Friday, July 12, 2013

Republican Revolution

We are now in the midst of a Republican Revolution. They are attempting to take complete control of the country by both legal and clearly illegal means. Unless and until they are challenged in court  and in the voting booth on everything they are doing, they will continue down their path of wanton destruction. It's not being done willy nilly. As crazy as it may seem, I believe there is a concerted effort being orchestrated by ALEC and the likes of the Koch Brothers. among others. Well, hell. I guess I've become a conspiracy theorist. It's just hard not to.

Why aren't more people taking them to court over all of the new abortion legislation or the new voting regulations designed to suppress the likely Democratic vote? Why don't more doctors and nurses speak out against the usurpation of their authority as medical professionals by legislators, who by and large have no license to practice medicine?

Things are unraveling in this country. It's coming apart from all angles, from high and low. How long will it be before one or more of these paramilitary hate groups decide they've had enough of whatever it is they find so intolerable and grab their assault weapons and start shooting? How long before Americans will start being killed by random road side bombs - maybe even suicide bombers? And they won't be Al Qaida or other radical muslims doing these things. It will be Americans killing other Americans.

I find the religious Right perhaps the most dangerous. It is their stated goal to establish an American Theocracy, and any means to that end is justifiable in their eyes, because god is on their side. They have already demonstrated they are more than willing to target and kill doctors and bomb abortion clinics. When might the other shoe drop? We have had state legislators around the country proclaim that it's time to take up arms. There are literally hundreds of internet crazies who are just itching for a fight. I think it's just a matter of time. Once such a precedent is set, once someone acts, this country may turn into another Iraq or similar to other places plagued by indiscriminate violence.

The blame, as I see it, falls squarely on the shoulders of the Republicans who refuse to disavow such actions or attempt to separate themselves from outrageous statements. That fuckhat Palin  campaigned against Obama talking about how he used to "pal around with terrorists." Well look at the bedfellows Republicans keep. They appear at functions with many really Right Wing radicals and invite them to openly appear at campaign and fund raising functions. Rand Paul now has at least one on his staff. Rather frighteningly, the Right Wing crazies have control of the House of Representatives.

Again, I say that the people we will ultimately have to arm ourselves against are those Right Wingnut crazies. And why has all this transpired? Because we have a black man in the White House.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Uncertain Future of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

Consider this: There are, I think, twenty full time symphony orchestras in the United States.  A country of over three hundred million people can support only twenty full time symphony orchestras. That number is about to be reduced by one. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is in serious financial straits. In fact Indianapolis could lose the ISO altogether. The contract with the musicians expired Sept 1.

Apparently, the ISO is running a 10 million dollar deficit. In response the powers that be over the orchestra want to reduce the number of full time musicians by about a dozen and significantly reduce the pay of those they retain. They want to reduce the season from 52 weeks down to only 36. Of course, the musicians are opposed to these changes. Obviously, something's got to give. It is possible that if management prevails, many of the musicians will leave the orchestra altogether. That would be a hard, but perhaps necessary choice.

Some may not believe this, but Indianapolis does have diversions other than sports. The Indianapolis Museum of Art, The Eiteljorg Museum, The Indianapolis Children's Museum, The Indiana Repertory Theatre, The Indianapolis Zoo, along with the ISO and several other arts and cultural institutions in and around the city provide a significant draw for people who may or may not cater to sports, but also want something more for themselves and their children to enjoy. The ISO has been an integral part of Indy's cultural fabric for decades. Its loss would be a critical blow to the city's reputation.

I certainly do not have a solution to the problem at hand. My last foray with the state lottery garnered 2 free tickets. It can be argued that a truncated season with a smaller orchestra would be preferable to nothing at all. On the other hand the loss of their summer season and other performance opportunities, along with the diminished number of musicians will have a critical and lasting effect upon not only the quantity of their product, but also on its quality. The loss of many of the quality musicians from the orchestra will likely take a toll in that regard. It's also possible that they could well lose Conductor Krzysztof UrbaƄski should the proposed reductions come to fruition.

Would that some billionaire were to divert say a paultry twenty or thirty million away from their support of some political super pac or other and dedicate it instead to the life and lasting health of the Indianapois Symphony Orchestra. That would be money far better spent.

Democratic Overconfidence/Complacency = Dire Consequences at the Polls in 2014

We watch the right wingnut crazies make what we consider to be their incredible blunders, their ridiculous statements about rape, their never ending war on women in The House and state legislatures across the country and say to ourselves that they are shooting themselves in the foot, that despite their supposed desire to appeal to women and minorities, they just keep sticking that wounded foot into their mouths. We find ourselves believing there is no way they can continue to hold onto The House, and that they will lose control of a # of state legislatures and perhaps some governorships come next year. Maybe.

