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Commentary

DAHOF: South Dakota Rep. Michael Clark

Not every selection for the Dumb Ass Hall Of Fame is an idiot, dotard, or buffoon. Some, like this week’s honoree, are just brain-numbed by hate and ignorance.

America In Decline, From Facebook.
Bigoted SD Rep. Michael Clark doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near the tribute to these great leaders.

The morality of the nation crumbles around us, hurtling toward a precipice of as-yet-unimaginable depth, spurred by the pubescent leadership of our President, the jibbering sycophants who surround him, and the spineless cowards of the Senate and Congress, most of whom are more than intelligent enough to see what this man is, but refuse to act for reasons both partisan and personal. I awake each morning, take my pills, and empty my bladder beneath a cloud of dread: what terrible things have transpired since the day before. What has the skulking boy king said, what has he done or, most often, what excremental feats of churlish impertinence have the lunks and sneering bounders emboldened by his example been up to?

Another cop killing an unarmed black man? Running him down with a patrol car? Shooting him seven or eight times in the back? Gunning him down for closing a door–a fragile blue ego more important than a warrant and the Fourth Amendment? Or maybe another ally insulted? Another adversary provoked? Another treaty broken? Another bold faced lie maintained in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary? Another denial of that lie, despite video?

Given all of this and so much more, I am barely surprised to hear that South Dakota stateScreenshot(1) Representative Michael Clark tried to press the argument, that businesses should be allowed to turn down people based on the color of their skin. As my dad used to say, “I shit you not.”

In a heady stupor of exclusionist victory dancing following the Supreme Court ruling in favor of a homophobic Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because of his religious beliefs, Clark boasted on Facebook that the decision was a “win for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.” Other FB users called him on his gleeful embrace of bigotry, and the intrepid lawmaker doubled down.

“It is his business,” Clark wrote in a comment. “He should have the opportunity to run his business the way he wants. If he wants to turn away people of color, then [that’s] his choice.”

We’ve seen this mindset before. On buses in Tennessee. In schools in Arkansas. At lunch civil-rightscounters in Alabama.

It is modestly affirming that a furor quickly built, on Facebook and among the general public and first regional, then national news organizations began covering the incident. At first he tried to frame his bigotry as standard anti-government rhetoric, asserting that  business owners only need serve certain segments of society and that the market would ultimately determine if the business succeeded or failed. The negative comments and press coverage built up, as some of reminded this attorney and elected lawmaker of a not-so-irrelevant document called The Civil Rights Act of 1964. Predictably, the heat was too much for tough cowboy Clark, who ultimately deleted the post on Tuesday. He said he had “jumped in on it a little bit too fast,” the Argus-Leader reported.

ScreenshotNot long  after, he apologized via email to a reporter for the Leader, followed by a glib, insincere retraction on Facebook. “I am apologizing for some of my Facebook comments. “I would never advocate discriminating against people based on their color or race.”

But in an interview with the Argus-Leader, Clark said he believed that business owners should be able to turn away certain customers if they would otherwise violate their religious beliefs. “If it’s truly his strongly based belief, he should be able to turn them away,” Clark told the Leader. “People shouldn’t be able to use their minority status to bully a business. The vote of the dollar is very strong,” he said.

I’m still parsing which is more disgusting, the unapologetic awfulness of the President and his Trumpkins, or these slimy, cynical clones who imitate his success playing to the lowest common denominators, shouting whatever vile and hateful bile they happen to indexbe regurgitating at any particular moment? It is a tough contest indeed. Trump is culpable for setting the tone, but they’re all playing the same game: vomit out sinful rhetoric to the bleating masses and keep pressing–then either deny it completely and blame the press for making it up, or mutter a dishonest, heartless apology rife with crocodile tears and move on. “I didn’t say that. But if you have tape that shows I did, then I certainly didn’t mean it.”

Well,  Mr. Clark, we’re not buying what you’re selling. You don’t get to worm and squirm out of it with a cynical “I’m sorry,” so take ownership for the man you’ve become. Burn a cross, beat a gay man–be your honest self. Your soul is already exposed before your neighbors, your friends, and especially your God.

It is easy to say, “I would never advocate discriminating against people based on their 1963-derechos-civilescolor or race” but the simple fact is that yes, you would, because yes, you did. It’s not like we haven’t seen your kind before.

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Where's Chuck?

Where’s Chuck? 8.4.15

I’m on vacation, but I planned ahead. Presuming that we stay on track, we’ll be seeing a lot of cool things–here’s what I hope to see today.

This is the second epic long day of over-ambitious landmark bagging.  We’ll begin from our campsite near Rushmore, weave our way through the wild and windy scenic highways of the Black Hills–including the Needles Highway

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and Deadwood…

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No, wait–not that Deadwood.  This Deadwood…

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And Spearfish Canyon…

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Then on to Wyoming and Devil’s Tower…

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Which we won’t be climbing…
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Not because we’re afraid to climb or really bad at it–but because it was carved by a giant bear and we’re afraid he way come back…

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Then we head up to Montana and Little Bighorn Battlefield…

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Before making our way to Red Lodge for the evening.

