Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Decline of Unions and What It Means for Us All.

Why is it that unions are so depleted? Because the Right has been running a vendeta against them for decades. It is so easy - and ignorant, I might add - to characterize unionists as "thugs." It is a stereotype that holds very little water; especially in this day and age. Jimmy Hoffa IS dead and "On the Waterfront" is a 57 year old movie. It is unions that fought to make work environments safe. It is unions that fought for a 40 hour work week and the 8 hour work day. The list goes on. Without their efforts, 6 and 7 day work weeks, 16 hour work days, workhouses and sweatshops would likely still exist in profusion here in America.

And what was the terrible crime that workers commited? They wanted to get a little ahead of the game. They wanted to live a little better than their parents. They wanted to leave a better world for their kids. Those filthy bastards!

The dwindling of the middle class goes along virtually step for step with the dwindling of unions. America's middle class is steadily being decimated and replaced with a widening gap between the poor and the very rich. Our society is well on its way to mirroring one more like that of India.

India is an almost purely capitalist society with very little government regulation or involvement with so called "entitlements." Everyone is pretty much on their own there. Is that the "ideal" that you right wingers aspire to? Do you not understand that unless you ARE very rich, that you and yours will likely end up on the same garbage heap right along with the rest of the great American unwashed who you hold in such disdain?

It is the middle class Right who are the dupes. It is the middle class Right who are the ones falling in line like obedient prep school children, standing in that line, keeping it straight, praying they don't piss themselves, while they march in lock step to the commands of the rich and the corporate mogels who are playing that marching tune on a continuously looped eight track tape.

The very rich have effectively blinded the middle class Right into believing that they give a crap about them. They reassuringly feed them bullshit about being good christians and standing on their own two feet just as our forefathers intended, as they deftly pull the rug out from under them while puffing on a $300 cigar and sipping 200 year old brandy.

No, the Koch Brothers and their like are not "thugs" in the usual sense of the word. Yet, what they are doing amounts to violence beyond what the worst union bosses could have ever imagined.

It is in their mindset that there is no such thing as being too rich. Wealth is all that matters. If you have a million, then you must have two. If you have ten billion, then you must go after another ten. They dazzle us all with the blinding light of promised riches,  and far too many of us lay back with visions of owning rooms full of diamond studded 200 inch LCD TVs ensconsed in multiple McMansions scatterd about the world, and having solid gold condums with which, we too, can fuck the poor with our wealth without having to actually touch them. (That would be icky.)

It is neither unions nor socialism that will mark the downfall of this country. Rather, it will be the selfishness, the greed and the self righteous condescension of the Right and the contemptible religious moralists that will cause this nation to collapse into the fetid offal of obscene consumerism and sanctimonious bullshit.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Here's the thing: The Right is eventually going to win the battle for power at the Federal level. They may or may not unseat Obama in 2012. Whether they succeed in that or not, it is only a matter of time until they wrest control of all the bells and whistles. History tells us that if the Dems retain control of the WH or either House of Congress in 2012, which remains problematic at best, the pendulum will almost certainly swing back the other way come 2016. The conservatives can afford to be patient if need be. While they may well succeed next year, success will almost certainly come their way 4 years hence.

In that eventuality they will race to enact their entire agenda - both social and fiscal - which will effectively send this country back to somewhere around the knuckle dragging state. They will deregulate about everything except, of course, our private lives, regarding which they might eventually be able to scrutinize, through  the further development of eavesdropping technology, virtually every personal choice we make outlawing about anything and everything one can imagine. They will further their attacks on women and gays, and will do everything possible to scour the nation clean of poor people except for those few necessary to clean up rich shit of which there will doubtless be tons.

They will, as they go along, move this country toward a christian theocracy by trashing everything they disagree with in the Constitution and inserting god into government at all levels. Do progressives, liberals or lefties have the backbone and resolve to effectively resist this? Frankly, I've seen little sign of it. The rift widens. The abyss deepens.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Hot and Naked At the Movies!

Movie projectionists are a small and seemingly in my admittedly limited experience, a very odd lot. I worked for several months at the Greenwich Theatre in NYC back in the early 1970s taking tickets, sweeping up the lobby and generally sitting around doing not much of anything. Not a bad gig, when you think about it.

