Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Skid Row Diary 12

August 3  2003      Sunday     Day 22

   I slept in late, not concerned with signing in at the front desk. I got up at 10:15, or so, chastised myself for sleeping the day away, then showered.
   I signed up for the computer for 11:30, and had just enough time to walk up to 5th St. and buy a Sunday paper at the Hollywood Mart.
   I checked my Email on the computer. I had about 30 messages, most of them from job sites which are looking for jobs for me automatically. I tried to get into the student info system at LACC to register for classes and discovered they did scheduled maintenence on the site on Sundays, so it was unavailable to me.
   I didn’t try and find the VCR adapter today. I figured I’d do that tomorrow as I’d be out near adapterland anyway.
   After lunch I listened to The Prairie Home Companion Joke Show on NPR while writing.
   Man on his deathbed confessing to his wife:
   “Dear, before I die I want to admit that I was unfaithful to you...”
   “I know dear,” she replied. “That’s why I poisoned you.”
   That’s an old one.
   I turned on the television at 1:00 to watch “Death Wish III,” starring the lovely Marina Sirtis, our STNG Counselor Troi. That was the only reason I wanted to watch it. The rest of the movie was horrible.
   This was her first acting job in America (she’s British), and she played an Hispanic wife named Maria. At least in the edited for T.V. version I was watching she didn’t have any lines. She screamed a few times because she was raped and killed, which made me very sad.
   Damn you Charles Bronson! You could have saved her!
   A lady veteran has moved in just across the hall from me in room 585. She’s blonde, about my age, and seems to have a fun personality.
   I shall have to keep my distance as it is very easy for these girls to become infatuated with me, and then it’s always quite painful when I have to eventually break it off, for I am, above all, a rambling man.
   I wrote a great deal today, and read the Sunday paper.
   At 4:00 I watched “Young Sherlock Holmes,” produced by Steven Spielberg, directed by Barry Levinson, and written by Chris Columbus, the director of the first two Harry Potter films. 
   I had liked it in 1985, but I was drunk a lot back then. It seemed pretty silly to me today.
   A very good movie, one that I hadn’t seen before, “The Deceiver,” starring Rosanna Arquette, followed Sherlock. I was reading while watching it at the same time, which I don’t do very well anymore. I’d like to rent this film, a story involving a crime suspect turning the tables on his police interrogators, and devote my full attention to it.
   My appreciation of it was stifled due to the fact that I watched an episode of “Futurama,” half way through it. I had to do it, the show was that good. Tonight’s message being, we shouldn’t take TV so seriously and turn it off once in a while.
   “Should we turn it off, Professor?”
   “Well, that depends on what’s on!”
   “Nothing’s on.”
   “Well let’s keep watching for a while just in case...”
   Beware of the TV Hypno Frog.
   I also watched “Enterprise,” (nominated for 5 Emmys, which may be the only reason it’s getting a third season). Wisps of undifferentiated nothingness were attempting to hijack the Enterprise.
   Sons of bitches!
   I didn’t finish writing until 10:30. I finished reading everything in the paper except the book review.
   An “X-Files,” episode I hadn’t seen before came on at 11:00. “The Man Who Would Walk Through Walls, But Not Glass,” episode.
   I exercised before going to sleep. I dreamt I was hooked up to a polygraph machine and Rosanna Arquette was questioning me.
   “Do you really love me?” she asked.
   “Yes, of course,” I said.
   “You don’t own any VCR tapes with me in them,” she observed. “You have three with that bitch Jennifer Connelly...”
   “I don’t have any yet!” I maintained. “Not yet. I haven’t any with you simply because I haven’t come across any yet. I’m earnestly looking for a copy of “The Wild Lady,” right now.”
   “Oh, you only like that one because you can see my boobs in it!” she exclaimed.
   “That’s not true! That was one of your finest performances in my opinion. Besides, you show your boobs in most of your movies.”
   “That’s true,” she admitted. “I know you like my sister, my younger sister. Do you like her more than me?”
   “No, of course not. I like both of you just as much... but for different reasons. Besides, you’re married.”
   “Good answer,” she said. “But not good enough!”
   She had me put in jail, and I was electrocuted a little bit later.
   You have to watch what you say around those Arquette girls.

