Voices from Russia

Friday, 30 November 2012

Army-Surplus Tents to Have Room for More Criminals: Tent City Gaol, the Legal Gulag of Arizona

01 fat cop


An inhumane and disgraceful situation has existed in Maricopa County, Arizona since 1993. Tent City is a gaol, where, instead of being locked up, inmates are kept outside in dirty old army-surplus tents, in a gated area. This modern gaol, which can hold up to 2,126 convicts, has an old-fashioned twist on how to deal with criminal offenses. The ham-fisted practises in this facility don’t differentiate between those gaoled for misdemeanours and felonies. Rick Edwards, a former prisoner and now CEO of an Arizona nonprofit named ExecuGive, told VOR exactly how Tent City operates. The majority of prisoners would most likely say that getting into brawls is the hardest part of their day, amongst other annoyances, but Tent City is different from other gaols. Once registered, inmates receive a black and white striped uniform, along with pink boxers, socks, and towels. Edwards told VOR, “This is to embarrass inmates and reduce theft of clothing. It’s become Sheriff Joe’s trademark”.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County is one tough cop, and an oddly creative man. It was his decision to set up army-surplus tents when his gaol reached full capacity. Instead of letting some criminals out earlier, he put up tents to accommodate them. A tall fence topped with barbed wire surrounds the tents, along with lookout posts so that prison guards can watch the facility. Edwards told us, “Inmates, criminals, and persons with direct knowledge of Arpaio and Tent City tend to hate and dislike him more than fear him. Still, many people love him and all that he stands for”. However, more and more people are speaking out against the sheriff… his “good deeds” for the county are starting to look like illogical torture for those under his authority. This past September, charges accusing Arpaio of abuse of office were dropped. Another allegation raising red flags was his usage of the county’s credit card. Reportedly, he used the card recklessly, to charge personal items. None of these claims went to court, as there was supposedly a lack of evidence. Besides all this, Arpaio barely won this past election, winning only 50.7 percent of the vote, his closest race in his 20 years of being sheriff.

Critics and ex-Tent City inmates aren’t convinced that his policing strategies are for the better. For instance, rumour has it that the food he serves is old, past its “use by” date. Instead of three meals a day, inmates only get two meals, which cost the county 40 cents (12 Roubles. 0.31 Euro. 25 UK Pence) per serving. The rules are even more rancid than the food, as he allows no tobacco, coffee, sugar, salt, or pepper. This neglect in providing proper meals isn’t the only accusation against Arpaio. A post on blog.novakazlaw.com claims that a former cook for Tent City saw cockroaches and rats crawling around the kitchen floor. Unsanitary food handling may seem minor, but the public worries about the conditions of the place, even if Arpaio isn’t letting the budget get out of hand. Edwards noted, “The heat’s a problem during the summer. You’re living outside in tents. Frequently, it’s in the 110s temperature-wise in Phoenix. The sheriff says that if it’s good enough for our military, it is good enough for criminals”.

Physically, prison is a daunting place, but Tent City is in a league of its own. Edwards, who’s a recovering addict, counsellor, and relapse prevention expert, said, “I’ve stayed in Tent City many times, some for an extended amount of time (you can be there up to two years). I’ve been treated rudely and unfairly in their continuing effort to rule by intimidation. I’ve also been denied legal rights many times. I’ve witnessed physical, mental, and emotional abuse daily. As an experienced and veteran prisoner, my inside knowledge allowed me to position myself to avoid much of the abuse. I followed the rules and used them to my advantage. Mental toughness and acuity was a strong defensive measure”. Edwards made it clear that medical care is hard to come by and, even if received, is of very poor quality in Tent City.

