Monday, December 31, 2012

I'm a Lutheran Baptist, too!

In his book entitled Old Faces of 1976, journalist Richard Reeves wrote --

------------------------[excerpt]---------- I am one of those Americans who can measure his entire adult life by one continuous event:  Hubert H. Humphrey running.  My agony of watching the long distance runner began with my first vote in 1960 when the senator from Minnesota was running against John Kennedy in the Democratic primaries; then came the run for vice president with Lyndon Johnson in 1964, the race against Richard Nixon in 1968, and the challenge to George McGovern in the 1972 primaries. 

My whole life flashes before my eyes when I think of Humphrey -- the thing that hits me first is that as my hair started turning grey, Hubert's was getting darker.

...The happy warrior -- "The Politics of Joy" was his 1968 rallying cry -- seemed ready to try it again in 1976.  An awful lot of people -- maybe it was just my tired generation -- reacted by saying "Ohhhhhh!" as if that were his middle name, Hubert Groan Humphrey!  But you had to take him, The Great Seal of American Politics, seriously.  And you had to like him -- after all, he's the same religion we are.

No matter what your religion is, it's Hubert's.  A. M. Keith, a Minnesota politician, used to tell a story about traveling the state with Humphrey, who was, a long time ago, mayor of Minneapolis.  Each time he met someone, Humphrey would ask about their family, then about their religion.  The first person said, "I'm a Lutheran," and Humphrey happily replied, "I'm a Lutheran, too."  If someone said, "I'm a Baptist," so was Humphrey.  Or a Methodist, or an Episcopalian.  Humphrey would always say, "Great!  So am I.   Glad to meet another."

Finally, Keith pulled aside Humphrey, who happens to be a Congregationalist, and said, "You can't do that.  You can't tell everybody you belong to their church."  Humphrey was bewildered:  "Why not?  I'm a good Christian."----------------- [end excerpt]
{Old Faces of 1976, by Richard Reeves.
Copyright 1976.  Harper & Row, Publishers.
New York, Hagerstown, San
Francisco, London}

= = = = = = = = = = =
Old Faces states on its cover:  "A few thousand fairly well-chosen words on Jerry Ford, Nelson Rockefeller, Teddy Kennedy, George Wallace, Hubert Humphrey, Ronald Reagan, Ed Muskie, Scoop Jackson, George McGovern, Hugh Carey, Abe Beame, Jack Javits, Jerry Brown..." etc.

There was one election year when someone (think it was Johnny Carson) joked that the Democrats hadn't learned that a democracy is a system where everybody votes,
not where

and I think 1976 might have been it.

----------more excerpts, same source:

-------------------------Ted Kennedy...manipulating the public attention that comes with his name to push his favored interests -- national health care; draft, tax, and campaign finance reform; world refugee problems; and the eighteen-year-old vote, which became law because his staff figured out a way to do it without a constitutional amendment.

..."They must have talked good sense around his kitchen table" is Kennedy's highest compliment about another political man....

Scoop Jackson would be just about a sure thing in 1976 if he didn't have to run.  He is the Institutional Candidate for President; he could be the candidate of the Congress, big labor, the military-industrial complex, Protestant morality, Jewish money, and Rotary Clubs.  He might even end up as the candidate of...anti-war Democrats who were cursing him only a few years ago....

"I regard the Soviet Union," Jackson has said, "as an opportunistic hotel burglar who walks down the corridors trying all the door handles to see which door is open."

Then Scoop Jackson appointed himself America's house detective. 

The senator traces his obsession with the Russians to December, 1945, when he was a 33-year-old congressman visiting Norway for the first time....The Norwegians were trying diplomatically but a little desperately to get rid of a couple of thousand Russian troops that had fought the Germans in northern Norway.  "They had a hell of a time getting the Russians out and I started thinking," Jackson remembers now.  Like hotel burglars the Russians hung around Norway for almost a year, jiggling doorknobs.

..."A stubborn people," he says of his Norwegian forebears.  "They don't care whether other people think they're right."
...The Argus, a weekly newspaper in Seattle, posed the Jackson dilemma in an editorial a couple of years ago:  "We don't know whether to applaud Jackson's consistency or condemn his stubbornness."-------------- [end excerpts, Old Faces of 1976]

As we go forward into a new year -- 2013 -- I find myself most interested in looking back, and studying / analyzing what happened before, to try to see why we are "where we're at" now.  To get some understanding and perspective, rather than feeling self rudely repetitively battered by quote-end-quote "news." 

Feel like:  "Gimme - my - history!!!"