4 August   Monday     Day 23

   I woke several times during the night because I was being electrocuted, and listened to Frank Sontag speaking. It wasn’t a dream. His voice emanated from my radio. If I would have actually seen him in my room I would have been dreaming, and would have been having a nightmare as Frank is pretty scary looking.
   But he’s a big softy at heart.
   At one point Frank was talking to gentleman who said he was black and wondered what if all the other black people in this country who felt they’ve been given a raw deal form their own country, and live happily ever after... like they do in Liberia.
   I over slept. I should have gotten up at 4:00AM, or so, but didn’t emerge from my rack until 7. Mark and Brian were bust yacking away because Priva, their lovely young board op was getting married. I turned the TV on. Giselle was wearing pants.
   I give up.
   I showered and went to breakfast... after I dressed. Scrambled eggs and sausage.
   I had an 8:00 appointment, you may recall, with Larry the job developer. I went to the Levi Center and was told Larry was in a meeting until 8:30. Did I wait for him? No, I did not. Hell no. I left him a note asking him to reschedule for a time when he would literally be there, and to leave a note in my box at the Weingart.
   No note was left in my box today, a sure sign of lazy arrogance on Larry’s part.
   I walked up to 5th St., and caught the 18 to the Food For Less grocery store, where one can buy food for less money than anywhere else (why absolutely everyone doesn’t shop there I have no idea).
   I bought three cheese rolls. I had wanted jalapeno cheese rolls but they didn’t have any. I also picked up a can of light spam to add to my collection.
   As one walks out of the Food For Less store, to the left is a big elevator which will magically transport you to a Home Depot parking lot. I walked inside the cavernous store to look for my tiny, little adaptor. Surely it would be somewhere here among the mountains of merchandise just sitting around ready to be fondled.
   I left all dejected and suicidal, walked down the street to the 99 Cent store on Alvarado, and bought a new mustache trimmer which cheered me right up.
   I currently sport a mustache that needs trimming from time to time.
   I also bought a small, plastic, battery operated desk fan.
   Then I got the hell out of there before I spent any more money. Next to the store is a Red Line station, which I used to get to LACC, back to the old financial aid office. I had received an Email summoning me, however their computers were down at the time and Colette asked me to come back at a latter time, presumably when their computers were working. Colette told me that when I did return I wouldn’t have to take a number to be seen, to just come up and see her. Colette and I are like peas and carrots now.
   I made my way to the library and had the assessment test lady make a copy of my math test results, as I had already lost the original.
   I then went to the counseling office and showed my PCC transcript to the counseling lady.
   “Do you want to take another English class, like one oh two?” she asked me.
   “Yes,” I answered.
   “Then you need to fill out this form.”
   I filled it out and signed it. She told me to take the form to the admissions office and have it entered into their computer. I did this. I also used a closed line telephone to register for English 102, and Law 10. I now owed the business office $8.
   I didn’t pay then. Not yet. I have to figure out how I’m going to pay for my books first.
   Poverty is such an imposition.
   I left the campus and returned via the Red Line to Pershing Square, then walked to the Rite-Aid drug store on 5th and Broadway, and there found my adapter. $2.49.
   All happy now, I then walked to Arco Plaza to check my mail. My CA7 (U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, Claim for Compensation) was there waiting for me. I knew it would be. I filled it out and mailed it back.
   Next I walked to the One Stop. As I entered the Research Center Supervisor, the young man who had previously tried to bust me misappropriating one of the computers, was presented with two bouquets of flowers in honor of it being his birthday.
   “If only I had known,” I told him.
   The lady from the 714 area code had left me another message, leaving me different phone number to call back. Very persistent she is. Obviously she wants me to be her sexual toy.
   Perhaps I should call back. The worst that could happen is that I get a job.
   I faxed my resume off to 6 prospective employers, and since there were no computers available, I left and returned to the Weingart... just in time for lunch. All my business was completed by noon.
   On my way to the Weingart I stopped at the 6th St. indoor mall at Los Angeles, and purchased a copy of “Blaze,” starring the lovely Lolita Davidovich. $3.00. It’s my favorite Lolita Davidovich film. I don’t know why.
   I think Paul Newman’s in it to.
   Back in my room I hooked up my VCR and tested it. It worked beautifully. Now I can watch all of those VCR tapes I’ve been buying.
   Since one of the classes I had registered for began at 5:00PM I decided I should drop it, and choose another that started later in the evening. I used the computer in the day room to accomplish this, however I could not find another English class that was open. I took this as a sign from God that I was not meant to write gooder at this particular time.
   Maybe later.
   I successfully registered for another law class dealing specifically with civil rights.
   I caught up on writing, read from the Watts Zen book, and meditated.
   Then I treated myself by watching a movie on my brand new VCR. I choose the classic, “Lobsterman from Mars.”  I exercised while watching, then compensated by eating 2 smoked sausages, and 2 of the cheese rolls.
   I secretly fell in love with the Lobstermans’s heroine, Deborah Foreman.
   Please don’t tell anybody.
   John Manzano came by. He brought me a laundry bag from his mother’s dry cleaners as a present. He had spent the weekend in Camarillo again, returning this morning at 8:00.
   “And I was ready to go fishing too,” I told him. “And where was my friend John? Where was the guy who invited me to go with him? I even rented a nice fishing pole...” On and on.
   He was tired and left after a while. I watched Charlie Rose interview a very laconic Nick Nolte who was promoting his latest films, “Northfork,” and “Hulk,” and about his recent problems with the law here in L.A. An addict, he had been experimenting with Rohypnol, the most famous “date rape” drug, and things had gotten out of control.
   Nolte didn’t seem very happy, rather he seemed defensive and ashamed, although he made a show of being open, wanting to get all of these pesky drug problems behind him.
   I don’t blame him.
   Later, The History Detectives were... how should I put this... boring the crap out of me, so I switched to channel 30 on UHF, to watch “High Road to China,” starring the lovely Bess Armstrong. The film was one of Tom Selleck’s unsuccessful attempts to become a big time movie star.
   Should have taken those Indiana Jones movies Tom.
   Well hindsight’s 20/20, isn’t it?
   A pre ”Cocoon” Wilford Brimley was in it as well, just off John Carpenter’s fantastic remake of Howard Hawks 1951 “The Thing from Another World,” entitled, “The Thing,” both based on the novella “Who Goes There?” written by John W. Campbell. Considering the context of the story, that’s a very creepy title.
   But I digress.
   Gary Porch dropped by while I was watching Bess, and reading from “The Criminal Law Handbook, specifically concerning search and seizures. He wanted to buy some more coffee from me.
   “What do I look like? Smart and Final?” I asked him.
   He told me had accidentally purchased regular coffee rather than instant, and was in need of some emergency coffee. I sold him a bottle of Brazilian instant. We chatted for a while. Gary likes to dicuss things that concern only him. He’s not that much interested in what others say or do. He told me he had missed his GROW appointment again today. Now his GR and food stamps will surely be cut off as he had already been issued a final warning. He told me he didn’t care. He can make a lot more money at casual labor, which he’s been doing anyway, and which the DPSS will soon discover because he pays payroll taxes at the casual labor place. Then he’ll be in the same position that I’m in.
   He told me his friend Patrick got in a spot of trouble over the weekend. Apparently he had brought a bottle of booze up to his room, got drunk, then ventured out of his room, and got  into an altercation with another resident. Those are two termination offenses... drinking in the building and fighting. Gary told me that Patrick had miraculously not been thrown out. But Gary hasn’t seen him around either.
    Perhaps he’s been liquidated by the infamous Weingart Secret Police.
   We shall see.
   He left me after a while. They all do.
   I watched the rest of the movie, then switched to channel 28 for “An American Experience,” episode about John Wesley Powell’s 1869 Colorado River journey through the Gand Canyon. I don’t believe he had a good trip, but I fell into a deep sleep before the program was half way through.
   I had a dream. I dreamt I was flying in a monoplane over the hills and glens of County Cork in Ireland with Moria Kelly, the beautiful and talented star of “The Cutting Edge,” and “Chaplin. We both had scarfs wrapped around our necks, and the wind streamed through our hair. I looked back at Moria. She was gorgeous.
   The day was bright and sunny, the countryside rich and green. We both sang the same song, or ditty, over and over again. It went like this:
“Those magnificent men in their flying machines,
    they go up tiddly up up,
    they go down tiddly down down.

    They enchant all the ladies and steal all the scenes,
    with their up tiddly up up
    and their down tiddly down down.

    Up, down, up, down, flying around,
    looping the loop and defying the ground.

    They're all frightfully keen,
    those magnificent men in their flying machines.

   And so forth.