Edwards isn’t the only ex-inmate who remembers the dump Tent City has become, Deb Allenbaugh also experienced the jail’s “amenities” of portable toilets and fresh air. She got sent to tent city in 2004, and wrote the Tent City Survival Guide after her release. In the end, both Edwards and Allenbaugh learned to take nothing for granted, and to do everything possible to keep out of Tent City. The gaol in Maricopa County is one of a kind; inmates can barely function with inadequate food and scorching temperatures. People talk about the neglectful conditions, but they never seem to find legal proof, leaving its operation shrouded in questions. The modern American gulag has arrived; it’s here to stay, although one can hope for genuine improvements inside Tent City.

30 November 2012

Sarah Neary

Voice of Russia World Service



Nikolai Yaroshenko. Life is Everywhere. 1888

Life is Everywhere

Nikolai Yaroshenko



Editor’s Note:

There are two things to say about Arapaio’s abuse of prisoners. Firstly, the Church would condemn him for cruelty. Full stop. The Church teaches us that prisoners are human beings and deserve mercy (I’m thinking of the famous Russian painting Life is Everywhere depicting a 19th century convict transport to Siberia). Secondly, if a Russian gaol were to have only half the abuses of Arpaio’s crank operation, the US State Department would have a hissy fit. If all things are equal, that means that Joe Arpaio is a abuser and criminal himself… and deserves imprisonment. Reflect on this… the Republican Party supports the policies of this amoral monster. That’s a meaty thought…



There’s GOOD SHIT Out There… Most Holy Trinity Christmas Party Crosses Religious Lines to Help Kids in Need

00 Whos in Whoville. 30.11.12


When you ask who started the most heartwarming event of the season, that is, the Most Holy Trinity Christmas Party now nearing its 50th year, the names that come up comprise a disparate group… a Catholic priest, a Jewish socialite, an atheist newspaperman, an Irish Catholic judge, and a wayward Armenian Orthodox barkeep. However, when it came to families so poor they couldn’t allow their kids to afford to believe in Santa, this unlikely band of cohorts all shared the same belief… Every child deserves a Christmas. Phyllis Popa, a former model and widow of Bob Popa (a journalist for this newspaper and press secretary for Mayor Coleman Young back in the 1970s), reminisced, “That was how it all started. Fr Kern came to us and said many of his families were so poor they didn’t have shoes, much less any presents. So, we started asking for donations for a party for the kids”.

Back in the early 1960s, the Rev Clement Kern, who was later named a monsignor, was the beloved pastor of Most Holy Trinity Church, an old Detroit parish serving the poorest of the poor. Kern’s compassion for the downtrodden was matched only by his ability to endear himself across all divides, no matter the religious leanings, from the wealthy and powerful to lowlifes and thieves. He also wasn’t above strong-arming, if it meant getting help for his families… Phyllis Popa, who moved to Detroit from her Minneapolis home for a modelling job back in 1953, first met Fr Kern when she sought his counsel. Meeting in the rectory, she asked whether she, a Jew, should convert because she was marrying a Catholic. He advised against it (“I guess he thought I wasn’t the housewife type “, she said). He then asked her to teach at the elementary school, she said yes (see what I mean about strong-arming?), and a friendship was born. So abiding was their bond, Phyllis served as a pallbearer at the monsignor’s funeral. She laughed, “I remember all the priests up on the altar being so aghast at a woman pallbearer”. Little did they know she was also Jewish.

Nevertheless, that’s how Fr Kern was… The rectory was an open door, a bottle was often passed (it wasn’t altar wine), and while many of Father’s close allies would not identify with one religion or another, they were only too happy to call themselves “Holy Trinitarians”. Come that first Christmas season, Fr Kern tapped Anchor Bar owner Leo Derderian, Bob and Phyllis Popa, Judge Vince Brennan, and Doc Greene, then a Detroit News columnist, to help spread some cheer for some very deserving kids. The Ecclesiastical Shakedown Society was born, a rather unorthodox fundraising organization for the Christmas Party, which utilised an assortment of unorthodox methods to raise money to give some very needy kids a Christmas they most likely never would have had (the Shakedown Society basket remains intact and in use at the Anchor Bar).

