Monthly Archives: May 2011

Bikers, Truckers and Patriots Block Westboro at Joplin

Westboro's Youth Group?

 When I got to work last night, a co-worker said they had heard that Fred Phelps and his hateful, misguided clan were “Completely blocked in” by semi-trucks at Joplin while attempting to spread their hate speech (they call it freedom and religion). Their website proudly stated “Thank God For 125 dead in Joplin”.

 So, being absolutely delighted by this mental image of the Phelps trapped by an angry mob, I decided to see if I could find out how true this is. I did find out that something similar happened, but I haven’t gotten any local news reports on this. Here’s what I found so far. From the L.A. Times :

[….] Thousands of motorcyclists also streamed into town from Missouri and surrounding states, many announcing their intention to block protests planned by the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, which said it would picket Obama’s arrival.

The controversial church opened a raw wound here with its announcement that those killed when a 200 mph tornado struck Joplin a week ago, now estimated at 139, “died for the sins of Missourians who have repeatedly lifted up their violent hands against God’s anointed, despite plain warnings not to do so.”

“We love Joplin. Joplin’s hurting. Nobody needs to make it worse. They need to go home,” said Mike Striegel, a biker from Joplin.

“We will take care of our town, no matter what it takes,” added Herb Kirkpatrick Jr., a motorcyclist from the outskirts of Joplin.

Most of those lining miles of roadway between Joplin’s main mall and the campus of Missouri Southern State University, where Obama was scheduled to speak after touring the 6-mile-long storm-ravaged area, were couples, families and groups of young people, many waving flags and posters of support for the city.

“We’re trying to show respect and honor for the ones we lost in Joplin,” said Charlie Brown, a co-organizer of the street rally, who said more than 20,000 people indicated on the group’s three Facebook pages that they planned to attend.[….]

And apparently there was a little more than just lining the streets with flags that happened! Some reports are coming in that they (Westboro) was confronted and blocked by vehicles at “The Flying J” Truck Stop. From a Facebook page:

“Just want to say that They did show up in joplin today, Fred mouthed off to a couple bikers, got his ass kicked, then was blocked in at the Flying J”

There are LOTS of rumors and some conflicting reports out there everywhere. This one is an anonymous comment from an apparent witness/participant in this.

(sic)”The Police walked one individual (Male) right in front of all us Bikers to there West B. Protesting area. That was a Big Mistake.. The chase in sued,the police couldnt run that guy out of there fast enough. We made to the other side of the parking lot ware we were met with force. Pepper spray go figure. It was brief then order was regained. Who ever arranged for there protest area tobe set up right next to 1000 plus bikers with a yellow caution tape being the divider really didnt think it through.Lol… ( May Faith and Kindness Speed your Recovery Joplin ).. WE Have Your Back..         ……….Bikers………….”

Just when I was about to give up on rumors and anonymous comments, I found one tiny piece from a more official news agency, an ABC affiliate that seems to perfectly corroborate the anonymous comment above:

“Members of the Westboro Baptist Church scheduled a protest in Joplin, Mo., Sunday. One protestor arrived around 12:15 p.m. and was accosted by counter protestors. Police escorted the Westboro member to safety and used tear gas to control the crowd”

Another report from the same ABC affiliate:

“It all started in a parking lot across from Missouri Southern State University, where today’s memorial took place.

According to witnesses, a crowd of people swarmed a man after he showed what they called a hateful sign.

Police ran into the crowd threatening to use tear gas if it got out of control.

Police then detained the man and escorted him away from the scene.

“Everybody just swarmed him, yeah, they were swarming him, throwing water bottles at him and just basically getting him out of here,” said Kelly Gresham, a witness at the scene. “They were trying to keep a little control here, the officers were, but it was just not going to happen with him.”

Our KSPR News crew did see a man detained by police with a folded up sign in his lap, but did not see what was actually on the sign.

Witnesses insist it was a sign similar to ones used by members of the Westboro Baptist Church.

According to the church’s website, a protest was planned for today.

Officials with the Missouri Department of Public Safety only heard of this one incident and are unsure if the individual involved was in fact part of the church.”

One more for good measure:

(Joplin, MO) — Police in Joplin fired off pepper spray to break up a minor clash between a small group of protesters and another group of people seeking to shield tornado victims from the protest.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas traveled to Joplin to protest ahead of a community memorial service.  The group claims the tornado, which devastated parts of Joplin a week ago, was God’s wrath for America tolerating homosexuality.

Members of the Patriot Guard were in the same area as the Westboro group and witnesses tell KOLR10 there was a minor confrontation between one member of each group with shouting and some shoving.  Police sprayed pepper spray to separate the groups.

ANYBODY reading that witnessed any of these incidents? If so, please comment!


Filed under Crime, Faith, Human Rights, Kansas, Missouri, Ozarks, Religion, The Four States

A Remarkable Day (via The Erstwhile Conservative: A Blog of Repentance)

A Remarkable Day "The cameras may leave. The spotlight may shift. But we will be with you every step of the way until Joplin is restored. We’re not going anywhere. That is not just my promise; that’s America’s promise.” —Barack Obama, Joplin, Mo., May 29, 2011 There are lots of great pictures of Barack Obama's inspirational visit to Joplin on Sunday, but I just want to post one that I think captures much about Mr. Obama and the residents hit hardest by the tornad … Read More

via The Erstwhile Conservative: A Blog of Repentance

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Tribute To A Misfit

Editors note: this is a re-post, which just seemed fitting for memorial day ~ sekanblogger

 The Kinks became one of my favorite groups, but only after the release of the album Misfits in 1978. I graduated from high school that year. Of course, growing up on 70’s rock, I knew about the Kinks. Everybody knew the song “Lola,” and most people can only name that one song of theirs. That’s about all I knew too, until I moved to Wichita in ’78. The same day I moved there, a guy I kinda’ sorta’ knew moved there, too. We got re-acquainted and started hanging around each other. We both had the same habits, that is, drinking as much as possible and smoking more weed than anybody we knew. He had a Stratocaster knock-off, and was always playing some Kinks stuff. He had some of the older stuff, but I remember him mostly playing along with the 1979 album Low Budget. I could identify with that. It was a good album, but I wasn’t hooked yet!

 I became a real Kinks fan when I picked up a copy of Misfits. In my humble opinion, this album is one where the Davies brothers really bared their souls. At the time, I felt like a misfit, and all my friends were similar. One friend in particular really liked the title cut, and I decided it fit him to a tee. So this is dedicated to my long-gone friend Mark Fabrycky. As far as I’m concerned, it could be Mark’s ballad.

 Mark was a tall, muscular guy. He never knew a stranger. I was a sophomore in high school when we became friends. His brother and my older brother had been busted for weed together and we were birds of a feather.

 He refused to conform to almost everything. He would skip school on a whim, doing whatever came to mind, and rarely wore shoes, even in the winter. The first time I realized how different Mark was, he had gone to a forensics meet out of town. While someone else was on stage, he jumped up on the side of the stage and broke into an impromptu interpretive dance! They removed him from the meet, so he spent the day in a field across the street, brewing coffee in an old tin can and rolling cigarettes.

 Later that summer, we jumped a boxcar and rode to the next town, got arrested there for it, too. One night we slept in a cemetery, using dead leaves as a bed. We slept on the top of the spillway at a state lake while doing LSD and watching the stars. We would sleep on gravel bars out on the Neosho river. We canoed streams in Missouri and generally enjoyed being teenagers. Mark enjoyed climbing water towers just for the hell of it. He was arrested in Pittsburg, Kansas, after he climbed a tower with a mutual friend, Crazy Vince. The police came and asked them to come down. He replied that he would as soon as his weed was gone. They waited while he smoked the weed.

 He was a brilliant guy who had a Masters’ degree in agronomy from K-State, but he never conformed there either. Mark was always wearing old second-hand clothes, and a WW2 green trench-coat. He had a running joke with the ladies who ran the student union in which they would touch a long string hanging from his trench-coat (which he conveniently left there), as a parody of Christ healing the lady of faith. His hair would be shoulder length for awhile and the next time you’d see him, it was shaved, eyebrows and all. I asked him, “Why the eyebrows?”. His answer? “Shock effect, I want to be different.” IT WORKED.

 He quickly made friends with some chemistry students, and they supplied Mark with all the windowpane LSD he wanted. This was most likely his downfall, but that was years later. No matter what drug, food, or drink was around, Mark needed more. If you did a hit of acid, Mark would do six! If you grilled chicken, he needed a whole chicken for himself. Weed? He inhaled it like the breath of life itself.

 After graduating from college, he ended up in California. Lived in a commune with an older lady as his partner. Grew ‘community gardens’ in any extra space he found. I remember him picking veggies right out of the field and eating unwashed anything.

 Anytime Mark came home to see his Mom, he would always make a point to come see me. I felt honored. His mother said he never cared to see anyone else here. The last time he came home, his mom called me, saying Mark was having some mental problems. She was warning me that he was coming to my house, and she hoped I could handle him. I did, sort of. He spent the night, and ate everything in the house, right after he smoked all my stash. It was obvious he was in some trouble, as his mind was racing and he was speaking in broken sentences. He had a portable typewriter with him, and cranked out ‘beat’ poetry like crazy. He drank all the booze, and never slept a wink.

 The next day, I knew I had to get him home. I finally got him loaded up, and he made me take him to the old MKT hospital. They had a mental ward at the time, and he insisted he was due to check in there. I was relieved, until they told me they didn’t know Mark and there was no knowledge of his problem. He walked the hospital halls, scaring the hell out of everybody. I finally got him to his mother’s.

 That was the last time I saw Mark alive. His mom got him into a hospital in Pittsburg. The hospital took a group to an AA meeting a few days later. Mark walked out of the meeting and into oblivion. The police found him dead, underneath the same water tower he had been arrested at. Vince, his old friend, had come back to town when he heard about Mark being here. He was at my house when we heard the news.

Mark was gone. He had went to mingle with the stars.

Mark, my misfit friend, this is still your song to me.

The Kinks – Misfits Lyrics

You’ve been sleeping in a field but you look real rested
You set out to outrage but you can’t get arrested
You say your image is new, but it looks well tested
You’re lost without a crowd yet you go your own way

You say your summer has gone
Now the winter is crawlin’ in
They say that even in your day
Somehow you never could quite fit in
Though it’s cold outside
I know the summer’s gonna come again
Because you know what they say
Every dog has his day

You’re a misfit, afraid of yourself so you run away and hide
You’ve been a misfit all your life
Why don’t you join the crowd
And come inside
You wander round this town like you’ve lost your way
You had your chance in your day
Yet you threw it all away
But you know what they say
Every dog has his day

Look at all the losers and the mad eyed gazers
Look at all the loonies and the sad eyed failures
They’ve given up living ‘cos they just don’t care
So take a good look around
The misfits are everywhere
La la la la la la

This is your chance, this is your time
So don’t throw it away
You can have your day
‘Cause it’s true what they say
Every dog has his day

You’re a misfit
Afraid of yourself so you run away and hide
You’ve been a misfit all your life
But why don’t you join the crowd and come inside
You wander round this town
Like you’ve lost your way
You had your chance in your day
Yet you threw it all away
Now you’re lost in the crowd
Yet, still go your own way


Filed under Kansas, Music, ODDITIES, Rock and Roll, Short Story, Tributes

Life In a Jar – from the Holocaust to Rural Kansas

Students from rural Uniontown Kansas discover a Catholic woman who saved Jewish children.  Few people in the world had heard of Irena Sendlerowa. Now after hundreds of presentations of Life in a Jar, a web site with huge usage and world-wide media attention, Irena is known to the world.  How did this beautiful story develop? Take the link at the bottom for the whole story.

Visit the website for the full story here:

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Filed under Faith, History, Human Rights, Kansas, Movies, Religion, WAR

Joplin Gets Organized

Just a note for those readers who don’t live in “The Fours States” area. Watching the local reports, and the help has grown faster than it can be organized. There is much progress in this area though as this slowly gets more coordinated. The “missing” count was as many as 1,500 at one point, but is now around 200. The death toll is about 120 and expected to rise. One Joplin Nursing Home says they believe they have 12 dead who are on the missing list.

To see incredible, and interactive photo(s), NPR’s BEFORE & AFTER pics.

Joplin’s “Boomtown Days” celebration has been cancelled or postponed, and this will be a long, slow process of returning to normal. All parents and students are being told to expect to have classes this fall!

Just want to share one last photo, and I probably won’t have much more about Joplin, at least not frequently. Check out this amazing sight; a wood-frame chair embedded in a concrete wall. I know, you’re thinking the photo is turned sideways….nope. This was a slow-moving, debris filled, F5 MONSTER. This is for real, and the very reason so many fatalities happened.For those who know people from the Joplin area, or need information, including the latest list of missing persons, go here: KOAM TV7.


Filed under Missouri, NEWS, ODDITIES, Ozarks, The Four States



This will seem like a fairytale now, but not so long ago, it was actually possible for CEO pay to constitute “an embarrassment of riches.”

How quaint. Today, the riches are massive, but the embarrassment gene seems to have been completely bred out of corporate chieftains. They have no shame at producing negative results and offing thousands of underlings, then wheeling in a front-end loader to haul their own pay to the bank. The head man at Estée Lauder, for example, recently cut 2,000 employees but grabbed a huge salary increase and new stock payments worth more than $24 million.

Are there no adults to supervise these corporate playgrounds and teach such concepts as humility and sharing,? Well, technically, the board of directors is supposed to provide corporate governance, including the setting of CEO pay. But who’s on these boards? Mostly other members of the corporate brotherhood who want to keep executive pay levels rising. And, of course, the chiefs themselves sit on their boards, usually chairing them.

