Sunday, September 6, 2015

Police Don't Deserve To Die

by Rose A. Valenta

No one hit home on the topic of black lives matter better than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he said “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word” during the Civil Rights movement. Also, the great American novelist, Alex Haley, who shed a light on our ignorance and brought the sins of our fathers into the focus of public awareness during the 1970s. Many Americans of color will find humor in that, but that’s the way it was for white folks living up North.

I spent most of my life living in an integrated working class neighborhoods in Philadelphia. I was never exposed to the atrocities happening in the South. Those conversations never came up. I knew our personal history as part of the Underground Railroad and knew that my second great-grandfather on my father's side of the family served in the Civil War in Company E, 1st infantry, Michigan. He was from upstate, NY. Prior to that, we had ancestors, who were indentured servants as early as 1634 in Connecticut. None of them were wealthy and did not own slaves. Later, some served in the Revolutionary War and fought for our freedom (I read Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” in later years). My grandmother always taught me that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and that we are all children of God, regardless of race. She based that on what she read every night in her bible.

I didn’t know how different things actually were until I entered the work force and met people of color, who once lived in the South. I’m glad they moved. I was appalled at some of their stories: public hangings without a trial, the KKK and unbelievable discrimination and torture. I verified that these stories were true with a few friends, who did not shy away from the topic in front of me. About then, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came along and I cheered the Civil Rights movement. I would have marched with them, but my family wouldn’t permit it. They feared for my safety. Had I been blessed with a more rebellious nature, I would have gladly participated.

A cross was burned on Dr. King’s front lawn in 1960. It made headlines.

Many years later, I mistakenly assumed that the KKK had been disbanded. No, I wasn’t wearing horse blinders, the KKK was not in Philadelphia recruiting people and I was not in the South. Our media conveniently lacked adequate coverage about things that needed to be shoved under the carpet or go away. One of my friends, who is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) and writes for a major Philadelphia newspaper, calls it “compliant conspiracy” on the part of the media. The same folks, who forgot to tell us that Jackie Kennedy was a chain smoker or how sick FDR was when he ran for his 4th term (Not that some columnists didn't want to write about controversial topics, but the editor would nix it before it went to print). If the media doesn’t cover it, people are kept in the dark like mushrooms and never get the whole story. Yellow journalism often finds a window of opportunity here, as well, and you still don't get the truth. I don’t plan to move forward as a shroom.

I have tremendous respect for and give credit to the late Dori J. Maynard and her father, Robert C. Maynard, who founded the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, which advocates diversity, so that we can now get information from all voices on virtually any topic in the media. I ask myself why it took us so long to figure out that we shouldn't have segregated media, nor one that will C.Y.A. when you are up to no good.

When Ferguson happened, I realized that the KKK still had a strong foothold there, like dust bunnies left over from the Civil Rights Movement. I had a vision of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in D.C. and Dr. King saying "Time to clean house, Ferguson."

I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that the KKK has not been classified a domestic terrorist organization and their leaders arrested. Of course, I’ve been told on many occasions that they are protected by freedom of speech. Yes, except for speech that incites violence.

Last summer, I saw a video that showed 25-year-old Kajieme Powell, armed with a knife, getting shot and killed by police in St. Louis. That did it for me. I was nauseated. How can the police, armed with guns, kill a guy armed only with a knife that a nightstick could easily knock out of his hand? My husband actually did that very thing 25 years ago, with his nightstick, when he was attacked by a knife-wielding young man in West Philadelphia, while he was working on the Philadelphia Police Department. No one was killed. The man suffered only a wrist injury.

My husband is retired now and when I showed him the Powell video, he sadly shook his head. He too was raised to respect all people as fellow human beings and always chose to do the right thing, deadly force being the last resort.

"Police training" he said, but he is also a former Marine and was trained in martial arts and how to disarm when attacked. This is a recruiting issue that needs to be studied by many police departments. Apparently, the laws governing deadly force have changed and a knife is considered as deadly a weapon as a gun. Kajieme’s death was ruled “suicide by police.” His mother and grandmother didn’t agree. Me either. He could have been talked down.

Social media allowed me to follow what was going on and I was somewhat relieved when Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey went to Ferguson to discuss police body cameras. I decided that if I was black and a mother of teenagers, I would never live there. I would move north.

Many fatalities later - God rest each and every one of their souls, we have taken down the Confederate flag -- albeit 150 years late -- have "0" tolerance for bigots like Donald Sterling and have a Black Lives Matter movement. We are seeking solutions. I have no problem with the movement. It will bring awareness onto the front page of newspapers and open up dialog. Hopefully, it will be a diverse dialog providing us with the entire picture. What I do have a problem with is the negative, criminal influence of Minister Louis Farrakhan on the movement. I want to know the name of his plastic surgeon. Anyone who can camouflage that much evil has to be good.

I have heard Farrakhan speak. He is a powerful speaker, but he is wasting his God-given talent on sending the wrong message.

God said “Thou shalt not kill.” Farrakhan said about a month ago that he is looking for 10,000 strong men to do his bidding and says things like “If the government will not intercede in our affairs, we will rise up and stalk them! and kill those who would kill us.” These are not God’s words, these are evil words and could be interpreted as seditious conspiracy (18 U.S. Code § 2384), especially when people are actually dying and police targeted. He has freedom of speech to call white people "crackers" but he is not protected by the First Amendment to advocate murder. He wants people killed.

Although our First Amendment does not protect speech that incites violence, Farrakhan does not pledge allegiance to the American flag nor does he recognize American citizenship, he says he has “left the plantation,” whatever the hell that means. He thinks he is above the law and is not making progress nor seeking to improve our future. We must respect our judicial system, or lobby for change. If our young people listen to him, they will end up in jail or worse.

Farrakhan can recount black history better than the Empower Encyclopedia and claims that we are "400-year-old enemies." While knowing about black history is important, we live in the here and now and need to move forward. We are not enemies; we all want the same things for our children. As radio host, Jesse Lee Peterson, asked recently, "where is the white tyranny?" We have black leadership in many cities across the country, in Congress, as past Secretaries of State and even our POTUS is biracial. How many years does he expect folks to pay for the sins of previous generations, when all he needs to do is admit that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. set us on the right path to progress when he said “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us...” and my personal favorite “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools”? We do not need the negativity or hate rhetoric coming from folks who advocate murder and choose to divide us. He is corrupting our youth.

His rhetoric is also sexist. Women are not "second" anymore we are equal (Mary of Bethany).

Farrakhan is obviously brainwashing his immediate followers and should be arrested and put in jail for sedition. Why else does he need to come packing and have a team of bodyguards to enter and exit a speaking engagement in a house of worship?

I believe that the Black Lives Matter movement should distance itself from Louis Farrakhan and align with someone like Alveda King because ultimately all lives matter. We are all important and deserve respect from each other. We can change laws through proper channels; vote for public officials, who act on our behalf and complain if we are not happy with the service police and first responders are providing in our communities.

The only time the police are your enemy is when you are up to no good.

Typically, substance abusers don't like the police. Parents have to understand that the police do not make the laws, they only enforce them. They are the wrong targets. If you don't like the laws, petition your legislators and get your kids off drugs.

Our dedicated police officers don’t deserve to die because angry, impressionable, often emotionally distraught individuals are listening to the misguidance of an unlicensed minister with an agenda, who is living in the past. Any mother of young men can tell you how easy it is to lead them down the wrong path at a certain age when all they want to do is rebel against authority and the system. Even the Southern Poverty Law Center has Farrakhan under its radar.

The Nation of Islam was founded in Detroit in the 1930s. Look at Detroit today, it is in ruins. If I was a zealot, I could say something about wrath.

Minister Farrakhan knows he is wrong. You can be sure he is lining his pockets. I believe in the Constitution and First Amendment rights as much as anyone, but he has sold his soul for a microphone to incite. I am urging all good people, who believe in the real Word of God and value the spiritual well being and eternal soul of your son or daughter, to boycott his event at the National Mall on October 10th.

2 John 1:10-11 "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works."

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Monday Monologue

by Rose A. Valenta

This has been an exciting week in politics. We have folks applying for the highest position in the country, who are inexperienced, obnoxious, under investigation by the FBI, have no definitive plans that address the issues; and some, who are outstanding. Sadly for us, many of the more qualified candidates can’t get out from under Trump’s che cazzo grandstanding, which is like an in vitro serving of unachievable bullshit.

Really, Donald, the office of the presidency isn’t a “fake it till you make it” kind of job.

To paraphrase Will Rogers, “If you want to go into politics, you should live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot as a senior companion to gossip columnist Liz Smith.”

The Skinny as follows:

Donald Trump ordered "Bible CliffsNotes" from Amazon, so he can answer next time an Iowa reporter asks for his favorite verse.

Iowans know that he lied, the hashtag #Trumpbible is trending on Twitter. My favorite is “When Jesus said give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses he didn't mean at the expense of our capitalist infrastructure.”

The Ashley Madison hacked accounts have been leaked. One woman’s profile said she'd fool around with a guy whose toupee didn't look like a baboon.

The Gallup Poll says 51% of women, who once hurled their knickers at Tom Jones when he sang "Sex Bomb," are voting for Marco Rubio. Polls don't lie.

Both of the front-runners have over one million fake followers on Twitter; a good indication of what else they have been faking.

The latest Hillary scandal is "StartingGate." That's when a politician commits an impeachable offense even before the election. She says "What, me worry? Nah, Bill always remembers to hit the links with Obama. I can do what I want."

Chris Christie wants to track illegal immigrants like FedEx packages. His mother wrote to Seton Hall University School of Law asking for a refund.

Flake on flake: Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) called Trump’s campaign “offensive” and “laughable.” Don’t you just cringe at the thought of an uncouth braggart in the White House armed with “Top Secret” information? Me too.

Trump went after Anthony Weiner in his Massachusetts speech, calling him a "sleazebag." People close to him should remind him that "folks who live in glass houses..." after all, most of us still remember his infidelity hitting the front page of the National Enquirer from the slopes of Aspen in 1990, when he was a "very bad man" to his first wife.

Both Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders said they believe the DNC party leaders have rigged the debate schedule in favor of front-runner Hillary Clinton. I’m glad they finally caught on.

My Uncle Harry belongs to Mensa, he says "We have the most embarrassing First Family of the '90s and a mentally disturbed billionaire still listed as front-runners in the polls. Ultimately, it means we’re screwed!"

I think for the 2016 general election what this country really needs is Joe Biden and a good neurosurgeon.

© 2010-2015, Valenta, All rights reserved.

To read my column Skinny Dipping click here

To buy my book “Sitting on Cold Porcelain” click here

Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Monologue

by Rose A. Valenta

I woke up with a zit this morning, so I sprayed a little Windex on it and put on some clothes for a streak-free selfie. Then, I opened the paper and turned to “Politics.” Everyone is fighting, but Bill and Obama went to Martha’s Vineyard for a round of golf. I'm not sure, but I suspect that was about a Presidential Pardon for Hillary.

It reminds me of an Abraham Lincoln Quote "No matter how much cats fight, there always seems to be plenty of kittens."

The skinny as follows:

Hillary Clinton aides have clipped a copy of her Miranda Rights to her "Media Relations" folder so she won't get caught off-guard again.

The Democrats are pulling their hair out. Finding potential Democratic candidates who can beat the GOP is like studying the sex life of the extinct Sumatran rhino. So far, it's 17-3 or maybe 2 1/2.

Just to give you an idea on what to expect from the GOP, Ted Cruz told a reporter that his favorite book is "Green Eggs and Ham."

Trump admitted he "donated" to politicians for "favors" in front of 24 million viewers. Since when is graft legal in the U.S.?

The Trump administration repealed NAFTA and Oreos are now an endangered species.