In Theodore White's The Making of the President, 1960, Robert Dallek refers, in his Foreword, to --

"...Arnold Toynbee's observation that the historian trying to understand the present is like the man with his nose pressed against the mirror trying to see his whole body."

...maybe That's why I want it.


Friday, December 28, 2012

treat you right

"When you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow"
was a phrase that became known to the public during the
of the
of Watergate -- 1971 to 1974.
It was said that a man who was "high up" in the Nixon Administration had this phrase on a sign which hung on the wall in his office.

I remember hearing this, & thinking, "Well that's not very nice."
A person would think someone working for the President of the United States in one of those big, beautiful, dignified, grand buildings in Washington D.C., would comport themselves a little better than that.

No, a lot better than that.

And -- it'd be one thing, to slip, momentarily, & say a vulgar phrase, while in the heat of conversation or debate, but putting it on a "sign," or poster or whatever, and hanging it up on the wall for everyone who comes into one's office to look at, is kind of -- I don't know, seems like the act of a rebellious child, rather than a grown-up professional.  With a really prestigious job.  Career.

It's like -- Who are you trying to be?
Are you trying to get respect by being disrespectful?


seems like....

Those were stressful times.  Maybe it was a temporary Whoops....

Another common story that came out of Watergate and became widely known was Gordon Liddy, at a party, putting his hand in the flame of a candle and holding it there.  Someone asked, "What's the trick?"  And Liddy said, "The trick is not minding."

To me, that's similar behavior -- like, What are you trying to prove?  Who are you trying to be?  And -- how old are you?  And -- on the candle story, I'd add,

are you nuts, have you sought help from a mental health professional?

The most "out-there" thing about it being that he
is --

? ? ?

In the movie Nixon there's a scene where presidential aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman are reporting to Pres. Nixon some details about the Watergate burglary -- one of them mentions Gordon Liddy and Anthony Hopkins, who plays Nixon, jerks his head up, startled, and says, "Liddy?!  That fruitcake..."

And when I heard that I thought of the dichotomy of these types of personality-styles -- the dichotomy between
how the behavior makes that person look, to other people,
how the person thinks his behavior makes him seem.

Like --
the "got them by the balls" guy
Gordon Hand-in-a-candle-flame Liddy

probably thought these "displays" made them seem "tough," or "strong," or "powerful"...

while in reality, it just weirds people out.

("Liddy?  That fruitcake....")

When Mr. Liddy presented himself in various creative ways, he probably wanted to make an impression, but I doubt if
was the impression he was aiming for....

It seems like in our current era we see more of that type of behavior among the population-in-general, not necessarily among people who work in Washington.  I had been noticing it for a while.

And after the mass shooting at the school in Newtown, Connecticut, some of the Comments from individuals on the internet seemed to relate to this:

-- Shut down news.  Stop the media-induced stupor of 21st Century America.

-- What good is material abundance when we devalue and destroy the lives of our own people on a daily basis?  Look at TV, Talk radio, violent websites....Almost everywhere you look, there's someone thumping their chest in pride for denigrating another human being, advocating violence and debasement using coded words "couched as comedy or humor."
> Colorado.

-- "I'll bully you! I'll bully you! I'll bully you right out the door!" offered as appropriate workplace behavior...

(Anybody got a lit candle?)...
[Fruitcake, anyone?]

Nixon is a heck of a good movie. 
There's one scene where he's talking with one of his advisers, trying to figure something out.  Referring to "special operations" -- some CIA projects which began in the 1950s when Nixon had been vice president -- the President says, "If there's anyone who knows more than me, it's Hoover and Helms."...and as this discussion / information sifting / strategizing is taking place, the song "Fever" plays in the background, very low.  (Think it is probably the Peggy Lee version...)

in the morning
Fever all through the night

Sun lights up the day time
moon lights up the night
I light up when you call my name
and you know I'm gonna treat you right

you give me fever
when you kiss me
fever when you hold me tight
Fever -- in the morning -- Fever all through the night

========= compelling, riveting, you feel a hypnotic pull, or a drag, on consciousness & focus....

{"Fever" -- written by Eddie Cooley and Otis
Blackwell, who used the pseudonym John Davenport.
Originally recorded by Little Willie John in 1956,
on the King 4935 record label
and subsequently covered by many other singers.}


Thursday, December 27, 2012

sixes and sevens and nines

Ba -- by, I can't stay, you got to ro-oh-oll me
And call me the tumblin' dice.

Always in a hurry, I never stop to worry,
Don't you see the time flashin' by.
Honey, got no money,
I'm all sixes and sevens and nines.
Say now baby, I'm the rank outsider,
You can be my partner in crime.

But baby, I can't stay,
You got to ro-oh-oll me - and call me the tumblin' --
Roll me, & call me the tum-bl-in' di-ice....

[Nah nah nahnah na na...]

Yesterday I was remembering a lobbyist that I "knew" --
work-wise --
and that made me recall another lobbyist who was nice, with a gentle, thoughtful face, and had the same hair-cut, I think, for the thirteen years I worked with him....and always laughed if I told him something day in a committee meeting -- probably  State Affairs (either Senate or House) when legislators were taking testimony about casinos and gambling, 

a crowd of us were in standing-room area, to the left of the seats which were filled -- and my low-key, Hair-Cut Friend turned from the testimony-and-questions flow and remarked, either to me, or to any of us around him,

"I'd rather own a casino than gamble in one."

(Sage business advice, I thought.   Will write that down, next to "Buy low sell high."...)

He might have been just making a point -- that casinos are not set up for the customer to WinSomeMoney; they're set up for the House To Win.  But at the time, I took him quite literally -- I assumed that he owned some casinos (casinoes?)....Oh, my my my, I'm the lone crap shooter,
Playin' the field ev'ry night.

But baby, I can't stay.
you got to roll me and call me the tumblin' dice, (Call-me-the-tumblin')
Got to roll me (yayes), Got to roll me, Got to roll me (Oh yeah)
Got to roll me
Got to roll me (yeah)
got to roll me (Keep on rolling)
got to roll me (Keep on rolling)
got to roll me (Keep on rolling)
Got to roll me
My baby, call me the tumblin' dice, yeah
Got to roll me
Baby sweet as sugar (got to roll me)
Yeah, my my my yeah (got to roll me)

{song lyrics by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
"Tumbling Dice"  for The Rolling Stones'
1972 double album, Exile on Main Street}


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

ultimate reality

Swooping around on Google the other day, noticing and occasionally alighting on something of interest, I somehow came to a title,
"George McGovern, the Quiet Warrior:  Photos from his '72 Campaign"
on a LIFE magazine site --
Took a look -- Aah, 22 photographs to "arrow" through.
First one was the 1972 Dem. candidate-for-president's face;
arrow to second photo -- and there's the candidate on an airplane, & another man seated across the aisle, leaning forward to tell Sen. McGovern something...and it's -- the other guy -- is...
Somebody I Know...!

I was, "Whoa!"

Caption reads,
"George McGovern (right) and adviser during the 1972 presidential campaign."

Well, the "adviser" has a name -- and I KNOW IT!

Well -- so?
Well -- nothing...I don't was just surprising and fun, that's all.

I had to click back onto the site, and the photo, a couple of times -- "Yes.  Ye-e-es...that's him."

The "adviser" was a lobbyist at the state capitol during the 90s, when I lobbied, so would see him daily "at work" for two months out of the year, when the legislature met.  (I "knew" him the way you know someone at work...talked a few times, had lunch in proximity in capitol cafeteria...)  He would see me in the hallway on third floor and say, "Hi, kid!" at the beginning of a legislative session.

One year at the beginning of the session, he greeted me with a hug.
(Think he was greeting everyone with hugs, that year -- [temporarily setting aside traditional "WASP" barriers -- if Jewish people had been observing us, they probably would have said, "Oy, these people need to take a course in Hugs 101 - !"]  ...)

It's just so unexpected to look at a picture from 40 years ago and see a politician you've shaken hands with three times in your life, who you were expecting to see, along with a person you knew 20 years after the picture was taken, whom you were not expecting to see, in this picture, taken 20 years before you ever knew the other person in the picture -- so you didn't know him when the picture was taken, but looking at the picture now, you know that's him, and you knew him later but you still know him now to look at him back then...ok, this is becoming Not A Sentence....

Different memories / experiences from various different times in one's own life, drifting in
media ~~ internet ~~ memory
space, and then surfacing -- together or in new combinations...

it made me think of Remembrance of Things Past, by Marcel Proust (which have not read) -- it's something about memory...
------------ Wiki Free Encyclopedia:  ...Thus the novel embodies and manifests the principle of intermittence:  to live means to perceive different and often conflicting aspects of reality...
Throughout the work many similar instances of involuntary memory, triggered by sensory experiences such as sights, sounds and smells conjure important memories for the narrator and sometimes return attention to an earlier episode of the novel....
Gilles Deleuze believed that the focus of Proust was not memory and the past but the narrator's learning the use of "signs" to understand and communicate ultimate reality, thereby becoming an artist....

...the work of art can recapture the lost and thus save it from destruction, at least in our minds.  Art triumphs over the destructive power of time....----------------- [end excerpt, Free Encyc.]

(I don't know what I'm talking about....)


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

greener grass

I hardly ever get an opportunity to use the word "headhunter" (in its incarnation as semi-slang describing a recruiter of job candidates) and then had opportunity to include it in sentence, and caused consternation (unintentionally).

Was mentioning -- "...had a phone call for maintenance supervisor which sounded like legitimate-usual-relevant -- the caller was so enthusiastic & energetic, and when the guy took the call.. it turned out to be a -- head-hunter!"

The listener's chic hairstyle swung wildly for a moment, as she about-faced, exclaiming in shock and horror, "What??!!"

[Picturing, perhaps, machete-wielding pygmies from Amazonian jungles, roaming our vicinity in search of mechanics....]

(In future, must leave the term "headhunter" for those who work in that business -- who -- by the way -- will write, of themselves, descriptions such as the following ... "although we [head-hunters] will gladly accept the assignment to search for a CIO, for example, we might have no idea about what makes a good one or whether this job will advance your career."...

in Forbes, no less....)

When the -- shall we say, quarry -- took the phone call, it turned out to be brief.  Very brief.  As quarry exited, grumbled without looking at me,

"He tried to hire me. 

I should have taken it."

=========  I felt two things --
1.  like I'd been tricked by the caller -- he sounded so enthusiastic and confident, and "on-his-game" -- like he knew what he wanted -- I thought he was calling with some important "part," or piece of equipment, or information that would be necessary to some on-going project.  First he'd asked for the maintenance manager, by name, so I thought OK...and upon being told that that person was not in but he could leave a voice-mail, he then wanted the maint. supervisor who's on-duty -- which increased my impression that this was of imminent importance.  (yeah...for some job-recruiter, it was...)

and 2.  the other thing I felt was a little envy.  I make it a practice not to envy people, & most of the time it works, but man, for a moment, I felt like -- "Geez, nobody ever calls and tries to hire me...." 

It is a thought which one thinks grumblingly to oneself....and it makes no sense, because -- am not a mechanic!  Hello -- that's the profoundly irrational thing about envy -- it rarely makes any sense....

When I admitted my irrational grumbliness / envy to one of the headhunter's "targets," sighing that these fantastic far-away offers are never aimed at me, he queried, "Well did you send 'em a picture of yourself-?"

("Yeah...I'll do that, if I want to scare 'em, so they'll stop bothering us"....)


Friday, December 21, 2012

fear not, for behold

Spookiest poem ever:
in the movie Nixon, Sam Waterston recites a poem called "The Second Coming," which was written by William Butler Yeats....
(Brrr-rrr!  You need a warm coat after you hear it -- and I don't even know what it means...!  Now that's some recitin' !  Speechify, baby...)

An online study guide at About.Com gives us this:
It has been said that the essence of great poems is their mystery, and that is certainly true of "The Second Coming."  It is a mystery, it describes a mystery, it offers distinct anad resonant images, but opens itself to infinite layers of interpretation.

Now -- am cold, scared, and confused...!

In the film, Sam Waterston plays the part of Richard Helms, Director of Central Intelligence.
Waterston's voice is distinctive -- reminds me of the actor James Stewart's voice that has almost sort of an echo of itself, as if it had two tracks, or something.

Was moved to think about inspiration and trends.

One mass-murdering shooter inspires another.

Why were there riots and protests in the 60s?
People saw others doing it, and it seemed like a way to express something they themselves were feeling, too.

On the other hand, lots of people would look at -- even a peaceful protest --
a sit-in,
a walk-out,
a lie-in,
a be-in
and say, That doesn't express anything that I feel; I would not take part in that.
But for some people it does express what they feel.  And they might take part in one.

People could see a riot, and many more of them would say,
I would not take part in that.

But some would -- they would say, I totally believe in this cause, & our leaders aren't listening and I'm mad!  There, you got a riot.

And then that tiny minority in the human family who can see a mass shooting in the news, and feel inside, and think in their mind, I relate to what that guy has been through; I get it; I want to do that.

Inspiration -- and relating to something -- can come from something
very bad
just sort of regular
something good.
This time of year, we remember,
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:  and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not:  for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people...."

and let it inspire us.

{Luke 2, vs. 8-10 King James version}


Thursday, December 20, 2012

numbness, blindness, and revenue streams

Could we simply ban the "big clips"?
The -- drums, magazines, clips, whatever they sell, which provide
so.  many.  bullets (or -- "rounds", I've learned...).
So many.

Like the Battle of Normandy, only --
at school,
with the "other side" -- unarmed.

The war-zone fire-power
which is supplied by these items
allows a disturbed person to make a Big Splash in media and "Go Out In A Blaze Of Glory" -- what they imagine is power-and-glory.

Without access to big clips, the disturbed person might kill one person, or two people, or himself, which would be bad enough, but -- but -- without the inducement of imagined fame and the example of other mass shooters to "inspire" him, maybe -- it's possible that he might not kill anyone at all.


[Post-mass-shooting Comments, from individuals, on internet]:

--Show Me from Missouri wrote
"Gun control must be improved to prevent this.  Also, however, events such as this should not be publicized.  It leads weak-minded people to do similar violent acts."

I do not want my child to die because gun nuts don't want any regulation on how many guns, how much ammunition anybody can buy -- with only a 1-day waiting period.  Every attempt to regulate guns has been shouted down by the NRA and their followers.  More gun violence to come.

--Cedarburg, Wisconsin
The frequency of mass homicides -- as well as individual homicides -- is a result of societal breakdown....The fact is that American society is sick.  The division within the nation, the greed among securities dealers and bankers, fractured families, and the inability to compromise on individual, community, state and national issues = a short list of the symptoms.

Hope is not a strategy, but hope is all America has left.

--Richard  NYC
Oh dear.  Another school, another massacre....and trot out all the other usual platitudes.

What is appalling is the utter corruption of the political process.  Most people are for rational gun regulation, most people hate health insurance companies, most people are abused by credit card companies.  But it doesn't matter, because Congress answers to the lobbyists and not us the people.

--Portland, Oregon
We don't just need proper gun control or proper mental health care, we need a new peace movement that begins at home, is the shared responsibility of us all, and extends through every aspect of our private and public lives.

--New Hampshire
All banning guns will do is provide the illusion that we are doing something when we are in fact avoiding the issues....Why are we surprised that a nihilist society produces sociopaths.

--Neal   California
Mental health cannot be legislated, or enforced by the criminal justice system.  An open, honest, well-informed national discussion about stress and cultural attitudes towards violence is long overdue.  And the reason it hasn't happened is clearly evident in the history of these shooting incidents: 

special interest money

in our government

and media

hijacks the discussion to protect its revenue stream.

The handguns used in this massacre were manufactured by companies based in countries where their murderous products cannot legally be sold to private citizens.

It's easy to blame the politicians for their cowardice and cowardice it certainly is.  But who made them cowards?  Who made it so that, politically, it's more perilous to support gun control than either stay mute or actively support the NRA?

Look in the mirror for the answer.

--New Jersey
The answer is not in the mirror.  It is in the bank.  We need publicly funded elections that take the NRA's biggest weapon -- the financial contributons to candidates -- out of the picture.  It's blood money.

--Pam in San Francisco
I am unmoved by politicians' tears -- even the president's -- until they are willing to represent the great majority of Americans who want sensible gun laws, rather than the zealots of the NRA and their extremist backers.

--Maysville, Georgia
We need to look at our society and at why people do things like this.  Have we lost a feeling for the most basic things in life?  The chase for money makes us blind....

--What medications was he taking?  The people who do these shootings are always on antidepressants or something, if you look those drugs up suicide and aggressive behavior and hallucinations and worse depression or paranoia are side effects and even the companies that make them admit that they don't know what the drugs do to people, to their brains and that they don't even know if they work or not!

everybody blames these awful things on weak gun laws but this never happened until recently and we've had guns a lot longer but not these drugs, the more people take them, the more killings we have

--There is so much violence in movies, video games and tv, perhaps mentally unbalanced young people can't differentiate between what is real and what is make believe.  Also, seeing violence so often numbs all of us.

--Tell us what medications he was taking.  I can guarantee the pharmaceutical industry played a role in this....Guns have been around for centuries but only in the last few decades have we seen so many atrocious acts committed against the innocents.  It's our disgusting culture (or lack of) combined with drugs (mostly prescription) that is causing these mindless acts of violence.

--Yes, there are mentally ill people among us, and when guns are easily available, it results in mass shootings.  Guns offer easy, quick method for violence.

--Actually, it's...violent inducing, psychotic, brain chemistry altering drugs that are doing the damage, and turning peoples brains into murderers.  Every one of the mass shooters in the past 20 odd yrs. have been on big pharma drugs.  Wake up ya'll.