The tale of boardroom coziness between directors and the bosses they supposedly govern was vividly revealed in the Wall Street crash of 2008. Far from providing any reasonable restraints, few board members even questioned the casino games the banks were running, and fewer yet objected to giving reckless bankers billions of dollars in unwarranted bonuses.

Now after the collapse, what has changed? Nothing. One survey of nine of the big banks we taxpayers bailed out shows that two-thirds of their failed board members are still there, and, once again, they’re shoveling inexplicably-huge bonuses at the same old CEOs.

A system that enriches executive elites while crushing the middle class is worse than an embarrassment – it’s morally untenable.

………………… And now something related, but not from Hightower:

See their website here:

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Filed under Crime, Human Rights, Opinion, Politics

Joplin Update & Photos

Yesterday, I took off from my morning job and the wife, younger daughter, her friend and I all went to Joplin and evacuated my two grandkids. Taking two vehicles, we picked up the kid’s clothes and other small personal items. Hopefully this will free up my older daughter and her husband to take care of things without worry.

After reaching Joplin, it took another hour and a half to get to her house. Most roads in were blocked, and the officers there were all from out town, so they could not tell us how or where to get in at. I only saw one person get let through, and that was because she was there to identify her son’s body. She said this so matter-of-fact like that it was shocking.

When we got there, Jim Forbes, St. Louis Post photographer was already at the house, as my daughter is also his niece. He took the first five photos below, for more from Forbes, scroll down.

St. John's Hospital, Joplin Missouri

 Destruction beyond belief. Heartaches by the thousands. My grandson (7 years old in a couple of weeks) lost a 5 year old friend and the friend’s sister. My daughter and family lost their house and vehicles, but are not complaining….just thankful! See photos of their house below.

West / back side of house.

South side of house

One block from the house above.

Two blocks north of house.

The traffic near the damage was crazy….bumper to bumper. There were also many, many volunteers as well as police and emergency professionals from states all around. We saw ambulances still leaving town, and at the same time there were semi-trailer loads of plywood and relief supplies coming in. An amazing, frightening, saddening and a generally emotional time for us all.

“One of the most shocking scenes I witnessed yesterday happened while I was going house-to-house with firefighters. A woman walked up and pointed to a blanket less than 10 feet away and calmly said her mother’s body was under it.”  – James Forbes  ~ 

For professional pics: PHOTOS BY JAMES FORBES

Other pictures from a Joplin resident – See over 2,500 photos of the damage here:


Filed under Missouri, NEWS, The Four States

Prayers for Joplin Missouri

Please pray for all the people affected by this terrible event. My Daughter and Grandchildren survived this, but so far at least 89 others have died. Joplin is about 60 miles from where I live, and we are getting severe storms here at Parsons, Kansas as I write.

Although God may not intervene in our affairs, his people are certainly here to help.

My Daughter Shawn’s house is missing one wall, and both of their vehicles are destroyed. More storms are headed their way. I will post more information when I can.

I can only think of one thing to say here, the shortest scripture: JESUS WEPT. 

Joplin Missouri, May 22nd


Filed under Faith, Missouri, NEWS, Ozarks, Religion, The Four States

May 21st….. A GOOD DAY TO DIE!

I believe the video speaks to my thoughts on today’s rapture predictions.

DAMN! This means I still have to work tonight!


Filed under AMERICANA, Faith, Humor, Movies

Rock N’ Roll Is Free

“Rock N’ Roll Is Free”

say goodbye to tomorrow
and hello to today
take a look at your world
in a brand new way
the masters of convention
count on you to never change
but the law of reinvention
knows nothing stays the same

they’re crying in the alleys
screaming in the streets
with a dignity amongst thieves
you don’t have to answer
if the question isn’t clear
may not know where i am
but i’m glad it’s here

say goodbye to tomorrow
and hello to today
take a look at your world
in a brand new way
pick the price you want to pay
if you think you should
but I have heard the news
and the news is good

rock n’ roll is free if you want it
rock n’ roll is free so come and get it
rock n’ roll is free if you want it
free if you want it

 I saw Ben Harper on late night TV, and loved it. He was live again this morning on The Early Show. Ben has a positive attitude,  reflected in his lyrics. I guess he doesn’t buy into the the notion that the WORLD ENDS on Saturday, May 21st!

 Please explore his website or youtube channel, where you will find a surprising  variety of styles of music, always with a great message!

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Filed under Faith, Human Rights, Music, Religion, Rock and Roll