Storycorps: “Oh Mama, I Knew You’d Come”

Ruth Coker Burks was a young mother in her 20s when the AIDS epidemic hit her home state of Arkansas in the early 1980s. She took it upon herself to care for AIDS patients who were abandoned by their families, and even by medical professionals, who feared the disease.

Coker Burks, now 55, has no medical training, but she estimates that she has cared for nearly 1,000 people over the past three decades, including her friend Paul Wineland’s partner.

She became involved after visiting a friend at a Little Rock hospital where one of the state’s early AIDS patients was dying. “The nurses were drawing straws to see who would go in and check on him,” Coker Burks tells Wineland at StoryCorps in Hot Springs, Ark.

“And so I snuck into his room. And he wanted his mama. And so I marched myself out to the nurses’ station and I said, ‘Can we call his mother?’ And they go, ‘Honey, his mama’s not coming. He’s been here six weeks. Nobody’s coming.’

“And so I went back in and he looked up at me and he said, ‘Oh, Mama, I knew you’d come.’ I stayed with him for 13 hours while he took his last breath. I called his mother and I told her that he had died and she said, ‘I’m not burying him.’ So I had him cremated and I brought him home.”

Caring For AIDS Patients, 'When No One Else Would' : NPR.

Earlier today, this Storycorps installment made me burst into sobs. I was reminded of some Seattle friends who died of AIDS; I knew a few people whose family had abandoned them to their fate and left them to rely on the kindness of strangers. I know people who volunteered at AIDS hospices years ago in the Chicago area, too. They had also sat with the dying, because the families would not be there for them, in all senses.

The sobs came when Coker Burks said “Oh Mama, I knew you’d come.”

I was overcome with grief for an unknown mother’s son, and had to log out of my work phone line for a few seconds so I wouldn’t be caught crying on the line if a call came in.

I sobbed for the son who wanted his mama, and for the mama who would not come, and for the kind woman who stood in for so many mothers and fathers who would not, or could not, be there for their sons and daughters, dying of AIDS.

Those were dark days, but thank God for Ruth Coker Burks. It reallly did get better because of people like her.

Remembering Pete Seeger: The Banks Of Marble

My friend the late Fr. Paul Brouillette was huge Seeger fan and fellow banjo player; he once played and sang this in church. He was that kind of guy, and today he welcomes his hero to the celestial jam session.

I once heard a young Occupy Chicago protester sing it via a live Internet feed. Still relevant, still rousing the rabble, Seeger’s passing means the banksters have one less whiny folksinger to criticize them.

Talking Heads Praise Pope’s Concern for Poor, Ignore Own Part in Austerity Politics

Crooks and Liars, on the new Pope:

They probably weren’t hired for their introspection, but it’s still a little startling when you see how little responsibility Beltway media types take for pushing austerity politics.

It’s interesting, I think, that the Beltway newsreaders (and certain ultra-conservative cardinals) are so enthusiastic about Pope Francis and his concern for the poor — without a moment’s introspection about their own part in enabling the politicians and policies that somehow always benefit the members of their own class and kick poor people in the teeth.

Via Crooks and Liars

Toward A More Perfect Union: I Peacefully Petition For A Trial Separation from Dumbasses.

You’ve heard about the current national craze for secession coming from unhappy conservatives dismayed at finding themselves on the light end of the great scales of justice and democracy.

It’s a fad. A friend of mine somewhere in either Utah or Washington State (he has friends and family in both places) filed a petition asking that all the, ah, offensively stereotyped conservatives be allowed to secede as soon as possible. Texas and Louisiana’s petitions are subscribed enough to qualify for an official response from the Obama administration (Texas will probably hit 100,000 petitioners).

Out of curiousity, I checked the site and found that my own state, Illinois, has an active petition, filed by one “Illinois R” in Pekin, IL. R for…. RRRRRrrrrepubilican, maybe? Oy.

So the rest of the petitioners are listed by first name and last initial, and strangely enough, the first few I looked at are not from Illinois at all. It’s like the sort of person who thinks this secession thing is a good idea is, oh, I don’t know, wanting to force Obama’s home state to secede, because hurr, hurr, HURR! Funnneeeee laff!

Alternatively, a few unenlightented souls (most likely from “red” states) are going through the site and signing ALL the petitions, because it’s the LAW and IT WILL HAPPEN just like the Republican landslide did.

Um, yeah, just like that.

So how many actual people other that Mr Illinois R (who is probably a really annoying guy who dresses up in Revolutionary War garb at the local Rotary functions, or writes one of the downstate conservative blogs) are actually from Illinois? Let’s see!

Wow. The fix is in already, I just refreshed and the count went from 172 to over 400 in just a few minutes so I think my “jackoffs from some conservative nest of vipers trolling the site” theory looks pretty viable. I’ll just go back and count however many happen to be that are actuallly claiming to be from Illinois now…

And so here’s my totally unscientific count: there are currently 430 petiioners, and of that number there are just 53 people who claim to be from Illinois towns (mostly small Downstate ones, and a couple from Chicago, and a few from the northwest suburbs near us). I didn’t count the people who left their town or state blank, so there could be more.

