We are proud to p r e s e n t DISPATCH 0.5, which was released on October 1st, 2005 and in its print capacity represents the first title in the catalogue of our new indie publishing h o u s e , DIS-PRESS, to our readers. S t a f f
P. H. Madore Editor-In-Chief Malon Edwards Fiction Editor M. Blair Spiva Dan Nucci Poetry Editors Jenny Patel Art Editor
A L L C O N T E N T COPYRIGHT 2005 BY AUTHOR. ALL OTHER CONTENT C O P Y R I G H T 2 0 0 5 DISPATCH Literary Journal. N O R E P R O D U C I N G WITHOUT PERMISSION!
Page 3...Letter From Editor P. H. Madore Page 4...Watching Them Die // M. Blair Spiva Page 7...GOD’S COUNTRY //Adam Chowles Page 7...Time For A New New Deal //Adam Bunch Page 9...That Little Prick! //Brian Fugett Page 9...A Common Man //Kiki Denis Page 10...ARBUSTED //Lee Greenway Page 11...On Candles, an Apartment, and the Choice of a Life //Shanna Tolley Page 12...How Can I Compensate? //Frannie Gay Page 13...Scene Of An Accident //David Lunden Page 16...David Rovics & An Anonymous American pipe up a bit. Page 19...One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State //Dan Nucci Page 25...White House Field Trip //Brian Fugett Page 26... i haven’t done a damn thing //Mikel K. Page 28...Letters Policy Page 29...Submission Guidelines Page 30...Contribudex
by Jenny Patel (Look for full version in
DISPATCH One )
Letter From The Editor
Part A/ To Be Clear We are in fact and indeed a literary journal, I just wanted to get that off my chest before I said anything else. If for nothing else, although there are more reasons, we are releasing two issues later this month to prove this. One will feature great poetry, the other great flash fiction from DISPATCHERS worldwide. On that note, we're also looking for all sorts of submissions, notably non-fiction, for DISPATCH One. Thanks. Now, to the point. This issue is about George W. Bush, about raising funds for the Red Cross, and about the state of the nation. Please see our Letters Policy if you hate everything you've just so cordially paid for (or the opposite, etc.) I was going to write a long-winded essay about Bush in this issue, and how Katrina won him, and so forth, but then I decided I would reserve all that and let the issue speak for itself—I'm just here to try to make sure it all goes as smoothly as possible. So what I decided instead was that I would share a piece of fiction inspired by its title... Remember, Letters Policy. Thank you for stepping into the world of DISPATCH. --P. H. Madore -Part B/ Political Posturing “Here, try this one,” said the elder, exaggerating a professional strut and dawning a ridiculous stern look. “That's the middle-class posture.” “Ah, I wondered about it,” said the younger, mimicking the elder. “Now this,” said the elder, growing his stomach, his jowls increasing in stature, and holding himself butler-like, “this is the fat cat posture. You'll need it much more than you think.” The younger attempted this one. It was difficult for him at first. Struggling and forgetting his history as a trim man, he pulled it off. “It's especially good for exotic vacations not to mention long Vegas weekends—all kinds'a stuff,” the elder said wisely, winking. As they arrived outside the majestic white stone building, the younger said, “You never taught me the working-class one. I feel unprepared.” “Relax,” said the elder, straightening his protege's tie. He chuckled through cigar smoke. “What makes you think you'll need that for anything?”
WATCHING THEM DIE
There’s something a little different about a Southerner.
M. Blair Spiva
The slow, sweet sounds of a gentle voice, the lemonade and Jack, the rocking, the swaying, the enjoyment of life’s simplicity. The steam rising off the streets after a rain, the trees that frame even the busiest of highways, the Cherokee names that roll off the tongue, the pride, always the humble pride in what we’ve seen, what we’ve learned. The strong hold of faith, though misguided at times, the gatherings of old families in Grandmother’s kitchen, the pockets of tradition, the culture of the past colliding with the present. There’s something a little different about a Southerner. And I sit here in my comfortable house, and I watch the television with the rest of the nation.
“So that, at the end of the world, we can say, ‘Hey, at least we tried.’” --DISPATCH Guidelines
We’ve all been to New Ohhhrlins once or twice, we’ve all downed a glass of Southern Comfort. I sit here and watch. You have killed my people. I sit here and watch with the rest of the nation, And I think again on how You have managed this far. You have killed my people. In New Orleans, they'll refuse to abandon their city every time. That pride, that humble pride keeps them there, no matter the strength of wind, rain, water. They'll drink the Hurricanes, not submit to them. They'll give them the finger and curse them in those slow, sweet accents, daring them to break what they have built. But not this time. This time, they watched it all break. And they called to You for help, they called to You for salvation, for cleanliness, for safety. You have broken them. You have broken that humble pride that sings in the soul of every Southerner. You have brought tears into the eyes of those
DISPATCH Zero-Point-Five too young to cry. “Watching Them Die” by M. Blair Spiva You have fed on this devastation, scooping it up for your own gain once again-You can’t declare war on a hurricane.