5 August   Tuesday     Day 24

   My alarm woke me just before 3:00, I drifted back to sleep for another half hour before getting up and watched the last half of Voyager while consuming a tuna sandwich.
   Fish protein.
   At 4:00 I showered with a black gentleman, one of my neighbors who lives down the hall from me. It wasn’t prearranged or anything like that. He just happened to be in there when I came in.
   I quickly finished up, dressed, and left the building.
   Walking around downtown Los Angeles at 4:15 in the morning is not recommended for anyone, including muggers (because we have Mugger Muggers here in L.A. Muggers who mug only other muggers), but especially a cute, white boy like me who looks like he might have a nickel or two in his pocket. I’ve never had a problem, probably because I stay in well lighted areas and pay attention to my surroundings. It doesn’t hurt that my route took me right past the Central Police Station. But you never know, so I brought my bazooka just in case.
   Just kidding. No one uses bazookas any more. It’s actually a grenade launcher.
   I walked west on 6th to Broadway, and turned north. I made it to the Pershing Square Red Line Station without mishap, and caught the first train of the day to North Hollywood.
   I arrived in Reseda, at Trimar, at 6:07. There was a waiting list on the door which I signed. I was 6th in line.
   I purchased a Super Lotto ticket and a 20 once cup of Columbian coffee at the 7/11 across the street, then returned to Trimar. I sat down and wrote, waiting for them to open. Others arrived and signed their names on the list. A lady asked me if I was a regular donor, and I told her that I was. She hadn’t seen me before, that was the reason she was asking she said. Those of us who arrive early on specific days get to know each other.
   At 7:30 they opened up and I signed in. The movie “Ronin,” starring Robert De Niro had already begun, a movie I’d already seen about 5 times too many. I read from “Ghost Story.”
   I was soon  called to donate. I had gained 5 pounds according to the scale, BP 120/70, pulse 372. My lovely friend Aurica stuck me, and I asked after her health and that of her family.
   “Good, good,” she told me. “I am good. Baby is good. Daughter is good. Everybody good. But,” she added, “it’s not perfect...”  
   After she had finished tending to me I gave her the birthday card I had prepared for her. She seemed pleased and said she would read it later.
   When later came, she thanked me for the card once again, all smiles. She became very attentive, giving me extra bandages and alcohol pads to take with me in case I started bleeding after I left. She hadn’t been like this for months and months... since last Christmas at least. I was very happy that she liked the card.
   I will miss her when she goes.
   Just as “Ronin,” finished, so did I. I caught the next bus to Van Nuys, picked up some coffee, cheese slices, lemon juice, vitamin E (to put on the scar tissue in the crock of my donation arm, per Aurica’s orders), multiple vitamins with iron, Batteries, a blank VCR tape, 2 packages of brown gravy mix, mustard of course, a can of corned beef hash, a can of spaghetti and meat balls, and a can of green beans.
   I took all of this stuff back downtown to the One Stop Center to check my messages. None on my voice mail, and no computers were available to check my Email, so I left.
   It was a little after 11:30, and I had an appointment with Roger Pagel, PhD, at Voc Rehab at 1:00. I decided to go straight there.
   I wrote in the Voc Rehab waiting room for 30 minutes, then read from “Ghost Story,” until I began to get sleepy. At 1:05 (these guys are never on time) myself and 2 other men were called in by Dr. Pagel. We were seated at a conference desk, and given several aptitude tests. Math (I finished about three quarters of it before resorting to the uneducated guess, I’m proud to say), a vocabulary test where I missed 1, and some other word recognition test, all of which were approximately 30 questions in length. The good doctor interviewed us one at a time.
   I was given a spelling test which utilized a tape recorder and head phones. 47 words were presented to me via the tape recorder, and I was supposed to spell them. This was the same list of words that I had used as a tutor at Harbor Light, but my familiarity with the words did nothing to help me spell them.
   Once, when I was in the second grade, our teacher handed all of us students the last spelling tests we had taken, making a point by saying, “Only one of you failed this time.” Guess who it was.
   I’ve been traumatized ever since, and blame this incident for my addiction problems, and the sad, sorry state of affairs which is my life.
   However, my spelling has improved over the years, mostly because I use words a lot when I write... and I write quite a bit, and I was able to get about 44 of the little bastard words spelled correctly.
   Next I was given a tedious pattern recognition test, in which I was called upon to recognize various patterns.
   It was then my turn to be interviewed by the good doctor, a tall, shaggy, white gentleman, maybe 4 or 5 years my senior. He asked almost the same questions Ms Tran had asked me on my last visit, except for one interesting difference.
   “Why do you think you drink?” he asked.
   “Because I was the only one in my second grade class to fail a weekly spelling test and the teacher made fun of me,” I didn’t say.
   “Because I want to escape,” I told him.
   “What is it that you want to escape from?” he asked me.
   “Well doctor, we could talk about why people are alcoholics and drug addicts all this week and half of next, and still not come up with a definitive answer.”
   He insisted, “Why do you want to escape? Escape from what?”
   “Well, I’m not completely sure myself. Escape from self persecution, from unrealized expectations, from a society I never asked to be part of, from life’s disappointments, from being a drug addict. I mean it’s not an unusual thing for people to do. Every time a person reads a book for pleasure, every time someone goes to the movies, or watches a sit com on television... they do it to escape.”
   “But,” Roger interjected, “reading a book, or watching a sit com is legal...”
   “So is drinking, doctor. So is smoking cigarettes... I’ll tell you this. To be quite frank... the legality of using substances, or acting out an unacceptable behavior, is of little concern to the addict. You are making reasonable suggestions and considering logical alternatives. The addict abandons reason and logic to selfishly fulfill their immediate needs. That’s all that’s important to the addict. My wishing to escape is most likely a universal desire. My addiction sets me apart from other people only in the degree I disregard moderation, embrace low impulse control, and don’t consider the consequences of my actions in both the short and long term. This type of behavior may or may not be a physical predisposition. The AMA says it is.”
   “Why don’t you drink now?” he asked.
   “I’m finally tired of it I imagine. Not of using drugs or alcohol, because sometimes that really was fun. But I’m tired of the life that using drugs and alcohol has given me. Maybe I’m beginning to appreciate the consequences... and I want to stop smoking because I’m told that can kill ya. The consequences outnumber the rewards a hundred fold. The only problem with smoking is nicotine is the most addictive substance know to man... and women.”
   “I agree with you that people use books and television to escape,” the doctor added. “Sometimes to the point of self-abuse.”
   “I know. I probably do that too.”
   “I’m glad you want to stop,” he said.
   “I really do. I can tell, doctor, because during the last few times I was able to self indulge to my heart’s content... it was never enough. It didn’t make me happy. Hell, I don’t even like the taste of alcohol.”
   He got back on track and gave me a reading test. I was lucky as I just happen to know how to read.
   Then he asked me to place some metal pins into what looked like a giant cribbage board.
   I was ushered back to the conference room and given a few more tests, then dismissed. The doctor told us we would be notified of his determination within a couple of weeks.
   I had a vague suspicion and resentment that I had been given more tests than the others.
   I took two buses back to the Weingart, and to my lonely room.
   I treated myself by watching a movie on my new VCR. I choose Kubrick’s “Paths of Glory.” He is my favorite film director, but I’m sorry to admit I have not seen all of his early work like “The Killing,” yet. This is what drug addiction and poverty has done to me. Because of poverty and drug addiction I can now look forward to watching these films.
   I had seen part of “Paths of Glory,” and upon watching the whole movie for the first time I thought it was brilliant. And very good as well.
   Well acted by Kirk Douglas (an unusual role for a big time Hollywood star at the time it was made) and Ralph Meeker, indeed the entire cast seemed inspired. I have only one criticism of which I’m positive, absolutely positive I tell you, that Stanley agonized over... this story of French soldiers during battle in World War I, and the trial afterwards, all portrayed by American actors who sounded like they were born in Brooklyn, New York, and made no effort to hide it.
   Or why they were speaking in English at all, for that matter.
   Eerie music. The cinematography placed the viewer right in the battle (this film must have influenced Spielberg when he made “Saving Private Ryan”) and on the way to a firing squad.
   I fell madly in love, madly I tell you again, with Suzanne Christian, the only woman in the film, who played a German singer in the last scene. Her character seemed so vulnerable and at the same time strong, being put on display in front of a crowd of unruly soldiers for their enjoyment. But she prevailed, and had those soldiers crying like little babies by the time she was done with them.
   I don’t pretend to understand exactly what Kubrick’s ending was supposed to mean, if anything, but for my money, Miss Christian’s performance was the most natural, and moving performance of the film.
   And I’m not saying that because I’m madly in love with her.
   Guten tag.
   Stanley liked her too I guess, because he married her.
   Swedish meatball mush for dinner.
   I had to take a little nap at 6:00 because my eyes were sporadically closing by themselves.
   I laid down and dreamt I was in a town in France during World War I and Suzanne Christian sang to me a song in German. I started to cry like a little baby, and sang along with her although I did not know what the words meant. 
    I woke at 6:30, and wondered how I could of had such a wonderful dream in such a short period of time.
   Charlie Rose spoke to some sub-secretary of the Defense Department concerning Iraq. I read about police searching and seizing again.
   At 8 I watched an “American Experience,” documentary about Seabiscuit. Now I know more than I ever wanted to about that horse. He and his long time jockey inspire me to carry on... that you can win even after you’ve been all banged up.
   And I liked his style. “Most horses,” the narrator observed, “can only sleep lying down for about five minutes at a time. In contrast Seabiscuit slept constantly.”
   I watched a PBS program about forest fire fighters, and learned a good deal about carbon being released into the atmosphere because of forest fires.
   We should ban forest fires.
   But forest fires have been around since there were forests, you say.
   That’s true. Forest fires do occur naturally sometimes, and are even helpful in promoting some forms of plant life.
   But it’s only been within the last 150 years that humans have been pumping massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.
   I hate to be the one to break it to Republicans, but the Earth will only stand so much before it gets rid of us.
   And here’s another interesting problem. The planet’s oil supply is finite. Some day we’re going to run out.
   I was very tired after watching the forest fire show, and could only get through a page and a half of “Ghost Story,” before I drifted off.
   I dreamt I was on a hill fighting an approaching forest fire with Mary Louise Parker, the beautiful and talented star of films like, “Grand Canyon,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” and “Hannibal.” We battled and battled that fire, worked, dug, and chopped until Mary came across a garden hose and put the sucker out.
   “See,” she said, “that’s all you need.”
   “Oh yeah,” I said. “I could have done the same thing if I had a big hose.”
   “Promises, promises,” laughing, and wiping a dirty smudge off of her pretty face. “Come on big boy. Let’s go get another one.”
   We went off in search of more fires.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Treason 2

Treason: The betrayal of one's own country by waging war against it or by consciously or purposely acting to aid its enemies. 

