Category: FAIL

Ode To Governor Mark Sanford

This song fits Gov. Sanford so well:

you keep on tellin’ me
‘baby I love ya,’
just ain’t your game

You tell me I can have anything I want
but whhhyy can’t I have your name?


callin’ each other brother
with your hand in his pocket
hypocrisy! yeah

–Millie Jackson, singing her song “Hypocrisy” on Soul Train to promote her “It Hurts So Good” album, 1973.

Gov. Mark Sanford admitted last week that he created a fiction about where he was.  He was actually in Argentina committing
Gov. Mark Sanford admitted last week that he "created a fiction" about where he was. He was actually in Argentina committing adultery

Sanford would also fit perfectly in my old 2006 rundown of hypocrisy in politics.

This is the same Mark Sanford that, as a US Congressman, called Bill Clinton’s affair “reprehensible” and said, “I think it would be much better for the country and for him personally” to resign. “I come from the business side. … If you had a chairman or president in the business world facing these allegations, he’d be gone.” (source) Sanford won’t take his own advice, and has declined to resign as governor. Sanford voted in favor of three of four articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, citing the need for “moral legitimacy.” “The issue of lying is probably the biggest harm, if you will, to the system of democratic government, representative government, because it undermines trust. And if you undermine trust in our system, you undermine everything, Sanford said. (source)

Cartoon by Rex Babin, Sacramento Bee, June 26, 2009
Cartoon by Rex Babin, Sacramento Bee, June 26, 2009

This is the same Mark Sanford that, when asked about philandering Republican Congressman Bob Livingston (who resigned when his extramarital affair was exposed right before officially taking over for philandering Republican Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House), said “I’m sure there will be a lot of legalistic explanations pointing out the president lied under oath, [Livingston’s] situation was not under oath. But the bottom line is, he still lied. He lied under a different oath and that is the oath to his wife. So it has got to be taken very seriously.” (video proof)

Mark Sanford built his career on his moral rigidity and finger-pointing at those who weren’t as “upright” as him. Anyone who stepped outside the box became fodder for Sanford’s sanctimonious grandstanding. Especially gays. Sanford is one of the gay-hatingest politicians in America. One of his primary campaign platforms was how urgent it is to “defend marriage” against the gay threat. Were you “defending marriage” when you repeatedly begged your wife for permission to cheat, governor? (she refused to condone such behavior). Why is it that the “red states” most eager to “defend marriage” make up eight of the 10 states with the highest divorce rates? (according to the Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstract)

Cartoon by Dwane Powell, Raleigh News and Observer
Cartoon by Dwane Powell, Raleigh News and Observer

Democrats cheat just as much as Republicans, but they don’t campaign for office with Bible-beating messages attacking those less righteous than them. That Bible they are waving actually contains many more condemnations of adultery than condemnations of homosexuality, which, if you listen to some conservatives, sounds like the ONLY thing the Bible talks about. The sages understood how destructive adultery is to families and communities. Unfortunately, politicians don’t.

These are men who love themselves deeply, need to be recognized and relish approval. These are men who adore getting praise and who often are surrounded by swarms of sycophants. These are men who, in some cases, need to exercise power and sometimes can become drunk from it. These are men who think the rules don’t apply to them and who think they’re untouchable.

Source: AP: Analysis: Why do politicians cheat?

There’s a culture of infidelity in every state capitol. I saw it in the Senate offices in Montgomery, AL; with the way Senators’ secretaries look at their Senators and how they interact like spouses, you’d have to be really oblivious to not notice what’s going on. State legislatures take some of the most arrogant and entitled men in a state, and, for half a year, assemble them in the capital city, far away from their wives. With scumbags like politicians, some infidelity is inevitable in that situation.

Next time a politician is presenting himself as moral arbiter, remember all of this.


Related Bloggery

Field Negro: The “hiking” excuse.