Or maybe You can. I watch with the rest of the nation, and I weep for my people. I raise my glass of Southern Comfort high. You--abuse the name of Christ. You--take His name in vain more so than any “Goddamn” could ever do. You--claim to fight for with one twist of the tongue,and with another, leave His people to float down toxic rivers and fish out their dead, their families, their lovers, their friends. It’s the Devil’s greatest trick. I sit here, and I watch with the nation, I drink another round of SoCo, I smoke and fume with anger that will never be avenged. You killed my people. And a Southerner never forgets.
“Candy House” by Melissa Blackburn Sarat
Time For A New New Deal Adam Bunch
In the weeks that have passed since Hurricane Katrina decimated the Gulf Coast, the White House’s damage control machine has been working at full tilt. The Bush administration, ill prepared for the disaster and slow to rescue those left stranded, is accused of having learned little from the lesson of 9-11 and of not caring for the poor of the nation. Facing what is proving to be the biggest challenge of their administration, leaders have responded with a public relations storm of their own: public appearances, televised speeches, promises made and federal funds pledged. This time, however, damage control will not be enough to salvage the reputation of the President. The American people are demanding real change. George W. Bush must prove that he can defend them from the unthinkable – another Katrina – while showing them that he cares about the working class. It is time for New New Deal in America. As is being widely reported, there were warnings long before Katrina hit that a $14 billion investment in levees and dams was required to safeguard New Orleans against a hurricane of such magnitude. In a nation preoccupied with a war on terror, however, the hefty sums involved seemed too great and the worst-case scenario too improbable. Such warnings must never be
This piece by Adam Chowles, who can be reached at email@example.com, does not necessarily represent the opinion of DISPATCH editorial staff and remains the property of its creator.
ignored again. While it is impossible for any government to foresee every disaster, it is required that plans are made for those that they know do pose a threat. Forecasters warn that hurricanes will continue to gain strength in coming years, jeopardizing many coastal American cities. In California, geologists warn of an earthquake of unparalleled magnitude. Each year, the government plays catch-up to tornados, floods and fires, providing relief, but failing to provide the funds required to protect against catastrophe before it strikes. The time to make that investment is now. For too long, the infrastructure of the nation has suffered as the federal government has focused their attention on foreign wars, reduced taxes and cutbacks in domestic spending. In order to save lives, and his own skin, Bush must take a page from Franklin Roosevelt’s book and commit to large-scale building projects across the country. Fund research into what is needed and then do it. Build leviees and dams where they are required. Create early warning systems. Reinforce existing safety measures. Train, test and fund emergency response teams. Instead of dubious color-coded warnings and distant military victories, the people of the United States will see with their own eyes the commitment being made to their safety. They will see the concrete being poured and the bricks being laid. They will not only be safe they will feel safe as well. And that, more than anything, is what Bush needs right now. Equally important, this project will provide help to the working class as a direct investment into their lives and their prosperity. Instead of being forced into minimum wage jobs at fast food restaurants and chain stores, large-scale public works programs will give these Americans the opportunity to earn a decent living wage. Help will come not as a handout, but as an invitation to provide for their families by putting their own sweat and muscle into rebuilding their country. The money they earn, they will then reinvest, buying new homes, cars and appliances, giving a boost to the economy in the process. Granted, a New New Deal will not come cheap. Bush’s job will be much easier than Roosevelt’s, however; the project is not as ambitious and the Department of Homeland Security already provides the necessary bureaucracy. The money can be found. The Department of Homeland Security is budgeted at $40 billion a year, some of which can certainly be redirected and focused into public works. Another $200 billion has already been spent on the war in Iraq. This heavy spending needn’t continue. The international community is ready and willing to help shoulder this burden. The Iraqi people have been freed, Saddam has been captured, and there are no weapons of mass destruction. Iraq poses no further threat to the United States. By sharing the responsibility and the costs of nation building, as is being done in Afghanistan, huge sums of cash can be redirected. This administration has shown no reluctance to spend where they deem it necessary. With the federal deficit at half a trillion dollars, a reallocation of funds in concert with some new money will make little difference to the overall financial picture of the nation. Sadly, however, President Bush has already gotten off on the wrong foot. Instead of making the reconstruction of New Orleans the centerpiece of this public effort and ensuring that the people of the Gulf