One hot July evening a couple of folks from the audience came out to the lobby, disturbing my reverie, to complain that the movie, Zeffirelli's "Romeo and Juliet," had stopped. There was no direct communication with the projection booth - a decades old intercom system no longer worked - so I was told by the manager to trudge up there and see what was going on.

Upon my arrival at the top of the auditorium I opened the door into the sweltering booth which was not air conditioned. There was the projectionist, a balding man probably in his fifties and perhaps forty pounds overweight, about ten feet away from me, sitting in a small plastic chair, stark naked and asleep - or I dearly hoped he was asleep. Now, do I really want to wake this guy, and if so, how? I had no great desire to walk in and shake his shoulder to wake him. The "ich factor" was strong in me, I can tell you. I didn't even know his name, had never knowingly laid eyes on him.

I rapped on the open door a couple of times to no avail. I spotted a rag of some sort on the floor in what appeared to be dubious condition within reach of the doorway. I picked it up, gingerly at first, but then thought: What the hell! I wadded it into a ball, and threw it at him fortunately hitting him in the neck and shoulder. It did the trick. He roused and looked about him momentarily disoriented. Upon seeing me, I thought he'd scramble to cover himself, but no. Unfased, he apparently gathered in the scenario, rubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands, and generally shook himself awake - which was, I might add, quite a spectacle in itself. He then got up and nonchalantly sauntered over to one of the two giant projectors in all his glory and flipped it on. He waved me off saying everything was under control while fumbling with a cigarette. I had my doubts, but wanted more than anything to get the hell out of there. I closed the door, descended down the balcony and back to the lobby whereupon I reported all of this to the manager. He just shook his head. Happily, the projectionist kept things moving without incident the remainder of the evening, presumably in his birthday suit.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Didn't God Say: Fire, Not a Flood Next Time?

I write this in the trembling fear that all hope is lost:

Rising from my usual mid-afternoon nap, I peered out of my kitchen window just minutes ago, and there, right outside, was a strange light, an astounding and pervasive brightness. Only after some understandable hesitation I cautiously slipped out the back door and into the yard in utter, jaw dropping amazement. The "brightness" was dazzlingly reflected off the white aluminosity of our garage, and about everything else as far as the eye could see. Only areas apparently somehow sheltered from the as yet undiscovered source of luminescence remained in accustomed mottled dim & drab.

Looking up, what did I see but a firey incandescent ball of light literally hanging, or I don't know, maybe hovering - yeah, definitely hovering - in the sky well above the horizon. I was terrified! I could feel heat emanating from it. Nearly blinded, I covered my eyes and reverted my gaze downward in a desparate attempt to regain my sight. I wheeled around only to discover atop the still sodden grass at my feet what appeared to be the blackened image of my rotundity. I could only surmize it to be the ash from my incineration effected by the now hated molten orb. I sprinted back into the house despite my decrepit knees, screaming, the ash staying with me step for fearful step. As I ran I also noticed that much of the sky had taken on what I could only describe as an evil blueness in place of the usual, accustomed and comforting dark gray. I quickly returned to the relative safety of my basement lair yelling to my wife, Jo as I descended the stair, that she should follow me post haste, but to perhaps grab a couple of beers, a bag of chips and perhaps the jar of Kalamata olives on her way.

In my life I have heard stories of such horrors as this - of strange lights in the skies, of evil lurking in the heavens - but always dismissed them as myth, a terrible fantasy - akin to stories of Rob Schneider winning an Oscar. The world must be coming to a hellish end. What else could it be? I'm comin' home mama!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Pains?

How should one think of or respond to the British Royal Wedding? Answers to that question would likely be all over the map. Many, including a vast majority of Brits (80% according to recent polls) would say its all a total waste of time and money, an irrelevance. In fact, Americans on the whole seem to be more taken with the royal fairy tale than are the Brits. Depending on my mood at any given moment, I might well agree with the naysayers.

However, as I awoke this morning at the crack of nine, I spent some time while breaking my nightly fast and sipping my Maxwell House watching the rehashing of the morning's events in London. It appears that it was all quite lovely and went off with nary a hitch. How does one put it all into any kind of measured perspective?