So there you are: only about 12% of the petitioners are from illinois, so this petition totally won’t count because VOTER ID, BITCHEZ. Heh.

The Constitution gives the citizens of the United States of America protection from tyrannical governments, guaranteeing basic rights. When these basic rights of are threatened not only by legislation, but by the erratic spending of a government in debt, it is only natural that we, the citizens of the United States stand to defend them. As said by our founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence,"…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and institute new Government…" I pray the government of the United States of America peacefully allow for the State of Illinois and all others requesting to leave.

via Peacefully grant the State of Illinois to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government. | We the People: Your Voice in Our Government

Which leads me to think that it might be nice if all the bullheaded intolerant people could be allowed to peacefully secede temporarily, in a kind of trial separation. The Texans claim to have the 15th largest economy in the world, so they could totally do it… just so long as they don’t do it with any US of A Gummint Property or resources. So no military bases, or Coast Guard facilities, or Federal public health support like the Center for Disease Control. They don’t want the EPA, so pollution from the refineries and oil terminals would totally be their little problem. There’d be no FEMA. In fact there would be no more tax subsidies from the blue states to any of the red states who currently take more than their share: Texas would have to pick up the slack for some of their red neighbors if they decided to hitch thei panties in a bunch to the same tired Religious Right ideological applecart. They can have their Confederacy and their fliag and their oppressive social policies, and they can expect to lose a whole bunch of migrant farm workers, entry-level workers, and their kids will have plenty of “want fries with that” non-union jobs to go around.

Yeah, that’ll work out well for everybody. Not.

What would that be like, just for a little while? It would be a mess. A total disaster. Meanwhile, the little city of Austin would be like a beacon of democracy, tolerance, and rationalism, because they’vee got their own petition up to secede from the rest of Texas and remain in the United States, so they could be just like West Berlin, except with alternative music and great Tex-Mex street food.

But think of the historic implications of an Austin Airlift: huge military cargo jets flying in over hostile territory, laden with textbooks, science fair kits, and Discovery Channel DVD sets of old Mythbusters seasons! The little children would scamper around the heroic airmen, clamoring for Elmo (he’s totally been cleared, yo) and forbidden Northern demonic Halloween candy, and then gathering in packs at the local library, happily reading Arthur story books and “Heather Has Two Mommies.”

It would be awesome, if only we could get Texas to actually secede for about 4 years, along with the rest of them. One condition of the trial separation, of course, would be that they could not come back until after Election Day 2016. Or make it even, and they couldn’t petition to come back until 2020, by when presumably theiir vision thing had cleared up.

That is, if they really want to come back – they might like all the fantastic new oceanfront land opening up every year along the coasts, and the Texans can certainly secure their long, long border with Mexico all by their little ol’ selves. Maybe they could work with Arizona to make a sort of “Mexicot Line,” with just that itty-bitty gap along there south of Albuquerque.

What would that be like, I wonder? Would a trial separation work better for them… or for us?

Bye Bye, Boys: Bashir Takes a Parting Whack at @RepJoeWalsh And The Rest Of Bunch

Martin Bashir and Luke (Not Your Father) Russert take a satisfying whack at Rep. Joe Walsh, Todd Aiken, and Allen West. Then Bashir bats around Michele Bachmann, who technically is not a boy, although she resembles the famous “Bat Boy” of “News of the World” fame.

As predicted, many of the more obtuse Republicans (okay, Tea Partiers) believe their Election Day losses are due to having a candidate who just wasn’t conservative enough. Some of them blame Karl Rove; others blame Republican leadership. They blame candidates who said stupid things about rape, but not the mentality that made them think that way in the first place.

via Tea Partiers Blame Their Loss On Everyone Except Them | Crooks and Liars

By all means, Tea Potty-poopers! Keep the GOP on the run by forcing them into primaries with totally non-viable, lunatic-fringe TP candidates in the next election cycle. It makes them so much easier to pick off when they shoot themselves in the foot first.

I long for the day when we can have 2 reasonable, rational parties working together for the best interests of the country. That can’t happen as long as the religious Right and the alternate-reality paleo-conservatives have the GOP held hostage.

Bashir has a history with Walsh; he famously “called out” Walsh back in September 2011 over his refusal to attend President Obama’s speech before the joint Houses of Congress over the budget crisis “not even on behalf of your constiutents.”

As a soon to be former constituent of Congressman Joe Walsh, I’d like to thank Martin Bashir for this gem:

Sure You Can Shove Your Delicious Religion Down My Throat, Flying Spaghetti Monster! #RomneyShellshocked

More delicious schadenfreude, with extra red sauce, O Most Holy and Comforting Flying Spaghetti Monster!

