Save the Dinosaur in the Senate


Recently a very serious situation has developed in the Senate and one of our dearest and most ancient demagogues has become seriously endangered. Senator Addison Mitchell (Mitch) McConnell Jr. is now facing a heated battle being opposed by Alison Lundergan Grimes the crackerjack, feisty Secretary of State of Kentucky. Fortunately Mitch has a crack team of garbage digging cohorts who are scrambling to insure his survival, albeit for the time being, by slinging dirt and generally being the most unwelcoming of opponents possible.

To cap off our dear dinosaur’s dilemma he’s facing opposition from a member of his own party in the primaries, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hating champion of the illustrious Glenn Beck himself, Matthew Griswold Bevin. This man is a certifiable Teanderthal with credentials coming from the rightest and tightest but not so brightest Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions. He’s already infamous for being against the bank bailout of 2008 that helped save his business thus earning him the affectionate moniker of: Bailout Bevin!

You may recall that Mitch had suffered an apparent ‘Nixonian bugging’ of his office. This happens when you receive a small Nixon doll in the mail, place it on your bookshelf, and the next thing you know Mother Jones is hawking stories about how very evil you actually are with an honest recording of your thugs plotting against anyone who dared to thwart your despotic behavior. Yes Mitch was ‘tricky Dicked’! Now the Federal Bureau of Investigation has taken over. Taxpayer money at work doing the important things like protecting our venal elected despots and preserving their right to preserve their particular special interest group unfettered by ethical behavior and such trifles.

Maybe fellow libertarian/republican junior Senator from Kentucky Rand Paul and ‘Ole Mitch’ can hole up together! They can collect guns, swig whiskey, swap wives and trade stories about shootin’ those yonder revenooers! The Nixon doll will have to go of course. They might be happier with an Ayn Rand doll and maybe a Raggedie Ronnie Reagan. Pull the string on Ayn and she says: “The question isn’t  who is going to let me it’s who is going to stop me!”. Ronnie exhorts when you drop him on his head: “Facts are stupid things!”. Why they can amuse themselves in lockstep together as they contemplate how to hold democracy hostage for their own selfish desires. That is of course after they do something important like blocking any common sense bill on gun control or the possibility of raising the minimum wage etc. etc. etc!

It will be interesting to see where the ‘Dark Money’ takes the ensuing campaign. One thing is for certain and that is the people of Kentucky need to be aware of the facts. They need to show they won’t be boondoggled by a media blitz of lies, lies, lies which is sure to be paid for by a Super PAC of nebulous money which ultimately originates from the Koch brothers and their minions.

Watch Bill Moyers and Company expose ‘Dark Money’ here!

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Showdown at the NRA Corral

The time has come for the sane people of this country to take a stand against the violence that has intruded into our lives. We can no longer ignore the outbreaks of violence and death that occur every single day in this country of free thinkers. It is absolutely outrageous that the National Rifle Association can suggest that the solution to the violent deaths caused by firearms every day is by arming more people. An analogy to this would be like suggesting that the solution to stupidity is, by golly, more damn stupidity. Bravo NRA you have truly outworn your welcome.

What started as an honorable society to promote hunting, conservation of wildlife through population control as well as marksmanship has turned into a far right wing organization that defends the right of American citizens to own military killing machines. These are the assault weapons that have been center stage in our most recent spree of heinous and nightmarish murders. These are murders that made policemen and firemen, our fellow citizens that we have hired and have sworn to protect us, our most valiant breed of first responders, sick and horrified at the scenes of these crimes.  If we are truly a civilized country as we claim to be we shall stop right now and make drastic changes to these ridiculous gun laws that we have in place.

We have watched as the NRA has taken the interests of sportsmen and twisted them into the interests of right wing survivalists. Twisting the Second Amendment of the Constitution into a self serving violent clause when at the time it was written it was meant to prevent a possible British insurgency from retaking the country we fought so hard to free in the Revolutionary war. It is time for the saner of us to step up and tell these bad children to step down and admit that the solution is not more guns at all but to put an end to the dispersion and apparent hoarding of such killing devices into the hands of every schmoe who has legs to walk into a gun shop or gun show and slap money down and buy them.