--Parents need to be vigilant and help innoculate and shield their kids from the mental pollution society generates for the sake of profit.  I may join the cry for gun control, but we also need to speak out against violent media.  Both are involved.

--pharmas will not look there - too much money -- billions

--Behind every human tragedy and misfortune is someone who has used the circumstance to make money.  Dan Quayle and his partners at Cerebrus have blood on their hands for all the money they made buying up companies like Bushmaster that make assault and semi automatic weapons after his colleagues let the assault weapons ban lapse in 2004.  Kinda like the connection of Romney and Delphi after getting auto bailout money and then shipping the jobs overseas with his partners.  The 1% sure know how to profit off other people's misery.
[Auto Bail-out Money...Profit? or Corporate Welfare?]

--Bill Moyers
The NRA is the enabler of death -- paranoid, delusional, and as venomous as a scorpion.  With the weak-kneed acquiescence of our politicians, the National Rifle Association has turned the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution into a cruel hoax, a cruel and deadly hoax.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

cost-benefit analysis...

"Rep. Yarmuth willing to 'lose seat' over stance on gun control"
is a headline currently on the internet --
what the Kentucky representative discusses in that news story is basically an example of what the book Profiles in Courage is about.

It's where the person takes a stand on something he really believes is right for our country, and for people, in spite of the fact that it may be super-unpopular with some vocal groups.  By taking the stand, he risks not being re-elected.

John F. Kennedy wrote the book during 1954 and 1955 while recuperating from back surgery and complications.

It was published, 1957.

That book was always around when our generation was growing up.  I didn't read it -- someone told me what the -- theme of it was....

In the introduction to the current paperback edition of the book, Caroline Kenendy wrote, "Because my father studied history, and understood the complexity of courage, he understood its simple power as well.  He believed that telling the stories of those who act on principle regardless of the cost [to themselves] can help inspire future generations to follow their example....

Our family has honored my father's commitment to public service by celebrating that commitment in others.  In 1989, we established the Profile in Courage Award, presented annually to an elected official who stands fast for the ideals upon which this country was founded, often at great personal risk...

For example, President Gerald Ford received the Profile in Courage Award for his pardon of Richard Nixon.  Ford realized that America needed to begin healing from the wounds of Watergate, and that he was the only man who could make that possible.  One month after Ford became president, he pardoned Nixon, knowing that it could cost him the presidency.  He lost to Jimmy Carter by a narrow margin in 1976."


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

turn my collar to the cold and damp

"Pills make me think.  This kid was disturbed, but it's become the norm to put any odd kids on powerful psychoactive drugs like Prozac and Ritalin.  Except the warnings on these drugs always say, 'may lead to homicidal or suicidal tendencies.'  I sure hope the coroner analyzes the shooter's blood and publishes the results before Big Pharma shuts him  up."
-- weekend Comment on Internet from Apache Junction, Arizona


on-line headline, today:
"Rep. Yarmuth willing to 'lose seat' over stance on gun control."

...What he's talking about is just like
Profiles in Courage....

comment:  "Limit civilian weapons so that they hold no more than 6 bullets at a time.  Six bullets is plenty for self-defense, range-shooting and hunting.  The small inconvenience of having to re-load at a range is well worth it to decrease the number of these incidents of mentally disturbed men massacring children."

"And the side effects of prescribed medications."

"This is NOT  a gun is a mental health issue."

"This is a gun issue and also a mental issue."

"Antidepressants are the commonality in nearly all of these incidents yet the media and the authorities will not say anything about the drugs.  Because they are legal, profitable and money buys their silence."


Monday, December 17, 2012

$10,000 for your thoughts

The Internet bristles with Comments after Fri.'s events in Newtown:

"A good start to fixing these behavior issues would be to always be kind, do not bully people or taunt them through social media.  Thank you"

"Bad things still happen and will never be fully preventable, but we can minimize their impact.  No semi autos or large clips would be a start."

"Join me in a crusade against our politicians --
8-shot-max clips for both rifles and handguns, NOW!...
It's obvious that we can't detect these killers ahead of time.  But we CAN slow them down.  8-round clips!"
--------------- [..."a crusade against our politicians"...I'd tend to want to switch that to "a crusade to lobby our politicians, or convince, or petition....petition them, I think.  Interesting it came out the way it did when he typed it, though -- a crusade against...that's how the people feel, now, like politicians are just one more enemy-group to be crusaded "against"...and -- that's not bad, the politicians can "take it."  Go for it!  Crusade to persuade.]