We now live in an age where there are no heros. There is no magic. We've all come to understand, if begrudgingly, that everyone is human. That kings and queens, princes and princesses, presidents, dictators and celebrities of all shapes and sizes are all too human; subject to all the same failings and foibles that plague us all. None of them have been sprinkled with good fairy dust. Few are able to rise above it all. With the advent of the 24/7 news cycle and the constant, pervasive scrutiny of the paparazzi, royals, politicians and celebrities are able to maintain only the barest of privacy in their lives. Consequently, most at some time or other find themselves exposed to the world - warts and all. It is often the cost of fame and fortune.

When one considers what is going on around the planet at any given time, a lavish celebration like that now taking place in London presents a conundrum. There is an obvious disconnect. While the royal newlyweds ride in a 109 year old carriage, smiling and waving at the thousands of onlookers lining the London streets, as they make their way from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace, thousands of people in the American south are reeling from the effects of hundreds of deadly tornados. Thousands of Haitians are still living in what amounts to little more than ramshackle leantos perilously teetering on bare hillsides in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of well more than a year ago. Thousands of Japanese remain homeless, hundreds remain missing and the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant remains a danger to the entire country as a result of their own earthquake and the devastating tsunami. People are being killed by warring in Libya and in anti-government demonstrations in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa. Not to mention the difficulties currently facing Brits on their own homefront with a flagging economy and drastic government cut backs. Obviously, I could go on, and this is always the case. It's difficult to reconcile such onerous events with ostentatious royal weddings.

Kate and William's nuptuals provide at least a brief respite from the more down and dirty realities of life. It is a welcome distraction for a lot of people. It's easy to criticize, but look at the billions of dollars we humans spend on "distractions:" sporting events, movies and plays, musical concerts and recordings, television, books and magazines, and literally hundreds of other hobbys and leisure activities. Few are free. I guess the occasional grand royal "wedding of the century" with all its pomp and circumstance, its high fashion and finery, isn't such a bad thing.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Push Me Pull You

I feel the need to discuss an issue that's been bothering me since Saturday night when Jo and I watched the film "Man Push Cart." All in all a pretty good film, but I have a small bone to pick. The "man" did indeed have a "cart." But at no time in the film does he "push" it. It was just a whole lot of really arduous pulling.

The cart wasn't even designed to be pushed. It actually had a long tongue meant to be hooked to a hitch on the back of a car or truck --- for what? Pulling! Our hapless hero had no car or truck, so he was obliged to pull the cart through the New York streets every night to his appointed place to sell his coffee, tea and bagels. But there just seems to be a problem with our lexicon. We apparently haven't yet grasped the difference between pushing and pulling. Granted, I've never heard of a "pull cart," but still...

Some years ago my lovely wife, Jo and I had lunch in a restaurant on the Ohio river which was named [Somebody's] Tow Boat Grill or Cafe or whatever. Of course, we had to ask, after being seated, just what was a towboat? It was explained to us that the boats one sees in salt water harbours manipulating large ships into and out of port are called - as we all know - tugboats. Why, one might ask? Well, as it was further explained, a tugboat "tugs" or pushes the ships around, whereas towboats are found on rivers and they "pull" their appointed loads.

But wait a minute. Doesn't the word "tug" evoke images of pulling? Don't we go to family picnics and invariably play "tug" of war? Aren't we "pulling" on that rope? Did you ever try to push one? Don't tow trucks pull a vehicle behind it? And I must say, I retain clear images in my mind's eye of tugboats pulling ships and so called towboats pushing barges.

Also, I recall back during my brief flirtation with flying small planes that there was a particular model which had propellers at both the front and rear of the fuselage, and the flyers I knew referred to it as the "Push Me, Pull You" plane. Now, which propeller pushes and which one pulls? Confusion reigns.

So what's up with all this? Can one hope to come to a clear understanding of just what it means to be pushing or pulling, tugging or towing? This will no doubt be tugging away at my mind for the rest of the night. I just hope it doesn't push me over the edge.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Fundy Social Agenda

Behind all the noise and bluster about budget deficits, the national debt, union busting, immigration reform and so on, Republicans at both state and national levels are quietly enacting the conservative social agenda. They are going after same sex marriage, abortion rights, including Planned Parenthood, some even wanting to revisit Don't Ask, Don't Tell and so on. As they have control of a large # of state legislatures and governorships, there is little to stop them. At the national level the only thing that may stop some of this is the still Democratically controlled Senate and the Obama White House. That may well change come 2012. There is even some stirring the pot regarding legislation and even constitutional ammendments in some states banning the teaching of evolution in favor of intelligent design. Most of this type of legislation is on tap here in Indiana. Woohoo!

