Sunday, April 4, 2010

Big Poppa takes time for Tea (Party)

Make a Hole, Make it Wide"

Big Poppa was looking for a way to get out of some much needed yard work and took up the invite to visit a Tea Party rally held here in Pittsburgh.

Why you ask? Simple answer, Big Poppa wanted to see if the hype we see on TV is the same live. See what crazies lurk around the crowd? Would there be any Harry Reid pinatas in the crowd as there were in Searchlight, Nevada? Any posters of President Obama dressed as Hitler as we see on all the major news outlets? So Big Poppa waddled on down to the North Shore of Pittsburgh to take a peek for himself.

Now, I was actually concerned about the attendance of the Tea Party rally for the facts of: 1) It was to be the final regular season NHL game @ Mellon Arena for the Pittsburgh Penguins, 2) the Final Four was to be played, 3) it was Easter weekend and how many people travel, 4) the clear sky 80 degree day, and 5) how little advertised the rally was to the casual observer, how much would this affect attendance?

The last fact was the more concern for Big Poppa. For the casual political observer, they would never have known of such a scheduled rally, unless they visited Now if you were a Tea Party member, I'm sure you would have gotten a notice of some sort.

As I ventured to the rally, Big Poppa made sure he parked his car away from others just for the fact of sticker on the back window read "OBXAMA" and waddled across the street. There I met Michele Urbenz, a very nice lady from Euclid, Ohio. Ms. Urbenz travels too many Tea Party rallies, selling the many buttons featuring Glenn Beck (dressed in military garb), Obama/Pelosi/Reid depicted as the 3 Stooges, and the bright yellow flags addressed "Don't Tread On Me." Being from Pittsburgh, I had to tease her about living near Cleveland, but enjoyed listening to her talk about the many rallies she has attended

Leaving Ms. Urbenz, I walked along the dark shadow of the Alcoa building to enter Allegheny Landing and hit by the beautiful skyline of Pittsburgh and the warmth of the sun. A barbershop quartet was singing patriotic songs and people were gathering along the grass and the shoreline trail. I could see the speakers prepping their speeches and vendors setting up their stands. There was about 150 people in attendance, although Channel 11, a local news station, stated less then 100 attended

The signs were not as harsh in wording as depicted by the cable media, the expected venom to be spewed was nothing but a mere whisper as I passed the scattered groups of people. Some looked upon me skeptically as I carried my camera and notepad, but I took it as a gaze of the awesomeness that is Big Poppa. I listened to some of their conversations, some talked about how the Amish are not part of Obamacare, someone mentioned the reason "someone" set up a private army, vote for so-so because they believe in us, why are we listening to these hippies nowadys tell us what to do, and etc. Yes someone was talking about Hippies running our Federal government.

Cascading through the vendors of State $ Local Republican candidates, I received much literature from groups like the 912 Project, 2ND Amendment Rights, other rallies happening over the next few months, Biblical Quotes found at the PA State Capital, amongst others. I found one vendor that caught my interest, called America's Future Foundation.

AFF is new in the Pittsburgh area, however, according to their literature they "invest in the next generation of principled leaders ho will promote and defend free markets, limited government, individual liberty, and personal responsibility." Promotion on one piece of literature talk about a networking event for conservatives in Pennsylvania. Even had a business card with Thomas Jefferson on it. We spoke briefly on how Texas plans on rewriting history books by making Thomas Jefferson, one of our Founding Fathers, a mere footnote, and pushing to add more prominent Republican/Conservative figures into the books. Now Big Poppa thinks the likes of Newt Gingrich is note able in our history, but not that worthy enough to push Thomas Jefferson to mere footnote status. Also on how taxpayer money will be used to pay for the new books, not just in Texas but possibly in the entire US. Currently Texas is the #2 schoolbook buyer and what happens in Texas education happens everywhere else in the US.

I was a little discouraged that many did not remove their hats as the barbershop quartet sang the National Anthem and everyone patriotcally spoke the Pledge of Allegeince. I always was told it was unpatriotic if you didn't remove your hat.

As the speakers started, I noticed the crowd becoming closer on the "grassy knoll" of Allegheny Landing. Talk of "last year we were complacent, this year we say join a group and fight" were said within the first 2 minutes of the first speech. Cap & Trade was lampooned, but no mention of the current talk between Republicans and President Obama on Oil Drilling and Nuclear Energy.

The next speaker talked of how the Christan Community bought into President Obama's lies and that now they should "Put Hope in God and Change the President." Agreement with Rush Limbaugh that "he hopes President Obama fails," and wished that the Federal government had invested more in investigating mosques for jihadist cells and not in the Michigan Militia.

