Until The Fat Lady Sings

I’ve been on this earth for 64 years now. I guess I’m in the last quarter, the last inning, my last down. So what am I to do? Should I lay down and just die? Hell not. It aint over until…

The Fat Lady Signs
Aretha Franklin “RIP”

One of the advantages of living this long is the ability to say what I need to without any fears “no tengo pelo en mi lengua”. I mean whats anyone going to do fire me?

That said have you ever hear the stupid expersion “It Ain’t Over Until The Fat Lady Sings”? In this day and time that expersion is so inappropriate. Its misogynistic and sexist. So I decided to Google the term to learn its origins. I found out that there are two trends of thought as to its origins. One explaination attributes the term to Brunhilde from Richard Wagner’s last show in his four-opera Ring Cycle Götterdämmerung. The character Brunhilde is a robust lady who appears for a ten minute solo at the end of the 14 hour run so it would seem to be logical that the term answers the question when is the show over? It ain’t over til the fat lady signs.

The other explaination comes, if you can believe it, from the sports world. Some people attribute the saying with former Yankee catcher and manager Yogi Berra while others attribute it to the sports
commentator, Dan Cook.

Me, I favor the saying I hope its over before the fat man’s term. The fat man being Donald Trump, who to me is and has been the worst president in my life time. Being 64 years old I have lived through several presidential administrations. The first being Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. Of course I don’t remember his presidency. The next president, and the first one I do remember was John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. Perhaps I remember him because of his assasination but I really think it has more to do with the fact that I was in elementary school during his years. Kennedy was the youngest man elected president and was loved by everyone, save Republicans. His book, Profiles in Courage, and the movie PT109 about his heroics while in the navy where studied in school during this time so yeah, that has a lot to do with why I remember him. After his death, Lyndon Baines Johnson became president. I remember him because he was the arcitect of the Great Society which expanded many social programs, created the war on poverty and passed the voting rights act of 1964. Becuase of the Tonkin Gulf incident, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted Johnson the power to use military force in Southeast Asia without having to ask for an official declaration of war. Under Johnson the American (solider) death rates soared, sudents burned their draft cards, the Viet Nam protest escalated and riots broke out across the country. Next came Richard M. Nixon aka “tricky Dick” the 37th President, from 1969 until his resignation in 1974, Nixon is the only president to ever resign from office. This was due, of course, to the Watergate breakin and his refusal to release the tapes of him giving the order for the (Watergate) break in. Before his resignation Nixon appointed Gerald Ford to the vacant post of Vice President, whom then became the 38th President after Nixon resigned. Ford’s 895 day-long presidency is the shortest in U.S. history of any president who did not die in office. Ford ran for re-election but lost to the Govenor, and former peanut farmer, of Georgia Jimmy Carter whom became the 39th President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. On his second day in office, Carter pardoned all the Vietnam War draft evaders. As president, Carter established two new cabinet-level departments, the Department of Energy and the Department of Education, established a national energy policy that included conservation, price control, and new technology, pursued the Camp David Accords, the Panama Canal Treaties, the second round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II), and the return of the Panama Canal Zone to Panama. The end of Carter’s presidency was marked by the 1979–1981 Iran hostage crisis, the 1979 energy crisis, the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. His response to this invasion escalated the Cold War when he ended détente, and imposed the grain embargo against the Soviets, which enunciated the Carter doctrine, and lead the international boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. While in 1980, Carter faced a primary challenge from Senator Ted Kennedy, he won re-nomination at the Democratic National Convention. Unfortunately he lost the general election in an electoral landslide to Republican nominee Ronald Reagan.

President Ronald Reagan

Ronald W. Reagan then became the 40th President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. While today Reagan is known as the great communicator, back then he was reviled by a significant section of the American public. Reagan’s supply-side economic policies, better known as “Reaganomics”, advocated tax rate reduction to spur economic growth, economic deregulation, and reduction in government spending. This translated into cuts in all social, education and anti-poverty funding. Reagan is famously known for his speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany in which he challenged the Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall!”. The Berlin Wall fell, Germany reunified the following year, and the Soviet Union collapsed. This is a great accomplishment but let’s not forget that racism began to re-emirge under Reagan and that it was Reagan that initiated the attacks on the War on Poverty.

George H.W. Bush, Reagan’s Vice President became the 41st President of the United States from 1989 to 1993. Bush’s presidency is pretty much bland. Other than the fact that he was the head of the CIA before becoming Vice President, and being the point man on Reagan’s “War On Drug’s” which by the way created the climate for the Crack epidemic. Bush’s presidency is pretty much looked over in historical terms with no significant accomplishments.