Everyone thought Trump was doing a rope-a-dope maneuver in Alabama with his “greatness.” Muhammad Ali even called him offering his speech writer.

Lindsey Graham says if he is elected president, he will have a “rotating first lady." Hillary says she has the most experience.

A lady in New Jersey died leaving explicit instructions for her obituary “In lieu of flowers, please don't vote for Hillary Clinton.” You gotta love those Jersey girls.

After all the announcements about her emails, including the FBI, Hillary is still running. I guess we're all supposed to be content with Bill picking the Energizer bunny as his personal secretary in the White House.

Hillary is no role model for most of us. Women know that given the same set of moccasins, we'd have jumped off the Tappan Zee Bridge by now.

When asked why she refuses to answer media questions, Hillary said she answered every one of their questions on Snapchat.

Donald Trump has his team of experts determining if Bobby Jindal is an anchor baby and should be disqualified from the race.

Amazon employees took their gripes to the New York Times, but Jeff Bezos turned down an offer from the Discovery channel for a reality show "Amazon: The Dirt."

Things got so tense, I Googled "Toxic shock syndrome" and Rush Limbaugh's radio station Dittohead came up in the results.

© 2010-2015, Valenta, All rights reserved.

To read my column Skinny Dipping click here

To buy my book “Sitting on Cold Porcelain” click here

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Bob's Your Uncle

By Rose A. Valenta

This is a modified excerpt from Sitting on Cold Porcelain (available at

"Fluid Mechanics ‘Tally Ho!’ and a Dry Martini"

One cannot study fluid mechanics without giving credit to Cheerios, a popular breakfast cereal. Prize-winning scientists have standardized the terms “cheerio effect” and “cheerio magnetization,” when discussing fluid mechanics. An example of the magnetic phenomenon is the way loose Cheerios seem to attract one another like magnets to form clumps as they cling to the sides of a bowl when immersed in liquid - any liquid; not as exciting as Mr. Robert Benchley studying the sex lives of polyps, but visible without magnification.

While Cheerios are good for intake, I have come up with an ingenious idea for a useful expulsion adjunct – “Tally Ho!,” whereby you remove some loose Cheerios from the box and use them as target practice for potty training a young bed wetter. The Cheerios will obligingly clump around the commode.

Now, one could argue that the entertaining sound effect of yellow water hitting the bottom of an empty coffee can also works, but that solves only half the equation. To obtain optimum results for both ways, the principles of fluid mechanics make Cheerios ideal targets.

In order to succeed without the use of complex kinematic equations and projectile motion principles, you use the “Tally Ho!” reward principle. It is based on accuracy and the total number of Cheerios that the subject sinks during the experiment:

1. Zero sunken Cheerios – rip out the last page of Baby Einstein “Peek-a-Boo Bard”
2. One or two sunken Cheerios – read “Peek-a-Boo Bard” aloud in its entirety
3. Three to five sunken Cheerios – read aloud Baby Einstein “Things That Go!”
4. More than five sunken Cheerios – report the pipe buster

Your reward for conducting this experiment is a very large dry martini.

Theoretically, it should take less than one week for “Tally Ho!”! to serve its useful purpose. Then, you should put the remaining loose Cheerios back in the box, enjoy your martini, and fall asleep in a bed that is also - dry.
As a martini aficionado, perhaps I can shed some light on the fluid dilemma of gin vs. vodka and shaken vs. stirred. Rather than take a poll, I have conducted my own research into the matter and have been satisfactorily inebriated for quite some time.

Shaken vs. stirred is rather moot after you have had five, so we shall focus, if that is possible, on the ingredients:

1. Many ounces of gin, and
2. A dash of white dry vermouth.

Notice that I have ruled out the use of vodka, as it does not modify well with gin; and ice and garnish, as they add nothing useful to the drying process.

There you have it, or as they say in the UK, "Bob's Your Uncle!" – fluid mechanics, “Tally Ho! and a dry martini!"

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Felice Giorno del Padre: An Italian Father's Day Tribute

by Rose A. Valenta

I'd like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to one of the great men in my life, my Italian grandfather, Alfonso. This was the guy, who let me watch him make homemade wine in the basement and put me wise to the double-standard.

I'd like to make this a heart warming and sensitive human interest story. One that would bring a nostalgic tear to anyone's eye, but let's get real here. Hearts and flowers are for incurable romantics; me, Norman Rockwell, and Virginia Hill all have a lot in common - realism.

I only remember one grandfather, as the other one died before I was born, so Grandpop Alfonso and me had a private joke: As he was sternly meting out discipline to his kids, he was also enjoying the power of being in a position of authority. I caught on to this, as I was the second oldest grandchild, a girl; and for some reason he never yelled at me, but would wink in my direction when he reamed someone else.

As an Italian, he was more than a little strict with his daughters about such things as cussing and smoking in public. He forbade them to smoke at all, saying that it didn't reflect well on their individual character. One of my aunts, who could have given Al Capone a run for his money, was once evicted from the house for an entire summer for saying "wop" (his English wasn't good enough to translate some of her other words), while smoking a cigarette. I think she was also hooked on old Bette Davis movies at the time, because she tended to pace around in her apartment surrounded by smoke rings.

She is 90 years old now. She quit smoking when she was 78 for health reasons.

It was a normal annual routine for my family to chip-in and rent a house to take my grandparents to Seaside Heights, NJ, for an entire month. Then, aunts and uncles would alternate vacation days, so the house could accommodate everyone else for a few days at a time. I was permitted to stay the entire month.

One night I was up on the boardwalk and there was this game being played for packs of cigarettes. I didn't smoke at the time, but the game looked like fun, so I played and won about 10 packs of my grandfather's brand of tobacco.

Needless to say, I became his best friend for the rest of his life. He even shared an ounce of his homemade wine with me to celebrate this friendship. I was only 12.

Every time I went up on the boards, he'd slip me a few dimes and say "Don'ta tella you mom." I always came back with lots of cigarettes. The game hawker even knew me by my first name.

You have to understand that all the women in the family locked themselves in the bathroom to smoke, so he wouldn't catch them. As a kid, I couldn't quite figure out what the consequences would be if they ever got caught.

So, there I was, all my friends were still playing with Betsy-Wetsy dolls, and I was the delivery girl, you know, just like Virginia Hill, delivering Lucky Strikes to my grandfather in the kitchen and Chesterfields and Camels up in the bathroom (solitary confinement) to my mom and aunts. My grandmother was probably watching The Untouchables in the living room because she didn't smoke. Plus, she had this secret crush on Frank Nitti. If it was an episode of The Jersey Shore, she would have been drooling over Paulie D. Little House on the Prairie it wasn't, ya know?

Sometimes when you walked into the bathroom, it looked and smelled much like the back room of an illegal gambling establishment in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. The language wasn't much better either. They all thought they were bad and were laughing and entertaining themselves, thinking they were pulling something over on their old man. However, he did have to "go" once in a while and use the room. So, I think he knew.

Once my cousin Vinnie came down for a few days. He had to "go" and was forced to switch to plan B, the old outhouse. So, he located and loaded up all their cigarettes with those little wooden cigarette loads that blow up when burning tobacco touches them. I think four of my aunts were in the bathroom at the same time, and all of a sudden it sounded like the 4th of July in there with screaming and running mixed into the fireworks.

Downstairs, I heard Grandpop mutter under his breath "Dumba asino ragazze."

Grandpop Alfonso, things have not changed much, so wherever you are, Happy Father's Day!

© Lou Monte via Youtube

©2010-2015, Valenta, All rights reserved.
To buy my book “Sitting on Cold Porcelain” click here

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

That Awkward Moment When You Realize You're Getting Punked

Uncle Harry invited himself over for breakfast this morning. I was making corn fritters with maple syrup and the aroma traveled across our water-logged backyard into his bathroom, while he was getting a load off his mind.

He is not supposed to eat corn. The doctor told him that he has diverticulitis. He can’t digest American politics either, but Harry never listens to anyone.