Keep in mind, though, that they are, via their words and deeds effectively preaching to their own choir. There's a large contingency of their true believers that buy into all of the crap they are spewing. This is the stuff their dreams are made of. Doubtless they feel quite secure in saying what they are saying and doing what they are doing. They are likely looking back at us with just the opposite notion, that not only will they hold onto a majority in The House, but may well gain control of the Senate and strengthen their hold on many of the tates. Republicans obviously feel embolden, perhaps owing to lingering high unemployment numbers and the string of trumped up "scandals" that have hit the White House over the last couple of months, or they just believe that the pendulum will swing back for them in the midterms and hopefully in 2016, or simply that they can't miss because God's on their side. Maybe. But, they believed that virtually down to the wire in the 2012 national election, and some still can't believe they lost, claiming that Obama stole the election , perhaps with the unscrupulous aid of ACORN, an organization that went out of existence long before the Presidential campaign had even begun.

What I fear is overconfidence on the part of Democrats and the Left in general. While a number of Republican spokes persons have made outlandish statements, and Republican controlled state legislatures and state houses have been enacting draconian anti-abortion/anti-contraceptive laws, that would seem to have the effect of splitting the Party and alienating more and more voters, I fear it could be disastrous for Dems to lower their guard.The dumb asses making all the stupid pronouncements about abortion are not the ones directing things behind the scenes. They may in fact be acting as a diversion, a means to get Democrats to relax and take their eye off the ball, as it were. There are a lot of machinations underway that are designed to insure Republican wins across the country via gerrymandering and by enacting Jim Crowe type legislation regarding voting rules and regulations that will effectively disenfranchise a record number of likely Democratic voters, or by other means keep them away from the polls and prevent them from voting. The Reps are involved in what they see as a holy war - very like that being waged against the West by radical Muslims - and they are willing to accept any means, regardless of how unfair, how unethical, or even how illegal, and perhaps even regardless of how violent they may be.

The coming months will be interesting and not a little scary. I simply hope we don't have a repeat of the 2010 midterms when complacent Dems chose to sit on their hands. I hope that what we believe to be missteps by the Reps as in Texas, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin and elsewhere will have the effect of galvanizing the Left into action and that they show up in record numbers
 at the polls despite all the opposition's efforts to prevent just that.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sad End to a Promising Life

 Last Friday evening Jo and I had to make a funeral visitation. A close college friend of our older son ended her life a few days before. She was an intelligent , talented, beautiful, even vivacious young woman. Without getting all clinical, which is beyond me, suffice to say she was troubled. It all came down to a moment, a flash of darkness and she was gone. The darkness. What does it take to take that last step? I know volumes have been written about it, but we still just don't know. If we knew, we could prevent it - at least more often, anyhow.

When we arrived at the funeral home there was a line out the door. It took the better part of an hour and a half to finally address her parents standing a few feet from the open casket. I've no doubt they had been living in shock for the previous three or four days. Yet, they were almost convivial. They also knew our son, and were pleased that we came. They smiled, and we engaged in small talk, then we moved on to approach the casket. As with most people who have passed, she looked like the girl we knew and yet didn't.

There were literally hundreds of people who passed through that funeral home that evening. There were no doubt many more the following morning. Some were probably family friends, people who worked for and with her father and mother, neighbors and so on, but the great majority of the people we saw were this girl's friends, her contemporaries. Friends from her childhood, from high school, from college, from graduate school, from various places she had worked. She had been a singer and actress and later a fitness trainer, among other things. People who had performed with her and seen her perform. People with whom she had trained. All these people. All these friends. All this family. Yet no one had been able to get at her core, to recognize her pain, to realize how close to the edge she had come. I don't write this as any kind of finger pointing or condemnation. It's just the terrible conundrum of mental illness.

When I first met her back in the late 1990s, she was about eighteen, a college freshman, and full of life, had a flashing smile and didn't seem to know a stranger. The intervening years obviously took a heavy toll on her. How the world failed her, and how she ultimately failed herself was hidden in the chemical imbalance that plagued her mind.

 Jo and I have now known three young people who took their own lives. One a high school classmate of our kids, one a family member, and now this young woman. We also lost a young family member to the ravages of drug abuse a couple years ago. Life doles out some hard shots. Fortunately, we manage to dodge a lot of them, but never all. I wish these four young people had managed to dodge one more.