Monday, April 18, 2011

Do, Re, Mi......

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here. I’ve started on several occasions but frankly, as I progressed it dawned on me that I was beginning to sound like a broken record (my son once came to me and asked “Dad? What are those ‘big CDs’ in the boxes out in the garage?). If you are too young to know, records would sometimes get scratched in a way that forced them to repeat a short section, over and over again…,thus the expression, and the reality that you are getting old if you need to explain that.

Anyway, I came upon something that inspired me. It made me ask myself why more people can’t be like the guy I’m going to tell you about and those he worked with. This is not an original idea (at least I don’t think he did it first) but it could be the first time it was done remotely. He talks about how it brought a tear to his eye and I can understand why. Not that I would ever cry over something like this. But I can certainly see how it could happen (wink, wink).

In stark contrast (well, yeah I need to do a little broken record set up for the story), we have Marilyn Davenport, an elected member of the Orange County (CA) Republican Central Committee, insisting she’s not racist after sending a photo shopped picture in an email depicting Barack Obama as a chimpanzee. She says, and I quote, "I simply found it amusing regarding the character of Obama and all the questions surrounding his origin of birth." Oh yeah, one other thing… along with the photo is the tag line…” Now you know why… no birth certificate”. I’m not going to reprint the photo here. You can Google it if you want to. I will mention that I have blogged about these people associated with the Tea Party (I forgot to mention she’s a Tea Party activist). As I recall I put forward the proposition that these people were ignorant and racist. A lot of people took issue with that. Well, for all of you who did, I present to you Marilyn Davenport, the poster child for ignorance and racism. After you Google her you can read her ridiculously weak apology too.

Some other things I’ve wanted to touch on include the Republican lame ass presentation of ineffectual budget cuts at the expense of just about everyone reading this. I’ve been dying to discuss the fiasco in Wisconsin. I was tempted to touch on an article I read about our way overblown military budget and the fact that the Republicans don’t want to cut any fat there. One thing on that… did you know that a new aircraft carrier is almost completed and due to be launched in 2014? It’s named the Gerald R. Ford. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke doesn’t it? “You steer it to port and it moves to starboard”. It’s no joke. It cost around $15 billion. Then there’s another one that has just been started (not named yet) that is due to be launched in 2020. That one will also cost around $15 billion. That’s $30 billion for two aircraft carriers for a military that is moving towards drone technology. We already have eleven of them! Will we even be using manned jets for combat in 2020? Do we need more aircraft carriers? According to the article we currently spend about the same amount of money on our military as the rest of the world combined! Yeah, that’s right. The rest of the world combined.

OK… so I need to dwell on this just a bit. First, the “Gerald R. Ford”? Really? I think he was a nice guy. I really do. But he didn’t even serve a full term in office. In fact, he wasn’t even elected! He was appointed VP when Spiro Agnew resigned, and then after the demise of “Tricky Dick” Nixon, he became the “Pres”. What the fuck are the criteria for having an aircraft carrier named after you? Have they gone through every dead president and finally HAD to name one the Gerald R. Ford? They name carriers after famous battles, famous historical navel vessels, cities. Gerald Ford? That wasn’t even the guy’s real name! He was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr. When his mother left his father she wound up marrying a Gerald R. Ford and they started calling young Leslie Gerald because Leslie senior was an abusive ass hole. So, he was not elected to office, did not serve a full term as VP OR President, and he never in his life had an original name! I’m sure his mother had redeeming qualities but independent creativity apparently wasn’t one of them. Gerald was the butt of many a joke but can you imagine how bad it could have been if his mom had stayed with her first husband? Didn’t anyone see the problem with a person who’s middle and last name were Lynch King?

Anyway, that military budget... We spend about the same amount of money as the rest of the world combined? And we’ve been in Iraq how long? Afghanistan how long? We got our ass kicked in Viet Nam because the Pentagon felt a need to fight with one hand tied behind our backs (at least that is how a Viet Nam veteran described it to me… it was an unpopular war… a political anathema…and I’m sure that had something to do with it). My point is do we really need to spend as much as the rest of the world for the results we’ve been getting? Who’s running this show anyway? We spend as much as the rest of the world and Iraqis are killing us with bombs held together with duct tape and super glue? Something is seriously fucked up with the management of our military.

One last thing on the economy and deficit. There’s an outfit out there called Unity for a Fair Economy. Basically, it’s rich people who aren’t assholes. They believe that richer Americans SHOULD bear a slightly higher tax burden than the average American. I have this argument with some conservative friends on a regular basis but they never get it (can't imagine why). One member of UFE says that he made over 200 grand last year and only paid around 2 grand in taxes. He poses the very valid question of whether or not it’s fair that after deductions he winds up paying around one percent of his income? Of course it isn’t. But your typical conservative will argue that it is. After all, it’s rich people that keep the wheels of our economy turning. Bull shit. It’s the rest of us spending money that do that.

Let me get back on track. That “thing” I was telling you about at the beginning of this post is a project that was put together by a guy named Eric Whitacre. I had never heard of him. He’s a contemporary classical musician and composer. The video I’m going to point you to is rather long by modern “You Tube” standards (about 15 minutes) but it’s well worth the time. What Mr. Whitacre has been doing is putting together “virtual choirs”. You audition by sending him a video of yourself. Another guy (who’s name I don’t remember) does the final editing. The final product is pretty amazing and I strongly encourage you to watch the entire clip. But, that in and of itself, is not my point…

My point is that this work exemplifies why we should NOT be defunding the arts. This project vividly demonstrates what COULD happen if people decided to work together and not in violent opposition to one another. What might the world look like if this type of effort were put into world peace? What might the American economy be like if Republicans and Democrats worked towards a common goal and not two entirely different ones? And finally, do you think Mr. Whitacre is a Republican or a Democrat? I don’t know the answer to that question but I know where I’d lay my money down on a bet.

Here's the link. Do yourself a favor and take the full 15 minutes to enjoy it.


Common Sense