Wednesday, August 16, 2017

When you're feeling down, remember: There used to be a company here in Cleveland that would come to your house and pick up any dead cows or horses.

Because animals dropping dead on your front lawn used to be a thing here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

I dunno who he is, but I get a painfully hard erection just looking at him. I'd love to experience a night with someone like this. Just once.

Confederate Monument - S face - Arlington National Cemetery - 2011

Pro-slavery/pro-treason Confederate memorials are often similar to government-sanctioned displays of religion. There's a reason why we don't permit government to favor one religion over another. It implies government's approval and sanction.

Similarly, when public space is turned over to revisionist monuments or those which glorify treason and laud the fight for slavery, the implication is that government approves of these things.

American governments no longer approve of this. The monuments should come down.

Monuments to the suffering of slaves, monuments to those who opposed slavery, and monuments to those who WON the Civil War should be erected, if we want a Civil War monument.

If one wanted to continue to display the pro-slavery memorials somewhere, I suppose we could do that -- with the appropriate signs and documentation, pointing out how sick, warped, and twisted these memorials were. How they were erected by governments colluding with pro-slavery elements intent on warping our view of history. How they ignored the wishes of freed slaves -- citizens -- by lauding those who fought for slavery.

These statues were erected by pro-slavery white supremacists after the Civil War. No black citizen had a say in whether they should be erected. In many cases, city councils colluded with private white supremacist organizations to erect these statues and give them land and funding, without public input. These statues fetishize the treason and slavery-defending actions of the Confederacy and its supporters. Many of these statues depict a revisionist history of the causes of the Civil War, and teach that it was a noble, acceptable, and worth cause.

Similarly, the statues are now coming down because our society is more inclusive, we as a society no longer believe (or, most of us) in the fetishization of the causes those statues represent, and we as a society want to use the space for better and more constructive purposes. People in ex-communist states removed statues of Lenin and Stalin for similar reasons.

Let us also be clear about another point: Statues are removed all the time. Space in urban areas is at a premium, and statues wear out, or the causes which they represent are no longer timely, or the history which they purport to capture is misrepresented by the statue, or (in retrospect) it turns out the event/person the statue commemoriates wasn't very historical after all.
John Scalish headstone - Calvary Cemetery

Headstone of Mafia boss John T. Scalish in Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States.

Scalish was born in Cleveland in 1912 and raised in the Italian American enclave that centered around the intersection of E. 110th Street and Kinsman Avenue. He was involved with the mob as a teenager, and at the age of 18 held up his first bank. Convicted in 1934 of the robbery of a bottling plant, he served only a few months in prison. Ohio Governor George White commuted his sentence only minutes before White's term of office ended. (The rumor is that White was bribed to do it.)

Scalish was close friends with Maishe (Milton) Rockman, a local Jewish mobster. Rockman married Scalish's sister, and Scalish married Rockman's sister. Angelo Lonardo, whose father Joseph "Big Joe" Lonardo was made mob boss in 1920 and was murdered in 1927, married Scalish's other sister.

Scalish worked his way up from small-time heists to become a clerk in casinos owned by the Cleveland mob. In time, he became a lieutenant to Alfred "The Owl" Polizzi. When Cleveland mob boss Frank "Ciccio" Milano fled the United States for Mexico, Polizzi took over. Scalish found himself the underboss of the Cleveland crime family. Polizzi was arrested in 1944, avoided conviction, and retired from the Mafia in 1945. With a fortune of about $100 million, he moved to Florida, investing in real estate and construction companies.

Scalish became the new boss. His were the "golden years" for the Cleveland mob, which built an empire of casinos, pinball machines, and loan sharking. The Cleveland mob was so wealthy, it co-funded the construction of Las Vegas casinos, which provided a steady stream of income. Although Ohio banned gambling in the 1950s, Scalish got into the vending machine business with Rockman and muscled out the competition. He was a decisive leader, and dispensed punishment and rewards with equal swiftness. He allowed subordinates to engage in their own criminal activities and make money, which earned him loyalty.

Scalish moved from Cleveland to Gates Mills Boulevard in Pepper Pike. Many of the Cleveland mob's top leadership followed him, turning Gates Mills Boulevard between SOM Center and Brainard roads into a kind of "embassy row" for organized crime. Scalish lived quietly and conservatively, and was little known outside the underworld. In 1957, he attended the "Apalachin Conference" with 50 other Mafia leaders at a farmhouse near Apalachin, New York. The police busted the conference, making Scalish a nationally known figure. A U.S. Senate committee investigating mob influence in labor unions subpoenaed him to testify before Congress, and he invoked the Fifth Amendment 35 times.

During the 1960s, several top- and mid-level Mafia leaders in Cleveland died or retired. Many of the up-and-coming low-level "made men" were killed. Not wishing to attract attention after the Senate investigation, Scalish let the "middle management" of the Cleveland crime family atrophy and grow smaller.

Scalish had been in increasingly ill health since the late 1940s. Bladder cancer forced him to undergo a colostomy. He suffered from high blood pressure and high cholesterol, two diseases which had no treatments until the late 1960s. By 1975, he not only had advanced heart disease but was also suffering from cancer. Scalish underwent heart bypass surgery at the Cleveland Clinic on May 26, 1976. He died a few hours later in the recovery room.

Scalish had refused to name a successor. Capo James T. Licavoli emerged as the new boss. Licavoli not only didn't want the job, he was a weak leader. Irish mob boss Danny Greene attempted to take over the Cleveland crime family, and a mob war broke out. Greene was finally assassinated by a car bomb on October 6, 1977. FBI informant Jimmy Fratianno eventually ratted out Licavoli, and he was convicted of various racketerring charges in 1982. Licavoli died in prison in 1985. The mob war broke the back of the Cleveland mafia, which never recovered.

Scalish headstone and memorial - Calvary Cemetery

Scalish family memorial - Calvary Cemetery
Nazis. I hate these guys.

I dunno who he is, but I get a painfully hard erection just looking at him.