Coast can make a good wage rebuilding their city, the government is handing over the responsibility to the private sector. Lucrative contracts have been awarded to firms with strong ties to the administration – Halliburton, Bechtel, Shaw Group – without honoring the usual competitive bidding process. (Halliburton’s first uncontested contract came only three days after Katrina hit, before Bush had deployed more than a trickle of National Guard troops into the chaotic and suffering city.) As a result, much of the more than $100 billion required for reconstruction will pad profit margins instead of the pockets of the working class. Bush has even gone so far as to suspend the law requiring these companies to pay workers the prevailing wage in the region. Instead of taking the opportunity to prove his support and loyalty to the working class of America, Bush is further damaging his now shaky reputation. Democrats are eager to highlight the discrepancy between Bush’s rhetoric and actions, and there are even discontent rumblings from within his own party over the way reconstruction is being handled. In the days following September 11th, President Bush recognized the disaster in New York for what it was: a turning point in the history of the United States. He responded by taking his administration in an entirely new direction. He must do the same for the disaster in New Orleans. He must shift his focus away from foreign policy adventures and return to the domestic. It is time for America to care for America. Some – perhaps even many – threats will never materialize. So much the better. Some, however, will, and in those cases lives will saved. In the others, the money will have been far from wasted. Citizens will be better off safe rather than sorry, and working class families will find themselves leading improved lives. At the same time, President Bush might just be able to save himself from the weight of history as well. For more info on reconstruction contracts: CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/09/10/katrina.contracts.reut/) The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/04/AR2005090401193_pf.htm l) The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/politics/politics-katrina-budget.html?pagewanted=print) For more info on the cost of the war in Iraq: National Priorities Project (http://costofwar.com/) For more info on the Department of Homeland Security and budget: The White House Office of Management and Budget: (http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2005/hom eland.html) The US Department of Homeland Security (http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/index.jsp)
For more info on Franklin Roosevelt and The New Deal:
The White House (http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/fr32.html) The New Deal Network (http://newdeal.feri.org/)
A Common Man Kiki Denis
They said he will be like anybody else; go to school, get a job, most probably in an office, get married, have a couple of kids, buy a summer house, retire and one day leave his last breath like any other common man who gets forgotten a few years later. They said he had the face of a hard working son, the cheeks of a good-looking husband, the sparking blue eyes of an honest man and the patience of a loving father. They said he was one of them. And through college he did almost nothing to prove them wrong. But then a couple of years later he grew a beard, refused to be at his desk at nine and showed no interest in girls. So they said he was going through a bad phase and would come around soon, cut off his beard, wear suits and forget all that nonsense. And with these thoughts in their mind they decided to give him some extra time. But he didn’t behave; he quit his job, went off to Africa to help some black, dirty kids with big bellies, wrote books about poverty and racism and years later when he returned home, he shared his bed with a man. It was then they admitted that they had made a mistake and stopped talking about him once and for all.
SON OF SON OF ARBUSTED (CHOPPER, CHOPPER) Chopper, chopper, flying high, Bringing water and supplies, To the folks who sorely need, With all the necessary speed. Bringing Bringing Bringing Bringing food and bringing clothes, pumps and ample hose, band-aids, gauze and pills, rags to clean up spills.
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But, wait a minute, what the hell? Guns and ammo? Bombs and shells? Where's the aid come by the pound? Where's this warlike manna bound? Chopper, chopper, what's the score? We've got people robbing stores! Babies crying, starving moms, Dads are drowning - and we buy bombs? Chopper, chopper, get it straight. Look up "Misappropriate." This isn't what we thought we'd see, When we heard "Homeland Security." Chopper, chopper, tell your friends, These means don't justify the ends. You could be put to better use, Than traipsing 'round in combat shoes. Come home, o, Chopper, and lend a hand, Forget the oil in that foreign land. Come home, o, Chopper, for now we know Your boss screwed up - and Bush must go.
