Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A chicken in every worthy pot…

Happy Wednesday, y’all!

Let’s jump right on in, shall we?

A year ago most folks would have thought that the outcome of the presidential election was going to hinge on the war and that economic concerns would be left to state and local campaigns…but a lot can change in a very short time. Now that everyone and their dawg is waking up to the economic trauma that has been in the works for years (wince), campaigns are scrambling to develop messaging around the economy that they won’t turn into policies they'll have to eat should they get elected.

This bitch is always concerned about the economy. I don’t know a lot of folks with a safety net and months of savings…my circle is made up of working, hard working Americans (wink). When prices go up and income remains flat we all feel that shit and struggle to adjust. The same is true of the organizations that I volunteer with – money gets tight and folks are no longer able to make donations.

A recent news report on the increased use of gleaning by food pantries got a bitch thinking about those people who are feeling the squeeze for the first time. Many people now face hunger who never thought they’d be in that situation. The number of Americans receiving food stamps is at a record high as folks struggle to pay for housing, utilities and fuel only to find themselves unable to put a meal on the table. I would hope that this new economic reality would at least help bridge the gap of understanding that exists between the haves and have nots, but too often news reports center on the notion that hunger isn’t supposed to happen to “these people.”

You know who I’m talking about…educated, working, clean, articulate, solid people aren’t supposed to be on food stamps. Right? Those working, hard working Americans have kept their side of the bargain and they deserve better…they’ve earned a full stomach and a roof over their head…misery is the wages of sloth!

And who is hunger for…who deserves poverty? Oh yeah, those other people…those lazy people…those willfully ignorant people who aren’t happy unless they are asking for a hand out or getting a free ride.

Right?

Wrong.

Most of us could be at risk in a matter of weeks if not days. A job gets cut…a child gets sick…a car breaks down…a bill comes due…and suddenly you’re short the money for groceries with no available credit and no one to turn to. With so many of us are living paycheck to paycheck, slight shifts can have a huge impact on our lives and our ability to survive without some manner of assistance.

Yet even now…even with more Americans applying for food stamps or visiting food banks they use to donate to, losing their homes or having to adjust where they live to fit their new economic reality and cutting back on everything but the basics…even now the idea persists that hunger is what you get when you don’t do the right things and that poverty happens to those lazy people who deserve it.

Sigh.

I used to think that the trick to spinning economic policy was to make the masses believe in the possibility of there being a chicken in every pot.

But mayhap the actual trick is to make them believe that those with empty pots don't deserve chicken...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A quick rant for my mental health…

Okay, so y’all know my brother jumped out of a van and hurt himself last week.

He’s doing better, but C-Money and this bitch are about to go off with a level of bitchitude that may reverse the flow of the Mississippi River for a few days.

Why must people tax our Afros?

Why?

This bitch would like to add some shit to the curriculum of whoever is teaching the social workers of tomorrow.

Cough.

#1 - Return phone calls…
Particularly if the person calling is the guardian of a client who jumped out of a motherfucking van last week and who is calling you because your staff was so late to his follow-up doctor’s appointment that IT WAS FUCKING CANCELED!

And why were they so late?

Because they were out of gas.

Lawd, give me strength!

#2 – Remove the phrase “I understand why you are upset” from you vocabulary until you retire…
Even if you did understand, a bitch doesn’t give a fuck.

This is my brother…he could have died last week…I don’t want to hear about you.

When y’all demonstrate that you are capable of getting my brother to a medical appointment on time...or finding your ass with both hands...we’ll move on to things like understanding what it feels like to have a 38 year old brother who will never explain to you why he jumped out of a moving van into traffic and damn near killed himself.

Blink.

#3 – Lose the vocabulary words…stat...
If a bitch wanted to be an MSW, my black ass would be an MSW. So, cease tossing around terms and acting confused when I don’t refer to something by some super specific term.

Tylenol is fucking Tylenol and I won’t trust anyone over the age of ten who doesn’t know that shit to walk my dawgs much less supervise my brother’s care.

Ugh!

Now where did I put my merciless rod of correction?

A whole lotta cabbage…

Scooter B. has announced that he’ll be leaving behind a huge pile of deficit-based drama when he leaves office in 2009.

$482 billion dollars worth of drama.

Pause…consider…continue.

Well, actually $482 billion dollars plus the $80 billion in war costs the White House left out in violation of a Congressional mandate.

Oh, and apparently we should also add unemployment costs, Medicare fees, the cost of that new housing bill parked in the garage.

You know what, this is like a bitch trying to determine my personal deficit without factoring in monthly soul food expenditures or the cost of fueling up Miss Sister Girl Cabrio.

Blink.

Anyhoo, we’re actually talking about a deficit closer to $600 billion dollars when you add in all the shit Scooter B. and his 'we'll just hide it under the mash potatoes!' minions decided not to...and that’s a whole lotta motherfucking cabbage.

Here’s where it get’s ugly.

See, there are those who like to say that the 2009 projected deficit isn’t that big of a deal because as a percentage of the gross domestic product it implies a ratio of around 3.3 percent which is below previous years and blah, blah motherfucking blah.

White House budget director Jim Nussle gave forth the following statement. “These projected deficits are both manageable and temporary if spending is kept in check, the tax burden remains low and the economy continues to grow.”

A bitch reads that statement and sees code for those vicious assaults on the masses these people like to call deficit reduction plans.

I can almost write this script my own damn self.

Oh, someone could stand up and shout "Last Call, motherfuckers!" on the federal pork binge…or suggest that mayhap we’ve written a war spending check our asses can’t cover…or take a step towards those sanctified holy relic tax cuts that no one I know qualifies for.

But no, these rancid motherfuckers intend to tap a funding vein in the social programs that are already writhing on the floor in wretched agony begging to be put out of their misery. They’ll stand above those pitiful used-to-be-programs....mmmhmmm, like Jack the Ripper....and slash away whilst mumbling maniacally about killing off entitlement programs and how small governments really turn them on.

