Friday, April 30, 2010

The Big Slick Meets the Big Easy

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

British petroleum has brought in a gusher! Unfortunately, it is nearly a mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico and the oil is gushing directly into the Gulf - at a rate of around 200,000 gallons a day! And yes, there is one hell of an oil slick that is already lapping the shores of Louisiana and threatening to ruin the beaches, shrimp beds, fishing areas, wetlands preserves, and economies of several southern states.

And eleven people died in the explosion that caused the gusher.

Wasn't it just a couple of weeks ago the British Petroleum was airing their irritating "Beyond Petroleum" commercials, bleating about how modern and environmentally relevant they were as an energy company? Why, yes - it was just a couple of weeks ago! That self-aggrandizing propaganda has disappeared faster than the blue waters of the Gulf.

British Petroleum has been spending millions of dollars trying to polish its image. It was BP, after all, that was fined $87 million by OSHA for the 2005 explosion at one of their refineries in Texas City, TX - an explosion that was due to overt safety violations and took the lives of fifteen workers. The next year one of the biggest oil fields in Alaska had to be shut down because of a leaky pipeline that the company owned. The image of British Petroleum needed a serious makeover, and those cheesy "Beyond Petroleum" commercials were intended to do just that.

It's also only been a couple of weeks since that President Obama, playing up to the knuckle-draggers in Congress, announced that he was going to support some limited off-shore drilling. Whoops!

The causes of the explosion at BP's oil rig in the Gulf, the Deepwater Horizon, are still a mystery, but the President is now saying that his people are going to figure out what happened, and there will be no future off-shore drilling until the problems are understood and fixed.

One interesting theory has surfaced over the past couple of days. Cement has to be pumped down the well hole (18,000 feet) to separate the sides of the hole from the pipes that move the oil. If the cementing process is done improperly and develops cracks, an explosion will occur. The well beneath the Deepwater Horizon had recently been cemented. And who did the cementing? Who completed the process that may have cost eleven oil rig workers their lives and created an ecological disaster of biblical proportions? Who? Halliburton, that's who! Yup, those good old war profiteers make eleven percent of their total income doing the cementing process for floating oil rigs!

The President is right. We must learn from this disaster before we allow these greedy corporations any more opportunities to devastate our planet. And until we have the knowledge and ability to safely pump oil from beneath the surface of the oceans, we should be aggressively pursuing other ways of powering the planet. My suggestion is that we tax the thunder out of the multi-national corporations that have their oily fingerprints on this disaster, and use those fines to invest in wind and solar farms. That technology is available now, and it works.

Meanwhile, the words of two famous Americans leap to mind:

"Drill, baby, drill!"
-- Sarah Palin

"That woman is an idiot!"
-- Keith Olbermann (commenting on Sarah Palin)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Brewer Tries to Smile Through the Apocalypse

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

I would like to move on and write about something else, I really would - but the Arizona circus spinning around Senate Bill 1070, the "papers please" law, is growing at such an astounding rate that it threatens to eclipse all of the other craziness for which Arizona is so famous. It's like all of a sudden the world has discovered our attic full of crazy relatives!

Colombian pop star Shakira is in the Valley of Hell tonight. She tried to meet with Governor Brewer this afternoon, but our guv declined. Phil Gordon, the mayor of Phoenix, will meet with Shakira tomorrow regarding their shared disgust with Arizona's goofy new legislation. Diplomacy - Arizona style!

(Actually, the word "goofy" describes most Arizona legislation, so please know that I am still discussing the "papers please" bill, and not the no-permit-needed-to-carry-a-concealed-weapon bill, or the birther bill.)

Linda Ronstadt will be back in Phoenix tomorrow to make some noise about the state legislature's draconian and racist SB 1070. (Just a couple of months ago she was here marching in opposition to our resident boogie man and town clown, Sheriff Joe Arpaio - tempus fugit!) Also coming to town tomorrow with our southwestern nightingale will be Delores Huerta, a co-founder Cesar Chavez's United Farm Workers. (I had the pleasure of meeting the venerable Ms. Huerta, now in her eighties, on a social worker/feminist cruise a couple of years ago.)

Si se puede, Delores!

But Ronstadt and Huerta and Shakira are just a small part of the sound and the fury that are blasting through the desert like a mariachi band on steroids. One of the "Latin Kings of Comedy," Paul Rodriguez, has cancelled his show at a local casino next month. The comedian and activist is opposed to our new law and said that he does not want to come to a place where he has to carry his citizenship papers with him. Arizonans have responded in true shit-kicker fashion by calling in anonymous death threats to Mr. Rodriguez. (How would our baggers be able to communicate without telephones and misspelled signs?)

(I heard this morning that wealthy white people driving nice cars will not have to carry proof of residency, but they do need to be prepared to recite the codes to their gated communities if asked!)

People are starting to protest at Arizona Diamond Backs away games. There will be an anti-Arizona rally in Los Angeles this weekend that is anticipated to draw upwards of a hundred thousand people. The cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and St. Paul are officially cutting economic ties with Arizona, and Denver Public Schools announced a ban on all work-related travel to Arizona.

And then there's Joe. Our sheriff lives to be the center of attention and is undoubtedly feeling neglected by all of the interest being directed at the Arizona legislature and our daft governor. Old Joe announced today that he will hold his fifteenth crime sweep in Maricopa County tomorrow. Joe's sweeps are notorious for wasting massive police resources, tying up traffic for hours on end, and arresting dozens of cooks, maids, and day laborers. But Joe knows that a good crime sweep will serve to refocus the press on what's really important in Arizona - him!

Jan Brewer, unlike Arpaio, is not so adept at handling all of this public noise. It is almost like all of the fuss is a big surprise to her. She is tired and haggard and has not been under this much constant stress since the house fell on her sister!

Si se puede, amigos, si se puede!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Circus Continues

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

The Arizona craziness shows no signs of abating. Governor Brewer spoke on local radio today and succeeded only in highlighting her intellectual limitations. She could do little to justify her support for the racist SB 1070, but did get rather dramatic talking about all of the evil things that the drug cartels and other dirty Hispanics have perpetrated on the state of Arizona. I read the local papers, closely, and I have never seen stories about any of the outrageous things that Jan claimed to be fact. She is, in reality, doing little more than being her political self - pandering to the tea baggers, birthers, and other fools who are more numerous than the rattle snakes, scorpions, and other varmints who slither around this sandy patch of hell.

One of the local television stations spent several minutes of air time tonight talking about the boycott, and citing specific meeting and convention cancellations. Los Angeles, San Francisco, and St. Paul have all moved to keep from spending any money in Arizona, and Washington, DC, will soon follow suit. Some communities are even talking about boycotting Arizona products. That movement seems to have caught fire. Poor Jan said this law will help the state's economy. That claim, of course, is crap.

The sheriff of Maricopa County (Phoenix), Joe Arpaio, is all for this bigoted bill because he realized a long time ago that there are headlines to be had in chasing and harassing Hispanics. He has said that he intends to support the legislation vigorously. Poor Joe has always felt somewhat slighted because God dealt him a county that does not border Mexico, but he does his best to pose for the press as a one-man border patrol anyway.

Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima County, (Tucson) Arizona, does have a county that borders Mexico. But Dupnik, unlike Arpaio, is too busy with real law enforcement to be bothered with the political nonsense generated by SB 1070. Sheriff Dupnik referred to the new law as "racist," "disgusting," and "stupid." Dupnik said that he will not enforce the legislation. The way the law reads, he can be sued by citizens if he fails to enforce the law, but Dupnik said that he would rather chance that than being sued over racial profiling.

Unfortunately, it is all just a game to get the right-wing stirred up and to the polls in November. However, it is beginning to look like this political maneuver may backfire. Tourists are staying away, a bad economy is getting worse, and Hispanic voters are suddenly figuring out which party is really on "their" side.

I am looking forward to the November elections!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Adios, 2011 All-Star Game

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

The boycott of Nazizona is on. A fancy-smancy lawyers' group cancelled their upcoming convention at a Scottsdale hotel this week due to the passage of racist Senate Bill 1070, and Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon announced today that he has heard from five other groups that are talking about moving their conventions out of Arizona. Today the city of San Francisco said that it won't pay for any of its employees to travel to Arizona on business for the city.

Mayor Gordon is filing suit regarding this discriminatory bill - utilizing his own money.

Arizona has been warning its citizens for months to use caution when traveling into Mexico because of all of the violence and crime in the border towns. Today, Mexico turned the tables and urged its citizens to exercise caution if they stray into Arizona, noting that they could be hassled by authorities for no other reason than their appearance. I guess that door swings both ways! Ouch!

But that's all small potatoes. The big kahuna of the boycott is turning out to be the 2011 All-Star Game that was scheduled for Chase Field in Phoenix. Local news sources have been in contact with Major League Baseball (which has an office in Phoenix), and MLB is declining to comment at this time other than to say they are gathering information. Translation: if the heat stays on, the game is outta here!

Estimated total revenue generated by an All-Star Game: Over $50,000,000! Again, ouch!

Our legislators may be a lot of things, but "smart" ain't one of them!