Here’s a funny commenter at the Atlantic named slownews, replying to a religious lunatic person by pointing out the awesome truth behind her faith-based irrationality:

slownews says:
AULANDA replies (to slownews)
slownews – God’s word may have been rejected by some but not all. God will finish what He started with His creation and He will do it His way. Reject Him if you choose, He hasn’t rejected you. Remember that when you face judgement that is certainly coming.


The Creator is the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Not Yahweh. I have proof.

But sometimes, on the Internets, people get confused by attributions.

skyp2 replies:

Another commenter, not realizing who said what, blows up and yells at everybody to please stop shoving religion down his throat. Poor man, he is rejecting the Sacred Red Sauce of Righteousness, the Holy Meatballs of Truth, and the Almighty Dente Noodles of Humility.

The actual article, an analysis of the “shell-shocked” Romney coterie stumbling toward the stage trying to understand what was happening to them, is extremely satisfactory.

But now, we need to start hammering on the lame Republican ducks and later on the newly elected baby Dem ducks about passing some jobs bills and getting shit done that got obstructed (and sacrificed on the White Tablecloth Altar of Shameful Political Posturing).

via Adviser: Romney “shellshocked” by loss – CBS News

Evolution Is A Thing Is The Song I Want To Sing

When I’m happy, I sing. I’ll be singing this for a while.

Ohio really did go to the president last night.


And he really did win.

And he really was born in Hawaii.

And he really is -legitimately- President of the United States.



And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make-up a fake unemployment rate last month.

And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence

That cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy.



And the polls were not skewed to over-sample Democrats.

And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election

To make conservatives feel bad.

He was doing math.


And climate change is real.

And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes.

And evolution is a thing.

And Benghazi was an attack on us.

It was not a scandal by us.

And no one is taking away anyones guns.

And taxes havent gone up.

And the deficit is dropping, actually.

And Saddam Hussein didnt have weapons of mass destruction.


And the moon landing was real.

And FEMA isnt building concentration camps.

And UN election observers arent taking over Texas.

And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry

And the financial services industry

Are not the same thing as communism.



via Evolution is a thing – The Maddow Blog

Triumph Of The Reality-Based Community Against The Forces Of Darth Rove And Emperor Adelson

I’m really, really satisfied with the election results. Thank God for Nate Silver, or thank probabilities, anyway. He kept me sane all evening when the electoral count had Romney up until California and the rest of the West Coast reported in with a WHAM! BOO-YAH! and put the electoral total over 200 in the blue column. As almost every “battleground” state smoothly went blue except for North Carolina and stubborn Florida, it looked better and better still.

First, remember Rove famously dismissed reality as not really fitting in with his plans:

Back in the days of the Bush Administration, the NY Times reported  on an exchange with a Bush Aide, who dismissed the reporter as a member of the “reality based community” and told him, “we create our own reality.”

Yeah, not so much. In this election, Republican pundits were adamant  they were going to win by a landslide.  It wasn’t just spin.  They really, really believed it.

Back in 2008, a few days before the election, I amused myself with a little reality-based schtick. MONTHS before that, the outcome was pretty clear (even though Sarah Palin didn’t join McFail’s team until August. And now I’m amusing myself again, because here we are, with Obama’s second term a done deal. I’m looking forward to Reality-Based Lifeforms’ Liberation Day 2013

Enjoy a hearty laugh as you peruse the great T-shirt deals to be had under that date heading – it’s the end of an error, apparently! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Looking Back at GOP Ops In The War Against Voting: Projection As a Tactic

If a GOP spokesgoon complains loudly about… anything shady at all, you can be that the GOP is accusing their opponent of doing the very same thing they are already doing more thoroughly, and with better funding right from the top.

Buzzfeed has published the most bizarre set of emails between right wing operatives freaking out during the Scott Brown/Martha Coakley race in January of 2010 that I’ve ever seen.
The plot, hatched by a strange alliance of high-profile conservatives, was to have James O’Keefe and his “crew” catch the SEIU in some kind of voter fraud similar to what O’Keefe has tried to commit in various states around the nation in order to claim that voter ID laws are necessary.

Let’s note for the record that the entire right wing has been curiously silent about the voter registration fraud schemes bought and paid for by the Republican National Committee. You would think concerned conservatives like Fund, Fox and Friess would be very, very concerned, but instead, silence fills the hole where outrage should be.

via Fund, Friess and O’Keefe Conspired To Frame SEIU, GOTV Effort | Crooks and Liars

Romney, Bain Tied To Voting Machine Company To Be Used in Swing States | The Daily Dolt

Oh, THIS will work out for the best:

We’re not really into conspiracy theories here, so let us just say this upfront: we are not presenting the following article as any kind of conspiracy theory. We will say, though, that the people who own voting machines in some important swing states have a pretty remarkable bias toward Mitt Romney and, you know, someone should probably keep an eye on this, no?

via Romney, Bain Tied To Voting Machine Company To Be Used in Swing States | The Daily Dolt