Popa remembered, “Fr Kern called Mickie Greene (Doc’s wife), and she called me, and I think we had about 60 children at the first party. Fr Kern said the kids didn’t have any shoes, so, we went to each kid’s house and drew outlines of their stocking feet and then took the paper drawings with us shopping for all those shoes. That’s how it started, and every year, it grew and grew”. Now, the kids that come to the party number more than 500. For four hours on 8 December, those kids will have the time of their lives enjoying pizza, face painting, sweets, games, fun, and photos with Santa. Each child takes home a huge bag filled with a brand new coat, underwear, hat, gloves, scarf, a stuffed toy, and a board game. Unlike their counterparts who get so many gifts that it take hours to open them, that’s the extent of the Holy Trinity kids’ Christmas. Most parents don’t let the kids open up the bags until Christmas morning.

Popa remembers Judge Brennan getting requests from kids on his lap for “a blanket” and “for Dad to come home from Jackson” (Jackson referred to the Michigan state prison). For a time, Popa’s husband, Bob, was in charge of writing “begging letters”… requests for donations. Popa unofficially adopted one of those “normal, beautiful children” who sat on Santa’s lap many years ago. She was the youngest of 15 children and needed more than her own family could give her. Now that daughter, a Detroit police commissioner, is one of the major volunteers who help put on the Most Holy Trinity Christmas Party.

Popa lives in Florida now; she moved down there in 1995. Her husband of 21 years, Bob, died “much too soon” in 1989 of a heart attack. He was only 57. Whilst she loves the warm weather, she calls and checks in every year about this time, just to make sure the party plans are all in order, saying, “It was a real privilege to be part of the party. Truly one of the great highlights of my life”. It’s also one of the great highlights of many needy kids’ lives. Let’s keep the tradition going strong. Please send your donation to:

Most Holy Trinity Church

1050 Porter St

Detroit MI 48226


Anchor Bar

450 W. Fort St

Detroit MI 48226

30 November 2012

Marney Rich Keenan

The Detroit News


Editor’s Note:

This is on the up and square. Send ‘em a fin or two… they’ll use it well. Anything that’s a combo of a church and a gin mill has to be for real. I get tired of all the crapola pushed by bishops, priests, and their loud claques. Let me speak frankly… in the eternal scheme of things, one genuinely and guileless good man like Fr Kern outweighs Vinnie Peterson, Love BT, Lyonyo, Dreher, Bobby, Lebedeff, Mattingly, Sir Ray, Freddie M-G, Potapov, Piggy Iggy, Tosi, Behr, and Jillions put together. That’s why I fight grasping sludge like that… they don’t deserve what they have (and they want MORE). All too often, the bastards boot the good guys down the stairs. That’s not right.

We must do two things:

  • Oppose and fight wrongness wherever it surfaces
  • Encourage and support goodness wherever it’s found

That’s why you should send a fin to help the Christmas Party… it’s good, and I don’t give a rat’s ass who’s running it. That’s God’s standard…


30 November 2012. Photo Spread. First VDV Intake of Female Recruits in Omsk

00 female VDV paratrooper. Omsk. 30.11.12


00 female VDV paratrooper 01. Omsk. 30.11.12


00 female VDV paratrooper 02. Omsk. 30.11.12


At present, there’s much debate about the role of female soldiers, especially from loudmouthed “conservative” sources. I’ll simply observe that female soldiers proved their mettle on the frontline during the VOV, where they proved to be more effective at being snipers than men were. The first intake of fifty female recruits for the VDV is undergoing training in Omsk. It’s simple… the female recruits have the same standards as the men do. Full stop. If it’s 15 below (5 degrees Fahrenheit), tough tuchus, baby… get on out there and do it.

