9/01/2014

A Poem for the Labor Day Laborers

Lowering Your Standards for Food Stamps

By Sheryl Luna

Words fall out of my coat pocket,
soak in bleach water. I touch everyone’s
dirty dollars. Maslow’s got everything on me.
Fourteen hours on my feet. No breaks.
No smokes or lunch. Blank-eyed movements:
trash bags, coffee burner, fingers numb.
I am hourly protestations and false smiles.
The clock clicks its slow slowing.
Faces blur in a stream of  hurried soccer games,
sunlight, and church certainty. I have no
poem to carry, no material illusions.
Cola spilled on hands, so sticky fingered,
I’m far from poems. I’d write of politicians,
refineries, and a border’s barbed wire,
but I am unlearning America’s languages
with a mop. In a summer-hot red
polyester top, I sell lotto tickets. Cars wait for gas
billowing black. Killing time has new meaning.
A jackhammer breaks apart a life. The slow globe
spirals, and at night black space has me dizzy.
Visionaries off their meds and wacked out
meth heads sing to me. A panicky fear of robbery
and humiliation drips with my sweat.
Words some say are weeping twilight and sunrise.
I am drawn to dramas, the couple arguing, the man
headbutting his wife in the parking lot.
911: no metered aubade, and nobody but
myself to blame.

(Got it from Poetry magazine. Great list of work-related poems there, too.)

8/29/2014

Katrina Plus Nine Years

Yeah, things are obviously far, far better nine years on since Hurricane Katrina came ashore and tore asunder New Orleans and a good chunk of the surrounding area. But, you know, if people aren't stranded on rooftops and on the interstate highway, then it's a damn sight improved. There has been much rebuilding all over. But in some areas, things have just gone back to a state of nature, like this site that used to have a home on it in the Gentilly neighborhood:


Or some places have been abandoned in the same state they were in August 2005, like this house in the Lower Ninth Ward in a photo taken recently:


Both of these places are surrounded by new or refurbished houses. But they are constant reminders of what happened.

Of course, it's New Orleans, so the cops are still shooting people (and, yeah, yeah, black-on-black crime), poverty is even higher than it was, the schools are almost all charters (like some Republican wet dream), black men have a 53% unemployment rate, the rents have skyrocketed. As the current and former heads of the African American Leadership progress put it, New Orleans suffers from "the self-medicating illusion of progress."

Then there's this:


The amount of wetlands loss in combination with climate change-driven rising water has resulted in a shocking shrinking of the amount of just plain above-water ground.

As we consider this ninth anniversary of the storm that opened up a wound that has never healed, bear in mind that even the most optimistic plan to save New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta region is based on the hope that sea levels do not rise too fast and that the federal government will invest $50 billion in it.

You can bet that Republican intransigence to spending and corporate-driven shortsightedness will drown the area again.

8/28/2014

In Brief: How Much Koch Can a Koch Sucker Suck?

This June, GOP Rep. Tom Cotton of Arkansas skipped the annual Pink Tomato Festival, which is not some rural ass-fucking event (although, let's face it, to an extent, every festival in Arkansas is a rural ass-fucking event). Yeah, Cotton, running for Senate, didn't attend "the unofficial kickoff of the Arkansas general election season" in Bradley County because he was at a super-secret retreat in Laguna Beach, California, being Chinese fingercuffs for Davy and Chucky Koch, the oil billionaires who regularly tag team fuck Republicans running for office because, fuck you, they can and you can't.

Cotton and Iowa state Senator Joni Ernst and Cory Gardner of Colorado all took turns heading up to the dais to talk about how much they wanted, nay, needed the Koch cocks filling every orifice, praising the Kochs endlessly for all their ejaculations of delicious, salty money and how they can't wait to gobble up more.

Of course, the most experienced whore pranced to the microphone and took it to the next level. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in audio revealed this week of the June event, said, more or less, "Yes, you can fuck my ass, fuck my mouth, get handies from my left and my right. Anyone can offer you that. But I'll pluck out my left eyeball to give you one more place to violate."

What any of them actually said is beside the point. Goddamn, the Rude Pundit is weary of reading about politicians from both parties lined up to dance for the pleasure of whatever insanely rich sultan of industry is tossing gold coins at their feet. Our bullshit election process is so blatantly corrupt at this point that, frankly, it'd be refreshing for a candidate to just walk up to one Koch or the other, drop his pants, bend over, and say, "I charge by the minute."