A anti-Health Care speaker rose to the podium and spoke of the 13 states that planned to sue the Federal government, and how dare Henry Waxman (D-Cal) call upon corporate CEO's to testify before Congress about the claimed revenue loss due to Obamacare, and (for some odd reason) attacked PA Rep Jason Altmire for not being forthright and letting people know his vote intention immediately but for waiting till the 11Th hour to declare. Big Poppa was a little confused on the Rep Altmire attack, only because Rep Altmire voted both times against Obamacare, both time for not being clear on control cost and deficit reduction.

By this time, the crowd was getting their mood on and being a little more verbal in response to each speaker. A local 2ND Amendment advocate, Kim Stofler got the best crowd response of the day. Big Poppa's 2ND Amendment view is simple, if there are 180 gun laws on the books, then they should be enforced. Adding a new law does nothing if not enforced, to which Mr. Stofler and I have agreement on, as he wishes that if you add a new gun law, then that means there was a similar law that didn't work and should be repealed.

However, as Big Poppa waddled through to take photos, I heard the same talking points in the crowd, heard some people repeat a current poll figure by saying "well the poll stated 43%..." Here's Big Poppa's view of polls, they are a joke and nothing but a mere talking point to make one feel better of their view. If you poll 100 people in Oshkosh Wisconsin, those 100 people do not have the same feeling as those in Savannah Georgia.

I talked to many people in attendance. Some asked me why I was carrying a notepad and taking photos. I explained about my blog and how I wanted to experience for myself a Tea Party rally and could compare to what I see/hear on the news. Many were pleased about that and happily smiled for photos, holding their homemade sign high, asking me for the blog site and title. I was asked how I felt about the rally, I can simply say "well with such low attendance, the crowd was very civil, I was expecting more people and some rowdiness. But it only takes one person to start a wave at a football game, and it only takes one person to get a crowd into an uproar," to which the person shoke their head in agreement.

To those that attended, if it matters, I thank you for your hospitality and kindness. Many of you happily displayed your signs and shook my hand, questioned me with respect and respected my answers and vice verse. When I asked one supporter "So many people take the Tea Party as Republican brand only, yet there are many disenfranchised Democrats out there looking for a place, why hasn't the Tea Party brought them in?" I received little indication of such a bold move, as if it was sacred ground not to step over. I expected talking points from the speakers, but I only saw a diminished few drinking Kool Aid. Had there been better organization, had it been a different weekend possibly, had maybe some of the speakers been more prepared and gave more credence to talking points, the crowd may have been larger and more vocal.

With April 15TH Tax Day soon arriving, many talked of the bigger rally to be held in Pittsburgh, as many will be held across the USA. If you wish to attend the next rally in Pittsburgh, I will direct you to visit to see where they may be meeting before the rally starts.

Peanut bowl is empty and the beer mug has gone dry. Please pay the political tab.


  1. I kind of wish I could hit those ladies in the face. = /

  2. Ms. April, which ladies would that be?

  3. I love that they asked for “Public Defenders”, now they know about the undercover FBI agent. The simpleton Tea baggers keep missing the point. These are the same whiners that were crying when the McCain/Bailin ticket lost. Now they are crying again because their yelling (because they are haters not debaters) did not stop health care from passing. They think they can scare, intimidate and force others to go along with them by comments like “This time we came unarmed”, let me tell you something they are not the only ones that are armed and not all ex-military join the fringe militia crazies who don’t pay taxes and run around with face paint in the parks playing commando, the majority are mature and understand that the world is more complicated and grey then the black and white that these simpleton make it out to be and that my friend is the point. Do not cry when regular people openly laugh at your group when they see on TV that your leaders are Sarah Bailin, Orly Taitz, Victoria Jackson, Michele Bachmann and that turn coat Glenn Beck from the LDS. They do more to discredit you on TV (powerful) than any of my comments do in the blog sphere.

  4. The only hate I've seen in this discussion is from April and Montana. We tea partiers are a peaceful crowd that disagrees with the way the issues are being handled. There is nothing hateful about either of those ladies' signs. They are simply expressing their opinions about the constitutionality of the bill as well as the veracity of the president. It's obvious that April and Montana have never attended a Tea Party and that their only talking points are regurgitation of the Dems talking points. This administartation has changed it's tune so many times that trust is impossible for the informed. As far as leaders of the Tea Party movement go, they are the people behind the scenes that will be doing the work to arrange the gatherings. Although Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin agree with our stance, they are not our leaders. We are thankful though for the support they provide for us. Although you will find many who include additional criteria for their dissatisfaction with the government, the core issues are about the constitutionality and the fiscal responsibility that seems to be missing in our current administration.

  5. "haters not debaters" Really Montana? Is this because these people don't agree with current policies? Wasn't it just a few years ago when political dissent was the highest form of patriotism?