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Where's Chuck?

Where’s Chuck? 8.3.15

I’m on vacation, but I planned ahead. Presuming that we stay on track, we’ll be seeing a lot of cool things–here’s what I hope to see today.

Oh, today is a big long day of attractions and activities–the first of two ambitious dawn to dusk tourista fantasticas as we drive from Mitchell, South Dakota to the doorstep of Yellowstone in 48 hours and attempt to see a whole lotta America in between.

First up, the Badlands–a scenic drive through the park with a few short hikes thrown in.
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And yes, I’m going to drag my fat ass up these steps, just to prove to myself that I not an old, used-up bag of skin and lard.

Then I’ll reward myself with a treat from the decadent land of tourista dreams…WALL DRUG.

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That isn’t me on the rabbit, obviously.  I have hair.

And we’re not done yet.  Our final destination of the day is Mount Rushmore, which isn’t nearly the dull thing I always expected it was.  The first time I went, I expected to be bored, but it is oddly engaging.

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Categories
Where's Chuck?

Where’s Chuck? Sunday 8.2.15

I’m on vacation, but I planned ahead. Presuming that we stay on track, we’ll be seeing a lot of cool things–here’s what I hope to see today.

We finish up events at the State Games of America around mid-day then we’re heading northwest, ahead of our friends, to Mitchell, South Dakota where we’ll be camping over at Lake Mitchell and making a quick visit to The Corn Palace.  Because you can’t go to eastern South Dakota and not see a building covered with murals made from corn and other regionally grown grains.  They make new murals every year.

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I don’t know who this woman is, but the photo is awesome and I had to include it.
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Uncategorized

VACATION!

nb75at70aBy the time you wake up and read this–by the time the WordPress robot publishes this–I’ll be two large travel mugs and a couple hundred miles into our big vacation, having slipped off in the foggy pre-dawn morning on our way west, and we hope to stay on vacation for several weeks.

I’ve lived in Wyoming and Oregon, and have had the opportunity to travel back and forth across this country, with a lot of meandering along the way, many times–but my kids, who were born in Oregon, have not been on the left side of the Mississippi since we moved to Pennsylvania when they were 4 months old.  It was well badlandspast time we got them out there.

I don’t know if I’ll have many–or even any–chances to check in on Old Road Apples, or to see what is going on over at your blog, and the many others I generally enjoy on a daily basis.  It is strange, but I feel like I’m leaving a lot of friends behind, and in a way I guess that I am.

Not to fear, I’ve been planning for several months to make this trip go smoothly, and part of that has included maintaining Old Road Apples in my absence.  I’ve prepared the usual daily tetons1features, a heavy dose of Summer Wonders, and–as a special treat–repeat posts of vintage Junk from the very early days of the blog, before anyone was reading.  That’s right, I have several dozen posts–much of it poetry–that received few hits, likes, or comments–or none and at all.  I’ll be throwing those out at you to see what you think this time–maybe they’re really terrible, and that’s why they went ignored.  We’ll see.

03341_archesparkavenue_672x420Finally, it’s common wisdom not to reveal travel plans on social media, so just to let you know: if you’re one of the rare few who have penetrated my slender wall of anonymity, don’t get any bright ideas about robbing me, or whatever: we’ve got desperate, slightly dangerous and unpredictable neighbors who will be working with a dedicated circle of house-sitters, lawn-mowers, plant-waterers, dog-walkers, and other heroic souls who will providing a constant and vigilant guard on the homestead.  And did I mention the dog?

See you back here in about a month–I hope to return with a mountain of tales both tall and short, and maybe a photo or two.

 

Categories
Photo I Like

Found Winter Photo: Bison

I’ll admit it.  I went looking for this one.  The American Bison evolved with their massive heads and necks so they could plow their way through the prodigious snows of the American Great Plains.  You probably know these animals colloquially as “buffalo,” but that is  a misnomer. Buffalo are a very different animal.

http://horsefeathersphotography.com/shop/snow-bison/
http://horsefeathersphotography.com/shop/snow-bison/

 

In 1800, an estimated 50,000,000 bison roamed the Great Plains, but they were hunted for meat, for their skins, to undermine the Native American cultures that traditionally depended on the animals, and often for sport.  Within a few decades the population was reduced to less than a thousand animals.  Yep, that’s how we roll.

They are magnificent animals–more impressive, I think, than the great predators (Griz, Wolves) that hog the wild west spotlight–and certainly more charismatic.

http://goeddelphotography.com/portfolio/wildlife/bison/bison-single-file-deep-snow/
http://goeddelphotography.com/portfolio/wildlife/bison/bison-single-file-deep-snow/