Monday, February 27, 2012

The Hurt Is On!

Candlelight Vigil in memory of Callion Hamblin held Tuesday on the spot where he was pumped full of lead by the cops
State of the Art

It's not like we weren't already having a completely shit week here in the 573 (see previous post); even the cops who shot a still unreported number of bullets into Callion Hamblin killing him dead felt kinda bad about it. Alas, if you were foolish enough to venture out to the “opera” Friday evening looking for solace from recent grisly events, or transport away from the bloody scene of the crime on our main thoroughfare, or respite from the grimness of living in a police state, the joke was decidedly on you.

One wishes to be helpful, so let me just say at the outset that what was presented at MAC by Opera Iowa and the Mineral Area Council on the Arts on Friday night was not The Magic Flute, but rather a severely abridged English-language adaptation of Mozart's opera for piano and voice (no chamber orchestra as one somehow expected, or hoped, not even a single flute!) aimed at an early childhood audience, but marketed (and this is the truly galling part) to adults, as the real thing.

Grown ups who can dress themselves and drive to the MAC theater, park their vehicles, present their tickets, receive a program, and take their reserved seats, have brains sufficiently capacious and developed to enjoy the last major piece of music Mozart composed before his death on its own terms. But we were subjected to a three-year-old girl's fantasy wardrobe of purple and pink galore accessorized with mylar inserts everyplace it could be tucked in the costumes and headgear of the singers. Shutting my eyes against  the abundant glitter, garishly colored everything, flimsy flats of crudely drawn ridiculous scenery, nothing beautiful, everything lurid, nothing subtle, no delicacy, everything ham-fisted and exaggerated didn't help much. Between the hacked up scenes and impoverished production values, I skedaddled at intermission.

Folks here can be a bit too polite even when they're being insulted. Perhaps they're just rundown from being fed a steady diet of boondoggles, rip-offs, and shit sandwiches, such as the Great Central U.S. Shake-Out: "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" earthquake drills conducted in schools earlier this month. On the Lower East Side we would have laughed Opera Iowa off the stage as soon as the musical director unleashed his violence on the score literally poking, slapping, and punching the pages of his sheet music blowing about the piano, ruining the overture. By the time a page turner arrived to assist him, the damage had already been done: we knew in our hearts that he could be no Mozart lover.

As a much-needed corrective to the schlockfest on Friday, may I suggest that at the very least the Arts Council sponsor an entire week of free viewings of Ingmar Bergman’s film of the opera, or some other high-quality breath freshener to rinse the undisguisedly shitty taste out of our mouths.

Art of the State
Kudos to the Park Hills Journal for at least mentioning on their business page online that on February 16th the chairman of the Federal Reserve made a speech concerning the future fate of community banks. Why is this relevant? Because please look around you, see anything that isn't a community bank around here? So even if the article is just a rerun of an AP story with no analysis, insight, or commentary from local bankers or economists, and merely parrots the “good news” as delivered by Bernanke, at least the Journal alerted us to a matter of the utmost importance to our well-being.

Curious to know exactly what was on the Fed's plate, I read the speech in its entirety, and discovered to my absolute horror that what's on the Fed's plate, is us! When you cut through all the euphemistic niceties, here's the takeaway (and read it yourselves, please, and tell me I'm wrong!): The too-big-to-fails have smaller banks—banks like New Era or First State Community Bank— by the short and curlies, right where they want them. They know every pressure point, every spot of vulnerability and potential weakness thanks to the Fed's two-way communication processes described in Bernanke's talk, and they're about to turn the screws. Looks to me like we’re set to enter an epoch of bank on bank violence of Rwandan proportions— big (Hutus) against little (Tutsis) — and the machetes are being sharpened even as you read this.

Furthermore, the Fed (Bernanke tells us plainly) will look the other way while the small bank genocide  happens, focusing its power to redress grievances on cases that arise from its own bullying of community banks via appropriate “examinations.”  In Big banks v. Small banks, it's a foregone conclusion that the lobbyists for the big will beat the small in every contest worth winning, and be assured that we, in the community bank laden countryside, will bear the brunt of the massacre.

Funny, Missouri State Senator Kevin Engler didn’t make mention of this rather significant environmental factor in his recent talk at MAC. I wasn't at the Fourth Friday gathering, but from reading the reporter's account, Engler seems to want us to feel that an errant teacher falling asleep in the classroom is more of a drag on our budget, or perhaps he knows of a way rural areas can "grow our way out" of our financial woes without access to capital. I think I know what's engraved on his paycheck: In Ignorance He Trusts.

Though neither Ben nor Kev will tell you so, we can probably expect a phased-in Walmartization of banks, where the too-big-to-fails have most/all of the consolidated power, control, and therefore profits, and the community banks if they continue to exist at all become niche banks, picking up the odd lots and scraps. If I'm correct, this is a devastating prognosis for our area, for as Bernanke ominously reminds us: “the fortunes of communities and their banks tend to rise and fall together.”

The now fatherless children: Xavier and Keandre. Maybe this Christmas they could Shop With A Cop?
Aw shit, that might be awkward. Never mind!


  1. Yes, maybe the COPS could just donate to both kids to make sure they have a wonderful Christmas despite knowing they will never see or talk to their daddy again! But that's just me wishful thinking. We are going to have a bbq to try and raise a little money for the boys. Cal was cremated and had a memorial service in Jennings, MO by his birth mother. He has a large birth family. Some of which went up to speak stating that they had only had the chance to meet him once. It's so so so sad that a huge family he just reconnected with never got the chance to know him. I am blessed to have known my friend Smokey. And now have been blessed with becoming good friends with other very close friends of his. So something good always come from something bad. Too bad it was a life taken to bring people together.

    1. Thank you so much, loveu4life, for stopping by to share about your friend Smokey. The articles in the mainstream media have universally emphasized his criminality to the exclusion of his humanity. I've been through this so many times in NYC, and it's always traumatic. I never imagined it would be Giuliani Time here in Farmington, MO.

      The barbecue sounds like a wonderful idea and I'll do what I can to spread the word if you care to provide the details when you have them. I can tell you that hundreds of people in many countries all around the world have read about Callion Hamblin here on this blog. They know how he died-- outnumbered, outgunned, shown no mercy--the punishment completely disproportionate to his offenses.

      Come see us again, be part of this blog if it's of interest, and keep us informed about the boys. You and they will always be welcome here.

  2. It's me, Cheryl. I just got word and not sure how truthful it is, but supposedly, and I believe it, the bullet that went into the cops knee was not from Cal's gun! Isn't that something! I betcha that doesn't make the news!

    1. Times like this I wish I had gone to law school. I just checked and Missouri does have a wrongful death statute. It might be worth pursuing a consultation with an attorney on behalf of the boys. So glad you're here, Cheryl.


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