Under Article III, Section 3, of the Constitution, any person who levies war against the United States or adheres to its enemies by giving them Aid and Comfort has committed treason within the meaning of the Constitution. The term aid and comfort refers to any act that manifests a betrayal of allegiance to the United States, such as furnishing enemies with arms, troops, transportation, shelter, or classified information. If a subversive act has any tendency to weaken the power of the United States to attack or resist its enemies, aid and comfort has been given.

The Treason Clause applies only to disloyal acts committed during times of war. Acts of dis-loyalty during peacetime are not considered treasonous under the Constitution.

- Legal Dictionary

   Let’s continue.
   The second proof that President Obama is a traitor according to the claim above is that:
   “2. He has been WRONG on innumerable issues affecting the security of the U.S. (the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, Federal Stimulus, reckless spending).”
   I sincerely hope the author or authors of the above statement get a chance to read this so I can remind them that President Bush, as in George W., started the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (which were both unnecessary), and the spending associated with them, and the federal stimulus package, not President Obama, so Bush must have been guilty of treason, which I’ll agree with wholeheartedly. .
   President Obama ended the war in Iraq. He will end the war in Afghanistan next year. Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, helped keep the country out of a depression. Why did he need to keep the country out of a depression? Because of the Great Recession of 2007/2008 that began during the George W. Bush years in the White House. You remember, Wall Street gone wild due to lack of regulatory oversight, the housing bubble burst, T.A.R.P., Leman Brothers gone, the country and world on its knees. Yeah, Barack stopped all that. As a matter of fact he hasn’t gone far enough.
   Reckless spending is a traitorous act? Then all of our Presidents have been traitors... according to that crazy chart above, and Obama the least of them.
   Okay, #3.
   “3. He has been lax in enforcing illegal immigration and boarder security.”
   Again, this is a traitorous act? Again, if it is then every President has been a traitor. Oh, and President Obama shouldn’t really be asked to enforce illegal immigration. I expect the authors meant just the opposite (morons).
   Considering that Congress won’t do anything concerning immigration reform how does that translate into Obama being lax in enforcing those laws? Has the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, specifically the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency packed up and gone on vacation? Not according to all of those “Boarder Wars” programs I keep seeing on the  National Geographic Channel. And considering that actual illegal migration into the United States from Mexico is basically down to zero due to the weak economy the republicans caused when they were last in power, heightened border enforcement, and a rise in deportations, how much is there really to enforce?
   According to Alex Nowrasteh of Forbes magazine, not exactly a bastion of liberal philosophy, “President Obama has actually increased immigration enforcement and restricted legal immigration.” and “Obama’s DHS has so far deported more people than during the first six and a half years of George W. Bush’s administration. Just shy of 1.5 million unauthorized immigrants have been forcefully deported from the United States under Napolitano’s leadership.  These annual deportation figures are higher that at any other time in U.S. history, pushing the backlog for deportation cases to a record 314,147 this June. The government is apprehending unauthorized immigration so quickly that it cannot effectively process them all.” - Forbes, July 30, 2012.
   Ask one of those 1.5 million who were deported how lax Obama has been.
   Let’s push on...
   “4. He has given support and encouragement to the communist and Islamic inspired radicals.”
   “Communist inspired radicals?” Has Vladimir Ilyich Lenin returned from the grave?  “Excuse me, I can’t hear you or see you because of all of these communist inspired radicals in the way.” I don’t think there’s any communist inspired radicals even in communist countries!
   Islamic inspired radicals? Well, I agree, there’s plenty of those. But then there are radicals, and then there are radicals. Is a mullah an Islamic inspired radical the same way a priest is a Catholic inspired radical? Or a monk a Buddhist inspired radical?
   Why yes, they are!
   I believe the authors were referring to violent Islamic inspired radicals, like those who take up arms against U.S. forces who have invaded their country.
   And I guess the authors are right about this one. Obama should be impeached as a traitor for giving encouragement and support to Islamic inspired radicals by killing them with mortars, guns, and drones.
   “5. He has illegally appointed to federal positions, Czars that are unaccountable to the American People nor are Constitutional.”
   According to Wikipedia, the term “Czar” in the United States refers to “high-level officials who oversee a particular policy.”
   Again, if Obama is a traitor for appointing these so-called Czars, then every President since Franklin Roosevelt was a traitor as well, since they all appointed Czars. George W. Bush appointed 33 of them, but Obama is the biggest traitor of all of these Presidents as he appointed the most... 38.
   And what are these “Czars” doing that requires direct accountability to the American people, irregardless of the fact the President himself is accountable to the American People? Why they're doing such nefarious, traitorous things like being a Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, or the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, or the Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity (anti-poverty Czar), or the Treasury Advisor, Head of the Auto Task Force, you remember, save that auto industry Romney was willing to throw to the dogs. On and on.     
   The President’s Cabinet is filled with folks who are appointed to federal positions and are unelected and not directly accountable to the American people (irregardless of the fact the President himself is accountable to the American People).
   The word “Czar” does not appear in the Constitution (neither does filibuster, but the Senate acts as if is did). I know, I’ve read it.
   So should the authors of the above list.
   “6. He has consistently appointed anti-Christians to Federal office:
   Upholds the Supreme Court in it’s Anti-Christian rulings.
   Socialists, Marxists, and Communists abound in Federal offices.”
   Wow, I hardly know where to start.
   In that very same Constitution that Obama is betraying according to the authors, there’s this part that’s called the Establishment Clause. It’s within the very first Amendment so it’s easy to find. It states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. . . .” It does not say, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion... except Christianity.” And it does not say “The President is required to appoint Christian enthusiasts to Federal Office.”
   President Obama has appointed loads of people to federal office. Literally loads. Here’s a list of just the judges. Who knows if they all like Christianity? I certainly don’t, and neither do you probably. But I’ll tell you this, I’ve never seen any federal official, whether Obama appointed them or not, who has publicly made anti-Christian statements, or advanced anti-Christian policies. I may be wrong, it happened once, that’s what the comment section is for. Please write a comment correcting me.
   Should the people of the 5th District in Minnesota be put on trial for treason because they elected a Muslim, Keith Ellison, to Congress?
   Why yes, they should. every single one of them. Children too.
   Uuuummm, not that it’s the President’s job to uphold, or enforce the rulings of the Supreme Court, that would be up to the Justice Department, and I’m not immediately aware of all of the anti-Christian rulings the Supreme Court has passed, other than those that uphold the Establishment Clause. But it’s the Justice Department’s job to enforce any ruling by the Supreme Court, even when the Supreme Court has been hitting the sauce, like when they ruled on Citizen’s United, or when they gutted the Voting Rights Act.
   Stupid Supreme Court.
   And as far as Socialists, Marxists, and Communists abounding in Federal offices... so do homosexuals, gay (happy) people, Buddhists, black and Hispanic folks, cats and dogs, Bering Sea crab fishermen, Carla Gugino and Dwayne Johnson (I’m watching “Escape to Witch Mountain” as I’m writing this), aliens, alligator hunters, lobbyists and hobbyists, postal workers, ice cream tasters, telephone operators, plaques with dead trout nailed to them... on and on... who knows what Senators and Representatives keep in their offices. I certainly don’t, and for that matter don’t care. And what does this have to do with Obama being a traitor?
   “7. He has been caught in fantastic LIES to the American people (including personal ones like his birth, past, and illegal attempts to seal all documents and proof of his eligibility.”
   Alright, this is a two parter. He’s lied to the American people? He’s a politician, of course he’s lied to the American people. He’s even probably lied to people who aren’t American. And the second part... the birther argument? Really? Seriously? Who wrote this, Orly Taitz?
   And what illegal attempts to seal all documents and proof of his eligibility? How many times does Obama have to submit his birth certificate, and in how many ways, or write about his life, in how many books. I mean really!
   “8. He has betrayed the trust and confidence of the American citizens.”
   Really? How so? By having Osama bin Laden killed? By stopping the republican economic crisis and keeping the country out of a depression? By ending two wars the republicans started? By trying to get more Americans health insurance than ever before? By trying to get equal pay for women in the work place? By passing financial reform laws to keep Wall Street in line? By trying to get Americans back to work through his Jobs Bill, and keeping Americans in their homes with last years Mortgage Relief Plan? I’ll take that kind of betrayal any day.
   “9. He has waged an unethical campaign against the news media and anyone that has an opposing view.”
   I just don’t see this happening, and even if it were true, like when George Bush was President, it’s not treason.
   What do the authors mean by “unethical?” I need a little clarification here. Is there such a thing as an ethical campaign against the news media and anyone that has an opposing view?
   I think the President has shown a remarkable amount of restraint really. If it were up to me... if I were President, I’d send the FBI over to the Fox Propaganda Network, Rush Limbaugh, and Glen Beck’s homes, and have all of these misinformers, sowers of descent, liars, and fear mongers  arrested and thrown into individual oubliettes, and left to rot.
  But left to rot with love.
   And lastly...
   “10. He has openly lied and mis-represented this country in numerous speeches both here and abroad.”
   Examples please? Just one or two. And again is this treason? If it were Mitt Romney, he would have been guilty of treason each and every day... actually every time he opened his freaking mouth.
   So, according to the definition of treason listed above I cannot see how our current President could be considered guilty of it in any real sense. I’d even go so far as to claim the list above was not written to withstand serious scrutiny (you think?), but rather was written to stir up and inflame those who can’t think for themselves, the ignorant, ill-informed, hate filled, prejudiced male and female lemmings, ah er, people... who currently inhabit the republican base.
   In the next post we’ll take a look at some in the federal government who could really be considered traitors to this country, according to the above definition, by their actions... or inactions.
   I’ll give you three guesses as to who they are.

