Think of the Children

August 26, 2009 at 4:52 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

This past summer, my daughter, Pippilotta, age 25 determined to get herself back to college as part of an effort to make a better life for herself. Needless to say, I was thrilled and supportive. And much to my surprise, she was able to secure college financial aid much more easily than I anticipated. I have high hopes that this road will eventually lead to above-minimum-wage jobs for her and a brighter future for my four-year-old granddaughter.

Speaking of my granddaughter, daycare would need to be secured for her. Presently, Myrtle and I babysit as much as our own schedule allows but more help is needed to allow Celia to work and get her schooling done. Of course, being able to pay outright for daycare is not an option, since Pippilotta doesn’t make any more than the daycare workers do. So she had no choice but to turn to the government for help.

I remember when Pippilotta was a baby back during the Gipper’s reign. What a pain it was to find good daycare and afford paying for it. In fact, after a short time, maybe about three months, of daily leaving Pippilotta in the hands of strangers, Myrtle and I decided that we could live a simple life off one good paycheck (mine, if I worked plenty of overtime) and Myrtle could stay home and take care of our child. Well, that arrangement allowed her to stay home as we eventually had three children and she didn’t resume her career until all of them were in school. But fear not, gentle reader, Myrtle is not deprived and is certainly no shrinking violet; today she has a PhD and is founder/administrator of her own non-profit charitable organization.

Well, I won’t go into much detail about the frustrations, humiliations, countless hours spent at the Department of Job & Family Services office, the unresponsive beaurocracy, or the fear that it wouldn’t all come together. I will only mention, in passing, that the lady in charge of my granddaughter’s new pre-school gave a speech during orientation telling us how program funds had been cut by about a fourth and that they could no longer provide breakfast to the children, etc, etc. We ordinary Americans are getting used to hearing all that kind of stuff, so it’s all old news.

After all was done, I gave Myrtle a few of my usual loopy takes on the experience. To wit:

  • The government, at all levels- city, county, state, federal- has apparently squandered most of the taxes I paid for the last 37 years.
  • For the cost of one (take your pick: tank, bomber, missile) built for our bulging arsenal, the pre-school program could probably be fully funded for at least a year.
  • For all America’s bloviating about the importance of children, family values, children being our future, yak, yak, yak… the truth is that no developed nation seems to care less about its children or their future.
  • America’s young people suffer from tremendous depression, angst, and resentment because deep down they see that the bloviating about the importance of children does not match the reality of how they’re treated. Instead, they know that they are actually valued only for the same reason everyone is now valued in America- as a demographic consumer group.
  • If things continue this way, within a few years America will collapse much like the Soviet Union did. Maybe that won’t be such a bad thing.

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New Horizons

August 21, 2009 at 4:18 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Last week, as I sped along in my well-worn 1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass, enjoying a warm Ohio summer’s day, I passed the growing number of derelict buildings- houses, businesses, and factories that line nearly every street. Generally, the sight of those empty places fills me with melancholy  for the loss of the days when the factories and businesses provided jobs and people could afford to live in the houses. And I suppose its a side-effect of my Master’s Degree in history that causes an internal monologue to play in my head, railing against a nation foolish enough to ruin itself the way we have. Nearly a decade ago, the late comedian and social commentator, George Carlin, spoke disparagingly of America trading its soul in exchange for “cellphones that make pancakes.” Well, the way things are going, pretty soon most Americans also won’t have the cellphone or the pancakes.

Be that as it may, on the day I’m recounting I looked at the deserted spaces and, somehow, no longer cared so much. I can only compare it to the gradual recovery from the death of a loved one. One can only grieve for so long and then must get on with life.

And there is a lot of life to be done! Myrtle and I have started a non-profit organization to formalize the charity work we’ve done for years. Our children are grown and trying to make their own way in the midst of economic destruction. Numerous friends, family, and strangers are losing their jobs, homes, and businesses. I am determined to keep my wits about me, work to empower myself and them,  so we’ll all get through to a better day.  Amen.