On Candles, an Apartment, and the Choice of a Life
The sun was barely up, and had begun to make orange streaks in the cold January sky when she had woken up next to him. She looked across the room at the rumpled heap of her clothes and over to the dresser where the candles had all burned out and melted wax had drizzled down the drawers, and hardened. She looked beside the bed at the bottle of wine, now empty, that they had shared the night before. She felt sick to her stomach and had gone into his tiny, dingy bathroom. She vomited and then brushed her teeth with his toothbrush. She had dressed and left; no need to say goodbye, not like they wouldn’t see each other again. Driving back to her own tiny room, she had known. Lying in bed the night before, unable to sleep, listening to him breathing and trying to decide whether she loved or hated him, she had felt them swimming through her. Although a doctor would have disproved this idea, she was certain that she felt the precise moment when the fist one hit its intended target. That afternoon, while sleeping, she had dreamt of babies; Hundreds of babies all floating in a pool, laughing and smiling. She had woken in a cold sweat and vomited for a second time that day. Thirteen weeks later she had begun to bleed. The blood was thicker than usual and there was an unrecognizable substance. She knew. She hadn’t told anyone else about the situation, so no one was available to mourn with her. She sat on the bathroom floor and cried for it all. She cried for the almost person she never knew and she cried because she had known. She cried for him and for herself and for all of the tiny little defenseless people who were conceived out of familiarity and a false sense of comfort and born to quasi-adults. She cried for the babies who hadn’t had the fortune of leaving this earth before entering it and she cried for having had that thought at all. Its two o’clock in the morning and a fan in the corner is blowing the hot August air around the tiny candle lit room. An empty bottle of wine stands beside the bed. He is kissing her neck and her small soft breasts. He works his way down. His mouth is on her flat white stomach. He is tonguing the little red jeweled ring that is piercing her navel. He moves further down. He is kissing her lower belly when he feels her stiffen up. She pushes him off. “You bastard! You fucking bastard!” “What the hell is wrong?” “What the fuck did I do?” She doesn’t hear him. She is rolled into a ball at the corner of the bed, clutching her stomach.
How Frannie Can Gay I Compensate?
How can I compensate for it all? September 11th Memorial, Weston, You feel unloved, fractions aren’t your forte, and your best friend was taken away. MA 9/23/05. You fear Photo by Dan that you’re next Nucci. that your mom won’t come home that you will fail this test You are troubled by the slamming doors of your home of this world by the pain in your stomach the hole in your shoe by your messy handwriting by Billy next to you You want to learn to listen to understand why red and blue make purple to be a scientist to read a book to feel the warmth of your mother’s arms in addition to mine to escape, to run away, and to fly But how, can I compensate – For it all When the windows in our room are busted the lights flicker – mimicking the thoughts When I am exhausted in our minds And my paycheck cannot support my aspirations for you Our books cannot teach us into 2005 our pencils are stubs When my vivid stories are fantasy told in Desks are few and we are many this basement of a classroom And I desperately want you to believe in a When our lives are becoming this history – life outside this shadow a number, a score, a grade
Dear Mr. President – How can I compensate for it all?
P F DISPATCH Zero-Point-Five
Scene of an Accident
As much as I detest rubberneckers, I too couldn’t avert my eyes from the scene. A small hunter-green car, a Dodge Neon, Chevy Geo, one of those compact types, had rear-ended the Mister Softee truck. The two vehicles were embraced, blocking the only approach to the cul-de-sac. I was walled in, three cars from the accident, boxed in by cars behind me, with no opportunity to go around, and thus had no option but to get comfy in my seat and gawk. Not that I was alone. A growing throng of children had put aside their basketballs, even their Playstations, and - no doubt drawn by the magnetic allure of the disabled ice cream truck slowly gravitated to the scene. And as the number of children passed the dozen mark, curious parents too began descending. Me, I was more interested in the unwilling participants of the unfolding drama. Driver and passenger of the sensible compact car proved to be a young couple, no older than twenty. The driver, female, was out of the car, alternately talking and crying into her cell phone. Perhaps calling her father to come rescue her? The passenger, possibly but not necessarily boyfriend it was hard to tell whether or not they were a couple, as the girl seemed disinterested, maybe even annoyed in his attempts at consolation - stood glumly, shoulders stooped, surveying the crowd, the truck, and the crumpled front end of the car. Perhaps I was projecting from some long-ago, semi-forgotten fender-bender of my youth, but the passenger seemed to look not just forlorn, but guilty. Had he, through some random act, initiated the chain of events which led to the accident? Perhaps he fought with her over whether to play the Nickleback or Puddle of Mudd CD? Perhaps he had pointed to the left and said something like “Hey, isn’t that your friend Barbara over there?” Or, “Go that way; we’ll get to the movies faster?” Perhaps she reacted to his gesticulations and allowed herself to be distracted, just long enough to miss avoiding the white truck pulling out of the side street. And the phrase “miss avoiding” is accurate. From the buzz of the interested onlookers it sounded like the driver of the truck was at fault. I turned my attention to said driver, who was just leaning against her truck, partly obscuring the smiling man with the soft-serve head painted on the truck’s side. At first, she had busied herself filling the extra orders generated by the gathering, but as everyone became sated by vanilla and chocolate soft-serve, she had nothing to do except wait and try to ignore the fact that she was on display, no more able to leave the 14 crowd’s gaze than the trained dolphins at an aquarium.