Ugh.

Someone please tell me that the people who voted for this rancidity...who opened the door and invited the fiend inside our house...Lawd, tell me that they have learned something from this fuck up that just keeps on fucking!

***cue crickets***

Shit.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Shall we proceed?

Oh yes, indeed!

A bitch was enjoying a rather fantabulous cup of coffee this morning while sorta-watching Good Morning America when my senses were assaulted by a now familiar source.

Overtly patriotic, alarmist or carnivalistic music?

Check!

The same two motherfucking people doing all the voice-overs for all the ads?

Check!

Wild claims and accusations flying everywhere?

Check!

Well, it must be primary season again…and that means its time for wall to wall over the top and poorly written political ads from hell.

By my second cup of coffee a bitch had heard a Republican candidate for Governor blame her opponent for everything short of inventing the West Nile virus!

Fantabulous.

I’ve got to admit that these primary ads are kind of amusing. I mean shit, when else will a bitch get the chance to witness obvious as hell city-based candidates wading through a Missouri farm pasture stressing their Missour-ah values and their Missour-ah roots followed by blah, blah and fucking blah?

Or see money hungry conservative power fiends attempting to demonstrate that they’re actually human by surrounding themselves with smiling fresh faced chil’ren even as they read off some copy hinting that the election of their opponent is prophesied to bring about the end of days?

Anyhoo, this bitch has decided to enjoy the primary advertising while it lasts because you can bet your ass that the nastification of the general election bombardment is right around the corner.

Oh, the joy of living in a swing state...

Back on the scene…

A bitch was able to grab some down time this weekend and recover from the drama that was last week. Bill is doing amazing well…and now we’re focused on his continued healing, finding out whatever we can about why he jumped out of a van in motion (shudder) and tightening up some procedures that unveiled themselves as not-tight-enough while this shit was going down.

In other words…our work has just begun.

On behalf of my family and my own bitch self, thanks so much for all the well wishes and fantabulous advice and encouragement.

Y’all are the shit!

Blink….blink, blink and another blink.

Shit, there goes the mascara…

Friday, July 25, 2008

Moving forward…

Okay, so a bitch had to skip teaching my Voter Education class last night due to the on-going drama resulting from Bill’s van-jumping-out-of-while-still-in-motion accident.

Sigh.

One of my students called to find out where the hell a bitch was, which I must confess is both heart warming and guilt inducing at the same time.

For those of y’all who don’t know, a bitch volunteers and teaches Voter Education classes at a couple of local women’s shelters. The goal of the class is to empower students to be informed voters rather than just register a person and then tell them to vote.

My students are really into it this year and I was looking forward to a spirited debate last night over the candidates for Attorney General in Missouri, but nothing comes before family and I was too exhausted to put forth much spirit last night anyway.

Imagine this bitch’s reaction when my student said that they wanted to do the debate anyway so that they would be prepared for the primary in August!

Thrilled doesn’t even describe what I was feeling.

A bunch of tired from work/summer school/parenting women in a transitional shelter were so eager to debate the policy differences of the folks running for Attorney General in Missouri that they called their teacher to ask if they could have my discussion questions & notes and proceed without me.

Blink.

I love this shit!!

I e-mailed my questions and gave her some firm guidelines (the last debate we had got a little raw and off topic...my students need to be reminded to save the personal house-based drama for another time and another place...mercy!) and she happily hung up to deliver the news to the group.

Did I mention that I love this shit?

Anyhoo, a bitch was reminded that Missouri and many other states are having primary elections in August. All politics is local…trust a bitch on that…and many state and local races will be decided at the primary because they are uncontested by other parties.

So, don’t sleep on your need to vote in primary elections. Get your voter education on (wink) and know what the hell and who the hell is on that ballot! My fellow Missourians can start here with the Voter Guide provided by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch…and then do your own research, call the campaigns, read the materials and challenge positions.

As my student explained to me last night, this primary shit is important and time is a’wasting…

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Update #2 – Why does it look worse as it gets better?

Thanks again for all the well wishes regarding Bill!

He looks a lot worse today than he did at the hospital…some swelling and bruising is starting to set in, so Bill looks like exactly what happened to his face happened to his face (wince).

And a bitch is having some problems with that even though it isn’t stopping him from eating pizza and asking for soda pop every five minutes.

I just can’t stand looking at him and seeing the facial outcome of jumping head first out of a moving vehicle even though I know that it could have been so much worse and that all that swelling and bruising is part of the healing process.

I fucking broke down whilst driving yesterday to some new Coldplay song.

Coldplay, for the love of all that shouldn’t inspire snot based sobbing!

Sigh.

C-Money, a former ice hockey manager during college, offered up the frozen peas to the face tip – he’s actually keeping that on for more than a second and doesn’t try to eat the contents of the bag because Bill hates peas. Hopefully the swelling will go done soon.

Anyhoo, things are mending and now a bitch is getting down to the bitness of making sure this shit doesn’t happen again.

I’ve got another sobbing fit scheduled for Friday evening (I'll opt to hold the Coldplay though - Donny Hathaway’s For All We Know is a much more satisfying song to sob to) with ice cream and a solid 8 hours of sleep to follow…

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Update...

Thank you to everyone who has offered well wishes and encouragement!

Y'all are the best of the best.

I spent the day with Bill and he's doing amazingly well, despite his battered face and all those bruises (wince).

Oh, and he is a wee bit pissed at me for showing up without pizza and pop and ice cream and more pop.

Blink.

I was going to write something up about Michael Savage being a knavish tool who needs correction...lots and lots of merciless correction...but I just spent the day with a living example of just how wrong Savage is on autism.

At the moment all I can come up with in response to the notion that my brother has been acting out and being a brat for 38 years is an invitation to Michael Savage to kiss my black ass.

Toodles!

Emergency Room #11…

Sometime around 4pm Monday…today or actually now it was yesterday…my brother Bill vaulted from the back seat of the van he was riding in and jumped from that same moving vehicle out onto the road.

