's not watched carefully.
Right after we returned I took off to the Central Library downtown and got her a voter registration form and brought it back to her.
"Thanks Rick," she said and smiled. "All I have to do is fill this out and send it in?"
My motive for getting Erin involved in the California election process was not a selfish one. I had no intentions in trying to influence the way she would vote other than by discussing my views with her in the course of normal conversation. Views she could easily learn by reading this blog.
I just wanted her to get involved in her civic duty as an informed citizen of the United States, and the state of California where she now resides. I had no idea how she would vote, or what her political opinions were. I don't think she even had any. Erin's life at this point seems to be completely filled with various social functions to the exclusion of most everything else.
Which I can't criticize her for. I was much, much worse at her age.
But I did think it important that she took a little time off from her normal activities and get involved in the election process and at least consider the issues involved. After all, it is an important election. The 2010 midterm elections would if nothing else decide if the country would be able to continue to pull itself out of the abyss the Republicans had placed us in however feebly, or be locked in certain congressional deadlock for the next two years.
Our country and the world really does not have the luxury of being unable to get anything done for the next month, let alone a couple of years, until the presidential election in 2012.
Perhaps this would be the impetus Erin needed, the teensy weensy little push she required, to develop a genuine interest in politics and the world we live in. Perhaps this would push her into a career in civics. Perhaps she'd become a community organizer in Santa Monica, as did Barack Obama in Chicago. Perhaps she'd decide to run for local office, win, then run for state senator, win, and be offered the chance to make the keynote speech at the 2024 Democratic Convention in San Francisco, maybe she'd run for the U.S. Senate, then maybe, just maybe... maybe my lovely case manager is a future President of the United States of America (see Erin for President, from 9/07/09), and it would all be because of me!
Hey! It could happen. Besides Erin seemed genuinely interested in wanting to participate in the election. I wasn't pushing her to do something she didn't want to do. And she had a genuine interest in many of the issues involved in electing her Congress-person and Senator, and many of the ballot measures. Hell, she wanted to vote. I was only helping.
A week or two later we made arrangements to meet in her office for our normal Tuesday morning breakfast together. She said she needed to see me in her professional capacity as my case manager for an official case management session which she could document in her records. I would make the breakfast. Egg and cheese sandwiches (soy mozzarella).
She asked her questions.
"What progress have you made in the last six months Rick?"
"And what are your goals for the next six months?"
"I don't have any."
"Okay, we're good to go," she said.
"Did you send in your voter registration form?" I asked her.
"Uuummm, no. Not yet."
I made her fill it our right then and there. We placed it in the mail box on Central Ave. later in the day as we drove to the frozen yogurt store for that day's Drama Free Support Group, with Paul and Hardy. We would play 7 card stud there, and eat yogurt.
The next Tuesday we were eating bagel breakfast sandwiches at the little Novel Cafe on Traction Avenue, wonderful place, when we began talking about politics. She was very interested.
"Okay tell me Rick," she said at one point in the conversation. "What does a Senator do?"
This question did not particularly alarm me. Unless you took an inordinate amount of American History or Civics classes in high school, or in college, probably the role of a Senator would be unclear to most people. Considering the current state of the Senate I doubt if most Senators know what the role of a Senator is. And in this country, according to a 2006 survey, nearly two-thirds of Americans aged 18 to 24 cannot find Iraq on map despite being at "war" with the country for over 3 years.
I worry about the United States.
I explained as best as I could what it was a Senator was supposed to do. How many there were. What a Congressman does in the House of Representatives. Why Schwarzenegger can't run again (termed out). What termed out meant. Various other things. Erin soaked up this knowledge, asking questions here and there. We finished our bagels and left.
Last week we ate at McDonalds. Egg McMuffin combos!
"Have you been studying that measures appearing on the election ballot, Erin?" I asked.
"I still haven't received anything, Rick."
"You need to check with the County Registrar, Erin."
"All right."
"You should have received something by now."
"I know. I haven't gotten anything."
"Well, what do you think about the legalization of Marijuana?" I asked her. She proceeded to tell me what she thought about it.
"Why? Is it going to be on the ballot?"
"Why yes, Erin, it is."
"I had no idea..."
She asked me a good deal of questions about the actual voting process, and seemed to be concerned that the lines at the polling places would be too long for her. I told her that's why they spread them out, so hopefully the lines wouldn't be very long.
"I've never had to wait very long to vote," I told her.
"So what will my yes vote on the marijuana mean. I mean if I vote yes, does that mean I'm voting to make marijuana legal... or keep it the way it is now... illegal. Will that be explained to me?"
A valid question.
"Hopefully you'll have all of that figured out before you even go into the voting booth, Erin. They actually want you to fill out your sample ballot before you go there, so you can just mechanically transfer the information onto the ballet. Please don't be like my friend Ron and try to make up your mind after you get there."
"Oh, okay."
I sent her an Email last Saturday requesting she set aside some time Tuesday morning for an hour long case management session. "My case needs to be managed quite badly," I told her.
Monday morning I gave her a "Vote by Mail," application I had received and didn't need. I always vote early by mail.
"Oh, good Rick. Thanks." She filled it out and I took it to the post office on 7th Street and mailed it for her.
Yesterday morning at 8:30AM I took to Erin's office my ballot, my Voter Information Guide, and two breakfast burritos (eggs and cheese. Monterey Jack). We ate the burritos, then went over the Voter Guide. We took our time.
"Roommate night last night?" I asked her.
"Yeah," she said shaking her pretty head affirmatively. Erin lives with 3 other ladies.
"Are they going to vote?"
"I don't know. I should have asked them."
We also utilized the Internet on her office computer. She got to see what the different candidates looked like. I told her what Jerry Brown had said at the first debate he had with his opponent, former eBay CEO, Meg Whitman, when asked what would be different now from when you were govenour the first time, back in the 70s and 80s. I told her he said something like, "Well I'm older now and married. I won't be spending my time closing the bars in Sacramento."
Erin liked that and smiled. "I'm going to vote for that guy," she told me.
She wasn't going to vote for Brown because he used to carouse. Erin was interested in some specific issues and she thought, quite rightly, that Democrats would better deal with those issues than the Republicans.
"Do you remember who your Congressman is?' I asked.
"The Mustache of Justice?"
"Oh yeah, I remember you telling me that."
"His name is Henry Waxman."
Erin of course lives in Santa Monica and has one of the best Congressmen looking out for her interests, the honorable Henry Waxman, aka the Mustache of Justice, the scourge of the Bush Administration.
Erin looked up his photo on her computer. For some reason there were many pictures available that compared her congressman with other clownish, cartoon, or horror figures. I don't know why.
"How cruel!" Erin complained, laughing a little. "I hope he doesn't look at his own pictures on Google," she said.
We looked over a few more issues, Erin seemed interested in going over the Voter Guide at her leasure, then she dismissed me.
My work is done. I have planted the seed of public interest in my young friend, and have provided the tools for her to fly off on her own.
Look out world, Erin's on her way!
And now, just for the pure sweet hell of it, a photo of Erin after the aliens got finished with her: