Archive for November, 2009

Call it Freedom of Speech or Freedom to be Stupid

November 25, 2009

In keeping with my friend, “Man with a Muckrake” blog site, I thought that I would also keep up with the “FREEDOM” theme.  I think that it is very unfortunate, or very telling, that prominent conservatives have been silent thus far exposing that it is serving their purpose quite well even if it was not by design.  Below is a very disturbing story.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


In Wheat Ridge, Colorado, a billboard recently erected compares President Barack Obama to a terrorist and questions his U.S. citizenship.

The billboard shows two cartoonish images of Obama wearing a Muslim turban and reads “PRESIDENT or JIHAD?”

It also says “BIRTH CERTIFICATE – PROVE IT!” alluding to the conspiracy theory which claims Barack Obama was born in Kenya rather than Hawaii, which would disqualify him for the office of President.

The words “WAKE UP AMERICA! REMEMBER FT. HOOD!” appears on the bottom of the billboard.

The sign belongs to a car dealership owned by Phil Wolf.  “Since Fort Hood, I’ve had it,” said Mr. Wolf, “You can’t suggest things. You can’t profile. You gotta call a spade a spade.”  “Everything I have read about Mr. Obama points right to the fact that he is a Muslim. And that is the agenda of what Muslim is all about. It’s about anti-American, it’s about anti-Christianity,” Wolf said.

The Anti-Defamation League condemned the sign, as did AM760 radio host David Sirota, who discussed the sign and interviewed Wolf on his program Friday morning.  “It’s out of control,” Sirota said. “This conservative hatred of Barack Obama is out of control, and this brings together all those strands of it: the racism, the anti-Muslim fervor. It’s one thing to criticize the president on health care, or Wall Street reform, or immigration. But this is outrageous. And I think it’s a fair question to ask why these questions about religion and ancestry are being directed so viciously at the first African-American President of the United States.”

While the ADL issued a statement calling the billboard an exploitation of the Ft. Hood shootings that is “divisive and offensive, and perpetuates hateful and harmful stereotypes about Muslims.”


I think that it is very unfortunate, or very telling, that prominent conservatives have been silent thus far exposing that it is serving their purpose quite well even if it was not by design.

“That could suggest that conservative leaders are afraid to confront the extreme fringe of their base,” Sirota said. “Or it suggests they actually condone this message. Either way, it’s disturbing.”

Sirota is an unabashed liberal, but not all self-identified conservatives who drove past the sign Friday disagree with him.

“I’m not concerned with that at all,” said Linda Alexander, of Golden, in regard to the dispute over President Osama’s American citizenship. “He was elected; he’s the president — that’s it, as far as I’m concerned. Some people just can’t accept that, obviously.”

But Keith Walters, another passing driver, saw nothing wrong with the billboard.  “I can’t honestly say he’s a Jihadist, but there’s a lot of things that are questionable,” Walters said. “The whole birth certificate controversy. From what I’ve read, there’s no proof Obama isn’t a Muslim. And I don’t believe there’s any racism in the billboard. I think that should be a question asked to any president who — they have some questionable backgrounds.”

Supporters of the birth certificate theory, known as ‘Birthers,’ believe the Certification of Live Birth produced by the state of Hawaii is a forgery.


Thanksgiving on the Chesapeake Bay

November 23, 2009

I thought that I would take a page from my good friend Microdot’s site and post a recipe that is somewhat of a tradition here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  My Grandfather was a local waterman and those whom made there living from the water had recipes that are served as a tradition for Thanksgiving.  I would also ask all to reply to this posting with their favorite recipes that has a special meaning for them at Thanksgiving.

I can still remember him performing his balancing dance just standing on the 8” wide washboard of his 40’ workboat, handling the 30’ oyster tongs, lowering them into the water, blindly gathering into a pile the oyster shells from the oyster beds, then hand over hand pulling the tongs back up and opening the rakes dumping the oysters onto the deck, and then repeating the process over and over again.  To impress how hard this type of work is, think of it as vertically lifting 30 to 50 pounds of rocks 30’ over and over all day.  Now oysters can only be harvested in the months with an “R” in it so should you loose your balance, you are falling into icy cold water and many passed away from hypothermia.  When he had a good size pile of oysters, he would go through the pile throwing the oysters that were too small, dead, empty shells, etc.  When back onto shore you would then take the baskets of oysters to the shucking house or shuck them yourself and put the oysters into mason jars to sell.

This oyster dressing is one of my favorite to serve at Thanksgiving.  Growing up between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, this oyster dressing was a tradition in every waterman’s Thanksgiving feast.  The haunting smell of this dressing as it comes out of the oven still brings back warm memories of the days when the main employment for the men of this area was to work on the water for their lively hood.  “The skipjacks were made of wood and the men were made of steel.”

Baked Oyster Dressing

2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 pint shucked oysters and their liquor
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half cream
1/4 cup chopped green onions
4 cups homemade-style white bread torn into 1-inch size pieces
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Cooking Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Butter a 9 by 11-inch baking pan with the butter and set aside.
Drain the oysters, reserving the oyster liquor. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the celery, salt, pepper and sauté for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the bay leaves, parsley, and sauté for 1 minute. Gradually add cream; slowly stir in flour until smooth and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the green onions, oyster liquor stirring to mix well, and remove from the heat.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread and vegetable mixture with the oysters and Parmesan cheese. Stir to mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and top with more Parmesan.  Bake for about 1 hour, or until bubbly and golden brown.
Remove the bay leaves before serving.

Memories of Mr. Bojangles

November 21, 2009

 I was feeling a little melancholy this morning when I remembered the song, “Mr. Bojangles” written and recorded by Jerry Jeff Walker in 1968 and covered by many artists but most noticeable by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1971.

In Jerry Jeff Walker’s autobiography,” Gypsy Songman,” Walker said that he had been arrested earlier on the 4th of July weekend in 1965 for public drunkenness in New Orleans’s First Precinct Jail.  According to Walker, the song was inspired by an encounter with a street performer whom he shared the cell with.  Walker mentions that all the men in the cell had nicknames to prevent easy identification by the police and this one particular street dancer’s nickname was, “Mr. Bojangles.”

On that day that Walker was in jail, a murder in New Orleans precipitated the arrest of all the street people in the area and in the crowded cell this disheveled, homeless, old man street dance performer, began to talk to Walker.  Walker said that the man told various stories of his life, but the tone darkened when Mr. Bojangles recalled he had a dog that had been run over. Someone then asked for something to lighten the mood, and the man obliged with a tap dance.

In his autobiography, Walker dispelled the urban legend that the song did not refer to the famous stage and movie dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson










nor the New Orleans blues musician Babe Stovall. 












Walker made it clear that the man he met was white and in a later interview with BBC Radio 4 in August 2008, Walker pointed out that at the time in 1965, the jail cells in New Orleans were segregated by color.

With this history of the song, I decided to attach the song performed by the man who was originally inspired to write the song.  Enjoy.