The car was traveling between 20 and 25 miles per hour in traffic.

Bill hit the pavement hard on his right side head first.

The van stopped…the police were called followed by an ambulance…then Bill was taken to the hospital.

My phone rang and life stood still.

I was on the way home from going to the market and I don’t remember how I got home…don’t remember calling my friend Jeff or what I said. But I knew that I couldn't drive out there...just couldn't do it. I remember that Jeff and his partner came over so quickly that they must have dropped everything and just walked out the door.

And I remember being so grateful to have friends who live close and can understand freaked the hell out and about to lose control Shark-Fu.

We left for the hospital, which was way out in the county and I live in the city so…yeah, it was the longest drive of my life.

I don’t remember walking into the hospital…don’t remember going back to the room…and Lawd only knows what I said to the staff.

But for as long as I live I will remember looking into Emergency Room #11 and seeing Bill.

Alive.

Totally fucked up, but alive.

He was asking for pizza and a soda pop.

Typical.

Bill is autistic, so he wasn’t going to explain why he jumped out of a moving car…but he was firm that he wanted some pizza and a damned soda pop.

Mercy.

The nurses and doctors at DePaul Hospital were amazing. They explained everything to Bill before doing anything…they immediately acknowledged my role as a guardian (C-Money, bless her, is out of town on bitness) and they adjusted when we asked that someone be allowed to accompany Bill when he went for his CAT scans.

And somehow Bill managed to jump out of a moving van and hit his head and not fracture his scull…no broken bones…no internal injuries.

His face is fucked up, he has evidence of where flesh met road all over his body, and his lip is a full on Raging Bull…but that’s it.

We left the hospital after several hours with a prescription for the pain and for an ointment.

I left that hospital with my beloved brother.

And we took his ass for a burger, some fries and a damned cone of soft serve.

And now I sitting here trying to put into words what the last few hours were like and how hard it was to tuck him into bed and leave until tomorrow.

I’m frustrated because I lack the skill to express what it feels like to not be able to ask him what the hell he was thinking…ask him why he jumped out of a fucking moving vehicle...or make him promise to never, ever do it again.

And I am so terrified that he will do it again and that we won’t be lucky the next time…that our inability to find the key that will allow us to fully communicate with him may come at a cost to high to even consider yet so close to the surface that it makes me want to weep at the thought of it even as I deny it and deny it and oh God, oh God…oh my God.

Please, have mercy.

But there's nothing to do but work the new problem.

So, tomorrow I’ll wake up and begin the process of trying to address Bill’s new “behavior”…and the glorious non-joy of trying to find funding for the additional staff they need at Bill’s center, the training that staff requires, the programs that will enhance his life, the job coach that would make it possible for him to work and the adjustments that will most likely need to be made to that fucking van so that Bill isn’t isolated and home bound in the name of his personal safety for the rest of his van jumping life.

But first I’ll give thanks for friends who drop everything and come over to drive a freaking out bitch to the hospital then drive back to tend to her dawgs.

I love y'all.

I’ll give thanks to the fantabulous folks who work at the Emergency Room at DePaul Hospital.

You were and are amazing.

And I’ll give thanks that I left Emergency Room #11 tonight with my brother Bill.

My mind is blown and this blessing has been gratefully received...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Searching for yumminess in a hot as hell world…

A bitch is stuck in a heat induced no food looks good rut.

I’m hungry but I don’t know what the hell to eat in this heat!

I guess that’s not such a bad thing, but a bitch adores food and I miss lusting for specific food-based things.

Sigh.

On the upside, the one thing this bitch sure as shit won’t be craving in this heat are jalapeno peppers...so the latest salmonella bacteria allegation can go fuck itself.

Blink.

Look out world!

A bitch is back (wink)…rested, refreshed and refueled with high octane bitchitude.

Shall we?

A very special thank you to my good friend Menekse who opened up her home to this bitch whilst I was in San Francisco! Neksher, you are the best and this bitch had a blast raiding your fridge and drinking all your vodka!

And thanks also go out to the folks at BlogHer for inviting a bitch to speak on the topic of political blogging.

Thoughts inspired from BlogHer…

This bitch was fascinated by the mommy bloggers who were out in full force at BlogHer. I usually don’t attend blogger events and when I do they are usually for political bloggers so BlogHer was a rare opportunity for me to meet with and observe folks who blog about all manner of shit. Trust that the mommy bloggers captured this bitch’s attention from jump.

Now, y’all should know that mommy bloggers aren’t one size fits all. I met some fantabulously snarky women who blog about the ups and downs of parenting and the various educational and/or socialization techniques they have tried with their chil’ren. And there were lots of moms who pretty much used their blog to interact with other folks and have grown people conversations. Then there were the mommy bloggers who kept apologizing all over themselves for being mommy bloggers…which they need to cease immediately because the world tosses plenty of shit on all of us…Lawd knows we don’t need to shovel in our own direction.

Cough.

Anyhoo, I truly enjoyed the mommy bloggers who opened a window into a world pretty much foreign to this bitch.

However…and you just knew there was a however coming…I was concerned by those mommy bloggers who seemed to be approaching their parenting as a project that would eventually be graded or as the total definition of themselves.

I acknowledge that my concern comes from my personal experiences as the child of a parent (my mother) who very much defined herself through my siblings and this bitch. My successes or failures were always weighted with how they made my mother look or feel. If I wanted to pursue something that lacked prestige it was fiercely discouraged and when I didn’t want to pursue a thing that was saturated in envy-inspiring appeal my reluctance was framed as hurting my mother's reputation. By the time I was in Junior High, I knew very well that my mother was living through us and I didn’t truly shake the drama of that shit until I was damn near 30 years old.

My memories of that style of parenting color my reaction to anyone who appears to be a project parent be they a mother or father or it be a multi-individual parenting thang.

I’m left wondering where the line is between wanting the best for your child and running your child’s life as if it were a new product launch.

I’ve certainly met parents who were way more casual about their child raising than I would think wise. A bitch has always thought there was a thick layer of privilege coating the notion that a child won’t face drama when given little or no direction. Shit, I’ve met too many people who have spent the greater part of their adult lives digging out from the whole they found their adult asses in after years of apathetic parenting. Mmmhmmm, that shit is seriously complicated by the lack of a financial safety net.

Mayhap the answer is in the middle ground represented by most of the mommy bloggers I met…in the delicate balance between offering encouragement and being the Little League parent from hell, providing discipline and dealing out punishment, and between loving a child enough to let them grow into themselves or loving yourself too much to see the individual your child needs to be.

One thing for sure is that this parenting shit certainly matters.

After all, chil'ren are our future.

Oh shit...I've summoned that motherfucking song up into my head!

Ugh.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pondering the price of logging on…

A bitch is about the head out to San Francisco for BlogHer 2008 where I’m going to be a speaker participating in the How To Take Names and Be Taken Seriously as a Political Blogger session.

So, it seems fitting that my integrity as a political blogger has been called into question in the comments of a recent post on the eve of my participation in that session.

Blink.

I must confess to being royally pissed off and, although a bitch may be angry daily, it takes a certain tone to take my ass to the royally pissed off stage.

Many a reader has disagreed with a bitch and that’s cool. I happen to think anyone who totally agrees with someone else needs to do some serious inner work. Some of ya’ll disagree through e-mail and some prefer to comment. A bitch does monitor comments…if you have a problem with that shit you need to take it up with the racist troll-based knaves who made that monitoring necessary…but I do not reject comments that disagree with my position, just those that threaten violence or are completely off topic in a distracting way. My blog = my discretion.

Anyhoo, disagreements and debates don’t royally piss me off.

Personal attacks on my dedication to social justice and integrity do, particularly if they assume my position on a certain subject before I’ve expressed it in any way, shape or form.

A bitch will confess to taking a deliberate step back from all things involving the presidential presumptives. I found myself mentally exhausted after the race baiting anti-Muslim incidents of the Democratic Primary. And I’m still trying to come to terms with the dismissive posture taken by some feminists towards that shit and towards the accompanying ignorance directed towards the wives of the presumptives. So, I took a step back…its not as if there isn’t a lot of shit happening that doesn’t involve the race for the White House…with the intention of diving back in come August.

What I have not done is give anyone a pass or flushed my commitment to social justice down some sort of online blogger toilet.

I wasn’t accused of that shit by a reader who asked if I was working on a post on the media’s coverage of Cindy McCain’s hair and the tendency of the press to cover her as an ice princess.
Nor was I accused of a complete loss of integrity by the reader who sent this bitch an e-mail asking if I planned to blog about Senator McCain’s revealing comments about his opposition to LGBT adoption.

And I didn’t feel that my dedication to social justice was in question when someone sent me an e-mail asking for my thoughts on the recent New Yorker cover.

The thing is, I’d have loved to write about all of that and would have if I wasn’t taking a wee break until August. Mayhap that’s the reason a bitch was royally pissed off by comments that went there because I had the audacity to write a post about the telecom immunity drama that didn’t involve a pointed indictment of those who voted for that piece of shit including Senator Obama.

Mercy.

As I prepare to head out to San Francisco and discuss political blogging I find myself grateful for this comment-based reminder that those of us who blog about politics are also subject to political drama and critique.

A bitch takes comfort in knowing who I am and why my ass posts shit in the first place.

I’m an activist who blogs and I will not apologize for how often my activism takes me off-line or demands that I take a step back from a topic for the sake of my mental health.

But as much as I’d like to think I’ve earned the benefit of the doubt…well, a bitch can’t do anything but keep it real and acknowledge that no one gets the benefit of the doubt on the internets.

Such is the price for logging on and any political blogger knows that…just like we know we’re going to sometimes get royally pissed off when we pay it (wink).

Toodles ‘til San Fran…

A bitch wouldn't even know...

After a night off from thinking spent enjoying the company of my sister, Sweetie the three legged mostly-chow and my two sorta-beagles…and a decent night of sleep (yay!)…this bitch is feeling human again.

Thank Gawd!

Shall we?

Like many St. Louisans I was deeply touched by the story of Private First Class LaVena Johnson, who died as a result of a non-combat incident near Balad, Iraq. PFC Johnson, who was from Florissant Missouri, died July 19, 2005 and was the first woman from Missouri to die while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. I will never forget seeing her family interviewed on local television and witnessing their pain and frustration over the lack of information they’d been given concerning their loved one’s death. It was wrenching and emotional…and I was left frustrated that this story had not garnered national media attention like other similar investigations.

Fellow St. Louis blogger Phillip Barron of WaveFlux fame has done an amazing job covering the case of PFC Johnson on his blog and on a separate site, LaVena Johnson dot com, where there is a petition seeking to compel the Army to reopen their investigation into PFC Johnson’s death.

The army ruled the death of PFC Johnson a suicide despite physical evidence inconsistent with suicide. As Philip relates in the first post on the LaVena Johnson petition site, that evidence includes “indications of physical abuse that went unremarked by the autopsy, the absence of psychological indicators of suicidal thoughts; indeed, testimony that LaVena was happy and healthy prior to her death, indications, via residue tests, that LaVena may not even have handled the weapon that killed her, a blood trail outside the tent where Lavena's body was found and indications that someone attempted to set LaVena's body on fire.”

The name of Corporal Pat Tillman, who died as result of friendly fire, and the story of the cover-up of his cause of death has held firm in the national press with good reason. Corporal Tillman was a sports hero who gave up millions for a military career after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

And who can forget the perfect script of a rescue that was the story of PFC Jessica Lynch? The war hungry media latched onto the Jessica Lynch capture and rescue story and there was even a movie made. But the truth of it all… a truth Lynch testified to before Congress…took years to come out.