Being a testosterone-laden male, I found it easy to make excuses, imagine some sort of mitigating circumstances, and eventually feel an empathetic pity for the despondent ice cream truck driver. She too was young, probably in her early twenties, with a light blue top hanging casually over beige shorts that revealed tanned, athletic legs. It was her hair, though, that really caught my eyes, and caused me to root for her innocence: dark brown, wavy but not curly, neatly shaped, short but not jockishly so. The similarity in hairstyles between her and Claudia, long-estranged first-love-of-my-life, was remarkable. All sorts of circumstances could have caused her to pull prematurely into traffic. Perhaps the four boys working up a sweat playing basketball in the driveway of the blue vinyl-sided colonial had been yelling, trying to gain her attention. Perhaps their ball had bounced into her field of vision. Perhaps her brakes had failed. The more I thought, the more convinced I became that the crowd had been wrong all along, influenced by mob mentality into assuming the innocence of Sensible-Compact driver. Conceivably, she might have pulled out of one of the parking spots along the main road without warning, giving the unlucky Mister Softee driver no chance whatsoever to avoid the collision. As I pondered and decided the Claudiaesque driver was not at fault, I daydreamed, and thought for the first time in eons of Claudia. I remembered she was a sugar junkie. We spent many a midnight, Claudia simultaneously tired and wired from waitressing, eating sundaes and drinking coffee at a Friendly’s or Dennys. She was quite the jock then, having made the transition from three sport star in high school to week-long hikes in the Appalachians, and bike-a-thons to support the worthy cause-de-jour. Even back then though, when we, I mean she, decided our relationship was not capable of making the hurdle from boy/girl friend to life-long commitment, she had started gaining weight. I last saw her two years ago, grocery shopping with her two rugrats, one in the shopping cart and one bouncing alongside. I tactfully declined comment, but her figure suggested that her burning need to hike up mountains had flamed out with motherhood, while her ice cream cravings stuck around. The arrival of a police cruiser put a merciful end to my flashback. I looked again at the girl still leaning in front of Mr. Softee. I wondered about her. Was she working a summer job to help pay her way through college? I liked that image: driven, motivated, self-sufficient. Or, maybe a single mom, knocked up at nineteen by a boyfriend who upon hearing her news, suddenly developed a yearning to live with his grandparents in Florida, leaving this unfortunate girl no option but to move back home. And her mother, steadfast and duty-bound, would be there to help with the care of her first grandchild, all the while reminding her daughter through innuendo, sighs, and body language, what a mistake she had made, what an imposition all this was, and how the male half of the species, daughters AWOL boyfriend and her own ex-husband included, was generally equivalent to pond scum. Pond scum. My own mother used that title for my father so frequently that a curious alien, perhaps an advance scout for an invasion armada choosing our home for random eavesdropping, could easily have assumed Pondscum was my father’s name. “Pondscum didn’t send the check.” “Pondscum is going to be late picking you up.” “Pondscum’s too busy with his new wife and family to care about us.”
“Scene of an Accident” by David Lunden
DISPATCH Zer o-Point- Five DISPATCH Zer o-Point- Five
I don’t believe there was a statute of limitations for any of his alleged transgressions. I sometimes wondered, not always tongue-in-cheek, if my mother kept a running list of his sins, a notebook she could refer to whenever her self-righteous anger showed signs of abatement. While she may not have actually kept such a notebook, she did keep the “Dear Jane” note my father wrote when he left. My mother had dragged my sister and me to my maternal Grandmother’s for Memorial Day weekend. When we returned, Dad and his belongings were gone. My mother showed both of us the note he left. Thelma, We’ve talked and talked, but further discus sion seems pointless. I can’t do this any more. I’ll call you during the week to discuss visitation and support. Love always, or in spite of, Richard She kept the letter, dusting it off for us once in a while, whenever she thought we might be forgetting how evil Dad was, and how much of a victim he had made her. I watched and speculated as the ice cream truck girl, her hair gently tossed by a cooling breeze, gave information to the impassive police officer. Did she too have to return to such a suffocating, unforgiving, environment? Would her mother berate her forever, permanently sabotaging her ability to feel love and happiness, or even to simply respect another adult male, driving the angry spike relentlessly into her self-esteem, her very soul, every night? I restarted my engine as the tow truck extricated the two vehicles, signifying the closing of the curtain to the show to which we had been a captive audience. I wanted to hold the ice cream driver in my arms, transfer strength, tell her to hang in there, to not take her mother’s crap, that things would get better. I wanted to at least shout these things to her, but instead I allowed myself one last glance, one last view of her hair still flapping in the wind, before looking both ways and driving past her truck and on to the grocery store.