Reading articles and comments, thought:  "Ban the big clips."  Or -- magazines (?) drums (?) experts may tailor the terminology....
That might be all right with the NRA because it isn't gun control, it's bullet control.
(Then again, do we have to clear everything with the NRA?)

Was thinking:  causes of these mass murders --
easy availability of fast-shooting weapons,
mental health issues not addressed,
examples of violence in our culture -- movies, games, music, etc.
{maybe also media attention causes the next one to think, "I'll get famous" -- this aspect would probably come under the "culture" heading.

super-efficient kill-machines
crazy ("troubled") individuals

People can do something about each of those.

D. Roth in NY:  "The Bill of Rights was written when single shot muzzle loaders were state of the art.  Those days are gone.  When 20 kindergarteners can be executed in a few minutes, the law must change.

I want our Senators and Representatives in Congress to stop being bribed by the deep pockets of the NRA.  Get off the NRA payroll."

Jen D in NJ:  "Go to open and see how little money our politicians have sold their souls for.  Not one of them has received more than $10,000 directly from the NRA in the 2012 election cycle, yet they kowtow and cower before the organization."
------------------- [True, $10,000 in a campaign for Congress is probably about like a dime for most of us working thought / understanding:  the congressman or senator serves NRA interests not because the NRA gives him large amounts of money in campaign contributions, but because

if he doesn't vote NRA's way,

the NRA will spend the Serious $ to
defeat him.

It isn't so much being bought, as it is being bullied.

Not so much "kowtowing" as it is being "cowed."
Negative motivation.

Result is the same...the constituents doubt whether they are being listened to.]

Then on cable news show, Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania says, "The NRA is a paper tiger!  All we need is some congressmen and senators who aren't wusses." 


Friday, December 14, 2012

doing what we can

"Reality leaves a lot to the imagination."
--  John Lennon

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world.
You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world.
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out
Don't you know it's gonna be all right
all right, all right

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
we'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We're doing what we can
But when you want money
For people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait --
Don't you know it's gonna be all right
All right, all right

Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah...

You say you'll change the constitution
Well you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well you know...
You better free your mind instead
--but if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao,
You ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow
Don't you know it's gonna be all right
all right, all right
All right, all right, all right
all right, all right, all right

a single by The Beatles,
the flip-side of "Hey Jude"
August 26, 1968
on the Apple label


Thursday, December 13, 2012

ideas - uproar

"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own facts."
--  Daniel Patrick Moynihan

I feel as if, when I read, & look at how
problems were solved, and
positive accomplishments engineered
in America, during past times, then a person can see -- maybe two things, anyway...
1) how things worked -- or didn't,
2) that some current challenges we have, have been seen before -- arguments we hear today have been made before -- familiar tactics and strategies, when we read about them, we can say, "Oh-h!  So Senator How-do-ya-do, or Representative Hand-in-trough are not so new, or endemic only to the 21st century -- this kind of (tactic / behavior / silliness / whatever) has been seen before....oh and--here's how they approached it, then....

People can get a deeper, richer perspective by viewing incidents in recent history.  (Or -- should say, all history, it's just that Recent is my favorite....)

[excerpt]---------------------  Daniel Patrick Moynihan led a singularly American life, but it was a life unlike any other in modern America.

As a youth in New York, Pat Moynihan struggled with poverty in a family devastated by the disappearance of his father at the height of the Great Depression.  Young Pat shined shoes, tended bar, worked the piers as a longshoreman, and

stole rides by clinging spread-eagled to the back of the crosstown bus to get to high school in Harlem. 

He briefly attended City College of New York before joining the Navy as a teenager during World War II.  He served as a gunnery officer, traveled the world, returned to complete an undergraduate degree from Tufts....  He wandered almost accidentally into campaign politics in New York City. 

And he then rose to become perhaps the most influential public intellectual of his time.

Moynihan was a pathfinder in John F. Kennedy's New Frontier, a commander in Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty and Great society, and an enabler in many greater and lesser moments of Richard Nixon.  He was a renowned professor at Harvard well before becoming a successful politician.  He was an outspoken envoy and challenger of shibboleths and of anti-Semitism while serving as ambassador to India and the United Nations. 