Meanwhile the family of LaVena Johnson must fight for a legitimate investigation into her cause of death without the assistance of the national media or public outcry.

I wonder if her family finds any comfort in the fact that Johnson’s death was mentioned in a proposed report from the House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee: Misleading Information from the Battlefield: The Tillman and Lynch Episodes.

But I know that this bitch finds comfort from knowing that I can turn to Waveflux for information about this disturbing case.

And so this is a sincere thank you to Phillip Barron for keeping up with this investigation and for seeking justice for PFC Johnson and her family.

Otherwise I fear that a bitch wouldn't even know...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A purge followed by a bitchfirmation…

This bitch is overwhelmed with to-dos and have-tos at the moment. I’ve had it up to my Afro with trifling ass bullshit and unreasonable expectations.

Lawd, a bitch is actually too frustrated to practice the fine art of bitchitude!

Gasp.

Oh, that will not do.

Pause…self diagnose…continue.

I believe I need an emotional purge followed by a bitchfirmation.

Shark-Fu’s purge of anxiety, trifling bullshit and general stress followed by a bitchfirmation for my own damn self...

The purge…
I lay awake at night fretting over the things I didn’t do, the people I didn’t connect with, the phone calls I didn’t make and the deadlines I barely met. I worry that I am not a good sister to C-Money or a good sister/guardian for my autistic brother…that I am not the kind of mentor that my mentee needs in her life…that I’m a lousy dawg momma and the sorta-beagles would be better off without me…that I’m not the kind of friend I’d like to have …that I’m not pulling my weight at the two shelters I teach classes at and could/should/would teach more at if I wasn’t so bloody tired…and I worry that I could volunteer full time for political causes and not get done what so very much needs to be done.

The bitchfirmation to my own damn self…
Girl, get a hold of yourself…catch your fucking breathe and schedule some personal time immediately.

You know the word no…start saying it.

You know where your heart is, why you do what you do and what motivates your actions…stop listening to those doubts or doubters and start embracing the positivitude that has always and will continue to fuel your soul!

And for the love of Gawd, get some sleep…you’ve dark circles under your eyes and MAC Studio Fix can not perform miracles!

Breathe in.

You have purpose, motivation and strength.

...stretch towards the sky....

It will all get done or it wasn’t meant to be accomplished through you.

...breathe out.

And a schedule doesn’t exist that you can’t handle.

Go on with your bad self,...ummm, uh...self!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ugh…


Have you ever woken up already tired of people?
It’s a lot like when you wake up with the kind of headache that usually takes hours of someone dancing on your nerves to achieve.

Yeah.

Mayhap someone will invent a pill for this…

Monday, July 14, 2008

A bitch’s Saturday – the recap…

A bitch got my political canvass on this past weekend.

It was hot as the third level of hell and humid on top of it, so it wasn’t as much fun as could have been. But it was, as always, a rather satisfying experience. If you haven’t volunteered in support of a cause or campaign this year then you need to find something, get off your arse and get to walking!

And don’t forget to bring lots of water and a good pair of walking shoes.

Wince.

Anyhoo, after several hours of canvassing a bitch headed over to the north side to visit my mentee Miss Thang. I’ve been kind of a distant mentor of late because visiting my mentee was bad for my high blood pressure.

What?

Well shit! My mentee is 15 years old, lives with a dysfunctional apathetic parent in conditions I struggle to come to terms with every time I visit her and she still has a hard time thinking beyond next week much less planning for her future. Trust that our visits are not filled with never ending happiness and non-stop joy. Rather, they are filled with extreme realness…and that shit can be bad for a bitch’s still high but under control now blood pressure.

Cough.

Where was I?

Oh yes!

I took Miss Thang to lunch at the Bread Co. and listened to her chat about everything and everyone who has wronged her since our last face to face visit. At some point the issue of a summer job came up and Miss Thang then went on a rant about trying to find a job and how folks don’t ever call her back when she applies for one.

I gave that some thought whilst sipping my iced green tea (yum!) and then decided to keep my advice as real as the situation called for.

Shark-Fu, after sipping iced green tea… “Um, have you ever called yourself and listened to your voice mail?”

Miss Thang (MT)… “Huh?”

Shark-Fu, in explanation… “The reason I ask is that your voicemail is…well, it’s not very attractive.”

MT… “What the hell does that mean?”

“It means that when someone calls you to follow-up on a job application they shouldn’t have to listen to the musical offerings of Lil Wayne then suffer through a long ass beep followed by the music of someone named Chris Brown. If you want to be considered a professional you need to act like one, so I recommend changing that voicemail greeting until you get a job.”

MT… “Oh. Okay. But you don’t have to hate on my future husband like that.”

Shark-Fu, on a sigh and searching for strength… “Which one?”

MT after rolling her eyes… “OMG! Chris Brown!”

Blink.

We went on to discuss some other shit, but damn if I didn’t Google Chris Brown when I got home to find out who the hell that child is.

What ever happened to normal voice mail greetings…music a bitch can groove to and understand the words too…shit, the motherfucking ‘90s?

Mercy.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Some thoughts inspired from the internets…

A certain conservative CNN contributor who shall not be named lest a bitch feed his already out of control ego is asking the question What’s Right with America? on the CNN.com website today.

Now, a bitch knows where he’s going with this shit. He’s going to dismiss criticism of America by calling it unpatriotic and then he’s going to point out all the really cool and truly amazing shit going on in our country followed by some poorly written conclusion proclaiming that we’d all be better off if mouthy liberals would dive into that bag of Soylent Green then chase it with gov’ment Kool-Aid.

And there will be some who find inspiration in the notion that what is good is more important than what is bad.

A bitch isn’t inspired by intellectually lazy shit, so I won’t be getting anything out of it but a dull headache developed whilst pondering how Aaron Brown got booted from CNN but some asshole implanted with an RNC microchip got a steady gig.

Pause…swallow aspirin…continue.

Anyhoo, what the asshole with the steady gig is missing is that most of what is right in America was made that way by people who had the courage to point out what was wrong.