To sign an on-line petition encouraging Major League Baseball to move the 2011 All-Star Game out of Arizona, please visit:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday's Poetry: Immigration Verse

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

The following three poems are dedicated to Governor Jan Brewer and the buffoons in the Arizona Legislature who seem to have no idea about how this country was created or what has gone into making it great.

The first selection is Emma Lazarus' classic, The New Colossus, which has served for over a century as the sentiments expressed on the Statue of Liberty. The last five lines have been known and beloved by generations of Americans.

The New Colossus
by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

The second selection, Push and Pull, was written by John Myers, and is more relevant to today's immigration issue, but still manages to show that the process is normal and eventually these immigrants, no matter how despised by some, will eventually be incorporated into the American melting pot society.

Push and Pull
by John Myers

Like many who came before
From distant corners of the globe
Pushed from home
Fleeing calamity
Hunger, Poverty, War

The United States
Land of Dreams
Pulling those seeking a better life
Offering hope and optimism
To the downtrodden, the desperate

They've come to this New World
For several hundred years now
In crashing waves from different places at different times
Only to face new struggles
In a new land

"They're taking our jobs."
"They're stealing our money."
"They don't want to speak English."
"Send them all back to where they came from."
They've all taken turns bearing the brunt

Eventually each group melds into the giant pot
Becoming a part of a new America
Time and time again
And the wave we have crashing over our shores now
Will, too.

Selection number three, Running to America by Luis Rodriguez, brings the drama and pains of "illegal" immigration right down to street level. If this poem sounds familiar, it may be because I used in in The Ramble in March 2009.

Running to America
by Luis Rodriguez

They are night shadows violating borders,
fingers curled through chain-link fences,
hiding from infra-red eyes, dodging 30-30 bullets.
They leave familiar smells, warmth and sounds
as ancient as the trampled stones.

Running to America.

There is a woman in her finest border-crossing wear:
A purple blouse from an older sister,
a pair of worn shoes from a church bazaar,
a tattered coat from a former lover.

There is a child dressed in black,
fear sparkling from dark Indian eyes,
clinging to a headless Barbie doll.

And the men, some hardened, quiet,
others young and loud - you see something
like this in prisons. Soon they will cross
on their bellies, kissing the black earth,

then run to America.

Strange Voices whisper behind garbage cans,
beneath freeway passes, next to broken bottles.
The spatter of words, textured and multi-colored,
invoke demons.

They must run to America.

Their skin, color of earth, is a brand
for all the great ranchers, for the killing floors
on Soto Street and as slaughter
for the garment row. Still they come:
A hungry people have no country.

Their tears are the grease of the bobbing machines
that rip into cloth
that make clothes
that keep you warm.

They have endured the sun's stranglehold,
el cortito, foundry heats and dark caves
of mines swallowing men.

Still they come, wandering bravely
through the thickness of this strange land's
maddening ambivalence.

Their cries are singed with the fires of hope.
Their babies are born with a lion
in their hearts.

Who can confine them?
Who can tell them
which lines never to cross?

For the green rivers, for their looted gold,
escaping the blood of a land
that threatens to drown them,
they have come,

running to America.

The United States is a nation of immigrants, and it is that diversity that makes us strong. We are an inclusive society that recognizes that everyone is capable of bringing something of value to society. Arizona, on the other hand, sees strength in keeping its culture pure, vainly hoping that social in-breeding will prove to be a strength. It won't.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Racism Then, Racism Now

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

The crowds are back again today at the state house, they've been there for days. The lingering protest over Governor Brewer signing the overtly racist Senate Bill 1070 may continue for some time.

In fact, if Congressman Raul Grijalva of Tucson has his way, our state is about to be subjected to a tourist boycott like the one that started in the late 1980's after Governor Mecham signed a proclamation revoking the state's recognition of the Martin Luther King holiday.

It was racism then, and it is racism now. Brown has become the new black.

SB 1070 was authored by State Senator Russell Pearce, a legislator who is developing a national fan base over his ill-conceived, right-wing fantasy bills that are beginning to mark Arizona as the looniest state in the nation.

Our Arizona politicians are trying to laugh off Gvijalva's threatened boycott, but deep in their guts they know how effective a commercial boycott of Arizona can be. They understand the power of these populist endeavors because a national boycott in response to Mecham's racist act two decades ago proved to be too much for the state to withstand, and the public had to come to the rescue of its fascist leaders by voting the Martin Luther King holiday back onto the state calendar.

The boycotters won - handily, and they will win this time,too.

The whine coming from Jan Brewer and Herr Pearce is that tourists will still come to Arizona because their bizarre, attack-on-Hispanics law makes the state a safer place. That claim is nonsense on its face. All the new law has done so far is to inflame people on both sides of the immigration issue - hardly a recipe for peace.

But even if Brewer and Pearce are right, which they aren't, one must still look at the whole picture when considering Arizona for a vacation or convention destination. On April 17th, just over one week ago, our governor signed another Russell Pearce masterpiece into law. This one gives state residents the right to carry concealed weapons without a permit - hence, without any training in how to use the weapons, or any criminal or mental health background checks.

Arizona is changing in several ways, but unfortunately none of them are good. The state is a hotbed of hatred and it is infested with gun-totting morons. Arizona is anything but safe.

Tourists beware!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Desperately Seeking Jan

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Early yesterday evening, just minutes after I posted Jan Brewer is an Embarrassment!, someone from an undisclosed location in the United States googled "Janet Brewer Sucks," and that person was routed directly to my page - no long list of articles to choose from, just a direct connect with Pa Rock's Ramble. That doesn't happen very often, especially on a story of national interest,

This morning there were two more direct hits through Google. One was from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, searching "Jan Brewer Sucks," and the other was from Houston, Texas with the opposite intent. The Houston query was for "Jan Brewer Rocks." Houston, you have a problem! Using the terms "Jan Brewer" combined with "Rocks" brought you to Pa Rock's world! Welcome, stranger!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Jan Brewer is an Embarrassment!

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

A few days ago I referred to Arizona's Jan Brewer as the "third-rate governor of a fourth-rate state." Well, so much for understatement. Today, in a flurry of national press coverage, our state's chief embarrassment (if you don't count Joe Arpaio and Russel Pearce) outdid herself by signing Pearce's bigoted Senate Bill 1070 into law. Now every lawman in Arizona has an extra duty (an unfunded mandate) to double as an immigration officer - and every brown person in the state must constantly be in possession of documents showing proof of residency.

The last time Arizona reached this level of national embarrassment was in 1987 when newly elected Governor Evan Mecham rescinded the Martin Luther King holiday as his first official act upon being sworn in. A national tourist boycott followed that was so effective that Arizona voters reinstated the holiday in 1992.

Another boycott is in the works, this one being organized by Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva. That's right, an Arizona congressman is proposing a boycott of his own state! Supporters of the racist bill have been busy today calling in death threats to the congressman's staff, causing him to close two constituent offices. (Our teabaggers aren't much on subtlety!)

I'm with you on this one, Raul. When my kids tell me that they are going to come visit, I plan to meet them in Albuquerque, San Diego, or some other civilized location.

And as for you, Jan Brewer, your timing sucks - sucks for you, that is! Not only did you sign this racist screed today, but today was also the day that the ballots for Proposition 100 arrived in the mail - the proposal where you would get rid of your budget nightmare through imposition of a "temporary" sales tax - a tax specifically designed to be born by the working poor.

Well, Jan, if you can turn your back on your state, I can too. My guess is that your complete lack of concern for our state's Hispanic residents will cost you dearly in this special election - and it will force you and your worthless legislative sycophants to get to work and come up with a sensible solution to our wrecked budget - one that will involve putting some of the burden on the wealthy, for a change!

Jan Brewer, you are an embarrassment to our state, and if you don't have the good sense to be embarrassed over your crass political maneuvering, then I am embarrassed for you!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Nature Calls

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Something is going on with the Arizona weather. It started yesterday morning with a welcome reprieve from the rapidly climbing temperatures. The thermometer had been stuck in the low nineties for a week or so, and I am definitely not mentally ready for another Arizona summer. Yesterday, though, the temp topped out in the seventies, and today has been the same. The breeze has become a constant, beating the hell out of my numerous wind chimes which probably drives my neighbors nuts - and there are even some clouds. Rain, however, has eluded us.

But something is fixing to happen. This evening as I took another sweep across my award-winning gravel patch looking for those sneaky weeds, I happened to notice that the ants are out in force - busily doing something, though what I do not know. When ants were on the march back in the Ozarks it usually meant that rain was on the way. I am hoping that desert ants have the same weather radar as their hillbilly cousins.

My cat is also acting very strange, and that has my interest as well. For the past two days Scroungy Bastard has been as clingy as a Velcro shirt. He is currently lying on my computer desk as I type this, and when I leave this room he will be squarely underfoot. (It would be so embarrassing to be wheeled off to the home because of my cat!)

I wonder if the doctor would take Scroungy Bastard in lieu of my next co-pay?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Arizona Nine

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Arizona Senate Bill 1070 is a racist writ that forces anyone who might be mistaken for an illegal alien (obviously a brown illegal alien) to carry proof of residency. It is bigoted because it's only purpose is to harass Mexican-Americans. If Canadians, Australians, and Brits were also targets, all of us would have to worry about carrying proof a residency - a de facto state identification card.