This morning, he walks into my kitchen after making divots in my soggy yard with his flip-flops, and he has a mischievous grin on his face.

“Got any left?” He asked.

“You know that you are not supposed to eat them.” I responded.

“Everything in moderation.” He grinned.

He had The Washington Times folded under one arm.

“That’s why you have diverticulitis.” I said. “You’re obsessed with politics and whack jobs.”

“I like to hit the newspaper with a bingo highlighter.” He said. “The ones with the orange dots should have gone to school to learn how to train killer whales, instead of majoring in political science.”

“Look, I know its gearing up for another flood watch, but can’t you call Dick and play cards or something, instead of reading the Times? You guys like Uno.”

“I think you might be interested in what Carly Farina said about Hillary this morning.” He said.

“Very funny. It’s Fiorina, not Farina, I said.”

“I think we might get another female candidate,” he said.

“Who is it this time, Michelle?”

“No, her name is Caitlyn Jenner.”

“You’re putting me on.”

“No, lookey here:”

Read News Article

“Nice.” I said. They should have used the black outfit on the cover. The Kardashians have screwed up his mind.”

“Did you notice that ever since the State Department conveniently lost Hillary’s signed 109 Form, the Democrats are advocating less transparency,” he exclaimed. “And look at the Treasurer’s report on my laptop.”

“Harry, enough already! Do something transparent and let the cat out, before he pees on your other flip-flop.”

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday Monologue

by Rose A. Valenta

This past week witnessed more dumb questions that the media asked Republican presidential candidates, Hillary still wrapped up in her cocoon and more corruption exposed.

It reminds me of a Yogi Berra quote “I wish I had an answer to that because I'm tired of answering that question.”

The skinny as follows:

The AP put out this headline: "After Death Sentence, What's Next for Boston Marathon Bomber?" The inmates from the federal penitentiary at Terre Haute, Indiana, sent them a "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?" quiz.

A Fox News host asked Jeb Bush if he would have invaded Iraq, ignoring the obviously more important question “If you were Prescott Bush, would you have stolen Geronimo’s skull and bones and enabled John Kerry to be appointed Secretary of State?”

News reporters have learned how to spell “Stephanopoulos,” since George confessed that he donated $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

Mitt Romney lasted two rounds against five-time heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield at a charity bout in Salt Lake City. Hillary chickened out.

The Australian Minister of Agriculture is now known as "Corilla De Ville" after threatening Johnny Depp's Yorkies.

New York City bookies are taking bets on who David Letterman's last show guests will be. The long shot is his ex-wife, Merrill Markoe, with Boo Boo and Pistol Depp.

The fast-track trade bill failed early Senate test. Josh Ernest usually follows protocol, but after consulting with Luther, Obama’s anger translator, he used the term "snafu" to describe the situation to reporters at the press conference.

An Oklahoma man pleads guilty in deadly 'atomic wedgie' case. Says he hired Mafiosi for the jaboney apocalypse, but they all crapped out.

Penn Jillette: What shocked me about the Republican campaign videos is "It looks like Yogi Berra wrote most of the dialog."

Federal judge agrees to reopen Hillary Clinton email lawsuit. The emails are suing the Bronco driver, who stole the hard drive.

Adam Levine Gets Sugar-Bombed After Talk Show. Says he's lucky he never had a hit song called "Anthrax."

Pope Francis was named Honorary Globetrotter. Says now he'll star in a Dude Perfect video "Shot off the obelisk."

The 80-year-old Brewers broadcaster, Bob Uecker, was locked inside the radio booth mid-game. The good news is he didn't miss anything.

"The Price is Right" gave a treadmill to a lady in a wheel chair, who had no legs. It’s much like surprising Eminem with a visit from his Mom on Mother’s Day.

Bill Clinton says if Hillary wins, he'll move back to White House –“if asked.” Otherwise, he has something going in Chippewa.

© 2010-2015, Valenta, All rights reserved.

To read my column Skinny Dipping click here

To buy my book “Sitting on Cold Porcelain” click here