I didn't mean for this to turn into "political day" (and really, this post is more about sociology than politics, so hang with me for a minute), but I've been reading about Dr. Ben Marble. If you don't know who he is, well, he's a 35- year-old Emergency Room physician with a newborn baby (born in Katrina's aftermath), whose home in Gulfport, Mississippi was destroyed by Katrina. He's also a musician, and an artist, and something of a political scholar-- a Renaissance man.
The reason that Dr. Marble is a little more well-known now than before the hurricane is that he is "that guy" who, during an impromptu "pep rally" pitstop by Vice President Dick Cheney in Gulfport on Sept.8, yelled at the Vice President, "GO **** YOURSELF, MR. CHENEY!" During the ensuing shocked lull, he had a chance to repeat himself, adding a bonus expletive--but, it should be noted, always referring to the Veep as "Mr. Cheney." There is video available in which the heckling can be clearly heard. He left pretty abruptly at that point, citing a "wild look" in the eyes of some Secret Service agents, and walked back to his home to start packing up what he could salvage. He was later greeting 8-10 men armed with M-16s at his home, who handcuffed and questioned him, then released him. You can read all about it in Dr. Marble's own words in an excellent interview HERE (disclaimer--this is a pointedly liberal website, but the words you are interested in are those of Dr. Marble, who strikes me as a very rational, reasoned, compassionate person).
NOW--the whole reason I think this story is funny, and worth mentioning, is what happened during Ben Marbles' departure from the Vice-Presidential photo-op: A CNN reporter asked Mr. Cheney, concerning the outburst, "Are you getting a lot of that, Mr. Vice President?" And here's the punchline: Cheney said--pay attention, now--"First time I've heard it." Is he getting senile already? Has he already forgotten June 22, 2004, on the very day the Senate passed the "Defense of Decency Act" (irony abounds in this story), when he very decisively told Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), on the Senate floor, and live on C-SPAN, to...you guessed it: "GO **** YOURSELF!" It seems Sen. Leahy had had the temerity to bring up Cheney-sensitive topics such as Halliburton's no-bid contracts in Iraq and Cheney's ties to (*cough* evil!) Halliburton (in case you didn't know, Cheney being "no longer on the payroll" at Halliburton is kind of cancelled out by the deferred payments, but that's a whole other kettle of fish), among other things. Dr. Marble's words may have been "profane", but they were carefully chosen to make a point, as he was well aware of the infamous Cheney/Leahy Senate exchange. Dr. Marble has lost pretty much everything to Katrina, has a wife and newborn infant to care for, and has worked exhaustively in Gulfport's E.R.s, which were seeing 500-plus patients per shift post-Katrina. If you'd like to help out a good doctor who gave everything and lost everything during a disastrous storm, or if you just really like the idea of telling Dick Cheney to take a flying leap, or if you just have enough money to burn a wet mule and need to get some of it out of your way, you may make donations to Ben Marble via PayPal, by sending money to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also email Dr. Marble at that address, or better yet, visit his new website, where he answers many questions and hosts a non-partisan discussion forum.