| ve | ve Fi ” | Fi nt nt | nt n oi de oi de n d - P cc i nd e -P ci r o A c Lu n Ze n d L Z f H o f a av i d H v TC ne o Da TC ne y y PA SP “ S e b IS “ S c DI
IN RESPONSE TO THE INSANITY OF OUR QUERYING EDITORIAL RESPONSE TO THE DISASTER OF NEW ORLEANS.
THE SCOOP: Inspired and
According to The Hartford Advocate, David Rovics is “the Pete Seeger of his time.” In other words, he’s a wicked good folk singer. You can find him at http://DavidRovics.com. In composing this issue, we thought we’d ask him a few very subjective and very leading questions to see what he had to say. This was the outcome.
What is your biggest problem with Bush as a man?
next regular issue (One).
He seems to lack the capacity for empathy.
As a president?
In your opinion, is incompetence, such as that arguably demonstrated in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and with FEMA's most recent administrative appointment, solid grounds for impeachment?
While I can easily understand a desire to impeach Bush, “incompetence” isn’t adequate grounds. That he lied to America and the world about Iraq is far more grave. That He's completely corrupt, he is taking America to bankruptcy is far more grave. That incompetent, and bent on his policies have made members of a huge religion hate world domination. America, want to kill Americans, is far more grave. That he has made major contributions to dividing, not unifying, America, is far more grave. That he has made major counHow much more of your tries, our allies, hate America is far more grave. That due to life do you have to give him we’ve lost respect from many nations is far more grave. to the cause? You seem Certainly I'd like to see impeachment proceedings begin, to to be living it. air what Bush has done to our country and the world. But there isn’t a chance of a snowball in hell that this Congress Until death do us part. would even consider impeachment. Do natural disasters such as Does it bother you that George W. Hurricane Katrina rank higher on Bush hoodwinked America twice? your list of national priorities Shit, yes. But where in the hell do you get than does, say, Saddam Hussein? “twice”? He has a far larger record than you give him credit for. Bush has turned me jingoistic. I’ve changed my views about American involvement in the social and humanitarian problems of other
lanruoJ yraetiL eviF-tnioP-oreZ
feverish, at least one member of the DISPATCH editorial staff came up with some questions and set forth to get them answered by as many people as possible. One answered, and must not have wanted their name attributed. We’d especially like to see this as a topic in our letters section
The Representative From Texas Has The Floor...
“Let 'em eat jellybeans let 'em eat cake Let 'em eat shit, whatever it takes They can join the Air Force, or join the Corps If they can't make it here anymore”
James McMurtry & The Heartless Bastards (www.compadrerecords.com) "We Can't Make It Here Anymore"
countries and instead now argue strongly that our first focus, and our priority, must be solving American problems. God knows we have many. Illegal aliens and broken borders. Poverty. Homelessness. Skyrocketing health care and drugs. An educational system that is not educating. A failed infrastructure (New Orleans proved that, but while less dramatic, our highways and bridges are rotting.) Energy emergency. Environmental disasters and global warming. National security. We're losing (or have lost) the edge in technological and scientific knowledge. And we are becoming increasingly a divided nation; divided on “religious” grounds, divided by languages (what the fuck is this crap about not making English the national language? Remember what happened to Canada and the French revolution/split?) All in all, I want to use our resources and finances for America first. Bring home every single one of our troops from around the world and turn them into a homegrown American Peace Corps to deal with American problems.
If you could catch Bush's attention just long enough to speak to him, what would you say? Viewing Bush's motivations as a pie chart, what chunk would be monetary, in your view?
Probably 80%. Halliburton loves him. He hasn’t seen a tax cut for the wealthy that he doesn’t love. He has zero empathy for the middle class and poverty pocket. Can you think of one good thing that has come about in your life since 2000 which you can give credit to changes in policy with Bush's name on them? Ouch. Nope. For a while I thought Bush was going to solve America's population problem because he was driving many Americans to other countries.