To be continued.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Note: All of us here at Joyce’s Take which to express our gratitude to Michael P for his technical support which seems to have solved our adware problem. Thank you Michael.

Treason: The betrayal of one's own country by waging war against it or by consciously or purposely acting to aid its enemies. -

Under Article III, Section 3, of the Constitution, any person who levies war against the United States or adheres to its enemies by giving them Aid and Comfort has committed treason within the meaning of the Constitution. The term aid and comfort refers to any act that manifests a betrayal of allegiance to the United States, such as furnishing enemies with arms, troops, transportation, shelter, or classified information. If a subversive act has any tendency to weaken the power of the United States to attack or resist its enemies, aid and comfort has been given.

The Treason Clause applies only to disloyal acts committed during times of war. Acts of dis-loyalty during peacetime are not considered treasonous under the Constitution.

- Legal Dictionary

    While looking for pictures for this post I came across an abundance of our current President associated with the word “treason.” Don’t take my word for it, just look above for 3 examples.  
   The image at the very top can be found here, on a site hosted by one Pat Dollard, in which he identifies with the catch phrase “The War Starts Here!” which is rather alarming if you ask me. The picture is attributed to former republican representative from Colorado, Tom Tancredo, who wrote in something called WND (World Net Daily): “The four American deaths in Benghazi are a direct result of decisions and actions by President Obama that undermine the national-security interests of the United States. Those deaths may well be only a foretaste of the catastrophe awaiting the United States if Barack Hussein Obama remains in office four more years.
   As we all know, Obama may be removed by a vote of the people Nov. 6. But if not, if the lapdog media succeed in hiding his malfeasance and incompetence well enough for Obama to win a narrow victory at the polls, then Congress may summon the courage to exercise its constitutional duty to impeach and remove him.”
   I assume he wrote this before the election last November, when Obama narrowly defeated Romney by a mere 3 million votes. Tancredo (who lost his own presidential election bid in 2008) goes on about other nonsensical reasons Obama should be impeached, but let’s examine for a moment the above issue.
    Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi! Oh how the republicans love Benghazi, or to talk about it at least. And the four Americans who indeed did tragically lose their lives in Libya last September 11th, and the supposed “cover up,” of... I don’t know exactly... maybe the fact that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were directly responsible for the incident and the deaths. Well I have this to say to Mr. Tancredo, Mr Dollard, the twin idiots Michelle Bachmann and Darrell Issa, and anyone else who would use this very sad incident for their own political purposes, the country, our country, the United States of America, isn’t as universally loved outside it’s borders as it is within. We have enemies in other countries that would do us harm if given half a chance, especially in the Middle East (which includes Libya, and where several other demonstrations transpired in other countries that very day. According to CNN  between 1998 and 2011, U.S. diplomatic sites were subjected to 13 deadly attacks in Nairobi, Kenya; Calcutta, India; Lima, Peru; Karachi, Pakistan; Bali, Indonesia;  Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Damascus, Syria; Athens, Greece; Istanbul, Turkey; Yemen; and Peshawar, Pakistan. One of these incidents occurred during the presidency of Bill Clinton, and 11 occurred during George W. Bush's presidency), and on that day, in Benghazi, our enemies got their chance and took it. And foreign service work, State Department work, including that of an Ambassador, can be very dangerous (I know this from personal experience as I am a former Ambassador... of SRHT), and they know that when they take the job, and willingly accept the risk.
   Some say that there was a cover up to protect Hillary because she sent Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens to Benghazi, and to a poorly protected compound. Well that was her job! The Secretary of State is supposed to send people to different places around the world.
   But why was there such so poor security... FOUR AMERICAN LIVES WERE LOST!
   Maybe republican defunding of diplomatic security...
   “[A]s part of the Republican majority that has controlled the House the last two years, Mr. Issa joined in cutting nearly a half-billion dollars from the State Department’s two main security accounts. One covers things like security staffing, including local guards, armored vehicles and security technology; the other, embassy construction and upgrades. In 2011 and 2012, President Obama sought a total of $5 billion, and the House approved $4.5 billion.”
   You don’t hear a lot about that from republicans because they choose to forget about that, ignore it, as it does not forward their political agenda. And, oh yes, they’re sociopathic assholes... and I say that with love.
   Four American lives were lost. Indeed that is regrettably true. The republicans are so sad and upset about it they can’t stop talking about it. Funny, I never hear them talk about the thousands of American lives lost by starting an unnecessary war in Iraq by a republican President. Aren’t those lives worth as much as those lost in Benghazi?
   I think so.
   Unless President Obama was directly involved in planning and executing the attack I don’t see what impeachable offense he can be held responsible for. “Incompetence!,” the republicans cry. Well the only incompetence I can see the president involved with in this instance was allowing Ambassador Susan Rice to withdrawal from the nomination process for Secretary of State.
   If incompetence was an impeachable offense, what can be said of a President that ignored repeated warnings of an imminent terrorist attack on American soil using aircraft? 
   Huuummmm? I’m waiting.
   Let’s move on to the second picture of Obama surrounded by a quote from the Roman statesman, lawyer, political theorist, philosopher and orator, Marcus Tullius Cicero, concerning the subject of treason (a label of which he would eventually be branded himself, and which would cost him his life).
   Here’s the quote: “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within... For the traitor appears not a traitor—he speaks in the accents familiar to his victims, and wears their face and their argument. He appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation—he works secretly to undermine the pillars of a city, infecting the body politic so that it can no longer resist...”
   Not that I’m a stickler for accuracy (I am) but here’s the actual quote.       
   The site I found this picture on is labeled “Political Pistachio,” “Blog Home of the Writer and AM and FM Radio Host, Douglas V. Gibbs.” He captions the image with this, “Cicero on Treason; Obama Fits the Bill.”
   He neglects, however, to state why Obama fits the bill. What has the President done to warrant impeachment? Or do we need a reason? Why don’t we impeach him for the pure, sweet hell of it. We didn’t vote for him. We don’t like him. He’s not really one of us. We don’t like the democratic process when it doesn’t go our way, when a black man wins over a white man, even though that white man would initiate policies that are against our own best interests.
   I get a similar response when I ask conservatives why Obamacare should be repealed. Or actually, lack of response. They can’t name a particular policy that they’re against, yet they know it should be repealed because Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Glen Beck tell them it should be repealed and that Obamacare is the worse thing the country has faced since 9/11. If those I ask are cognizant to some degree, they’ll tend to repeat the talking points the right wing media has drilled into them, like Obamacare is a job killer (Mitt Romney said this, although the health care program he initiated in Massachusetts while governor is still flourishing in that state, and is the model for Obamacare), or that Obamacare will actually kill us all (Michelle Bachmann said this, as well as the “death panel” crap). All this can be debunked as easily as turning on the Google Machine.