Our next President took America by storm. His campaign message of “It’s The Economy Stupid” changed the face of the demoractic party. William J. Clinton became the 42nd President of the United States, January 20, 1993, to January 20, 2001. Before becoming president Clinton was Govenor of Arkansas. His presidency, however, was mared by sex scandels from the very begining. The “Moral Majority” spearheaded by televangalist Jerry Falwell and the Republican Party went after him with everything they could muster. Clinton presided over the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in American history but was unable to pass his plan for national health care reform (pre-cursor to “Obamacare”). Then in the 1994 elections, the Republican Party won unified control of the Congress for the first time in 40 years. In 1996, Clinton became the first Democrat since Franklin D. Roosevelt to be elected to a second full term. Clinton passed welfare reform and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. In 1998, Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice following the sex scandal involving Monica Lewinsky. To the chagrin of the Moral Majority, Clinton was acquitted by the Senate in 1999 and completed his term in office. Bill Clinton is the second U.S. president to ever be impeached, the first being Andrew Johnson. However despite this “Vast Right Wing Conspiricy” during the last three years of his presidency, the Congressional Budget Office reported a budget surplus, the first such surplus since 1969.

When George Walker Bush became the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009, he inherited a 13 trillion dollar surplus. Bush, perhaps unfairly, became known as the idiot president because of his constent mispronounciations. Bush was constantly undermined and the public perception was that he was nothing more than a glorified puppet for his Vice President, his dad’s good friend, Richard Bruce “Dick” Cheney. George W. Bush, like his father, was a blase president and was about to be nothing more than a footnote in a footnote in history. Then on September 11, 2001 the world, and Bush’s, fate changed. As american’s were in schock, and feared invasion, Bush stood by the workers in the middle of ground zero, perceived by many as holy ground, telling the world that we will track down the perpetrators and master minds of these horrific attacks and bring them to justice. Suddenly Bush was the great comforter. As the focus became getting to the bottom of the reason for and the planning of the 9/11 attacks, Bush’s status grew. His new status did not last very long because rather than going after the known leader and master mind of the 9/11 attacks, Osama Bin Ladden, Bush chose to go after Saddham Hussein. Despite the scandels with ENRON, because of Bush’s percieved leadership role after the 9/11 attacks he was re-elected. After seven years of chaos and fear, America began to function with a semblence of normalacy. But nothing good last with a Republican administration, the greed has to emerge. And it did. First in the news was the massive ponzi scheme orchestrated by Bernie Madoff. Then the news reports about the massive bonuses the top executives were giving themselves as most Americans were struggling to make ends meet. Finally we were in a mortgage crisis, had a credit crisis, major banks collapsed and the housing market crashed. Many of these major financial markets lost more than 30% of their value. Millions of Americans lost their homes and other property. Millions of Americans lost their jobs. The United States was about to go into a greater depression than the Great Depression caused by the stock market crash of 1928. This financial crisis soon began to spread around the world. It soon became a global problem, a threat to the entire civilized world. This crisis gave birth to two new movements in America. The first had to do with the dissatisfaction with the financial structure in this country. Occupy Wallstreet became a wordlwide movement almost overnight. People began protesting the financial structures in their respective countries as well as the world bank. In America, people literally did occupy wallstreet.

The second movement had to do with politics and we saw the birth of the Tea Party.

President Barrack Obama

Barack Hussein Obama II was elected the 44th President of the United States. He was a two term preident and the Countries first African American elected to the highest office in the land. He served as president from January 20, 2009, to January 20, 2017. During the campaign season the Tea Party really became animated. The ugly side of America becan to re-surface. Racism was interjected into politics once again. Despite this uglysness and the concerted efforts of the Republican Party to hinder and block any progress proposed by Obama, President Obama was able to navigate the country out of the biggest financial crisis this country, and the world, had ever faced. The U.S. government had to step in and bailout the banks. Slowly but steadily and surely the economy becan to stabilize. Then Obama did the unthinkable. He was successful in passing what Bill Clinton was unable to, he reformed America’s health care system. Republicans in an effort to mock him and his health care reorm bill began to call it Obamacare. But rather than fight it, Obama embraced it and he himself started to call it Obamacare. Before his second term was up, Obamacare was passed and the health care crisis was fixed. As I stated above, the ugly side of American politics again resurfaced and a real estate developer from New York, turned reality TV show host began to attack President Obama insinuating the Obama was in fact not an American citizen. Donald Trump gave birth to the so-called birther movement. For years Trump kept insisting that Obama was not born in the United States. This nonsense occupied many headlines giving Trump the publicity he loved and craved. Then on June 16, 2015, Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president. No one in their right frame of mind actually thought Trump had a fighting change at winning. There were many good candidates from both parties running. The nation assumed the we would have our very first female president in Hillary Clinton. Then Trump did what he does best. He cheated. In one of the very last debates he begged Russia to please find the emails hidden by Clinton and expose her for what she is. Trump went on to win the election even after having lost the popular election. Since his election till this day Trump has been the most rev,iled and hated president in American history. As I right this the special investigation into Trump’s Russian collucion is about to wrap up.

