Monday, September 12, 2011

The Day After

It's the day after the tidal wave of remembrance activities and inescapable television deluge of "all things 9/11." The tenth anniversary of that tragic day in our history garnered so many different angles and aspects that at some point it was just too much to take. Nothing was left unturned, underplayed or unspoken about from the usual talking heads of the airwaves such as Brian Williams to movie icon Martin Scorsese with his documentary which aired on CBS. Through it all I was bold over by a front page item from Tom Engelhardt ( in the Perspectives section of the Arkansas Democrat entitled, "Let's Cancel 9/11." His approach was most stirring and somewhat offered a bitch slap into another realm of reality. Stark paragraphs such as "Ask yourself this: ten years into the post 9/11 era, haven't we had enough of ourselves? If we have any respect for history or humanity or decency left, isn't it time to rip the Band-Aid off the wound, to remove 9/11 from our collective consciousness? No more invocations of those attacks to explain otherwise inexplicable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and our oh-so-global war on terror." Ouch.  He goes on to emphasis,"Isn't it finally time to go cold turkey? To let go of the dead? Why keep repeating our 9/11 mantra as if it were some kind of old-time religion, when we've proven that we, as a nation, can't handle it-and  worse yet, that we don't deserve it?" Double Ouch. Engelhardt doesn't let up or let's anyone off the hook in this point-counterpoint rant where he unabashedly calls into question "American Hubris,"wrapped in war mongering and fear tactics gone amok. I applaud the Democrat Gazette for offering a host of viewpoints on 911 and it's ongoing societal impact. If you didn't get a chance to check it out, do so for a robust reality check. With that send off, let's go to the boards for the latest on what's really going on!

Night Moves in the City

I don't get a chance to read my Sunday paper with great detail often, but I made a point of reading Linda Caillouet's Paper Trails column headlines, "KARK: Censoring the story?" In case you've been out of the loop for the past week, this is item is another angle to the recent incident involving KARK's then Meteorologist Brett Cummings and the untimely death Mr. D. Williams in a bathroom hot tub during a Labor Day visit to a Maumelle home. Caillouet called into question the fact that KARK seemed to offer "soft ball" reporting versus the police report version reported elsewhere. She cites that KARK left out bits and pieces such as no mention of the silver chain which she stated was consistent with a dog collar while stating that Mr. Cummings was "at the home at the time of the death and we felt we should share this with our viewers," position. What's wrong with this picture you ask, well it seems that their version lacked the punch that usually they give most of their news stories. Caillouet pressed News Director Bob Heverling on the issue of whether they really covered the story and he replied that they knew "it was a story and it was important to at least cover the story." Caillouet balked at the tepid response and its not playing well with COP 24/7 as well.  After all, KARK is the "hot button" affiliate that brought the camera's to a local restaurant to witness local officials seeking those dastardly tax dollar dodgers and let's not forget that their Investigative reporters who don't mind knocking on trailer doors or calling out folks before the cameras for comment. It's called the "hot white light" of the media that's ready to pounce at a moments notice. However, it seems that the wattage was turned down some notches when it came to one of their own. Of course this entire matter is just terrible for everyone involved especially as the investigation continues and autopsy reports are released. Late last week Cummings made a statement to CNN citing his state of remorse prior to his attorney's Friday statement of his resignation from KARK. COP 24/7 spoke to Mr. Barbour concerning the incident which he described as one of the "worst things to ever happen in my life." It was Barbour who discovered Williams body with Cummings asleep next to him.  At this post time still no charges have been filed and the investigation continues. Stay tuned, it ain't over...

To TAX or NOT to Tax?

I'm torn about this Tax thingy for the city of Little Rock. Especially when we've learned that many and we do many local businesses have not ponied up to meet their own tax obligations. You've seen the stories and the aforementioned of KARK's video of tax collectors at Dizzy's Bistro trying to get paid. Now, I'm all for that approach, especially if I've got to come out of my pocket for any more spare change. But I'm still torn as I listen to local icon Annie Abrams decree that "it's only a penny" that will make the difference for parks, infrastructure and other stuff. Then there's shot caller Pulaski County Circuit Judge and LGBT ally Wendell Griffen who is staunchly opposed to giving this tax any chance not to mention a penny. In radio ads he states that low to moderate income folks just can't afford it. But City Board Representative Doris Wright believes that it will help Seniors in her Ward and from meetings that I've watched on LRTV, she hopes there will be some dollars for sidewalks in her area as well. So what do we do? First I say collect those damn tax dollars from all those businesses that have not stepped to the plate to share this responsibility. Secondly, let's not let up on collecting those property taxes that take up so many pages in the local paper and last but not least go to the polls and make your decision on if you want to give a penny for the cause or tell em that you don't give a damn. I'll make up my mind on the way to the polls. Hopefully I'll see you their!

Dixie Flying in the LGBTQ

You never know when the next flashpoint or raised eyebrow event will take place in this city. It's no secret that sometimes Gay sensibilities can go awry, off the rails or over the top. Such was the case at last weekends White Trash party held at the Northside haunt Sidetracks. So what got folks a bit stirred? Was it the assorted underwear, bras, panties or other sundry laundry hanging in the place? No.
Was it the campy couch and chair set with knick nacks? No. Was it the Trash Can punch which I heard had a hell of punch? NO. So what the hell was it. Well apparently organizers wanted to be as "authentic" to the theme by displaying a Dixie flag drapped behind the bar. Say what?  Apparently a few patrons were not amused and some expressed their displeasure at the sight of this racially tinged relic. I was certainly taken aback and stated to managenent that " we must be extremely careful about the symbols we embrace or choose to display." I was told that there was nothing meant by the flag and that it was being used as a prop for the event. However, I retorted that no matter its intended usage, that intention may not translate to a possible first time visitor or as I observed even sone regulars who found it off putting. I even heard one patron whom asked the question," where's your hood?" The idea was floated that maybe it should be removed if most found it offensive, but I remarked that "taking it down for the sake of being comfortable is not the answer. Let it stay but be prepared to defend your choice to do so. It was my hope that a teachable moment could be achieved not only for management but for customers as well." Personally I've always found the"white trash" or "Pimp and Ho's concepts a bit unsettling yet it seems others relish whatever value they can get from it.  We must learn that we can't expect the greater society to be "culturally compentent" of the LGBTQ lifestyle if we continue to be less competent to the symbols that have negative legacies. What's next flying Swatikas?

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