And I’m not talking about people who gently suggested after multitudes of flattering comments that we may want to form a more perfect union/end slavery/give women the vote/give all Americans the protected vote/give veterans benefits/protect older people from starvation/educate our chil’ren or any of the other positive happenings….you know, if we find the time and are so inclined.

You have to be delusional or well programmed….along the lines of Michael Slavery Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You People Medved…to embrace that flawed theory of how shit gets done.

In the real world, Americans who notice something is wrong have to point it out to those who could fix it…and then file a lawsuit or march or do both…and then make it a campaign issue followed by more marches and maybe some media…followed by lobbying then marching then Congressional hearings and/or a legal test case followed by appeals and more appeals until the high court takes the case…and if the high court fucks up, they go back to the beginning and start again.

Getting to right from wrong takes time, dedication and the courage to point out that shit is fucked up before it achieves fubar.

The issue before us isn’t whether there is more good than bad going on in America…the issue before us is whether we are doing our duty as Americans when we ignore what is wrong to fix a glassy ass gaze on what is right.

Yeah.

Ask not what is right with your country--ask what you can do to help right what is wrong...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

BlogHer ’08 & San Francisco Preparedness…

Lawd, have mercy!

A bitch just looked at my calendar and realized that my ass is heading to San Francisco for BlogHer ’08 next week July 18, 2008 through July 20, 2008.

Shit.

Okay, okay and another okay.

I need to get my preparedness together…stat!

And if you are in the San Francisco area and have a moment to spare next week come over and check out the panel I’ll be participating in What We Believe: How To Take Names and Be Taken Seriously as a Political Blogger.

I just love that title (wink).

Now, all a bitch needs is my Afro pick and a light sweater…

Shhh, they’re listening…

A bitch is disturbed by the bill Bush has signed into law that extends immunity to telecom companies that helped the Bush administration spy on Americans.

I read the news right after reading this article about the death of Ruth Greenglass and somehow I think that’s how it was meant to be.

Ruth Greenglass, along with her husband David, provided key testimony that sent Ethel Rosenberg to her death for treason.

David, Ethel’s brother, later revealed in a book that he had lied on the stand and that his wife…Ruth…had probably done the typing that sent Ethel to her death. In an interview with 60 Minutes II, Greenglass claimed that the infamous Roy Cohn made him lie on the stand.

Cohn went on to be Joseph McCarthy’s weapon of choice as he destroyed careers and lives in the name of national security.

Sigh.

Over 50 years have gone since the Red Scare and once again we are a nation trembling in a corner, handing over our civil liberties to questionable caretakers without so much as a whimper all for the appearance of national security.

And I can't get over how Ethel Rosenberg died in the electric chair at the age of 37 while Ruth Greenglass most likely died in her sleep at the age of 84...or stop feeling that, in an environment where rumor convicts and information can be lethal, we've just delivered the weapon to the suspect.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Back off, back up and get gone!

As you may already know a certain Belgian brewing giant named InBev wants to buy Anheuser-Busch. They made a stock offer, were formally rebuffed by CEO August Bush IV (known here as The Fourth) and are now attempting to go around the board to romance share holders into taking the deal and kicking the board to the curb.

Shit.

They want A-B bad…acquiring A-B is like a fever in their blood…they lust for it, for the love of all that’s not going to be taken over through hostile means!

A-B is headquartered in St. Louis…this bitch’s home town. Not only is A-B a huge part of our local identity (note that even this vodka adoring bitch is riled up over the possible ramifications of Belgian ownership of A-B) but they also support a lot of Missouri based non-profits, events and pay-check needing households.

Add to that the fact that the largest export from St. Louis city lately has been jobs (wince), and it should be easy to see why folks here are freaking the hell out.

But the last straw for this bitch was a video posted by InBev on their corporate web site featuring the holiest of holiest A-B symbols… Clydesdales!

Have they no shame?

And who the hell knew they grew them this rambunctious in Belgium?

Blink.

Note – a bitch holds no ill feelings towards the people of Belgium. My new Belgian chocolate boycott is purely an act of solidarity in this battle to keep A-B where it belongs.

Cough.

C-Money and this bitch have come up with a plan. We propose that the people of St. Louis all buy shares in A-B.

No, we’re not kidding.

If we’ve got just under 2 million folks living here or ‘bout the area then we can do this…big time!

We need to get Green Bay on this shit!

And when was the last time some Belgian beer company tried step to the Packers with a hostile takeover bid?

***cue crickets***

Mmmhmm...thought so.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Yeah, what he said…


A nod of the Afro goes out to a certain DeWayne Wickham for the opinion piece he wrote in USA Today on the passing of Jesse Helms.

My Afro, which has been sore due to the reluctance of the sorta-press to keep it fucking real and call that rancidity the rancidity it was, is now somewhat soothed….

Planned Parenthood Action Fund Presidential Endorsement…

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund has officially endorsed Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) for president of the United States.

The board of the national Planned Parenthood Action Fund voted unanimously last month to recommend endorsing Sen. Obama, a decision ratified by Planned Parenthood’s local action organizations, which represent the interests of all 100 Planned Parenthood affiliates.

For more information on the endorsement and to view the video, click here!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Gee, that’s eight!

Lawd, a bitch has been so busy that I almost missed the G8 Summit completely!

And that would not have been right…particularly since the G8 marks Scooter B.’s (President Bush to the uninitiated) first sit-down with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Note - with so many news anchors fucking up the pronunciation of Medvedev, a bitch sees a decrease in the coverage of all things Russian on the horizon.

A bitch has been waiting for this meeting ever since Scooter B. bid farewell to Vladimir Putin…and you know that must have been hard 'cause they were linked at the soul ever since Scooter B. gazed deeply into Vladimir’s eyes.

Blink.

Anyhoo, Scooter B. gave his thoughts on President Medvedev after the meeting, calling his a “smart guy.” He went on to add "I'm not going to sit here and psychoanalyze the guy."