The NRA in its despotic behavior has purchased venal Congressmen who have enacted legislation rendering the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms impotent to protect us by simply enforcing many of the gun laws that are currently on the books! We need to wake up and take action. We can cite the examples of how gun laws can and do work by comparing the United States to such countries as Japan and Great Britain where due to very strict gun law enforcement these crimes hardly occur. This is a problem whose time has come. Stand up and be counted!

Mental bearing (calmness), not skill, is the sign of a matured samurai. A Samurai therefore should neither be pompous nor arrogant.” — Tsukahara Bokuden.

“Master the divine techniques of the Art of Peace and no enemy will dare to challenge you.” — Ueshiba

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Inner Visions (Burning Man 10)

Crashing through the safety rail the car went careening off the bridge whistling in the darkness until plunging into the river far below. It hesitated for a few moments on the surface of the water then began a quick descent into the inky black darkness. Water poured through the vents, the water was now up to his waste. He quickly reached into his pocket and pulled out his Swiss army knife. Opening up the awl he put the knife in his fist, the awl sticking out between his knuckles. He turned towards his window and gave it an adrenalin filled punch of extraordinary strength. The glass gave way, the water rushed in. In one motion he released his seat belt and thrust himself through the opening, knuckles bleeding.

He felt no need to breath. The only question was which way was the surface. It was so dark there was no up or down. The car had disappeared. Time was speeding by and his heart rate was incalculable. There out of the corner of his eye he caught a beam of light. Turning towards the ray there was a shiny ribbon of illumination. A snake of sterling silver, maybe three feet long. Hard to say now, all relativity of distance was askew. He instinctively followed the glowing jewel with the strong strokes of an accomplished swimmer. The snake was gone now. Moonlight shone on the surface of the river. Gasping he broke the surface of the black water.

Eddie woke up breathing hard. He rubbed his knuckles of his right hand. The storm rumbled outside, rain lashing against the bedroom window. The banana tree in the corner of the room rustled gently in the breeze of the ceiling fan. He sat up and went to the closet. Gingerly he picked up the book of Jungian archetypes he kept there. Not knowing why he felt an urge to look at the large glossy photos of archetypes inside. He turned the light on the bedstand and opened to the picture of the Norse God Loki. Ah yes, the trickster he thought to himself.

Three things Eddie had found in the apartment at 155 East 52nd street when he had moved in back in ’86. One was the very old banana tree which the realtor had offered to remove but Eddie liked it immediately. It reminded him of growing up in the south. The other was the book of Jungian archetypes which Eddie had felt like fate had destined him to have. He found whenever he was at a loss, a mental block of creativity, he would open the book and it would crash through the gate. He had always kept it where he had found it, on the top shelf of the bedroom closet.The third was a broken glass box which contained a porcelain Geisha figurine. He had had the box reconditioned and it now sat prominently in the sitting room.

He turned to the index to reference the snake. He knew already the water had signified the unconscious realm. The snake perhaps a different version of himself. He wasn’t sure why but something was familiar about it. He knew not to take any of it too literally. He flipped through the pages and began to feel sleepy again. Placing the book reverently back on the top shelf of the closet he laid back down. Below on the street there was the sound of sirens now. He knew he was home. Back home in the city that never sleeps, New York.

Phixx Pharmaceuticals brand new drug: Soma. The exposition was all set. The atmosphere was like a carnival. This was the drug of the century. It was a fix all snake oil remedy. Eddie was dreaming but this time he knew it. He was an ad agent for Phixx Pharmaceuticals. He wondered exactly what was in this brand new panacea. He watched the video he had helped produce on their big screen. People on Soma seemed like happy zombies. They ignored what was really going on all around them and performed their jobs and lived their lives like happy idiots. Eddie shuddered and secretly believed this was the drug they really are searching for. Whoever controls this drug, controls the world. He slept peacefully.

