Vietnam Vet with a cardboard sign
Sitting there by the left turn line
Flag on the wheelchair flapping in the breeze
One leg missing, both hands free.
No one's paying much mind to him
The V.A. budget's stretched so thin.
And there's more comin' home from the Mideast war.
We can't make it here anymore. — James McMurtry
A rainy fall day in Memphis, dreary and gray and drizzly. I've got to drive around downtown and run some errands at lunch. I stop at a red light at Union and Third. On a nearby bench sits a man with his T-shirt pulled over his head. He's wet and no doubt miserable, and no one can see his face. Just another "bum." A lost ball in life's high weeds. What are you gonna do? WWJD? I dunno. I've got errands to run. As I pull away, he has his hand extended, his face still hidden, his story a mystery.
I pull into a fast-food joint near Danny Thomas. Sitting on the curb is a man with maybe four teeth in his head. He has the look of a crazy person. He's wet and sitting in a puddle, talking to people as they pull up to the microphone to place their orders. Most people ignore him.
He's not really talking. He's chanting, "Chaaaannnggge," drawing out the word like a mantra. "Chaaaannnnggge."
"What's your story," I ask.
"I got no money, no place to live, and I'm wet. What do you think?" The guy is fairly well-spoken. He doesn't seem crazy, just resigned to his misery. He says he's a vet, and he doesn't have his "meds," and he's living in shelters and on the street. I give him a buck. He says, "Thank you, sir," then sits back down on the wet curb.
"Chaaannngggge," he chants.
I drive the wet streets, listening to the lady on NPR talk about the trillion-dollar federal bailout of our banks and investment firms. This massive infusion of funds is meant to save our economy, she says. We have to rescue the credit markets. Meanwhile, the poor and hungry walk the streets of Memphis, no change in sight — and the only thing trickling down is the rain.
The hacktivist group Anonymous announced last week that they would be outing hundreds of Americans who were involved with the Ku Klux Klan. The group claimed that they'd hacked KKK servers and obtained emails and documents that would reveal that many prominent American politicians were associated with the white supremacist group ...
The lady doth protest too much, methinks. — William Shakespeare
Is there such a thing as "bad activism"? I'm asking because I'm seeing a lot of criticism of the folks who are protesting the Memphis Zoo's encroachment onto the Greensward at Overton Park.
I attended the White Station High School graduation ceremony last weekend. My stepson crossed the stage without incident, got his diploma, and is now ready to fly the nest, come September. He's a great kid, a good student, and we're very proud of him. (Not as proud as a few families, who, despite pleas from the principal to refrain from applause and demonstrations of enthusiasm, went nuts when their family member crossed the stage — signage, horns, etc. We opted for the restrained and tasteful, "Whoo!") ...