This bigoted bill forces underpaid and overworked police officers to assume the additional duties of functioning as immigration officers. It also forces communities to quit serving as sanctuaries to people whose only crime might be that their parents crossed illegally into the United States twenty years ago and brought their children with them.

This shameful piece of legislation has been passed by both houses of the Arizona legislature and is now sitting on Governor Jan Brewer's desk awaiting her signature.

Governor Brewer is being coy about whether she will sign the legislation, let it become law without signing it, or veto it. She will sign it. This is Arizona, after all, where the ignorant rule - and Jan, the consummate politician who inherited her office through default, wants to be elected to her own full term.

But today the bill sits on her desk, focusing national attention on the third-rate governor of a fourth-rate state. Today the bill sits on her desk, and all kinds of people are out in front of the state house protesting. Some of the protesters are loud, some are creative, and many are just angry. There are signs, and stunts, and news crews. It would be a great place to set up a hot dog stand. Running a hot dog stand would put some much needed revenue in the state's coffers, and it would give our lame-brained legislators something productive to do with their time.

According to a report in the on-line edition of today's Phoenix New Times, nine people were arrested at the state house today. Their "crime" was chaining themselves to the state house door in opposition to SB 1070. One activist associated with the group handed out a statement from the Nine that called for "massive and ongoing civil disobedience to be organized all over Arizona and the rest of the nation." The press release continued, "A people can only remain oppressed for so long before they rise from the shadows, from the margins, from oblivion...We chain ourselves to the Arizona State Capitol because nothing else has worked."

Forthright action coupled with elegant prose. The tide of ignorance has to turn somewhere at some time. Why not right here in Phoenix - today!

The Arizona Nine were eventually arrested and hauled off to the 4th Street Jail, the entry point to Joe Arpaio's gulag. These people are heroes: Faviola Augustin, Leilani Clark, Daisy Cruz, Gregorio Montes de Oca, Justine Garcia, Ernesto Lopez, Rubin Lucio Palomares, Jr., David Anthony Portugal, Jr. and Armando Rios. They are in jail tonight for all of us - to protect our Constitutional rights to peacefully assemble and to speak freely.

It is never easy for anyone to get out of Joe's house of horrors, and several people have even died while being incarcerated in Maricopa County. Protest in this city, county, and state is not an easy process, and it can be very dangerous. Those who step forward to protect our rights deserve the respect of all of us.

Arizona Nine - you rock!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday's Hate Group: The Arizona Legislature

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Emergency services are being cut, police are at greater risk of harm or death because more unstable individuals are running around with guns, good teachers are being laid off, classroom sizes are ballooning, brown citizens are having to meet standards that their white neighbors do not, and smart tourists are staying away. Why? Because the Arizona legislature is too busy race-baiting and catering to the tea-bagger crowd while ignoring the state's real fiscal problems.

Individuals wanting to carry concealed weapons now may do so without getting a permit - without going through a background check - and without even having any safety training or training in how to use their weapon. There will be blood, and not all of it will belong to criminals.

A bill is on the governor's desk awaiting her signature that will require anyone who looks like an immigrant to have proof of residency on them at all times. Brown people beware - because they are talking about you! (Never mind that fully one-third of Arizona's legal residents are of Hispanic descent.)

Congressman Raul Grijalva of Tucson, himself an Hispanic American, is calling on a boycott of Arizona if Governor Brewer signs this piece of racist legislation.

Severe economic problems coupled with a boycott of the state: yup, that's a recipe for success!

Today our legislature passed a bill requiring anyone wanting to be on an Arizona ballot as a candidate for President of the United States, to formally show proof of their eligibility to state officials. In other words, a piece of loony birther crap. Phoenix Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema said the bill is one of several measures that are making Arizona “the laughing stock of the nation.”

Arizona has no right, nor has it the ability, to impose its own standards on a federal election.

So instead of figuring out how we are going to keep the schools open, our esteemed legislators are wasting their time posturing for small headlines in the local press.

Arizona is in serious financial straits, and the state legislature is too cowardly or too stupid - or, more likely, both - to do anything that would resolve the issue. Instead they spend their days throwing mud and distracting the public with crazy legislation that makes the entire state look as crazy and stupid as its legislative leaders.

Representative Sinema is right, the state has become a laughing stock. Congressman Grijalva is also right, until the state regains its sanity, people need to stay the hell away from Arizona!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Cult of April 19th

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Rachel Maddow is speaking in the background as I type this. She is narrating a documentary on American terrorist, Timothy McVeigh, aka the Oklahoma City bomber. The program has a lot of never-before-seen footage of interviews with the madman McVeigh, along with a some good background information brought together by the MSNBC team. It is an important piece of journalism, one that will be replayed and discussed for years.

Today is the fifteenth anniversary of McVeigh's monumental crime, a date that he deliberately chose to coincide with the second anniversary of the fiery end of the Branch Davidian standoff near Waco, Texas. Two tragedies, both permanently linked with the date of April 19, and both inexorably linked with a citizen's revolt against the government.

Also on April 19, 1775, was the infamous "shot heard round the world" at Lexington, MA, another citizen's protest that eventually led to the downfall of one government and the creation of another.

All of these events associated with April 19th have found their way into the muddled minds of today's tea-baggers, with the result being some sort of gun-totting national day of protest - a rambling, masturbatory experience that brought groups of hillbillies into contact with one another so that they could wave their guns around and denounce the imagined tyranny of the United States government.

I heard one tea-bagger bragging on the news tonight that April 19th is also Hitler's birthday. It isn't - he was born April 20, 1889, but just the idea that some yokels wanted that to be a part of their fantasy fabric makes today's demonstrations all the scarier.

And they will tell you that they are not racist, but if a white Republican was in the White House running the national debt into the stratosphere, they would all be home drinking beer and playing with their bug-zappers.

McVeigh, a former U.S. soldier, claimed that he was strongly influenced by Andrew Macdonald's The Turner Diaries, a racist, paranoid fantasy about the United States government taking everyone's guns away after a Jew in Congress got a bill passed outlawing guns. The narrator of the story had a pistol hidden in his home, but three black federal agents kicked the door in and found it - get the picture - a tea-bagger's wet dream!

To pay homage to the auspicious date, I have just begun reading The Turner Diaries, and after plowing only a few pages into it, I can report that it is every bit as ugly as I expected it to be. Unfortunately, it is something that right-wing book burners would probably like. Look for the Texas Text Book Commission to make it required reading in high schools!

How sad that the some in our society feel the need to honor a mass murderer with national demonstrations. How sad that they cannot and will not allow an elected government to govern. How sad that these individuals have to stroke their egos (or stroke something) by imagining that their government is their enemy.

Something in America needs to change, but it is not the government.

Monday's Poetry: "Solidarity Forever"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

It has been a while since I last posted a Monday poem, and I need to get back into the habit. Some of these poetic postings have been quite popular. In fact, hardly a day goes by that someone doesn't stop by The Ramble to read "The Buck in the Snow" or "Sounds of Silence." I posted once during the week of my Dad's funeral, and, after that, sort of got out of the habit. The spirit just did not move me like it had been doing.

Saturday as I was marching on the treadmill listening to my iPod, Pete Seeger's version of "Solidarity Forever" came on and walked me away to another place, a better country where those who perform the labor reap the benefits. Oh, that it were so!

This union anthem was written by Ralph Chaplin in January of 1915. He said that he was lying on his living room floor with pen and paper, and the words just came to him - and great words they are. If you feel like singing, the tune is "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

This selection is respectfully dedicated to the men and women of America's unions. May you grow strong and prosper, and may unions take over every coal mine in America because that is the only way that our miners will ever be safe!

Solidarity Forever
by Ralph Chaplin

1. When the union`s inspiration
Through the workers` blood shall run,
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun,
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one,
For the Union makes us strong.

Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever
For the Union makes us strong.

2. Is there ought we hold in common
With the greedy parasite?
Who would lash us into serfdom
And would crush us with his might,
Is there anything left to us
But to organize and fight?
For the union makes us strong.

3. It is we who ploughed the prairies,
Built the cities where they trade,
Dug the mines and built the workshops,
Endless miles of railroad laid;
Now we stand outcast and starving,
`Mid the wonders we have made,
But the Union makes us strong.

4. All the world that`s owned by idle drones
Is ours and ours alone,
We have laid the wide foundations
Built it skyward, stone by stone
It is ours! Not to slave in
But to master and to own
While the union makes us strong.

5. They have taken untold millions
That they never toiled to earn,
But without our brain and muscle
Not a single wheel can turn;
We can break their haughty power,
Gain our freedom when we learn
That the Union makes us strong.

6. In our hands is placed a power,
Greater than their hoarded gold,
Greater than the might of atoms,
Magnified a thousandfold;
We can bring to birth a new world,
From the ashes of the old
For the Union makes us strong.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mega Millions Comes to Arizona - and It Won't Solve the Deficit!