    Scare tactics? Seems to me, more and more of the accused scare tactics are turning up to be the truth from the right. You have one side (Dems) telling you the world will burn up if we don't have cap and trade, the economy will collapse if we don't have regulation on financial industry, etc. How are these not scare tactics? The Waxman fiasco isn't a scare tactic it's the truth. Businesses according to a law that was voted on by no other than Waxman are required to report changes in revenue. Not a scare tactic, it's the law. The cuts to Medicare? Not a scare tactic, it's now the law. Mandates to buy insurance whether you want it or not? Not a scare tactic, law. The leaving out of the Doctor Fix to show a deficit reduction instead of an increase to the deficit. Not a scare tactic, the truth. Cap and trade will increase the cost of household electricity bills because of the requirement to upgrade and retrofit machinery and delivery systems. Not a scare tactic, the truth. Shall I go on?

    As far as labeling those who support the tea party or protest the expansion of government as "simpleton" that does nothing more than tell me you too are a hater. If you disagree with the beliefs of the tea party activists then please by all means feel free to share them but don't sit here and name call because you don't agree. You do nothing more than portray yourself as a simpleton by not being able to defend the reason you disagree with the tea party other than by calling them names.

    In every group you have the extreme. That's just the way it is. It's not the norm. It also doesn't help that all it takes is that one person the media latches on to to reflect badly on the whole. How much coverage did mainstream media give to the egg throwers and the anti-tea party groups calling on people to go to the tax day rallys and sabotage and create chaos? You're right that the world is more complicated than black and white, perhaps you should then step out of the world of black and white.

  6. I know this is a heated topic, meaning the functionality of the Tea Party. What I have seen on TV and experienced over the weekend are opposites. However, as I have said, it takes only person to start a Wave at a ballpark and it takes only one person with more extreme intentions to turn a crowd ugly.

    The other weekend, Gov Palin spoke for Sen John McCain whom the Tea Party has no interest and she got a few harsh words from them. But in turn she was not afraid to cross the border and speak against Harry Reid. "We don't incite violence" Gov Palin said only to have a group of people swinging like Babe Ruth at a Harry Reid pinata. That is a symbol of violence.

    Signs with harsh words are found everywhere from football games to WWE shows and anywhere a public forum is open. It's the actions of the individual(s) that make the news, not the sign.

    As I did, I say find a local Tea Party and go as a casual observer and watch. What happened in Pittsburgh could be opposite in Oshkosh Wisconsin or Encino California. But I also say to Tea Party member (I refuse to use the "teabagger" phrase) to do the same at a Coffee Party or whatever gathering.


  7. I think I know why April wants to slap "those ladies"...they were nice to Big Poppa. Either she wants to see Big Poppa get the poop beat out of him or it defies her preconceived notions of tea-party goers.

  8. Big Poppa, thanks for the unbiased and fair-handed reporting. I have been to 3 tea parties and usually see reporters swarming around the biggest fruit cake in the crowd and that's what one sees on TV. Even at the huge September tea party in Washington, I found everyone polite and helpful - it's the norm and not the exception.

  9. GMK, after my rally visit, I wrote a letter to the Pennsylvania Tea Party's main man Mr. Robert Baehr. In my letter I explain my casual observer stance and how pleased I was to see Pittsburgher's behaving civil during an emotional rally.

    All Media will go to the loudest side of a rally, it takes only one to cause an uproar either by voice, signage, or even physical (studity) behavior.

    I am also glad that you felt I was being unbiased and fair in my blog.

  10. Once again, as a member of the Tea Party and as to the several Tea Parties I have attended, there has not been one arrest. Not one. The allegations of use of the "n" word and spitting have been unfounded. The further investigation of the slur against Barney Frank was a result of incitement by Barney himself. So please, tell me one incident where a Tea Partier was documented to be the source of unruly behavior.

    Please tell me why charges were dropped against the men in SEIU t-shirts in St. Louis that brutally beat a vendor of Gadsden flags and put him in the hospital. We have been called racists but the gentleman that was beaten in St. Louis was an American of color and the SEIU men were caucasian. Please tell me again who it is who hates?

    And Big Poppa, please tell me who needs to be civil. My mother and I were quite kind to you as were everyone else I saw talking to you. We are no different than the myriad of people I have met at all the other tea parties I have attended. If you have to remind anyone to be civil isn't those who weild eggs and slurs without foundation?

    In DC on 9/12 a commentator for CBS told me that he couldn't show the signs because they were so hateful. I asked him to point out one that was hateful and he turned and left. Btw, my sign said "Silence is Consent" on one side and "Lower Taxes and Higher Ethics" on the other. Wow. Pretty hateful don't you think?

  11. Anonymous.. I was talking to people making comments on this blog to be "CIVIL" towards another.

    I wrote a letter to Mr Baehr on how Tea Party Members that attended were kind to me, on how the Pittsburgh was calm and collect and how I expected some grumblings but nowhere near the like that seen by all media on tv.

    So please anonymous, take your anger down a notch towards me. I was respectful and polite to everyone I met, as they were to me.