   The third picture can be found on this site, which is entitled “Just Piper,” which also displays a video entitled, “Benghazi revelations could sink Obama [one can only hope],” which flat out lies about the President labeling the attack a terrorist incident the day after in the Rose Garden (as if his labeling of anything actually mattered in some real, substantial way, other than to appease right wing sensibilities). I saw the speech as it happened. I saw him say it was a terrorist act. But in right wing looney toon world he didn’t, and he was secretly (i.e., Ronald Reagan Iran/Contra) shipping SAM missiles from Libya through Turkey, to the Syrian rebels, which as far as I know, even if it were true, isn’t illegal (although not authorized by Congress), and is actually in line with the stated policies of specific republicans like John (Never Met A TV Camera I Didn’t Like) McCain (regardless of the videos unproven and self serving claim the rebels are members of Al Queda and the Muslim Brotherhood).
   But the picture itself actually lists several reasons President Obama should be impeached. Let’s take a moment and examine them.
   It starts out by proclaiming: “This man is wanted for treasonous activities against the United States:”
   By whom? Who wants this man? The same people who wrote this I guess, since the proclamation itself offers no clue. The statement assumes there is a large proportion of the population that will agree with it’s sentiments. In that, those who created this are correct, although the actual size of the population that agrees with this statement may be smaller than the authors would like.
   The statement then goes on to make specific charges:
   “1. Betraying the Constitution (which he is sworn to uphold):”
   And they cite two examples as proof of this betrayal:
   “He is turning the sovereignty of the U.S. over to the communist controlled United Nations.”
   “He is betraying our friends (Georgia, Poland, NATO) and befriending our enemies (Iran, Taliban, Al-Queda).”
   The first proof of Obama’s betrayal of the Constitution is a bold, sweeping statement concerning the take over of the United States by the United Nations... and if that’s not scary enough, it’s the communist controlled United Nations.
   I have not heard of this take over, or the transfer of sovereignty. You’d think something like this would be in the news!
   And I watch the news all of the time! And what I see on the news is the President in the White House, or out promoting his policies, like he’s always done, and Congress in the Capital doing nothing, like it always does (by the way... I believe Congressional pay should be tied to the amount of work accomplished. If no bills are passed, no laws made, no policies put forth to push the country forward, no pay should be issued to Senators and Representatives. It won’t matter because they’re all rich anyway, but at least Congress will be in line with it’s own ideals about contributing to society, especially Republican ideals... i.e, if you don’t work you don’t eat, right Ms Bachmann?). I don’t see any evidence of this takeover by the U.N.
   Now I don’t watch Fox News because it makes my eyes and ears bleed. But perhaps all of the evidence for the U.N. take over resides there. I wish they’d share that evidence with the other networks and the rest of the world, just so we’re all on the same page.
   Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the U.N., comes from South Korea, which is, last I heard, a democracy, not a communist country. Jan Kenneth Eliasson, the Deputy Secretary General comes from Sweden, which  is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy. Vuk Jeremić, the General Assembly President, is Serbian. Serbia is a unitary state, which is kind of communisty, but is ruled under a parliamentary republic, with its members subject to elections. It’s Prime Minister is a member of the Socialist Party, which is a whole different thing than the Communist Party. As a matter of fact I don’t think there really are any communists countries any more except possibly Cuba. China calls itself a communist country, but actually wants to enjoy all the advantages of a capitalist, free market society, which its level of polluting the environment proves.
   So someone should tell the U.N. the communists have taken it over. Maybe they’re not aware.
   Okay, the second statement insists Obama has abandoned our friends, and points out the examples of Poland, Georgia, and NATO. 
   Since when is Poland, Georgia, and NATO our great friends, and how has the United States abandoned them? We’re a member of NATO for Gosh’s sake! So are we abandoning ourselves? How does one do that?
   Georgia. I assume that the authors are talking about the country rather than the state, has good relations with the United States. So much so that it’s pissing off Russia! We want them to join the European Union (maybe not a smart move on Georgia’s part) and NATO. We’re giving them military assistance, and building a pipeline of course. This is betraying?
   The same with Poland, which is already a member of the EU, NATO, the UN, the World Trade Organization, Kiwanis... on and on.
   And the last part of the statement, “and befriending our enemies (Iran, Taliban, Al-Queda).”
   Uuuummm, I can’t find any examples of how the United States under President Obama has befriended Iran (although that may not be a bad idea, to befriend the people of Iran, not the current government). In fact the U.S. has economic sanctions against Iran. There’s a whole article on Wikipedia concerning those sanctions here, which starts out like this:
   “This article outlines economic, trade, scientific and military sanctions against Iran, which have been imposed by the U.S. government, or under U.S. pressure by the international community through the United Nations [communist] Security Council. Currently the sanctions include an embargo on dealings with Iran by the United States, and a ban on selling aircraft and repair parts to Iranian aviation companies.”
   And as far as the Taliban and Al Queda are concerned, as memory serves, I believe we’re still at war with both of them (if Al Queda still exists operationally after President Obama ordered and successfully executed the death of it’s leader, the President's best buddy apparently, Osama bin Laden) in a country called Afghanistan.
   So I’m not really convinced so far that President Obama is a traitor from the evidence presented. Perhaps I will be when we examine the rest of the message in the next post.
   We shall see.

To be continued.

Friday, July 26, 2013

In Remembrance, Lily Belle Burk and Riley Ann Sawyers

Note: This reposting was published July 24th when I discovered my site was infected with adware that I have nor authorized, as I’ve never promoted any commercial activity on Joyce’s Take. I hope to remedy this soon, yet my technical skills and resources are limited. If any reader has a suggestion please leave a comment. Thank you, RJ

“I believe there are monsters born in the world to human parents…. They are accidents and no one’s fault, as used to be thought. Once they were considered the visible punishments for concealed sins. And just as there are physical monsters, can there not be mental or psychic monsters born? The face and body may be perfect, but if a twisted gene or a malformed egg can produce physical monsters, may not the same process produce a malformed soul? a monster, the norm must seem monstrous since everyone is normal to himself…. To a man born without conscience, a soul-stricken man must seem ridiculous. To a criminal, honesty is foolish.” -John Steinbeck, “East of Eden” p 71

The above quotation is used to introduce the main antagonist in the novel, “East of Eden,” Cathy Ames, who despite being charming and attractive is an evil woman who manipulates and destroys people for her own amusement and profit, demonstrated by setting her family home on fire which kills both her parents, and sleeping with her brother-in-law on her wedding night.
The above quote could easily apply to republicans as well, but I'll leave that for now.
This is a sad day for us here at Joyce’s Takes, for two beautiful souls left this world on this day two years apart (some say the date of Riley’s death was the 25th of July). Lily Belle Burk was murdered not more than three blocks from where I’m sitting at right now, by an ex-con crack addict looking for some quick cash. Nothing less than a human monster could have done what he did to beautiful Lily. Two year old Riley Ann Sawyer was murdered two years before by her own mother and stepfather. The relationship to the above quote and these two is obvious.
By the way, Riley's stepfather, Royce Clyde Zeigler II, was convicted of capital murder on November 6th, 2009, and will receive an automatic life sentence without parole, just as Riley’s mother did, and just as Lily’s killer did.
For as long as I operate this site I will repost what I wrote when I first learned of these two most tragic deaths on this day. First Lily:


