Branson Serves High Tea In Low Places

It was a beautiful Spring day in the "Ozark's Capitol".  Just the kind of day for a "Tea Party".  And, indeed we did have that party, complete with food vendors, flags, costume, inflammatory signs, semi-revolutionary rhetoric and wannabe politicos. The 1000+ gathering was held "complimentary"  at the Dick Clark Theater's  Area 57, a natural amphitheater area down the hillside from Branson's famed Music Road.  No Dick Clark, but present was the ubiquitous Andy Williams, Dean Martin's daughter, and a few others CM celebs.

The attendee profile was classical Tea Party, white couples between 50 and 70, appropriately dressed, driving 2-5 year old American cars and showing restrained "pissed" on their faces.  It seemed that there were more wives than husbands waving their "standard theme signs", protesting taxes, health care, and deficit spending.  My sense was that many of the grayed husbands were pretty much there to patronizing wives, who were, both anxious about the eroding of their "golden years" resources and ego driven to flaunt their surviving virtues of decency, frugality and compliancy.  The husbands, to the contrary, showed mostly resignation in there subordinate/supportive expressions.  

There was very little, if any, religious  evangelical expression, although there were many audience instances of "adoration trancing" during an unusually emotional rendition of "God Bless America".  There was no liberal "counter-protest" presence, other than a few "Ron Paul Devotees" seeking to draw attention to fiscal arguments and away from broad brush "Obama Bashing".  

There were three invited speakers, each of which did about 20 minutes of what appeared to be rehearsed "party line rhetoric" all laced with clever sarcasm.  The first, an all-american looking young man, recited the standard Tea Party "take back America" anthem.  The second speaker, a black activist from St. Louis, who apparently had garnered some celebrity for having been the victim of a black attack  consequential to his anti-Obama rhetoric.  I suspect that this very articulate man, whose name I didn't hear, was the only black activist in America who yesterday spoke in a 99% white population town to a 1000+ gathering where he was absolutely the only black guy present.  Surprisingly he used his exposure to complain, concurrently about racial injustice and Obama's socialistic agenda.  To me it seemed like a hard-sell, but the Tea Party was prepared to eat up anything anti-Obama.  The final speaker was a young "country mom" turned blogger/radio host who appeared to be working on build a personal reputation as an Angela Davis styled revolutionary dedicated to neutralizing the insurgents....they being Barack, Joe,  Nancy, Harry, Janet, Tim and all of their comrades intent on destroying America.  She was dressed in tight black and spiked heels, somewhere between Trinity from The Matrix and a biker chick; not exactly what you might expect on the podium at a Saturday afternoon gathering of retirees in the Ozark Mountains.  It was hard to tell whether the crowd cheered her ditribe because they shared her confrontational spirit, or because they were entertained by her theatrical performance. Regardless, she also seemed to be a hit.

 In closing, the Branson Tea Parties Spring Convention was a fun event filled with high rhetoric and high emotion.  Unfortunately these highs were, I though, diminished by the low brow content shouting from signs, speeches and candidate pamphlets.   Expressing opinions is healthy but not as healthy as expressing opinions after having thoroughly examined the facts at issue.  There were lots of opinions, but educated opinions...... not so much! 




New At Branson McDonalds! "McTaser"

Getting Saturday morning coffee at the Downtown Branson McDonalds is always tough and during "springbreak" even tougher.  This morning some dude, who must have had a bad night in a cheap motel, turned impatient with the 16 year olds serving the counter under the supervision of the 17 year old managers.  It wasn't clear whether he first got his "premium roasted coffee for a dollar", or he got TASERED and dragged to a police car by a half dozen of  Branson's Finest.  I do know that after the legion of Officers used three police cars to barricade the McDonalds exit while subduing the guy with no coffee, the drive-thru window operation turned into a one could get in and no one could get out.  Fortunately none of us caught in the "dragnet" lost our temper and had to be TASERED. As I found my way to the 248 McDonalds, I remembered an old Kris Kristofferson song that clarifies........."six squad cars came screaming to the rescue and hauled old Billy Dalton off to jail, cause the laws is for protection of the people, a rules a rule and any fool can see, we don't need no drunks like Billy Dalton scaring decent folks like you and me, at Mickey Dee, no Siree!"


