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Crimea River

To: Dear Commissariat Vlad Impaler
Date: 16 March 2014
Re: Crimea River

After the Put-in, your currency Russian down rapidly past international banks where you missed your Chinese takeout.  Better to practice in the kiddy Simferopool.  No one likes usury; neither a USSRer nor borrower be.  With whom are you in streambed with anyway?  We have tried to brook our differences and open up diplomatic channels, but your runoff from the mouth is constrainer.  A ledge ally, you think we are keeper you from this sticky business?  That’s a dam lie!  But let us broach diplomacy, lest we sandbar each other from the water table; our communiqués have eroded enough, wouldn’t you say?  For far too long have we been bogged down in cold shoulder politics.  This said, do not think for one moment we will merely roller over like bump on logjam, even during this your watershed moment on the wave of so much popularity.  If Ukraine your neck high enough to the sky you will see we have the Kiev to your lock.  Like your Lada to our Ford, Leda to a swan, your Mother Russia-of-pearl before swine purloined is beyond riparian.  Do you have any eddy how bad you look?  First your attack on our gay brothers and sisters.  (How do you expect to harness hydroelectricity without dykes anyhow?)  Now you’re back in the land grab saddle like a Cossack on horseback.  Then again, why buy the Moscow oligarchs, when you get bilk for free?  Paddle do, you might say.  But Huron the wrong side of history, my friend.  Let’s let bygones be, and our past troubled water under the bridge, no?  True, you drove me nearly drove me out of my head when you said you told me love was too plea bargain.  I assumed the interpreter meant to say proletariat.  And now you say you love me again, and ask me to dance the hedgehog and fox Trotsky.  That’s your come-on: Crimea River.  I cried driver, how you say shotgun in your country.  In Putin Empire, Helen of Troika comes to you.

 

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Free the Felines!

Free the Felines!

It was one of those warm summer evenings in July 2010, on a Sunday around 6:00 pm, when a pipeline quietly ruptured and over 1 million gallons of diluted bitumen — aka tar sands or heavy crude oil — spilled into Talmadge Creek, a tributary of the Kalamazoo River in southwestern Michigan.  It took 17 hours for Enbridge, the company responsible for the pipeline, to react — that’s three separate shifts of workers who failed to notice a massive problem.  Meanwhile, despite multiple 911 calls by residents who reported unusual petroleum smells, local authorities were clueless; they hadn’t even known there was an oil pipeline in the area.  It was not until a worker from a gas utility company noticed the spill and reported it that Enbridge did anything.  Contaminating some 38 miles of the Kalamazoo River, this disaster resulted in the largest and most expensive inland oil spill in U.S. history (costing over $1 billion to clean up).  Three years later and three days before the anniversary of the spill, three protesters peacefully engaging in non-violent direct action chained themselves to Enbridge machinery in hopes of halting progress of more installed pipelines (to the same line that ruptured earlier), an act of civil disobedience for which they were arrested as felons — a federal crime tantamount to murder or arson, even though all they were found guilty of was trespassing and obstruction.  They were recently convicted and are currently being held in jail without bond until their sentencing on Wednesday, March 5th.  They stand to be imprisoned for three years.  They should be exonerated.  You can help.
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What’s In a Name?

What’s In a Name?

“Who gave you that numb?”
James Joyce, Finnegans Wake

 

 When you think about it, most sports mascots are intrinsically silly.  Cardinals and Orioles are songbirds, not even raptors.  I don’t even know what on earth a seahawk is, but perhaps the “Seattle Ospreys” doesn’t quite convey the punch.  Penguins playing hockey – is that supposed to distract your opponent by giving them the giggles?  Would anybody know that a Bruin is a bear?  Is there any coincidence that the most tragic team in baseball is named after a baby animal – the Cubs?  Why not the Kansas City Kittens or Poughkeepsie Puppies?  And while Miami might have the most perfect season in the history of the NFL, its mascot is the indisputably gay dolphin, with cute turquoise, aqua, and corral colors. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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The Gynecologically Obsessed Party