News Media Decides Life of Fly More Important Than Slain Latinos

So, the Minuteman Movement has gone completely insane, and they are now crossing over into murder and theft to meet their political goals of a Southwest free of Hispanics.


n.  The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

“terrorism.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 24 Jun. 2009. <>.

On May 30, members of Minutemen American Defense (MAD), an extremist group with links to the neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations, the hate group FAIR and the broader Minuteman Project, broke into the Flores’ family home to rob them. Jason Eugene “Gunny” Bush, also wanted for the random murder of a Latino man in Wenatchee, Wash. 12 years ago, was the primary shooter, and, along with Albert Robert Gaxiola and MAD executive director Shawna Forde, they posed as law enforcement and busted into the Flores’ home.

Raul and Brisenia Flores
Raul and Brisenia Flores

They shot and killed the father, Raul Flores, and his 9 year-old daughter Brisenia, shooting the little girl multiple times.  The mother returned fire, and wounded Bush in the leg after being wounded herself.  Police said the murders were premeditated as part of Shawna Forde’s plot to steal money and drugs from those she suspected of working with Mexican drug cartels, and use the proceeds to fund MAD. “They did not plan to leave any survivors. The plan was to kill everyone. To kill a 9-year-old because she might be a potential witness is one of the most despicable acts I’ve heard of,” Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik told the Arizona Daily Star.

But you wouldn’t know that there are racist militias targeting Hispanics in this country if you’re just watching typical news media. They didn’t cover it. I only found out about it by reading this post on Nezua’s The Unapologetic Mexican blog, and, later, the SPLC’s Hatewatch blog.

If only little Brisenia were a fly…

Because last week the media was abuzz about the death of a house fly at the president’s hand, and PETA’s objections to this “execution.”

Here’s a round up of the coverage of this, from our dying dinosaur news media, locked permanently in “silly season“:

Associated Content: PETA Obama Fly-Swatting Story Creates Buzz

Politico: PETA miffed at President Obama’s fly “execution”

Yep, this scrap of inanity was covered by the AP, MSNBC, CNN, The New York Times, Politico and more. It was so excessive and absurd, it became perfect fodder for Stewart and Colbert.

Where are our priorities? When racist vigilantes (reminiscent of the KKK) start killing children of the race they hate, I can’t find out from the MSM (MainStream Media)?? To get real news these days, you have to turn to the blogs that link to credible local papers that are actually providing coverage.

That means the MSM will soon go the way of that White House fly.



Related Bloggery

From my friend Spinny: Why I hate PETA

Glenn Beck, in Criticizing Sotomayor, Says Empathy Is BAD, and Cites Bad Misunderstanding of Hebrew Bible

Glenn Beck is stupid.
Glenn Beck is stupid.

Several weeks ago, I slapped down an idiotic routine from Beck, and now, he’s at it again.

This time, he’s making outrageous comments and going completely off the rails about new Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

The rallying cry of the Republicans against Obama’s nominations has been “EMPATHY IS BAD!!!”   This from the same group that spent the last three decades beating us over the head with their holy book that commands love and empathy.  They don’t want empathetic judges! They want automatons that will apply the LETTER OF THE LAW without “gay” things like “feelings” or “considering the situation.” And if you break away from this particular party line, you’re THE ENEMY, on par with Hitler.

Beck cites Hitler example to state that “empathy leads you to very bad decisions”

Right, Glenn, when I think of empathy, the first person that comes to mind is HITLER.

Glenn suggests that Hitler’s extermination program to cull people with disabilities (he calls it out by name, Action T-4) was borne of empathy, and thus no judge with empathy should be on the bench.

Hitler’s euthanasia program had nothing to do with “mercy” or “ending suffering,” and everything to do with their sicko “racial hygiene” policies to achieve a “pure” master race.  The notion that the Nazis were “empathetic”–does he think there’s something warm and fuzzy about old Adolf?–puts Mr. Beck decidedly aboard the Crazy Train.

Beck has focused his show lately on beating the drum against empathy.  In a very unfortunate move, he mocked people wanting diversity in our system, joking, “we need a blind, deaf, handicapped Asian woman!” for the Supreme Court (source). He just has to continue his tradition of mocking disability.

And he really misunderstood the Hebrew Bible.  He tried to make a point, and really failed. Dude, you’re doing it wrong.

YES, King Shlomo was empathetic! Because he knew that by pretending to expose the baby to danger, the real mother would reveal herself, and the dispute would be settled. Come on. Someone who recovered from alcoholism through Mormonism should know a lot more about the Bible than that.

Abuse People, Get Rewarded With More Money??

It sounds absurd, right?  But that’s what’s been happening with institutions that abuse people with disabilities.

First, an example of abuse from my local area:

NEW CITY – Frank Zanghi says his blind, deaf son, who uses a wheelchair, was abused when he lived in a facility for the developmentally disabled in New Jersey years ago. His son’s front tooth was knocked out, his back was slashed and his penis required five stitches.

Now what happened to the monstrous place that subjected a deaf/blind child to such horrible physical and sexual abuse? The perpetrators were jailed? At the very least, was the institution involved shuttered, and the millions of taxpayer dollars supporting it moved elsewhere to non-abusive settings? Nope and no.

The father of the victim wants more funding for the types of places that so severely abused his son.

Zanghi says the abuse happened because of funding cuts to the facility. Now he’s worried that Gov. David Paterson’s proposed budget that reduces funding for the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities will take a severe toll on organizations like Jawonio, where his son, Joseph, has been receiving care for 15 years.

Source: The Journal News: Rockland advocates for developmentally disabled lobby for funding

Though Jawonio is not the same culprit in New Jersey that abused Joseph, NO institutions should be receiving financial rewards (increased funding) for the abuse and low quality of life they so often provide us. We should shut down institutions, and put that money into home care and small group homes integrated in our neighborhoods. We should make this transition all the faster when the recession is pressuring states to shed expensive and outdated programs like institutionalization (sadly, states have not been increasing home care to compensate as they close institutions).

Further, although funding cuts definitely hurt quality of life in institutions, increased funding often makes no difference in these hell holes. Last year, the state of Texas poured millions into its state institutions. The result? The night staff at Corpus Christi State School arranged human dogfights, threatening mentally disabled residents with jail unless they fought, and laughing at their terror and betting on the outcomes. ABC News recently brought national attention to this disgusting story (warning: contains disturbing violent videos).

In this disturbing image of the "fight club" at Corpus Christi State School, one resident chokes another, as staff snap pictures with their cell phones.

After seeing this debacle, merely the latest chapter in its long and infamous history of abuse, the state will obviously close the doors on this dangerous environment and move the residents somewhere safer, right? NO!! Texas’ solution? Putting an additional $112 million into their 13 gulags for the mentally disabled! Whenever they abuse people, these institutions get rewarded with more money! Incredibly, this $112 million dollar commitment was enough for federal prosecutors to back down on the numerous civil rights violations they had found, and settle the case. Closing down these places isn’t even on the table; all the thinking is deeply embedded “inside the box.”

“They’ve already dumped lots of money into the system and nothing has really improved,” said Beth Mitchell, Senior Managing Attorney of Advocacy Inc., an organization that works to protect the rights of Texans with disabilities. “It’s sad that we may end up spending a significant amount of money and not see a significant improvement to the system.”

Source: ABC News: After ‘Fight Club’ Scandal, Texas Will Pump Over $100M into Residences for Mentally Disabled

If we actually care about stopping abuse, we have to move to a new, community model.  Repainting and refurbishing a car with no wheels won’t get us anywhere.


Fourth “Nick’s Crusade” Video Blog: ObamaFail! Administration Refuses To Lead On Disability Desegregation

Transcription (as captioned in the video):

Hello, this is Nick Dupree for the for the Nick’s Crusade blog. This is my fourth video blog, and today is the 252nd day that I’ve been in an institution because I can’t get access to community services. And it seems that the Obama administration is not going to help us fix this problem — the problem of the institutional bias, where if you need services, they’re not readily available in the community so, so many people end up in expensive institutions, and it’s a lot worse for them, lowers their quality of life, and ends up costing exponentially more. I know in Alabama, it costs a quarter of a million dollars to keep someone in an institution, and it cost $70,000 to give them 24/7 home care. It’s a very stupid financial decision that the government keeps making, and despite all the activism and the years of court decisions that are on our side, we’re still not getting change we can believe in, as Obama says.

It’s even more disturbing, because during the campaign, Obama promised us that he would support the Community Choice Act, which would let people have a choice to live in the community, versus being forced to go into a nursing home, as that’s all the government will pay for.

He promised he’d support the Community Choice Act during the campaign, but yesterday we discovered that the Community Choice Act has been removed from the White House website. The White House website had the Community Choice Act featured on their Disability web page, and now it’s gone. They erased us. They erased what we really needed, and that’s despicable. And now, they’re going forward with health reform initiatives, without addressing long-term care. They’re going to reform health care without addressing one of the largest expenses of health care, which is long-term care. They say “we don’t have time”. With this kind of expense, how can we afford to wait? How can we afford, morally, to segregate part of our population, and keep them trapped in nursing homes with no choice? It’s not moral.

I advise you to go to the website of the President’s health reform initiative, There’s no mention of long-term care, not a word whatsoever. There’s no mention of nursing homes, there’s no mention of home care, and there’s definitely no mention of the Community Choice Act. Go to and see for yourself. We’re not included, and our segregation is continuing unabated. Nobody notices us. That’s something that really has to change.

Ablism: Idiotic Comments From Idiots

This post is for Blogging Against Disablism Day, BADD, 2009.

Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2009

As I noted here, ablism (discrimination based on ability) is one of the dumber forms of injustice.

It’s dumb because it’s based on falsehoods. Just because someone is in a wheelchair, doesn’t mean they’re deaf or have mental retardation. That man in a wheelchair you just (loudly) talked down to? Maybe that was genius astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, or one of the most talented computer programmers in your city. FAIL. You never know the amazing things people with disabilities are capable of, especially now that rapidly-advancing computer technology and the internet is increasingly leveling the playing field. Despite our abilities and achievements, we are too often condescended to, and treated as outsiders and lesser beings. What a waste.

Personally, I was able to enter college at age 16. Still, I am too often assumed mentally impaired, not taken seriously, or, most angering for me, am openly disbelieved by some of the hospital staff. This is where stupidity crosses the line from annoying to dangerous. “The feeding tube is leaking!” “No it isn’t.” “Yes it is.” “No it isn’t.” And when they discover the bed is wet from the leaking tube and they have to change the pads, my prior warning doesn’t even warrant mention, much less an apology.

My girlfriend (the amazing, the wonderful, the beautiful) blogs here about hospital ablism, people not taking me seriously, and one incident where a hospital administrator told her that allowing her to stay late to help me would be pointless because she’s disabled. Paradoxically, those who deal with disability professionally (those in hospitals, nursing agencies, etc.) are often the rudest, most anti-disability people you’ll meet, much worse than random people off the street or at work or school.

And now for rank idiocy! sorry to digress into silly season here, but I can’t let Blogging Against Disablism Day go by without posting the footage of Glenn Beck recently mocking Obama’s aunt’s disability (warning: contains extreme, brain-boiling stupidity). He’s essentially an 8th grade class clown, and here he’s mocking Obama’s aunt’s limp, and, more broadly, making fun of anyone sympathizing with people with disabilities. Ha ha, only a weak-kneed bleeding heart wussy would hesitate to deport a disabled person to Africa where nothing’s accessible!

Glenn Beck is stupid.
Glenn Beck is stupid.

Glenn Beck is an idiot.

Society needs less ablist idiocy, not more.


Medical Personnel’s Hands So Tied By Liability Concerns They Hesitate To Save A Life

Months ago, a serious incident happened on Unit A13. Suddenly, I heard the operator blast over the loudspeaker “CODE BLUE A-APPLE-13!! CODE BLUE A-APPLE-13!!” Aides frantically checked all the patients, coming to me first (because I’m in the first room). They ran up and down the hall. Everyone was fine. “WHERE’S THE CODE??”

It wasn’t a patient coding, it was one of the staff. A phlebotomist (guy who draws blood for tests) collapsed near the elevator, evidently of a major heart attack.

He is a grimly depressed looking guy with dark cones under his eyes that give him a bat-like appearance, big ears and chubby jowls, and I have been stabbed by him numerous times. I think he’s Pakistani, but he and the other phlebotomists who’re part of my life here rarely talk (blood tests are srs bzn).

Phlebotomist dude
Phlebotomist dude

a quick sketch by me, approximating the guy’s appearance

This guy was in bad trouble, and they had to work hard to get his heart started again (heavy duty CPR). An ambulance raced to the scene. The paramedics helped with CPR, but then a problem; they didn’t want to transfer him to the gurney.

“He’s not a patient here, so we don’t know if we’re covered.” A heated argument ensued. In cases of cardiac arrest, there’s not a second to waste.

The aides jumped in and angrily did it themselves, putting him on the stretcher, then the paramedics rushed him to the emergency room. “He’s an employee! he’s one of us! it could be me on that floor” an aide told me when she relayed the story that night. They didn’t know if he would make it when he left.

Fortunately, he lived, and is now over 6 months later he’s back at work, silently and efficiently stabbing me and others, though he lost lots of weight.

But this incident exposes some very serious issues. Has the morality in our society sunk so low, that a remote risk of liability is worth more than a man’s life?

This man survived; how many haven’t because of this madness?? When medical personnel’s hands are so tied by liability concerns that they hesitate to saves lives, does that mean the medical system is too f’d up to function and is pretty much finished? Are we so weighed down by our tangle of draconian rules and regulations that we would, even for an instant, consider the liability of moving someone a greater risk than the liability of letting him die?

Is covering yourself now more important than humanity, morality, and even saving a life? I’m usually a calm person, but stuff like that makes me want to throw down!

I really don’t understand what the health care industry is becoming, but it seems to me the antithesis of the bold, pioneering American spirit. Refusing to transfer a code blue guy to a gurney due to liability concerns is cowardly and selfish, and at worst possibly “negligent homicide” if death results, or “criminal indifference,” and at best “reckless endangerment.”

Is the American medical culture in code blue? How do we resuscitate it?


People Who Sit In The Disability Seats… is a hilarious blog that highlights people who won’t get up and cede the disability seats on the subway.  I love it.  It’s the kind of guerrilla citizen journalism that I would love to see more of from the disability community; don’t just gripe about barriers, document them!  I’d like to do this sort of thing once I’m out of the hospital, especially with failed ramps.


An example from the blog.


Sign Fail in Unit A13

Photo credit: Alejandra Ospina
Photo credit: Alejandra Ospina

Photo credit: Alejandra Ospina

This failed sign says “STORAGF.”

People don’t realize it’s broken (a fitting metaphor for this place).

Inspired by FAIL BLOG

“That’s Not My Job” (Angry Rant)

For people with severe disabilities like me, you’re paradoxically only as independent (defined here as self-directing, in control of your own daily existence) as the people you’re depending on enable you to be.  As I wrote in my last post, if your caregivers are responsive and willing and able to support all your needs, your disability becomes a minor, almost social/cultural difference.  If you don’t have good supports, that same person may end up with repeated illness, lying helplessly on their back.
This is why being in the hospital and repeatedly running head-first into “that’s not my job” can have such a tremendous impact. It really is one of the worst things about hospitalization.

“That’s not my job.” For me, right now these are some of the most hated words in the English language.  But hospitals, whether here in New York City or back in Alabama, seem to encourage them with their strict, stifling policies.  I like the people, it isn’t their fault.  It’s policy.

In the home, I had one nurse at a time, and she’d do everything I needed.  Simple.  I got used to that.
Here, even charge nurse RNs aren’t allowed to change the humidifier water bag, even though it’s essentially identical to the IV bags they could hang in their sleep, except easier.  They can’t swap a water bag, because that is Sterile Water for Inhalation®, and though exactly identical to the sterile water nurses use for other things—wound care and so on—anything involving ventilation is the purview of Respiratory.
And since there are only two respiratory therapists for the North Campus, your lungs may dry out and form tumbleweeds before they get to it.  It’s all fun and games until a tumbleweed blocks someone’s airway.

Nurses don’t (usually) wash patients.  You’re dirty?  “You’ll have to wait until the aides are free.”  “Your ass will be washed in the order it was received.”

I’m allowed to eat lunch in my room, but anyone who needs assistance to eat (me) can’t eat in the cafeteria; it’s banned.  Because “what if something happens?”

You need a doctor’s order just to drink gingerale.

The aides can’t mouth suction (the simplest form of suctioning).  They’ll go try to get a nurse while you choke.

The staff can trim your fingernails, but not your toenails.  Only the official hospital podiatrist can do that.

They had allowed “med-surg technicians” (MSTs) to suction patients, change dressings and do tube feedings in addition to aide tasks. This worked well, with no problems, for over a decade.  But since January, the loathsome and non-reality-based JCAHO (“Jay-Co” the Joint Commission) has declared only nurses are allowed to do those things, which has meant less care for patients (hello, there’s a nursing shortage) and deeply exacerbated the madness over the division of labor, leading us straight to reductio ad absurdum.
The outcome (two grown women standing over me as I struggle, saying they can’t mouth suction and will have to get a nurse) is absurd, therefore the policy causing the outcome must be fundamentally absurd.  Alejandra (who uses a powerchair) can do it for them, however, while they stand helplessly, paralyzed by their own rules and regulations (and once again, we’ve answered the “who’s more disabled?” question from my last post).
This is why I say I’ve not yet moved to New York City, I’ve moved to an alternate dimension that’s loosely connected to New York City on the outside.

Art by
Art by

The motive for all this, ultimately, is LIABILITY.  They’re practicing “defensive medicine.”  If something happens, they can say, “respiratory tasks are only done by a certified respiratory therapist” or “only trained nurses are allowed to do X, Y and Z.”  But to accomplish this, they’ve created a tangled division of labor that ultimately isn’t good for patients (since it can only work with staffing levels that do not exist).  And at the end of the day, “wait for a nurse” in an emergency probably creates more liability, not less.

There are so many ways they could make it better for patients, like letting nurses do routine respiratory things, freeing up the RTs for when they are really needed.   And for heaven’s sake, let the MSTs do what they have successfully done for years, because there really aren’t enough nurses to do it alone.

It’s definitely discouraging how far immorality can go in the name of  “policy” and “just following orders.”  The staff here are in an alternate dimension where it actually makes sense to let a patient suffer for “the letter of the law.”
Things that make no sense are blindly accepted.  Lewis Carroll-esque absurdity is unquestioned normalcy here.  And you’ll never convince them that they’re in a bizarre alternate reality.  New staff come in, and just accept that because it’s policy, it obviously must be in the best interests of patient safety.

I’ve suffered a lot in the name of “patient safety,” and yeah, sometimes I get angry.  There’s got to be a better way.


Go here for more dispatches from Ventboy Alcatraz