In four terms in the Senate -- working with (or against) Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton -- he made a decisive impact in the areas of welfare reform, public works, transportation projects, international law, congressional prerogatives in the cold war, and the challenge to the cult of secrecy in Washington.  He achieved these goals while setting a standard of


sorely missed today.  Determined that a nation's public spaces should reflect the legacy of its ideals, he was instrumental in the effort to revive some of America's greatest urban environments, from the Custom House in Lower Manhattan to Union Station and Pennsylvania Avenue in the nation's capital....
As early as 1979, he predicted the fall of the Soviet Union, saying it would crack up from economic stress and ethnic conflict.  Less well known, Moynihan was an early champion of automobile safety in the 1950s and is the one who brought Ralph Nader to Washington, jolting General Motors and causing a national uproar in the 1960s.

"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own facts," Moynihan famously said, in one of many comments that entered political lore and that, if applied, would make for a healthier national discourse today.------------[end excerpt]

[Man -- don't we know it!]

{Daniel Patrick Moynihan:  A Portrait in Letters of an American Visionary.
Ed. Steven R. Weisman.  Introduction.
Copyright, 2010, Public Affairs, member-Perseus
Books Group, New York}


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

cool reason

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead."

-- Thomas Paine, The Crisis

"Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves."

-- George Gordon Byron

And yet...

"Lovers and madmen have such seething brains

Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend

More than cool reason ever comprehends."

-- William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

strange days had found us

Reading about LBJ, George Wallace got onto my mental radar screen.

My first memory of Wallace was in the 1968 election:  since LBJ had decided not to run, there was no incumbent -- three candidates and no incumbent...
Richard Nixon for the Republicans,
Hubert Humphrey (from Minnesota) for the Democrats,
and George Wallace for the -- I don't know.

The only information I had heard about him was, he didn't like black people.
(That's his platform?...)

Next time he visited my "radar screen" I was in the car being driven to piano lesson, and news came from radio that George Wallace, running for president again, in the Democratic primary, had been shot -- in -- Maryland, I think....(yes, Google says Maryland...).  1972.  (Not again!)

That was horrible. 
The assassinations.
and Wallace was in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

I think all that violence caused many people to feel disillusioned.

Reading on the internet -- George Wallace's son has written a book about his father and it sounded like part of the thesis was that Gov. Wallace was not really such a racist, but he used the "race-baiting" line and the staunch segregationist position because it "worked" to get him elected.

He became sort of a symbol of the old days and the old ways, by standing in a schoolhouse door to prevent some black students from going to class.  John S. Pancake pointed out, in a review of a TV-movie about Wallace, that standing there in the doorway only kept that school segregated for an extra four hours.

He was expressing, or standing for, the way some people felt.

Then, in the Free Encyclopedia, I come across this:
"Bremer's diary...published after his arrest shows the assassination attempt was motivated by a desire for fame, not by politics...."

That's an interesting parallel, if you think of it this way:

Gov. Wallace used the race-baiting tactic,
not because
he really wanted to hold back black progress,
but in order to
get elected,


Bremer's assassination attempt on
1972 presidential candidate Wallace
was not done becasue
he disliked Wallace,
or disagreed with his political positions,
but in order to
get famous.

As The Doors said,
"Strange Days."

-------------  The F.E. also tells us that Shirley Chisholm, a black woman in the U.S. House of Representatives, (at that time the only black woman in the U.S. House...) visited Gov. Wallace in the hospital, after the shooting.

And -- [excerpt, Free Encyclopedia]--------------------- In the late 1970s, Wallace announced that he was a born-again Christian and apologized to black civil rights leaders for his past actions as a segregationist.  He said that while he had once sought power and glory, he realized he needed to seek love and forgiveness.  In 1979, Wallace said of his stand in the schoolhouse door:  "I was wrong.  Those days are over, and they ought to be over." -------------------------- [end excerpt]

Looking at the above paragraph now, I wonder about a conversation I had, (or rather, was clobbered by), in the late 1990s -- there had been a cable TV-movie about Wallace starring Gary Sinise...I saw parts of it, and was impressed.  I mentioned this, in state capital, over lunch with two school superintendents, a man and a woman, and they both, like, almost went wild -- "You like George Wallace?!"  "You're a supporter of George Wallace?!"

(What they used to call a "knee-jerk reaction.")

I tried to say,
"I said the film was well-done;
I did not say that I was awaiting
an opportunity to
vote for
George Wallace,"

but it was no use.  They jumped to a conclusion, and clung tightly to it, like frogs jumping from one lily-pad onto another one. 
I couldn't move them off that lily-pad. 
Reason was rebuffed.

("I was wrong.  Those days are over, and they ought to be over."  Did those school superintendents not hear that Wallace had said that?  AND -- apologized?)

Thought, "Hmmh.  These people
can't listen
can't process information
they're in charge of education.
Very good."

Politics drives people crazy.

Politics drives some people crazy.