Well, shit…that would have been a show worth buying tickets for!

And then he followed that up with a dash of "He's comfortable and confident, and I believe when he tells me something, he means it."

Awww, now that’s the way to make nice before pushing for a missile defense system to be built on your new comrade’s border.

***cue Lara’s theme from Dr. Zhivago***

Thou shalt not turn right without signaling…

Happy Monday, all y’all!

Let’s jump right on in.

South Carolina is going ahead with plans to issue state license plates for Christians stating I Believe. A bitch called South Carolina to ask for clarification on whether there are other religious options…’cause lots of folks believe lots of things…but the woman on the other end of the phone hung up when I announced which blog I was calling on the behalf of.

A bitch believes that was rude as a motherfucker.

Shit.

Anyhoo, a lot of folks have problems with a state issuing religious confirmations through government run programs because it calls into question the separation of church and state.

This bitch takes issue with it because it connects Christianity with the trifling shit most drivers do.

It’s bad enough when some asshole driving a Ford F-150 latches on to the bum of Miss Sister Girl Cabrio…despite the open lane right next to his ig’nant ass…and tries to terrorize me in retaliation for all of the failures that define his Calvin pissing on a Chevy logo decal of a life.

But to do that in a car sporting a license plate professing a belief in Christ is...well, damn near blasphemy!

And trust a bitch, I’ve already witnessed this disturbing shit here in St. Louis.

If I had a dollar for every time some Its Not a Choice It’s a Life bumper stickered mini van blew through a red light like some heathen seeking to embrace the devil a bitch could afford vodka for life!

And don’t even get me started on the number of times some land boat with a fish symbol affixed to its ass has cruised through a stop sign or weaved in and out of highway traffic going 90 mph in a construction zone (shame, shame and shame...y'all need prayer in your life!).

Whew.

Pause...consider...continue.

Clearly the faithful are not alone in these vehicular blasphemies……

…but they’re the ones decorating their cars with the symbols of the Prince of Peace whilst driving like bats out of hell.

Mayhap South Carolina should add a promise from drivers to represent the teachings of Christ through their driving habits oath to the state driving test?

Or perhaps they’ll be able to make do with an option to repent in traffic court…

Blink.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Thoughts on my brother’s birthday…

Regular readers know that my brother Bill is one of the true joys of my life.

Well, Bill is 38 years old today…yay!

Bill is the oldest and he is autistic, so I have never known a world without autism in it. When I was a wee bitch I was easily embarrassed by Bill’s public displays of autism. As I grew older, I came to resent him for being autistic in a world that didn’t suffer difference. It wasn’t until I returned home to St. Louis to take up co-guardianship with my sister that this bitch came to know and truly appreciate my brother for the man that he is.

Anyhoo, I’m sitting here remembering.

Not the summers spent driving an hour each way so that Bill could go to summer school…the tantrums and destruction of property…the weird and ultimately unproductive diet-based “cures” (wince)…the speech therapy…the family therapy…or the pain of Bill being placed in residential treatment in his early teens.

No, I’m remembering cartwheels through sprinklers and peanut butter mixed with sugar sam’iches…his adoration of cake and Pepsi, candy bars and French fries...and how Bill sang the chorus of September over and over for years upon years (wince again). I remember my father, God rest his soul, trying to play basketball with Bill and Bill’s complete lack of interest in that shit. And always, Bill's smile that can still banish all but happiness from the room in a heartbeat.

I left St. Louis when I was 17 years old, fleeing the dysfunction and damage of my mother’s house to go to college. And in a very real sense I left my brother, because he is without speech and the ability to chat over the phone. In the years that followed, a bitch didn’t keep in touch and struggled not to fret or worry. I gave my brother to God and tried to tell myself that I deserved the time it took to discover who the hell I was and what the world had to offer me.

But when, years later, I came home and went on that first visit to see Bill again I realized that part of who I am is being his sister.

There is no definition of me without Bill or my older sister…no life that took place without them, not really. We three are family, and that has made all the difference.

Today, as we celebrate the gift of Bill’s birth 38 years ago, I am so very proud to be his sister…so amazed at the life he built despite the challenges the world tosses at him.

And tonight this bitch shall cherish a birthday meal with my brother, including all those loud ass repetitive noises and all that other autistic shit (wink), and celebrate with our different kind of family…our different kind of normal.

To my beloved brother Bill, I am so grateful you are in my life.

Happy birthday and the first round of fries are on me...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Fourth of July Preparedness…

A bitch has been fussed at by my beloved Canadian readers for missing Canada Day on July 1st.

Wince.

My bad, people…this bitch has been busier than a bitch should ever be!

Anyhoo, Happy Belated Canada Day!

Speaking of national holidays, a certain flurry of sale-based television commercials tells this bitch that the Fourth of July is upon us.

Oh, and the fact that it is tomorrow…and that's the day before my brother Bill’s birthday…and it is listed in bold on the calendar of my newly refreshed planner inserts.

Blink.

Shit!

A bitch has a three day weekend.

Shark-Fu’s Last Minute Fourth of July Preparedness List of Shit…

Munchables
Ice cream…a sometimes food and my sometime is this weekend!
Grillable beasts
Sauce for grilled beasts
Mustard Potato Salad from Straub’s (Why front? Potato Salad is not my strongest dish…but I do adore it with barbeque…YUM!)

Beverages
Hmmmm, let’s shake it up a bit.
Fizzy cran
Fizzy grape cran
Vodka
Ice

Wink.

Viewage
Season 2 of Homicide Life on the Streets (bless you, Netflix)

Lone holiday-based burden
The neighborhood chil’ren & their trifling parents who insist of setting off gunshot-esque firecrackers all fucking day long and throughout the weekend...fuck it , well into the month of fucking September...even though firecrackers are illegal in St. Louis city and just so happen to make my dawgs freak the hell out and they are also a fire hazard.

Fuckers.

Sigh.

