I felt strong enough for the first time in weeks to go out chalking today, so headed up to the Capitol Complex and Wes Bolin Park, one of my favorite spots to practice my free speech (That's 17th Ave I'm on, between W. Washington and W. Jefferson, right across the street from the legislators and governor's office buildings. The media and visitors and legislative aides all cross that sidewalk from the parking lot to get over there).
Kids were all over the place singing Christmas Carols, and naturally curious about what I was writing about. So I told them about the people who are so sick that their insurance plans wouldn't cover their most critical medical treatment, and how they needed the state to pay their medical bills through the AHCCCS program - which the Arizona republican governor and legislature, the ultimate compassionate conservatives, decided isn't going to pay for their organ transplants anymore.
Then I told the kids that if Governor Brewer doesn't restore that funding, those people will die. I even named some of them: Coach Tiffany Tate, a cystic fibrosis patient who needs a double lung transplant, Randy Shepherd, a father of 3 who needs a heart transplant, and Francisco Felix, a survivor - so far - of the deadly damage of Hepatitis C. His dying family friend even tried to give him her liver, but AHCCCS still wouldn't pay for the transplant.
I didn't mention "Death Panels" to the kids, though - I thought what I told them was heavy enough already.
In the meantime, someone called the Capitol Police on me ( they always do), assuming that what I was doing was a crime. They all know my name now, but wanted to see some ID anyway - and tried to convince me that my conduct was, in fact, against the law - they just weren't going to arrest me because I was technically in the territory of the Phoenix Police.
One of the guys was actually pretty nice about trying to intimidate me in to leaving (not this one above - he was really hostile to me when I was caught alone by him on Halloween night). I was actually pretty much done for the day, but stayed long enough to argue with the cops that not only was my mode of expression not criminal (I keep it on the ground and on city sidewalks), but that the vigor with which the state solicits the poor to harvest our organs upon our death, while justifying why we or our loved ones aren't deserving of receiving transplants in life is truly criminal.
They didn't put up much of a fight on that one.