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

The state of Arizona continues to try and avoid bankruptcy by placing more and more of the state's monumental deficit on the backs of the poor. Today the state welcomed its second multi-state lottery, Mega Millions, to it's grand scheme for raising money in a way that won't negatively impact the rich. Mega Millions joins Powerball in separating money from the suckers who dream of one day being rich - but realistically know that can never happen through the stacked economy under which we all suffer. A standard three or four-job family is lucky to be able to buy groceries and pay the mortgage, let alone indulge in any luxuries. But a dollar or three invested in the lottery at least buys the opportunity to daydream about what it would be like to be suddenly rich.

The lottery sells dreams, nothing more. Watch the dreamers at the convenience stores scratching tickets. Occasionally they uncover a two or five-dollar win, but they always use that money for more tickets, searching in vain for the big payoff. It's a sucker's game - and it primarily impacts the poor.

Arizona is also engaged in a massive political push to pass a temporary sales tax, again, a tax that targets the poor. The rich may only need to spend ten percent (or less) of their income on consumables each week - things upon which sales tax is paid, but the poor are likely to spend most of their income on things that will bear the sales tax. Sales tax is very regressive and a most unfair way to raise revenue.

So the plan is to have the poor pay the state's way out of deficit spending. But our legislature is hellbent on making a bad situation worse. They recently passed bigoted legislation that forces city and county police into being de-facto immigration officers, and makes being brown legally suspect. The result of this nonsense will be more lawsuits and an even bigger drain on our state's treasury - not to mention taking the police away from real crime.

And, as of this week, it is no longer necessary to have a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Arizona - hence no training and no background checks either. These sand rats are scary enough even when they have to jump through all of the legal hoops to carry a weapon, but now they will make the deranged hillbillies from Deliverance look like college professors and business executives. I can't imagine any tourists wanting to bring their loved ones into this Arizona craziness - so this will assuredly mean less tourist dollars.

Proposition One, the sales tax measure, will go down in flames, and gun crime will go up. Schools will close, and tourists will stay away. And one day soon Arizona will capture the honor of being the first state in the nation to officially go bankrupt. The only way that won't happen is if the state's politicians actually develop the gumption to lead, and amaze us all by passing some real taxes - taxes that impact those with money - taxes on property and income. Anything less is a prescription for failure.

The next best option will be annexation by New Mexico - but I doubt that they would have us!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Geographical Cure

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

People who deal with sadness and trauma on a daily basis often vent through in-house humor that would be regarded as very offensive by those outside of the profession. Police, firemen, EMT's, doctors, and even social workers see so much hurt and ugliness that often the way to maintain sanity is to close the door and share completely inappropriate comments with co-workers.

One of the inappropriate gems that I remember from my days working child protection in Missouri was "Greyhound Therapy," a way of resolving a case with a particularly irksome family by finding a way to get them to move into another jurisdiction, or, holy of holies, across a state line! They then became someone else's problem. In actuality, that seldom happened, but the big joke always was that the best resolution for a particular case would be "Greyhound Therapy." Yuk, yuk. It was a big, in-house joke for social workers, but it was a joke, a stress-buster designed to lighten the never-ending workload with a little humor.

This week I was reading about how the Catholic Church (God's gift to pedophiles everywhere) employed a similar process for dealing with their pedophile priests, but theirs was, unfortunately not a joke. Priests who couldn't control their urges to molest children were moved, sometimes on an international basis, in a practice that some elements of the Church referred to as "the geographical cure."

The Associated Press recently reported on the practice of "the geographical cure," after they found thirty cases of priests accused of sexually abusing children who were moved abroad. The AP report talked about one priest who admitted abuse in Los Angeles and was sent by the Church to the Philippines - where US church officials mailed him checks and told him not to reveal their source. Another vignette involved a Canadian priest who was convicted of sexual abuse of a minor and then transferred to France where he was convicted of more sexual abuse a few years later.

A former Benedictine monk told the AP, "The pattern is if a priest gets into trouble and it's close to becoming a scandal or if the law might get involved, they send them to the missions abroad."

Any organization can be plagued by the presence of a few bad apples, but where the Catholic Church falls down is in its tendency to hide the abuse in the ill-fated attempt to protect the integrity and reputation of the Church. That policy hasn't worked and it won't work. People who sexually abuse children do not change, and moving them around and entertaining them with attempts at brief therapy won't cure anything. It just puts more children at risk.

Our experiences in childhood impact us throughout life. A child who is done grievous emotional damage by a representative of the Church, and then forced to live in shame to protect the reputation of the Church, has been seriously re-victimized by the very people who should have brought down God's wrath on his original abuser.

Pope Benedict XVI was a member of Hitler's Nazi Youth Corps when he was young, and whether he was a voluntary member or not is not the issue. The point is that his exposure to, and participation in, a fascist organization for young people colored his world view and continues to impact his thinking to this very day.

Pope Benedict XVI is not a kind man, and he is not a good man. He is a lingering shadow of Europe's darkest days, a man who is hellbent on protecting an arcane institution, and he is deaf to the cries of his Church's children.

The Pope's fingerprints are all over the Church's continuing sex abuse scandals. It is well past time for him to go!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Kiddie Gulags

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

One of the purposes of Pa Rock's Ramble is to serve as a repository for all of the things that I have written over the years. The collected works include, opinion (lots and lots of opinion!), fiction, really bad poetry, newspaper columns and magazine articles, and some old academic papers. By storing all of those things here, I don't have to tear through the house looking for something that I wrote fifteen years ago, I just have to search the index of The Ramble.

A decade ago I was attending graduate school at the University of Missouri studying social work. I have archived several academic papers that I wrote during that period within this blog. Of those, one in particular has stirred quite a bit of interest. Juvenile Boot Camps was posted on 13 December 2008. That piece of unfinished research draws more visitors than almost anything else saved on The Ramble.

I subscribe to a service that tracks visitors to Pa Rock's Ramble. It tells me where the visitor is from (usually), the search engine that they used to find the site, and the terms that they employed that brought them to one of my pages. Unfortunately, many of the visitors to Juvenile Boot Camps aren't there out of academic curiosity or research, but appear to be parents looking for places to warehouse their problem kids.

Yesterday someone from an undisclosed location went to and posted a search for "all boot camps in Florida that will take a nine-year-old." That search by itself is ugly enough, but when it is combined with a news story out of Florida today, the ugliness expands exponentially.

Today's news story said that the Feds have decided not to file charges of civil rights violations against employees at the Bay County Sheriff's Office Boot Camp over the death of a fourteen-year-old African-American youth named Martin Lee Anderson. Anderson was abused by employees at the camp on his first day there and subsequently died. The boy could not keep up during a mandatory run, and camp video tapes showed that employees responded to his suspected "faking" by shoving smelling salts up his nose and punching him. An attorney for one of the salaried camp thugs stated that it was a question of intent, and there was never any intent "other than to straighten this young man out." That same attorney labeled the whole sordid affair as "a tragic accident that's messed up a lot of lives."

Martin Lee Anderson is not the only child to have been murdered through callous treatment or neglect in one of these barbaric facilities. Several more are named in my posting of 13 December 2008, along with the specific tough love processes (aka tortures and sadistic practices) that led to their premature demise. Read it and weep.

Children do not need boot camps. They need love and attention, constant attention for twenty years or more. Successful parenting isn't easy - it takes lots and lots of hard work. And any adult who gives up on a child by the age of nine needs to be looking for a boot camp for himself - not for his kid!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Every Word is True (Part IV)

by Pa Rock
Rattled Home Owner

Rock’s Roost is my little farm in the Ozarks. It is currently unoccupied and overgrown, but several years ago that pine-shaded patch of nirvana rocked with the vitality and exuberance of a group of critters that would have made Ellie Mae Clampett collard green with envy. Having never lived on a farm before, I had been anxious to soak up the complete sensory experience, from the odd sights and raucous sounds to the unique and often pungent smells.

It was, in fact, the auditory and olfactory memories of life at Rock’s Roost back in the Ozarks that attacked my consciousness as soon as I stepped in the back door of my Arizona trailer last winter. The squeals and grunts were unmistakable, and there is nothing in the world that smells quite like pigs. I carefully set the bag of groceries down on the cabinet, took a couple of deep breaths, and headed off into the living room. It was going to be one of those evenings!

I should have been shocked by the sight that greeted me inside of my own house, but the older I get, the harder it becomes to even feign shock. I’ve seen most of it before, and what I haven’t seen, I’ve read about or stumbled across on the Internet – but never anything like this. (Okay, I was somewhat shocked!)

The winter sun was sinking and the interior of the trailer was cast in dusky shadows with the only light coming from the television. Sprawled across the couch still in his quasi-military garb, was the old hippie that I had seen doing a handstand on the wall that surrounds the Wheezin’ Geezer Trailer Park. He was totally engrossed in an episode of Absolutely Fabulous, the one where Eddy and Patsy show up drunk at Eddy’s father’s graveside service and keep falling into open graves. The hippie had a bath towel spread across his lap, my personal bath towel, with a baby pig lying on the towel drinking what appeared to be milk from a baby bottle. He was rubbing the piglet’s back as it nursed the bottle.