But, other than the Boyz in the Hood sound effects, this is going to be a fantabulous and relaxing holiday weekend (wink).

Have a safe Fourth of July, y’all…

Free at last…

As some of you know, this bitch is an avid consumer of documentary films. So, when news broke the other day that related to two fantastic documentary films it didn’t take long for me to make the connection.

Former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three American hostages were freed from their captivity with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) the other day. American media outlets immediately began to position this in the same light as other triumphant hostage release stories, but neither Betancourt nor the Americans' stories fit that script.

Betancourt’s amazing political career and terrifying capture by FARC forces is documented in the film The Kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt. Betancourt’s anti-corruption campaign and election day kidnapping in the face of her probable victory may have been connected to the very government she was running to clean up. It would not have been the first time the Colombian government conspired with the FARC for political gain. I'm not saying this shit isn’t what it appears to be...a successful military operation by Colombian forces that liberated four hostages...but this bitch plans to blink more than once before tossing any confetti at the Colombian government.

Cough.

The release of the three American hostages (Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell and Thomas Howes) should also receive further examination. In fact their story, which was documented in the documentary Held Hostage in Columbia, scares the hell out of this bitch because it speaks to possible covert drama resulting in the multi-year captivity of American citizens which was treated with indifference by the very government they were working for. I watched this documentary three times…it was that captivating and that alarming.

Americans working for California Microwave Systems (a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman) are shot down and taken captive by the FARC. Soon after the crash, the contract they were fulfilling was awarded to another company (CIAO) which may or may not have been a CIA front…the FARC sure as shit thought it was. So these three men were then left in limbo…the American government acted like they weren’t even there and, if they were there, they weren't our government's problem...the company they used to work for did the same, the Colombian government weighed their situation against the potential benefits of appeasing the FARC and three American families faced years of inaction and not-knowingness. The documentarians were able to get amazing access to the FARC and the hostages…the interviews are amazing and full of anxiety.

Now that these four people are free, this bitch highly recommends looking back at how their captivity unfolded…how both the Colombian governments and American governments responded…and what, other than the glorious and emotional reunions, we can take away from these incidents.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

FYI...

A certain someone sent this bitch an e-mail asking for information about suicide prevention among LGBT youth.

I recommended that she contact Growing American Youth, PFLAG and The Trevor Project. She replied that she had never heard of The Trevor Project until today but that when she Googled it she found an article on it over at CNN.com!

The Trevor Project operates the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for gay and questioning youth. LGBT youth are 4 times as likely to attempt or consider suicide than their peers.

Anyhoo, just in case y’all have never heard of The Trevor Project…visit their web site.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Untitled…

As some of you know, this bitch is a crime buff. I am fascinated with the motivations behind crime, society’s response to crime and America’s epidemic of homicide and murder.

Like many of y’all, I struggle with how to balance individual rights with the need to curb the damage done through violence. I had planned to write about the Supreme Court ruling on hand guns, but then a certain Richard sent a bitch an email about the Madeleine McCann case reportedly being dropped due to a lack of evidence. My thoughts shifted and I’ve decided to share them with all y’all today.

My interest in crime began in 1979 when I was a wee bitch and black children in Atlanta who had been reported missing were being found dead. My mother, who spent her childhood in pre-Civil Rights era Mississippi, watched a report on the missing and murdered children of Atlanta and immediately suspected the Klan. She sat my sister and this bitch down, explained that black children were being snatched and killed then warned us that, should we be foolish enough to get snatched and murdered, she’d find us and kill us again.

Somehow that made sense.

So, we played in the backyard within eye sight…no longer rode our bikes beyond our block…and stayed awake fearing the racist stranger who may be lurking in the night.

Just when I had begun to resent this new fear planted by my mother…Atlanta, after all, was someplace else and summer begged my child-based self to get about the bitness of exploration and trouble making…news broke that the police had captured the culprit on a bridge under which a body later washed up. My mother remained skeptical and she didn’t relax the outside rules, but I was comforted by the notion that all was well...

...until the discovery of the body of a decapitated young black girl in the basement of an abandoned building on February 28, 1983 in north St. Louis city.

We were around the same age…between 8 and 11 years old…and her body was discovered just 6 days after my birthday. Someone abused her, killed her, mutilated her and then discarded her.

To this day we do not know her name or who harmed her.

No one came forward and the case went cold.

But I have never forgotten her, not because she died in my hometown but because she lived.

Where was she born? Where did she learn to walk? Did she suck her thumb like I did? Did she laugh and play and dance with youthful abandon or was her life a never ending horror up to and including the end?

I couldn’t get past the fact that no one came forward for her. No school called to report a missing girl around that age and no terrified parents made the horrible journey over to the morgue to identify their child’s body.

She remains unknown but not forgotten.

Today, when I read the news that the Madeleine McCann case was coming to an end, I thought of that unidentified sister.

I thought of the press attention that portrayed her as a symbol of the depraved violence of the inner city…even though St. Louis city residents were as horrified as anyone else and feared for their children’s safety after the murder.

I thought of the hours upon hours of police investigation put into her case…and of a child killer who has gone unpunished for this crime.

And I thought of the role expectations play…of those who society is shocked to see facing the disappearance and/or murder of a child and of those who we expect to see face drama, violence and exploitation.

It is not that I don’t weep for little Madeleine McCann…or that I don’t hope and pray that she is found alive and returned to her family.

It’s that I’m not sure who weeps for that little girl who was murdered and left to rot in a basement of an abandoned building in a poor neighborhood in St. Louis city.

It’s all of those questions that made my mother skeptical that the Atlanta child murders were solved with a single arrest.

It’s our tradition of passing laws to incarcerate criminals coupled with our reluctance to examine the society from which they emerge.

It was my child’s heart that ached for the joy stolen from another child…my child’s mind that pondered who would search for my name, my family or my killer if our places had been reversed and it was me who was black and missing in America...but it is my grown soul that is still shaken by a crime now 25 years unsolved.

And may God have mercy...