Friday, May 15, 2009

Grab A Cadaver: 2009 Update

Parts Is Parts!

Selling body parts is an evergreen scandal. There's always a need, and supplies are limited. More or less.

We here at Hellmouth Amalgamated PolySci always believe that recycling is good for everybody. So if you missed this original commentary from March 2004, you're in for a treat. Its still fresh and tasty.

Human behaviour has a long shelf-life. Dig in!

I am and remain,
yr Humboldt Obliviant Idiom Savant

Erasmus Binkster Rfp, SoQ, AMf
Chancellor Emeritii
Hellmouth Amalgamated PolySci
Hellmouth CA

Update: May 15 '09!

Businessman found guilty in UCLA's willed body-parts program scandal

Body broker Ernest V. Nelson, top, with defense attorney Sean McDonald, listens as he is convicted of selling cadaver parts for $1.5 million to private medical research companies.

The body broker collected $1.5 million by selling cadaver parts to private medical research companies. A juror also faults the university for 'allowing something like this.'

Read more on this at the website, which makes the LA Times look like the Weekly Reader its become in recent years.

[h/t Mary C for forwarding the link, and who knows one or two things about the dark side of human behavior]

Mar 10, 2004
A satiric comment on the current body-part scandal at UCLA.

Grab A Cadaver
[with no apologies to the Steve Miller Band]

I heat up, I can't cool down
You got me chopping
'round and 'round
'round and 'round, and 'round it goes
At UCLA, with these donated bones

Every time I get the call,
I pack my bag, I'm roaming the halls
Bodies donated--to science and more,
There's green to be had--deep in the gore!

Grab a Cadaver
I wanna reach out and slab ya
Slab-a Grab a Cadaver
Grab a Cadaver

I drive on campus, a monkey paw
Sack of tools, a power saw
Dead people wait to feel my love
I get a grip with a rubber glove.

Grab a Cadaver
I wanna reach out and slab ya
Slab-a Grab a Cadaver
Grab a Cadaver

I start work, I make a mess
I hate working under duress
Muscle and tendon, gristle and bone
Get paid by the piece by working alone

There's magic and romance in those eyes
Each one of them goin--to different guys
What the hell! the heart is blue
Buy the whole set and the liver goes too!

Grab a Cadaver
I wanna reach out and slab ya
Slab-a Grab a Cadaver
Grab a Cadaver

I work a chop shop, call it by name
Makin' my rent by the midnight flame
Burnin flame, like my van's bald tires
I'll be through any minute, I'm old and I'm tired.

Choppin bodies, at UCLA
Partin out parts, that's how it goes
Choppin bodies, at UCLA
Partin out parts, that's how it goes
Choppin bodies, at UCLA
Partin out parts, that's how it goes

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Kent State / Jackson State

Ohio National Guard in Athens Photograph.This photograph of Ohio National Guardsmen marching in Athens, Ohio was taken in May 1970. Ohio University closed on May 15, 1970. Anti-Vietnam War protests increased in Ohio after President Richard Nixon announced that United States troops had entered Cambodia on April 30, 1970. Riots erupted at many college campuses, including Kent State University, where four students were killed on May 4, 1970. By the end of May, all of Ohio's public universities except Bowling Green State University were closed. The photograph measures 4" x 6" (10.16 x 15.24 cm). 
May 4, 1971
I was fourteen, living in Athens Ohio, home of Ohio University; when we got news of the shootings at Kent State.

The Kent State shootings convulsed the campus, leading to riots, the closing of the University, and then a 14-day occupation by the Ohio National Guard. The iconic Carl Fleischhauer photo shows a Guardsman standing guard on Court Street under the Varsity Theatre marquee, which was showing "Z" the night the riots erupted. The picture shown above is here.

The leadup to the shootings had been preceded by monumental demonstrations against Nixon's Cambodia Invasion, which widened the war.

The events at Kent State were posted teletypes on the window of Koon's Records, a local record store owned by a guy who liked his news fresh, hence the teletype. As each update came in the mood got worse. The two-day teach-ins that had accompanied the invasion were overtaken by the news of the shootings.

That night the rioting started. Pitched battles between "heads", opportunists, "Greeks" and then the local police began in earnest. By the end of the night I'd witnessed people getting their heads knocked in, random looting, small-town police cars racing through the streets firing shotgunned tear-gas canisters as bricks rained down on them.

I got home at 1:30 in the morning, I ran in, breathlessly telling my dad that "the fucking pigs are tear-gassing everybody".

He'd been in the Varsity Theatre watching "Z". The lights came on halfway through the picture, when the theatre manager Mr. Powers walked out on stage. Mr. Powers announced that the rioting was starting to intensify, and that it would be a good idea to go home. The theatre was dark for the next three weeks.

My dad looked at me and started shouting: "You little shit! I've been calling the morgue, hospitals and jails to find out if they'd gotten any minors! Now shut the fuck up and go to bed! NOW!"

The Young Revolutionary, smacked down.

The next day, everything was closed. We drove out of town to Cincinnati, and watched convoys of National Guards rolling into Athens. The town was under curfew for 14 days afterwards. The NG bivouacked at the football stadium. Periodically a Huey gunship would circle over the town.

Athens was remote, and the story has been pretty well forgotten. Nobody got killed, and certainly no white people died.

With the shootings at Jackson State, it made sense that nobody particularly cared. After all, Mark Hampton of the Panthers had been shot dead in his bed the year before. The draft had been hoovering up poor blacks, whites, and other left-behinds of the Great Society. Future luminaries like John Ashcroft, Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney all took exceptional advantage of deferments at this time.

Col David Hackworth's book "About Face" described the Cambodia invasion as strategically correct, but a colossal mistake, being at least five years too late. From the standpoint of a guerilla war, he is correct. He also understood clearly that by 1969, the notion of a "winnable" war was a grotesque lie and air-conditioned fantasy.

As a footnote: "Four Dead In Ohio" by CSNY was banned by the Ironton, Ohio City Council shortly after it began being played. I wonder if the ban still holds.