First Published July 28, 2009

Last Friday night, after a busy, consummated work week, I relaxed while enjoying a meal of Weenie Tots and mixed vegetables while watching the romantic comedy (chick flick) “He's Just Not That Into You,” starring Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Goodwin, Jennifer Aniston, Scarlett Johansson, Frangela, and my favorite contemporary actress, Jennifer Connelly. There may have been one or two male actors in the cast somewhere, or else how could the case be made that men are pigs.
My answer to the ever ongoing observation that men are pigs because they do not follow the dictates of women's evolutionary mandates, is simply this... if women were men they'd act like pigs too (or appear so for females at least)!
I must admit the only reason that I watched the film was to see Ms Connelly, in what for her was a rare appearance in a basically comedic role, her reputation (and Academy Award) being based primarily in the dramatic genre. I think she came through with flying colors, as I really enjoyed her character, and sympathized with that character's unique priorities (she gets more upset about her husband lying to her about his continued smoking, than his affair with Johansson). Her scene with contactor Luis Guzman was hilarious, and I hope she will attempt more straight forward comedy in the future.
After the film I felt the need to balance out all the hilariousness with Bill Moyers Journal on PBS. Moyers, the former Press Secretary to President Lyndon Johnson, and a liberal commentator, explored the issue of national health care that is currently winding its way through Congress, the concensus tonight being that the medical insurance industry, and pharmaceutical industry have already received so many concessions from lawmakers that they are going to come out of this as winners no matter what congress passes, and that tax payer backed subsidies will continue to flow through their big pockets. Still, they don't want a public option as competition, and they expecially don't want single payer (universal) health care, which they have effectively lobbied off the table. Which is why, one guest surmised, we should scrap the current bill, and return to the single payer option. I tend to agree.
The second half of the show explored the possible connection between extreme right wing attack talk radio and television hosts, such as Michael Savage (Weiner), Bill O'Rielly, and Glen Beck, labeling those that disagree with them as traitors, communists, and murderers (O'Rielly repeatedly calling abortion provider, Dr. George R. Tiller, a mass murderer (who was later murdered inside his own church), and Beck stating he'd like to kill Michael Moore) etc., and actual acts of violence carried out against these targets, or those who closely... or remotely, represent them.
How could there possibly be a connection?!
At least the show was an hours respite from the ongoing controversy of a Cambridge MA, police Sargent arresting Professor Henry Gates for disorderly conduct within his own home. Granted President Obama did not help matters much by calling the action stupid, but Erin's God! This story's been on the news twenty four/seven since it happened, being labeled as a blatant case of racial profiling. I think this story has received so much twenty four hour attention simply because the cable networks run twenty four hours, and as Stephie Miller points out, describing the confrontation as more of a "man thing," or macho encounter, than racial in nature. Again, I tend to agree.
Enough already! Stop! I'm tired of hearing about it. Both of you go have a beer with Barack. There is no problem that cannot be solved with alcohol.
Anyway, the very next day, a Saturday as it turns out, Jose and I planned to visit the Griffith Observatory, located conveniently enough in Griffith Park, in the hills above Hollywood, just east of the famous "Hollywood" sign.
But first, before we left, nourishment must be procured. After transposing for a few hours, documents in the Salvation Diary series, at 7:00, I decided to stretch out for awhile, and went to the garden to water it.
I found two cats out there, suspiciously close to our garden, hurriedly running away as I approached. They may have been running away because I was trying to squirt them with the hose I happened to be holding. They disappeared into the brush on the other side of the chain-link fence that is the eastern border of our garden.
I also found two young men on the other side of the fence, which was very unusual, as I had really never seen anyone out there before. They seemed to be taking measurements of some kind, thereby obscuring their obvious tresspassing with some form of legitimacy. Still I hosed them off thoroughly, much to their surprise and consternation. Angry shouts and threats of retribution were directed, I believe, in my direction. I made a hasty retreat.
Next I made my way west on Sixth Street to Towne and waited patiently for some nice Asian people to arrive and hand out glazed donuts and Ramen noodle soup. They are connected with some church (I don't know which one as the printing on the vehicles they arrive in are written in Asian) and come every week around that time in the morning. When I got there they had not arrived yet, and I took my place in the small line that was starting. I was there for the tasty donuts.
While I waited I couldn't help but notice two Asian gentlemen playing music right across the street from where I was standing. One man playing guitar, keyboards, and providing the lead vocals. His friend was playing the drums.
They were almost impossible not to notice. They played some Credence Clear Water Revival songs, "California Dreaming" by The Mamas and the Papas, Eagles, etc. During a break the purpose of their display became apparent when the singer said we were all there celebrating God.
I was there for the donuts.
Soon the donut and noodle people came. The line had grown to over a block long. I got mine, seven donuts, and I took the soup too, then was on my way home.
Unbeknownst to me, and unknown to me until Monday morning, approximately and hour and forty five minutes before I secured my 7 donuts, the body of Lily Belle Burk, age 17, was found near the intersection of Fifth St. and Alameda, about a block from my box. She was discovered by an employee of a nearby business, presumably the same gas station where Paul and I had inflated his dolly's tires a few days previously (see, Puzzles & Bricks). She was found in her own black Volvo, in the passenger seat, apparently having been bludgeoned to death and her neck slashed. There were signs of a struggle.
She had left her home in Los Feliz the day before at about 2:30 to pick up some papers for her mother from the Southwestern University School of Law, where her mother worked as an adjunct professor. About an hour later she made calls to both of her parents asking them how she might get cash from an ATM machine using her credit card, something her card was not set up to do. Her parents state that she did not sound distressed.
She did not return Friday night and her parents contacted police and filed a missing persons report.
The next morning her body was discovered. Police estimate she had been dead from 5:00PM the day before.
That Friday at 5:30PM, Charlie Samuel, aged 50, was arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs and drug paraphernalia on 3rd Street. His fingerprints were discovered in Lily's Volvo and is now being held on suspicion of murder without bail. Sources said Samuel had a previous history of assault with a deadly weapon, robbery, and kidnaping, and if he did indeed kill that lovely young girl I am ashamed that I am against the death penalty.
From the LA Times: "The thing we want people to know about Lily is that she was a beautiful person and that she was looking forward to her life. She was funny, warm, kind and empathetic. She was deeply and widely loved," read the statement from her parents, Deborah Drooz and Gregory Burk, a Times freelancer who writes about pop music.
Burk was supposed to begin her senior year at Oakwood School in North Hollywood in the fall.
She was set to star in her high school's production of a David Mamet play and planned to volunteer helping the homeless this summer."
Dear Erin, I hope your heaven is real, and Lily now resides there.
My sincere condolences go to her parents, family, and friends.
May she rest in peace.

Update from NBC Los Angeles, May 28th 2010:

Charlie Samuel was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the July 24, 2009, slaying of Lily Belle Burk. During the sentencing hearing, he apologized to the girl's family.

He pleaded guilty first-degree murder, kidnaping to commit robbery, second-degree robbery, attempted first-degree ATM robbery, car jacking and kidnaping for car jacking. He admitted special circumstance allegations of murder during a car jacking, kidnaping and robbery.