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What Then, Indeed?

August 11, 2009 at 2:13 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

While perusing one of my favorite alternative news websites, Unknownnews.net, I came across an article titled: “If healthcare loses again, what then?”  Since I am an older, lower-income, uninsured citizen, I have a keen interest in that question. I emailed the author with my thoughts. It read:

Yes, what…indeed…then? (You can’t see it, but I’m stroking my chin reflectively).

Unfortunately, I have no fear of contradiction when I say the first part of your question should be rephrased as “When healthcare loses…” That is partially because, as you so astutely put it, “…the President is a pansy.” But your overall question is very good and not limited only to healthcare. We Americans of a progressive bent must realize that this same question also applies to alternative energy, the environment, the war, the economy, unemployment, education, and other issues ad nauseum.

One thing is for darn sure:  We cannot count on the corporate-funded government nor their corporate owners to get us the solutions we need. Name the issue facing America and be assured any hint of sanity will instantly be greeted by a consortium of right-wing political nuts who are manipulated by criminal big-business. And they are abetted at every step by the so-called “liberal” Democrats and the so-called “liberal” media. Since nearly every mainstream media outlet and politician is owned lock, stock, and barrel by the economic elite– they are the proverbial “wolves in sheeps’ clothing.” It would actually be surprising if they supported populism. No, we can’t count on any of them for help.

So, if we can’t count on them, what do we do? We face facts:  Our country is in about 40-years-worth of deep doo-doo and the system is broken from top to bottom. We elected Obama and a Democratic majority to fix it, but they have shown themselves unequal to the task. The Republicans already disqualified themselves from leadership. We want to preserve our Constitutional form of government, which functions well when it allowed to function unhindered by the moneyed-interests. Therefore, our only course of action is to do all we can to encourage third-party candidates and vote them into office. This will break the stranglehold the two corporate parties have on our government. Then, to insure our public servants stay clean, we must immediately pass legislation to remove private finance entirely from our political process. It will be a big job but we have no option.

Meanwhile, awaiting the day when ordinary people re-take governance, we must all strive to make ourselves the best human beings we can be. Set a good example:  Practice kindness and compassion, help others and ourselves to reach full potential, and reject the culture of greed and cruelty.

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Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

August 7, 2009 at 9:25 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Today, I spent a few hours at the house of  my friend, Wesley. He and I went to broadcasting school (what would I suppose, nowadays, be called a “media school”) together some years ago. We learned the techniques of television, film, and radio. He’s a disabled veteran of the Gulf War, ruined by Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome; paid a monthly stipend by the government and given ongoing psychological treatment.

Wesley and I share in common a love of radio. We both relish the joy of creating images in listeners’ minds by use of only sound. In comparison, video seems much too confining.

Unfortunately, like most everything else in America, radio was spoiled over the years by big, soulless companies that threw-out creativity, happiness, and independent thought. Radio and like-wise television, were destroyed by deregulation that began in the Reagan era. Deregulation allowed the formation of media giants to own newspapers, radio, tv and other communications all under one corporate roof. Six companies now own almost all the media outlets in America. And rules were done away with that required radio and tv stations to serve their local communities. Without that requirement, program decisions and production were centralized far away from the local communities – and nearly all the local employees were unnecessary. Goodbye to the local kiddie shows, gardening shows, discussions with small business leaders, many local news shows, local music shows, late night movies (I remember when the city I live in had all of these), and also goodbye to all the local jobs in those shows: writers, set-builders, on-air talent, camera/sound operators, and management. Hello infomercials!

Anyway, Wesley calls himself, for professional purposes, “Wesley Quick”.  And he has an on-line radio station that he does for his own amusement. He calls it “old-time radio” because it features a little bit of most anything: new and old music, classic radio shows, interviews with guests, funny skits, and a lot more. The station is Q7 on the website Live 365.com. Please tune in.

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