As I scanned the darkened room trying to come up with an appropriate ice-breaker to introduce myself to the vagrant on my couch, I spotted a second piglet. The one was snoozing quite peacefully in the armchair on another bath towel, my second favorite towel!

“Pigs?” I stammered.

“Javelinas.” My unwelcome guest replied, never taking his eyes off of the television.

Oh great, I thought. Wild pigs! Mama javelina was probably racing around my trailer right at that moment building up the speed that she would need to charge through the wall and come in for the kill. Why did I suspect that she would go for me first?

(Okay, I know that javelinas aren't true pigs, but they're close enough to qualify as far as I'm concerned.)

“Er, uh, can I get you something, Mr….?”

The hippie holding the javelina piglet glanced at me briefly as if he suddenly realized that I was there, rolled his eyes, and then yelled toward the back of the trailer, “Hey, Zero. Get your butt in here and beer me!”

Somebody else was enjoying my unintentional hospitality. A light suddenly shone in the hall as the bedroom door opened. It was a guest bedroom, the one where I keep my computer. I saw his shadow approaching along the wall before the Goth kid in the trench coat actually stepped into the living room. He completely ignored me and responded to the hippie. “Sorry, Jules. I was checking my email. They’ve moved Mom to a halfway house.”

“Let me know when they move her to a cemetery and then we’ll have a real party.” Jules reached down to the floor and retrieved his empty which he threw directly at Zero’s head. Goth Boy surprised me, and probably Jules as well, by deftly catching it in one hand. Armed with the empty, he stepped around me without acknowledging my presence and walked into the kitchen. The old hippie licked his pig-stroking hand and resumed the piggy massage, all the while watching the other party at the cemetery on television.

Feeling completely ignored, I stepped between Jules and the television in order to turn on the floor lamp in the corner of the room. As the light illuminated the room, my unwelcome guest seemed to hiss softly. It was a hiss that sounded vaguely familiar.

“Where is my cat?” He ignored me and continued to feed and rub his javelina while watching Eddy and Patsy wreck a funeral. “I said, where is my cat?” This time I was more forceful. I was tired of being ignored in my own home.

“Cat ain’t yours.” He continued to be engrossed in Ab Fab.

“Okay,” I slowly acknowledged his acknowledgment of me. “Where is your cat then?”

“Cats don’t belong to anybody. Read your Twain.” He licked his palm again and resumed the rubbing ritual.

Goth Boy came back in carrying an ice chest. He sat it on the middle of the coffee table, took off the lid, and pulled out a beer which he opened and handed to Jules. “Zero, you’re the man!” Jules was termporarily brought out of his near-hypnotic state by the ice-cold alcoholic beverage. The poster boy for depression took a second beer from the chest, popped the top, and handed it to me. Before I could sputter out a ‘thank you,’ he was gathering up the neglected piglet from the armchair and placing it on his shoulder much like one might hold a contented infant that needed burping.

It was at that moment that the automatic front porch light came on, and Zero and I both saw her at the same time. The bag lady who walks the imaginary pit bull had her face pressed against the window just above Jules’ head, staring in at the gathering. When Jules saw our expressions he jerked his head around and almost came nose-to-nose with Crazy Woman. This time he did hiss, loudly! As she turned to flee, Jules stood, snatched Zero’s piglet away from him, and charged out of the door in hot pursuit with a javelina piglet in each hand.

“What just happened?” I asked, somewhat dazed, as the door slammed shut.

Zero ignored me (I was getting used to being ignored!) and began picking up the living room. He took the towels to the washing machine, dumped Jules’ open beer in the kitchen sink and rinsed out the baby bottle. When he had finished those chores, he came back and gathered up the ice chest. As Zero headed toward the front door, I placed myself squarely in front of him. “I can’t let some kid go walking out of my house with an ice chest full of beer.”

“It’s my beer.”

“That doesn’t make any difference.” He was holding the ice-chest by its sides. I reached out and placed my hands on its top and bottom, preparing to grapple. “It will be safe with me. If your reprobate buddy wants it, he can come and take it – but you’re underage and I’m not going to get kicked out of the park for corrupting a minor.”

“I’m sixty-one-years-old,” he said, matter-of-factly.


“It’s true. “

“Who’s Ricky Ricardo?” I challenged.

“Desi Arnaz,” he snapped back. “Who’s Ethel Mertz?”

Got me – but I tried a bluff: “Fred’s wife.”

“Vivian Vance.”

“Okay. You know your Nick at Nite. But you’re still not sixty-years-old.

“Sixty-one. I turned sixty on Easter Sunday, 2008.”

I found myself involuntarily letting go of the ice chest. Zero seized the opportunity and fled the scene.

I stood in stunned silence for several minutes contemplating the sudden tilt of the universe - and the fact that I, too, had turned sixty on Easter Sunday of 2008! I was still wrapping my head around the rapidly expanding weirdness when Scroungy Bastard made his nonchalant entrance through the doggy door and hopped up to his regular spot on the couch – as if being gone for several weeks was the most natural thing in the world. He curled up for his evening siesta, and just before dozing off, that damned cat looked directly at me and rolled his eyes!

It took just a few minutes for me to get things turned off and the doors locked – though why I still bothered with locks was beyond me. Then, taking my cue from Scroungy Bastard, or whoever he was, I somehow made it to the back bedroom where I curled up on my bed, closed my eyes, and tried to get to sleep by counting javelinas!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Yard Champ!

by Pa Rock
Landscaping Fool

Word was flying around the Wheezin Geeezer Trailer Park this evening that I have won the Manager's Award for Best Yard for the month of April. This is big, really big! Most of my neighbors have been retired since FDR was in office, and they are free to putter around and do yard stuff all day every day. Pa Rock, on the other hand, is limited to working like a galley slave on evenings (sometimes until well after dark) and weekends.

The high honor will come with a fifty dollar check. (It's a good thing that my kids don't know how much of their inheritance went into winning that fifty - or they would be hauling me to the Home!)

If you make it out to the Valley of Hell, be sure to come by and see my prize-winning yard!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sarah Palin Travels in Style

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Tea bagger sweetheart Sarah Palin is making a financial killing now that she is out of office and free to milk the suckers - you betcha, she is! The former half-term governor of Alaska is reportedly commanding a cool one hundred grand per appearance and has amassed around $12 million since leaving office. (Gracie Allen never raked in that kind of dough, and she made a lot more sense than Palin!)

Some remarkable insight into Palin's travelling circus was revealed this week when a group of students at California State University Stanislaus climbed into a dumpster and came out with documents relating to her non-negotiable demands for a speaking engagement.

Palin is scheduled to speak to the Stanislaus Foundation at the University in June. The Associated Press had requested release of the details of her speaking contract under the California Public Records Act, but the University staff immediately went into lying mode and responded that they did not have any documents relating to Palin's appearance, and they referred the matter over to the Foundation. A spokesman for the Stanislaus Foundation said that the contract had a non-disclosure clause. (Ms. Palin didn't want those pesky reporters messing in her business, and, in effect, had a clause in the contract forbidding the release of any details.) Apparently, according to the same spokesman, auxiliary groups like foundations don't have the same obligations for open records as the university itself does.

Enter the students: they heard that documents were being shredded on a weekend when campus staff members were supposed to be on furlough. Two ambitious treasure hunters digging through the trash came up with five pages of the Palin contract materials - and took them straight to Sacramento!

Some of Ms. Palin's demands included first class air fare for two - or passage on a private jet that "must be a Lear 60 or larger." She also had to be guaranteed a suite and two single rooms in a deluxe hotel. (Not too shabby for somebody who rails against "elitists.") She then got downright Bushian with demands that questions were to be collected from the audience in advance, pre-screened, and a designated speaker appointed to read the selected questions so some rogue audience member wouldn't be able to slip in a hardball. (The former half-term governor apparently learned her lesson about winging-it with Katie Couric.)

Other Palin demands included banning cameras and recording equipment from the venue, and two bottles of water at her lectern along with bendable straws!

The good news here, the really good news, is that college students are beginning to question authority again and root through the rubbish. Thank goodness those preppy assholes from the Reagan and Bush years have left school and gone on to Wall Street and/or prison. The rabble-rousers are back, and it's about damned time!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens Agree with Me

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

On March 26th I posted a piece in this blog that was titled "Fire the Pope!" It was really meant as a kindness, because what the reptilian old reprobate really deserves is a good public caning followed by life in one of the Vatican's dungeons. You see, our esteemed Pope, back when he was just a lowly Cardinal named Ratzinger, did much to protect pedophile priests, some of whom were able to remain in contact with children for years due to his overt neglect and misguided goal of protecting the reputation of the Church - a goal that overrode the protection of children. The result was predicable: more children were scarred for life, and the reputation of the Church went into the crapper anyway.

Nice work, Ratzinger!

I don't claim to be an atheist, but I am definitely repulsed by the God of the Christian Fundamentalists, a white male deity who is obsessed with hatred and vengeance, and who smites down anyone who dares to have a secular thought. The moralistic crackers who promote this wrathful God must live in constant fear that somebody somewhere is having fun. I believe in the historical Jesus, a teacher who roamed the desert promoting weird ideas like peace and love and making sure that weddings had plenty of wine. I doubt very seriously that the poor son of a carpenter gave a camel's ass about who was sleeping with whom under those starry desert nights.