A few years ago, people - even many on the right - were saying that the religious fundamentalist movement was dead. Not hardly.

The country, perhaps with Indiana taking the lead, is on its way back to the "good old days" otherwise known as the Dark Ages.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I just posted the following as a comment to one of my "friend's" postings on Facebook regarding her frustration with the musings of that infamous Pennsylvania woodchuck. I feel it imperitave that I get this message out there.

I have been looking into taking legal action regarding that unholy liberal celebration ostensibly known as "Groundhog Day.". It is difficult to determine just what came first: The groundhog - or more aptly, the whistle pig, the name known by those who recognize the danger signals - or the weather? Regardless, it is clear that a conspiracy is afoot - that the so called "shadow" is actually a left wing cabal intent upon establishing an inclimate radical muslim caliphate that will enforce sharia law in weather forecasting, and force us all to listen to a never-ending loop of Kenny G music. (In that regard, you MUST all gird your loins and remember - "If it ain't country, it ain't music.)

And that's just for starters!

Before we know it - and both the great Holy Man of our time, Glenn Beck, and the much beleaguered John Birch Society have duly warned us - America will soon become, in effect, the western arm of the New Ottoman Empire. Ponxitauney Phil indeed! If you perform a (commie controlled) Google search, you will see that "Phill's" first name has any # of spellings. Exceedingly interesting, no? How dumb do they think we are?

If you are having trouble following the logic of this, if this just doesn't make sense to you, well - that's just what THEY want. Simply close your eyes and listen. Listen to the Beckster. Concentrate. Now, remember how that left wing hack, the so called George H. W. Bush, used to tell us that "it wouldn't be prudent" --- to what? It wouldn't be prudent to look over his left shoulder (but you must remember- his left is your right. See? See how the maniacal Pinkos conspire to confuse good and true, god fearing, right minded, conservative Americans?!!!)

Why? - You may ask. Indeed! Well, isn't it clear why? I mean it's all right out there, plain as day. Keep in mind: We have proof! What proof? Well... never you mind! You must remember the motto of the true conservative: Don't ask, don't ask.


Just an additional note: RE: Girding of Loins: I am not altogether clear as to the steps to achieving proper girding.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

More Senseless Violence

Ever since President Obama took office, the right has incorporated violent rhetoric in their message. The Reps and tea party activists have "targeted" the opposition, they have suggested the use of "second ammendment" solutions. They have stated their intent to "take out" an opposition candidate. Any # of right wing political candidates at all levels used guns and targets - often human silhouette type targets, not just bullseyes - and language suggestive of violence against their oponents. Right wing TV - FOX, that is - has lauded the hits on medical people involved in abortions. Right wingnut radio dipsticks have made much more baldly violent threats against the left. Ann Coulter has accused all Democrats and anyone politically to the left of Atilla the Hun as being traitors.

The characterization of Obama, the Dems and the left in general as anti-american, as socialists, as communists, as fascists has fed the flames. Those who appeared at political rallies armed to the teeth reinforced the notion that violence was not only acceptable, but perhaps desired.

All these people can shrug and claim having no responsibility for todays massacre, but they ARE responsible. They know full well that there is and will always be a fringe element - on both extremes of the political spectrum - who are just crazy enough, just disaffected enough, just prone to violence enough to pick up the gauntlet and start shooting.

Ironically, among the worst of them are Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann and Sharon Angle - the idiot triumvirate! Those three and all the others who make it a practice to use violent language and evoke violent images when speaking of their political opponents MUST accept responsibility and they MUST remove such allusions from their rhetoric in the future. They cannot be allowed to protest their innocence, but rather, must be held accountable by the public and, perhaps, ultimately, by the courts. To paraphrase the sheriff in Tucson who said in his statement earlier today in reference to the radio and TV pundits and pols' use of violent language - "It might be free speech, but it has consequences." Indeed it does.