The Gynecologically Obsessed Party

Where to begin?  Locally or nationally, the batshit has hit the fanfare.  Pregnancies from rape are an anomaly.  Fetuses now masturbate.  And abortions used to be “the thing to do” back in the swinging ’70s.  It goes on –  these were all in just the last week alone.  From Arizona to Texas to Wisconsin, the party that has made a sacrament of individual liberty and freedom from big government continues to quite spectacularly demonstrate strident gibberish in the name of contradicting ideology.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Blowing a Bottom Line of Koch

Blowing a Bottom Line of Koch

How’s this for an irony: an independent documentary about the pernicious influence of high-dollar donors gets canceled by PBS due to the influence that a high-dollar donor has on PBS?  The rich white man in this case is none other than David Koch, the multigajillionaire who along with his tycoon-harpooning brother, Charles, and their sprawling empire Koch Industries have brought you such popular hits as: cancer, climate denial, media conglomeration, fat cat plutocrats, conservative politics and tea party histrionics — not to mention mosquitoes, ticks, pestilence, boils, botulism, plagues, famine, flat tires, traffic jams, canker sores, migraines, Svengali-like manipulation, basic obfuscation, and general evil — all in the name of a shameless poweropoly the likes of which would make even Mr Burns envious.  The documentary in question is Citizen Koch, which showcases the effects of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision on the recall election of Scott Walker as well as the admirably quixotic presidential campaign of former Louisiana governor and congressman Buddy Roemer (whose central platform is campaign finance reform), all while following the lives of three Wisconsin state employees whose lifelong ties to the Republican Party are reconsidered in the aftermath of Act 10.  The film was to air on PBS sometime this year on behalf of Independent Television Service (ITVS), the funding and distributing tributary of public television for independent films.  But worried that there would be too much fallout — and lack of funding — ITVS backed out of its deal with the filmmakers, which unwittingly proves the whole point of what the film was about in the first place: the influence of money on public resources.
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April Fools March Forth

April Fools March Forth

I think the Jews got it right, the marking of the new year in autumn.  Leaving aside any debate about whether life begins at conception or at birth,* there’s something intuitive and irrepressibly hopeful, poetic even, about the seeds of some future beginning taking hold in autumn, lying dormant and warm beneath the earth over the cold, dark, hard winter, to nudge their vernally green buddy heads above the surface of snow-scruff and the pungent mud of spring.  Certainly more intuitive than beginning the year on January 1st – only a week or so after the longest night of the entire year; hell, only a week or so after the season of winter has technically begun – when all the world (well, the northern hemisphere) is dead, still, and frozen.  That’s supposed to represent a new beginning, then?!?  What calendrical maniac hoodwinked a whole culture to swallow hook, line, and all that the new year should begin smack dab in the chapter of death and darkness?  It just doesn’t feel right.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Proposition Straight

Proposition Straight

Finally, the issue of universal marriage has come to the Supreme Court so that a national dialogue can at least begin, stripped of religious symbolism and meretricious rhetoric, predicated on this one basic question:

What is the government’s interest, state or federal, in drawing a line of distinction between gay and straight relationships?

It’s a question that I personally have been invested in for as long as I can remember, unarguably way more so than any indefectibly straight, single man who is not a lawyer or has any background in law ever should.  I have written about, lobbied on behalf of, and fought for universal marriage more than any other political matter.  I have gone so far as to label such willed discrimination as heterosexual apartheid.  (I don’t much care for the term of art “gay marriage,” because that automatically sets the tone in a misguided direction.  The issue is one of contract law, which I believe, as many do, is a matter protected by the Establishment Clause of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, which grants equal protection to citizens.  It is a marriage contract, after all, which when recognized, is your token exchange for all the 1600+ benefits bestowed upon you as a married couple from the state and federal governments.  Besides, it carries the connotation of “universal suffrage” to it.)

But I don’t care to delve into all that right now, mainly because there isn’t much I can add that you, dear reader, do not already know.  So instead I thought to make this scribble a little more fun and interesting by placing bets about how the Court will rule on Proposition 8, the ballot question a majority of Californian voters approved in 2008 that categorically denied recognition of same-sex marriages (but still kept intact civil unions).  With the oral arguments occurring coincidentally during the March Madness of college basketball, below you will see my own brackets.  All winners will receive one of the following: a new poem dedicated to you, a new scribble of a topic of the winner’s own suggestion, or future swag the likes of t-shirts and lapel pins that read “I Got Scribbled A Bit.”

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