File:Processed SAM loki.jpgGet off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Flight 101 (Burning Man 9)

Eddie Sargavy stood in the terminal at the Montreal Trudeau international airport staring at the departure screen. He sipped his coffee and shook his head. He hadn’t missed his flight this time. His flight had been cancelled. He looked at his watch then wondered why since the time seemed to be posted everywhere like an inescapable fate. It was 1:01 pm. Ironically that was his flight number. There was a bad storm moving up the easy coast and all the flights to JFK had been cancelled.

He walked outside the terminal and lit a cigarette. Just as well he thought to himself. Something in his mind remembered that flight 101 was not a flight to be on. He remembered other flight 101’s crashing somewhere. He finished his coffee and spit into his cup. “101st Airborne” he said aloud. The woman standing next to him heard and moved away. He thought about history. The 101st, the Screaming Eagles, that was the “Band of Brothers”. Among their many heroic exploits one was being an integral piece of Operation Overlord in World War II. In Vietnam they were famous for outstanding bravery in the battle of Hamburger Hill. He choked up a bit and wiped his eyes. Eddie was not a man who stood still. He went back into the terminal. He would rent a car and drive to New York.

Eddie flew down the highway in his full size, brand new Dodge Charger. He had passed through customs quickly as he had nothing to declare. Heck he’d been through the border so many times he felt like he should know all the customs agents on a first name basis. It felt good to be on the move again. Never mind that he was tired, he was on his way home.

He thought about his presentation that morning. He had ended up winging the whole thing. The more he had talked the better he felt. Eddie was a pro. It didn’t matter that his heart wasn’t in it. He was glad it was over with and the client, Truefoam, seemed satisfied. He had the radio blasting loudly. The satellite radio was perfect for these extended drives. No station flipping necessary. The October scenery in the Adirondack mountains was beautiful. He only wished it was summertime and the daylight would last longer. A glance at the gas gauge and the rumbling of his stomach told him it was time to refuel and grab a bite. Just outside of Albany he took an exit that offered gas and a bag of cheeseburgers within spitting distance of each other.

Eddie turned down his radio as he pulled off the ramp. He had been blasting a song by Tito Puente. He loved the Latin salsa and was thankful the satellite radio had a station dedicated to that sound. It was dark out now but the air was still friendly. He pulled up to the pump, ready for a stretch. Yawning as he locked the doors he went inside to relieve himself. It felt good to be out of the car if only for a minute.

Returning to the car with six cheeseburgers and a large coffee he noticed a car of teenagers had pulled up a short distance away. The music blasted out of the vehicle. He could hear the vibrations as he stooped inside the Charger to put the burgers and the coffee inside. What was the recent story in Florida? Oh yes, he thought, some lunatic had sprayed bullets into a car when he thought the music was too loud. It reminded him of a time years ago when he was with his precious wife Gloria, a beautiful girl from Cuba. They were taking a road trip in his Pontiac Bonneville which had come with a brand new 8 track player. They had pulled into a full service station outside of Baton Rouge. Birdland blasted from their car. He leaned over and kissed Gloria. Just then a rather nondescript man walked by. “Turn that Spic shit down!” he said loudly. Eddie complied, he felt sheepish. He was nineteen years old and had been married for a month. He wondered where that burst of hatred had come from.

He finished pumping his gas and pulled away. The music from the teenagers’ car still resonated in his ears. He liked a different kind of music but he’d be damned if he’d ever shoot somebody over such a ridiculous thing. “The world is a fucked up place” he said aloud. He hit the gas so hard his tires screeched. The advantages of a rental he thought. He thought about Gloria who had died of cancer years earlier. He knew she could never be replaced so he had never given it a second thought. He was married to his job ever since.

As he hit the entrance ramp to 87 south, Tito came on the radio. It was “Jam En El Bario”. Eddie hit the gas hard and wondered aloud, “aren’t we all our brother’s keeper?”. A light rain had begun to fall.

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween