Monday, January 31, 2011

January Odds and Ends...

We say good-bye to January and for those of us who live in the snowy woods of the Northeast, it couldn’t come soon enough.  January has also been a politically raggedy month with an over-ballyhooed State of the Union Address with not just one, but two, ho-hum rebuttals from the right.  
Tragically, this month began with an assassination attempt on the life of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  Giffords survived a severe wound to her head, but 6 others, who had come to talk with her, were killed.  In all, twenty citizens were killed or wounded in a maniacal shooting spree by a young gunman using a Glock automatic pistol with an extended magazine.  As Giffords struggles to recover in a rehabilitation facility in Houston, the other survivors cope with their wounds, and the families of those killed deal with their sorrow, but, unbelievably, our Congress has not yet gotten around to ban the extended magazine which enabled the gunman to get off so many rounds before he paused to reload.
The month is ending with a massive uprising of the Egyptian citizenry against the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak, regrettably a staunch ally of the United States.  At this writing we do not know how this will play out, but we do know that the effects will still be felt when all this snow has melted away.
But before we head into February there are a few leftovers that should be mentioned.  
First, the promised protest against the Koch brothers’ semiannual gathering of 200 rightwing Masters Of The Universe at Rancho Mirage in So. California did take place and even got media attention.  The NYTimes reported [Here] that 11 busloads of protesters arrived outside the luxury resort whose entry was blocked by sheriff’s deputies in riot gear and carrying batons.  Meanwhile, the invited guests were whisked in and out of the complex in SUV’s with tinted windows.  (House GOP Majority leader Eric Cantor was expected to attend.)
David Dayen of FireDogLake [Here] reported that at least 25 people were arrested and that “thousands” took part in the protest.  Some of the groups that were represented were MoveOn, CREDO, California Courage Campaign, Cal. Nurses Ass., United Domestic Workers of American, (an activist environment group) and Common Cause, the principal protest organizer.  It was good to read that when Dayen asked the President of Common Cause if this protest signaled a more aggressive posture from them, his answer was, “Keep watching.”
Whoppee.  We shall!
Speaking of the excellent, they posted an essay titled “The Blue Collar Life,” written by someone called wavpeac. [Here]  I do not know who she is but she described the working life and background of her 50-year old electrician husband.  It’s written with love and respect and some bitterness for the hard life that her husband must endure to make a living for himself and his family.  It’s a must-read.  Do you think that any of those folks who sunned themselves at Rancho Mirage, including Rep. Eric Cantor, would understand any of it?
And another must-read.  [HereThe Times printed a story about a young man named Maurice Mannion-Vanover who died recently of AIDs.  (Yes, it still happens.)  Maurice was born with the disease in 1990 and his twin sister lived only 20 months.  In 1993 a gay male couple, who were looking to care for a child with special needs, adopted him.  Against all the predictions, the boy survived and thrived.  The couple eventually relocated to Montclair.  
When Maurice fell in love with horses, they bought him one and stabled him in a carriage house on their property.  As The Times’s Peter Applebome put it, Rocky became the only horse in Montclair and became the delight of Montclair children.  Rocky also greeted commuters passing to and from work.  When Maurice died, aged 20, 500 people crowded into his Episcopal  church to say good-bye.  [Here]   
Making sense of it all goes far beyond the known facts of Maurice, the Tims and Rocky the Horse: the way his beloved dog, Hunter, keeled over and died a few hours after Maurice passed on; the way Rocky took Mr. Vanover’s head with his own and drew it close to him, as if sharing grief in a hug. Before the funeral service, Rocky, the Tims and Kindoo walked to the church in front of the hearse. 
Yes, it’s a must-read.  And while you finish wiping the tears away, have you read about the Cooper’s Hawk that has been flying inside the dome of the Library of Congress?  [Here]  I guess the hawk doesn’t like the weather any more than we do.
Snowy January--Begone!...

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