Special Prosecutor Robert Muellar

Five of Trump’s most senior and close advisor’s have either been or have made deals with the special federal investigator, Robert Mueller. Trump’s nimination to the United States Supreme Court is embroiled in a sex allegation and both sides are in negotiations asto how the hearing into this allegation will proceed. The Republicans, being the swine that they are, are trying to rush this confirmation and the accuser wants to testify before Congress with no outside attorneys representing Brett Kavenaugh (the nominee). Stay tuned as this winds down because it aint over until the fat man sings.

Fat Trump Sings

See also:
Michael Cohen | Paul Manafort | George Papadopoulos | Rick Gates |

The Fat Lady Signs

Anonymity At The Level Of Press, Radio, And Films

Anonymity At The Level Of Press, Radio, And Films
Ward Meacham member of Narcotics Anonymous

Tradition eleven states that * “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.”

I am watching the second season of Iron Fist the Marvel Comics story on Netflix. In this Netflix version one of the principal characters, a rich guy named Ward Meacham, is a member of the anonymous 12 step program, Narcotics Anonymous.
theology-assistant

Woven throughout the story line is Ward’s drug addiction. If you go back to season one you will recall that he enjoyed inhaling drugs. In this season, Ward attends NA meetings, as he is counting days he has a relapse. Not to cast any dispersions here because, of course, relapse is a part of the recovery process. Another scene shows Meacham in bed with his female sponsor. This is wrong on so many levels. While it is not a written policy in Narcotics Anonymous, it is a common practice for sponsorship to be same sex for obvious reasons, SEX. This Netflix TV series depicts NA meetings, they talk about a higher power, the steps, and of making amends.

As I write this I am watching episode 10 of season two and Ward is in front of the room at an NA meeting “qualifying”. As the scene progresses you see Ward and his sponsor talking outside of the meeting, she is telling him to trust his higher power as he moves forward in the recovery process but that she can no longer sponsor him.

Now this TV series is a work of fiction, and there are many movies these days that refer to the anonymous programs, usually AA. Can one say that society has finally begun to embrace the fact that “normal people” can also suffer from addiction? Recently the news headlines were talking about Demi Lovato and here recent relapse. A few years ago it was Charlie Sheen making headlines. When celebrities are shown to be suffering from, and then recovering from addiction in a very public way, the face of addiction changes. It is no longer seen as just street thugs and common crooks or prostitutes that are drug addicts. Society is slow to embrace change, this is often called a cultural lag, but eventually it catches up to real life.

When Narcotics Anonymous gets depicted in a comic book storyline on TV or in the movies that is huge. Millions of people, especially young people, around the world will see this show and hear about Narcotics Anonymous. That is a good thing because in a fictional character is seen a recovering, the operative word being fictional because “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films”

Perhaps it would, however, be even better if the depiction of NA was a little more accurate but I guess the journey of a thousands miles begins with that first step.

NA has been around 65 years. While today it is saving lives in over 173 countries around the world and has been translated into more than 70 languages it was not always so. It was only a few decades ago that in New York City addicts could not congregate to help each other stay clean. If two addicts or more were seen together trying to recover they’d get arrested for “loitering”. Much like women seeking abortions, addicts wanting to stop using had to sneak around and meet in secret to order help each other. For many years America wasted money and resources criminalizing addicts rather than trying to treat them. Without getting into a moral debate here, had those same resources been used for treatment rather than incarceration America would be a very different nation. At least today, 2018, the American Medical Association (AMA)and society as a whole is beginning to see that addiction is a disease and should be treated as such.

The thing that many get confused with this concept is that they think that proponents of drug addiction treatment want to forget the crime element. That is not so, if anyone commits a crime they must pay the penalty of that crime. The addiction issue is separate from the criminal act. But that is for the professionals to sort out. This blog is just about the depiction of NA in the Netflix series, Iron Fist.

*Narcotics Anonymous, “The Twelve Traditions of NA,” ©NAWS, 2009.
NA.org