Let’s keep it simple. The “conservative” loudmouths like George Weigel, Terrence Mattingly, and Rod Dreher are chock fulla it. Women proved that they could “take it” with the best and endure the worst during the VOV. That’s all that there’s to say…


Top Ten Odd Holiday Bacon Gift Ideas

00 Bacon is all that You Truly Need. 29.11.12


Does merely eating bacon leave you cold? With the holiday season practically upon us, American entrepreneurs are hawking a range of bacon-inspired products for use in everything from shaving to decorative jewellery that are sure to bring a smile… and maybe a whiff of fried pork… to the face of everyone on your holiday gift list. Here are ten of the oddest bacon products we found on the market this holiday gift-giving season:

1. Bacon Toothpaste

Who wouldn’t want to brush their pearly whites with delicious bacon-flavoured toothpaste? Bacon lovers can improve their dental hygiene during the holidays with this unique product selling for just under 5 USD (155 Roubles. 4 Euros. 3.25 UK Pounds) per tube.

2. Bacon-Flavoured Candy Canes

“Bacon tastes so much better than peppermint,” is the straightforward pitch from a company selling a set of six bacon-flavoured candy canes. This product is sure to bring any meat lover more cheer this holiday season; it sells for 11.50 USD (355 Roubles. 8.75 Euros. 7.25 UK Pounds).

3. Bacon Cake Frosting

Are you a baker looking to add some extra flare to your desserts? Well, bacon frosting may be just the ingredient you need. For only 3.75 USD (115 Roubles. 3 Euros. 2.50 UK Pounds), it’ll alter the taste of any holiday pastry project.

4. Bacon Dog Bubbles

Who says that bacon enjoyment is only for people? Now for around 7 USD (215 Roubles. 5.50 Euros. 4.50 UK Pounds), pet owners can purchase Bubbletastic bacon-scented dog bubbles… a no-brainer dream toy for any canine pet.

5. Bacon Shaving Cream

This practical product promises to provide the alluring scent of cured pork on smooth faces… bacon—scented shaving cream. It sells for 14.99 USD (465 Roubles. 11.50 Roubles. 9.50 UK Pounds).

6. Bacon Lip Balm

Now you can keep the taste of bacon on your lips all day thanks to bacon lip balm. The product sells for 3.49 USD (110 Roubles. 2.75 Euros. 2.25 UK Pounds) per tube and comes with a warning for customers not to mistake their bacon-scented lips for… actual bacon.

7. Bacon Soap

The company that sells this bacon soap said that real “bacon scientists” developed it. The product, which sells for 5.95 USD (185 Roubles. 4.50 Euros. 3.75 UK Pounds), is “the wave of the future”, according to the firm’s website.

8. Bacon Cologne and Perfume

This cologne and perfume will envelope users in a subtle aroma of bacon. However, the meat-scented fragrance has also been crafted with a pure essential oil blend of orange, lime, grapefruit, and other flavours sure to enhance your animal magnetism. Cost: 36 USD (1,110 Roubles. 27.75 Euros. 22.50 UK Pounds).

9. Bacon Candy Necklace

According to the company hawking this bacon-flavoured sugar necklace, “This product proves once and for all that bacon is truly a girl’s best friend”. There’s also a bacon medallion that dangles from the necklace, which retails for 4.49 USD (140 Roubles. 3.50 Euros. 2.75 UK Pounds).

10. Chocolate-Covered Bacon

What cheerier way to celebrate the holidays than with a box of hickory-smoked fried bacon smothered in creamy chocolate? The producers of this porcine holiday delight promise, “a taste sensation like nothing else you’ve ever had before”, for a cost of 12.95 USD (400 Roubles. 10 Euros. 8 UK Pounds) for a seven-piece box.

30 November 2012



Editor’s Note:

Chocolate-covered bacon? I’m a ”food gambler” who’s not averse to trying new things, but I think that I’ll give that a pass… I think that I’m not alone in thinking that way.



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