Would you consider yourself politically conservative, moderate, or liberal on a scale of Howard Dean to George W. Bush?
What the fuck do you think you’re doing? Do you honestly, deep inside, think you’re doing ANYTHING worthwhile for the country or the world? Do you honestly understand the words "budget deficit"? Do you honestly believe that killing American soldiers benefits the world? Do you honestly understand the diseases deeply infecting our country? Oops. That word, “honestly.” Nevermind.
Can you picture Bush in either military fatigues or a Red Cross jacket?
That’s hard to answer. I can’t find a political party I can support. Assuming that the parties still stand for their traditional values (yeah, I know, that’s a faulty assumption), I am a social Democrat because I believe that government must be proactive in protecting its citizens and solving social problems, but I’m a fiscal epublican because we can’t take those actions unless we’re fiscally sound, but there's Republican Bush bankrupting the U.S. I used to think being "conservative" was a good goal because I thought it stood for following the Constitution, but if "conservative" means Bushistic ideas, then I'm far from conservative. (And I don’t think Howard Dean is the best example for this question. Maybe Teddy Kennedy. Dean’s ineffective. Kennedy is better at getting things done.)
Fuel for this inferno from lunatic P. H. Madore and the owner of the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sure. Karl Rove would make that a photo op. Remember the flight jacket and “Mission Accomplished?” But it’s easier to picture him in a clown outfit.
One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State
It’s Tuesday, November 2nd, Year of our Lord TwoThousand and Four. Election Day in America. I get home from work amid early reports of epic turnouts. I know my ballot ultimately decides nothingKerry will win his home state easily- but I take pride in an unbroken twelve year streak of voting. I leave my work clothes on, throw on my charcoal pea coat and walk through the center of town to my polling place- City Hall. I slip around two distinct groups- one stumping for Republican State Senator and incumbent Richard Tisei, the other for challenger Katherine Clark- and through the front doors of democracy. I find myself buoyed by the hope that America will finally turn its back on the misguided economic, social, diplomatic and political agendas that have been the hallmark of the first four years of George W. Bush's administration. Unlike Ohio, the process here is quick and clean. The toughest part is making sure I color in the selection ovals on the ballot without going too far outside the lines. I get home and settle in. At times I have two TVs going to track two networks, with CNN.com on autorefresh in the background. A buddy of mine comes over and we stay up into the small hours watching coverage, drinking Maker's and Cokes and congratulating each other when Kerry picks up key states. Ohio and Iowa are still "too close to call." I go to bed hoping that I’ll wake up in the morning with the second major victory for the Bay State in an amazing week. Last weekend, I stood forty feet away as John Edwards spoke at a rally in Bangor, Maine. He had his parents with him and was very attentive to the fact that several paper mills have closed in the Bangor area, leaving many without jobs. His father was a mill worker and it was clear that he was concerned about the issue of unemployment in Maine and across the country. A cement mixer- painted slate blue and adorned with "Bush-Cheney '04" on each side of the mixer barrel- made about eighteen passes over the bridge spanning the Penobscot River behind the staging. It seemed like petty gamesmanship on the GOP's part.
“One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State” by Dan Nucci
Edwards seemed to connect with the crowd- he's an articulate speaker with "movie star good looks" (according to my female companions), a charming Southern drawl and palpable charisma. But why on earth was he taking the time to campaign in a remote city in a locked-up Democratic state with only four electoral college votes on the weekend before The Election?
I spend most of the next day at a luncheon honoring one of the former principles of my company, a former member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. One of the speakers highlights some of his accomplishments in the House, including co-authoring the first no-fault automobile insurance legislation in the country. One descriptive term that catches my attention in this address is "liberal Republican." I have never heard it used before. It sounds like an oxymoron... like 'business ethics,' ‘friendly fire’ or 'dry ice.' The speaker went on to mention some of the honoree’s current projects in retirement. He serves as the Town Moderator in his North Shore community. He is heavily involved in an affordable housing project for the elderly. And he sits on a chair at an inner city charter school which boasted a one-hundred percent college admission rate last year. They don't make Republicans like this anymore.
I sit next to an entertaining and ardently Democratic trial lawyer from one of our law firms at the luncheon. He does a significant amount of work defending municipalities against some of the more colorful lawsuits that come through the door. After running through some war stories, our discussion turns to politics. A student of history, he points out that Iraq is not really a country. It’s a spot on the map that was circled by some British imperialists in the 1920s and consists of three distinct, and fundamentally different, cultural groups. He opines that the best way to restore order there is to put Saddam Hussein back in power and get the hell out. "Why do you rule with an iron fist?" someone once asked Yugoslavia's dictator, Marshall Tito. "Because if I didn't," he replied, "they'd kill each other." The country eventually dissolved and they all killed each other.