Thank God for Switchhitting Conservatives

In earlier posts, I have alluded to our local "good fortune" in being the beneficiaries of "Obama Stimulus Money".  I noted today another story about a Reed Spring's "gift" for a sewer system upgrade.  Following "awards" for area bridges, sewers, roads, and whatever else, there can be little doubt that locally we are economically better off.  Clearly we must conceed that had the "Washington Social Engineers" not included us in their "oppressive, freedom robbing, rights usurping, "stimulus plan"; well, things would be far worse.   When we consider that our local area government officials are, virtually to the man, conservative Republicans, how fortunate are we that these upstanding "traditional values" stalwarts are multi-talented. They, who daily strive against the "evils of social liberalism", are equally skilled in the writing of "stimulus grants proposals" seeking gratuities from Washington.  We, who are the benefactors, do not consider these leader's ambidextrous talents to evidence hypocrisy. Golly Gee, they are just "outsmartin" those intellectual elitist, using their God given common sense; something non of those "fruit cake liberals" seem to possess!  


Hollister's "UnderWaterPark" May Float Yet

Mindy, a local "society editor" reported today that Justin Gage, the high profile real estate developer who removed the mountain range behind the Hollister/65 Business Corner, has not given up on the "Wisconsin Dells Waterpark/Resort", long promised at that location.  In spite of having lost the property to a last November foreclosure, Gage reports that he is taking on a substantial financial partner, I guess, to reacquire the property and recommence  the 3 year incubating development.  I suspect that Bankers Bank, the Wisconsin Bank who now owns the site, have their fingers crossed.  Most locals can't even imagine who might otherwise want the 100+ acre industrial sector site neighboring an active quarry.  I guess we will see.  You never know, Gage may have a "TIGER in his tank, or pocket as the case may be.  The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER), a part of the Obama stimulus program is considering giving Taney County thirty million dollars to build a four mile road from Hollister to Kirbyville, population (2500).  This road if funded would not only need local construction services,  but would connect up with Interstate 65, at "you guessed it", the Waterpark Site.  When, as, and if you have a "substantial partner", such as the Obama administration, Gage might just well get the WaterPark back on its feet.   Gage and the Taney County Executives must be mighty glad to be Democrats.......huh!   


What To Do About Branson's Homeless? Let's Count Them! 

Those of us wintering here in Branson have few expression options during this seasonal "downtime".  The "A" people have all SUV'd out to the Branson Creek Airport and taken AirTran's flights to 9 cities in Florida.  We the "B" people left to guard and maintain the fixed assets stay busy shoveling snow, making trips to Home Depot and avoiding the legion of anxious patrol officers.  The "C" people,  less their seasonal minimum wage jobs,  are in wood heated hibernation save weekly trips to Walmart.   Sadly, our "three caste system" is not all-inclusive.  Branson has a large and increasing presence of "Homeless People".  Exactly what "homeless" means in the local dialect is not clear, but at minimum it references those men, women and children who have no permanent residence and rely on public assistance and charity for food and clothing. They are really just a subset of the "C" people class;  those who have inadequate extended family support to team tag the winter.

Unlike the Indians of old, the "H" people, I understand, do not migrate away from their summer camps "down by the river".  Many of Branson's "homeless" occupy tents and make-shift dwellings in the rugged wooded areas along Taneycomo, just down from "The Strip", "The Landing", and "Skaggs Hospital".  Those with somewhat more means crowd into the "weekly motels" on the low end of "The Strip", paying daily charges with cash from undisclosed sources.  Most receive free meals at the churches where "B" people in search of meaning gather to celebrate their "relatively" good fortune by passing out potato chips and cookies.

In most respects this story is universal. There is little about Branson's "homeless" that isn't so for homeless  throughout our great nation.  The notable exception is that within a four iron of the tents, caves and shacks are 20,000 upscale residences, all furnished appointed and empty.  Of course, I am speaking of the condos, timeshares and suites occupying the high ground around and about Taneycomo.  These multi-family "fixed assets" controlled by the "A" people are, of course, "off limits".  They are "private property".  For the "homeless", it must be like starving in a NY deli.  What to do about this "cultural empass" where the "A" people claim exclusive entitlement to the fruits of their labor and the "H" people can't perform enough labor to get beyond their travail?  Perhaps something better will happen in the future but until then, this week the "A" people gave a token amount of money to the "C" people to gather for a day to count the "H" people. Next week, we will have a report telling us how many are their number. Hurray!