8/27/2014

GOP Great Black Hope Ben Carson: The Government Should Run Child Care Centers

The Rude Pundit has no love for Dr. Ben Carson, the black neurosurgeon admired on the right because he's black and says that Obamacare is worse than 9/11 and "the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery." So, obviously, many conservatives want him to run for president because, really, why the fuck not?

Imagine the Rude Pundit's shock then when he was a-persuin' today's scribble-scrabble by Carson. Oh, sure, the good doctor starts by saying some worthless bullshit about the shooting of Michael Brown, which boils down to that it was Brown's fault. That's about as surprising as watching Mitch McConnell laugh with a bunch of rich people about not raising the minimum wage. You'd be shocked if you heard the opposite.

But then he got to this section, where Carson proposes solutions to helping poor African Americans out of poverty, spurred on by some vague conservative economic policies that will totally bring in cash money: "[W]e should devote some of the tax revenues generated to child-care facilities that would allow many of those unwed mothers to get their General Education Development or higher degree and become self-supporting. There are also a number of programs across the nation that offer free classes that teach social and job skills, which would give many of the young men some different options."

Now if you know anything about, oh, say, the last 40 or so years of Republican policies, you would understand that the proper response is "Did that fuckin' worshiped conservative just seriously propose government-run child care centers and job training programs? The shit that liberals, and especially feminists, have been calling on for fuckin' years? Are you shitting us?"

No, we are not being shitted. Carson continues, "We must concentrate on these kinds of programs because we cannot afford to lose large segments of our society to despair and underachievement in an increasingly competitive world." No shit, Ben. That's exactly what we've been saying since, oh, fuck, the War on Poverty, maybe earlier. It was Republican fucksacks like, well, everyone who loves Ben Carson who prevented any of that from existing (or helped it fail through budget cuts).

Fer chrissakes, in the current election, Republicans are running on providing a bigger tax credit to help people get child care for their kids, which totally will benefit people who don't earn enough to pay taxes in the first place. One of fuckin' Paul Ryan's great and magnificently useless budgets proposed slashing the federal dollars going to child care. The Bush administration just kept giving money to church groups to take care of the problem.

But here is Ben Carson, mentioned constantly as a voice of reason (even if he is mostly bugfuck crazy) and a beloved speaker on the right, taking a position that is, truly, to the left of what many Democrats would dare to propose. He's not talking about subsidizing child care. He is talking about Big Government taking care of your children, which is a way more socialistic proposition than the terrorism that Carson believes Obamacare is.

So now can we have an actual conversation about programs that actually can get actual poor people out of poverty? Is it safe now that a well-known right-winger has said it?

8/26/2014

ESPN Needs to Know: Is Michael Sam Craving Straight Cock?

The only Michael Sam news you should be hearing today is that the defensive end survived the first round of cuts to remain on the St. Louis Rams roster. However ESPN reporter Josina Anderson also let us know, under questioning from the anchor, that Sam might not be showering with some of the players.

In other words, it's very important that ESPN investigate whether or not Michael Sam, who is, in case you haven't heard, openly gay, craves the cocks of his ostensibly straight teammates.

For what else could Anderson be alluding to? That Sam wallows in his own sweat longer than others? That he's shy? No, it's that he can't control his big gay boner checking out all those cocks and assholes.

Anderson "reported" that he may be delaying his showering until others are done, although, you know, it might just be because he's putting in some extra time on the field or exercising, but, no, surely it's because he fears his mad cock-gobbling urges, like some kind of jizz vampire, that he's hoping to use the shower to sate his lust for all things dong, staring at the players hung, cut, steroidally tiny, as the water glistens off their hard bodies, as Sam has to make his shower colder and colder so that he doesn't just throw himself in front of Alec Ogletree, grab his prick, and start sucking like it's a straw in a too-thick chocolate shake.

The Rams' Chris Long took to Twitter to respond with "Dear ESPN, Everyone but you is over it."

Imagine for a minute being a Rams player and Josina Anderson comes up to you and asks, "So have you showered with Michael Sam?" Which is just a way to ask, "So have you given the fag a chance to check out your junk?" Two players told Anderson that they haven't "tracked" Sam's showering habits. The Rude Pundit would bet that a couple of others might have told her to go fuck herself.