The politicizing of religion came about during the first millennium of the Church's existence. If the princes of the Church were to live in gilded palaces, certain things had to be incorporated into the religion - things like rules of behavior, fear of pissing God off, and a big collection plate. The Christian fundamentalists of today see themselves as God's eyes and ears on earth, and their mission is to amass enough cash and political clout to keep all of the heathens in line. These morals police have no interest in niceties like love or compassion.

So, again, I am not an atheist, but my God is a much more pleasant and understanding deity than the one worshiped by the fundies. I don't want to be ruled by a God like theirs, and living in their Heaven would be my definition of Hell.

But Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are atheists - bold, intelligent, and well-reasoned atheists. Both, like me, are outraged over the Pope's enabling of the pedophile priest plague, and both, like me, are calling for the removal from office of this criminal. Whereas I just called for his firing, Dawkins and Hitchens have gone a step further and are calling for his arrest. The Pope will be traveling to the United Kingdom in September, and Dawkins and Hitchens believe that would provide a great opportunity to effect the pontiff's arrest for crimes against humanity.

The Vatican feels that the Pope is immune from arrest because he is a head-of-state. Though not everyone regards Vatican City, a few square blocks located in the heart of Rome, as a sovereign country, those who do might do well to remember Manuel Noreiga and Saddam Hussein, two other despotic heads-of-state who were carted off to prison.

Pope Benedict XVI, aka Cardinal Ratzinger, caused serious harm to be done to many children, and he did squat to bring pedophile and rapist priests to justice. Upon reflection, I believe that just firing him would not send the proper message. Lock his ass up!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Richard Dawkins Has Been Roaming My Hood

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Richard Dawkins, a world-renowned evolutionary biologist and bestselling author, had the following to say in a pitch for the magazine, Free Inquiry:

"If you live in America, the chances are good that your next door neighbours believe the following: the Inventor of the laws of physics and Programmer of the DNA code decided to enter the uterus of a Jewish virgin, got himself born, then deliberately had himself tortured and executed because he couldn't think of a better way to forgive the theft of an apple, committed at the instigation of a talking snake. As Creator of the majestically expanding universe, he not only understands relativistic gravity and quantum mechanics but actually designed them. Yet what he really cares about is "sin," abortion, how often you go to church, and whether gay people should marry. Statistically, the chances are that your neighbours believe all that - and they can vote."

Mr. Dawkins has obviously spent some time cruising through the Wheezin' Geezer trailer park. Most likely he walked down Baptist Boulevard, Righteous Road, Sanctimony Street, and the Hallelujah Highway on a Sunday morning when my bleary-eyed neighbors were scrubbing off their hangovers, slipping concealed weapons into their shoulder holsters and purses, and heading off to church to sing the praises of the Prince of Peace, a white Messiah who can be interpreted in such a way as to reinforce all of their biases and hatred.

Hey Richard, next time come by on a Saturday night. These folks can be a lot of fun when they're drinking!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Russian Adoptions Need to Stop!

by Pa Rock
Social Worker

Americans and Russians were rightfully shocked this week when an American adoptive mother sent her 7-year-old adoptive Russian son back to Russia - alone on an airplane for a ten-hour flight - with a note returning him to the care of the Russian government. The woman's mother (the child's adoptive grandmother) flew with the boy from their home in Shelbyville, Tennessee, to Washington, DC, where she placed him on a plane bound for Moscow. The grandmother had paid a man in Russia two hundred dollars to meet the plane and turn the boy over to authorities.

The legal term for what the two women did is "child abandonment," and it is a serious violation of law, even in Tennessee. This boy, Artyom Savelyev (a.k.a. Justin Hansen), is a child, not some defective merchandise that can be returned to Wal-Mart with a scowl and a sales receipt.

The adoptive mother, Torry Hansen (a registered nurse), and her mother, Nancy Hansen, felt that they had received defective merchandise. They went to Russia last September to pick up young Artyom and things apparently went fairly smoothly for several months - although neighbors reported never seeing the child, and he was apparently not enrolled in school. A social worker visited the home this past January and reported things were fine.

But that quickly started to change. Nancy Hansen said that the boy began to exhibit problems like hitting, spitting, and kicking. Then, the grandmother added, he started drawing pictures of the house they lived in - and in those pictures the house was burning. Granny told the Associated Press, "It got to be where you feared for your safety. It was terrible."

Mom and Grandmother had a problem. They could have invested some time and effort in serious family counseling, but like a couple of angry Wal-Mart shoppers, they took a more direct approach to solving their problem by returning the seven-year-old child to Russia.

That solution worked for them, at least until the state of Tennessee makes a decision whether to file charges or not. Mom obviously did not have the smarts or stamina to parent - but what a tragic message to give a child. He was abandoned in Russia, perhaps by necessity, and then he was abandoned in the United States, by an apparent emotional cripple who should never have been allowed to adopt in the first place.

The Russian government immediately suspended the license of the World Association for Children and Parents of Renton, Washington, the agency that facilitated the adoption of Artyom. The Russians are also threatening to suspend the practice of letting Americans adopt children.

That needs to happen, and it needs to occur now.

I have worked in adoptions and have some knowledge of adopters, adoptees, and the problems that are likely to result as the process occurs. I have helped arrange adoptions with parents who presented as perfect. They passed home studies, lengthy interviews, and completed state sponsored training. Many times these adoptions worked, but all had their trials-by-fire.

A parent who didn't have the resolve and personal inner-strength to persevere would often fold like a cheap lawn chair - and another plan would have to be established for the child that they once thought would complete them as a person. Taking a child out of an adoptive home at the request of the parents is one of the saddest things that a social worker will ever endure, and it leaves a scar on the child that may never heal.

Why do people go abroad to adopt when there are currently well over one hundred thousand kids in foster care in the United States waiting for adoptive homes?

American children in foster care are some of the most wonderful kids on the planet! They have been through situations that most of us could not imagine, and all they want is a family of their own, a safe group of people who will love them on good days and bad, for better or worse, forever. Unfortunately, many potential adoptive parents aren't in it to help kids, although many believe they are. They are adopting to fill some void or correct some defect in their own lives. They are looking for the perfect child, some kid who will be relatively trouble-free and will look good in a family Christmas photo.

Foster children are often bright, funny, and loving, but they come with emotional baggage that will manifest itself at some point in their lives. Many are older children who have vivid memories of abuse and dysfunctional families, and some still have contact with their birth families. Others are handicapped or have disabilities. These kids aren't really what the discerning kid-shopper is looking for.

To avoid the "problems" associated with adopting children from foster care, many people have engaged in the expensive process of adopting children from the international community. Adoptions from places like China and Korea have become fairly commonplace. The children coming from these countries are young, healthy, and don't have annoying family ties that could prove to be disruptive to the adoption.

For people obsessed with finding a young, white child, Russia presents as a viable option. Not only would there be no bothersome family ties to break, the child might fit seamlessly into that Christmas photograph. Unfortunately, it has been known for well over a decade that these children often come with emotional problems that can manifest themselves in serious ways.

I seldom read Redbook, but in the winter of 1997 while working a particularly slow evening at the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline, a co-worker handed me a copy of the September 1, 1997, issue of that publication. She wanted me to read an article about a young boy who had been adopted out of Russia and then murdered by his adoptive mother. The article was entitled "An Adoption Tragedy: Did This Baby Ever Have a Chance?" It is still available over the Internet.

The Redbook article detailed the short life and brutal death of a toddler named David Polreis, Jr, who had been adopted from Russia six months before his death.

(Six months - roughly the same amount of time that Artyom was in the United States before his mother sent him back to Russia.)

Young David was adopted by David Polreis, Sr, a vice-president at a ConAgra meat-packing plant, and his wife, Renee, of Greeley, Colorado. By the time that the couple adopted David in late 1995, approximately 11,000 children had been adopted out of orphanages in Russia and the eastern block countries following the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.

Young David was an ordinary child for the first few months, then he began to experience fits of rage, particularly toward his 42-year-old adoptive mother.

Emergency responders were called to the Polreis home before daylight on the morning of February 10, 1996. They rushed upstairs and found the 24-pound little boy lying unresponsive on the floor in his pajamas. He had brown vomit leaking from his nose, and his eyes were half-open staring into space, with one pupil larger than the other. When they unzipped his pajamas, they discovered that the little boy was covered from head to toe with bruising.

As the emergency crew removed the critically injured child from the house, Renee stood downstairs not speaking to anyone. David's father was out of town on business, and his older brother was away visiting his grandmother.

David was airlifted to Denver where doctors immediately determined that he was the victim of a severe beating. His mother did not go to the hospital, instead she holed-up in her minivan calling attorneys on her cell phone. David died shortly after arriving at the hospital. That afternoon police inspectors found two broken, bloody wooden spoons wrapped in a bloodstained diaper and hidden in the Polreis' garage.

Renee Polreis was in jail by the following evening, charged with child abuse resulting in death. Her husband posted $80,000 bond soon after that and the mother was reunited with the remainder of her family.

At the pretrial hearing, the defense attorney suggested that the child had killed himself in a fit of rage, but nobody bought that fiction. Attention then began to focus on a psychological condition called Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), an argument that if children don't bond with an adult very early in life (i.e. during the first days and weeks), they will be unattached and that will express itself as they get older, often violently.

Other parents who had adopted from the eastern block countries spoke up to say that they had had similar experiences with children that they adopted - although they had not chosen to resolve the problem by beating the children to death.

Renee Polreis was eventually convicted of child abuse resulting in death and sentenced to 22 years in prison, a sentence that was reduced to 18 years on appeal. She was paroled in 2005 after serving less than ten years behind bars. She is out now, supposedly under strict supervision, and young David is still dead.

Although the Reactive Attachment Disorder, (RAD), did not work for Renee Polreis, it still has some merit. (It does not, however, justify murdering a child.)

Less than two years after reading the article in Redbook, I went on a tour of Russia with a group of social workers from across the United States. One of the stops while we were in Moscow was at an orphanage and school that cared for a large group of children from infancy through the teen years. As we walked down one of the dark hallways, the headmistress pointed out the nursery where ten or twelve tightly swaddled infants were lying unattended in bassinets. The babies, we learned, only got staff attention when they needed fed or changed. There were no adults in the room interacting with the infants most of the time. If the babies woke up, they continued to lie in their bassinets, tightly wrapped, and stared at the ceiling without any human interaction.

Later as we observed the older children in their classroom and working in the kitchen, the headmistress remarked that all of their children turned out to be mentally retarded. As she said that, I thought of the sad babies in the nursery and of little David Polreis.

There is a site on the Internet called The Daily Bastardette that has a lead article entitled: "Forever Family -- Forever Dead: A Memoriam for Russian Adoptees." It gives details of fifteen children adopted in Russia by American families, children who were later killed by members of their new "forever" families. It is well worth a read, and a comment.

So, yes, Russia needs to follow through on its threat to stop allowing children to be adopted by American families. Russia, like the United States, has spent decades focusing on war at the expense of children and families. Instead of sending children out, the Russian government needs to be bringing child development specialists in. They need to be investing in their child resources, not letting them go to wealthy child consumers in other countries.

And the United States also needs to be spending more on children and families. It is unconscionable that over a hundred thousand children in this country are even in foster care, let alone waiting to be adopted. It is also a national embarrassment that nearly half of the children in this country live in poverty. When did we allow ourselves to become a third world country?

And as for those two cretins in Shelbyville, Tennessee, who shipped their child back to Russia - thank you. At least you had the presence of mind to realize your shortcomings and chose an option other than homicide. You may or may not go to jail for the crime of child abandonment, but at least your child is still alive and has the possibility of happiness at some point in the future. Now do the world a favor and don't adopt again!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Teabaggers Less Popular than IRS

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

America's rude, loud-mouthed teabaggers have been put in their place by a Fox News Poll that was released yesterday. Items 10-16 on the poll read:

I'm going to read you the names of several individuals. Please tell me whether you have a generally favorable or unfavorable opinion of each one.

The percent of favorable ratings follow:

Barack Obama: 50%
Internal Revenue Service: 49%
Democratic Party: 42%
Republican Party: 40%
Tea Party Movement: 36%
Nancy Pelosi: 29%
Harry Reid: 16%
John Boehner: 12%

Two points bear emphasis here: the poll was commissioned by Fox News (a far right news source), and the results came out exactly one week before tax day - a time when IRS popularity ought to lag far behind everyone else.

Are American's coming to terms with the fact that taxes are necessary for government and society to function? Are people finally beginning to realize that a bunch of screaming hillbillies with guns does not necessarily equal a majority? Is John Boehner's fake orange tan a big political turnoff?

A recent poll by the respected Gallup polling organization gave the Tea Party Movement a favorable rating of 37 percent. That same poll of randomly selected Americans gave socialism a favorable rating of 36 percent.

So the next time some of these loudmouthed fools start yelling about being the voice of real America, or of the silent majority (what a laugh!), or of God, or of whatever, just suffer their stupidity with silence and a smile knowing that at best they are barely more popular than socialism, and far less popular than the Internal Revenue Service or Barack H. Obama. These goobers will be put in their place on election day!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Notes on Language

by Pa Rock
Word Collector

I have culled a couple of interesting new slang words out of recent news stories that might just make their way into standard American vocabulary.

The first and most widely used is "teabaggers" which actually has its roots in a John Water's film where it had a strong sexual connotation. Teabaggerrs, of course, are way too uptight and moralistic (except when they are threatening to kill people) to be comfortable wearing a sexual appellation, and they have since tried to spiffy the term up to something more red, white, and blue, such as "Tea Party Patriots."

Yesterday I ran across some really funny comments from a blogger who was using the term "Foxbagger," which undoubtedly refers to a teabagger who has been mainlining Fox News. "Foxbagger" gives a crystal clear mental picture, one that is impossible to misconstrue.

One television commentator recently went on a rant about an awful land where idiots ruled. He called it "Glennbeckistan."

"Hatriot" has also started appearing in lefty blogs. I am making the assumption that the "a" is a long vowel sound, making the new word rhyme with "patriot." It is absolutely shameful how all of these noisy self-proclaimed Christians are so consumed with hatred - and a patriotic urge to arm and protect white America. Jesus would have been appalled - and then he would have been cursed, screamed at, and spat upon. These Foxbagger hatriots wouldn't put up with any of His liberal bullshit!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Feds Bust 2nd Teabagger Terrorist in Two Days

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Yesterday federal agents dragged Charles Alan Wilson, a 63-year-old angry man, off to jail for threatening the life of a United States senator. Today the G-Men struck again, this time nabbing Gregory Lee Giusti, a 48-year-old angry man, on a charge of threatening to kill the Speaker of the House. In both cases these tough-talking morons made repeated anonymous telephone calls to the offices of their victims - both of whom were powerful women - Patty Murray and Nancy Pelosi.

These good old boys are evidence of democracy and society run amok. When did we leave the land of civility and take up residence in the old west? When was respectful and intelligent debate put aside in favor of screaming, cursing, and death threats? Who made the decision that we do not have to respect election results if the election didn't go our way?

Bullies make threats, and cowardly bullies make anonymous threats. Cowardly bullies who make anonymous threats to powerful women have serious issues with their masculinity and need to be in heavy-duty therapy.

A person who threatens an elected public official in an effort to influence public policy (such as health care reform) is committing an act of domestic terrorism and needs to be treated accordingly. Guantanamo is still up and running, isn't it?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Patriot or Just Another Stupid Thug?

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Charles Alan Wilson is cooling his heels in jail tonight. Should his jailers lose the key, the outside world would necessarily become a kinder and gentler place.

Wilson, a resident of Yakima, Washington, admitted to an undercover FBI agent that he has repeatedly made telephone calls to the offices of Washington's two U.S. Senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, regarding the health care legislation. (He was against it.) He has been charged with making calls to Senator Murray in which he threatened to kill her.

Charles Alan Wilson probably fancies himself a patriot. He owns a .38 caliber revolver and has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. He probably also fancies himself to be a fairly bright guy. True, he seems to have difficulty stringing together a coherent sentence that does not contain expletives, but he does know how to block caller i.d. when he makes threatening phone calls. What he didn't count on was that the Feds would take these threats seriously, and that they had the ability not only to find out who he was, but to also finesse an admission from him.

The Republican Party and Fox News have fired up the nuts, and now they can't get them back under control. All of the craziness is "news" to Fox, so they really have little incentive to try to dampen down the loonies. But the Republicans have put themselves in a box by catering to the teabagger crowd, and they seem to be incapable of extricating themselves. If they hang with the nuts, the moderates within their party will eventually find a more sensible home, and if they try to return to positions of sanity, they will bring the noisy wrath of the know-nothings down squarely on their heads.

The good news for Charles Alan Wilson is that if he goes to prison, he will almost certainly have free government health care. And if the Feds continue their aggressive pursuit of chickenshit loudmouths who make anonymous threatening phone calls to public officials, the next big teabagger conference might be held in his prison dayroom!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Green Zone

by Pa Rock
Film Critic

Yesterday afternoon an earthquake struck northern Mexico, sending out tremors that were felt as far away as Phoenix. Several people where I work had stories to tell about the tremors that rocked their world yesterday, but I missed the entire event. I was at the movies watching Green Zone, a film that was so engrossing that I failed to notice the earth moving!

Green Zone is a great movie, a work of fiction overlaying a frame of truth. It is the story of the military's frantic search for WMDs after the fall of Baghdad, and the intrigues of the politicians on the ground who struggled to arrange facts to fit the Bush administration's arguments for attacking Iraq. It also dramatized the administration's early attempts to fashion a "popular" government for Iraq that would meet the needs of the Americans.

The term "Green Zone" refers to the highly secure American zone surrounding one of Saddam's main palaces. The movie portray's the Zone as "Hollywood" in the middle of a war. While American soldiers and Iraqis are fighting and dying a short distance away, well-oiled civilians and politicians are lying around swimming pools and swilling drinks in relative luxury within the Green Zone. The contrast is damning.

Matt Damon stars as Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller, the leader of a detail desperately trying to find WMDs during the hectic first days of the invasion. In the opening scene he begins to realize that the intelligence about the locations the WMDs is seriously flawed or completely phony.

Damon's character is approached by an Iraqi national named Freddy who gives him information on a meeting that is in progress with some of Saddam's generals and main supporters. Freddy, played by Khalid Abdall, is motivated by a desire to see his country free of Saddam's ruthless followers. That chance bit of information provided by Freddy is instrumental in leading CWO Miller into his own investigation as to why all of the WMD intelligence is so bad.

As he goes rogue in pursuit of answers, Miller confronts a diabolical American politician, Greg Kinnear, who is trying to make facts fit the fiction. He also encounters a naive reporter, Amy Ryan, who is seeking sources for a story that is, in reality, an American government fabrication. Miller is aided in his quest for the truth by an uneasy alliance with a CIA operative, Brendan Gleeson, who is trying to fashion a practical future for Iraq, one that works for Iraqis and does not necessarily reflect the political desires of Washington.

Matt Damon was great in this film. He has the maturity and gravitas to pull off the role of an experienced soldier operating in a war zone. Greg Kinnear was also exceptional as the political operative, Clark Poundstone. Damon was determined to learn the truth, and Kinneer was equally determined to keep him in the dark. Together they set the tension that that kept the story real and exciting, so real and exciting that it caused me to miss an earthquake!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday Massacree

by Pa Rock

Sometimes life comes at you in the rear view mirror,
Lights flashing,
Rending a rip through an otherwise beautiful morning.

Pulling over,
Curiosity morphs into panic
As the words on the police cruiser come into view:
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office!

Had it been really necessary
That I blogged unkindly of Sheriff Joe Arpaio?
Did my disdain of Sheriff Joe and Candy Andy Thomas
Truly merit going out over the Internet
With my name attached?

What had I been thinking?

"Stay in the vehicle, sir!"
Loose translation:
I am about to be wearing pink underwear
And living in the bowels of Joe's canvas gulag!

The young deputy approached with his gun holstered,
A very good sign.

Did I realize that my taillights were out, both of them?

Fuse or ruse, I didn't care,
Just let me outlive my debt,
And long enough to know all of my grandchildren!

And there were some other issues, he noted
As he took my paperwork back to his car.

Okay, I'm not going to die,
At least not in a bank parking lot on Litchfield Road.
And I can probably survive tent city
(Although several have not.)

The courteous deputy called in all of my information
And came to the conclusion that I wasn't Clyde Barrow.
He let me go with a warning
When I stammered apologies
And intent to correct my wicked ways.

Joe will aways be Joe,
But at least one of his deputies
Is flowering into a lawman,
A real one,
With a gun, a badge and a heart.

I was lucky to have encountered a reasonable man,
And fortunate that my name was not Gonzales or Lopez.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Physician, Heal Thyself!

by Pa Rock
Health Care Consumer

Jack L. Cassell, a urologist who practices in Mount Dora, Florida, has recently had his fifteen minutes of fame. The physician has placed a sign on his office door that reads:

"If you voted for Obama, seek urologic care elsewhere. Changes in your health care begin right now, not in four years."

He apparently also has his office littered with Republican propaganda.

Some have questioned the ethics of a health care provider being so in-your-face with his political opinion, but the doctor sees no problem with his politicking at the office. He told the Orlando Sentinel, "I'm not turning anybody away; that would be unethical. But if they read the sign and turn the other way, so be it."

So be it, indeed!

One news report said that Cassell has a stack of Republican friendly photocopies in his waiting room under a sign stating:

"This is what the morons in Washington have done to your health care. Take one, read it, and vote out anyone who voted for it."

Cassell, a registered Republican, is married to Leslie Campione, a lawyer who is a Republican candidate for county supervisor.

A few observations from Pa Rock are in order:

A urologist in Florida is probably catering to an older crowd. Chances are excellent that many of his patients are using another "socialist" government medical program, Medicare, to fund their visits to Dr. Cassell's office - and without Medicare the good doctor would not be living quite so large.

I'm a fairly partisan person myself, but I would not go to a physician who was constantly talking politics and handing out campaign literature, even if it was politics that I agreed with. I want my physicians to be focused on my health and well-being, and not stewing over politics while they are supposed to be concentrating on me and my medical needs.

I select my doctors based on their abilities, often through the recommendations of others who use their services. Anyone searching for a urologist in Florida might do well to check out Over two hundred individuals have rated Dr. Jack Cassell on that site. I would put a lot more stock in those ratings than I would in his political opinions - if I were seeking urologic care in the Sunshine State.

To close with a grin, tweeter cdashiell posted this gem on Twitter yesterday: "Florida urologist will only treat real dicks."

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bill Mauldin Goes Postal

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Today I picked up a couple of sheets of the Postal Service's newest commemorative stamp, this one honoring cartoonist Bill Mauldin. Actually, referring to Mauldin as just a cartoonist is classic understatement. He was the cartoonist of World War II, with his beloved G.I. characters, Willie and Joe, making a very real connection between the guys fighting the war and the folks back home. After the war, Mauldin went on to become a highly respected editorial cartoonist.

Maudlin, who was himself an infantryman in the war, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945 for his war cartoons.

The new Mauldin forty-four cent stamp has a photo of the young soldier, in uniform, at work with his sketch pad, alongside one of his drawings of Willie and Joe. It is done in shades of olive drab and brown, giving the stamp an old military appearance. It is one of the postal service's best efforts in recent years.

There was a story about Bill Mauldin in our local free rag, The West Valley View, this morning. It noted that Mauldin moved to Litchfield, Arizona, (where I currently live), with his parents during the Great Depression. His dad farmed in the desert twenty miles west of Phoenix. Bill went to the local schools. Litchfield Park today is still twenty miles west of downtown Phoenix, but the city of Phoenix has reached out and swallowed the entire valley with its urban sprawl. The twenty miles from Litchfield Park to downtown Phoenix is all city now.

Still, it is good to know that a local kid made good. It is unlikely to become a habit considering Arizona's loud disdain for taxes and education, but hopefully some kids will have the grit and determination of Mauldin to find their talents and hone them to brilliance. Bill Mauldin was the epitome of success, and he has been honored with a great stamp - a stamp that is as original and as artistic as the man to whom it pays homage.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Pain of Suicide

by Pa Rock
Social Worker

The game of life is hard to play
I'm gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I'll someday lay
So this is all I have to say:

That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

(Taken from "Suicide is Painless" - the theme from MASH - by Johnny Mandell.)

Suicide, as the old saying goes, is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. It is anything but painless.

This week, Cameron Dabaghi, a junior a Yale, became the thirty-fourth known person to die from intentionally jumping off of the Empire State Building. Young Dabaghi, from Austin, Texas, left a note in his dorm room stating that he was going into the city to die. He would, he solemnly declared, jump from either the George Washington Bridge or the Empire State Building. He ultimately opted for the skyscraper, riding the elevator up to the observation deck on the 86th floor. When he got to the observation deck, he calmly climbed over a barricade, ignored the pleas of shocked on-lookers, and took a running jump off of the American landmark.

The Empire State Building is really, really tall, and the pavement surrounding the building is really, really hard. I know this because I have been there. Some of the more lurid reports talked about Dabaghi's head bouncing after he hit the concrete outside the Bank of America. Not surprisingly, his skeleton was shattered. A good Samaritan at the scene tried to shield the view of the young man's remains with an umbrella. Eventually a crew from the coroner's office showed up, bagged the body, had hauled the deceased away.

Life in New York went on - just not the life of Cameron Dabaghi.

Also this week 15-year-old Phoebe Prince from South Hadley, Massachusetts, killed herself after suffering relentless bullying, helping to coin a new term: "bullycide." A middle school in Mentor, Ohio, has had five suicides in two years - a middle school!

An estimated 50,000 teens attempt to kill themselves each year, and 5,000 succeed. Young people are dying because they can't communicate the depth of their suffering to others. They aren't talking, or we aren't listening, or more likely, we aren't paying close enough attention

I work in a mental health clinic. We assess every client who comes into the clinic for the potential of homicide or suicide. One way that we do that is to ask the question on a written screener. But not everyone is honest - in fact, a person who is truly intent on committing suicide is often quite adept at keeping that information secret. It takes time to come to that decision, and once it has been reached, the person intending to die does not want to be distracted from his mission.

The other way that we screen is through direct observation. How is the person behaving? Are there tears, statements about hopelessness, an obvious depressed state? It doesn't take a big degree to spot someone who is suffering emotionally, someone who seems to have given up on life. If you suspect that a person you know is thinking about ending his life, get involved. Ask if he is having thoughts of suicide. Get an answer. If the answer is yes, don't just recommend that he seeks help, take him to a counselor, a teacher, a minister, an emergency room, or someplace else where he can receive the support from a trained professional.

Pain is not ended by suicide - it is just passed along to others.