The plea deal saved him from a possible death sentence

Riley Ann

First published Sept 20 2009

It's terrifying to write this. So I won't. The following are actual excerpts from various news reports:
On Oct. 29, 2007, fisherman Robert Spinn of Bayou Vista found a storage container on an uninhabited island about a mile offshore in Galveston Bay, Texas. It contained cement and a blonde toddler wrapped in three plastic bags. "I ripped the bags (in the container) open with some fishing pliers. I saw a shoe. I knew it was a person." Sheriff’s investigators named the girl “Baby Grace” and embarked on 26-day media blitz to confirm her identity.
Nellie Zeigler heard about “Baby Grace” on a talk radio program and found an artist’s sketch of her on the Internet.
The toddler's identity was a mystery for weeks until Sheryl Sawyers of Ohio, saw an artist's sketch of the girl and told authorities in Texas she thought it was her granddaughter. The call from Sheryl Sawyers led authorities to Royce Clyde Zeigler II (24) and Kimberly Dawn Trenor (19), who had invented a story that their daughter, Riley Ann Sawyers had been taken away by child welfare officials in Ohio.
Riley was born and lived in Ohio until her mother Kimberly separated from Robert Sawyers, and took Riley to Texas last summer. Kimberly met Royce Zeigler playing the online game World of Warcraft, and had an online relationship with him.
Kimberly's defense attorney portrayed Trenor as a scared 19-year-old girl who had moved to Texas from Ohio to marry a man she met while playing an online game, and after two brief encounters. She said Riley's father, her former boyfriend, had assaulted her and Zeigler was her "knight in shining armor, her Texas cowboy."
They married June 1st, 2007, and settled in Spring, Texas.
Although Zeigler's mother Nellie, and her husband didn’t approve of “ready-made marriages,” she said the family opened their home to Trenor and Riley and quickly came to love and adore the vibrant, charismatic and intelligent toddler who brightened their lives.
Nellie Zeigler recalled going to the couple’s home in June to deliver milk and snacks, saying she knocked on the door, but it took Trenor a while to answer. "Kim had a belt wrapped around her shoulder," Nellie Zeigler testified.
The following week, Nellie Zeigler picked up Riley on Saturday morning, eventually changed
her diaper and was disgusted with what she saw.
“Her little butt was bruised, greenish, yellowish, purplish, and I got mad,” Mrs. Zeigler said. “I
let her watch cartoons, anxious for Kim and Royce to come over."
Nellie Zeigler told the couple she disapproved of the belt discipline, saying both dropped their heads."Mom. This is never going to happen again," Nellie said of how her son replied. "After that, I never saw bruises on her again."
The weekends of mall shopping and bonding ended abruptly with Riley’s death July 24, 2007, and Nellie Zeigler would spend the next four months agonizing over the whereabouts of the “sunshine of our lives.”
Nellie Zeigler eventually learned Ohio officials didn’t have Riley, and she and her husband confronted Trenor, asking her why she wouldn’t tell authorities her girl was kidnaped.“My husband said, ‘Kim. You’re lying,’ and the third time he asked, she jumped up and starts to cuss us out,” Nellie Zeigler testified. “She shot the finger at us and said ‘F---you! F---you! F---you!’”
The confrontation continued upstairs, Nellie said. "What kind of mother are you?’” Nellie Zeigler said. “‘You show no emotion. You never talk about her. You never seem to care where
she's at.' I'm crying and she's smiling at me."
The two had more heated words, when Trenor said, “You’re going to pay for this,” Nellie Zeigler testified. The couple left, she said.
Royce Zeigler worked for a company contracted to create schedules for petrochemical companies, earning $54,000 annually. The fatal beating happened after Zeigler stayed home from work to make sure his wife was following his discipline plan, the defense said.
According to Trenor's attorney, Tommy Stickler Jr., Zeigler wanted Trenor to spank Riley with a belt when she failed to say things like "please" and "yes sir" or "no sir." Zeigler didn't believe Trenor was doing it, however, because the 2-year-old's behavior wasn't changing. A list was found by authorities after the arrest of the couple for the murder of Riley, the list, called "Rules for Riley," included such things as "being polite," "behaves in public," "toys stay in her room" and "listen to mom & me." There was space for a 10th item on the list but it was left blank.
During her opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Kayla Allen detailed for jurors the day that she said Riley Ann died for forgetting to say "please" and "yes, sir. "Allen said that on July 24, 2007, Trenor and Zeigler disciplined Riley by whipping her with a belt, pushing her head against a pillow and holding her head under water. She said Zeigler grabbed Riley and tossed her across the room, fracturing her skull. An autopsy concluded the skull fractures caused her death. Riley died of three skull fractures she received when Zeigler, threw the child across the room, authorities said.
Riley Ann Sawyers tried to stop her mother and stepfather from beating her to death by reaching out to her mother and saying, "I love you," assistant district attorney Kayla Allen told jurors earlier in the day during her opening statement. The toddler's pleas didn't stop her mother from brutalizing her, the prosecutor said. "To the very end, Riley said, 'I love you' to her mom. She's reaching out," Allen said. "That's her lifeline, to her mother. What does Kim do after hearing her say I love you? She starts beating her."
"I said we have to get her to a hospital. (Zeigler) said, 'No we can't. We'll go to jail,' " Trenor said in the videotape, crying. "There came a point where she stopped breathing. He started doing CPR on the floor. He took her ... and handed her over to me. I could just feel her going cold."
At the defense table, Trenor's eyes teared up as she watched the videotape on a large screen.
Several jurors wiped away tears.
Galveston County Chief Medical Examiner Stephen Pustilnik Testified that any one of three skull fractures he found during his autopsy could have killed Riley. He said that it would have been apparent within seconds of one of the fractures that Riley was in need of medical help. Symptoms included a change in body temperature, headache and the inability to stand up, he said, all symptoms described by Trenor in her statement to investigators. She said that Zeigler accused Riley of faking when she was unable to stand.
After Riley was killed, beaten so badly that Trenor said Zeigler complained of it making his shoulder sore, the couple bought a plastic container, partially filled it with cement, stuffed her beaten body inside and stored it in a shed for two months. They tried to bury it in a wooded area north of their home, but when that failed, they dumped it in Galveston Bay in September.
The seven-woman, five man jury took less than two hours to convict Kimberly Trenor of capital murder in the slaying of her 2-year-old daughter. Trenor will receive an automatic life sentence without parole because prosecutors did not seek the death penalty due to technical reasons peculiar to Texas law. Jury foreman Randal Rothschild said it didn't take the panel long to reach a verdict because we had all the evidence. Apparently the jury felt it was pretty cut and dried. As his eyes teared up, Rothschild added, "It was a very emotional trial."
Zeigler will be tried for capital murder in a separate trial. No date has been set yet.
The island where the toddler's body was found was officially renamed "Riley's Island." A wooden cross bearing a plaque with her name was placed there as a memorial, but Hurricane Ike washed it away on Sept. 13.
A Mr. Miller, who made that cross, said he is making a new one and hopes that he and Riley's family can place it on the island later.
"It's sad the cross is gone. But as much damage as the hurricane did, I was afraid the whole island would be wiped away," he said. "God did not want that to happen. The cross will be put there again in her honor."
In Mentor, Ohio, pink balloons were released into the wintry sky after the funeral for Riley. Some of the balloons had cards attached with her picture and an address where the finder could return it to her family in northeast Ohio. The balloon release coincided with similar releases around the world in memory of the toddler, who had been nicknamed Baby Grace.
"People all over the world adored this child. She was loved and cherished by everyone," Riley's great-uncle, Mike Nebelski, said in a eulogy.
"Let's not forget Riley. Let's not forget all the other kids out there who are missing," he said.
After the service and balloon release, the funeral procession left for Mentor Cemetery for burial of the 36-inch coffin. Inside was an urn with the girl's ashes and various other items, including a dress and a stuffed animal toy.
Riley Ann Sawyers was with us for 866 days. This site is an online memorial.