“One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State” by Dan Nucci
C AT ISP
I had arrived at the luncheon late, hungover and unsure of the previous night’s results. Why did we Democrats lose? I ask my lawyer friend. By a masterstroke developed by the Reagan Administration that has worked ever since. Align the disenfranchised, rural poor with wealthy, big business conservatives when they have absolutely no interests in common. How did they do that? Use marginal moral issues that affect less than 1% of the voters. Get them to vote against themselves by pushing 'hotbutton' issues to the forefront. Abortion. The death penalty. Gay marriage.
CBS News noted something the night before that was easy to miss amidst the flurry of coverage. No Democrats have won the South since the Civil Rights Act was signed *except* Georgian Jimmy Carter and Arkansas native Bill Clinton. The Kerry-Edwards campaign was naive enough to think that Edwards' North Carolina roots would be enough to swing a few states. It didn't happen. Considerable energy was spent in a few battleground states, but it’s now obvious that you cannot win an election by ignoring an entire region of the country. You cannot win an election by discussing issues and not morality. You cannot win an election by speaking against an unjustified war fought by a volunteer army (particularly if you’ve spoken for it in the past). Welcome to the W Years, take two. At least there should be some good punk rock.
“The motherfuckin’ world is a ghetto.” --Ice Cube
A D V E R T I S E M E N T (S)
I’m nobody special. Nevertheless I’ve kicked a few bucks DISPATCH’s way in order to get this ad for The Lampshade in which I ask, no beg, everyone to visit my site, http://ls.thewritepath.org and send me subs/read my ‘zine! This ad was cheap, by the way. To fill space, here’s a picture of my favorite lampshade:
A D V E R T I S E M E N T(S)
D I S P A T C H Z e r o P o i n t F i v e
i haven’t done a damn thing
Mikel K. i haven’t done a damn thing about new orleans ‘cept bitch about what bob dylan didn’t do i didn’t do a damn thing about 9/11 ‘cept bitch about what the red cross did and didn’t do i haven’t done a damn thing about iraq ‘cept bitch about what a prick the president is do you see a pattern here? i haven’t done a damn thing about racism ‘cept try to be cool when i’m getting blamed for it i haven’t done a thing about things that i maybe could do a thing about and i cannot tell you why i act like i’m so concerned maybe that is a lie is it enough to take care of yourself take care of your own and not try to save the world?
Back in 1994, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives signed a “Contract With America” with the following goal in mind:
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If you haven’t yet read an issue or the complete guidelines, then what are you doing here? DISPATCH DISPATCH DISPATCH DISPATCH DISPATCH Zero-Point-75 DEADLINE: October 10th (‘05)* Zero-Point-90 DEADLINE: October 18th (‘05)** One DEADLINE: November 1st (‘05) Two DEADLINE: May 1st (‘06) Three DEADLINE: November 1st (‘06) NOTE: Publication in DISPATCH regular issues does not depend on space, it depends on quality. We have enough room and enough gumption publish all who make the grade and come our way.
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Like a rollodex, except flat and cool.
Where the following contributors can be found:
Adam Bunch -- By route of email@example.com. Adam Chowles -- Somewhere near firstname.lastname@example.org. Kiki Denis -- In New York City, winning Gival Press’s novel contest for The Last Day Of Paradise. Brian Fugett -- At http://ZygoteInMyCoffee.com Frannie Gay -- In a school, in Georgia. Lee Greenway -- Somewhere in Georgia, writing more poems. Mikel K. -- Mysteriously submitting honest poetry to fledgling journals, we suspect from somewhere south of Maryland. David Lunden -- Not far away from Amherst and in DISPATCH One. P. H. Madore -- In the heat of experimentation with madness and all that strums it. Dan Nucci -- In New England or slumming at the ThievesJargon.com messageboards. Jenny Patel -- Somewhere west of China. M. Blair Spiva -- At http://MBSpiva.blogspot.com. Melissa Blackburn Sarat -- At http://neworleanstable.com. Shanna Tolley -- In many of the upcoming regular issues of DISPATCH.
editor’s minidispatch #1: no publication is worth dog spittle unless it has good contributors and good staff -- I’m fortunate enough to have been blessed with both.
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editor’s minidispatch #2: this is a learning process. I like to think we’ve taken a few lessons and given a few in this first of many issues to come.