Yes, Michael Sam's showering is merely a way to emphasize his sexuality and to turn him from just another player to a predatory homosexual, loading up on jack-off thoughts by staring at Ram dicks. And it's to set the other players up as having to choose being either homophobic or queer-loving when you can pretty much bet that almost all of them don't give a fuck and just hope Sam can make the plays, which, so far, he can.

8/25/2014

In Brief: Victor White Deserves Your Marches, Too

You might vaguely remember, in the fog of all the cops-on-black-men brutality, the story of Victor White III, a young black man who was taken into custody in New Iberia, Louisiana in March and somehow, with his hands cuffed behind his back, managed to pull out a gun that wasn't found in a pat-down and shoot himself dead in the back of a police cruiser. Even at the time, there was a certain amount of "What the fuck?" to the story (Note: The Rude Pundit refuses to use "WTF" because fuck your abbreviations). Like "Did he pull the gun out of his asshole? What the fuck?" and "He killed himself after being arrested for possession of pot and a dab of coke? What the fuck?" and "They could find a little bit of coke on him but no gun? Are you fucking kidding me?"

The cops at the time said that White had refused to leave the cruiser, which makes one wonder, "You have a choice in that matter? What the fuck?" Oh, by the way, the cops also said that White shot himself in the back. About that...

Yeah, the coroner's report was obtained by White's father, a preacher, and by NBC News. It shows that White was shot in the chest with no wounds to his back. It shows that left-handed White somehow shot the right side of the chest with the bullet heading left. While handcuffed. Which is only possible if you shoot from the right. It shows that White's wound was not consistent with a close-range shot. Oh, and by the way, the coroner didn't test White's hands for gunpowder residue. And White had abrasions on his face which he did not have when arrested, according to someone who was with White at the time.

Of course, the coroner declared White's death a "suicide." Because it's fucking New Iberia in fucking Louisiana, where the biggest tourist attraction is former plantation house, where the slaves in general worked the sugar cane fields, which was some of the most brutal, backbreaking labor in pre-industrial agriculture.

The Rude Pundit knows New Iberia and its racist history (including beatings of NAACP organizers in the 1940s). He knows a city that is as starkly divided as any he's ever seen. Now, he's not saying that the cops shot Victor White and tried to cover it up. But you can believe that or believe in anatomical magic.

So on this day when people are mourning Michael Brown, take a moment for Victor White, a man who was working at a Waffle House, who lived with his girlfriend and new baby, who was thinking about going to community college or getting a better job to support his family. And then get fucking pissed off all over again.

Late Post Today

This is the last day the Rude Pundit can run around and play this summer, so hello, whitewater and pain. He'll be back later this evening with more dusky rudeness.

8/22/2014

There Are Other Kinds of Violence Against African Americans


Check that out. That's an idyllic little town setting, isn't it? All crops and and trees and nicely manicured lawns and is that a diner? Just lovely. It's what the Tennessee Valley Authority promised Uniontown, Alabama, would happen when the local landfill, run by a company called Arrowhead, agreed to take the toxic coal ash from the largest coal ash spill ever in the United States. That happened up the road in Harriman, Tennessee, in 2008, and it just fucked things up for the white, middle-class people in that suburb of Knoxville. So they made a deal to tote the shit down the road, to Uniontown, which is almost 90% black.

Yes, it's that blatant.

And guess what? Things didn't turn out as the TVA promised. 'Cause missing from that pleasant scene is all the "headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting...Nosebleeds, sore throats, skin rashes, asthma especially in children, and inflamed sinuses," and the potential for an increase in cancer and lung disease. As for the corn field there, "once vibrant and fertile vegetable gardens that fed their families for generations are now barren, and fruit trees are dotted with deformed and withered fruit."

That's because the landfill wasn't treating coal ash, which contains arsenic, mercury, and lots of nasty shit, as a toxic substance. Arsenic was found in a creek near the landfill, which also takes in garbage from 33 states. For only the 8th time since 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency's Civil Rights Office has begun an investigation of the treatment of the mostly black citizens of Uniontown. The EPA started this week by interviewing residents. A report is expected in December.

By the way, the EPA was called in when the state agency tasked with protecting the citizens refused to even hear their case.

While we grapple with police violence against African Americans, we cannot ignore the more subtle violence committed by the disempowerment caused by poverty, a situation that leads people to be forced to live across the street from: